Someone You Are Not: Developing Diverse Characters

“I had wanted to play with Taako’s sexuality … not in a way that was like, particularly prominent in the story, but, in my mind, when I was doing the character and had Taako’s story in my head, Taako was a gay guy. And I don’t know why, that’s just how it always seemed to me.”

—Justin McElroy, The The Adventure Zone Zone 2016

On The Adventure Zone—a Dungeons & Dragons podcast created by the McElroy brothers of My Brother My Brother and Me podcast fame—Justin McElroy plays as the fan favourite Taako, an elf wizard/chef of immense power that’s, “good out here.”

In canon, Taako is gay. IRL, Justin identifies as straight. This is a fundamental lived experience that Justin the person does not share with Justin the character (“Taako”).* Continue reading “Someone You Are Not: Developing Diverse Characters”

CC.013–14.L.2 | Enter the Villain

And here comes two! I didn’t actually write this section in November, but it looks like it was the first I tackled in December (the whole two months kind of flew by in a blur). This is not my first time writing Vilnius, however, it’s my first time getting inside his head. I may have mentioned during that first section (it was while the party raged on) that I was quite proud of my characterization of Vilnius when he tried to convert Charlotte. In this section, I smiled at a handful of Vilnius moments, but as James pointed out (either in a note, or perhaps over Skype) my first go round the bend was best so far. There’s a lot of work to be done still here, but I’m quite okay with it. I feel like, by testing Vilnius’ back and forths, I probably learned more than if I had just “got it”. And the guy managed to surprise me: he’s super clever, but he ain’t no Xanatos. He’s got plans, but he doesn’t see it all coming. What he does know, however, is how to roll with it…

Continue reading “CC.013–14.L.2 | Enter the Villain”

CC.001–3.L.2 | We begin… (feat. a BONUS Experience)

So…it’s been awhile. This section was actually written months ago, but through the end of one Gregorian calendar year into a huge life decision, I’m only getting it up now. I wrote this all during NaNoWriMo, so if you’ve read my reflection article you’ve already heard me talk about my experience during the month, and now here’s a taste of the stuff I created (I have a second section to be posted as well, which will go live in one week).  Continue reading “CC.001–3.L.2 | We begin… (feat. a BONUS Experience)”

Freedom To Be Wrong

I’m going to try a little experiment here—just a small one, because I’m not sure how it’ll turn out (poor scientific method again already!) but that’s kind of the point. But I’ll get to that in a bit. Just know that this article isn’t going to be exactly like my previous ones. It’s going to be a bit rougher, for The Reasons, but if you’re keeping up with all of Adventures In Storytelling it’s not the first time you’ll have read something of mine that’s “rough”. For example, CC.004-5.L.2 – The Charismatic Augusto—Love Him Before He’s Gone! Any of them, really. See, the experiment I’m attempting on this article shall be aptly named (read: stolen): A Shitty First Draft. Continue reading “Freedom To Be Wrong”

CC.004–5.L.2 | The Charismatic Augusto—Love Him Before He’s Gone!

This was one of the sections I wrote, in its entirety, during my PLAY 002: NaNoWriMo 2016. It came—surprisingly fast. Just flew right out of me. Forcing myself to write 1667 words (minimum) a day definitely helped, but it was interesting to compare my speed at completing sections before, and then during, NaNoWriMo. Continue reading “CC.004–5.L.2 | The Charismatic Augusto—Love Him Before He’s Gone!”

50,234 Words…And Counting | PLAY 002 Reflection

This is my reflection to our most recent experiment, PLAY 002 | NaNoWriMo and Other Challenges, in which I learn a lot about some of my previous outlining ideas. You can find an intro to our reflections over here, along with links to others’ experiences during November 2016.

Continue reading “50,234 Words…And Counting | PLAY 002 Reflection”

Reflection | PLAY 002: NaNoWrimo and Other Challenges

The month is complete, and our PLAY 002 comes to a close (for most). But Adventures in Storytelling isn’t just about the doing (though that’s a very important part). It’s also about reflecting on the doing.

So as we recover from our sprints and our dashes, take a few moments to finally clean out our writer’s mug (“What is that oh, oh god, no, Ahhhh!”), and prepare ourselves for the new challenge of keeping our writing going through the December holidays, join us here as we reflect on what we learned at the end of it all. Continue reading “Reflection | PLAY 002: NaNoWrimo and Other Challenges”

CC.030–32.L.2 | Rise of the Undead Fisherman

“How does one get onto a boat!?”
“You step onto it.”
“F%^& you, James…”

In this section, I was tasked with getting our heroes into the City, but instead of a secret passage as we originally conceived, we decided getting in by boat was a better idea.

We were wrong.  Continue reading “CC.030–32.L.2 | Rise of the Undead Fisherman”

PLAY 002: Half Way to Your Goal

National Novel Writing Month is now half way through! If you’re one of those brave souls writing 1,667 words every day, stay strong! You’ve got less to go than you’ve already completed, so might as well just finish swimming to shore, right?

For those of you not NaNoWriMo-ing it, but playing along with your own goal, stay strong! Your goal was achievable, it was attainable, and it’s in reach, too, so don’t give up now. Giving up is a silly idea. You’ve got this and there’s not one person that doesn’t think you can make it (except for that guy down the street named Steve, and no one’s going to listen to him). Continue reading “PLAY 002: Half Way to Your Goal”

CC.010–012.L.2 | Chaos at the Summit

I think, so far, this is my favourite Lucinda memory (the one at the end of this section). Moments like that are why I want to be a writer. Oh, the big set pieces, those are great, action and adventure and what not, but the image in my head of Charlotte sitting on the ground, remembering Lucinda and whispering along to her childhood self—those “small” moments mean so much more to me. Everything else is just context to make those, so it’s really exciting to have one in this section and feel like I pulled it off.

As you’ll see in the notes, we had conversations about the concept of “chaos” as it pertains to what’s going on here. I started writing with one idea in mind, and never felt quite comfortable with it (i.e. I didn’t quite capture what I was going for properly); James, on the other hand, had a different image of chaos entirely. In rewrites we’ll find something in-between, and that’s the place Charlotte will run through in search of a symbol. Continue reading “CC.010–012.L.2 | Chaos at the Summit”