• Short Stories: How It’s Going So Far (Halfway Point Check-In)

    So here we are halfway through the year. And yes, I’ve written 26 stories. Well, I fudged it a bit–I have 26 never-been-published short stories in my trunk. Most are in first draft format. Some aren’t really stories–they don’t have a beginning, middle, and ending. Some are just weird kinda fictional essays. Some I’m not sure what the point is–they’re more of an idea. But given the kinds of things I’ve read, this seems to be okay. I’m still not fond of writing them. It’s still a struggle to get my ass in the chair and churn out copy, but it’s happening. It’s a trickle, but the bucket is filling.…

  • writing fantasy tumblr meme coins terminology jargon world-building

    How Much World-Building Is Too Much?

    This Tumblr post asks an interesting question that I’ve always wondered about — how much world-building is too much? World-building is a big part of fantasy, the idea of an alternate Earth is fascinating. The problem is that, if Earth did evolve differently, that world would be so alien it would be incomprehensible. There is a line where the world goes beyond one’s grasp. Now some people like that sort of thing. But how do you market something like that? I read a blurb recently from a self-published fantasy novel, one of a billion, that was full of jargon. “The world is under control of the Zorbos, an only a…

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    Like Tears in the Rain

    This scares me. I’m already scared of dying. And I know that, when I die, I’m probably going to be in the middle of a book (either writing one or reading one, probably both). I don’t even read 50 books a year and I’m a writer. I can manage about 30-35, so I won’t even get to 3,500. I can take some solace that I know I read more than what Goodreads accounts for–graphic novels, children’s books, comic collections, Star Trek novels, and all sorts of other books I’ve forgotten. And the average bookstore has 30,000! Now, granted, most of those I probably don’t want to read–atlases and how to…

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    Actors vs. Writers: Who’s Right When It Comes to Character?

    I don’t agree with this. Granted I’ve never worked with actors or adaptations of my book. I could be talking out of my ass. But movies, unlike books, are collaborative creations. Everyone’s got to share the same vision or it won’t work. When it comes together, you get Star Wars. When you don’t, you get Dune (the David Lynch one). Art works best when a single person is driving the vision, the idea. That’s why bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc. persist. Even though the art they make needs all of them together, one single person writes the music and lyrics (usually). It’s also…

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    Analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains: Colonel William Stryker (X2: X-Men United)

    Col. William Stryker X2: X-Men United (2002) This villain represents an amalgamation of several characters from the X-Men comics/cartoon, but they’re all basically the same guy–a bigot. And the scary thing is he exists in real life. This isn’t Mephisto or Stegron. This is your next-door neighbor. This is a congressman working right now and he’s in charge of a hell of a lot of tanks and missiles. Characteristics and Powers: None. He’s just a human. But that gives him an advantage–being human (and a decorated military scientist) he can borrow the ears of politicians and influencers, especially with his background in mutant research. And from that research he’s developed…

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    Star Wars Fans Will Never Be Satisfied

    I’m starting to think Star Wars fans will never be happy, no matter what. Anything after the original trilogy has been met with scorn. They didn’t like the Holiday Special because it was cheesy, poorly written, insane, and most definitely not Star Wars. They didn’t like Droids or Ewoks because they were cheaply-made cartoons meant to sell toys. They didn’t like the Ewok Adventure movies because they were low-budget, childish, and too simple. They didn’t like the re-release of the special editions because it monkeyed with the original by adding CG stuff. They didn’t like The Phantom Menace because it was full of non-essential scenes, poor acting, “explained” things that…

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    Stories Have Fates Too

    And then sometimes God just doesn’t want a story to be written… I’m working on a Han Solo-pastiche short story and twice I’ve lost my previous day’s progress. Once I lost my entire collection of story notes, and at first I thought “Well, that’s it — everything I thought of is gone.” But somehow I recreated it. Then the second time, in my draft, which is very drafty, I accidentally hit “Don’t Save” instead of “Save” and lost all that with no backup. Sometimes I feel that fate is doing something to prevent me from being a writer because it will screw up his plans or invoke something devastating on…

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    Things I Like: American Fiction

    It’s hard to make a movie about writers. There’s “The Man Who Invented Christmas” about Charles Dickens. And “Best Sellers” which has Aubrey Plaza trying to get Michael Caine–a J.D. Salinger style curmudgeonly shut-in–to promote his new book. Neither of these were particularly exciting because writing just isn’t exciting. But American Fiction is very good, especially if you’re a writer. In the same way I was charmed by Chants of Sennar, I was intrigued by American Fiction. It’s about an affluent African-American professor (his sister’s a doctor and his brother’s a plastic surgeon). He writes normal literary books, but they aren’t selling because publishers only want stories about Black people…