“What’s Rule One for being a successful author?”
It’s a couple of years ago and I’m visiting a young offender’s institute – a prison for young people – and I’m doing one of my occasional workshops for some special category prisoners: youths who are ‘at risk’ due to bullying or psychological issues, or because they did things we’d rather not think about.
I wasn’t going to start with Rule One, but, whatever they’d done, in this context, it was hard to see them as anything but br
A sunny day in Kurtzhau’s endless preschool years. We’re kneeling on his bedroom floor playing with his Playmobil Vikings.
The Vikings have tied up their horses and camped — that’s the set over there on the left (source) — and I’m enjoying basking in the firelight while Rosemary Sutcliff and Harold Lamb whisper stories in my ear. However, I have responsible parenting to do.
My son is a great fan of Dora the Explorer — as am I, I mean it’s basically Dungeons and Dragons —
Plays horribly complicated strategy simulators – tell me they’re not worthwhile?
Rarely, the Internet makes me cross enough to blog. This is one of those times.
Somebody posted a link to an article offering “parenting” advice. I won’t link here, because I don’t want to feed it. The advice in a nutshell was: “Ask once, then come down like a tonne of bricks”:
My mom just asked me to take the trash out. What are my risks versus my rewards of obeying?
I love the idea of trading between the stars, but mostly because of the drama it produces. Thus, for the kind of gaming I like, all the official versions of the Traveller trade system are too fiddly. True, it could be replaced by “The referee just makes stuff up.” However, I also like the way hard randomness generates narrative.
What if the economics of small free traders were different from those applying to the big players?
Perhaps the commercials lines have got a
Flat Star Chart (click for source)
(For my alternative to 3D mapping, scroll down.)
I’ve been revisiting Traveller RPG. One thing that’s not changed over the years is that the star charts are flat. Here’s an example (right). As a kid I hated this. I’d have said that it was because it just wasn’t a proper simulation! Space is 3D, right? I actually spent — wasted — time trying to make 3D star charts.
Then a game called Space Opera came along and that did have 3D cha
“…she gets abducted by aliens but she kills them all with a sword and then flies the spaceship home.”
11 pm Sunday night, and I find Morgenstern (9) sitting up in bed, tangled blond hair making her look like a sleepy wood elf.
She grins at me. “I couldn’t sleep, so I used my Story Cubes.”
Wonderful things those cubes. Little dice with tropes on them. They can keep one or two imaginative children happy for hours, especially if you’ve taught them how to connec
Just in case you were confused by artistic conventions, the covers of my SWORDS VERSUS TANKS series depict the Actual Story Content! They are NOT montages.
Here’s the first book: Armoured heroes clash across the centuries!
Sir Ranulph really does take on the WWI-style mega-tank!
Sir Ranulph Dacre (left), armed with his trusty runic sword Steelcutter (shown) really does face off against a WWI-style mega-tank (right), commanded by former bohemian Colonel
So you’ve completed your novel. It’s a story with a beginning, middle and satisfying end. You’ve polished the prose until it shines.
However, it’s too short, or too slow-paced, or it tells rather than shows.
Actually, don’t worry. This is quite normal.
The only mistake you’ve made is to waste time editing the text before fixing the story. Even so, you probably need to change less than you think.
Here’s how I go about it (these days I actually
We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. For those of us who remotely identify with the left, tracking its trajectory is agony.
Some of us need to take time out to process and grieve, and to support to our vulnerable friends. However, when the dust settles that shoe will still be falling.
This isn’t a sim. Real world turns take months and years to play out. That shoe will be a long time falling. We must not let it clog our brains and fritter away the precious u
One of the stranger quirks of literary history is the collaboration between the big morose Texan pulpster and the genteel Oxford don.
To blame is a mysterious Englishman who interrupted Howard’s planned suicide by suggesting he instead seek death by volunteering in the Spanish Civil War. This in turn led to Howard being wounded and sent to convalesce in England with an Oxford-based group of left wing sympathisers.
Though he was still guilt-wracked because of the deat