The chemical compound for rust is one of the few things I remember from my days in chemistry class; don’t ask me why. At any rate, last night was the first time in days that I had a chance to thoroughly work on TTR. The writing reflected this lack of practice, with my prose bearing a tell-tale layer of red that means, “Consistency, dumbass! Have some.”

Obviously, I need to begin writing every day again, no matter how tired I am when night rolls around. Let’s say… Oh, 1,000 words a day. That should drive me nicely insane.

In other news, I see the light at the end of the tunnel in regards to finishing all this damn classwork. Only three papers left for the entire semester, meaning I should soon have enough time to start posting content on my Projects pages. Oh, and hopefully start a series of articles that has been turning in my mind for a while. Not exactly How-To, although I do hope they’ll be helpful. More like, Here’s What I Discovered, Have At It. I’ve noticed that a lot of worldbuilding articles are very… Well, they give good advice for presenting a world in a story, but they rarely go beyond presenting a superficial view of a world’s framework. Trying to draw a body without understanding how the bones and muscles work underneath the skin, you could say.

I don’t pretend to know the “right way” to build a world; in fact, I don’t believe there is one right way. But I do know that certain things I’ve learned while studying anthropology have also helped me massively in terms of worldbuilding, and there’s a possibility that these things could help other writers as well.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about death, lately. There are a couple of death anniversaries coming up in my family (Now there’s a perfect name for a band if there ever was one. “Death Anniversary.” I’m thinking crust punk), so it’s not surprising. Learning that Pete Steele has passed away doesn’t help, either. So of course the focus of this morbidity turned to how I use death in my writing.

Stories always reflect the perspective of their writers, either consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes the reflection is skewed like a funhouse mirror, but it’s always there. And… I’m a little too matter of fact with the deaths in my projects. In the first draft of TTR, a minor character died every chapter. It was strictly conflict fodder, nothing emotional. Even the death that should have shook up my main character didn’t result in much beyond kickstarting a “MUST HAVE REVENGE!!!” storyline. Sterilizing the emotions that surround a death may work out well in a modern culture that values productivity above all else, but it makes for crap storytelling. One more thing to include on my fix-it list.

I recently read a debate on a writing forum over whether science fiction and fantasy should be stuck together under a shared tag. You know, the dreaded science fiction/fantasy label. There was a lot of “Ew, cooties!” from each camp that I just didn’t (and still don’t) understand. Maybe it’s because I love to read and write in both genres (although, truly, I started out with the intent of writing fantasy and somehow wandered into science fiction territory), but the heated reactions puzzled me.

The way I see it, the two have much more in common with each other than any other two genres you could slap together. Both are setting genres by their very definitions, depending heavily upon worldbuilding. And unlike, say, westerns, both deal with fantastic elements — that which doesn’t yet or may never at all exist in this world. I’ve read too much unusual fantasy and enough science fiction to offer any narrower definitions. Fantasy doesn’t automatically mean vampires and dragons, just as science fiction doesn’t automatically mean spaceships and evil lab assistants. Just my two cents, anyway.

I welcome any other thoughts on this, because I am very interested in learning how other people view this. The forum I mentioned didn’t go much further than, “Vampires, gag me!” and “Aliens, ugh!”

Greetings.

Posted: April 11, 2010 in Announcements

Welcome to Right Brain Spasms, which will chronicle my trials and tribulations as I write my way down the yellow brick road.  Bear with me as I pinch and pull the blog settings to my liking…