Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 30-Oct 6, 2018

I’m back with your weekly infusion of informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland answers six outstanding questions about structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jael McHenry is writing someone else’s story. Or, she has and is sharing the tale with us 🙂 Writer Unboxed

Nancy Johnson explores her experience with writing as resistance. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass: the weight. Writer Unboxed

Catherine McKenzie is writing through chaos. Writer Unboxed

Natalia Sylvester waxes on revision as a form of reimagining. Writer Unboxed

Lisa Hall-Wilson gives us a checklist for writing deep POV like a pro. Writers in the Storm

Margie Lawson touts the brilliance of backstory slip-ins. Writers in the Storm

Tamar Sloan says that capturing complex emotion is a writer’s superpower. Writers Helping Writers

Terry Brooks takes over Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds: more than the story. Later in the week S.L. Huang says, let’s also write our joy.

E.R. Ramzipoor stops by Fiction University: writing about slavery in historical fiction.

Ayman Jaber: making teleportation work in your story. Mythcreants

Jami Gold offers some NaNoWriMo prep tips for getting your story idea ready.

Cold Crash Pictures lists their five favourite feminist tropes (as a counterpoint to the last video I shared from them).

 

If you found something helpful in this mix, consider coming back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends 🙂

tipsday2016

Advertisements

Wordsmith Studio Homecoming 2015: What are you reading?

For the best effect, please read the headline of this post with an incredulous tone 😉

WSS Homecoming 2015

1) What are you reading?

Just like I work on multiple project in my writing, I read multiple books, both ebooks and print, cause I kind of have this problem. I can’t stop buying books of any variety (!)

So here’s my current reading list:

  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Although I’m sure it suffers in translation, I’m enjoying this novel immensely.
  • InFusion by Scott Overton. I’m beta reading this SF novel for an author friend. I’ll save my specific feedback for him, but, just so you know, I think it’s great 🙂
  • The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. On finding your calling. It’s kind of serendipitous that I found out about this book back in January.
  • Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. I picked this up last year after seeing Patricia at Ad Astra. I figured I should get off my butt and read it . . .
  • Pain, Porn, and Complicity by Kathleen McConnell. An academic work on SF&F movies and television series. It’s been a while since I dipped my toes in that particular non-fiction pool.
  • Lock In by John Scalzi. I’m listening to this on Audible. Narrated by the inimitable Wil Wheaton.

2) What was your favorite read in the last year (or month, or…)?

My favourite reading of recent recall is A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda. I rated it five stars, though I haven’t written a proper review. Yet. This is the kind of fantasy novel I love to read. It’s also the kind I write and there were a lot of similarities between Czerneda’s Jenn Nalynn and Ferrathainn Devlin, the protagonist from my WIP. I was enthralled to the end 🙂

3) Do you have a favorite genre?

Yes and no. I favour fantasy novels of any age range, but I also read science fiction, historical fiction, the classics, mysteries, and romance novels (though I must say I haven’t read many of those recently). I try to alternate fiction and non-fiction reading, as well. Again, most on my non-fiction reads tend to be writing craft books, but I also read as a form of research for my various works in progress, and sometimes, stuff that I’m just interested in. I learn something from everything I read, even if I don’t particularly enjoy the book. In other words, I read as a writer.

4) Bend one step further: are there alternative forms of writing or art that you have found inspiring or even dabbled in?

In my “searching” phase of university (the undeclared years) I majored in music and art at different times. Performance anxiety put the brakes on my music career, though I still love to sing. I was summarily drummed out of art class when my professor called me nothing more than an “illustrator.” From time to time, I still sketch, but I’ve honestly never been very good. I’ve sunk all my creativity into my writing for a number of years now. In 2000, I did the crazy, being in between jobs, and auditioned for a Theatre Cambrian production of Hair (Y2K). I sang and danced in that, for what it’s worth 😉

6) Back to your main inspiration: Do you have “mentor” titles for the writing you are working on?

I’ll reframe this in terms of “comps,” or comparative works. As I mentioned above, I learn something from every book I read, so I don’t have any “mentor” titles, per se, though I would identify several novels/authors whose work I aspire to.

  • The above-mentioned Julie Czerneda and her A Turn of Light. I’ve committed to read more by Julie.
  • Juliet Marillier’s Celtic legend inspired Seven Waters series.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels. Though he writes in a created world, it is based on painstaking historical research. I’m not that dedicated, but I love the stories he writes. He’s actually made me cry in the reading.
  • Sherri S. Tepper. Just anything she writes. I love her ideas. Or should I say lurve?

6) If you didn’t already do this for #4, what music inspires your writing?

Okay, now you’re going crazy. Or you will if I offer up all 963 songs on my iPod (!) Suffice it to say that any music I like is generally something I’ll add to my playlist. I have music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the new millennium. I like some pop, a lot of alternative, celtic, and world music. I also have more eclectic selections on CD: The Rites of Spring, Satie’s gymnopedies, The Symphonie Fantastique, Carmina Burana, Gregorian chant, a number of Sequentia recordings (including the Eddas), gamelan music, Tibetan singing bells, shakuhachi flute music . . .

My favourite artists (I’ll pick up just about anything they release):

  • Imogen Heap
  • Tori Amos
  • Sarah Slean
  • Florence + the Machine

7) Have you ever thought of this: what book is your main character reading?

Interesting question. I’ll even answer it.

  • Ferathainn Devlin: Sadly, all of Fer’s reading would be studying for her forthcoming initiation, so all of it would be history, scholarly works on magic, or non-fiction works on herbs and simples, astronomy, and the like.
  • Charlene Kalveras: School textbooks, and, because of what’s happened to her father, true crime.
  • Gerod: Owing to his impoverished upbringing in an environment of medieval feudalism, Gerod doesn’t know how to read. He learns, though.
  • Marushka: She hasn’t had any formal schooling, hopping around the world in a magical hut, so she’s had to teach herself everything. She steals books from libraries and reads omnivorously.

8) Do you have a favorite book, article or magazine for writing advice?

Again, I have several 🙂

  • Writing the 21st Century Novel, Donald Maass. Currently on loan to a member of my critique group. Actually all of Maass’s books have helped me immensely.
  • Any of K.M. Weiland’s writing craft books.
  • Any of Roz Morris’s Nail Your Novel series.
  • And the books that have helped me find my way to the writing life: Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones; Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write; Heather Sellers’ Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter; Stephen King’s On Writing; Terry Brooks’s Sometimes the Magic Works; Jane Yolen’s Take Joy; and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wave in the Mind.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Alrightie, then!

I’ll have a wee Sundog snippet tomorrow about miscellaneous stuff, ‘cause sometimes you need miscellaneous stuff, you know?

Muse-inks

Nine (plus) world building resources

Open any book on writing fantasy or science fiction and you’ll find a section on world building.

Cover of "The Craft of Writing Science Fi...

Cover via Amazon

Four cases in point:

Bova writes a section on “Background in Science Fiction” in which he discusses the uses of background (back story and world building elements), offers a complete short story as an example, and then practical suggestions on how to apply the techniques he’s discussed in the context of the story.  Bova makes reference to the greats of SF (Bradbury, Niven) as well as to literary works to round out his advice.

Card also has a chapter on “World Creation” which he summarizes thusly:

How to build, populate, and dramatize a credible, inviting world that readers will want to share with you.

Kinda speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Killian writes a chapter on “Creating Your Fictional World,” including the following topics: A symbolic reason; A sense of what is natural; Parallel worlds; and Fantasy worlds.

Gerrold’s book contains several chapters on world building: Setting the stage; To build a world; Detailing the world; Building aliens; Believability; and Fantasy worlds.

Once again, every book on writing SF or Fantasy will include a section on world building in one form or another.  The more you read about it, the more you learn and the better you get at this whole world-building thing.

Books specifically about world building

I’m going to start with a book by fellow Canadian Authors Association member, Sandra Stewart.  She offers workshops in world building based on this publication.  Go check out her site for more information, or to get a copy of her World-building Workshop Workbook.

Sandra’s philosophy is to build from the micro to the macro and she gets into all the details from arts and entertainment, through calendar, to war and wizards.  She covers common pitfalls too.

Three more from Writer’s Digest:

If you’re interested in creating planets and star systems, this is the book for you.  In fact, I’d recommend the whole of the Science Fiction Writing Series, which delves in-depth into Space Travel and Time Travel among other subjects.

Ochoa and Osier cover some topics, like space stations, spaceships, civilizations, and other technological jumping-off points that some of the other writers don’t treat in quite the same way.

Contributors include Terry Brooks and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  As detailed as the above references are regarding the creating of a science fiction world/universe, this book is just as thorough with respect to the creation of a fantasy world.  It covers law and commerce, costume, myths and legends, and castles among other topics.  It’s a great starting point for research.

And finally:

Though this book might more appropriately belong in the books on writing SF and Fantasy (above), Scott fills more than half of it, pp 27-120, with various aspects of world building.  Like Stewart’s World-Building Workshop Workbook, I’d recommend Scott’s book because it offers a woman’s perspective on the techniques of world-building.  Further, Scott was Harvard-educated, which makes her perspective even more unique.  Her apology, “A brief defense of Science fiction, or why does someone who went to Harvard write this stuff anyway?” is both a humorous and insightful look at how SF is really a way to deal with our essential discomfort about change.

If I’d wanted to go tub-diving in my basement storage, I could have come up with half a dozen more books to recommend, but it takes something really special to make me dare the Rubbermaid jungle 🙂  Yes, I’m a book-addict.  Ask my husband, and if you do, have a beer ready for him to cry into!

Do you have any books on or containing sections of world-building that you’d recommend?  Share in the comments so everyone can benefit!

As a friend of mine says … heading for Bedfordshire.