Guest Post: Sit up Straight, I’m World-building Here

Here’s to an amazing blogger, author of comments, and giggler: Shim, otherwise known as magicandwriting.  She’s been around for a while and has made her presence known, all but demanding a guest post.  (Okay, she hasn’t demanded anything, but she deserves it.)  She has an awesome post for you, and once you’re finished with that, check out her blog.  Both are well worth your enjoyment.

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I’ve done a lot of world-building lately, and while in the process, I noticed a little something. I’ve come up with a lot of random information, stuff that may never show up in the story itself; however, I realized that it actually still influences the story.

See, there’s this little thing called perception. It affects a lot of things, as is kind of obvious.  Anyway, let’s say you have a scene that happens in a poorly lit room, and you want to describe the room. Chances are, you probably want a better description than the one I just gave you, since that really tells you absolutely nothing. (more…)

Guest Post: Sunk Costs in Writing

Because of the awesomeness of all my followers, I managed to secure a guest post from one of my good blogging friends, Leinad.  He’s been around for quite a while and has many good ideas and arguments about what I say, and even better ideas and arguments over at his own blog.  In his post he takes an interesting spin on writing motivation— I hope you enjoy it.

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Hey, I’m Leinad — also known as Keras. You probably know me as the fellow who writes all those long, but pretty harmless essays in the comments section of this blog. If you participated in the December Teens Can Write Too blog-chain, however, you will know that I’m a much more dangerous sort of bore: I’m the guy who wanted to be the economist of Middle Earth. That’s right, I’m the one who wanted to take your favourite fictional world and curse it with the most diabolical brand of monotonous quasi-science. And I won’t stop there. The next victim of my economics-obsession will be your favourite hobby: fiction-writing.

Specifically, today, I want to talk about sunk costs in writing. Now, a sunk cost may seem like a boring, economic concept whose only redeeming feature is that it contains only words of one syllable. (If you are a particularly verbose writer, even that may not be a redeeming feature). To me, however, sunk costs are fascinating, and relevant to almost every aspect of life.

So what is a sunk cost? A sunk cost is a cost you’ve already incurred, or a price you’ve already paid. Imagine John spent $1 buying the first lot of bricks for the new skyscraper he’s building. He can’t get that $1 back (skyscraper brick-sellers are notoriously stingy), it’s sunk. Similarly, maybe he spent an hour laying the first row of bricks for his skyscraper. He can’t get that hour back (assuming the Doctor doesn’t stop by), it’s sunk. (more…)

Guest Post: Emotion, Tension, and Zombie-Moms

Robyn Hoode has been my faithful follower for a very long time.  It was only recently, however, that she made herself a blog, so I could give her publicity via a guest post.  Give her post a read, then follow her blog.  It’s worth it.  Enjoy the post.

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(Thank you for this guest post, Liam. This is awesome!)

One of the things I have been working on is the emotions of scenes. This is a concept that I’ve had some trouble in understanding and it’s kind of difficult to work on a specific concept if you don’t understand it.

When it comes to writing emotions, ideally, the reader should be feeling the same thing as the POV character or some sort of sympathy or something like that. Unless there are scenes where the reader just wants to keep reading and doesn’t necessarily feel anything. However, the character should still have emotions and those emotions should still be in the scenes.

This is where I struggled. What if the character doesn’t have a specific feeling? What if they’re almost indifferent, just like the reader who wants to keep reading? Because humans don’t necessarily have constant emotion all the time, either. What about when you’re watching a movie that you’ve seen a thousand times before? What about when you’re just making dinner? Unless you actually are sad about the onion you’re chopping, those tears aren’t emotional.  And what about when you’re sick? I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I don’t want to do anything except curl up on the couch, drink hot tea (which I do not normally drink at all), and watch My Little Pony.

But wait a minute. I do have emotions during all that. When I’m watching that movie I’ve already seen a thousand times, it’s because I want to and it’s probably a favorite (unless it’s something my siblings picked and then I might ignore it to write). There’s emotion there, right? It’s how I feel. When I’m cooking dinner, I’m usually thinking about something or I’m hurrying to get done with the hands-on work so I can read or write or just do something else. And when I’m sick, I’m often too emotional and am thoroughly convinced that everything I write is awful. (more…)

Guest Post: The World of Contemporary Fiction

Believe it or not, this blog has reached 500 posts and 15,000 comments in its short lifespan.  To celebrate, I’ve asked the author of the 15,000 comment, the wonderful Amanda, to write a blog post for us about her genre, contemporary fiction.  Enjoy.

Hi! I’m Amanda. I’m a relatively new and inexperienced blogger, but I’ve finally established my topics–writing and sort of philosophical stuff. So when Liam asked me if I’d write about my genre for him, I did so…after quite a bit of deliberation and procrastination, that is. So I now bring you my thoughts about/explanation of the contemporary fiction genre!

First of all, I noticed something. Many of the young writers I’ve met write fantasy. In fact, I can only think of a few I know who write contemporary life me or historical, sci-fi, etc. I’m not sure why, but I do know some people don’t understand contemporary. Keeping this in mind, I’ll do a little myth-busting for you. (more…)

Guest Post: Reasons to Include a Dog in Your Story

The author of our 800oth comment, or thereabouts, was imnotthatgeeky, a new follower and commenter who told me, in that 8000th comment, that he wanted to be one of my top five commenters.  He’s going to start his rather long journey with this spectacular guest post.  Enjoy.

Hello, followers of Liam’s blog. I was so surprised when I won the honor of writing a guest post. When it comes to anything lottery-like such as this, I don’t think I’ve ever won in my life. I’ve never won a single game of Bingo in my life, and I never even got to be the goose in Duck-Duck-Goose. Yet here I am, writing a guest post because I was lucky enough to write the 8,000th comment on this blog! (Technically I didn’t, but I was close enough.)

Also, I’m planning on using sneaky subliminal messages to trick you into subscribing to my blog. I’m so subtle you won’t even [subscribe] see it coming. [now] (more…)

If It Ain’t Broke…

Today I’d like to introduce to you my favorite guest poster of all time, the only guest poster who has done so twice, the amazing and hilarious Charley R!  She was the author of our 5000th comment here on the blog– that’s right, 5000 comments.  At about the same time, I reached 200 followers.  That’s got to be enough qualification to get out of a few blog awards, right?  Anyway, on to her brilliant guest post– I hope you enjoy it.

There’s an overwhelming pressure in the writing world to be original. If you write something according to the hype of the time – be it vampires, twisted fairytales, or sentient geraniums – you’re more than likely to be confronted, at some time or another, with the accusation that you’re just jumping on the bandwagon. While on one of my frequent book-hunts on Amazon, I am forever running into reviews that say a book is “unoriginal”, “clichéd”, or “is really similar to . . .”

Sometimes these statements are true – I once complained to a school librarian for stocking a book that was pretty much a carbon copy of Lord of the Rings, complete with near identical Fellowship, semi-vanquished Dark Lord and malignant MacGuffin. These books are books no one wants to read because they, quite honestly, are simply washed out versions of something else. (more…)

Guest Post: The Rights of Wrong

The author of our four thousandth comment was Nevillegirl, who is a person obsessed with Harry Potter and other fandoms, as you’ll soon see.  Here is her guest post.  Just remember, it’s all in fun– no need to take this seriously.

To Whom It May Concern,

It has come to our attention that evil people are underappreciated.

After much careful observation of your world, which some of our party insist on calling ‘Muggle’, we have come to the conclusion that its inhabitants love to talk about minority rights. We obtained this information by examining your media. This proved to be quite difficult, requiring us to first kidnap Arthur Weasley and then torture him to extract all the information he knew about how to operate a television. (Our telly experts from Panem were unavailable at this time, having been ordered to explore the Internet.)

Once both tasks were accomplished, we spent hour upon hour in patient study of the media, interrupted only once, by a simultaneous lightsaber and wand malfunction in two of our party. Suffice it to say that they will never store their weapons in their back pockets any longer. (more…)

Guest Post: Miss Seana J. Vixen

The three-thousandth comment has come and gone.  And with Miss Vixen as the third most commented person in that last set of a thousand comments, is it any surprise that she had the 3001st comment?  (I was the 3000th, so we had to pick the nearest one.  You’ve had too many guest posts from me anyway.)  She was awarded a guest post for being awesome.

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When I heard that I was being asked to do a guest post for Liam at This Page Intentionally Left Blank, I had a moment of silent freaking out….fine. It was semi-silent. Many more people read his blog than mine, so I’d be blogging to a wider audience. Frightening, isn’t it? And there is the opportunity that I might be able to snag some more readers with some subtle hinting (verrrry subtle, mind you…nothing obvious about this…). After the freaking out moment, I had a moment of derp when my brain simply could not think of anything of which to type. So I scoured through the northern region of my brain (where the ideas are the coldest, sharpest and most polar bear-infested), and after 7.3 minutes, voila! There was my idea. Huzzah.

So.

Onward we go. (more…)

Guest Post: In Liam’s Defense

Why do so many people take an instant dislike to the cello?
It saves time.

My father, reading the recent guest post entitled “In Defense of the Cellists”, began writing a comment defending his son (me).  Eventually it got too long to only span one comment, and I agreed to post it as a guest post.

In reviewing Liam’s introduction to the most recent guest post on why cellos are better than he says they are, I was stuck by his open animosity toward the cello and this launched me into a self examination of my own attitudes and the precarious position in which I find myself.  As some background and in defense of Liam, he finds himself in this position honestly.  He is the second son of a second son, a bassist and a son of a bassist; pianist and grandson of a pianist.  He has an elder brother who plays cello and an uncle who plays cello (his cousin plays bass).  He finds himself annoyed from a combination of an elder brother who knows everything, yet has his own unconfessed limitations, often surrounding the cello.  Though Liam does get along well with his brother, he bristles at the “cello attitude”, such as:  I [think I] can do everything on my cello – I can play high like a violin, I can play low like a bass, I pretend to play jazzy and think I am cool when I do, I play pizzicato like a violinist (little bitty finger tips), but think I am cranking on the strings like Ray Brown.  We bassists do not find it to be some sort of cognitive dissonance that we can declare the cello community as our mortal enemy, yet can and do like and enjoy the company of some individual cellists.  As a fellow bassist with Liam, I fully understand this attitude as I had held the same for many years now.

However the fence I am on is razor thin.   With a son who plays cello it is dangerous to declare his entire section to be my mortal enemy, especially when I must attend all of the concerts and practices and lessons.  If my view came out, I suspect a teacher or two would immediately double their rates.  Familial harmony would be interrupted and I would be a pariah.

In addition, through the training process and the amazing experience that Liam’s brother had in [some unknown state] at the Cello Academy, I began to enjoy the cello, especially when they did the cello jam sessions and 40 cellists in a room, playing some common theme and the power of a great cello section enveloped me.  I believe that I will need to grant Liam some literary license.  Knowing that his writing voice is developing, his creativity is brimming and as a young person, he needs some room to surf through a few different attitudes and ideas, often at different volumes.  Certainly as we grow in life we tend to allow some diversity to enter into our lives.  So now I must recant, make amends with cellists far and wide, if for no other reason than that my economic state is at risk. These days, we need to see our kids as more than our extensions in life, but as our future caregivers.

In Defense of the Cellists– Guest Post

Recently we reached a total of 2000 comments on this blog.  *waits for applause to die down*  The author of the two-thousandth comment was Hero, of Heroic Endeavors.  She is a cello fanatic and thus my mortal enemy.  (Just kidding.  I love celli.  It’s the players I mind.)  Anyway, she agreed to write a guest post for us over here, in exchange for the readership she’ll gain by being linked to.  Enjoy– and feel free to argue against, as I will– her guest post on the reasons why celli and cellists are… “awesome”.

When Liam told me that I could write a guest post for his blog, my mind immediately spun out. (Imagine driving on a slippery road and turning too sharply, and then imagine the ensuing events. That was my mind.) (An episode of Top Gear, basically.)

I couldn’t think of what to write about: Liam’s blog has such a larger readership than mine, and this is a great opportunity for me to impress some of his readers and direct some attention toward my blog (subtly, of course). So I’m feeling a little bit of pressure to write a good blog post, that’s funny and smart and, of course, annoys Liam – because that’s just how I am.

The idea came to me while I was thinking about why I read Liam’s blog – I found it through NaNoWriMo, but I stuck around because 1) the Les Misérables reference and 2) the page entirely devoted to cellists. While I find the ‘Tips on Irking Young Cellists’ amusing, I do think it paints a rather unfair picture of us cellists. I realized that by way of giving me this guest post, Liam has given me the opportunity to speak out in defense of cellist-kind! So I present to you: The Seven Redeeming Factors of Cellos (or, if you’re a cellist reading this: Seven Reasons Why We’re So Awesome).

In no particular order, here we go. (more…)