Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Edges Of World-Building: The Scale Of Things

Sometimes it is a bit too easy to forget how much smaller modern technology has made our world. Modern air travel makes it feasible to travel halfway around the world for a holiday and modern communications makes it easy to socialize with people all over the world.

But this wasn’t always so.

To a very large extent, how far you can easily travel is strongly defined by your world’s society. It is not just the technology, but also the economics that have made air travel affordable for many people. Go back eighty years and it was definitely a luxury exercise. Go back further and it becomes the purlieu of the enthusiast. The world was much bigger for most people.

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Filed under Jane Austen, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Pratchett, The Edges Of World-Building, world-building, writing

So who’s going to Conflux 9?

One thing that the Internet has made so much easier is flattening the relationships between readers and authors. Twitter, in particular, helps well-known people of all kind interact with their fans. In fact, it makes it easy to see when celebrities are doe-eyed over other celebrities.

Once upon a time, the only real way to do that was a writers’ convention. Well, they still hold those – and I am going to my first multi-day one in just over a week! It is Conflux 9 and promises to be unforgettable. I got to volunteer to be on a panel on the first day called “Birth, life and death in speculative fiction”. Speculative Fiction is particularly good at exploring life transitions and what they may mean. I mean, its very purpose is to speculate…

For the rest of the con I will be attending workshops and panels and generally faffing around.

Remember to say hi!


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The story is stuck


I have a wonderful starting scene that sets up a lot of promise, especially what my hero thinks about a few key things. I have an outline of where I think I want to take him, mostly to challenge what he thinks about what I’d already revealed. And I have a few more scenes that start the journey.

Problem is, I’m having trouble making this work.

I find it difficult to write a story in patchwork. I prefer to start at the beginning and finish at the end. Not all my stories happen completely that way; there has been a short story where the last scene was written before I’d finished the third last. But mostly I don’t like to leave gaps as I write.

And that’s why I’m struggling. I need to get my characters past the city that they don’t belong in so that the rest of the story can happen. But coming up with things other then deus ex machina┬áis proving oddly difficult. I mean, the hero wants to go to this city, but he’s a farmboy and really has no realistic idea of what a city is like. His pregnant wife is following along, but she doesn’t want to go to a city. Besides, there is a supernatural reason she won’t survive in a city, too. Have I mentioned this is a fantasy adventure story?

I think I need to refresh my memory of my hero’s character. The opening chapter was written months ago, and I think he was a bit more feisty than I’ve portrayed later. I mean, he isn’t supposed to be the sort to follow along behind others: he does decisive, and I’ve robbed him of that. Ah. Yes, he needs to clash hard with the two mercenary friends he’s acquired because they know cities and he doesn’t.

And that’s not even taking into account the wider story where there are (so far!) at least three groups of people looking specifically for him. And he not only has no idea this is happening, but would have no clue as to even why. I have been calling him my hero for a good reason!

So I think he needs to be presented with the fact that staying in the city is the worst thing he can do. Now to actually put in my story why.

Thank you, Internet, for listening!


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Filed under characterisation, storytelling, writing