A Few Stray Stabby Thoughts

The jianghu is considered a lawless place, and I have to say that makes sense. Just think about the headaches of the poor magistrate trying to decide whether or not to let any of these wandering heroes loose on society again. Anqi (hidden/concealed weapons, usually projectiles) make a lot of these guys walking hazards. Sure, they saved the town from the bandits this time, but…. Continue reading


On Characters: Vampire Pizza Deliveryman

Eternal life in darkness is just not all it’s cracked up to be. You need to hide by day, you need to feed by night – and for both of those, it helps if you have a job. Oh, sure, if your last name is Addams, or you’re related to Barnabas Collins, you might have both the familial wealth and the luck to hang onto it through the centuries so you don’t need to be gainfully employed. Continue reading

Worldbuilding: Striking the Right Note

Does your world have sticky notes?

Doesn’t have to be the bits of paper with extremely weak glue that we know and use. (Though that could be awesome.) Could be holographic computer icons, or color-coded feathers jammed into the rolled slats of an ancient bamboo scroll, or strands of beads bookmarking a roll of papyrus at certain layers. What matters is that someone doing creative or experimental work in your world has a way to do messy organization; to loosely tie together bits of info to look at later or compare, maybe when no one sane would ever mix those two or three (or more) sets of ideas. Maybe especially then. Continue reading

On Writing: The Faces of Other Nations

Writing an isekai (or portal fantasy) based on an alternate version of history means digging into not just past events, but past beliefs. Otherwise the reactions of setting-native characters to your isekai’d guy just won’t ring right. It also means digging into your own culture, so you can accurately depict what happens when modern attitudes clash with something distinctly not. Continue reading