An Appropriate Response Dept.

Creativity; cultural appropriation; "write what you know"; and all that.

A busy week; much real life stuff going on, little time for blogging. AONO continues to roll along, and the latest stretch of work brought to mind that old discussion I keep coming back to about how tough it is to be original. This time, a different angle, the one about "write what you know".

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Tags: creativity cultural appropriation writers writing

It'll Be Fun, They Said Dept.

How my latest book started as a lark, and turned into a mission.

Strange, but true. When I first started working on Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned, around the end of last year, it was partly a reactionary gesture. I'd been in the middle of trying to plan a project that just wasn't coming together properly — too inert, too stiff, too unadventurous, too square — and so I decided to chuck it and do something wild-'n'-crazy, do something fun.

Now cut to me around ten or so months later, and I'm neck-deep in this thing, and it's becoming as complex as that behemoth Flight of the Vajra was. Did I goof?

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned plotting writing

To Thine Own Balance Be True Dept.

The key word there isn't 'balance', but 'your'. (Well, 'thine'.)

In conversation with friends this past weekend, the following insight popped out. When we say "be true to yourself", we often do so in ignorance of the way people can be "true to themselves" while at the same time excluding the possibility of any connection with others. A happy medium must be struck, and so I ventured that maybe "be true to yourself" isn't the most complete formula — that it should be more something like, "be true to your balance".

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Tags: creativity creators experimentation writing

Copy Shop Dept.

Cloning isn't a creative act.

Crunchyroll - After Almost 55 Years In Anime, The Voice Of Goku Isn't Impressed By Modern Voice Actors

“[Modern voice actors] just watch anime and copy what they hear, so what they do sounds like copy of a copy of a copy. As a result, the depth and breadth of anime voice acting is dwindling rapidly."

Sounds familiar.

Tags: creativity creators inspiration

Pushing Your Own Envelope Dept.

The hard things, and why they're worth doing.

A nasty spate of some upper respiratory illness has kept me away from the keys for a few days. It's mostly cleared up, but there's this annoying fog between my eyes, my fingers, and my brain that hasn't completely lifted yet. Apologies if the blogging seems less coherent than usual.

Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned keeps on keepin' on. I suspect this will be one of those projects that changes quite radically across drafts, because I'm going into such unexplored territory with it. The first time though, I'm not going to try to get everything right; I'm just going to figure out what the best ways are to get from one end of the story to the other, and then corral it all together the second, third, or fourth time around.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned writing

Big Page, Little Screen Dept.

Write something unfilmable.

Back from various real life runnings-around. Something that lodged in my head along the way was a complaint someone had about a Crichton-esque SF-tinged thriller currently cluttering up airport bookstalls: "This read like it was written to be filmed." I didn't think that was an accident.

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Tags: adaptation books movies

A Brief Pause

See you shortly.

For the next week or so I'll be mostly incommunicado as I deal with real life. Were this a more heavily trafficked blog, I'd say talk amongst yourselves.

Well, you can do that if you want. Nothing stopping you.

Tags: real life

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned: Inspired By A True Story Dept.

On finding the real source of inspiration inside someone else's work.

In trying to describe Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned to friends, I've sometimes fallen back on the old "X plus Y" trick so common to those pitching a project to a prospective reader, producer, editor, or other authority. In my case, I cited three major sources of inspiration for the project: Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, James Cameron/Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Daysand Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain. No, really.

This in turn provoked another discussion: what I mean when I say something took inspiration from something else, as I've developed my own take on it over time.

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned creativity inspiration writing

For Me And Me Alone Dept.

What self-respecting writer doesn't write "for themselves" first and foremost?

I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It's totally for myself.
— J.K. Rowling

It's so hard to poke holes in a sentiment like this, because on the face of it, it seems completely correct. What self-respecting writer doesn't write "for themselves" first and foremost? I know I sure don't. But all the same, I'm noticing a distinct difference between those who write "for themselves" and connect with others, whether en masse or not, and those who write "for themselves" and end up writing ... well, for themselves.

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Tags: creativity creators

If I Were Them Dept.

When you make the reader say, "I'd do that if I was them."

An older one, worth getting caught up on.

My fellow author Christian aka Leo King posted another one of his little video blogs about building sympathy for your characters. This time around he discusses the "everyman moment", where you put your character in a situation that inspires the reader to say "I'd do that if I was them." I like this idea, although I propose an extension to how it's to be approached.

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Tags: characterization creativity writers writing

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I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be made into something more than just a way to blow stuff up.

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