Assumptions: Culture and Technology

Along the same lines as my previous post about assumptions, but of a different kind: Why is it that fantasy fiction is, with overwhelming frequency, set in a thinly-disguised version of Dark Ages, or possibly Renaissance, Western Europe? There are exceptions, of course, but this has become a kind of industry standard. Even if there’s no sign of Christianity as such, basic Christian values as understood in the modern mainstream Western world (not the same values as understood in actual medieval Europe) are prevalent. Men have careers and literally wear the trousers; women stay home to mind the fourteen …

Continue reading

Assumptions: Gender and Sex

Everyone has basic assumptions about the world around us. We have to; they’re a part of how we keep functioning. When you’re writing, however, and especially if you’re writing speculative fiction of any sort (speculative fiction is an umbrella term for fantasy, science fiction, and anything else that doesn’t fit precisely into either but is nonetheless outside “normal reality”), it’s a good time to take a look at your own assumptions. Speculative fiction is, after all, about transgressing the normal rules. I’m not going to try to give specific instances of these, mainly because there are so many I’ve long …

Continue reading

Right brain + left brain = magic

Everyone’s perception of the direct process of creativity is going to be unique to them. I experience it in terms of two halves working together – right brain and left brain, for lack of any terminology that works better. The story itself, the content, often feels like it comes from outside of me; I’m just watching the events, writing them down as rapidly as my hand can move. Characters and setting are there, waiting for me to tap into them, and once I tune in properly, the characters go ahead and do their thing. Friends have many times heard me …

Continue reading

Urban Fantasy vs Other-World Fantasy

Creating a world, if you do it right, is time-consuming work, but can be extremely rewarding. On the other hand, urban fantasy has a lot going for it–despite being a bit disorienting for some readers when they encounter it for the first time. In some ways, it’s easier. You can take descriptive short-cuts. If you mention a silver mini-van, your readers are going to visualize it without needing extensive details. Characters can drop by the fridge for a drink, or the hospital emergency room for a crisis. When you’re using a setting in another world, you’re going to have to …

Continue reading

Introductions

There are millions of blogs already in existence, does the world really need another one? No, probably not, but that doesn’t stop anyone else! So why not? What’s this one about? Very simply, it’s about writing. More specifically, writing novel-length fantasy. It isn’t about getting published by a “real publisher”. Nor is it about grammar and fine points of style (though I can’t promise there will never be a post touching on it). It’s about the creative part of the process, when you actually sit down and tell a story, and about the editing process, when you look at the …

Continue reading