Surprise, Don’t Tell: Half-life vs. Halo

It’s Not What’s Said, But What’s Not Said

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Image credit: es.Valve.wiki.com

There are different ways of “telling” someone something, and there are different ways of “showing” someone something. Don’t think that just because video games are largely visual experiences – rather than text – doesn’t mean they’re not “telling” (or, violently shoving information on the audience). Continue reading

Hint, Don’t Tell: Half-life 2

How It’s Done

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Photo credit: PC.gamespy.com

“Show, don’t tell.” We’ve all heard it. But applying it is something else, especially when there are different ways of showing and different ways of telling. I’d like to focus on one example of some first-rate “experience-giving” vs. “info-dumping”: Half-life 2. Continue reading

“Blott” by Daniel Parsons

Not C. S. Lewis, But He Could Have Been

Now I understand the kickback against independent publishing (sort of). Yet for all this manuscript’s unprofessionalism, the story still swept me along so that I had no choice but finish it.

The story centers around Blott, a boy whose village faces starvation due to a drought and is controlled almost exclusively by the chief member of the council. In an attempt to find relief for his people, Blott discovers things about himself and his world, and is forced to explore the strange abilities that separate him from the rest of the people, even from his parents and brother. He also struggles with a violent enjoyment of destruction that might come from some mysterious external puppet-master, or from a well of darkness in his own soul. Continue reading

“Book of Poisons” by Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon

No Such Thing As Iocane Powder

 I’m a quiet kind of person, but I have a peculiar hobby. That’s why I got the Book of Poisons. No, no, I write novels. Honest.

Especially useful for mystery writers, Book of Poisons details hundreds of toxins for causing havoc and death (to fictional characters, of course). Continue reading

“The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Emotion_Thesaurus-Cover One of the most useful writing aides I have found along my journey has been The Emotion Thesaurus. In the constant quest to show readers our characters’ actions and let them deduce the underlying emotions and thoughts for themselves, The Emotion Thesaurus provides engrossing lists of physical tics, physiological sensations, and other characteristics that can be used to display a character’s internal state without reusing the same ones again and again. Continue reading

“Finding the Core of Your Story” by Jordan Smith

FindingCoreStory_Cover Of the writing of books there is no end, and of advice on writing there is (seemingly) no end. Finding the heart of your story is not a new quest, and yet Jordan Smith has crafted a new angle on the subject, and delivered it in such sparkling, quick-footed prose that his book is well worth the price of admission. Continue reading