One of the things that you learn, as a writer, is how much depth there is in the craft of it. Not just the art – and there is art in creating stories that people care about, characters that people care about – but the actual craft of how to do it.

Just like there’s a craft to being good at debating, or public speaking of any sort.

Which is to say, there are techniques that you can learn and use. Authors get asked certain questions a lot; probably the two most common are “where do the stories come from?” and “how do you do it?” – neither of which has a really satisfying answer, by the way.

Where do the stories come from? Honestly, if someone asks me this, it just tells me that their experience of the world is vastly different to mine. I have stories in my head all the time, from everything. I always have, since well before I could read, and I learned to read early; at age 7 I was in an advanced reading class because I got bored reading with my peers and stared out the window daydreaming instead of paying attention. I live in a world made of stories; I am made of stories.

Here, an example: The sunset outside is pink and purple, no clouds, just clear skies and smoke in the air making the horizon colourful; what if it wasn’t smoke, and instead it was wishes. Every wish darkened the air a little bit, and one day the weight of all those wishes made twilight happen a whole hour earlier. Who notices that happen? What do they do about it? What happens to all the wishes, do they fall into the ocean like microplastics and gather in the bodies of gargantuan wish-beasts, which are only seen far from land?

And the other one, how do you do it? Well. I mean. You just… write. You want to write, write. Sit down and put words to paper (or screen, as you prefer), every day. Do as much or as little as you’re able to, and don’t beat yourself up about it if it isn’t perfect – nothing is perfect the first time around – and just.. do it.

The more interesting questions, the ones authors tend to get from fellow storytellers, are along the lines of “no, specifically, how did you do that part?”, and those questions do have answers. (I’m not going to answer them all here and now, mind you. I don’t even know all of the answers. But they do have answers.)

With that in mind, I just watched (listened to) two very interesting little videos about storytelling.

The first one is about game design, and although it’s aimed at video-game designers, it is relevant for TTRPG designers and GMs as well, and for fiction writers (because your characters are still characters, and you still need to allow them space to grow into who they are, and give them motivations to do what you need them to do for the plot).

The second is a video about good and bad dialogue, with examples. I loved how clear and concise it was, and how informative the examples were, and I really wanted to share it.

Now I’m going to go and edit the next chapter of The Black Keep, and try to make sure that I’m only adding good dialogue.

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