writer’s workshop

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Starbase 118 Welcomes Peter Watts

sb118-Peter-WattsAs a part of our ongoing Writing Improvement Month project, the staff of Starbase 118 are proud to welcome award-winning author Peter Watts. Mr. Watts is the author of the Hugo Award-nominated novel Blindsight, which explores the question: what should be done when we hear talk from aliens who don’t know we’re listening to them?


Starbase 118 Welcomes Melinda Snodgrass

Melinda SnodgrassAs part of our Writing Improvement Project, Starbase 118 would like to extend a warm welcome and sincere thanks To Melinda Snodgrass, Author of the science-fantasy story The Edge of Reason. 

The Edge of Reason tells the story of Albuquerque Police officer Richard Oort, as he finds himself caught up in a battle which pits two worlds against one another. One one side, The Old Ones, the manifestation of the primal forced of magic and fanaticism, feeding on the suffering of mankind. On the other side, the Luminus, the unseen defenders of men, determined to keep the Old Ones under control. 


Starbase 118 Welcomes David R. George III

sb118-David-R-George-IIIFor this week’s guest author, Starbase 118 would like to welcome author David R. George III!  Mr. George will be interacting with out writers on Saturday, February 23rd via video chat (12pm PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT / Sunday AM for Australia). Be sure to stop in and learn a thing or two about the vast world of characterization with this Q&A session.


Starbase 118 welcomes Lev Grossman

sb118-Lev-GrossmanFor this week’s lesson in writing greatness, Starbase 118 would like to welcome Lev Grossman! Please be sure to join Mr. Grossman on Sunday, February 17th as he engages our community in an interactive video chat highlighting some of the pointers of being a well-rounded writer.


Writer’s Workshop: The Macro Versus Micro Challenge

writing-ideas-originalTime. It’s one of the greatest obstacles to overcome within the realm of role-play. Obviously we can’t account for every moment of every day, especially in the scope of doing so from the point of view of the characters we play, as well as the plot storyline as a whole. It can be difficult to incorporate everything together to develop both the characters involved, on top of the plot, which is why you as a player should be aware of how we split time up within the realm of role-playing.

While there are many different types of role-playing games out there that vary widely from tabletop to play-by-post, to what we do in our Play By Email, but each of them face similar challenges when it comes to the timeline. How do we separate the Micro events of our character’s day to day life from the Macro events of the ship’s plot, and then what effect does all of that have on the overall “Epic” timeline of the Fleet?

It’s not always easy to figure out, but Roleplayingtips.com offers some good information in their article ‘As Time Passes…‘ which can help you segment these different viewpoints of time and put them all back together in a way that not only helps create realism within the world where we play, but also within our character’s themselves. Take a look and learn more so that you can easily overcome the role-playing challenges related to such timelines.


Learn How to Write Better by Reading

What we do here at Starbase 118 is more than just compile a story and keep a plot moving. What we do involves an art form that requires time and effort to be good at. While finding that time can sometimes be an issue, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you get better at the art when you do find a few extra minutes. Some of these tools you’ll find right here on our site, but for others, you may have to make a trip to your local bookstore or library.

One of the many common New Year’s Resolutions that people make is to get better at whatever it is that they do. For those of us who write, resolving to read more and write better is nothing new. This year, though half over, you can attain this resolution easily. With this list of nine books that can help you read and write on a higher level, you can actually sit down and understand the inner workings of writing and reading so that you can add a new dimension to your plot additions.

Writing for 118 is more than just throwing together a few paragraphs and calling it a sim. The best sims invoke emotion and lead the audience to love, or hate, cheer, or boo the characters in the spotlight. Make those sims even better and snag your readers with a new realm of writing ability and creativity today and reach one resolution so you won’t have to make it again next year.


Officer’s Guide: There They’re… No Need to Worry

So even when you’ve been writing for the longest time, and you’ve got your grammar down pat, there comes a time when that pesky “there”, or “their”, or even “they’re” words come into play. After writing a few sims in a row, you didn’t even realize it when you typed in the wrong usage; Or maybe you just don’t know the difference? Well here’s an article that should help you brush up a bit…

This article from theretheyretheir.com is extremely useful when it comes to learning the usage of the words for the first time, or even if you need some brushing up. There are interactive tests and quizzes to further hone your ability , as well as exercises and worksheets so that never again are you thwarted by the evil usage monster. Each usage of the word “their” or “there” etc, features a clear and concise meaning of the word along with its structure, and an example sentence using the word. On their website you can find links to other grammar and English writing lessons that can be a treasure trove for those who may not have English as a first choice for communication. No more toiling with the wrong definition, as this website makes it easy for you to understand this semi-confusing word!


Officer’s Guide: Tips From the Experts

This article has been making its way around the fleet as of late, but here it is to print. The people at Pixar have released some tips of the trade from a few of their best writers on how create some of the best stories around. Emma Coats will lead us through what she’s learned over the years from some of the brightest members of the Pixar writing force, with twenty-two basic story writing rules.

Making a thrilling story, or sim for that matter, can be a bear of a task. Tuning in to The Pixar Touch, a blog documenting the journey of Pixar writers as they conjure up some of the best ideas to give to the world, we can tap into some of the great success that their writer’s have received over the years. Taking the information right from it’s original book form, the article provides you with twenty-two “rules” that writers adhere to when going through the creative process. Take the time to explore the site a bit more and you’ll find other  links to articles that may be helpful in the long run, dealing with creativity and literature. Also there’s a link to the Blog Section for some further reading. Enjoy, and shake free of those limitations, officer!


Improve Your Grammar and End World Hunger!

What could be better than finding a fun game that can actually help you improve your grammar and vocabulary? Finding such a game that not only offers you the benefit of learning, but one that offers the world something fairly significant in return. Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t!


Our Characters: Striving for Reality

Every great story’s success rests ultimately on the shoulders of the characters involved. Without interesting characters, the story can be boring, if not downright bad. Since all of Starbase 118 writing relies on the characters we each create and add to the mix, knowing how to create the most compelling and interesting characters possible can make all the difference in the world. We all want to bring our characters to life, but sometimes that is a very difficult prospect. Still, with the right direction, any character can take a step from the world of fiction to a realm in our minds that exists somewhere between ourselves and the fictional world we write in.


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