Weaving Theme from the Beginning of Your Story: Fullmetal Alchemist as a Case Study

I'm going to talk about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood for a bit. Fullmetal Alchemist (specifically the manga and the Brotherhood adaption) is not only one of the greatest anime ever made (fight me) but also one of the most well constructed fantasy stories I've ever encountered. It has everything; likeable yet deeply conflicted protagonists, a really …

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Worldbuilding with Theme in Mind

What is it about secondary world fantasy and science fiction that draws readers in? Why do readers seek out stories that take place in worlds not our own? There are many reasons (possibly as many reasons as there are readers) but one such reason, and the reason I most identify with, is the powerful thematic …

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How do you know when it’s done?

For the last seven months I've been working on the first draft of a novel. Because I fall further on the discovery writer side of the discovery/outline spectrum, I start long projects like this with goals but no clear plan in mind for the ending. As I write and the story develops I usually know …

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Writing While EXTREMELY BUSY

Last week I started a masters degree in teaching. It's a one-year accelerated program meant for people who already have a degree in something other than education and want to get a teaching certificate as quickly as possible. I have enjoyed my experiences teaching in the past, and I feel a weird sort of responsibility …

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On Submission, Self-Esteem, and Persistence

Recently I was talking with some friends, also writers, about the submission process. Specifically we were discussing the impact of rejection letters on our psychology and productivity. Rejection is something that writers, especially young writers desperate to get their foot in the door of the publishing industry, often talk about sardonically. We joke about piles …

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Worldbuilding: Designing a Creature

Leading off from my last post about worldbuilding the little details, I thought I'd write briefly about creating creatures, which is one of my favorite aspects of worldbuilding for fantasy settings. In this post I will briefly discuss how I go about creating fantasy creatures, using this charming little guy as an example: That is …

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Worldbuilding: The Little Details

Recently, while giving me feedback on a story, LL Phelps of the Taipei Writer's Group asked me about worldbuilding, and specifically how I go about filling my fantasy worlds with details. I like to think that I'm pretty good at "little details" worldbuilding, and I've spent a lot of time practicing working it into my speculative …

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Girls are People Too, ya dingus! — or, How Buffy the Vampire Slayer taught me Empathy

As an early twenties male who has been writing fantasy and sci-fi since my early teenage years, I identified strongly with this blog post by Robert Jackson Bennett which I recently encountered through Twitter. The basic gist of it is that many male fantasy and sci-fi writers have a hard time writing female characters because it …

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How Narrative Fiction can Enhance Music, and Vice Versa.

When I was younger, my parents tried their best to help me develop a musical life. I remember my first piano lesson with my father--around five or six years old, I would guess--and both the excitement preceding it, the first few enthusiastic practice sessions, and the eventual frustration with my parent's well-meaning encouragement to practice …

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