The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
From The Blog
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
April 15, 2015
Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Stubby the Rocket
April 15, 2015
The 10 Strangest Transports in Non-Driving Games
N. Ho Sang and Peter Tieryas
April 14, 2015
An Open Letter to HBO from House Greyjoy
Theresa DeLucci
Showing posts tagged: writing click to see more stuff tagged with writing
Mon
Apr 13 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Leap Into This A Darker Shade of Magic Fan Art

A Darker Shade of Magic fan art Victoria Ying V.E. Schwab

Like its protagonist Kell, we find ourselves jumping into the parallel universes of V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. First, Tor Books divided itself according to which Londons people would live in. And now Schwab herself has shared this amazing fan art by Victoria Ying. (You’ve got Kell and Lila, above, plus several other characters.) “If A Darker Shade of Magic ever gets a graphic novel, please just let it look like this,” Schwab tweeted. And then Ying sent her a care package! Too cute.

Morning Roundup includes a classic being rebooted, a classic’s sequel finally starting to be developed, and three classic video games mashed up into one amazing playing experience.

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Tue
Mar 31 2015 9:30am

Creative Works Inspired by your RPG Campaign

Seventh Son

Recently, a movie called Seventh Son flopped its way through theatres. As soon as I saw the trailer, I remarked loudly that it looked like somebody turned their Dungeons and Dragons campaign into a screenplay. I said this with scorn, and I did not go to see the film. This seems to have worked in my favor, as one reviewer from the Chicago Reader called it “a loud, joyless mess.”

I read slush for a poetry quarterly called Goblin Fruit, and, being that our submission guidelines request poems of the fantastic, we get occasional submissions that smack slightly of D&D. These pieces often feel like they were written in-game by someone’s half-elf bard character, probably while drunk off his ass at Ye Olde Inn and Taverna.

[But I’m in no position to judge.]

Wed
Mar 11 2015 4:00pm

Elizabeth Bear Talks Genre Mashups and Role-Playing Games in Her Reddit AMA

Elizabeth Bear Reddit AMA highlights answers Karen MemoryAward-winning author Elizabeth Bear plays in all of your favorite genres: Steles of the Sky, the conclusion to her epic fantasy Eternal Sky trilogy, was one of your favorite books of 2014; her new novel Karen Memory is a rollicking steampunk Western adventure yarn; her short story “This Chance Planet” takes us into a near-science fiction future while retaining familiar mythology.

In a recent AMA on Reddit’s r/fantasy subreddit, Bear discusses how she builds these unique worlds by importing conventions of one genre into another; drops hints about the next Eternal Sky trilogy; calls dibs on past-tense verb/adjective titles; and shares what her second choice for animal surname would be (Bulfinch). And those are only the short answers! Read on for the AMA highlights.

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Wed
Mar 4 2015 12:00pm

Writing Women Characters as Human Beings

Hermione Granger

Occasionally I get asked if I have any advice for writers on how to create believable female characters while avoiding cliches, especially in fantasy novels where the expectations and settings may be seen to be different from our modern world.

There is an “easy” answer to this.

Write all characters as human beings in all their glorious complexity and contradiction.

That’s a decent answer, although rarely easy to pull off in practice, but it’s not really answering the question I’m getting asked.

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Mon
Feb 23 2015 11:00am

Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed

Starbuck

They should kick ass but have other talents; they shouldn’t necessarily kick ass because that’s been done to death; they should have agency; they should move the plot forward; they should be assertive but not obnoxious; they should hold positions of power; they shouldn’t be raped or die to give the hero incentive for his quest.

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the science fiction and fantasy community about “strong” female characters, with various authors weighing in about how to write them, what they are, and why the term is flawed in the first place. There are discussions of deadly tropes and how to avoid them. This is all fine, and I agree with the points made for the most part; the last thing we need is a rehash of eyerollingly blatant male fantasies. But with all the focus on writing techniques on the one hand, and political imperatives on the other, I wonder if we’re not losing sight of the big picture.

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Fri
Feb 20 2015 5:00pm

Rainbow Rowell Says Carry On Isn’t Fanfiction, It’s Canon

Rainbow Rowell Carry On interview Simon Snow Baz fanfiction fantasyCan Rainbow Rowell’s next book Carry On be described as fanfiction if she’s writing about the magical adventures of her fictional characters’ favorite fictional characters? (She did create the mage-in-training roommates Simon Snow and Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Pitch for her novel Fangirl, but as the stars of various fanfics.) And while she created a fantasy world detailed enough for her protagonist to write fanfic in, how does she make that fantasy world stand on its own?

Rowell answered these and other tricky questions in a new interview with Time, in which she discussed which fantasy tropes she embraced or discarded while writing Carry On, and why we should all thank the Harry Potter generation.

[Read more]

Fri
Feb 6 2015 11:30am

Keeping the Underwear Clean: The Art of Formal Constraint

Formal Constraint world building

I figure I’ve got the far ends of the literary spectrum covered: before diving face-first into the world of epic fantasy, I wrote poetry. At first blush, the two enterprises couldn’t look much more different. Although epic poetry has its share of gods and monsters, the work of lyric poets like Elizabeth Bishop, John Donne, and Anne Sexton tends to be short on orcs, fortresses, and magical glowing swords. Conversely, the verse contained in epic fantasy tends to fall into two categories: drinking songs and elvish; Dragonlance isn’t exactly replete with searing meditations in the tradition of George Herbert or Robert Lowell.

Given the disparity in modes and methods, the move from lyric poetry to epic fantasy seems to make about as much sense as heading into the Alaskan wilderness wearing Hawaiian leis and a grass skirt. I’ve found, however, much to my joy and surprise, that the hard won lessons of poetry are wonderfully useful; in the following series of posts, I’ll dig into the some of the most transferable lessons...

No one gets into writing for the spreadsheets.

When you sit down to write a book, you think it’s going to be all about character, and plot, and world building. These sorts of interesting artistic challenges are, of course, integral to the job. Alongside such challenges, however, comes another set of tasks that I can only describe as CRUCIAL BORING SHIT.

[Read more...]

Tue
Feb 3 2015 1:00pm

How Star Wars Helped Me Finish My First Epic Fantasy Trilogy

Stormtrooper reading

I signed my first writing contract at the beginning of 2012; a three-book deal for The Powder Mage Trilogy with Orbit Books. The trilogy was sold off the strength of the first book, Promise of Blood, as well as a several page summary of the two subsequent books in the series. At the time of the sale I felt like I was in a pretty good place—I had ambitious plans for the second and third books with new viewpoint characters, new cultures, and a whole different continent to explore.

I started writing the untitled book two later that year and immediately ran into a problem: I hated everything that I wrote.

[Help me, Obi-Wan!]

Mon
Feb 2 2015 4:00pm

Everything I Needed to Know about Writing Monster Horror I Learned from Alien

Alien

I wish I could say I saw Alien on the big screen in 1979, and experienced the glory of Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger’s chest-bursting, face-hugging terrors before they became property of pop culture and parody. Alas, Alien was years before my time. The film was nearly thirty years old before I borrowed the DVD from a friend and watched it alone in a small, dark room. Mistake.

What my tiny, flickering television experience lacked in silver screen quality, it made up for in atmosphere, intense claustrophobia, and the eerie sense of being isolated in the universe. Space is already a terrifying, incomprehensible void to me; adding Alien’s Xenomorph only made me check my locks thrice and start looking up how to make homemade napalm… at least for fiction’s sake.

I watched the film countless times, breaking down the movie down into its basest parts, trying to understand why it succeeded to frighten audiences so thoroughly with its modest budget, low performance expectations, and a fairly lukewarm critical reception. Nowadays, the film is widely considered a classic.

[Here’s what Alien taught me about writing horror.]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 12:00pm

Rocket Talk Episode 41: Myke Cole

Rocket Talk Myke Cole

In this episode, Myke Cole visits Rocket Talk to discuss the challenges of writing things outside his experience. He and Justin discuss Cole’s newest release, Gemini Cell, and how a writer can and should push themselves.

[Listen Now!]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 1:00pm

Michael Moorcock Talks “Experimenting” with The Whispering Swarm and the Appeal of the Multiverse

Michael Moorcock Tor Books videos The Whispering Swarm The Eternal Champion Sequence multiverse

Science fiction and fantasy author Michael Moorcock’s newest novel The Whispering Swarm is autobiography through the lens of the lens of his own work and how it has impacted him. In a series of videos, Moorcock speaks with Tor Books about “try[ing] something new” with The Whispering Swarm, his first independent novel in nine years. He also discusses the impetus of the Multiverse that links his Eternal Champion Sequence, and reads from one of his early novels.

[Watch the videos]

Thu
Jan 22 2015 11:00am

Midnight in Karachi, Episode 4: Adam Roberts

Midnight in Karachi Adam Roberts

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a bi-weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

This week's guest is Adam Roberts—academic, critic and prolific writer with a number of pseudonyms and a couple of dozen novels. He’s been nominated for the Clarke Award three times and has won both the BSFA Award and the Campbell Memorial Award. Adam talks about writing in various forms, Tolkien, judging awards, and how all his books are secretly outsourced to someone else.

[Listen Now!]

Wed
Jan 14 2015 12:00pm

Rocket Talk Episode 39: Brian Staveley

Brian Staveley Emperor's Blades Providence of Fire

In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin interviews fantasy author Brian Staveley about what it was like to have one of the most heralded debuts of 2014 and how he’s adjusting to life in the community. The conversation covers some writing techniques, discussions about his first two books—The Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire—and whether or not authors can have “the juice.”

[Listen Now!]

Mon
Jan 12 2015 5:00pm

“With Luck We Shall Make It, and Without Luck We Shall Not” — The Left Hand of Darkness

Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K Le Guin Two strangers on a distant planet—separated by culture and species—haul a sledge across a glacier in a desperate flight to safety. This is the simple yet compelling premise behind the climactic sequence in Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. The idea of a long, treacherous journey transcends literary traditions. Many stories have that “third act” set piece—a battle, or fight, or some other fraught situation—that pushes the characters to their limits and forces them to make the hard decisions that will resolve the story.

So what makes Le Guin’s use of this technique so special that I have to give people a dirty look when they tell me they’ve never read her work?

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 12 2015 3:00pm

Altogether Elsewhere; or Enough About the F**king Feast Already

lord of the rings pacing

I figure I’ve got the far ends of the literary spectrum covered: before diving face-first into the world of epic fantasy, I wrote poetry. At first blush, the two enterprises couldn’t look much more different. Although epic poetry has its share of gods and monsters, the work of lyric poets like Elizabeth Bishop, John Donne, and Anne Sexton tends to be short on orcs, fortresses, and magical glowing swords. Conversely, the verse contained in epic fantasy tends to fall into two categories: drinking songs and elvish; Dragonlance isn’t exactly replete with searing meditations in the tradition of George Herbert or Robert Lowell.

Given the disparity in modes and methods, the move from lyric poetry to epic fantasy seems to make about as much sense as heading into the Alaskan wilderness wearing Hawaiian leis and a grass skirt. I’ve found, however, much to my joy and surprise, that the hard won lessons of poetry are wonderfully useful; in the following series of posts, I’ll dig into the some of the most transferable lessons.

[Read More]

Thu
Jan 8 2015 4:45pm

The LEGO Movie 2 Will Be Meta, But Not About Its Sequel-Ness

The LEGO Movie 2 plot hints

Screenwriting team Phil Lord and Chris Miller currently have the market cornered on hilariously self-aware movies: Last year’s The LEGO Movie was a surprise hit with all age groups for its commentary on conformity, creativity, and imagination; not to mention that 22 Jump Street skewered itself for being a sequel rehashing the laughs of the original, thus managing to become something entirely new.

Now, Miller and Lord have to find a way to write The LEGO Movie 2 without going the 22 Jump Street route, while still retaining the Specialness of the original. And they’ve given some hints as to how they’re going to do it.

[Read more]

Wed
Jan 7 2015 5:00pm

Three Ekphrastic Dialogues; or, No Dual Wielding Until Book Three

The Providence of Fire

SCENE ONE
Setting: Book One of the Epic Trilogy

In the first scene the WRITER is bright-eyed, fresh-faced, and recently showered, perhaps even wearing a jaunty blazer. The CHARACTER looks confused, wary, even a little frightened.

Character: Hey! Who are you?

Writer: I’m the writer. I made up your world. I made you up.

C: That’s impossible.

W: Amazing, right? But it’s true. That beard you have—I put it there. That mysterious dude over there—the one in the black cloak; I made him up. That suspicious ancient ruin; I made that up, too.

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Tue
Jan 6 2015 11:30am

Ghosts of the Insane Dead

the ghosts of heaven marcus sedgwick

The little inmates of the orphans’ home at Greenport, under the supervision of their matron, gathered a lot of wild flowers, and decorated the graves of the insane dead, who have been buried at the asylum cemetery. The deed was a worthy one, and to the little ones is given a great deal of credit for doing this act of mercy to the unfriended dead.

The above are lines I used in a section of my latest book, The Ghosts of Heaven. I cannot take credit for them however; they came from a small newspaper article written in the early 20th century, something I came across in my research for the book.

This research opened up for me a lost world of forgotten dead, as well as a great deal of poignant imagery of dereliction.

[Read More]

Mon
Dec 29 2014 6:28pm

Margaret Atwood Talks Her 2114 Novel and Coping with Real and Fictional Dystopias in Her Reddit AMA

Margaret Atwood Reddit AMA highlightsMargaret Atwood’s dystopias are starting to come true—and as disconcerting as that may be, at least we get to talk to her about them. In addition to predicting the future, Atwood is also very keen at getting with the times: Her Twitter account is filled with witty gems, and more than once she’s been game to talk about her work with her fans on Reddit.

For two hours today, she chatted with the folks at r/books about her newest project, writing a book for the Future Library project that won’t be read until 2114; how The Handmaid’s Tale reflects current legislation around the female body, and some of Oryx and Crake’s science and technology have changed from theoretical to actual; and which of her dystopias most frighten her. We also learned fun facts about the author, including which of her book covers she designed, and that time she reviewed one of her own books under a pseudonym. Read on for the highlights of Margaret Atwood’s Reddit AMA!

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 1:15pm

Terry Pratchett Based Crowley on Neil Gaiman, and Other Tidbits from the Writing of Good Omens

how Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett wrote Good OmensWhen Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett published Good Omens in 1990, Gaiman says, they decided to tell people only a little bit about how exactly they collaborated on the beloved fantasy novel. But now, tied to the broadcast of the Good Omens radio play, Gaiman shares an in-depth look at the writing process, from his and Pratchett’s first meeting in a Chinese restaurant in 1985 to who is responsible for which characters.

There are long phone calls we wish we could have listened in on, character genders getting swapped, details borrowed from one of the authors, and doves. Yes, doves.

[Read more]