The Importance of World Building

World building is typically associated with genre fiction like fantasy or sci-fi, but I’d argue that it’s just as important for stories set in the real world.

Why? Check out my full article on Pop Culture Uncovered!

World building is a key element of story craft in which an author creates and defines the universe in which he or she will write. Good world building is consistent above all else—and also gives the story meaning. A Google search of “world building” pulls up almost 150 million results, almost all of them relating […]

Make Your Own Luck

Recently I was asked to speak to a group of undergraduate students about my freelancing job as a writer and editor, answering the usual “How did you get your first project?” and “When did you know you wanted to write?” sort of questions. Those are easy to answer–my first project was for a friend, and I figured out I wanted to write as a career in 2014–but harder to do was create an actionable piece of advice. In the audience were students of diverse backgrounds and work experience. Some were in their 30’s; others were not long out of high school. Some wanted to work in creative fields and others didn’t.

What could I say that might help all of them?

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Photo Credit: Nilufer Gadgieva

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Character Development in Harvest Moon

Howdy, everyone!

With the semester as busy as it’s been, I haven’t been able to write as much as I would have liked, but the good news is, I did have some time to put together a piece on one of my favorite video games of all time, Harvest Moon. Even better, I got to write about how some of the characters were especially well-developed for a kids’ video game.

Check it out! 🙂

Pop Culture Uncovered

Character development—the process of creating a believable, nuanced character—can be tricky. Spend too much time detailing a character’s past experiences and you risk boring your audience; don’t give them enough depth or information, and your characters feel flat and two-dimensional, Mary Sues less than fully fleshed out.

Video games in particular struggle with this—books and movies have to make us care about the protagonist to keep us watching or reading, but we don’t have to care much about Master Chief’s past or his relationship to Cortana to finish playing Halo; fun multiplayer, good graphics, a cool story mode, etc. are enough to keep people playing whether or not Master Chief seems like a believable, complex character (if you want more info on him, check out this interview with his voice actor Steve Downes).

Marcus Schulzke sums the character development issue up best in an essay anthologized in Game on…

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Comfort Zones

Everyone has a comfort zone. Some of us feel at ease on the dance floor, others on a sports field, and others yet in a classroom or library. Some prefer solitude while others hang out in crowded cafes. Though each of us relax in different ways, we can all agree on one thing: our comfort zones are, well, comfortable. And the happiness and security we feel within that comfort zone are great.

Unless, of course, you’re too scared to step out of it.

Life provides us a million opportunities to push ourselves — sometimes these challenges appear as something relevant to our passion, like a local writing contest or community talent show, and sometimes they appear as risks we want to take, like karaoke night at your favorite bar or an empty spot on the dance floor at a wedding.

Other times, you have to make your own opportunities. Maybe dress up as a cyclops.

Sometimes life is funny like that.

Natalie dressed as Turanga Leela

Futurama, anyone?

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Quote Challenge Day 2

Thanks to alceptress for nominating me for the three-day quote challenge!

In my early teens, I worshiped a manga called The Prince of Tennis. As an avid tennis player myself, I appreciated the characters’ tenacity as well as their humorous twists on regular tennis shots. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the series’s author and illustrator, Takeshi Konomi:

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From the beginning of the ninth book — my favorite quote of all!

“What’s worthwhile is never easy.”

This applies to anything — from sports to writing to whatever your passion may be. There are no shortcuts; we have to put in the work.

Today I’m nominating Blooming Laura and anotetohuguette. The rules: post three quotes across three different days, link to my blog, and nominate two new bloggers, if you choose to do so 🙂

Missed part one? Check it out here. Stay turned for part three!

A Big Thank You — and Networking!

Something super cool is happening here at But Why?: I’m 75 followers shy of 1000.

1000? For real?!

When I nervously published my first post, I didn’t expect any views, let alone likes or comments. Now, to have connected with almost 1000 followers… It’s unbelievable. Everyone has helped me grow and learn so much since October 2015. To each and every one of you: thank you!

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Photo Credit: Graham Erwin

To celebrate this *almost* achievement, let’s connect on social media.

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{Guest Post}: Sexism

Good news, everyone! It’s my very first guest post 🙂 Check it out below!

Just a Girl and a Bike

{Hello to all my readers.  This post was written by a very talented fellow blogger, Natalie.  I know that I have readers out there that will really enjoy this very insightful post.  Happy reading :)}

Let’s talk about sexism.

It sounds simple: there are boys and there are girls, and everyone should be treated equally. Telling women they should have children instead of work? Sexist. Telling men they shouldn’t show emotion or cry – ever? Also sexist. And pressuring girls to wear pink and boys to wear blue? See previous statements.

No one wants to admit that they might be sexist, but maybe we, as a society, need to talk about. I confess – I’m a recovering sexist.

Tomboy Image Credit: Chris Murphy, creative commons

If I had to summarize my personality in one word, I’d choose “tomboy.” In high school, I played competitive tennis. In college, I bought a…

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