The YouTube team ExtraCredits creates short, thought-provoking videos about the craft of game design, story creation, the philosophy and psychology of building and playing video games, and other cool stuff.
One of their videos discusses Rust by Facepunch Studios, a multi-player survival game. In Rust, the physical appearance of every player’s character is randomly generated: specifically their skin color. The format doesn’t allow for re-rolling, so whatever your character looks like is what you’re stuck with – what you’re “born with,” as it were.
The Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week is “Read In One Sitting Theme”. I’ve filed my choices into three categories: stories that drag you along, begging to be read all at once; stories whose length and format suit them to comprehensive reading; and stories suited to periods of interrupted reading time.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brian
We used this as our bedtime story once. Mr. O’Brian puts his chapter breaks in exactly the right places – in a way. While we didn’t quite finish it in one read-through, the story pulled us along from chapter to chapter, long past when Dad had first said, “Well, just one more.”
The Book I Loved, the Series I Stopped
I haz rifle – and a pet spider. Ergo, I’s awesome.
Rangers Apprentice, by John A. Flanagan, is a series highly recommended to me by a good friend of mine. It follows the adventures of a group of characters in a quasi-mystical land where “Rangers” (Rogues, Hunters, Hide-in-shadows-shooting-with-deadly-accuracy-awesome, whatever the name is) train and serve the king of Araluen.
Sadly, it is also the series I think back on when I think of the wrong way to do cliffhangers. Differences in fiction taste aside, here’s why I loved the first book, but finally gave up on the series.
The Case Studies
1 The Ruins of Gorlan: They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…
I’ve heard this book get some flack, but it was my favorite. Continue reading
What the Vote Tells Writers About Ourselves
Much has been said of Donald Trump’s recent election as president of the U.S.
I think it can be used to illustrate the self-publishing environment, with some worldview implications that are very interesting.
The ebook market of the last decade or so has been deluged in material, especially from small-scale authors. It’s no longer necessary to get an agent or sign a publishing contract; all that’s needed to get your words in front of people is a few basic tech resources and a document of text.
Authors (typically) like this, and I think one of the reasons is they can do what they want. Continue reading
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books!
Crafting an “All Time Favorites” list is always difficult, but I have attempted it with the understanding that my tastes and evaluations may have changed ten years hence, and there’s nothing criminal about that!
Without further ado:
- That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis
I recently read this masterpiece for the third time, and in this most recent reading the theological truths, the philosophical overtones and subtexts, vibrated for me in a way they hadn’t previously. Especially as I watch Western civilization teetering on the brink of self-destruction, it was intoxicating to see the seeds of our destruction are as old as the earth itself, and liberating to know Man’s Salvation is older than Time. Continue reading
This meme was started by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, but anyone’s welcome. They provide a book-related topic for each Tuesday, and it’s up to bloggers to come up with 10 (more or less) selections! (See the link for official procedures and the list of topics.)
Why should you take part?
- It gives you ideas of what to blog about.
Some people do better at this; I need help figuring out what would interest my audience.
- It lets you talk about your likes and favorites without being egocentric – hey, everyone’s talking about their likes and favorites!
- You can share about your favorite books/TV shows, latest reads, bookish dreams, etc.! And once again, it’s not egocentric: the blogosphere asked about your favorites!
BONUS: Their topic for Tuesday, Sept. 13, is “Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre”. Carte blanche to go fan-girl about the best of the best (but only 10 of them)! Don’t worry about making a Best of the Century list — talk about your favorites right now. See you there!
Conversational, Accessible Tip-sheet
Jordan Smith’s previous work Finding The Core Of Your Story was a step-by-step guide to composing a logline – a one sentence summary of the “through-line” of a book’s plot. This is especially useful for authors trying to clarify and market their own works, but a logline can also be fun for readers eager to share their favorite reads with others.
For those (like me) who love to see things in action and so love examples, Loglines In The Wild provides eight case studies of real independent authors crafting loglines to help them with writing and marketing their ideas. Continue reading
Clean Detective Romance (and Prizes, too)!
There’s a special kind of joy that accompanies completing a major project. A few weeks ago, I gave a sneak-peak of my mystery/relationship-drama novel Hayes and Hayes, and now I’m very proud to announce it’s DONE! (You can find it in multiple formats here…or keep reading to win a copy!) Continue reading
When a struggling PI gets the case of his life from a beautiful widow, he must reconcile his growing care for her with his dedication to his wheelchair-bound little brother.
Thus reads the logline for my next release: Hayes and Hayes, by Kimia Wood. I haven’t talked about it much, because I don’t have a hard release date for it yet besides “soon, very soon”. Well, “soon” is now “sooner”, so I decided to share it with you. Continue reading
In this season of buying, selling, celebrating, advertising…I’d like to take a moment to talk about ebooks. The market of ebooks actually reveals some profound facets of our philosophy, and points to the worldview that underlies our actions.
From the prices of ebooks (for which I’ll direct you to Jordan Smith) to DRM (which I’ll explain in detail), how authors and readers interact matters – both to how readers view writers and their works, and to how writers are compensated for the toil and tears they put into creating their book.