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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Blog Update! + Writers of the Future!!!

Hello there! A couple of years ago I decided to stop blogging in order to focus on improving my fiction, and, well, I just won Writers of the Future, so that seems to have worked. Given that, I figure its time to dust off the old blog and start posting weekly (or biweekly...or monthly...we'll see...) …

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Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 4 of 5 stars In The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro tackles the ethics of memory. The central question of the novel concerns whether it is better to forget old hurts or to remember them. Is a shallow, immediate life lacking the depths of a recollected past--and with …

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Why I switched from League of Legends to Heroes of the Storm

Recently my wife and I returned to the United States from Taiwan, which for me in part meant reconnecting with my gaming friends from high school and college. Back in the day we spent endless hours playing MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), beginning with the original DotA, then Heroes of Newerth, then League of Legends …

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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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Knight Falls

Excellent post from my writing group mate Patrick Woods over on the Taipei Writer’s Group blog.

Taipei Writers Group

391885631_1ad5886be4_bWhen I was around 14 years old, part of my English class involved quiet reading. We all had a book from the school library, and read it for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. The book I was reading made me laugh so hard I couldn’t contain it. The mirth just forced its way out as stifled giggles, snorts, and teary silent shaking. The people near by kept looking at me like I was having some kind of fit.

That book was Witches Abroad, by Terry (later, and most deservedly, Sir Terry) Pratchett, who died this week aged 66.

It wasn’t the first Discworld book I’d read. I was introduced to Discworld via Audiobooks, which back then were books on cassette. Tony Robinson read abridged versions that were about 3 hours long. I laughed my way through these, then later bought the books and realised there was so much more –…

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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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What’s wrong with Present Tense?

Taipei Writers Group

Recently I’ve been working on a short story to submit to this quarter’s Writers of the Future contest. The story is a gothic fantasy, set in an alternate world which is dominated by flintlock weapons as well as faerie, divine, and demonic magic. I’ve actually written two stories set in this world, and I’ve been working on an outline for a novel with the same setting.

Overall, I like it a lot. But there is a wrinkle: For whatever reason, when I write in this world, I want to write in Present Tense.

I don’t even understand why. Honestly, for whatever reason, I just like the “sound” of the Present Tense within this world. For example: “In the Clandestine Market, one can buy all manner of hidden things” sounds better to me in the context of this story and world than “In the Clandestine Market, one could buy all manner of…

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