Saturday Video: Advice for #Writers – Via Extra Credits’ Places of #Horror

Usually our Videos are from authors talking about their own writing tips and tricks. The writing has varied from science fiction and fantasy, to romance, to comics, but today, I thought it would be fantastic to hear from people whose interest is in writing related to games. This episode of Extra Credits does a wonderful job of exploring settings in horror. While their focus is on horror in gaming, the setting of tone and an understanding of our own fears is discussed and important information regardless of the medium in which you work.

Horror settings fall into two basic categories: places of disempowerment and places of isolation. Places of disempowerment – such as alien worlds and the bottom of the sea – force us into situations where we don’t understand the rules of our environment, and can never tell when our expectations will be suddenly reversed. Places of isolation, like remote cabins and arctic research stations, make sure we know that no one will help us: if we can’t find a way to survive, we will simply die. The inherent terror in these settings can be amplified by giving them a haunted past, such an ancient graveyard or an abandoned asylum, or by making the place itself possessed of malice and willpower that’s directed against those inside it. Finally, these settings can provide psychological landscapes that reflect someone’s inner struggles and fears directly back onto them.


Impostor Syndrome, the Bane of #Writers Everywhere

Imposter-Syndrome-MouseWe’ve all been there. That feeling that suddenly someone is going to come up and say, “I don’t know who let you in, or who said you could call yourself a creative, but you don’t belong. Get out.”  And they say it loudly, so everyone in the crowded room that is made up of everyone you ever knew can clearly hear. And THEN you realize not only are you a crappy writer, but also that you’re naked.  Or wait, is that a different dream?

So how do you fight Impostor Syndrome?  Well, fortunately for us, Awesomely Luvvie has an answer. Complete with gifs!

I’ve included some of her bullet points for you tl;dr folks but seriously, the full post is totally awesome and worth every word. :)  Also, don’t forget to check out some of her other stuff!

Imposter Syndrome is liar, and too many of us have accepted it as truth. How do we fight it? How do we kick it out of our heads, or at least turn the volume down?

I remind myself that:

  1. I’m not the best. I don’t have to be. I am enough.
  2. I’ve worked my ass off. At the minimum, that hard work has earned me a ticket in.
  3. Knowing that there are subpar and mediocre ass people out there who still think they belong in the room that your EXCEPTIONAL ass thinks you don’t deserve to be in.
  4. Even if I happen to be in the room by accident, and by no doing of my own, I AM IN THAT ROOM. It is no longer an accident.


Which Shakespeare Play Should I See (An Awesome Chart from Mya Gosling)

From: http://goodticklebrain.com/home/2016/4/18/which-shakespeare-play-should-i-see-an-illustrated-flowchart. Mya Gosling has some amazing Shakespearian comics you MUST read.

I think the one below is pretty self-explanatory. 😉

Which Shakespeare to See


Re-Writing your #History – #Writing (and Life) Advice from April Thompson

I love this TED Talk! The opening solo bit from Liberty City is a powerful message about telling your own story and not letting others limits, limit you. Something that isn’t easy. The world is filled with “Boundaries, shoulds, woulds, and supposed tos…”  The only real boundary is the breadth and scope of  your imagination.  Now THAT is something to remember.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

The only real limitation is the breadth and scope of  your imagination.


Balticon, a Song of Ice and Fire, and Q&A with George R. R. Martin

Yes, this weekend we are at Balticon in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and it is their 50th anniversary which means there are a LOT of people here and a lot of great authors.  So…from the title, you can guess who one of them was. Over the weekend there are several Q&As and for those of us who didn’t quite make it in to the very crowded rooms, Hamfast42, took some great notes.  You can find them here and here but I put a few of the Q&A stories down below to whet your appetite.

From his Introductory Remarks:

  • In the 70s, GRRM had “six hippy roomates” in Chicago
  • The first time he came to a Baltimore Convention was to “chase women”. Specifically he went to meet up with his now wife Parris.
  • So in 1983, George had a bit more change in his pocket, so he decided to splurge. The harbor in Baltimore has normal padleboats but he poneyed up and rented electric paddleboats. “Something about being out in that harbor made us feel like we were pirates. So we started talking like pirates.” Then he got other boats to talk like pirates. Then he went to a succession of parties where he got everyone to talk like pirates. He even got one of the keynote speakers, Norman Spinrad to talk like a pirate. Soon the whole con was talking like pirates. (Note from Day: There was quite a bit of talking like a pirate THIS YEAR too!)
  • He ended his speech quite nicely with something to the effect of “I want to be remembered not just for my professional work. But also for the time I got a whole con to talk like a pirate.”

From his more informal Q&A:

  • When asked why he doesn’t write “easy black and white villains” he had a lot of good stuff to say. “as a kid i was fed this narrative of good and evil. From all entertainment. Cowboys, comic books, even Tolkien.” But in all these he had a problem with the “externality of evil. Like ugly villains that wore all black.” Like in Vietnam, there are layers and layers of complexity. Not just bad guys and good guys but all these historical groups and complicated factors like colonialism. He didn’t like how some of the blue collar people were taking a very black and white approach of “getting those commies” without thinking critically. But he also didn’t like how the anti war movement was so black and white as well and thought everyone over there were baby killers. The soldiers made the best of the situation they had. “anytime you have more than two people in a group, it becomes very dangerous to generalize.” And in researching Vietnam, some people were “heroic on Tuesday and horrible on Wednesday.” Even in Henry the fifth, a normally great king also kills a bunch of unarmed prisoners. GRRM said that he really wanted to show the complexity of the human condition.

Balticon 50 Banner with dark swordsman and white wolf with bsfs logo


Video Saturday: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Writing Marvel’s Black Panther

This week’s video is not specifically writing advice, but I definitely wanted to hear this and so y’all are getting it too. Considering the popularity of the character in the latest Captain America: Civil War I have a feeling a lot more folks are going to learn about T’Challa.


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