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Banner: Movie clickI like the vlog brothers (that’s John and Hank Green, also John’s a great writer). They come up with some of the best ideas ever.

Here’s how they do it.

Banner - penEver had a story that started out with a great idea, and then… died?

Like the first chapter is amazing. The second is OK. The third is so boring you want to rip it all out.

What you’re describing is the moment where the brilliance of the idea fades. (more…)

Banner: Movie clickAre you safe?

Is your home, your workplace, your Friendly Neighborhood Military Installation safe?

Likely not. (more…)

Looking into one of my Idea PracticesToday I thought it would be nice to show you how my idea practices work. I’ve been talking about them for a while and haven’t shown you how they turn out.

This one was from the prompt “10 cool fantasy world ideas”. (more…)

Rapid Idea Generation with If ... Then ... WhyI used to have troubles coming up with writing ideas. Nothing I did felt interesting, or if I managed to come up with something it would fail in practice – the ogre in the musketeer uniform would be just that, a dressed up ogre, and nothing more.

A dressed up ogre is boring. Just mashing together two concepts isn’t enough. You need something more.

That’s where the double whammy of “if … then” and “why” works wonders. (more…)

Idea MachineThere was a time I had trouble coming up with ideas.

I’d dream ideas, and I could remember my dreams being filled with wonderful ideas, the feeling of brilliance that accompanied them, but the ideas themselves were as gone as yesterday’s dew.

I couldn’t come up with anything. My mind was blank, gray, and full of dust. It felt like I’d swallowed balls of rolled up spider webs.

I tried sleeping more, sleeping less, and keeping a pad of paper beside me while I slept, in case I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea. Drinking more tea. Drinking less tea. Drinking coffee[note]Ugh, that’s one I’m not doing again. I’m a tea drinker, through and through.[/note]. I tried going to the gym (boring), going running (horribly boring) and going on a sugar binge (horrible, but not boring). I tried everything and my mind stayed as dead as a cheap, plastic skeleton.

Then I found the way. (more…)

Sad faceDon’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing… I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times… The first draft of anything is shit.
– Ernest Hemingway

All accolades to the master and all that but Hemingway is quite wrong. The first draft of anything is glorious.

That’s because the first draft isn’t the one you set down on paper. It’s the one you see in your head.

The first paper draft of anything is shit, but the first glimpse of your idea, the first vision, is amazing. (more…)

My first game design - all design and no game!
My first game design – all design and no game!

The first time I made a prototype I started by creating loads and loads of cards. I had a dream about a magnificent 4X game with space battles to dwarf Star Wars, more planets than an astronomers wet dream and a technology tree that would put western culture to shame.

So I created loads and loads of cards. That I designed in Illustrator. One card at a time. And printed out nine to a sheet. And cut out by hand. Once card at a time. And put in card sleeves with a Magic card as a backing. One at at time. (This last one was actually a good idea.)