Write what you know: Running for your life

Let’s be honest. We put our characters through terrible things. It’s fun to terrify them. It brings us pleasure to do so…or at least it brings me pleasure. There are certain “terrible things” that are universal. They’re in our nightmares. They’ve been a part of our collective psyche since there’s been a human race. That’s not to say everyone is afraid of them. Some people have overcome that fear, but it was still a fear that had to be overcome.   This happens so often in stories. Your character is just minding their own business (or not) and suddenly, the big scary thing is after them, and they have to run. A few years ago, I decided I would experience this for myself. I just needed to find something...

Stop reading boring books

If you’re like me, you read for entertainment. Every once in a while, I come across a book that just doesn’t hold my interest. At those times, I feel almost guilty if I stop reading it, especially if it’s a popular book. There are a couple on the 2015┬áHugo ballot that fall into that category. Here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with stopping. If I’m reading for entertainment and I’m not being entertained, the book isn’t doing it’s job, and I’m wasting my time. I’m not going to name any books in this post. Just because I find something boring doesn’t mean you will. I’m not talking about specific books. I’m talking about continuing to read any book you find boring. There was one...

Tips for travellers

My first job out of college was travelling to customer sites and installing software. Before that, I’d taken two trips that required flying, and I started off woefully ignorant on how to do it. I go to a lot of conventions. Many of them are out of town, so it’s fair to say I have experience with travel so I decided to put together a list of tips. Some of these pertain to travelling and writing, but others are just general travel, so let’s just jump into it. First, never buy these. These are a complete and total waste of money. “But Gama,” you may be saying, “the TSA says I have to bring small liquids and gels. If I don’t buy this, how will I keep my teeth clean?” I’m glad you asked that. Dental hygiene is...

The right tools for the right job

This actually does relate to writing, so bear with me. I buy cheap shoes. Shoes cover my feet. As long as they do that, they’re good shoes. I might pay a little more for dress shoes, but not that much more. There’s one exception to this. Running shoes. I’m currently training for a half marathon. Among other things, this means my longer runs will be hours long. In that kind of situation, I’m not going to get the cheapest shoes I can find. I went to a specialist running store where they watched me run. They saw that I put more weight on the inside of my foot so they recommended a shoe that has extra arch support. The first time I bought that shoe, it cost me $160. Whenever I replace it, I get the same kind of shoe, and I can generally find...

I like Medieval Europe

Every once in a while, when I’m telling someone about a story I’m working on, and they’ll say something to the effect of “Oh, it’s a medieval Europe setting. Have you considered doing some other type of setting? What about something based off Mexican culture?” It’s an understandable question. The majority of fantasy is based in medieval Europe. “Cultural appropriation” has become something of an anathema in the industry, and I do have experience with that culture. Here’s the thing, though. That culture doesn’t interest me. That’s not really surprising. The things that draw us are the strange, the unusual. David Farland talks about how the biggest successful movies have one big thing in common....