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Oh, The Angst!

November 18, 2007

One of the problems that I’ve found with writing a fantasy is that I don’t know how much to tell people about it when it comes up in conversation. I’m not really concerned that somebody is going to “steal my ideas” or any such nonsense, because honestly ideas are cheap; it’s the execution that’ll bring in the money, and I’m the only person in the world who can execute an idea the way I would. (I mean this in the most arrogant way possible)

No, what I’m really concerned of is giving too much away. Surprises are good. Surprises make me respect the author. So I want to put surprises in my books. But the best surprises are always the ones that have just enough foreshadowing that you know that something is up, you just don’t know what.

For example, the opening scenes of the Matrix make it pretty damn clear that something which is both unbelievably cool and sinister is happening. When we find out that the whole world is an elaborate game of Pong, we are surprised.

In Evangelion, we know in short order that Dr. Ikari is planning something. When, no, if the viewer manages to figure out what Ikari is really after, he or she is surprised.

Well I don’t have any cosmic mindfucks in store for my heroes (at least not in the first book), but I do have some surprises. And I’m not sure how to talk about the plot with the people in my workshop group without giving up the game. I can’t afford to do that, because if I do, then how am I to guage the surprise’s effectiveness?

Another problem I’ve found is coming up with all the gritty little details that make a world breathe. But most of my workshop group (or at least the new one) doesn’t seem interested in helping me worldbuild. I don’t think it is Literary Enough for many of them. (If, by any chance any of you are reading this and know who I am, then you know who you are. You heard me.)

That second problem, I suppose, could be solved by just, you know, asking for help, but for some reason I haven’t thought to do that yet.

Oh the troubles and toils of the aspiring fantasy writer!

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