We’ve all heard of symbolism before. It’s the “why are the curtains blue” debate, the argument of whether or not to take the author’s word at face value or to probe deeper. This often falls in with “death of the author”, which means to divorce an author from their work completely, and draw your conclusions solely based on the text. While I don’t like to critique how people read on their own time, as it is ultimately a personal hobby that should bring you joy, I do think it is important to delve deeper into works and think critically about the author’s message.
Note: This is the second part of a series. If you have not read Worldbuilding Basics - Introduction and Resources yet, I recommend you do so before reading this post.
And so, you choose to write science fiction. Where technology thrives both as a threat and a tool. Science fiction, as a part of speculative fiction, has an infinite array of possibilities. As you make this decision, you enter a brightly lit room and let your eyes adjust for just a few seconds. You can probably see the color of the walls and the lighting of the place. It is mostly empty and ready for you to work with it.
Personally, this genre is my favorite to both write and read. However, when I started my first science fiction piece, I quickly noticed I had no idea how to transfer the world I had created on my head to the page. I had the Pinterest boards and the spreadsheets with my character’s needs and wants, but I realized there were so many things about my technology, and sci-fi in general, that I did not understand. During this post, I will start with the elements of the genre, and then explain a couple of the things I wish I had known when I started.
So you have chosen to write fantasy. Behind this door, a world full of mystical creatures, legends, and warriors awaits. And, most likely, magic. One of the most alluring elements of fantasy, magic is also one of the most complicated ones to write. It is easy to get lost on who has which power and how they interact with each other. Luckily, Brandon Sanderson, author of over twenty SFF books, has assembled three pieces of advice that could help you navigate these treacherous waters. Remember, however, that everyone’s process is different, but it is always good to have other writers’ perspectives, guides, and starting points.
Note: Information and advice are taken from Lecture #5: Worldbuilding Part One — Brandon Sanderson on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy.
I genuinely could not put this book down. I started it on the bus going home, and I almost didn’t get off at my stop. I finished it in one sitting when I got home. And I needed to share this book with you guys, so here’s my review!
A quick note before I begin: The author includes a trigger warning before the book starts, and I recommend taking a look at that before you decide whether or not to read How We Fall Apart.
How We Fall Apart is incredible… as long as you don’t look too far into the mystery. This is the one part of the book that can be a turn off for readers.
For me, the characters and their emotions and relationships and growth took large amounts of precedence over the mystery aspect of the plot, so you will be getting a rave review from me. However, if you are going into this expecting the sort of mystery where you reach the end and have an “oh!” moment where you realize that all the clues have slotted into place, you are out of luck.
The shortest poem I have read would probably be Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro”. It’s only two lines: “The apparition of these faces in the crowd: / Petals on a wet, black bough.” Merely describing an image, this poem doesn’t need to be any longer. It gets the message across in a poignant manner. To me, it poses the question, when should a poem be longer or shorter?
Shrinking or stretching a poem might happen in the midst of writing, or during your editing stage. By “shrink” or “stretch”, I mean cutting lines and ideas or expanding on images and themes, respectively. If you’re working on a free verse poem and can’t decide whether or not it’s the right length, consider these recommendations.
If you’ve been writing on the internet for a while, you might have come across the words “flash fiction.” Search for “flash fiction magazine,” and you’ll find dozens of devoted publications and contests. Flash fiction may have boomed in the last 10 years, but it isn’t new. So where did flash fiction come from? There’s a chance you already know. Think back to how we teach each other lessons, especially to children. That’s right, through fables and morals.
The first thing you need to understand about MacGuffins is that there are two ways to look at them: the first is the purist view, which would not consider, for example, the Infinity Stones or the Death Star, as true MacGuffins. Others accept that screenwriters, and writers in general, have expanded the definition of a MacGuffin term “plot coupons,” which denotes the thing the character has to “cash in” to achieve a resolution.
This article will follow the true-to-the-original categorization at first, then will discuss non-MacGuffin MacGuffins in popular media and why they’re important too. My goal here isn’t to get you to understand exactly what a MacGuffin is supposed to be, but rather, how you can use this plot device in a way that works with your story.
A plethora of poetry formats exist in the literary world. From the cyclical sestina to the rhythmic limerick, from the luxurious sonnet to the short-and-sweet haiku, these structures accomplish different tones and feelings for the writer and their audience. Experimenting with different structures will not only expand your literary horizons, but develop your writing capabilities and challenge your word play as well.
This is How You Lose the Time War is a co-written novella by authors Amar El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. It follows two soldiers on opposite sides of a war spanning all of space and time. Red works for the Agency, while Blue is a part of Garden. There isn’t much talk about these two entities, and we only get vague details about them. We have no clue why this war started, or for how long it’s been going on. The only information given is that Red and Blue are on opposite sides of this war, and to win, one will have to destroy the other.
Let’s say you’re writing a book with multiple points of view—or you want to write one. A major challenge you’re facing or going to face is how to make each character sound distinct from the others. How do you make characters sound unique when they’re all written by you? You are not alone in this problem, young writer. Keep reading for advice to smoothly transition between characters and distinguish their voices.