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Showing posts from January, 2024

First Impressions: Wyrmspan

πŸ‰ Stop Draggin' My Heart Around... Developed by Elizabeth Hargrave; Designed by Connie Vogelman; Art by Clementine Campardou I don't want to call this a review, because this is not a review site. This is a blog where I post weird diatribes and years-long writing projects. That said, I  do  frequently post about board games and I  did  manage to get my hands on an advanced copy of one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2024. So I might as well share my thoughts and some pictures, right? (Caveat: the gameplay pictures are of fancy upgraded components, because I am a fancy upgraded boy, but base game components will also be discussed.) So without further ado... Wyrmspan: a  Wingspan  Game It's wild to think that  Wingspan  only came out five years ago. There was a good stretch of time (I want to say at least a year or year-and-a-half) where it was the game that everyone wanted to play but that you couldn't actually find on shelves anywhere. It was a moderate-weight en

YMMV: Edit As You Go

🚢‍♂️You've Had Too Much To Think, Now You Need a Wife... I was critiquing the first chapter of a friend's novel-in-progress, and one piece of feedback I gave her was that it felt like it had been edited a lot. She acknowledged that it had been, and was curious how I could tell. The short version is that it felt like important bits were elided over, that the prose felt ever-so-slightly out of sync with itself. The longer version... is what we're about to get into. Edit As You Go If you've consumed any amount of writing advice, you've heard that an important part of writing is to "turn off your internal editor." You need to get the words on the page and worry about fixing them later. Or, more pithily, "write drunk, edit sober." This advice is lobbed towards novice writers rather frequently. The idea is that editing and writing are different skills that work at cross-purposes, so it's very easy to never finish anything because you're too d

YMMV: Stop Workshopping Your Opening Sentences

πŸ‡ Let's Get It Started In Here... It is a truth universally acknowledged that Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, called me Ishmael at the worst of times... Stop Workshopping Your Opening Sentences "Call me Ishmael" is arguably the most famous opening line in English-language literature. But does it really deserve that accolade? I mean... if I were a true iconoclast, I'd be putting together an argument that it sucks, actually. But this ain't that kind of post, and just because something is famous, that doesn't mean it's secretly awful. So instead, I'm coming down on the side of: It's fine. Maybe even "pretty good," as these things go. It's functional. It's interesting. It's succinct and memorable. It establishes the narrator and sets tone. As opening lines go, it does what it needs to do. But do you know what it doesn't  do? It doesn't sell books. Not one. No one ever thumbed through the volumes at thei

Geekway Mini 2024 Redux

🎲 Quit Playin' Games With My Heart... Hey everybody! It's that time of year where I spend an inordinate amount of time playing board games at a convention and then share my feedback with you, the world! This weekend was the "Mini" version of Geekway to the West, and I got to try out lots of cools stuff. There were a number of Play-and-Win titles that I'm skipping over ( Apiary , First in Flight , Expeditions ) because I either already own them or know someone who does. Also, the Play-and-Win library was... let's say "less exciting" than it has been in years past. So I ended up re-playing games I liked rather than branching out to try lots of different things. So with that table-setting out of the way, here were the new-to-me Play-and-Wins! Tesseract Co-op pattern matching, and one of those games that's almost more of a toy with a game built around it. You start with a 4x4x4 cube of dice that depletes as the game goes on. Dice removed this way ar

YMMV: Manage Your Attention Budget

πŸ’΅ Wanna Get With Me With No Money, Oh No... My first job out of college was as an assistant manager at a retail chain you've heard of. I worked in a few different stores over the course of my 3-and-a-half years there, and at each one I ended up taking over correspondence for the store manager because I was just so much better at writing emails than anyone else. The bar... it was not high. During casual conversation, we were talking about education and one of my managers was shocked to learn that my degree wasn't  in English/Philosophy but instead Math/Econ. All of this to say: I tend to think about writing very transactionally. And you should too... The Attention Budget This is one of the fundamental principles at the heart of my entire writing philosophy. This isn't actually a rule that's all that counter-intuitive, but it's going to fuel a lot of the things I have to say that are, so it gets its own post. The core idea isn't all that complicated, but it's

YMMV: Write The Title First

🌲Like the Pine Trees Lining the Winding Road... Just a quick bit of housekeeping here at the top. At the last possible minute I've decided to rename this series Your Mileage May Vary . It's one of those things I say a lot in a writing context: "The first rule of writing advice is 'your mileage may vary'." Okay, let's get into it... Write the Title First Might as well start this blog series off with this one, because it's sort of become my calling card. Or at least, it's a go-to example that comes up when someone wants to point out that I do everything backwards when it comes to writing. People of all levels of experience have had the same reaction when they hear me say this--and it's usually a look of quiet confusion. But it's true, when I'm working on a story, regardless of the length, I start with the title if at all possible. Now, because I've had this conversation many times, let me go ahead and answer your questions in roughly