Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Monday, March 28, 2016
So here's to Emmy, who listened to my ideas for a totally different ending and whose excitement made me glad (instead of sad) that I was rewriting so much.To Emer, who shoots down my terrible ideas before I can become attached to them. To Giles, who reminds me to be enthusiastic about my story because it's awesome, gosh dangit. To my critique group, who didn't realize at first that they were telling me to delete and rewrite three entire chapters, yet managed to do it in the nicest way possible.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Tonight, we're teaching Tropes 101 at 6 p.m., then interviewing Delilah Dawson about Star Wars and steampunk on the main stage at 8 p.m. Emily and Giles are also on various panels throughout the rest of the weekend (sorry, Michelle), so you might see us elsewhere, too! We have candy and jokes available at our table, so make sure you stop by!
We've all been looking forward to this for weeks. It's an amazing con with fantastic programming and incredible guests--and gorgeous costumes to boot! Tickets are still available at the door, so come join us at Denver's steampunk and alternate history convention. We're pretty dang sure you'll have an amazing time.
Emily is really looking forward to trying on her new costume for the first time. And looking at everyone else's amazing costuming. And talking about pirates and The Legend of Korra. And basically everything. She's excited for everything.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Once again, Carriger wove a full tale of surprising twists, dastardly plots, and graceful parties. As always, this is a spoiler-free review, but be prepared for surprising twists and world-ending revelations that pin a bow on this fantastic finale.
Miss Sophronia finds herself in the middle of yet another plot to overthrow the supernatural leaders of Queen Victoria's government. She embarks on one final mission to save the nation with subtle espionage, ladylike grace, and wonton destruction.
Many of the questions left open at the end of the last two books are finally answered. New questions arise through this story, as well, and Carriger successfully gives the readers what they want: a satisfying conclusion full of answers. It even ties in to her Parasol Protectorate series by the very end.
The only disappointment is that this is the final book in the series. Seriously. It's been a fantastic adventure, and I'm so sad that it's over. I want more books from her, in this series, and elsewhere in her colorful universe. We do have one more book to look forward to, which will be reviewed in due time.
Until then, I suggest each and every one of you go start from the beginning, read (or reread) her books. Better yet, go pick them up in audio format. You won't regret it.
Monday, March 21, 2016
There are day-to-day denials, like:
“I can get ready for work in five minutes.”
“Psh. I’m not addicted to cake.”
“Just one more editing pass, then I’ll query.”
“That other guy is so much better at this than I’ll ever be.”
“I might be able to use some of it later.”
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
At least at my day job. It may not be the healthiest choice, which is why I actually CONSIDER it now and then, and have even taken advantage of a handful of sick days over the last few years, but there's work to get done. Sometimes, as a working adult, I just need to take some over-the-counter painkillers (NEVER prescription at work!!!), and get the job done. Especially as an employee of a small business.
However, today I'm taking a sick day on this blog. I love writing for this blog, and I enjoy doing what I do for Beyond the Trope. The last sick day I remember taking for the podcast was last year at Anomaly Con (where we'll be NEXT WEEK, so don't miss it), and I think missing one day here and there probably isn't a big deal.
So let me leave you with a question: how often do you "push through," emotionally, mentally, and/or physically, when you're not feeling 100%?
Monday, March 14, 2016
Me: “Well, that was painful.”
Me: “I think I’ll go home and delete everything I’ve ever written.”
Emer: “Me too… *sigh* Why do we do this, again?”
Me: “I DON’T KNOW.”
Michelle's new project is a YA sci-fi/fantasy featuring a crazy girl with a rainbow birthmark, bad guys with cool guns, a ginger, explosions, and a pair of sisters who can move things with their minds.
Friday, March 11, 2016
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in a project that we get feedback and suggested improvement and we desperately try to make them work, even if it changes the story we're trying to tell. Sometimes we get so obsessed with the story that we refuse to see it isn't actually salvageable and spend months or years trying to fix something that has a fundamental flaw we're willingly blind to.
That is how we as writers don't finish anything. That's how we shoot ourselves in the foot where a writing career is concerned. If we spend forever trying to perfect a story despite knowing that it isn't working on some level, or if we simply spend too much time polishing it in an attempt to make it as pretty as we think it should be, we never get our work out there.
There's no hard and fast rule of when you should set aside a project, unfortunately. I'm struggling with that right now. I've been working on a short story for a (now defunct) magazine for the last few months. It's gone through three or four rewrites and just ran through critique group again last night, which basically brought up the fact that I haven't fixed the fundamental problem in this story yet. I keep going back and forth as to whether I should keep going with it and find somewhere else to submit it, or just toss it in the trunk for now and move on.
It's a tough call, and one that doesn't really have a right answer. The only thing I can say for certain is that we all need to make sure that we're actually finishing things!
Emily is really bad about obsessing over things. She just wants her stories to be perfect, dang it! Of course, she also knows that's not actually possible.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
For many people who try to put together a platform of any kind, whether it's social media, a blog, or a podcast, the most elusive element is interaction with the audience. As bloggers/podcasters, we're putting out content and then hoping people get a chance to consume it in one way or another. The key, I've heard, is to make sure you always respond to people who interact with you. That's not always easy because we have several methods available for response.
That's not to say that we don't WANT to interact. We want to hear from you, especially on this blog. And when we can, at least one of us will TRY to respond to comments. Because it's awesome to discuss blog topics! But what we want to encourage all of you to do is interact with each other. In the comments on the blog, talk back and forth about stuff. We don't generally "administer" the comments (at least not on the newest posts), and we'll only step in to delete/block comments if they get mean and/or disrespectful. We'll jump into discussions when we can to stay involved, and we try to do the same on Twitter and Facebook, too.
But the best way to get in touch with us is through our contact form. It may take a few days or a few weeks, but for the foreseeable future, we'll try to respond to each email we get. There may be exceptions (like mean, hateful, or disrespectful messages), but as long as you're not giving a review (because we don't respond to reviews: it's a general rule to let the reviewer maintain their opinion without us trying to change it), we'd love to talk. Even if you don't necessarily like what we do.
Long story short, we love sharing this podcast/blog with all of our listeners/readers. And getting to talk with people about something that we love is fun for us. So drop us a line, say hello. And talk with each other in the comments section below.
EDIT: This post is here to encourage everyone to interact in any way they feel comfortable, but also to emphasize that the best way to hear back from us is to send emails. We'll try to respond to comments and Twitter and Facebook, too. Email's just the most likely way for us to interact. Thanks!
Monday, March 7, 2016
“Alone Together” – Fallout Boy“Renegades” – X Ambassadors“I Bet My Life” – Imagine Dragons“Hall of Fame” – The Script“Fixin’” – Walk the Moon“Titanium” – David Guetta“Shake it Out” – Florence and the Machine“Secrets” – OneRepublic“The Best is Yet to Come” – Sheppard“Fight Song” – Rachel Platten“It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons“Halo” – The Pass“Counting Stars” – OneRepublic“Blow” (Deconstructed) – Ke$ha“Burn” – Ellie Goulding
Friday, March 4, 2016
This isn't necessarily bad in and of itself, but it can get problematic when you get so caught up in the research that you don't actually get to the writing/creating. Which is a problem I've had.
My senior project in college was supposed to be the rough draft of an historical fantasy novel inspired by my time in Ireland and the research I'd done. It never happened. I got so caught up in trying to make everything as historically accurate as I could that I lost the excitement of the project and changed what I was doing. I'm now working on a steampunk-esque story and trying to avoid that problem by limiting the amount of research I'm doing for this draft (and reminding myself it is a fantasy, so I have a bit of leeway).
But that didn't stop me from spending all day today researching things instead of remembering to write my blog post! So, if you're like me and enjoy learning things, beware the research!
Emily just really enjoys random factoids and can easily get sidetracked into a whole vein of research she didn't actually intend to follow. She's not even sorry.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Well, yes, all of that is true. And the reason it's odd is because I went an entire week without freaking out. My insurance coverage is good enough to take care of a rental for me, which means I didn't have to "figure something out," and on the day it happened, my wife was off work, meaning I had a ride to get to work that day. All of those things you asked about, I felt them when I finally saw my car in impound (it got recovered and towed to a county facility).
Even still, dealing with missed work (about an hour and a half, maybe two hours total over one week), the stress of not knowing if it would be considered totaled (the body was in great shape, but car thieves are NOT notorious for how well they take care of the car's innards), I managed to keep my WRITING momentum going.
Honestly, I don't know how, aside from the Grace of God (not to be too cheesy). You see, ANY interruption in my routine makes me freak out. To an extent, I am obsessive-compulsive. Having my car stolen should've shut me down creatively, or spurred me to write some very unusual and dark stuff. But that didn't happen. I got to continue writing my FUN, exciting book.
My challenge to you is this: don't let the world around you determine whether or not you'll pursue success. Yes, there are a LOT of things outside of your control. But as far as you DO have control, keep doing whatever you were doing. Adapt, shift perspective, and take time to recover whenever necessary, but don't let it cripple you. I'm going to try to do the same. It's a lesson I learned through all of this.