Rebel’s Writing Tips: Get the Numbers Right

Let’s just address the elephant in the room: not a whole lot of people like math.  Particularly in the creative fields, it is often expressed that math is the bane of existence.  It usually doesn’t matter whether someone is good or bad either; math is just seen as something that is the antithesis of creativity.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to subsequently find a ton of math and number errors in stories.  Whether it be ages and dates not matching up or distances to locations not making sense, even the most popular stories tend to have these (franchises like Harry Potter included).  While in most cases the error is fairly minor, you’d be wrong to think fans will never notice.  As a story gains more popularity, these sorts of errors will stick out like a sore thumb.  Sure, no one will probably call you out on it unless it causes a plot hole.  BUT they will notice.

So, what should you do about it?  Today I would like to share with you some of my tips for making sure you get your math and various numbers right.  Some of these are going to apply for people bad at math, and some can be applicable regardless of your skill level.  Either way, they are something to consider when writing any story.

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Rebel’s Beginner’s Tips #1 for RPG Maker

While I am certainly no outstanding expert on RPG Maker, I have clocked in a few hundred hours between RPG Maker VX Ace and RPG Maker MV.  I even have three completed games that you can view on my game studio site, Illimitable Galaxies.  As such, I have overcome a lot of trials in regards to using the engine to create games.  With both programs going on sale pretty often, I feel it’d be relevant for me to pass some of my personal tips for those just starting out the engine.  Keep in mind, these tips really only apply to the two programs mentioned above; I have no idea how applicable my tips are for other entries into the RPG Maker series, such as RPG Maker XP.  However, hopefully you will find the following tips helpful as you first learn the program and start your path into making a game.

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Review Writing

As you may or may not know, as Writing Director of StArt Faire I review webcomics/indie comics every month for the magazine.  I’ve got a number of them under my belt now, so you can definitely say I have experience being a critic.  If you haven’t read any of those, you may have glanced at some of my reviews that are available here on the blog for other sorts of medium (games, TV, etc.).

However, despite having reviewed so many things, I realized I’ve yet to give proper tips for writing reviews.  Thus, today I would very much like to rectify that.  Now, being able to analyze whatever it is your reviewing is another matter entirely (and possibly a post for later).  My tips for writing reviews are geared specifically for the writing portion of reviewing.  That being said, hopefully you will find the following tips useful to your endeavors.

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Rebel’s Writing Tips: Satire

In my opinion, one of the most difficult forms of writing to ever undertake is satire.  It takes a certain cunning to be able to execute satire, and even then the simplest of mistakes can quickly unravel the smartest of premises.  It is definitely not something I’d recommend for a beginner, no matter how passionate they are about criticizing people’s vices.  However, practice makes perfect so at some point, assuming you’re interested in the topic, you’re going to have to attempt satire.

That being said, there are identifiable beginner’s mistakes that one can avoid.  Thus, today I would like to share my wisdom with you in regards to how you can start your very first satire.  Hopefully, with these tips, you can avoid the most common first mistakes and create a worthwhile piece.

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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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