Breaking down the what, why, and how of setting a freelancing standard rate.

There are a lot of articles out there about freelancing on Upwork. I should know — I’ve written quite a few of them. A lot focus on getting started, interacting with clients, or scheduling your time, and that’s all incredibly important information, but there are very few that focus on the brass tacks of freelance work.

For instance, I haven’t come across many articles dealing with how to determine your hourly rate as a new-to-the-field freelancer, or how that factors into applying for work. So, I thought I’d fill the void. …

Building a character from the face up

So, you’re starting a new campaign. You already know the setting, the hook, and what level you’re starting at. Now it’s time to start building a character! And where do you start? Well, what race is your character? As with many other aspects of D&D, picking a race for your brand-new character looks really simple on the surface. Why should it matter? It’s just how they look and talk, right?

Alas, no. In D&D, every choice matters mechanically, including what race your character hails from. The basic gist of it is that each race, due to their inherent story, has…

Making a good first impression in one page or less.

A man in a blue shirt sits at a wooden desk, writing on sheets of paper with a pen.
A man in a blue shirt sits at a wooden desk, writing on sheets of paper with a pen.

A cover letter is the first image that your client’s going to have of you. It’s a bit more personal than a resume but less personal than a full bio, meaning it’s a hard balance to strike.

This might be intimidating to someone who hasn’t done it before and can feel strange, artificial, or narcissistic to write. I know it did for me when I first started writing them. Now, though, I’m so used to the format that I write solid cover letters almost automatically.

Hopefully, having a basic template to work from can make it less scary. …

Your guide to the creations of the fandom universe.

A table full of various art supplies including paints, brushes, and colored pencils.
A table full of various art supplies including paints, brushes, and colored pencils.

Let’s assume for a moment that you are a person wanting to enter fandom for the first time. You’ve found a piece of media that you adore, and you’re desperate to talk to other people about it! That’s wonderful, and I’m happy for you.

So once you’ve learned what all the lingo means, where should you go to engage in your fandom of choice? Lucky for you, you’ve got a lot of options.

Sit down, buckle your seatbelt, and please, keep all hands, feet, and cosplay weapons inside the vehicle at all times. …

Some classic and new adventuring hooks you can use for your next one-shot or campaign TTRPG adventure

When we talk about D&D, we love to talk about mid-adventure things. Characters triumphant in battle, mourning the loss of a friend in a fight, chatting up dragons and negotiating peace treaties, or thwarting the big bad at every turn, are the subject of more players’ fantasies in this fantasy world.

But how did they get there? What brought these characters together, and what drives them to keep going? This is your plot hook, and it can be difficult to figure out when you’re running your first campaign.

Now, the excellent thing about hooks is that they don’t have to…

Getting started on creating a character and their story

I adore Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve been playing for about two-and-a-half years now, and I can’t get enough of it.

But I definitely struggle with character creation. The paperwork throws me off — I love to tell a good story and create a believable person to portray, but I also look at the typical character sheet and want to scream. So, I focus on creating a story first and then working in the mechanics.

That’s where alignment comes in.

The notable women behind many of your favorite franchises and gaming tech

The gaming industry has always been a place of innovation, invention, and, importantly, good times. A lot of those good times, to many people’s surprise, owe their existence to a slew of fantastic women who not only created some of the world’s most iconic games but created the technology it was played on at all.

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, here are some of the most influential women in the history of gaming.

Mabel Addis

Mabel Addis (1912–2004) was a brilliant mind who earned herself a Master's degree in education in 1933. Originally a school teacher, Addis used her…

A Review of Disney’s Return to Oz (1985)

A theatrical, high-color poster with Dorothy (center), TikTok (left), and Jack Pumpkinhead (right) ridiing on The Gump in front of the movie’s title in big, yellow letters.
A theatrical, high-color poster with Dorothy (center), TikTok (left), and Jack Pumpkinhead (right) ridiing on The Gump in front of the movie’s title in big, yellow letters.

I have been a fan of the Oz series since I was a very little girl; I had 1939’s The Wizard of Oz completely memorized when I was three years old, down to the pacing of each line. I read the books on loan from our local library when I was maybe seven or eight, speeding through all fourteen of them in a matter of a couple of weeks, absolutely fascinated by the strange and sometimes creepy world they presented which was far different from the shining colors of the movie.

Around this time, on Vault Disney in the middle…

Your options for displaying your work to potential clients

As with any other industry, getting into professional writing comes with its own set of expectations, unspoken rules, and inexplicable taboos.

Like your resume in a corporate job market, a writing portfolio is what you show off to potential clients to prove that you can do the job they’re asking for (or that you’re asking them for — but that’s another story). It’s a collection of things that give you credibility and make you look as legitimate and professional as possible.

Writing portfolios include both sample pieces of your writing that can stand on their own and standard resume fair…

Why that descriptor carries creepy vibes, and how to reword it

I recently wrote a piece for The Gamer about Stream Hatchet’s latest reports on trends in the gaming world. It was an interesting report; streaming has gone up significantly because of the pandemic, with the most popularly watched games being League of Legends, Fortnite, and PUBG Mobile, to no one’s surprise. Twitch still leads as the most-watched platform, but YouTube and Facebook Gaming are following closely behind.

Cat Webling

Hello! I’m Cat, author and amateur fandom historian based out of Georgia. I write about literature, theater, gaming, and fandom. Personal work:

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