A lot of people I know have started working from home as a prevention measure against the spread of COVID-19. If you’re one of them, it can be surprisingly daunting. Luckily, I’ve been working as a full-time self-employed freelancer for five years now, and I have some tips and suggestions on how to effectively work from home.
At first, it can seem like you won’t get anything done. All your stuff is around you, and you’re worried that you’ll get distracted. However, more often the reverse is true: Freelancers like me sometimes don’t know when to stop working. In both…
First, some context: This week has been one of those weeks where I debated leaving social media forever. Between seeing people spread outright lies about my friends to being called names for wanting more diversity in my work to having to navigate the tricky waters of cancel culture to accusations of being “weak” because I block and mute people, it was seriously tempting. I’m still around, but part of the reason I am still around is that I regularly mute and block people.
There are a lot of hot takes circulating about why you shouldn’t create “echo chambers” or that…
Last week, I got my first tattoo. It’s a Sherlock Holmes tattoo on my right forearm.
I’ve been wanting a tattoo for seven or eight years now. When I finally decided to get it, I knew I wanted something to do with Sherlock Holmes. My artist (shout out to Gabi at Apocalypse Tattoo) helped me realize it and actually elevated it — originally I wanted a black and white tattoo, but she suggested color, and it’s so much better as a result.
I love my tattoo. I love that so many people have said “Yeah, that’s very you.” …
(Originally posted to my blog: October 21, 2010)
One of my design coworkers at CCP, who will remain nameless in order to preserve their dignity, told me a dirty little secret: video game designers really aren’t that clever. They told me that they just keep tossing out idea after idea and turning them over and over until something good comes out of it.
I then told them a dirty little secret about writers and other creative professionals: We do the exact same thing.
One of the best things I’ve learned about brainstorming and idea generation is that it’s always worthwhile…
(Originally posted on my blog: March 12, 2011)
Before I dive into this, let me preface: editing and criticism are essential to being a professional writer. I don’t care if you think your words are the best thing since 8-bit graphics, there is nothing that can’t be improved by a critical review.
I know it’s hard to have your carefully-crafted words torn apart the first few times, but one of the best skills you can cultivate as a writer is the ability to not only accept criticism, but use it to improve your work above and beyond the individual edits…
(Originally posted to my blog: November 3, 2011)
Sixty stories. Nine books. That’s a lot of reading to get through, and it’s a very small portion of the ink spilled over Sherlock Holmes outside of Doyle. So, which ones are the best?
Well, in 1927, Doyle himself selected that he thought were the best of his short stories in an essay for Strand Magazine. He picked twelve stories and ordered them from most to least favorite. Later he then added seven more, for a total of nineteen:
(Originally posted to my blog: April 8, 2011)
I’ve been working on Vampire or things involving Vampire for many years now. Every time it comes up (especially with the discussion around Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition), there’s been a lot of fond remembrances and half-serious jokes made about goths and goth culture. Black eyeliner, clove cigarettes, and The Cure inevitably come up in conversations.
And yet, that was never Vampire for me.
Since the first edition of Vampire, the world was always described as “Gothic-Punk,” and it was the “punk” part that always grabbed me. While some folks were…
(Originally posted on my blog: September 5, 2011)
It’s common writing wisdom that you should follow the publisher’s submission guidelines (and it’s usually the first thing I tell people when they ask me for one piece of advice on becoming a professional writer), but it’s not always clear why such guidelines are there or why it’s so important to follow them. Naturally, I can’t speak for every publisher, but I can tell you some reasons why the White Wolf and Onyx Path submission guidelines exist, as I’ve revised them for both companies over the years.
None of the reasons are…
(Originally posted on my blog: December 7, 2011)
I call myself a writer. I’ve had a number of titles over the course of my life, including “developer” and “designer.” I’ve worked on video games, role-playing games, fiction, non-fiction, television, podcasting, and I’ve even written a few programs in my day. But if someone were to ask me who I am or what I do, I inevitably say I am a writer.
But here and now, “writer” is about as specific as “human being” as a label. So much goes into my work as a writer these days that has very…
(Originally posted on my blog: December 15, 2011)
I’ve had an informal maxim in my head for years now as a game designer, and with every year that passes and every design I work on, I’m more and more certain it’s the right one:
Mechanics drive player behavior.
On the surface, this sounds simple — a game about westerns should have rules about gunfights if it wants to have dramatic gunfights, and so on. But it goes deeper than that, I feel. Games feel different depending on what mechanics they use. …