Writing: Solutions shouldn’t be a conversation

I am reading a series where about half the book would be cut out if characters would just say shit aloud. “I don’t like this plan because I feel like…” would literally prevent half the plot points. And they keep doing it. It has made me close the book, stand up, and walk away muttering darkly more than once. And this isn’t uncommon. In movies and in books. A simple conversation could solve so many issues. And I know why so many times it gets used. Sometimes because it’s easy. But other times, I remind myself it’s real. My mother and I were talking about this the other day, how boundaries are hard because they require open, clear communication and that is hard. It’s hard to tell someone you love what you need or an outright, “No.” It’s definitely something I think I am going to try to be aware of. There are times when I have seen it used

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Writing: Appropriation

I recently watched Raya and the Last Dragon (I know, I’m slow on these things). I wanted to see it because it said “dragon” in the title AND because I’ve heard some stuff about appropriation in it. Some hub-bub around the film’s release said it was insensitive to other cultures. You know, Disney perhaps not being known for their cultural sensitivity… I get it. Mulan is…. well it is based on Chinese legend but VERY westernized. Specifically, when I use this term I mean social appropriation, which Dictionary.com says is: the adoption, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers from subcultures or minority communities into mainstream culture by people with a relatively privileged status. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cultural-appropriation Examples include white people wearing clothing/styles of Native Americans, or (white people) making art based on African cultural style(s). You have probably heard some of these things. In the past several years, there have been conversations about people dressing as Michael Jackson (if you aren’t

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Writing: NaNoWriMo plug

I am not sponsored. Especially by a 501(c) non-profit. I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for years now. I have rarely “won,” but I keep trying. It’s a fun exercise if nothing else. A challenge. And even if you are not a writer, I would like to shout out the organization, because they do so much more than just entertain me every year. They manage a Young Writer’s Program for K-12 educators to use. This includes classroom kits, workbooks, and more. Getting them creating early and addict them…. I mean educate them in the love of writing. It’s also quite the community both in person (though not in 2020 and at least in Atlanta most of the “Come Write In” events are listed as virtual) and digital. There are regional volunteers who help wrangle the events and community. Seriously, if you have a few bucks to spare this month, I would encourage you to potentially donate to

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Short Story: Becoming

I am trying to write short stories. They may not be very good because they are fast and rarely edited. I would love feedback regardless – what do you like? What confuses you? Do you like the POV or should it have been different? To anyone who gives me feedback – THANK YOU. The prickle of the pine cone made her shift, sliding the offending matter out from next to her, poking into her bare thigh. She looked up at the tree and slowly took a deep breath. She picked up the ice carefully in one hand and brought it hard across her other. The sharp tang of blood filled the air. The rivulet poured down her forearm. She used the wounded hand to slice her other hand, blood now running down both wrists and pooling in front of her knees. She kept silent, placing both bleeding palms on the largest root she could find. The metallic scent of blood

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Writing: Science Fiction Evolution

I am reading some classic science fiction (Foundation Triology) and have found an understanding why I didn’t enjoy science fiction as much as fantasy when I was younger. There is a trend in the genre to be plot, world, and science focused with characters only being a carrier for these things to be explored. Asimov, Heinlein, Butler, and even Douglas Adams. It generally isn’t the characters we love and quote from these authors. Dune was an interesting books, but I didn’t connect with any specific character. The world, the politics, the exploration of different societies on different worlds feels like a core to book. Heinlein’s characters are notoriously flat and repetitive (if I read 3 Heinlein books in a row, I begin to confuse names they are so alike). Butler’s book I read was amazing and emotional, but it wasn’t the characters. Then I compare to the fantasy I loved when I was young: Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Mary Herbert,

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Writing: Fearless vs. Brave

This idea came to me because my son is taking swimming lessons at the local YMCA. The age range is 6-36 months, and he is probably one of the older kids in the lesson. The younger kids are fearless. I’m having to teach mine to be brave. It’s a fine difference and yet another example of the beauty of the English language. Fearless – without fear. The younger kids do not imagine danger in the water and thus they show no fear. My child has moments of fearlessness, and then moments where I can see his little mind working through the fears. He must learn to be brave. Watching this human dynamic really was so fascinating. At this age, they can’t mask their feelings, so I got a great view of the variations. It’s a spectrum, not an “on” or “off” setting on a person. I think about some of the protagonists (and villains) I’ve written and consider whether they

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Writing: Backstory

This may never show up in the novel it is for. I don’t know. I kind of like the “start with some intriguing backstory of the world” introduction to a novel. I get mildly frustrated when it’s clear there is “known lore” in the world that the characters all just know but it takes the author AGES to finally tell ME (the reader). I also like a world-history deep enough people go “oooh, I want to see that story written out too.” Twelve hundred and eighty two years ago the great age of magic ended. It was called the magical bane; within minutes every man, woman and child with the mage talent died. Their spells unraveled, their magical compulsions snapped, and many magically created creatures escaped their enclosures. Deals with demons caused the greatest havoc as those deals were not ended properly, the demons did not get the souls of the magicians they had contracted with. No one knows how

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Writing: Auditory reading

Over Christmas time I re-listened to Going Postal and Making Money (Terry Pratchett). One of the reasons I love the audiobooks for Pratchett is his play on words. Pratchett doesn’t just use the English language. Pratchett abuses it in the best of ways, and his reader does a brilliant job capturing that. I also recently re-read Ready Player One and because I have listened to the audio book, there were parts I “heard” in Wil Wheaton’s voice. His tone, pronunciations, etc. I think a good reader does that, becomes the character’s voice and sticks with it. There are other books where the reader was not of such high importance. The only reason I know who reads Sanderson’s The Way of Kings series is because they read Wheel of Time and they are the only way I got through WOT was Kate and Michael’s reading it to me. I am listening to a book now called The Diviners and enjoying it. But

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Writing: Urban Fantasy

I’ve tried a few times to write urban fantasy. I find it less than fun even when I like my idea/character/etc. I recently was re-reading something I had written (in this genre) and reached the “damn, I wish I had finished this – I want to read the ending!” (of which there isn’t one) point. It made me start thinking about other urban fantasies. I see there being two styles to urban fantasy. There is the “Harry Potter” style where the magical and the “real” world never meet – and so there is this idea that WE are just “missing” what’s there. I think most urban fantasy seems to fall into this side – Dresden Files, City of Bones, etc. The protagonist finds out or was raised in a world with magic. It collides with the “real world” somehow (usually) and their attempt to be “normal” OR to escape “normal” people. IE, Harry would do anything not be like the

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