I hate winter, especially since I moved to northern Virginia where freezing temps and precipitation rarely meet. While the rest of the northeast is getting blanketed with the fluffy white stuff, we’ve had nothing but a few flakes, plenty of sleet, and incessant rain. The kind that freezes not just the roads but the microscopic crevices in your bones and the cracks in your soul until you feel like you may never get warm again. While impatiently waiting for spring, I retreat inside to write, catch up on my favorite TV series, bicker with my family, and even do a little house cleaning. Which leaves my mind to wander into this article: how do the seasons effect my beasties and their more human neighboring characters? (more…)
Creature Feature: The Alder King
Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp’d in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
“My son, wherefore seek’st thou thy face thus to hide?”
“Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem, Der Erlkönig (as translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring) depicts an elven king that would leave most little kids sleeping with the lights on for weeks, and their parents checking on them every hour. But Goethe’s vision of an Erlking,or Alder King, who entices little children away from their disbelieving parents in order to murder them, isn’t really in keeping with the original Scandinavian mythology. (more…)
Predicting Tomorrow: Futuristic Worldbuilding
Whether the setting is next year, next century or next millennia like mine, depicting the future is never easy. If you stick too close to current trends, the future might catch up with you before the book is published. If you predict flying cars and undersea cities in twenty years, you run the risk of asking readers to suspend too much disbelief. And the comfortable middle ground is…well comfortable, which is one baby step away from being tired. (more…)
Creating Hell on Earth: Dystopian Worldbuilding
Have you ever wanted to play God, build a world only to see it crash and burn? If you’ve ever watched a toddler build a block tower only to kick it down and start over, you know creation and destruction are both intrinsic to our human nature. Maybe that explains the reoccurring floods of dystopians hitting book stores and spilling over into theaters with increasing regularity.
So what does it take to build a dystopian society? (more…)
Utopia or Bust
In a perfect world, there would be no war, no hunger, no hate, and I would have eight hours a day to write without losing my house and becoming a regular at the local soup kitchen. While dystopias are all the rage right now on e-readers and the big screen alike, the flip side is far from forgotten.
The concept of a utopian society has been around for millennia, long before Sir Thomas More coined the term in his book Utopia back in 1516. (more…)