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Well first off I think I need to change my name to Aria or something just to get closer to the top of the alphabet.

But that's just random thoughts.

Still not much movement on Crossroads BUT I have been having idea's flicker here and there so that's a good sign. Been working on a few other things but nothing that done enough to print.

All that sad admission of low productivity aside how ever I wanted to share a little list of things that i made. Specifically it's a list of things to avoid in stories.

Now before I get to the list I think I should explain it a little. This is supposed to be a list of things to avoid if you don't want the story to become ABOUT that thing. If you have a story that includes them and that was the intent from the beginning then that's GREAT. This is more of a "Before you toss these things into your story you might want to think about it a little." cause they can very quickly change either the tone, format or focus of a story.

and so I present...

THINGS TO AVOID:

  • Overt Usage of Cthulhu Mythos stuff: It doesn't have to be Shuggoths and Meego to qualify. Anything that is unknowable and unstoppable basically fulfills the requirements. This can be fine at the very edge of the story to act as a contrast to the rest of it but it should NEVER be the focus.
  • Giant Robots: After a while the story will become about getting to the point where the robot shows up.
  • Time Travel: Unless the story is ABOUT time travel it will invariably ruin it.
  • Precognition: Represents a less severe but still potentially crippling form of Time Travel. While vague prophesies can be fun, accurate knowledge of the future only leads to problems.
  • Over Powered Characters: A person that can lift a ton without overly stressing themselves is RIDICULOUSLY strong. People should not be grandly more powerful than standard weapons. A Fifty caliber bullet should be a problem for most things and all hero types.
  • Trumps: Also known as Superheroes and Magic don't mix. Try to avoid having a power or skill set for which the only answer is to also have that power or skill set.
  • The Mystic Mythic Past: While it's all well and good to use history and mythology in your story try not to let the past become "better" than the present. Alias and Whateley both had this problem. For that matter if you can pull it off don't use mythology directly. While it's cool to have your hero fight a minotaur it becomes very easy to end up 'trapped' by Greek myth. Better to take the stories and retell them than to take the characters and reuse them.
  • Non-humans do it better: Humanity should not be treated as a second class species where everything non-human is all around better than they are.
  • Sex and Younger Characters This one can be nothing or be a giant headache for all time. Do kids have sex? Yes. Will a non-trivial portion of any given reader base be made uncomfortable by having it in a story. You betcha. Will a small but vocal portion of those that don't like it call you mean things and be unwilling to listen to even the most reasonable explanation? Double Betcha!

~Matt

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