mbarker: (MantisYes)
Writing Excuses 5.15: Steampunk with Scott Westerfeld


Key points: Steampunk is Victorian science fiction, extrapolated without restriction to current notions of possibility. It's also very tactile. Fashions and manners and brass and chrome and leather. Plus flamethrowers. Not just a literary genre. To write Steampunk, start with alternate history world building, and add other technologies -- crazy weird stuff. The familiar and the strange. Do your research, but don't bury the characters and the story under the world. "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong." Cherie Priest.
Under the steam robot clanking... )
[Howard] Final piece of advice for us, Scott? For writers who want to embrace the steamy punkiness of the Victorian era?
[Brandon] Or just any writing advice?
[Scott] Well, I'll quote Cherie Priest. "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong."
[Brandon] Writing prompt is Tesla is President. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
a.k.a. is that opportunity or poverty knocking?

Toyokawa, the editor from Shonen Publications, sat in Shigeru's workroom and said, "Really, Sensie, Shonen Land would like you to draw for us." In the kitchen, Fumie gritted her teeth as she watched Shigeru and held onto Uraki. This was their big chance. The sketch of the white ribbon danced in its frame.
An offer you can't refuse? )
Fumie turned and looked. Toyokawa stood there, with his briefcase, a bundle, and his jacket in one arm. He had his shirtsleeves rolled up, and wiped at his face with a handkerchief. His tie was still tied, although it was a bit rumpled. He smiled at Fumie.

<to be continued>

This episode ended with a series of bits from the upcoming week again. Shigeru in a suit, the pawnshop man exclaiming "What?", Toyokawa saying, "We need comics that are more interesting than television." Both sets of parents cheering. Shigeru asleep at his desk, surrounded by piles of sketches.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Writing Excuses Season Three Episode Eight: What Star Trek Did Right


Key points: If you are going to twist a genre or bend expectations for a surprise, do it early. Character climaxes resonate with audiences. A cabbage head character, a Watson, a naive person can help readers learn. Use hooks to help readers identify the characters, but character development to help them identify with them. Characters in conflict with themselves can be fascinating. Paired arcs can cross and support each other. A prosaic setting can help non-science-fiction readers get oriented fast. Use the setting to provide subtle hints to the passage of time. Spock is not a rooster.
Behind the crossed spaceships )
[Just the writing prompt]
[Howard] I don't want to give people a Star Trek writing prompt. No, that's good. Start with iconic Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Start with those iconic characters and then make them your own characters with their own justifications. Spock cannot be an elf... or a rooster. Now you're out of excuses. Go write.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
By virtue of the authority vested in me by being a reader of science fiction and fantasy, I hereby join in Sharon Lee (and others) declaration of June 23 as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day!

Let the celebration begin!
Celebratory Ideas )
Go, celebrate today, recognizing that every day Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers are at work somewhere just for you. So let's give them a day to remember!
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Tell your friends, tell your booksellers, tell everyone!

As explained right over here, Sharon Lee invites everyone to join in celebrating Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers (that would be the people who write the books and stories that we all read) on June 23.

So plan to thank a writer that day. To blog where speculative fiction has never been blogged about before? To read a book for the cause? Anyway, to give three cheers for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers on this very special day.

Please pass this meme along to make Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day bigger and better than ever! (All right, so the first one is automatically the biggest and best yet. But still, pass the meme, please?:-)
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
During our recent trip to a conference in the US, I noticed at least two people reading books. One was perusing Mike Resnick's Purgatory, while the other was devouring something by Nora Roberts. And oddly, when they noticed that I was looking at them, both seemed intent on hiding their books.
a bit of background, but no plot . . . )
I read science fiction. Publicly and with pride. Maybe I should get pins or ribbons - or bookmarks! - made and hand them out, rewarding these people for reading in public. After all, other people talk, watch TV, listen to music (and sometimes croon along), knit, or engage in other hobbies in public.

Why shouldn't people read in public?
mbarker: (Me typing?)
The short version: Good science fiction uses science as a stage for examining human relationships and emotions at the point where we start feeling emotional about technology. So sayeth Alex Terzich, in the midst of a lengthy essay. But is that really what good science fiction is all about?
More musings . . .  )

Good or bad, science certainly play a part in science fiction. And thinking about exactly what that role is might just be useful for a writer of the stuff, right?

May 2017

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