Ben Garcia

Author Archives

Writer’s Workshop: Coffee fuelled sensory description

Keep your descriptions fresh and infuse them with the lexicon of coffee!

The Coffee Tasters’ Wheel is a tool to help professionals and hobbyists articulate the complex flavours and aromas of coffee. There are several variations of the wheel, with World Coffee Research contributing to the latest re-designs. Have a google and pick your favourite one! For most wheels, tasters start in the middle of the wheel and work towards the outer edge, distinguishing the tones and hues of the blend as they proceed. For the enthusiasts among the fleet, the Speciality Coffee Association describe the methodology in a step-by-step guide – all you need is a cup of your favourite roast!

Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Noa T’Nessa Levinson, Juneau

The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Noa Levinson, playing a Human (3/4) / Vulcan (1/4) assigned to the U.S.S. Juneau.

GARCIA: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

LEVINSON: Hi! I’m Adi, although I usually go by Adingo. As to where I’m from, suffice it to say, I hail from a location close to Europe, that isn’t quite there. I currently work in software development, and occasionally like to program for fun.

What brought you to SB118, and what’s been your favourite part of being with the community so far?

Well, after a bunch of less than successful Star Trek RPs, I was looking for a group to join, and I saw a post on Reddit advertising the community. I looked around, and decided to try it out – a choice which turned out to be incredible!

My favorite parts so far are both the community itself, and the fact that I always improve my English – it’s my second language, and being around here has really helped to expand it so far, and I’m sure it will help more in the future.

You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Geoffrey Teller, USS Thor

Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail.

This month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of the starship USS Thor, LtCmdr. Geoffrey Teller playing a human male.

GARCIA: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

TELLER: My real name is Brian, and my family and I hail from Bainbridge Island in the Pacific Northwest of the US. It’s about a 40 minute ferry trip across the bay to downtown Seattle.

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim? How do you keep the story moving and get others involved?

Generally speaking, I do my sims in a single sitting and, for the first pass, actually use just plain old Notepad. Got into the habit early in my simming because it was the easiest way to normalise and strip formatting that different mail clients liked to apply. After I’ve got all the tags laid out that I need to respond to, I try to focus on either affirmative or additive statements – agreeing with or praising what has come before (with rare exception) and then encouraging additional conversation with pointed questions or concerns.

I find that it’s easy, especially for junior officers who haven’t developed their ‘voice’ yet, to get lost in big scenes – briefings, meetings, etc. I’ll specifically look for those people clinging to the walls and try to drag them in with a question related specifically to their speciality. It’s not a perfect system, but when a shy writer suddenly begins opening up and responding, it’s a great feeling.

Using errors creatively with “yes and …”

Yes and …” is a technique used in improvisational comedy to create fictional scenes collaboratively. At Starbase 118, we too create fictional scenes collaboratively, albeit in a different medium (writing) and genre (sci-fi). In the case of simming, “yes and …” is more a mind-set than a writing prompt. The “yes” means you take what the other character has written as the given reality – you don’t “shoot it down”, explain it away or ignore it. Instead, you embrace it! The “and …” means you build the scene by adding to the situation. This could be your character’s perception of events or their reaction to it.

This Writer’s Workshop looks at how “yes and …” is a great way to resolve “out of character” (OOC) blunders “in character” (IC) and create additional opportunities to write collaboratively with your crew!

We are a Star Trek roleplaying game

We are a free, fun, and friendly community of Star Trek fans who write collaborative fiction together. It’s easy to join – we’ll teach you everything you need to know!
Click here to learn more.

OOC activities

Looking for something fun to do? We have a whole list of fleet activities that are looking for members like yourself! Check out the Fleet Activity List today to see where you'll fit in.