Saturday, March 28, 2015

Week In Review: Character Development, Authors, and Short Stories

A Little on Character Development
This week I’ve been trying to work character development into my latest short story that I used as an example for last week’s post onworld-building. For me, character is much easier to develop in a profile than working traits of that profile into the story itself. It makes a person ask the question what is more important, the character influencing the story or the story (the events within) influencing the character? (Much like what came first, the vulture or the egg?) What do you think, fellow writers out there? Please feel free to leave your answers in the box at the end.

On Joe Hill
I’ve been reading Joe Hill’s collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts. I checked it out at the library a couple weeks ago, intending to only read one or two stories; so far I’m on a third. His stories are great, although if you want to read him for his horror fiction you may be a little disappointed with some of the stories, since, as the writer of the book’s introduction says, not all of them are horror.

I found out about Joe Hill’s work while reading a special issue of his comic book series, Locke & Key, a few years ago. I enjoyed the story, and when I heard he writes prose fiction as well, I wanted to read more of his stuff but didn’t get around to it until just recently. Because his stories are so great, regardless of the genre, I may return 20th Century Ghosts to the library before its due date (which is next week) and go to my local indie-owned bookstore and purchase my own copy to put up in my home library of must-read authors of all time.

Book cover to Joe Hill's "20th Century Ghosts"
Photo Credit: Amazon

Vintage Sci Fi Art
Speaking about bookstores, last weekend I came across a bundle of six copies of 1969 issues of Science Fiction-Science Fact Analog magazine. While only a couple of well-known authors are in some of the issues, one of them being Anne McCaffrey, many of the stories still look really interesting. Also I like the magazine’s exterior and interior sci fi art of the era, art which infuses much more emotion and aesthetic energy in hand-painted and hand-drawn illustrations than much of today’s computer produced book cover art seems to. See it for yourself in the photo below. 

Covers from five 1969 issues of "Science Fiction-Science Fact Analog"
Photo Credit: The Conde Nast Publications, Inc

Tweeting Authors
Warning: Next paragraph and link(s) may be objectionable to some readers.
Yesterday I ran into and got in on an interesting Twitter conversation with authors Saladin Ahmed (who initiated the conversation) and John Scalzi, about “Disturbing Super Hero Names of the 1950s”.  The name in question was “Dick”. Many of us can see how that can be disturbing today at least to certain people, although it’s not disturbing to me because I always believed “Dick” to be the name of a person and not the name of a guy’s part inside his pants. The person’s name came first, not the body part’s. So I brought that up in the conversation and if any of you don’t believe so yourselves, check out the link to the Oxford Dictionary (my emphasis to indicate where the pun wasn’t intended) in my Tweet to find out the origin or earliest known use of the name.

Horror Addicts' Guide Update
I mentioned a while back that is coming out with an anthology about horror culture, which I contributed two articles to (actually they were chosen by the good editors of who I contributed the articles to their online con a few years back). The book’s release is due, I believe, sometime next month but you don’t have to wait until then to find out more about what’s going to be in it. There’s good news! Editors Emerian Rich and David Watson talk about it and have several of its contributors read excerpts on their 111thpodcast episode of Horror Addicts

But there’s bad news too: I’m not one of the contributors reading. I’m not very tech savvy when it comes to putting audio on MP3’s which is what we needed to do to send in our readings. Plus, I wasn’t able to find an external mic for my computer to make the recording before the deadline. Sorry about that, Emerian and Dave. But I listened to your episode and it sounded really neat! Great job! And if you readers want to find out even more about the book, check out David’s interview at!

That’s it for this week. I’ll have more for you next time.

Until then . . . 

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