Writing

Spying on Correspondence in Magical Britain (A QVT Update)

How do we know our correspondence is safe from snooping? In a magical world, that’s harder than ever to ensure. Some thoughts on this in my current WIP.

Lizard Lair Media Ratings: the Dinosaur Stomp of Approval

I’m going to be posting more media reviews soon, so I’m introducing the Dinosaur Stomp of Approval rating system. Here it is.

How to Build a Better Power Struggle: Forget Good Versus Evil

“Good versus evil” is overrated as a dramatic structure or device. Here’s why, and why a focus on power dynamics is a great alternative instead.

Of Things Victorian: the Lillian Story

I’m working on a prequel to an American historical story cycle. The prequel involves a Victorian Englishwoman, and has led me to some interesting byways of research in Victoriana. This posts discusses the synopsis of the Lillian story, and points to some Victorian resources I find interesting.

Fairy Tales, Symbols, and Readers’ Expectations

Fairy tales are powerful, and symbols from them need to be used with care in a story. Here are 5 tips for using folklore symbols and allusions in a way that doesn’t derail a tale.

My Other WIP: Queen Victoria’s Transmogrifier

Here is some context on a work in progress I’ll be blogging about from time to time: Queen Victoria’s Transmogrifier, an alternate history and paranormal tale focused on Victorian London in a time/space where magick is real.

How to Use Class in Historical Settings, Part 2

Developing class consciousness in a fictional world lets a writer see the boundaries that, if broken, will create conflict. (Part 2 of 3)

COGs in the Machine: Shallow Bad Guys

Why do ‘bad guy’ encounters often feel repetitive, derivative, or shallow, especially in rpgs and CRPGs, but also in much genre fiction? The “COG” model explains that dynamic, and suggests how to stop it from dragging our stories down.

Loving and Hating Scarlett O’Hara

Finally read Gone With the Wind and wow – what a character creation Scarlett O’Hara is! Some thoughts on what Margaret Mitchell did.

Euthanize the Elderly: Trollope’s science fiction premise

Anthony Trollope’s overlooked classic “The Fixed Period” is a proto-science fiction work worth looking at today. Its premise? That the elderly are euthanized society-wide when they turn age 68.