On the Taxonomy of Spaceships

John:

A must read. Very useful. Especially for some of us aspiring space opera writers.

Originally posted on Critical Shit:

Yup, spaceships again.  Between Star Citizen, the new Halo, the new Star Wars, a couple of key mods for Sins of a Solar Empire that I keep up with and have done some voice work on, and Destiny, my mind has been buzzing with them.  I’m a huge nerd who thinks of things in my free time like “if I were a shinigami what kind of Zanpakutō would I have?” and “I wonder if I’d rather be a ranger or a mage” and “ff I were a Jedi in the New Jedi Order, what kind of ship would I have?”  And alongside that sort of inane theorycrafting and imagination comes obvious questions, like “would I want to captain a cruiser or a carrier?”  But then, what exactly is the difference?

It would be a stolen and recommissioned Imperial II-class Star Destroyer named Sanguine, by the way. In…

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Making video games

Heading back to town.

Heading back to town.

Got a member killed.

Got a member killed.

I have been wanting to make video games for as long as I can remember.

A couple of days ago, I rediscovered RPG Maker in Valve’s Steam store. I was thinking about it but decided against it some time ago.

I learned they have been making steady upgrades to it and the latest release is RPG Maker VX Ace. Comparing the versions on their site, it looks ok.

Then I discovered that they have a free lite version. I promptly downloaded it and started playing around with it. As usual, I would get stuck and have to go look at whatever tutorials they have online, which is a lot. Youtube, RPG Maker forums, and a slew of other sites have tips, tricks and stuff.

I decided to make my first game be simple. Then I made the simple error of posting what I am doing on Facebook and a friend expressed interest. I got back into working on my game, looking at tutorials, and stuff, I decided I need to make the game bigger.

Then I hit a snag. It is too easy to bite off more than you can chew. I had expanded the map too big. Just filling it with map stuff would take time. The really long part would be filling it with encounters and stuff. I toned it down to around 50×50 map. I have limitations with the lite version so that should be ok.

I might get it done as a simple, first game in a day or so and upload it for people to check out.

Eat This While you Read That: Toni Weisskopf

John:

Hmm. I am going to have to try this out.

Originally posted on Otherwhere Gazette:

Now, those of you who know Toni Weisskopf are wondering why she was included in this series. She is not commonly known as an author. Because I could, that’s why. As a reader, Baen Publishing has been pretty important to my book habit for 15 years and going strong. I think that Toni, as the Head Honcho over there, should absolutely be included in this. That, and I like her, she’s a nice lady, and one I look up to with a lot of respect. So I asked her for a recipe. And she gave me one.

Right there, I looked at it, and said ‘Oh, Toni, no…’

Just looking at it went right to my hips. I knew that with only two of us in the house, and me trying to lose weight… well, I figured there was a book, a treadmill, and some walking in my future to…

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I Stand With the Puppies

John:

Great cartoon and accurate.

Originally posted on Peregrinations:

About a million years ago I was the political cartoonist for my college newspaper.  Possibly I was not the best person for the job, because I’m not terribly political, nor fond of being controversial, but it was a fun gig while it lasted.  Today I was moved to draw my first political cartoon in 15 years.sp_comic

I’ve been a silent bystander in the ongoing battle in the field of SF/F, a reader and a fan of John C Wright, Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and (lately) Brad Torgersen. I’ve read the blogs regarding Sad Puppies since SP2 last year, but I did nothing, I said nothing.  No more.

People I respect, as artists in a field I love and as human beings, are being maligned, tarred and feathered, vomited-upon by liars who accuse these good folk of the very pettiness and hatred of which the accusers themselves are guilty.  I…

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#MSWL: Agents And Editors Calling Out Requests — To Authors

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

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‘Play It Again, Sam’

For a long time, most author-agent communications on the front end have gone just that way — author to agent: the query letter.

The query letter is so daunting for many writers that there are whole courses offered simply on how to write a good query letter, never mind the damned book: what to say to an agent, what not to say, how to intrigue without hype. (You can start by getting that agent’s name right. You think I’m kidding? You’d be amazed.)

And even if you do lots of research on agents and work hard to understand what agents and editors want and study their track records and look up their deals and ask a few of their authors what it’s like to work with them, well, that first salvo can still be a complete shot in the dark. And agents do know…

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How to Create a Great Short Work

John:

After thinking about it for many months and nearly every resource mentions Robert Mckee’s book, I finally picked it up.

Originally posted on Story Blog:

Telling a Story in One Act

Short films, advertisements, and water cooler stories all require a quick entry, a turn, and an exit. Robert McKee explains what makes them work well.

For the list of Oscar-nominated short films mentioned in the video, please click here.

Fall Seminar Dates

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The Difference Between “Flawed” Characters and “Too Dumb to Live”

John:

The “too dumb to live” made me giggle. I love your style.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 11.16.09 AM

Which is more important? Plot or character? Though an interesting discussion—sort of like, Could Ronda Rousey take a Klingon with only her bare hands?—it isn’t really a useful discussion for anything other than fun. To write great fiction, we need both. Plot and characters work together. One arc drives the other much like one cog serves to turn another, thus generating momentum in the overall engine we call “STORY”.

If we goof up plot? Readers/Audiences get confused or call FOUL. Watch the movie Ouija for what I am talking about *shakes head*.

Goof up characters? No one cares about the plot.

New writers are particularly vulnerable to messing up characters. We drift too far to one end of the spectrum or the other—Super-Duper-Perfect versus Too Dumb to Live—and this can make a story fizzle because there is no way to create true dramatic tension. This leaves us (the frustrated…

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