Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flash Fantasy in LITSNACK

My flash story, "An Odd Friendship" has been published in LITSNACK. I wrote this for an exercise at an online writers workshop quite a while ago. Since that time, it has transformed and is now part of one of my works in progress. But I hope you'll go take a look.

Friday, October 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo Is Coming To Take Me Away. Oh my!

Well, it's gettin' to be that time again. That moment when level-headed people transform into half-crazed lunatics who toss out reason and participate in... No, not Halloween. In NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Write a novel in a month? What is it you're smoking?

I failed utterly, last year. I shall fail utterly again, but that's okay. I'll do it anyway. And why? Because everyone else is doing it. It seems that everyone on Crackbook... (Oops, I mean Facebook ) is chattering about it. I'm not normally prone to peer pressure. In high school I looked like a hippy and played D & D and Warhammer and generally slouched around with a hodgepodge of individuals, some of whom are still friends. ... Wait, what was the point I was making? Hmm, never mind.

Last November, I wrote maybe a chapter or two of "The Last Guy on Earth Who Isn't a Zombie." Then, I went on for months after, writing page after page of drivel- flat characters, stilted dialogue, meandering storyline. I'll stuff that into a locked file cabinet in a disused lavatory marked, "beware of the leopard."

I'll begin anew. It will be fresh, unsullied, electrifying, inimitable and an upsetting quantity of other adjectives. I'll go ahead and write the entire thing in one month. Perhaps it will still be crap, but at least I'll have only wasted a single month.

I do have two gems (aka- scenes I love) but I shall not give them a glance until NaNo is over. No point. Just shove forward, right?


Why do I always want to say NaNoWriMo with the "Wri" part pronounced as "REE?" Defies logic.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Word Clouding Just For Fun

Here is my Wordle word cloud. My friend Chris over at Echoes of Dusk turned me on to the idea. You get to enter a bunch of text or your web addy and it makes it for you. This is the one for this here blog. Go make your own. Go on, what are you waiting for? Oh. You need the address? You go here ----->

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Culture in Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing

I recently read a blog post- It was a guest blogger post by Jeannie Lin on The Ron Empress.

She was talking about conveying deep culture and surface culture in novels. Her specialty is Asian culture, but her post got me thinking about writing science fiction and fantasy. Of course it did. What doesn't get me thinking about that? ;)

My novel, Syzygy, is set in modern America, but the race of people in it, called Fir Na Gealaí, have a subculture of their own which they carry with them no matter where they live in the world. They have their taboos, traditions, ways of doing things. My main character, Finn, rebels against it. But even as he goes against his culture, it sometimes rubs him wrong because the belief system is so engrained in him. For instance, he's angry at himself when he takes sedatives to sleep through his "madness phase," because it's highly frowned upon by the Fir.

This is just one example of Fir deep cultural that made it into the novel. There are dozens that I "discovered" in the course of writing Syzygy that didn't make it in. Do other fantasy writers feel like they're "discovering" rather than inventing a culture? Well I do. Most of the time, anyway.

One of the tough aspects of writing scifi/fantasy is deciding how to gracefully include all the sumptuous tidbits of your new culture and its history. The fact is, you can't. Or rather, you can't and also hold your reader's attention. They do want you to get on with the actual story. But I think it enriches the novel if the author knows the background. And you never know what you'll end up weaving in. So, world-build and backstory to the fullest but don't worry if it doesn't all get shoved in. You can always write your own Silmarillion. ;-)

I was working on my new fantasy w.i.p., Twelve Keys, last night. I starting making myself mentally gag while writing the little asides within a conversation between my protag and another character- explaining polite behavior in this invented culture and how they're breaking it. It began to sound like a Miss Manners lecture. Don't do this.

So, I tossed it aside for the night and watched Van Helsing. I'm not sure I learned anything of use from the movie, but watching Hugh Jackman hunt monsters in a cool hat is always a pleasure.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Story: "Black as Night and Azure Blue" and Some Cat Pictures

Happy October!

I'm pleased to tell you that my flash story, "Black as Night and Azure Blue" is up at Moon Drenched Fables. I adore MDF. I hope while you're there, you'll read some of the other stories.

Now I'll show you some random pictures of our cats.




Owen with big sisters
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