Quote of the Day -5/5/09

"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
— Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, June 30, 2008

Science Fiction and Science Fact

An interesting article in CNN about the super-collider in Switzerland:


What I find most interesting are viewpoints of the doubters, the 'what might go wrong,' and how that might spark ideas for stories.
Too...the what-might-be-discovered opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Week Later

One week after the workshop, and I've decided that I LIKE NOT KNOWING HOW THE BOOK I'M WORKING ON WILL END.

This way I don't have to worry about heavy-handed foreshadowing, or trying to manipulate events to make things go according to my plans. I put a collection of well drawn characters into an intriguing situation, and then watch as they figure it out for themselves, page by page, chapter by chapter.

I can see advantages to planning ahead, though. I admire those who can do it. So how many of you like to plan out everything beforehand, and how many just write as you go?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Writing Tip--sounds a little inelegant, but it's for real

Years ago my daughter introduced me to the concept of BUTT GLUE.

BUTT GLUE is what you need to keep you at your desk when your brain wants to fly away in lots of different directions--in other words, it wants to do anything but write what you are supposed to write and your rear end resists gravity to fly away from the comptuer desk chair as well.

Example: I turn on the computer. Today I intend to finish writing a chapter. I know what I want to say and where I want the plot to go, but there's something about what a certain character is supposed to say that I'm not sure about. Instead of tackling that knotty detail, I wander into the kitchen and make popcorn. Then I remember that I haven't watered the plants. By the time I water all the plants, I have to go to the bathroom and I notice that the toilet needs cleaning, so I clean the toilet. Then my friend calls and I talk to her for a while. I head back to the computer, but then I remember the popcorn and go back to the kitchen. I also need a drink, so I get that. In the meantime, I've forgotten pretty much what I wanted to do with the chapter. What I need is BUTT GLUE. If I had some BG, I would have already have the chapter pretty much written. Sigh.

I've also found out that the amount of BG a person has is in direct relation to how early or how late the person who is writing is awake. For some reason the very late night hours or very early morning hours tend to be when the most BG is present in a person's chemistry. The farther away from those hours PLUS the number of other people who are awake in the house (especially children), or in the same neighborhood for that matter, he more BG is diminished. Inversely, BG is increased as more people are asleep while you are awake.

Some types of music increase BG ratios when the number of people awake in my house also increase. For me, putting in ear buds and turning on my iPod to music without words keeps BG from diminishing as rapidly as it usually does. The busier the music or if it has words, the less BG I have. It may be different for different people.

Good luck finding your BG stimulator!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How's the Writing Going?

So how many of you are working on a new book right now? How is it going?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Devious Plotting

I came up with a possible plot summary for Earthcrosser over the weekend. I thought I'd run it by all you wonderfully creative, perceptive, amazing people and see what you thought. I've put it in the comment section so as not to clog the blog.

SOME TIME LATER- Only twenty four hours and now I have a completely different story line in mind from the one I posted! As a chronic multi-drafter, I've never tried to come up with a plot beforehand before. I just build a setting, create some characters, then let them loose and see what they do. I'm trying something new by getting my story in mind before I take off. This is hard for me because I'm just itching to write chapter 2, but always in the past I've spent about 100 pages meandering around before I get to the story, and I want to see if I can skip that stage this time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good news

Whew! I've been working steadily since the conference and today I finished going over the line edits for the copyedited version of the first Entomological Tales book and will send them back to Houghton Mifflin tomorrow. Thanks for all of your comments on ET2, as my publisher calls it. I'll start back to work on it tomorrow as well. Now all of you have to finish what you've been writing so you can submit and we can all celebrate together as we're all successful. Laura (Dene)

So What Did You Learn?

I know what you mean, Chris, about not being able to sleep last week. As for me, I still can't sleep.

So what did everyone learn at the workshop? I think the most significant thing I discovered is that writers, agents, and editors are real people! Lots of them are really nice, too, especially the ones who come to BYU for WIFYR.

Shannon Hale's Charity

Shannon Hale is hosting a charity event on July 19---it was mentioned at the workshop last week a couple of times. In case anyone is interested, here is a link to her blog with the information:



I don't think I got any more sleep at night than Brandon did but I didn't have the luxury of an afternoon nap.  I think I slept all weekend.  Now I know who/what my character is so I'm jazzed about writing the rest of the story (no Paul Harvey intended).  Question:  Do Grimm's fairy tales count as high fantasy or low fantasy?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pratchett Angry At Shoddy Journalism

Brandon referred to a controversy that involved J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett in July '05. What follows is more than you will probably ever want to know about that spat.

In essence, J.K. Rowling said she wasn't aware that she was writing fantasy, and that she wasn't a huge fan of fantasy. The interviewer used J.K. Rowling's comments to launch repeatedly into his own rants, putting down religion, putting down fantasy, elevating secularism, claiming that C. S. Lewis would have been a Death Eater had he been a character in Harry Potter, etc. Terry Pratchett took issue with the article in a letter to the Times, made a cheeky comment about J.K. Rowling's cluelessness, and journalists cherry picked his letter to sensationalize a bloody battle between two top selling English authors.

Original article: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1083935,00.html (Whether you are liberal or conservative, you will probably agree that this was not an interview as much as it was a polemic for the interviewer)

Here is Terry Pratchett's letter to the editor (or the most full excerpt available online):
'WHY IS it felt that the continued elevation of J K Rowling can only be achieved at the expense of other writers (Mistress of magic, News Review, last week)? Now we learn that prior to Harry Potter the world of fantasy was plagued with "knights and ladies morris-dancing to Greensleeves."

In fact the best of it has always been edgy and inventive, with "the dark heart of the real world" being exactly what, underneath the top dressing, it is all about. Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised the genre, writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and bent it to the times. It has also contained some of the very best, most accessible writing for children, by writers who seldom get the acknowledgement they deserve.

Rowling says that she didn't realise that the first Potter book was fantasy until after it was published. I'm not the world's greatest expert, but I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?'

Here's the BBC article that sensationalized Terry Pratchett's response: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4732385.stm

Here's Neil Gaiman's insightful take on the kerfuffle: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/07/storms-and-teacups.asp

Here is Terry Pratchett's attempt to dowse the fire: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.harry-potter/msg/c4d91c122d8d07f1

Another followup a month later: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.harry-potter/msg/f13be03e7efd5070

Last Day!

What a wonderful week, everyone! I will miss all of you so much!

Yes, today's quote is an inside joke, but we're all inside so it's all the better.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

YAY! This will be fun. Lets all make sure that we remember each other when we are all rich and famous. This means you!

Quote Groundrules

Everyone please feel free to contribute quotes for "Quote of the Day." If the quote is more than a day old, then it is fair game for anyone to click on the little tool icon at the bottom right corner and type in a fresh new quote. Make sure you change the "date posted" too so that we can enjoy your new quote for a full day before someone else changes it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Administrator Privileges

I'm going to make all contributors into administrators as well. That means you can edit the side-bars, add your last name to the writer roll call and link your name to a personal web site, etcetera, etcetera. PLEASE NO EDITING OTHER WRITER'S POSTS. I don't even need to say that, do I, because you are all very nice people, aren't you?

Hi, folks!

Hey! Lots of great writing going on. Isn't Brandon knowledgeable?
Laura (Dene)


Welcome, everyone, to the 2008 BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Science Fiction and Fantasy Section blog! I owe our title to our illustrious teacher, Brandon Sanderson, who charmingly refers to one of the founding fathers of our genre as "Grandpa Tolkien." I don't want you science fiction writers to feel left out, so if anyone has a proposal for a more inclusive title, fire away!

I'll be working on the layout of the page more later, once I've caught up on my sleep. For now, I have the blog set to public but I'll be restricting it to contributors only once you've all signed in.

The image at top is some old artwork by my sister. I'd prefer to have something by one of you up there (yes, I saw you doodling in class) so any of you who are of the visual media persuasion, please submit sci-fi and fantasy related art to me via e-mail (beckbj@gmail.com).