I’ve been absent almost all month, and I’m sorry for that. I’ve gotten a grand total of about 150 pages of fiction-reading done this month (I KNOW) and have gotten all-around behind on the blog in general. But I have been trying to keep abreast of the other blogs and news I follow, so here’s a round up for what’s new-to-me.
Interesting and/or education bits and pieces I’ve found while reading my way through the blogosphere, May 2011 edition.
Thoughts on China and Time Travel by Michael Burstein at the Apex Book Company. “The thing is, though, time travel stories can be subversive. The classic time travel scenarios that come to mind are ones in which major historical events are altered, often in order to bring in a better time line for the characters involved.”
Kristen Lamb on Antagonists–The Alpha and Omega of the Story. “As I have said in previous lessons, there is no story without the antagonist. Period. The story IS the antagonist’s agenda. No Buffalo Bill, no Silence of the Lambs. No Darth Vader, and Skywalker doesn’t have a Death Star to destroy. If Joker was a choir boy, Batman’s life would have no meaning.”
Short Stories vs. Novels – natural length and the fractal structure of stories over at TalkToYoUniverse. “I believe in natural length. I began as a novel writer, and for the longest time I was convinced that short stories just weren’t for me. Then, once I started writing them, I learned a lot of things about story structure that I could bring back and apply to my novels.”
At Preternatura, Marlene Stringer talks about authors overdoing it. “The story is there, but it is sterile and flat. It is written in monotone, with the same emotional impact as reading directions. In a quest to get it right, the writer goes over the edge and eviscerates the writing.”
Henry Baum asks Is Science Fiction Right Wing? at Grasping for the Wind. “As a writer of dystopian fiction of a somewhat liberal bent, I have recently begun to feel very alone. My novel’s inspired by conspiracy theory, demented government, and dystopia – which suddenly have become the avenue of the right.”
Chicago vs AP et al.: Can’t We Just Be Friends? The Subversive Copy Editor asks an important question. “Here at the Chicago Manual of Style, I’ve been dismayed by recent talk online about discord between the major style manuals: tweets from the ACES conference calling for an “AP vs. Chicago smackdown”; a new blog called “AP vs. Chicago.””
The Character Therapist talks character stereotypes. Specifically, The Doormat. “What makes someone so passive? What motivates these people to accept being taken advantage of or even being abused? If you have characters in your WIP running ragged and flagging out because they can’t say no, you need to have a plausible reason why they are this way. Below are two potential components for the backstory of a doormat.”
All Those Who Default From the Default Will Be Punished, over at Gay YA. “So, let us discuss the most common fake fictional world of all. It doesn’t involve vampires or werewolves. It involves – well, rent a majority of mainstream movies and you can see it. It’s a world where everyone is a certain way – white, straight, able-bodied – and the really important stories are always a guy’s.”
Rachelle Gardner: Have You Ever Thrown a Book Across the Room? “Then I found out that Really Bad Book had been out for almost a decade, was a perennial strong seller, and had even been made into a movie (direct to DVD). Clearly others had a different opinion than I did.”
Creativity is the Stuff They Don’t Beat Out of You – Kameron Hurley at Night Bazaar. “But see, we get all the unicorn-riding beaten out of our system on the way to becoming “rational, responsible adults.” And that’s a problem.”
For your steampunk enjoyment: Jason and Sam of the Imperial Trouble podcast interview Joe Hernandez and John Strangeway of Penny Dreadful Productions. Be warned: it’s a rambly interview with more than a few entertaining digressions.
Nathan Bransford wants to make sure everyone knows the proper use of the @reply on Twitter. “Do you understand the @Reply? Do you? Are you sure? Do you see my skepticism? DO YOU?!”