31 Oct

12 Rejection Letters of Massively Popular Authors

12 Rejection Letters of Massively Popular Authors

12 Rejection Letters of Massively Popular AuthorsRejections are a part of the writer’s life. And yet, a bad rejection at the wrong time can crush an aspiring author.

Knowing that others have been rejected before you, that authors you admire, who’ve won prizes and gone on to glorious careers, have been badly rejected, can ease your burden. Here are some of those rejections. Read More

24 Oct

Short and Sweet Writing Advice – Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - Review

Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys - ReviewSometimes you read a book at exactly the right time to change your world. Algis Budrys’ “Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction” was one of those books for me.

Writing to the Point is a short (152 airy pages) yet deep (spanning everything from “Chapter 1: The Basic Basics” to dealing with agents and who to format a manuscript) writing advice book. It took me slightly less than an hour-and-a-half to read, and I haven’t come away from a writing how-to book this turbo-charged in a long, long time. Read More

17 Oct

Design Your Author Website – The Basics

Design your Author Website

Design your Author WebsiteYou’ve written your novel, published your stories, signed an autograph or two1. And then you get the question: so, what’s your platform like?

What the hell is an author platform? Have you got one? Is it contagious?

Easy there, buckaroo. Help is on the way.

An author, or author’s, platform is all the online presence you’ve got2. It’s your website, Twitter feed, Instagram account, and forum moderator powers put together. And the most basic, and easiest to do, part of your writer platform, is your author website. Read More

03 Oct

Create Powerful Emotions with Repetition and Motifs

Repetitions and Motifs

Repetitions and MotifsWhy do some scenes feel powerful and others do not? Why do some stories make us cry and others, just as skillfully told, leave us indifferent? Why do some books and games draw us in so strongly?

David Farland, in his Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing has the answer: because some events or experiences in the story are alike to what we ourselves have experienced and been moved by. Of course, different readers will react differently. If you ate a cheese-and-baloney sandwich when you found out that your beloved kitten had been run over by a bulldozer, you might cry at the thought of baloney, while I may not1. Different people have different experiences.

But what if there was a way to create these sorts of emotions within the story itself, regardless of who the reader is? Read More

18 Jul

Analog Game Design 103: First Solo Playtests

Analog Game Design: First Solo Playtests

Analog Game Design: First Solo PlaytestsSo there I was, a game in my hand, my game, my cards, my design. Felt great.

For about two minutes. Then I was ready to see if I could commit suicide by paper cut. That’s what my first, solo playtests usually do to me.

But let’s recap. I’ve written about the spark, the part where creativity reigns free and I spew ideas the way a first-year computer science student spews regurgitated lager1. I’ve written about building the first prototype. This post is about what happens next: the solo playtesting, where crappy games are beaten into gold2. Read More

13 Jun

Analog Game Design 102: From Idea to Prototype

Analog Game Design 102: From Idea to Prototype

Analog Game Design 102: From Idea to PrototypeLast time I wrote about analog game design I took Magnet Puzzle from spark to idea stage. Unfortunately, that’s where it’s remained. For every 10 sparks, I take one through the idea stage. For every 10 ideas, I take one through the prototype stage. Magnet Puzzle hasn’t made that leap yet.

So instead of me waiting until inspiration strikes and I figure out what makes it fun, now that magnets are out of the picture, I’m going to backtrack a bit and show you how I’m working on another game: a quick, quite random, “take that”-inducing card game prototype named “Das Amt”. Read More

06 Jun

Rapid Idea Generation with “If … Then … Why”

Rapid Idea Generation with If ... Then ... Why

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. Read More

30 May

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and Crashplan

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and Crashplan

Easy and Safe Writing across Multiple Computers with Scrivener, Dropbox and CrashplanSome years ago I lost all of my writing in a hard drive crash. I’m not crying over spilled milk – the writing was rather horrible – but it did set me thinking about redundancy and safety. I started doing backups.

At first, I did backups to CDs. That worked all right, until I thought I had done a backup and formatted my hard drive. Of course, I didn’t have any CD with my latest stuff on it. And then, when my computer crashed and I had to reformat it, I lost a few months of work as well.

So instead of CDs, I started using an external drive to backup all of my files. Which worked fine, except that it’s a pain in the behind to hook it up all the time. And I didn’t want to leave it hooked up and out in the open because part of the reason of doing backups was to protect me in case my computer got stolen.

But, two years ago, I found my main backup and sync solution. And last month I found the perfect way to work across multiple platforms, multiple computers, in complete safety, without having to do anything. Read More