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I write a lot of speculative fiction. Sometimes it is paranormal romance, sometimes science fiction with fairytale elements, sometime something too crazy to classify. I am often inspired by real events that have occurred in my life like middle school students I have taught that speak in a monotone like zombies—which then uses actual things teenagers have said in a zombie story like Zombie Psychology or Pizza of the Living Dead.  There are places I have been immersed in another culture that made me feel like an alien like when I lived in Japan and wrote Silent Moon or when I went to Faerieworlds and fell in love with the world and wrote The Pining, set to come out in January 2015 in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

There are resources I turn to when I want to immerse myself in fantasy and fairies. Below is list of places I go when I want to learn more about fairies, fantasy and mythology. I love to read fairytales and find myself more distracted by reading about this than I do watching Project Bellydance on Youtube. Well, some days.

Written by guest blogger, John Burridge. John is a science fiction and fantasy author, former Renaissance fair performer, fairy enthusiast and all around funny guy. John recently gave a presentation in Eugene on Faerie which I found insightful and inspiring. In fact, it was so inspiring I wrote two short stories immediately afterward based on some aspect of his presentation that sparked my imagination. For that reason, I wanted him to share his fairy expertize here.

Introduction

Before I begin I should say that I'm a total Tolkien fan-boy.  I'll be focusing on Western and Northern European folk customs, mostly because that's what I've read the most of and about.  

To get an idea of where I'll be, I want to ask, how many of you have seen Orlando Bloom in "The Lord of the Rings Movies"?  (Pause).  OK.  Good, now, how many of you have seen Edward from the Twilight movies?  OK, so, to quote Jason Foxtrot,  "Orlando Bloom has ruined everything!"  I'll also say it once here so I don't get sidetracked, "Augh! Elves! Don't! Snowboard!"

Writing related articles on how to write, sell, or edit short stories and novels. Original posts were on ShadowSpinners, in Rose City Romance Writer's newsletters, on Penumbra blogs, Author Marketing 101, and Romancing the Genres websites. Many of these posts are also available to read in the news section.

Written by guest blogger, John Burridge. John is a science fiction and fantasy author, former Renaissance fair performer, fairy enthusiast and all around funny guy. John recently gave a presentation in Eugene on Faerie which I found insightful and inspiring. In fact, it was so inspiring I wrote two short stories immediately afterward based on some aspect of his presentation that sparked my imagination. For that reason, I wanted him to share his fairy expertize here.

Faerie and Writing

So, in terms of writing Faerie, there are some questions you have to ask yourself as a writer.  

Written by guest blogger, John Burridge. John is a science fiction and fantasy author, former Renaissance fair performer, fairy enthusiast and all around funny guy. John recently gave a presentation in Eugene on Faerie which I found insightful and inspiring. In fact, it was so inspiring I wrote two short stories immediately afterward based on some aspect of his presentation that sparked my imagination. For that reason, I wanted him to share his fairy expertize here.

Tolkien Faerie:  Mythic Time vs. Historic Time

Now we get to Tolkien. The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings. On Fairy Stories. Everyone who writes Elves needs to read On Fairy Stories, which is a short essay.  Here's a quick summary.  In his essay, Tolkien says of the Elves: "Elves are not primarily concerned with us, nor we with them. Our fates are sundered..."

Recently I went to the Willamette Writer’s Conference in Portland, Oregon. Like almost every year since I was 18, I volunteered part of the time, went to workshops, and pitched my latest manuscript to agents and editors. Unlike previous years I had a novel out and one to come out next year, and was also one of the paid presenters. I taught a workshop titled, “The Clowning Linguist: How to Write Humor.” Most importantly, this was also the year I signed a contract with an agent for my novel, WRATH OF THE TOOTH FAIRY, a funny fantasy romance in which the tooth fairy meets the bogeyman while on the job and chaos ensues.

Do you have any idea how significant it is for an author to have an agent?

How Did Joining Critique Groups and Writing Organizations Help Me as a Writer?

I joined my first critique group when I was about sixteen. It was a group of poets, short story writers and novelists who met at Wendy’s and read their pieces while children ran passed us and threw salad at each other. It was run as an off campus club through Clackamas Community College by the advisor, Alan Widderburg, to help encourage and assist new writers. I recall with fondness those days of word tossing—not to be confused with the salad tossing by the screaming children. Alan used to tell me I would be the next Jean Auel. Apparently my prehistoric-feeling dystopian science fiction reminded the group of her work. The piece of advice I was given every week was: 

I love watching period movies and reading period novels. With the recent surge in steampunk both as a fashion statement and in literature, it has been glorious being able to read more Victorian and Regency fantasy. True steampunk uses technology in a Victorian setting. Think of H.G. Well’s Time Machine or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. At the era these were written, this was science fiction and until recently it was referred to as classic science fiction. However, one of the fun things about the most recent steampunk novels is that you can have corsets, lacy bloomers and magic too! Since I am not just a writer, but also a fashion designer who sells fascinators and bloomers, this is right up my alley!

My published steampunk short stories include: Lady Chatterley’s Computer, an alternate reality about Lady Chatterley if her lover was a human (Published in Deepwood’s Ancient New Anthology, and the Quantum Mechanic, a story about a mechanic who needs to fix the space/time continuum and ends up in a steampunk universe for a period of time where she meets the love of her life in a different dimension (honorable mention in contest and published in On the Premises). Speed Dating for Books, a short story about a woman who is looking for a book to date, was heavily influenced by Pride and Prejudice though it takes place in modern times. In fact, I probably have five more short stories that feature a magically created, alternate reality or robotic Mr. Darcy on the desks of publishers awaiting the day they will be sold. I might classify these as steampunk but in reality they are Regency-punk.

Below are reviews of some of my favorites steampunk Regency-punk novels. I lean toward romance and humor, but in general I like strong relationship development. As I read more (and more are recommended to me) I hope to make additions to my list. For example, the book Night Circus sounds like the Hunger Games with Victorian magicians and it sounds like something I would enjoy, but I haven’t read it yet.

The Memory Thief Series is a steampunk series set on a Japanese world. The first novel came out in February. Two more are set to come out later this year. Check back for updates!

There are many common grammatical mistakes that writers make when submitting manuscripts. Learn how to prevent them with these tips. This blog post focuses on punctuation and quotation marks.

There are many common grammatical mistakes that writers make when submitting manuscripts. Learn how to prevent them with these tips. This blog post focuses on: Hyphens, N-dashes and M-dashes.

A few months ago I presented at the Willamette Writers in Eugene, Oregon and then at Rose City Romance Writer’s Portland chapter of RWA on grammar. Punctuation and quotation marks was one of the topics we covered. When I am copy editing, there are common mistakes I find among writers again and again. If you already know these rules and use them in your own writing correctly, this is an area where you have a strength. If you aren’t aware of a rule, need to look at the examples to answer correctly, or typically use a manual to refresh your memory, this is an area you might want to practice in order to improve.

Learn common grammatical mistakes that writers make when submitting manuscripts and how to prevent them. In this post we focus on: Pronouns, Proper Nouns and Capitalization Problems.

 

A few months ago I presented at the Willamette Writers in Eugene, Oregon and then at Rose City Romance Writer’s Portland chapter of RWA on grammar. When I am copy editing, there are common mistakes I find among writers again and again. If you already know these rules and use them in your own writing correctly, this is an area where you have a strength. If you aren’t aware of a rule, need to look at the examples to answer correctly, or typically use a manual to refresh your memory, this is an area you might want to practice in order to improve.

When we go to a job interview, we wear our best suit, come with a list of references, and might even remember to put on deodorant. At least, we do if we want the job. When we format a manuscript, self-edit a novel, or polish a book before sending it off to an agent or editor, we strive to present it as though we are professional writers who know what we are doing. At least, we do if we want to be published. Whether a seasoned writer, or someone just starting out in the writing process, there are weaknesses we don’t always recognize in our skills. We get into ruts with grammar, formatting, or stylistic “rules” we learned early on in high school writing classes that are bad practices in professional writing. 

Whether a pro at selling short stories or just starting out in the market, it is good to review the tricks of the trade to see if you have been leaving any steps out. Sarina Dorie has sold over 35 short stories to magazines, anthologies and ezines. Many of these are available as free reads and listed in her bio and announcements.

When we go to a job interview, we wear our best suit, come with a list of references, and might even remember to put on deodorant. At least, we do if we want the job. When we format a manuscript, self-edit a novel, or polish a book before sending it off to an agent or editor, we strive to present it as though we are professional writers who know what we are doing. At least, we do if we want to be published. Whether a seasoned writer, or someone just starting out in the writing process, there are weaknesses we don’t always recognize in our skills. We get into ruts with grammar, formatting or stylistic “rules” we learned early on in high school writing classes that are bad practices in professional writing. Learn the common mistakes so you can recognize when you make these in your writing so you can avoid them.