Monthly Archives: March 2013

Game of Thrones

I’m taking a break from talking about myself and the random things I decide to post in order to discuss one of my favorite shows (and book series), Game of Thrones.

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Now if you don’t know about the show or books (and if you do, this song will already be playing in your head), listen to this song while reading the rest of this short post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7L2PVdrb_8 I think many, if not most people, can agree The Song of Ice and Fire series (just game of thrones if you stick to tv) is a masterpiece. There are well developed characters and more plot twists than you can imagine…or be prepared for. In a genre that was starting to become bland and predictable, Martin took it up a notch. It is a great thing for fantasy loves, and for non-fantasy people as well. Anytime there is great writing or tv, it helps improve the quality of everything else. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the new history channel shows, The Bible and Vikings. While Vikings is heavily taking from Game of Thrones, the Bible takes some of its stylistic elements as well. And in the end, that helped improve both of those shows. The same can be said of writing. Fantasy writers now have to steer away from the generic plot that has been used since Tolkien. It has made for some fantastic books with deeper plots and richer characters.

I really don’t know what else to say about Game of Thrones besides: read it, watch it, love it. Once you do, you’ll see some great fantasy and will instantly be drawn into the genre. If you are already a fan like me, then tomorrow is season 3! Let’s get ready for some good fantasy!!

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Talking about Fantasy

Despite the name of this blog, it seems I have never once talked about fantasy. I thought that was due for a change, after all, I write fantasy, the blog says I live in other worlds, so…yeah…here we go!

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I think fantasy is fun (obviously) and I will go out on a limb and say every single in this person in this world has created a fantasy world. Ever thought about being able to freeze time? You have a fantasy world. Ever thought about getting that great job? While possibly a future reality, if you don’t have it, then that is still a world of fantasy. What do I mean? Let’s look at the job example. By thinking of yourself in that awesome job, thinking of what would happen, thinking of the house you don’t have but would get, thinking of all the great stuff that would happen, you have created a fantasy world (i.e. one that currently does not exist). Ah but wait, there’s no dragons!!!

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Well add some in…or don’t, it really doesn’t matter. Fantasy is a closer to all of us then some would like to think. But, that’s fine, in fact, it’s needed. The world is brutal. We all need something to keep us going, and imagining a different world, whether it is one full of dragons and magic or simply one with a better job, helps us get through the tough times. So enjoy those worlds, whether they are your creation or not. And if you are wondering how they are created, then you have a good question! We’ll be taking a look at that in the future and see what I do when I create a new fantasy world.

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Publishing and Doom and Gloom, Oh the Horror!

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How many times have you heard the publishing industry is doomed? How many times have you heard writers don’t make money…eh well…good money? It seems everywhere you turn, there is doom and gloom. Just look at this article.

http://www.salon.com/2013/03/15/hey_amazon_wheres_my_money/

What is a writer to do?!? First, I think we should all take a deep breath. How many times was the world supposed to end? I think we dodged a nuclear war or two, the Y2K robot invasion, a rapture (which may or may not have been averted by the Macho Man Randy Savage. If you don’t get that one, just check out this short video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3kDSv-kABM), and of course the 2012 doomsday. While I eagerly await the 112th pope doom prophesy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_the_Popes), I think we can rest assured that the earth is not coming to an end anytime soon. The same with the publishing industry. Don’t believe me? Ok, take a look at this.

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2013/03/joe-konrath-says-kdp-select-made-him.html?spref=tw&buffer_share=af779&utm_source=buffer

Ah! So writers do make money! And, while 50 Shades of Gray is a travesty and I loathe every inch of the thing (bad writing and plots, much like Twilight, does that to me), it does prove that books can sell and the publishing industry is doing just fine. I know you are wondering about self publishing versus traditional. I won’t get into that at this time (hint, I still like the traditional publishing method). But for right now, we can relax knowing the publishing industry will survive…at least until that pope prophesy comes true…

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I’m not a Writer, I’m a Translator

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Wow, don’t get too upset! I didn’t meant I was changing professions, I’m kinda…sorta happy as a writer (course I would be happier if the money was better, but that is a whole different topic). What I meant is that when I write, I’ve come to think of myself as a translator. Let me explain.

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Why a translator? Why would a writer equate himself with that? Well, maybe I am crazy or different or both (I very well could be), but when I write, I am not throwing down words and hoping it works out, I’m describing the scenes I see in my head and trying to translate the visual to the written. It happens with short stories and novels, with almost any writing really. I’ve made it a rule that before I start a novel or short story, I need to have a full movie reel playing up there, constantly showing me the scenes and what happens. Sometimes they change, sometimes a better idea comes along, and that’s fine. But, when it solidifies, when the scenes become too much and I really REALLY want to write, I wait. When the fire to write is gone, then I start my job as a translator. Why wait? Think if you were an actual translator. Do you think it would be easier going to a script or what someone said and translating or doing it as they were saying it? Some might like the under pressure method, but not me. I like to let it simmer. Then I can look at it and finally write it down. And that’s it, I translate those scenes, construct some pretty, pretty sentences, and attempt to transcribe what I see in my head. I think a lot is lost, as in most translations, but if I can put write down just 1% of the awesomeness in my head, then I’m a happy man.

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Good News Everyone!

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I hadn’t expected to post today, but I just found out some great news (it’s a little late, but better late than never I guess). My short story, “Showdown” has been published in eFantasy’s February issue! This fun piece combines some old west (everyone loves Tombstone, right?), magic, and shadows that just love eating human souls. I’ll throw the link at the bottom if anyone is interested at taking a look. Feel free to ask me any questions about the story or anything else. Always happy to answer!

http://www.efictionmag.com/efantasy/

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Short Sentences: Just Get to the Point (errr period) Already!

As promised, today we get to look at short sentences. Hurray! See? Short. What makes up a short sentence…well besides the obvious requirement of brevity? Let’s take a look.

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The picture speaks a thousand words. Unlike a long sentence that keeps you moving, never allowing you to really stop and digest what has just happened, the short sentence does just the opposite. It’s a punch. It makes you stop and take in what has just happened. The short sentence has a power to it, one that can’t be underestimated. Let’s look at an example. “John wept.” Two words, not much to read, but boy does it say a lot. You don’t need to describe tears running down his face or the emotion he is feeling, those two words summed up everything.

But, short sentences, much like long ones, can’t live on their own. Long and short sentences need each other. I’m going to take the example from before, mesh it together with a new one, and I think you’ll see why. “Ducks quacked, pigeons bobbed their heads, pecking out stray pieces of bread, sparrows swayed in the branches and chirped to the rhythm of a distant saxophone. An old man, back bent, hand trembling, walked to the pond and threw pieces of bread for the ducks. John watched the ducks swim away, watched the old man’s legs shake, watched his cane rattle, watched him turn and shuffle to a bench. John wept.” Not the best example, obviously combining two sentences that weren’t meant to be together isn’t going to turn out well, but I think it still demonstrates how long and short sentences interact.

That being said, don’t forget the medium length sentences (don’t worry, there won’t be a post on those). They should be the foundation of any writing. The short and long sentences are there to help stop the piece from turning monotonous, and while they can be amazing, they shouldn’t be the main focus. So next time you are reading or writing, look out for those long sentences. Find the short ones. It’ll make everything a little more enjoyable.

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Long Sentences: Big, Bold, and Beautiful

I told you I would come back and talking about writing, now whether this is a good thing or not can still be debated. But today, I want to look at long sentences and what makes them so darn awesome.

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Ah but don’t worry, it isn’t so bad. Let’s take a look at a long sentence I wrote recently (and it might not be the best, in fact, I expect everyone to tear it apart). “Ducks quacked, pigeons bobbed their heads, pecking out stray pieces of bread, sparrows swayed in the branches and chirped to the rhythm of a distant saxophone.” So what makes this long sentence, or any other one, so special? In that one sentence, we see a blur of sensations. We are whisked through the scenery, seeing it in a blur, the same as the character would. There is no reason to stop and explain every action these birds are taking. Instead, we get the picture, and because of the commas, because you can’t pause for too long in the middle of one really really long sentence like the one I am writing right now, we have to read through it quickly. It’s beautiful, especially when the character is feeling an emotional rush. Also, longer sentences can vary in their lengths, which can help break up the monotony of a paragraph or even a page. But, let’s not get swept away by long sentences. Short ones are just as wonderful. And next time, we’ll see what they can do for a piece.

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