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Oct
16

Day 15: Making the Memorable Villain

Day 15: Making the Memorable Villain Hi, my name is Kat and I love bad guys. I have a bit of a reputation around the office as harboring “dark side force-princess fantasies,” and always being cast as the example dark side-using player during meetings. To be fair, it’s the Witches of Dathomir I think are sweet, not the Nightsisters, but the perception remains. Maybe it’s like Sam said, and I like breaking the taboo around Sith and Imperial characters, or maybe it’s because the bad guys I know and love have deeper and more nuanced motivations than the shallow...
Feb
23

A Dance with Dismay

A Dance with Dismay A remarkably spoiler-free review. I just pushed through the last few chapters of George R. R. Martin’s latest installment in the Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, A Dance with Dragons. On the one hand, there were parts of the story that were just so epic, and my heart was reeling the whole time. On the other, I’m anticipating waiting another four to five years for the next one and damn is there a cliffhanger. I’ve come to the conclusion that Martin’s writing is a lesson in scene selection and structure and pacing, for both good and ill. He...
Oct
20

A Lady, a Tramp, a Skyship and its Crew

A Lady, a Tramp, a Skyship and its Crew Some weeks ago I’d mentioned I’d run One Seven Design’s one shot, Lady Blackbird: Adventures in the Wild Blue Yonder. I forget where I initially heard about it, but I was immediately struck by the quality of the publications, and moreso the price. Free! Thinking to indulge my players’ known love for steampunk, I sent the project to Staples to be printed and called my friends over. But not before picking up some lemon-raspberry coffeecake and mini muffins, and brewing a pot of black tea with orange and sweet spice notes. As opposed to starting...
Sep
11

Contagion, or, Why Bookish Narratives Don’t Make for “Good” Films

Contagion, or, Why Bookish Narratives Don’t Make for “Good” Films Though I usually don’t talk about films, Friday night’s opening of Contagion in theaters got me thinking about narrative again, as it seemed to follow a book’s structure as opposed to a film’s. None of my friends seemed particularly impressed as the credits began to roll, but I felt like it was good, just different. Not at all like what you usually see in a Hollywood movie, being more thematic than direct in its approach to the topic, with disconnected narratives and loose ends. (Note: not-quite spoilers ahead. Some plot points are revealed...
Mar
16

In the Beginning

I think we’ve all seen this countless times. You find a piece of fiction online, read the summary and think, “huh, that sounds cool.” But once you’ve clicked chapter one and read through the first few paragraphs, you’re turned off. They’ve started that way, again: the typical description of the protagonist’s appearance heads off a page-long summary of her life story. I’ve even seen published novels written that way. Shudder. I took them back to the library promptly, without reading another word. So go and write the...

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