When is it Time to Stop World Building? Outlining?

I, like many beginning fantasy writers, suffer from an over-fondness for world building. It was the worlds that drew me to fantasy, the exploration, discovery, wonder, and, to a significant extent, the fact that nobody I knew lived there. But world-building is not story, and jamming too much of the world into the beginning of a story alienates some readers. (I know, I don’t get it either.) But how much world building is enough?
Continue reading

Incubating a Story Idea

As I wrote last week, I recently decided to abandon editing my long-standing work-in-progress, a multi-POV story that was intended to be the first in a long, involved series, and try something a little more appropriate to my experience level. I wanted a story with a smaller central cast and a single POV character, so I could really focus on his characterization and arc. That meant that I needed a whole new story and for the first time since 2011, I faced a truly blank page. It was time to get to work.
Continue reading

Changing Seasons: Akita Style

One of the romantic things about living in Japan is just how much life changes with the seasons. Decorating color schemes change to match the prominent flora, and conversations about seasonal foods do not start and end with pumpkin spice lattes. The cuisine actually does change based on the produce cycle. This is the time of roasted sweet potatoes sold from trucks that meander through rural streets, and simmering hot pots.

Of course, greetings change with the season, too, as I was reminded this morning.
Continue reading

First Pass Editing Notes Done!

On the bus ride home from work today, as Saint Saens’ “Danse Macabre” played appropriately on my iPod, I put the finishing touches on my first revision notes fore Banner of the King! Boy, was that ever a long and boring process. Tomorrow, I begin the possibly longer process of applying said notes to my manuscript.
Here’s how I’m going about the first pass editing, presented not because I think it’s the right way to do things, but because . . . eh, for the hell of it. S’why I blog anyway.
Continue reading

Statue of Limitations

Earlier this week, my boss came back from a meeting of the 10th Anniversary Committee and pointedly commented that only one person in the office had contributed to the committee’s fundraising effort, and that was him. The room was suddenly awash with “Oh, right, that” faces, but I just looked confused. I arrived on the job after the fundraising campaign began and nobody mentioned it to me, but that’s not an excuse. Even if they had, I wouldn’t have donated. The only difference is that it would have been a deliberate decision. I don’t donate money to anything unless someone can show me exactly how my money will be used for a concrete contribution to a cause that I believe in.*

Setting aside the waste of time that is celebrating an institutional anniversary, the only thing I’ve seen out of the committee so far is a statue. And statues are bullshit.
Continue reading

Write me a Book, You’re the Writer Man

Because I’m in the mood for a [fill in genre of your choice], and you sound like you’re actually listening.

The problem is that I am listening and I’m highly suggestible. Always have been. My psychiatrist, a nice Scotch fellow, tells me that it’s the result of being raised by someone who never missed an opportunity to ram her opinion down everyone else’s throat. Go through that long enough and you learn to bury your own opinions and desires deep inside and just nod along because it means that the conversation will be over soon. But that’s a defense mechanism that can be taken too far- you forget to let the other opinions slide off, and you lose yourself deep inside.
Continue reading

Where is This Blog Going, Anyway

I had these lofty expectations when I started this thing, I think. I was going to write insightful crap about my journey as a writer, share my experience with all of you, and leave a record of the path of one aspiring writer on his way to stardom- or wherever this train goes.

Turns out, that’s hard work. So, I’m going to try something different.
Continue reading

A New Computer and my Upcoming Schedule

I’m back! No, really.

I took my Windows XP machine offline back in April when Microsoft stopped support because I had no interest in risking my precious novels. Since then, my only internet access has been a Nexus tablet- also my primary writing device. Well, that works fine for rough drafts, but for anything that requires any small amount of editing, nothing beats having a mouse available. I’m still too fat-fingered to go entirely touch screen.
Continue reading