Games and Writing the Silent Protagonist

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR UNDERTALE!

 

One of the stranger polarizing issues I’ve come across in the game community is silent protagonists.  Some people love them and think they add to the immersion.  The player is not forced into a character’s dialogue choices, and they can feel more like they are the character due to the silence.  Other people hate them.  They often view it as a developer being lazy, and they also believe that it makes a character very flat since they have no real personality without dialogue to convey it.

This being the case, indie devs and homebrew devs may find themselves in an odd situation.  Should they risk people’s ire and make a silent protagonist, or should they risk a different people’s ire and have their character have spoken dialogue?  This can be a crucial decision when handling the writing of a game.  However, it is my opinion that what matters more is the protagonist is written and executed well, regardless of whether or not they’re silent.  Thus, today I would like to bring to you three questions you can ask yourself before you decide to make your protagonist silent or not.  These will prioritize the quality of the story versus other factors.

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Stories and the Middle

If you’re like me, you really like writing and coming up with stories.  Adventurous knights, brave space heroes, the averagely unique schoolkid, and wild settings all tickle your imagination every waking moment.  If you’re also like me though, you also have a critical weakness: the middle of the story.

The middle in a story can often be a writer’s bane no matter their skill level.  You can picture point A and point B clear as day, but somehow the line between them is hazy at the best of times.  Even as you flesh that line out, there’s still often that point where you know something should happen but aren’t sure what that something is.  So, what does one do when they find themselves in this situation?  Despair and accept there’s no hope?

No.  That’s a bit dramatic.  Instead, I have some tips for you today to help you work through the middle of your story when you just aren’t sure what to do.  Keep in mind that there are a bunch of methods you can try, and everyone has something different that works for them.  These are just the personal techniques I use, and they’ve helped me out immensely over that middle story blue’s bump.  Let’s sit back, put on those thinking caps, and dive in.

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Business, Projects, and Saying “No”

Generally, everyone has been in at least one of two of the following positions.  In position number one, you’ve had to deny the request of someone whom you genuinely like, plaguing you with guilt and remorse because you hate saying “no” to them.  In position number two, instead of dealing with the guilt of saying “no,” you said yes and now find yourself stuck doing something you completely hate and/or inconveniences you to a monumental amount.  Neither position is desirable, so what is someone supposed to do?

Thus brings us to our topic today: saying “no” when it comes to businesses or projects.  No one wants to be that person who says no.  After all, no is the easiest word one can say that will cause some hurt feelings.  Unfortunately, for businesses and projects, it’s somewhat unavoidable.  Someone has to be in charge of saying it.  If there isn’t, it’s very easy to find yourself in position number two, and whatever you’re working on could risk floundering.

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Web Design Basics: What Not to Do

Web design can be hard.  Whether you’re creating a site for a comic, a store, or just a portfolio of sorts, they all offer different sorts of challenges.  This is often the case regardless of how you make the site (in other words, whether you use a website builder or code it from scratch).  Choices of font, layout, and the likes all come into play throughout the process, and it is inevitably a trial that tests both a creator’s aesthetic abilities as well as their ability to write, organize, and beyond.

Now, I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an expert web-designer (if that wasn’t obvious).  There are a lot of things I don’t understand, such as common SEO practices, logo design, and graphic theming to name a few.  However, I have dabbled enough to feel confident in naming things you shouldn’t do.  As such, I would like to give you three tips today for what not to do when designing a website.

These tips are more for absolute beginners, so if you know a bit about web design this probably isn’t the article for you.  Without further ado, let’s begin.

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Rebel’s Tips for Writer’s Block

On my blog I’ve had several posts relaying my personal writing tips.  Magic systems, point-of-view transitions, and more have been covered.  However, one topic I have not covered is dealing with writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a very popular topic of discussion, as numerous writers have reported just simply hitting a wall being unable to write.  Now of course, there is actually debate about whether this is a thing or not, as numerous people claim it’s a falsehood to cover-up laziness or lack of skill.  I am not here to weigh in completely on that debate, though.

Instead, regardless of what you want to call it, I want to relay my personal tips for when you’re struggling on ideas of what to write.  These can generally be applied whether you’re writing non-fiction (like updating a blog regularly) or want to write fictional stories.  The dreaded writer’s block can strike at any time or moment, but with these tips, hopefully you can lessen the time you spend flailing around waiting for an epiphany.

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Writing Tips: Point-of-View and Switching Characters

One of the more difficult things to talk about when it comes to writing, in my opinion at least, is point-of-view.  Though the concept itself is pretty easily grasped, it’s also a major one that gets brushed off as unimportant in a lot of cases.  Particularly for writers who write their stories by instinct, the point-of-view is something that happens naturally depending on what they’re going for.  Unfortunately, this can often result in the point-of-view being written poorly.

However, of particular note for today’s tips, we’re going to focus in on stories where the point-of-view is limited, but the limited view is switched between various characters.  Now for some who aren’t avid readers, this may seem like a foreign concept to a degree.  There are numerous contemporary stories that use limited view, but they only ever focus on the protagonist.  However, there are indeed still others where it utilizes specific viewpoints of different characters to show different aspects of the story (Game of Thrones is one example).

Why this particular subject, though?  In my opinion, it is perhaps the one that poses the most risk to poor writing, as characters are often the driving force of a story.  As such, messing up how these viewpoint switches occur can quickly turn readers off.  There are ways to prevent this though, which is my goal for today: tips on how you can make sure you’re able to switch characters successfully.  Please keep in mind there are numerous things to watch out for, but these are the areas I believe one should be most concerned with.

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Strange Writing Mistakes

Anyone who takes writing seriously knows that there are certain conventions that should be followed.  From simple things like “they’re” vs. “there” vs. “their” to bigger things like handling protagonist character development, there are numerous mistakes that are talked about frequently.  However, there are still even more mistakes that do not get talked about often, if only because they used to be infrequent.  Yes, I did say used to be.

Due to my myriad of project types, I end up reading a lot in one day and get exposed to a lot of mistakes I’m surprised people even make.  That being said, there are a few in particular that not only grind my gears, but also are a concerning trend in certain areas of the internet.  As such, I would like to take a moment to address these unspoken mistakes.  You too may have seen these and felt the irritation I do.

Keep in mind these mistakes are pretty variable and don’t particularly have a consistent theme like previous articles; nevertheless, they are worth discussing.

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Project Organization Tips

So, you’ve got your big project planned, but feel overwhelmed because there’s a lot to do.  Or, even worse, you’re in the middle of the project and keep missing deadlines, keep forgetting to do particular parts, etc..  These are generally all symptoms of lacking organization.

From my experience, lacking organization for your project is the quickest way to kill it, whether you’re working alone or with a group.  Even if you think you can remember everything off the top of your head, distractions in life will always pop up and prompt you to forget things.  As such, in my opinion having good organization for any project is the first key to success.  Surprisingly, though, few people ever seem to have a clear idea on how to get themselves organized.  Thus, the purpose of my article today is to give you my tips and tricks for getting organized and staying on top of your project.

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Tips for Writing Good Magic Systems

Magic is a tricky subject when it comes to any story.  Whether you’re writing an epic, medieval fantasy or a space opera, you have a high chance of creating characters who are capable of feats beyond our normal, mortal means.  Unfortunately for beginners, magic has a high risk of becoming too over-powered, too confusing, or too plot deviced.  There are a plethora of ways magic can go wrong, whether you’re writing it for a novel, game, or anything else.  It is not a topic for the faint of heart, as the saying goes.

That being said, however, there are certain mindsets that can help you create better magic systems for your stories.  In this article, I’ve chosen three tips that, at least for beginners, should be kept in mind while developing your world.  Before we begin, I will note that like most “rules” in writing, they can be broken.  These tips are not set in stone; rather, they should be used as guidelines to help you along the process.  With that out of the way now, let’s begin.

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