The Yarn: Section 4

The final section! Interestingly, this is the section where I stuck closest to the original outline, and it’s also the section where I came closest to 1500 words (1482, to be exact). I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I think the formula works, you’ve just got to be very dedicated to following it. 

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Master Plot 5 – The Fourth 1500 Words

We’re in the home stretch, folks!1 Here’s the plot for the final 1500 words. I found my way back to the original plot somewhere along the line and this is actually pretty accurate to what’s on the page.

You can read the last section of the story here. Stay tuned2 to the central pillar for my final thoughts and a critique from My Greatest Critic.

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  1. I have no idea what this means.

  2. I have only the vaguest idea of what this means.

Master Plot 4 – The Third 1500 Words

As always, I would appreciate it if you read the story section before this section.1As always, this is entirely unedited except to turn my words red and Mr. Dent’s black.

If you’re following along with the story, you’ll note that I’m INCREDIBLY off-track here. Like, I’m barely even close.

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  1. but you do you, my friend

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”

Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude

I’m going to be honest with you. It’s a bit rich of me to be spewing wisdom like “‘show don’t tell’ is reductive and potentially crappy advice” and “ideation is a key to success” because I have absolutely no formal training in writing whatsoever. Everything I know about stories comes from the other side. I have a lot of training in critical thought, and I’d like to think I’m at least adequate at it.

As a result, I’ve made some assumptions about writing in the past. When I make those assumptions, Luke (who does have formal training as a professional writer) usually manages to say something that surprises me. Often it’s insightful wisdom or highly organized, process-based logic, but he did throw me for a loop once. When I went off on a tangent about whether a character would be able to see mountains from where they were standing in a comment on a section of Charlotte’s Journey, I learned that Luke was largely unfamiliar with verisimilitude. Certainly not the concept itself, but the word. I always sorta figured it was writing 101 stuff, but there you have it. Continue reading “Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude”

Master Plot 3 – The Second 1500 Words

Once again, please read the relevant bit of story before you read this. 1 Once again, it is entirely unedited, and once again, the red is me and the black is Mr. Dent.

Interestingly 2, this time around I really want to go back and re-write this section of the story. It hews more closely to the original outline, but re-reading the outline I’ve realized just how much of the actual formula I missed–the beats and character choices that are key to Dent’s formula that I laid out here, then dropped when it came to actually writing the story.

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  1. yeah, yeah, I’m not your real mom

  2. To me, anyway

Writing Serially is Hard, or What is Wrong?

Hey wow look, I posted the first section of my go at a pulp story! Just 3 months after I initially planned to! On a cosmic scale that’s basically no time at all, right?

So what happened? The title here says it all: writing serially is hard. 1 I wrote the first section (and it was way too long and not very good, but that’s the project, right?). I went to post it. Then I convinced myself to write the second section before I posted the first, just in case. In case of what? I couldn’t tell you, really, I just could not bring myself to even save the draft. Continue reading “Writing Serially is Hard, or What is Wrong?”


  1. I have no idea how Luke and James are doing it.

Master Plot 2 – The First 1500 Words

Here’s where I plotted out the first 1500 words. Of course, I would prefer it if you read those 1500 (…ish) words before you read this mess, but I ain’t the boss of you. I’ve copied Mr. Dent’s outline here, using it as a form of sorts. His words are in black, mine are in red.

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Make Your $hitty Pots

To begin talking about writing strategies, we’re going to talk about pottery. Specifically, the kind of pottery created by a bunch of Psychology students who do not, normally, create pottery. The students themselves were given an assignment where they were split into two groups, each with their own similar yet different goals. Members in group A were asked to make as many pots as physically possible for the span of a month; the higher the number of pots, the higher the possible grade. Members of group B were instead asked to submit a single pot, whose quality would determine their individual grade.

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