Armed Against Depression

This time of year, in the northern hemisphere, we’re not getting much sunlight. It’s cold, and going out means slogging through ice, snow, and slush. It’s easy to feel exhausted and isolated. It’s the opportune time to discuss a common foe against which many writers and artists struggle: depression.

Sadly, there is no silver bullet to put this monster down, but there are things we can do to stop it in its tracks and even chase it back to the dark corner from whence it came. The first step, is arming ourselves and preparing for the next time it rears its ugly head. Here are my weapons.

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Blood of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy – Paperback Edition Available!

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Here it is my friends! The paperback copy you’ve all been waiting for. And poking me for. And asking when it’s going to be available. Well today is the day! Happy Boxing Day everybody and have a fun-filled new year!

More World-Building Resources

Need more help with world-building? Have a look at World Building Projects for some inspiration.

For fantasy, I’ve actually found this Fantastic Armies article to be helpful and not just for battles. It lets you know when your population dedicating to fighting and other pursuits, is reasonable and when it’s off-base.

For religions, I like to hit up my personal favourite: The Writing Cafe for help.

Linguistic help? The Language Construction Kit is the best I’ve ever found.

I’d better not overwhelm. Hehe. Let’s just say, technology is wonderful! Literally thousands of resources right at one’s fingertips!

World Building Exercise – The Three P.O.V.’s

We had a very successful writers’ meeting this past Saturday and I’d like to share with you the exercise we did. The exercise was crafted to hone our ability to create fictional worlds in which to set our stories and, just as importantly, how to describe those worlds so as not to bore the reader to tears.

First, I’d like you to consider that there are two points of attacking the problem of world building: Top-Down and Bottom-Up. To put it very simply, you can build your world, decide on the geography, history, geology, cultures, religions, population, biology, technology, linguistics, etc and then write a story set in this world. Or, you can begin writing straight away and come up with the details of the world as you go.

I advocate for using both methods by turns. I largely let my mood determine which I am going to work on on any given day. Some days, I’m in a really good flow, the characters are coming alive right off the page, the plot is moving along smoothly, interesting things are happening. Some days, my writing is clunky and forced and I just don’t feel like it so, instead of abandoning my work for the day, I take care of other necessary tasks that come with producing a work of fiction. I do some research, I flesh out a character by filling out a character sheet, I seek out music that reminds me of a character or would be appropriate for a scene, or I work out some points about the setting by drawing maps, diagrams, writing lists, etc.

Here is an excellent post by Writing Questions Answered to help you determine when some world-building is in order and when you can safely proceed with putting pen to paper (or pixels to screen.)

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Writing Engaging Descriptions

Tomorrow, my Writers’ Circle is having a meeting. Which reminds me, I should probably do the exercise … Anyway! Tomorrow, my Writers’ Circle is having a meeting and the subject is world-building. In writing, world-building is more than simply deciding on the details of how your fantasy world is made up and how it works: it’s conveying those details in an engaging manner so the reader’s eyes don’t gloss over.

Here is a great article that my friend Gretar shared on that very subject: How to Write Descriptive Passages Without Boring the Reader or Yourself.

Enjoy! And remember: make good art!

Paperback Updates

So, I got my printed proof last night in the mail and unfortunately there were some errors. 

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As you can see, the spine is kind of creeping onto the front cover so it needs to be adjusted. My graphic designer is working on a solution to account for margins of error in page-cutting and printing. 

I also happened upon a couple of typos that I really can’t let stand. So I’m having yet another beta reader go through it with a highlighter so I can correct all of these things before I make it available. Hopefully, it will be up for Christmas. That would be nice!

Thanks again for your patience.

Lack of Good Friends Harmful to Men

Lack of Good Friends Harmful to Men

I’ve often spoken about how harmful sexism is toward men. The symptoms are different, but the cause is the same. It hurts us as much as it hurts everyone else. Sadly, we’re very good at hiding it.

Men are just as emotional as women. Problems occur when our emotional outlets are narrowed down to only sex or violence. Intimacy and trust are necessary to a healthy human being.

Click on the title and have a read. The article is short, but informative.