I read Terry Brooks‘ Shannara novels years ago when I was just a teeny tiny girl. I still have vague memories of the Elfstones and the Wishsong. I also just recently discovered the television series on MTV. And now I am passing this video of him giving a TED talk to you. 🙂 “Why I Write about Elves” is a great talk and a wonderful glimpse into his love of genre fiction.
Great video today on writing descriptively from Ted Ed by award-winning author Nalo Hopkinson. Hey, the fact this video starts with these lines…I was hooked.
“Her legs were noodles. She began to question her half culinary existence when she realized her hair was poison needles.”
Award-winning horror novelist Peter Straub talks about writing tools and “tricks” of the trade. He talks about the process by which individuals can improve their own individual craft and how their life is actually “on the page.”
In a series of four videos over an hour, he talks about “5 Rules that Keep you from Looking like an Imbecile.” 🙂 It is a light fun talk. As an example, #1 is: Never begin two sentences in a row with the same word. Never begin two paragraphs in a row with the same word. #2 is Rhymes are not allowed. I think you see the trend. 😉
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.
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.
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.