Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92

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Her essays and fiction excerpts are available at nkjemisin.

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Her newest novel, The Obelisk Gate , came out in August of Download the mp3 File Meagan Spooner was a guest lecturer Odyssey , where she lectured on characters and character arcs. In this excerpt, Meg discusses how her background in acting helped her learn about character creation and gave her a unique toolkit for that. To portray a role realistically on stage, an actor needs to create more of that character than exists in the play. Similarly, an author has to know more about his character than exists in the story. Meg explains the six steps actors use to create character, and a short-cut version, GOTE: goals, obstacles, tactics, expectations.

Knowing what these are for your character in each scene or whenever circumstances change can help make your character strong and dynamic. Tactics may be internal and subtle. Expectations are important because they will lead to your character's reactions. You need to give the character time to experience failures and react to them. She attended Odyssey in and sold her first novel a year and a half later.

She grew up in Virginia, reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She's traveled all over the world to places like Egypt, Australia, South Africa, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes. She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #92

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. In this lecture excerpt, on characters, Steve explains that writers tend to either start with character or start with plot. It doesn't matter how you start, as long as you write a good story that satisfies the reader. Steve starts with character, and then the plot comes out of the character.

He tries to let the characters tell him what needs to happen to them. To make your characters sympathetic, you, the writer, have to care about them. Then you can crawl into their skins and find out what they're really like. They aren't there to make your plot or theme; they are living creatures that you need to capture in the story and let them do their magic.

Melanie explains her stories also start from character, and her inspiration for a story is to understand the character. Often her characters begin with real people she briefly encountered. She doesn't know their life story, but she files that person away, and over time the person drifts away from the reality and becomes a character she can work with. Usually a question or theme is in her head, and then a character appears who helps her explore that question or theme.

This is in large part a subconscious process. When she consciously looks for a story to tell, that story is usually not inhabited by real characters and not underpinned by a theme that matters to her. Steve says being an empathetic person can make you a better writer. Melanie says that empathetic may mean curious about a person rather than caring about a person. The writer has to understand the character and give him his humanity. She published numerous short stories, thirteen solo novels, two collaborative novels with Nancy Holder, and two with her husband Steve Rasnic Tem.

She was also a published poet, an oral storyteller, and a playwright. In Concert , a collaborative short story collection with Steve Rasnic Tem, was published in A giant collection of the best of her short fiction, Singularity , will appear soon from Centipede Press. Since that time ebooks of two posthumous novels, Out of the House of Darkness a mainstream novel of alcoholism and Alden Mills a mystery have appeared from Crossroads Press.

His next novel, Ubo , a dark SF meditation on violence, will appear from Solaris in the spring of Download the mp3 File At the Odyssey workshop, Patricia Bray lectured on researching your story elements. This excerpt is the second of two parts.

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Patricia explores how you research a topic. Asking a question can be a good place to start. Then you can find a good book to provide an overview, such as a children's nonfiction book on the subject or an introductory textbook. Or you could ask other writers for recommendations.

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Once you have basic knowledge, reach out to an expert. They're often willing to talk and flattered to be approached. When you approach them, provide a few sentences about what you're working on and ask questions, a simple request. When you're finished, ask who else you should talk to and thank them.

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It's good to consult more than one source, since their perspective may not be universal. Biographies, folktales, folksongs, and ballads can give a feel for an era, its language and themes. You can also take classes on topics such as forensics, criminal investigations, fencing. Travel to a similar location or ask people in that location to take a picture or answer questions. Try to experience things yourself. Put together a plan of attack--what are the big picture items you need to learn more about.

Make a list of things you need to start. Once you know those things, then keep track of what you need to know more about. Then as you're writing you'll discover more things you need to research. Patricia Bray is the author of a dozen novels, including Devlin's Luck , which won the Compton Crook Award for the best first novel in the field of science fiction or fantasy.

A multi-genre author whose career spans both epic fantasy and Regency romance, her books have been translated into Russian, German, Portuguese and Hebrew. To offset the hours spent at a keyboard, she bikes, hikes, cross-country skis, snowshoes and has recently taken up the noble sport of curling. To find out more, visit her website at www. Download the mp3 File Patricia Bray was a guest lecturer at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, where she lectured on researching your story elements.

This excerpt is part 1 of two parts. In it, Patricia discusses why research matters, how it influences your story, how the type of research you do depends on the type of story you want to tell, different ways of doing research, and common pitfalls. Why does research matter? The author needs to create a bond of trust with the reader. When the reader recognizes incorrect information, he loses faith in the author. Research underpins everything--character, setting, plot, worldbuilding.

It's obvious when an author hasn't done good research. Characters have to fit into the world.

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The plot has to make sense in the context of the culture and world. Research can vary by genre. For example, if the zombies in your story are caused by a virus and that's important, you'll need medical and scientific research.


The amount of research necessary will vary based on the length of the piece and how central the element is to your story. It's also important to consider what the characters know in the time and place where they live. Don't assume they know what we do and have the same thoughts we do. Download the mp3 File Scott H. In it, Scott focuses on rejections. Authors need to know that rejections aren't personal.

While Scott doesn't use form rejections, many magazine editors do.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #92

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