for January, 2014

What is dystopian fiction?

January 31, 2014

My prefered genre to write (and to read) is urban fantasy, but I’m also a huge fan of dystopian novels. I’ve already written an article explaining what urban fantasy is compared to other fantasy types. Check it out here. Today, I’m going to explore the other part of that: what exactly is dystopian fiction? To really understand dystopian fiction, we also have to look at the other side of the spectrum: utopian. If you know what these words mean, this explanation is probably something you don’t even need. If not, or if you’d like to hear it anyway because you love reading the words on this blog, here it is: “utopia” is an ideal world or society. In contrast, “dystopia” is a really degraded, horrible world or society. In that vein, you can assume “utopian fiction” is fiction based around a perfect society and “dystopian fiction” is fiction based around a really shitty society. Easy enough. Only it’s not that […]


4 awesome storytelling lessons from D&D.

January 30, 2014

This probably hardly comes as a surprise to, well, literally anyone who knows me, but I’ve dabbled in Dungeons & Dragons. I say “dabbled” because I got involved in it in the few months before I moved away from my hometown to go to college. I didn’t touch it again for a few years until I met my husband, and he and his friends were playing a game much like D&D called “True 20,” which is basically D&D except the only dice you need are the twenty-sided ones (hence, “True 20”). Eventually, though, it was too hard for all of us to get our schedules to work together, so that fizzled out, too. And, even though I don’t play D&D anymore (mostly because I don’t really have an outlet–or the time–for it), I absolutely loved the game. And, as a writer, I have to say, there are a lot of really great lessons that come out of this game. Let’s […]

Don't worry, be happy

Don’t worry–be happy.

January 29, 2014

(Or, alternatively, “Resentment is for the dogs,” but that headline was based almost solely on the fact that I used a picture of Joss for this article.) There’s an amazing quote I’ve heard quite a bit in the last few years, mostly attached to weirdly “serene” pictures on Facebook in obnoxious fonts: “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Malachy McCourt said this (or wrote it, I don’t actually know which). Either way, he’s a distinguished Irish-American writer, actor, and politician. Who he is, though it may be interesting, isn’t the point of this blog. I just like giving credit where it’s due for awesome sentences like the one above. The point that is worth exploring is what this quote implies. We get angry a lot. It’s partially human nature, and partially due to our fast-paced, get-more-than-we-give culture. I hear it everywhere, every day. I hear good friends and family bitching about other people. […]

RejectionDepression HotChocolatePeppermintSchnapps

4 ways to combat the rejection depression.

January 28, 2014

Starting out as a writer is hard, especially if you’re trying to get published. In yesterday’s post, I talked about how important it is for writers to show off their work to their friends and family, even if it means exposing it to people who may not like it. It’s scary, and it sucks, but it has to be done for a few reasons. One, other people’s opinions will only help you improve your craft. Even if someone may not enjoy the genre you write, they can still give you valuable insight into how to improve your writing. Two, you will need to get used to hearing other people say bad things about your work. It doesn’t matter how many raving fans you have. If you get published, there will be critics out there who did NOT like your book. Three, if you never show off your work, you will absolutely never get beyond the “coffee shop” stage of writing. […]

People will dislike your work

You won’t please everyone–and that’s okay.

January 27, 2014

If you’re a creative, I’m pretty sure you can agree with me when I say, we’re pretty darned attached to our works. Whether you’re a painter, a sculptor, an actor, or a writer, whatever final product you end up creating is more than just “another” picture or statue or performance or story. It’s part of who you are. There’s a reason we call our projects our “babies,” after all. We love them. We spend so much time on them, pour so much of our hearts and souls into them, it’s hard to imagine we’re not really attached. And because of that, handing out our finished work to our peers–friends and family–to be viewed or read can be really difficult. We’ve spent a lot of ourselves in making this thing we find beautiful, and we absolutely want to believe our loved ones will find it beautiful, too. In fact, some writers are so afraid the people around them–the people whose opinions […]

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