What lies beneath the surface

[--- Karen Myers ---] The above image of the underground city of Cappadocia sparked a metaphoric response. Everything you write about has hidden depths, just like real things. Places have histories, societies have generated customs, predators and prey have evolved together, planets have continental drift and subduction. And people... people are swarming with interior experiences,... Continue Reading →

Cozy Fantasy — Beware of Chicken

[--- Karen Myers ---] Call me parochial, but I have never been able to get into the modern fascination with manga and martial arts themed fantasies. It's not that I don't like me a good chop-em-up samurai flick or Mizoguchi warm bath and the Chinese equivalents, but I'm not the generation that is fascinated by... Continue Reading →

The reader is your collaborator

[--- Karen Myers ---] Telling a story requires a collaborator, not a passive recipient. Look at that picture above. On the one hand, it's just the start of a story. But since the readers bring what they know to the process, it's also a complete story all by itself. Do they really need anything else?Mind... Continue Reading →

Characters Acting Their Age

[--- Karen Myers ---] I had an amusing experience the other day. I happen to sing in a mens' barbershop chorus (been a tenor all my life) and, as all social groups do from time to time, they had a kerfuffle with someone being offended, and a squabble, and a threat to quit, and so... Continue Reading →

Trad vs Indie Author Earnings

[--- Karen Myers ---] The results are in from the recent survey that some of you have participated in, from the Alliance For Independent Authors (ALLi). The Passive Voice reports on The Bookseller's report on the survey results. "ALLi circulated the survey to its members and subscribers, as well as “through other key self-publishing and... Continue Reading →

A Ballad in Four Acts

[--- Karen Myers ---] Time for a Blast from the Past... There are several ways to structure a novel -- here's one that keeps popping up in all sorts of narratives. The structure I use is called the 4-Act Structure (here's a diagram I use as guidance). In essence, there are 2 acts of about... Continue Reading →

Sitting in Judgment

[--- Karen Myers ---] Playing god is a heady experience. You may think you're just telling a story, but really you're creating a world and everything important in it. So, do you strive for moral objectivity about your characters ("this is just the way they are...nothing to do with me") or do you encourage the... Continue Reading →

Psychology: Interrogating your characters

[--- Karen Myers ---] I was raised by wolves. No, really. Nice wolves, well-meaning wolves, but wolves nonetheless. Let me explain. My older brother and I were raised in a fair amount of affluence, educated at the right schools, suitably cared for, and never submitted to the least bit of abuse. So, what's my lament?... Continue Reading →

Failures of Memory

[--- Karen Myers ---] Let's talk about memory. The reader's memory, you know, the one you need to rely on to make your story comprehensible. Now, I'm not getting any younger, and I'm acquiring a front row seat on just how fragile a thing memory can be, especially the short-term kind, and that's for real... Continue Reading →

What’s in a nose

[--- Karen Myers ---] Among a great many pedantic bits of advice for beginning fiction writers is the importance of fully describing a character's environment and perceptions as a way of embedding the reader in that experience. Yeah, well.... Boy, is that easy to do clumsily, using a shopping list approach to note the blue... Continue Reading →

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