John G. Hartness
No, I promise this isn’t a complaining post about stupid questions people ask writers. But before I get to the meat of the post, I have a couple of ConCarolinas-related announcements.
1) The Book Launch Party for The Big Bad:An Anthology of Evil will be Friday night at 10:30PM in one of the Programming rooms. Check your program for the exact location. In addition to me, we’ll have my lovely co-editor Emily (PeaFairie) on hand, plus contributors Bobby Nash, James Tuck, Jim Bernheimer, Darin Kennedy, Eden Royce, Nico Serence, Matthew J. Saunders, Jay Requard, S.H. Roddey and more! Come join us for cupcakes, libations and get your copy of The Big Bad autographed by as many people as possible. They’re like Pokemon – gotta catch ‘em all!
2) On Saturday night, I will be hosting a Literate Liquors Live! event! This is more official programming, so check your con [...]
Continue reading Where do you get your ideas?
So, I was reading the book WITHOUT CONSCIENCE while I was traveling to the London Book Fair last month because, as many of you may know, I have a strange fascination for psychopathy. (Not for the reasons you might think — wait, what do you think? The mind boggles.) But because the closest evidence I can find for the existence of the soul is that some people are so clearly born without one.
What on earth does any of this have to do with writing, you may ask. Well, strangely, I found myself flagging a couple of sections for this very blog: “How Not to Write Like a Psychopath.” One section in particular that caught my attention was when the author, Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. was quoting a psychopath asked to describe fear: “I notice that the teller shakes or becomes tongue-tied. One barfed over the money. She must have [...]
Continue reading How Not to Write Like a Psychopath
[Warning: This post touches on an emotional political issue in order to illustrate a point. I do NOT want the comments on this post to devolve into political debate. This is ultimately a post about writing and character work. Please refrain from commenting on the political stuff beyond how it relates to character work. Comments that are polemical or divisive, whether or not they agree with my personal political views, will be deleted. Thank you. We now return to our regularly scheduled Monday post...]
There is a moment late in the second Thieftaker book, Thieves’ Quarry (due out July 2 from Tor), in which my protagonist, Ethan Kaille, explains to another character all that has happened in the previous days and how the magic wielded by the “bad guy” contributed to a series of attacks and deaths. When he is finished, he and the character in question have the following [...]
Continue reading On Writing and Creativity: Who Are Our Characters?
Diana Pharaoh Francis
What do you do when you read a book (or start reading it) that everyone on the planet seems to like and get and you don’t?* Stop reading is the obvious answer, but I’m a writer, and I can’t stand the idea of giving up on a book. I also hate thinking that I’m not getting the book somehow. That I’m at fault, because if everyone else is falling in love with the book, why can’t I? It’s also a writerly quirk where I want to dissect the way a book works. I don’t dissect books that I like because I enjoy them and because it’s easy to see what works (for me, that is). It’s really tough to figure out how a book works if you don’t like it. Especially that hard-to-define something that captures the heart and imagination of a reader. That something that we all want to [...]
Continue reading Only Words Will Show the Way
John G. Hartness
I want to talk a little today about jealousy, and surrounding yourself with people that are better than you at your chosen profession, avocation, whatever. Some of this comes from seeing that Jim Butcher has been added to the guest list at Dragon*Con, and I’m super-excited about hopefully getting the chance to meet the guy who inspired a lot of The Black Knight Chronicles, and heavily influenced my writing style. I’m also a little nervous, because not just is Butcher responsible for a large chunk of the urban fantasy genre, but he’s also responsible for putting a lot of the snark that I love into the format as well.
Obviously I’m a fan of Butcher’s work, not just The DresdenFiles, but the Codex Alera stuff as well. And I’m also jealous as hell of his talent. You see, Butcher can do something that I have a very difficult time doing [...]
Continue reading A little jealousy – a good thing?
On Monday, our own Mindy Klasky started a series on how she writes a synopsis, which I am dying to read because … uh … I have no idea how I do it. I mean, I do it, I write them, but I don’t know if I do it right. I know I must have my own way of constructing a synopsis because I have never read anyone else’s synopsis. Synopses. (shrugs) I’ve learned a lot from the other writers here at MagicalWords.net, and I am looking forward to her process.
Through MW, I have discovered one major way in which Mindy and David (and probably everyone else for that matter) do character research and planning in the pre-writing phase. They have their characters histories fully fleshed out, sometimes down to their childhood sports injuries, their pets’ names, the schools they went to (the characters, not the pets) and their [...]
Continue reading Character Preparation … Stuff I Don’t Do
On Friday night, I finally saw the new(ish) movie version of The Hobbit — the Peter Jackson version that came out earlier this year. I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, despite their flaws, and I was looking forward to seeing what Jackson did with The Hobbit. To be honest, I have been excited about this movie since I first heard that it was being made, and my excitement only increased when I learned that the marvelous Martin Freeman would be playing Bilbo Baggins.
I am sad to say that I found the movie stunningly disappointing. Let me pause here to make clear that I am not a movie purist. I was fine with many of the decisions Jackson made in his retelling of LOTR, including those that strayed from the books as written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not believe that a movie director [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Book Identity, and Why I Didn’t Like THE HOBBIT Movie