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Posts Tagged ‘genre fiction’

Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you’ve done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I’ll be damned, I did this today. It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you’ll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I’ll be damned, it’s been a good year.

— Ray Bradbury

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A portrait of productivity. Photo by ModCatShop on Unsplash

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You know how some nights you’re looking forward to a nice relaxing book by the fire? … But then you realize that “cozy mystery” is really just another way of saying “obstruction of justice.”

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Photo by Mofeda Dababo on Unsplash

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Some days you wake up with a story idea crystallized in your mind, bright and shiny and ready to go. And some days you wake up with “She’s An Easy Lover” by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins stuck on repeat. 

Guess which kind of day I’m having.

The funny part is that it’s not a song I’ve ever actively liked, I wasn’t dreaming about anything related to its subject, and it’s not the sort of fiction I tend to write. I mean, it’s not as if the song is about the lead singer of a band telling the story of how he stumbled into a dark street one night after a show and into the arms of a beautiful and deadly vampire or anything. 

Right?

So maybe there’s a story seed here after all. I still don’t know why this particular song came to me at this particular time, but that’s the wild and unpredictable nature of creativity for you.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

― Franz Kafka

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Photo by Valentin BEAUVAIS on Unsplash

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“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

― Beatrix Potter

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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For today’s bit of fun, here’s a Nature‘s Futures story by Marissa Lingen: So your grandmother is a starship now- a quick guide for the bewildered.

Your grandmother is becoming a starship! She has gone through many phases in her life already — infant, child, teenager, young adult, student, worker, in many cases spouse, parent, retiree. She has had hobbies like knitting, volleyball and carbon mitigation. She has travelled in planetary atmosphere whenever her circumstances allowed. Now she is uploading her consciousness into a starship! The circle of life is beautiful.

I am now going to imagine that my grandmother is a spaceship.

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Photo by Shyam on Unsplash

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On the off chance that you’re having doubts about how you stack up against others, in writing or elsewhere, here’s a thoughtful quote. Follow the link for his whole piece, which is part of a series of posts worth reading.

…I think it’s clear our pop culture and what passes for our media discourse have a dangerously romanticized view of creative work.

“Oh, what a talented person,” our stories go, “oh, how powerful their inspiration must have been!” Talent certainly exists and inspiration certainly exists, but I fear our popular view of creativity artificially centers both, eliding struggle, practice, failure, and the investment of time. Too often, we talk about something akin to magic, about early purity of vision, about the notion that we are chosen or anointed for certain tasks, and while I cannot speak to how the secret machinery of the cosmos operates, I can testify that most of my own moments of lovely inspiration have been purchased with long hours of study, planning, and practice.

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— Scott Lynch, The Post of Christmas Past
Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

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If you can write beginnings and ends, you can make a nice living as a writer. If you write middles, you win Pulitzers and Nobel Prizes and stuff. But with beginnings and ends, you’re going to do okay.

— James Patterson

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Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

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“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?… If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

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Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

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So there I was, wading through old backups and oddly named files and all the other detritus that accumulates on the drives of most computers, when I stumbled across a story start. At some point in the hazy past, I was writing/still half-dreaming/avoiding other work when I came up with a snippet. (I do this a lot. Most of my story starters are corralled into a central file, but apparently this one escaped.)

Does the idea still speak to me? Maybe. Here is its beginning.

The room was twenty feet wide by fifty or so deep, and high enough to stash a semi trailer. The basement warehouse hid inside a larger complex designed to cloak all manner of shady dealings. The walls were concrete, bare in some spots and painted a dull grey in others. Dim afternoon light filtered in through a series of filthy windows set just below the ceiling. The west wall contained a pile of musty wooden crates stacked head high, and the door sported a series of aging and graffitied corporate memos. Whoever Toby was, I could call him for a good time. Dust bunnies occupied the corners. It was the dullest den of iniquity I’d seen yet.

Still, I wouldn’t have minded the decor so much if it weren’t on fire…

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Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

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I could read these Starfleet job postings all day:

Starfleet Jobs

The Best Jobs in Starfleet! Shares a new Starfleet job posting every half hour.

Users may request a job by using keywords “engineering”, “arts”, “counseling”, “trombone” or “user research”.

Example job description from Starfleet Jobs.

But of course it’s Monday, so I won’t.

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Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

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