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Topics - cupiscent

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Writers' Corner / Characters with a mind of their own
« on: January 03, 2020, 03:19:51 AM »
A friend sent me a very interesting article and at the risk of breaking my beautiful stat of having only started a dozen topics, I thought it might also be of interest to other writers here and/or make for some interesting discussion, so...

How do some authors lose control of their characters? by Jim Davies over on LitHub.

The core question is an interesting one to start with - are you one of those writers whose characters take over? Are you always in control? (...did you have imaginary friends as children?)

I also found the ideas about brain-automation fascinating, and I think it probably has a lot to do with the idea of "writing habits" being essential, allowing your brain to automate / grow accustomed to patterns of creativity and thinking in certain ways.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / GoodReads Choice final round for 2019
« on: November 21, 2019, 11:58:18 PM »
So, what do we think of the field of finalists that's emerged for the GoodReads Choice for fantasy this year?

I am all thumbs up for Priory of the Orange Tree so I hope it goes romping home. I note that Black Leopard Red Wolf is also up there.

I was particularly interested in this year's field because there's a common gripe that the category gets dominated by paranormal romance, and this year I'm only seeing two urban fantasies with likely significant romantic elements (though I imagine the Cassie Clare also has a significant romantic component) and they're from authors who have major followings.

Open For Submissions / Silk and Steel anthology
« on: November 09, 2019, 10:18:28 PM »
Not sure where this should go, so please feel free to move it if there's somewhere more appropriate... :)

A bunch of splendid people (including three agent-sibs of mine, and also Aliette de Bodard and Django Wexler) are kickstarting an anthology of spec-fic stories about "warriors and beauties" that sounds downright splendid. It's called Silk and Steel and I'm linking it here partly in case people wanted to get in on funding it (though they are smashing their targets) but also because there's going to be an open call for submissions once it's funded, and I thought some people might be interested in submitting.

Alternative title: Help me with my homework! :D Well, not really, but I'm going to be on a panel at the local convention (Continuum; if you're in Melbourne on the Queen's Birthday weekend, pop by and say hi!) on this topic, so I thought I would lean on the fantasy-knowledge and thoughts of the lovely community here to make sure I was well-prepared. I actually suggested this panel topic, so I feel some slight pressure to look like I know what I'm talking about...  ::)

I suggested it with some of my favourite fantasy of recent years in mind - Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities, Lara Elena Donnelly's Amberlough et al. Stories that are set in a world that is absolutely and fundamentally not ours, but also definitely more modern in sensibility or technology. (It occurs to me as I type this that Dan Polansky's Low Town would also fit in here.) I am very keen to hear if there are other books - or other media, recent or otherwise - that spring to mind as examples of this sort of thing.

I have really been enjoying finding these sorts of books; it feels like a fresh trend, an exciting exploration of societies and lives that feel more relatable to my own, but still with that fantasy-fiction wonder. I like the way the fantasy turn on modernity allows the separation from "reality" and therefore a closer examination of how things are or could be. (I like Pratchett's Discworld for similar reasons.)

How about all y'all? Do you like this sort of thing? Hate it passionately? Tell me all about it!

Writers' Corner / Free "Plotting your novel" ebook
« on: October 04, 2018, 01:51:29 PM »
Hi folks. Janice Hardy over at Fiction University - a blog that I follow because I find the writing advice cogent and helpful - is offering her "Plotting your novel" book for free for the first two weeks of October. I actually find her advice so helpful that I bought the book in hardcopy, and while I can't say I use it religiously, I find it very useful for angles to consider, and especially helpful in planning revisions.

Take advantage of the offer over here.

Writers' Corner / Online creative writing at Coursera - NaNo Prep course
« on: August 04, 2018, 01:20:21 AM »
Hello writers! Last year, I talked a little about doing the NaNoWriMo prep writing course with Wesleyan University, through Coursera. They are running it again this year! I know J.R. Darewood (...how do I @ him with that username??) was interested in this, but I thought others might be too.

The course is specially offered for NaNo prep, and it's got a broad literary-fiction focus, but I found the classes and advice very applicable to writing fantasy, and there's certainly no looking down on genre. I remain unclear on whether you need to pay to fully participate in the course - i.e. to submit assignments and have them critiqued by peers and engage in full discussion - but you can certainly "audit" the course for free, which means you can listen to all classes and get all exercises. I found this entirely adequate for my needs. (Checking the email I just got, it suggests that if you do want to pay for full access, there's a 50% discount for NaNo members.)

Class starts on September 1st, but if you enrol, you can access the material any time for the next six months, and work through at your own pace (especially if you aren't doing the full participation route).

You can enroll for the course over here. There's a good FAQ at the bottom of that page, which includes an overview of the courses on offer. Or, if you'd like to ask me any questions about my experience with the course, hit me up here or drop me a PM. :)

I just saw on GoodReads that the next--and apparently, last--book in Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series has a title and a cover and a release date -- details here!

I am very excited about this, and I know there are a couple of other fans of this series in here as well, so I thought I would share.

I'm excited at the idea of Gen back in the thick of the story, I'm excited by the widened scope of the previous book, I'm just plain eager to know how she wraps it all up!

I did consider just tagging this on the end of our last discussion about piracy etc, but the little warning came up about not-posted-in-for-120-days and I thought, I'm not Eclipse, I'll just make a new one. ;)

Maggie Stiefvater - author of the Raven Cycle, a YA urban fantasy series which I am occasionally heard to blather about - tweeted an interesting thread yesterday about how piracy of her books made her publisher cancel a planned box-set-with-extra-content. Today's she's added to the story with a really interesting blog post providing some harder examples on those claims, and her personal experience with the big impact of piracy right now.

From the blog post:
The Ronan trilogy nearly didn’t exist because of piracy. And already I can see in the tags how Tumblr users are talking about how they intend to pirate book one of the new trilogy for any number of reasons, because I am terrible or because they would ‘rather die than pay for a book’. As an author, I can’t stop that. But pirating book one means that publishing cancels book two. This ain’t 2004 anymore. A pirated copy isn’t ‘good advertising’ or ‘great word of mouth’ or ‘not really a lost sale.’

I'm really interested in this phenomenon. The Raven Cycle was really big--like, huge--with the online fangirl community. This is a potentially really great market, because they get excited, and they pass that excitement around virally. But this is also a very internet-savvy market, and often a very cash-poor market, and those things definitely combine to create an environment ripe for piracy. (In addition, I wonder how the effect of being steeped in a free content culture--that of fanfiction--creates a sense of entitlement to free content. And I say this as someone who is big into fanfiction and that culture.) So I was really interested to read about Stiefvater's experiments with actual sales implications.

Writers' Corner / Online spec fic webinar with CS Pacat
« on: October 15, 2017, 03:27:51 AM »
Hey crew, I know I mentioned the workshop I was doing with CS Pacat in a couple of places, and I know some interest was expressed in some of the ideas I was passing along, so I figured I would let you all know about this opportunity.

CS Pacat is doing an online webinar as part of Writers Victoria's Digital Writers Festival, entitled Plotting a Speculative Fiction Page Turner. She's noted in response to questions in twitter that the session will be covering plotting and her concept of narrative traction, which I count as one of the highlights of the longer workshop I did with her, so I highly recommend this for anyone who's after a little practical advice in plotting out or revising a novel.  Because it's online, it's internationally available, though that might depend on what the time works out to be in your part of the world - I am not sure they're going to make a recording available, but perhaps you could ask if it's ungodly for you.

Writers' Corner / Jim Hines writing income survey
« on: January 03, 2017, 12:26:56 AM »
Jim C Hines is conducting a survey of writing income for published authors, hoping to get some data about earnings - self-, trad-, hybrid-publishing and all mixes of the three. It occurred to me that there may be a few members here to whom this applied, so if you don't mind sharing that info, it might add to the overall data pool.

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Cleverman
« on: June 06, 2016, 05:24:00 AM »
So, Australian Aboriginal near-future speculative fiction television show Cleverman has recently started screening, after much anticipation. (That website link is for the US screenings, I think; in Australia, it's screening on ABC, and the first episode is still available on iView. I have no idea if it's available in the UK? Though if you can convince your browser you're in Australia, you might also be able to watch it on iView.) I really enjoyed the first episode and think the series has promise, so I thought I'd bring it to the intention of everyone here. :)

It's using a lot of Aboriginal myth, melding and borrowing overarching concepts that appear in the beliefs of more than one Aboriginal nation, but delivering it in a superhero-esque story that sees our arrogant young protagonist inheriting the mantle of Cleverman (abilities unclear but powerful) amidst a lot of political and cultural turmoil that is completely different from, but feels very familiar to, today's Australia. Oh yeah, and there's a flaming heart-stealing beast of darkness that's going to need to be dealt with...

If you'd like to read more, there's a brief recap at Junkee looking at some of the Australiannesses, and a thorough recap at the Guardian by a member of the Birpai nation of New South Wales.

Writers' Corner / Camp Nanowrimo July 2016
« on: June 02, 2016, 05:15:05 AM »
We talked a bit about Camp Nanowrimo when it last ran back in April, but that was all a bit last minute, so I thought I'd bring it up ahead of time for the July camp so people could consider and prepare. I'd love to write with a cabin of Fantasy Faction writers, if people were interested in doing that.

What is Camp Nano?
It's like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) but a whole lot more flexible. You can work on anything you like - continuing a novel-in-progress, short stories, revising a project... whatever you like! And you set your own word count (or whatever target you prefer) - and you can change your goal during the month if things get in the way or if you're doing way better than you thought you would. Really, it's about partaking in a group event so that the overall momentum can help you achieve something you want - even if all you want is to write for half an hour every day in July, regardless of word count. (In April, I added 15k words to my work-in-progress. In July, I'll be starting to revise the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo back in 2014. I've yet to figure out how many "words" I want to achieve, but it's suggested that we equate an hour of work with a thousand words, so I'll probably do some combination of that and counting new material written.)

I find Camp really helpful for my own personal motivation - it's a commitment I can't move or fudge, so signing up for it gives me a nudge to both finish whatever else I'm doing before the month starts, and to work solidly on my signed-up project during that month. I also found it really great for helping me figure out what an achievable pace of writing is for me - 50k a month is a ridiculous sprint, but camp allowed me to find a more sustainable rhythm through being able to set - and change - my own goals.

But obviously everyone works differently, so this may not be a useful tool for everyone!

What are cabins?
Cabins are your personal support network for the month. Personally, I find the NaNo forums can be more overwhelming, noisy and distracting than actually supportive. But a Camp cabin is only twelve people. You get a private area where you can see how you're all going with your projects, and there's a little chat board. (If we do a Fantasy Faction cabin, obviously we can also come chat over here.)

I have started a private cabin, so if you'd like to join it, just sign up on the Camp website, create a project for July camp, and then drop a comment here with your username (or send me a private message if you prefer) and I'll invite you to the cabin.

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