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.
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Showing posts by: Mary Pearson click to see Mary Pearson's profile
Jul 8 2014 5:00pm

How Did You Come Up With That?: Bygone Worlds as Springboards to Fantasy

Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza

When I was in fifth grade I had to do a social studies report on the Mayans. As a ten year-old my report, of course, included a hand-drawn map of the Yucatan peninsula, descriptions of Mayan architecture, government and money, religious practices, food and farming, their calendar, and maybe if I was lucky, I ripped a few pages out of a National Geographic with some pretty colorful pictures of their ruins being eaten up by the jungle. (Sacrilege, I know…)

It’s been a long time since I did that report and I can’t remember every detail about the Mayans, but I do remember one thing: my research couldn’t tell me what happened to them. It was a mystery which delighted my ten year-old self. It seemed that they had simply vanished off the face of the earth. There were even delicious musings that the Mayans had been aliens, and beamed up to their mother ship because they were done with Earth. An advanced civilization, pfft. Gone.

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Sep 28 2009 11:54am

The Sexy Unsung Hero

Characters? Everybody loves them. They sweep on stage, grab your attention, and demand the spotlight.

Plot? It’s right up there with character, stealing the show, swishing around with twists and turns, dipping, soaring, and making you zip through the pages.

But the silent partner in the performance, the floorboards, the rafters, and even the music that makes plot and character shine is the one I want to talk about today. The silent partner doesn’t get to take a lot of bows or many times even take any credit, but without it, character and plot would trip all over their feet, fall flat, forget their lines, and say stupid things.  Heck, they would stop breathing altogether.

The humble partner I am talking about is


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Sep 21 2009 2:41pm

The Bones of Inspiration

You know, I am probably certifiably NUTS to choose this topic, but it’s the question that writers are asked—hands down—more than any other. What inspired your story?

Most writers I know, including myself, absolutely dread the “inspiration” question. More than dread it. They secretly melt inside at the thought of retracing the path that led to the story.

And yet, the wicked irony is, that’s exactly what I’m always curious to know too. When I’ve read a book that I love, I want to know! How did the author do this? Let me inside your head! How did this story come to be?

Stephen King calls stories found things, “like fossils in the ground.” This analogy works well with the way I write.

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Sep 18 2009 2:41pm

Bells, Whistles, & Books: Going Paperless

Speaking of disbelief, several days ago I read about the New England high school that was going bookless in their library. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.  You can read the article here. My first reaction, probably like a lot of people, was shock. A library without books?

Of course, they will have electronic books, a few anyway, so that is something, but they are clearing out their 20,000 book collection to “improve” their library.


I am going to try to avoid my knee-jerk reaction (!) look at it from all sides, and play devil’s advocate.

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Sep 15 2009 5:40pm

I Believe in Lambadoodles - Suspending Disbelief

I remember when I was a small child and every year, once a year, The Wizard of Oz was aired on TV. There were no such things as DVRs, or even videos. You watched it then or not at all. And we always did. That evening was looked forward to every year, and I planted myself on the living room floor in anticipation.

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Sep 10 2009 5:05pm

What YA Lit is and isn’t

This past year I’ve met with a lot of book clubs, several of which were adult book clubs. Many were surprised that The Adoration of Jenna Fox was a teen book. They had never read a teen book before—at least not since their own teen years. They didn’t really know what YA fiction was. They are not alone. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about young adult literature. Who writes it? Why do they write it? Who should read it? Who shouldn’t? What are the author’s responsibilities? What should their responsibilities be? What is YA lit? What is it not? Is it “safe” literature? Being a YA writer, all these questions make me feel almost subversive at times.

Can you imagine having these same suspicions, er, I mean, questions about any other kind of literature? Adult books for instance.

Why do those writers write stories about adults?
Science fiction? Shouldn’t those adults grow up and read real fiction?
Hemingway is just watered-down fiction when adults should be moving on to complex stuff like Kafka and Tolstoy.
Do adults really need to read McCarthy when we have Dickens? It was good enough for our grandparents.

(Or fill in the author substitutions of your choice.)

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Sep 3 2009 1:09pm

Obsessed with the Future

Let’s face it. We are all obsessed with the future. Everyone. Live for the moment? Bah!

Whether we read science fiction or not, there is not an hour that goes by that we don’t dwell in some way on the future. Maybe it is our survival gene. My stomach is growling. What will I have for lunch? What should I have for lunch? Do I want to fit into that skirt for the reunion in two weeks? Will the doctor be able to see that I had a BLT when she checks my cholesterol in three days? Will the cottage cheese that I really should eat be good beyond its expiration date?

Or maybe our sights project a little farther. I could save money if I ate in and put that money away for a vacation or retirement. What the heck, I might get hit by a car in five years and then will it really matter that I had one little BLT?

Or maybe still farther out.  Someday someone will invent a BLT that is good for you.


Like anyone else, I have my daily moments of wondering about the future. But one day . . .

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Sep 1 2009 3:56pm

Jumping In

I was pretty excited when Tor invited me to blog over here. I’m the new kid on the block, with only one science fiction book to my name, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which came out last year, and one sort of fantasy book, The Miles Between, that just came out this month. I say “sort of” because even in their review, Kirkus wasn’t sure what genre it fit into. The Miles Between does have an element of fantasy, more along the lines of slipstream or magical realism, a certain surreal quality, but it is not full-blown fantasy. It will be interesting for me to see how it is categorized. I am usually surprised.

Genre classifications can do that to me, because most books, including my own, seem to be part of many worlds. I don’t think about genre as I write. I am thinking about the character, their world, and probably the pickle they are in and I’m trying to understand what they are thinking and feeling, and heck, what are they going to do next? Usually I feel more like an observer watching a story unfold than the person pulling the strings trying to make it fit into one genre or another, and I am quickly trying to transcribe what I am seeing and hearing. It is almost an out-of-body experience . Hm, does that make the writing process itself, sci-fi? Could be.

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