The Booket List: March 2013

March was a bit of a slow month for me in terms of reading. I did manage to read three books, and while that’s nice, it puts me short of my goal of reading one book per week. I blame that on the book I’m writing, partially, but also because March was a crazy month in general. Oh, and the fact that I’ve been reading tons of Calvin and Hobbes. Hopefully I’ll do better in April.

Here’s March’s Booket List: Continue reading →

The Fat Princess

Girl of Fire and Thorns

Sometimes I’m a fat princess. No, I’m not having an identity crisis, I’m just identifying with the excellently realized character in THE GIRL OF FIRE and THORNS by Rae Carson, one of the most recent books I’ve read. The book follows the exploits of Elisa, a powerless, overweight, self-conscious princess that happens to have been identified as God’s Chosen One at birth — and never quite feels like she matches up to the mark of the Godstone that rests in her navel. Continue reading →

Rewriting History and Adding Superkids

WW2 Captain America

The most interesting part of writing The Jimmy Project, my current novel about a superkid raised by the U.S. government, is that it takes place in an alternate Earth, with a history different from our own. For other things I’ve written, I’ve only had to do a modicum of research, just some brief Wikipedia browsing to make sure I wasn’t completely off my rocker before tackling a few sections. TJP has been wildly different in that I’m writing about a time period I have zero firsthand knowledge of (the 1930s-1950s), besides a few World War II movies. Continue reading →

Formative Felines: On Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes Complete Collection

As of this weekend, I’m the proud owner of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes Collection. something that fills me with an embarrassing amount of joy. Don’t get me wrong: I probably have the majority of these books in separate places between my house and my old bedroom at home, but they’ve become so worn down from years of re-reading that I thought it would be nice to own them again, on the real.

Part of the reason I wanted to own the collection (besides the fact that I want to read every strip again), is that I want my daughter to grow up with Calvin and Hobbes the way I did. Continue reading →

The Booket List: February 2013

In terms of reading, I think Feburary 2013 will best be remembered as the month I discovered the amazing, hilarious, and deeply feelsy work of John Green. I’ve been hearing about Green’s writing for quite some time, but finally pulled the trigger on his newest work, The Fault in Our Stars, as my first book of the month… and followed it up quickly with Looking for Alaska. I’ll say more about those books below, but this has been one of the more enjoyable Booket Lists I’ve been able to put together so far. Continue reading →

Rule Dumps in Fantasy

After my post about writing bad epic fantasy the other day, a friend of mine had a nit to pick with me regarding one of my qualms with the genre.

“Friend!” she cried, brandishing a steel sword kissed by Death. “I disagree with your list!”

“Bring your most logical argument!” I shrieked in reply, magical power coiling around me like a writhing serpent.

Actually, none of that happened. We were playing 7 Wonders around a dinner table, and she said she didn’t like that I said rule dumps were lame. But sometimes I really do wish my life had magical battles. Continue reading →

The Booket List: January 2013

So far, 2013 has started off strong in the reading department. I fell behind my desired pace in the last week or so, but as of now I’ve already read a few books for the year, and a couple of them have been fantastic. Continue reading →

How to Write Epic Fantasy


I’ve got a strange love-hate thing going on with epic fantasy, guys. In some ways, it was my first love. High tales of chosen one heroes and grandiose adventure-taking is what spawned my love of reading in the first place. Things like Record of Lodoss War, the Wheel of Time, Final Fantasy games and the like. Despite the genre’s numerous downfalls, it’s the thing that I still want to write again someday, even if I’m a bit burned out on epic fantasy as a whole for the moment.

So, in preparation for that day of passionate reunion, of once again walking the fields of Middle Earth or a loving rip-off of it, here are some of the best tips I can give you on how to write the most amazing, generic epic fantasy of all time.

Note: And for the record, none of this is serious. It’s so hard to tell over the intertubes, sometimes.

Continue reading →

Deadly Writing Sins: Overcomplicated Plots

I’ve got a few bad habits when I write. I tend to overwrite action sequences, because, hey, who doesn’t love a good explosion or a flying kick to a ninja lizard’s face? I also sometimes bury the feels for fear of being melodramatic. Sometimes that’s fine, but I turn these things into Jurassic Park style paleontological digs, leaving the reader scrambling through layers of dirt. On the flip side of that, sometimes I tell too much, when it comes to worldbuilding and backstory. I feel a bit like George Lucas, ignoring the story in favor of blasting “LOOK AT WHAT THESE HANDS HAVE WROUGHT” across some glowing, alien landscape.

But my worst writing sin? I over-complicate. When something in the story could happen in 2 steps, I turn it into 5. Instead of moving the character from point A to point B, I take him on a tour of his pitfalls and hang-ups, throw in some backstory, and maybe even a couple of info dumps. Quite simply, this is bad writing. And for some reason, this is how my brain defaults the first time I work on a new idea. Continue reading →

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