Writerly Links of the Week

Women Destroy Fantasy

Epic Pin of the Week!

Classic Fantasy Quote of the Week:

“My wife and I agreed that only my wine was to be poisoned.”                  ~ King of Attolia by Megan Whelan Turner (tweet this!)

Writerly Wisdom of the Week:

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”   ~ William H. Gass


Links on Writing:

The Craft & Life of Writers

Social Media & Author Platform

Fantasy & SpecFic Links

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#WFC2014: Beyond Rebellion in YA Fantasy

Beyond Rebellion in YA Fantasy panel

Beyond Rebellion in YA Fantasy

Panelists: Ysabeau Wilce (M), Gail Carriger, Sarah Beth Durst, Steven Gould

Description: We all know the story of teen disaffection and rebellion, but there are plenty of Young Adult fantasies that maintain strong family ties, with rational adult role models, such as L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Steven Gould’s Impulse, and even Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games. A look at books that don’t always have the hero with an unhappy home, and discussion why this can make an intriguing story.

Beyond Rebellion in YA Fantasy panel

Ysabeau Wilce (M), Gail Carriger, Sarah Beth Durst

The precarious lifespans of YA parents and the idealism of teens…

Top Moments:

  • SBD: There are typically only 3 options for parents in YA fantasy. 1) the loving parents in danger, 2) the absentee parents (boarding school, orphans, etc.), and 3) the eeeeevil parents. And either way you slice it, parents have a pretty lousy life expectancy in YA
  • GC: The isolation of the YA protagonist speaks to an ongoing obsession with the Hero’s Journey
  • YW: It’s easy to go to the well of teenage disaffectedness
  • SBD: Our family structure and parents have a HUGE impact on how we view the world. Many YA arcs involve a quest for family / belonging / homeland, but happy families can make an exciting arc too. If you have a loving family, you’ve got a lot to lose. Think of where your character’s heart is
  • GC: YA protagonists (and readers) are often beginning to discover that parents are fallible. They may also have a fascination with other adults to get something their parents couldn’t / didn’t provide
  • YW: It can be difficult as an adult writer to let a YA protagonist make “stupid” mistakes
  • SBD: Pull away the safety nets; stories are about change
  • GC: Some stories feature family love that is actually oppressive to character growth (fear of upsetting beloved family)
  • GC: Don’t forget to make YA protagonists smart. There’s an irony of self-awareness in teens. They’re interested in philosophy and idealism, but their enthusiasm is blended with teenage idiocy. They’re smart as well as stupid
  • SBD: The family situation is univerally resonant, like fairy tales
  • SG: Parents don’t need to be physically present to be key to the story. Harry Potter’s parents are the most present unpresent parents, and a crucial / constant motivational force for the protagonist

Favourite Line: What happens to our childhood impulse to save the world?

#WFC2014: Derived Myths – Making it Original

Derived Myths: Making It Original

Panelists: Sandra Kasturi, Nick DiChario (M), S. P. Hendrick, Melissa Marr, Rick Wilber

Description: There is no denying that the influence of various mythologies on fantasy has been inspiration for Lord Dunsay, Elizabeth Hand, Barry Hughart, and many others. With a wealth of examples, the discussion will range from when the myth inspiration is the center of the work to when it has led to a whole new mythos.

Derived Myth panelists

S. P. Hendrick, Sandra Kasturi, Melissa Marr, Rick Wilber, Nick DiChario (M)

Wherein the mythologies of Peyton Manning and library cards received just and thorough examination.

Top Moments:

  • MM: discussion of Hero’s Journey & Heroine’s Journey. Though adult fantasy has started to even out, still a strong trend of male heroes in best-selling YA & MG (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, etc.)
  • SK: added that it’s important to watch how we “code” our heroes, as writers. Female hero give-aways: “feisty,” “gasped,” “clumsy,” “whispered,” “spunky,” “bitten lip.” When did we last hear of a “feisty” male hero?
  • MM: When making up our own myths, start with the landscape. Landscape contains the reasons your mythology evolved
  • SK & MM: be cautious of cultural appropriation. Always as the question: “Why are you the right person to tell this story?”
  • Interesting question: with the rise of Google and the ability to fact check, are we still able to create new myths and embellish growing legends?
  • RW: “Fact never gets in the way of good sports myth.”
  • SPH: Human psyche is drawn to myth. We need something bigger than ourselves to put faith in, whether gods or superheroes
  • SK: TV has started weaving incredibly complex myths, from True Detective to Grimm
  • RW: TV in its second golden age. It’s swirling round with mythologies that are so different from preliterate, yet myth endures through generations and media
  • SPH: TV shows are the new troubadours
  • SPH: Can the group mind grant creation to myths (i.e., is Darth Vader now “real”?
  • SPH: Different cultures overly their own merits and needs on myths
  • SK: Myth speaks to a collective consciousness, of tapping into the same well
  • RW: Often stories are told to recover what has been lost (from a “golden age”)
  • RW: When integrating research, it should be deeply enmeshed in your story, but “you can’t give the whole iceberg”
  • SK: Good myths should destroy you

Favourite Line: “Writers should approach myths the same way as commas. You have to know the rules before you break them.” — Melissa Marr