My Alien Penpal

Creating a new world is hard enough. Then describing it in a story is a little like pretending that you have an alien penpal.

An alien would have no context or prior knowledge to understand the world that you are writing about. You don’t know what your reader’s life is like, so you can’t compare the things that are unfamiliar to them to something that is familiar to them. But you don’t want to get so bogged down in the details of explaining every little thing that you bore them. (more…)

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Why I Will (Not) Use My Religion in My Stories

I have been religious for my whole life, and my faith is important to me. It’s as much a part of me as anything else, and it’s especially important when I make decisions about how I live. I want the things that I do to honor the gods and show my respect for their creations. You will not hear me talk about this very often, though. My spirituality is very personal for me, and very private.

More to the point, though, I do not think that a story is a good place for religion. Of course there are characters for whom religion is important, and it may affect them in good or bad ways. And creating religions is a personal favorite of mine for world building. A story should also reflect the ethics and philosophy of the author in certain ways. But a story is a very bad place to preach about ideas, religious or otherwise. (more…)

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Research Wednesday: Choreomania

As a writer, my ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes it can be spontaneous, like a suggestion from a friend, a flash of insight, or a memory from the past. But

dancing-despite-the-rain_l

ideas can also come from research, where I actively go and learn more about the world in order to find new and interesting things that I can incorporate into my stories. Each Wednesday, I’ll highlight a topic of research or something cool that I found which helped inspire me.

This idea came from listening to classical radio. I don’t remember the name of the piece that was being introduced, but the DJ was talking about the historical context of something that she

was about to play when she mentioned the idea of choreomania: the compulsion to dance. Although I was doing something else at the time, the name stuck with me, and when I sat down at my computer later that afternoon, I knew that I had to learn more.

(more…)

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