Jennifer Brozek | March 2013

Getting It Done

by Jennifer Brozek 19. March 2013 17:01

Things are rocking at Chez Brozek House of Writing. In the past couple of days, I have turned in the novelette and the short story, dealt with two sets of contracts for two different anthologies, collected essays for a third anthology, and did a casual hangout / signing event at Games & Gizmos with Jak Koke and James L. Sutter.

The rest of this month until my next major event will be all about editing Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. I’ve been working on it for a while but now it’s time to buckle down and make it my priority. It’s been interesting downloading Jay’s writing mind into my head.

The end of the month is my trip to Gothenberg, Sweden. I’m the Guest of Honor at the RPG convention, GothCon. We’ll be there for about five days. Not a lot of time to look around but one of the organizers has agreed to play tour guide for the first day we’re there. I’m very excited about the whole thing. I’ve never been to Sweden and being there as a GoH is just icing on the cake.

Of course, that means I need to get all my notes together for the two lectures I’ll be giving about RPG writing and Tie-In writing. I also need to figure out if I’m going to give handouts or not. Decisions, decisions.

Life is moving apace. More to tell when the contracts are signed.

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Bubble and Squeek for 12 Mar 2013

by Jennifer Brozek 12. March 2013 15:38

Event - Monday, 18 March, from 6-9pm, I (Battletech, Shadowrun) will be joining James Sutter (Pathfinder) and Jak Koke (Shadowrun) for Games & Gizmos first ever book signing in Redmond, WA. Come join us to buy books, get your books signed, and kick it with three RPG authors. We'll be hanging out, playing boardgames, and answering all of your questions that we can. There will be mini-cupcakes and sandwiches to snack on. I suspect, since Paizo is local, there will be more Paizo people joining the fun in an unofficial capacity.


Review - Roleplayers Chronicle gave Colonial Gothic: Locations a very nice review.

Announcement - Cat Labs announced the Shadowrun Returns Anthology Reward For Kickstarter Backers and I'm one of the authors for it.

Announcement - I've been sitting on this for a while but now I can announce that I am co-editing an anthology with Jean Rabe for Mad Norwegian Press. It's called Chicks Dig Gaming and it is part of the "Chicks Dig" line of non-fiction essays by women in SFF. I absolutely adore this anthology we're creating. I'll get ya'll a link to stuff as soon as I have it. Chicks Dig Gaming is due out in November 2013

Cover art. While I was out at the Rainforest Village Writer Retreat, the cover for Writing Fantasy Heroes popped up. It has a fab line up of people.

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Tell Me - Janna Silverstein

by Jennifer Brozek 11. March 2013 10:42

Building a Worldbuilding Guide

How do you build a world? How do you convey that world to your readers? How do you manage the business of worldbuilding, whether it's your own world or someone else's? These are questions that everyone who's ever worked in science fiction, fantasy, and role-playing games has asked. When Wolfgang Baur asked me to edit an anthology of essays on the subject for Kobold Press, I was both excited and a little overwhelmed. It's a huge topic. I wasn't an expert, that's for sure. But between the two of us, we knew enough worldbuilders that we figured we might be able to get near to answering the question. And thus was born The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding, a collection of essays by some of the top worldbuilders in roleplaying and in fantasy, with an introduction by Ken Scholes, bestselling author of The Psalms of Isaak.

What did I love about working on this project? I loved working with the people who wrote for it. Wolfgang Baur, for example, isn't well-known to mainstream SF and fantasy readers but he's a rockstar in the RPG world, and he writes about the creative side of worldbuilding with the insight and flair of someone who’s done it his entire adult life. Wolf explains difficult concepts with ease and real authority. He explains what is and isn’t important with the experience of someone who’s done it for games including Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulu and, most recently, the Midgard campaign setting for Pathfinder.

I loved working with Michael A. Stackpole, with whom I’ve worked for decades. Mike’s produced wonderful original fantasy novels including The Books of the Crown Colonies as well as novels in some of the most beloved licensed universes around, including Star Wars and Battletech. He contributed a dynamite piece on creating cultures. Jonathan Roberts, who created the maps for George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, produced a terrific essay on creating the topography of a world, and writes as beautifully as he illustrates. I loved working with Jeff Grubb, who writes about post-apocalyptic worldbuilding—and who presents some key insights about it that never occurred to me before. Jeff’s fingerprints are all over Magic: the Gathering, Guild Wars, and Star Wars, too.

In case you’re curious, I didn’t just edit the book; I contributed an essay about worldbuilding in licensed universes—breaking in, following the rules, managing your role in such a situation. I’ve worked with properties including Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Superman, and so many others. I’ve got opinions and I didn’t stint in sharing them.

Now, I know what my friends in mainstream SF and fantasy will say; I know that there’s a prejudice in our business that divides novelists and book publishers from game designers and game publishers. We don’t talk about it in polite company. Having straddled the divide between the two industries, I’m here to tell you something very important: the business of building a world is the same, whether you’re writing a novel or designing a game. If there’s a difference, it’s in how that world is conveyed to an audience, whether via a novel or interactive storytelling. But the effect is the same: drawing an audience into a fully realized world, convincing them of its authenticity, and carrying them away from their own lives in the service of adventure.

There’s no question that this book, targeting as it does, aspiring RPG designers, has a slant toward game design. But the lessons apply to novel-writing in ways you may not expect. I certainly didn’t when I started this project, and Ken Scholes certainly didn’t until he started reading the essays in order to write his introduction. The people who contributed to this collection have made worldbuilding their business, and they have a great deal to teach. What I want people to know about this book is just that: There are teachers here offering decades of knowledge about what it takes to make a world live and breathe. Take their advice; it’s solid gold.


The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding
Edited by Janna Silverstein
Essays by Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, David “Zeb” Cook, Monte Cook, Jeff Grubb, Scott Hungerford, Chris Pramas, Jonathan Roberts, Michael A. Stackpole, and Steve Winter
Introduction by Ken Scholes
Kobold Press, January 2013
http://www.koboldquarterly.com


--
Janna Silverstein is a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor with a number of anthologies and short stories to her credit. Her work has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, 10Flash Quarterly, and in the anthologies Swordplay and The Trouble With Heroes, among others. She was twice a Writers of the Future semi-finalist. She edited The Kobold Guide to Game design, vol 3: Tools & Techniques, and the Gold ENnie Award-winning Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design, both from Kobold Press. She lives in Seattle.

 

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Rainforest Writing

by Jennifer Brozek 5. March 2013 11:06

Wednesday, Feb 27 - I’ve just arrived at Lake Quinalt and, as always, I’m struck by the quiet, the lack of traffic, and the serenity of the area. It always makes me want to move out to the boondocks somewhere—with an extra-large satellite and cell phone tower for connectivity. I may want solitude but I like my internet. Fortunately, while I don’t have any cell reception at all, I do have a semi-decent internet connection. Then again, I’m supposed to be focused on just writing.

Thursday, Feb 28 - Good writing so far. I’m at 3700 words and the day isn’t half over. I’m getting good and making notes for things to look up, rather than stopping and obsessing about details I don’t know yet (like the Indian title for a woman of means in Assam, India in 1920). I’ve decided that if I can’t live by the ocean, a lake like Lake Quinalt would do. Fresh water, good view, salmon, house on the mountain side. This year, there are swans on the lake. They are absolutely gorgeous.

Friday, Mar 1 - 10,060 words in total on “Dreams of a Thousand Young.” Not bad for a three day total. Good panel today from J.A. Pitts on imposter syndrome. We all shared some war stories about imposter syndrome. Note to self: When Robert J. Sawyer says he want to hear you read, your swallow your fear and read. I read “That Bastard Called Hope” and it was well received.

Saturday, Mar 2 - I needed to stop and map out the building where the end game was. I also needed to look up what Shub-Niggurath looked like. Petty insignificant details required by writing. I did finish the draft zero of “Dreams of a Thousand Young” at 11,413. I wasn’t going to write anymore but then I remembered I owed Nayad a story and I still had half the day. So, I banged out another 2700+ on “A Card Given.” My total for the retreat was 14191. Not bad. Not bad at all. Of course, now comes the work of cleaning up all of those words.

My view for the weekend. Granted, the sun didn’t come out until the last day. I think the lake is gorgeous rain or shine.

 

 

 

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Tell Me – Luna Lindsey

by Jennifer Brozek 4. March 2013 10:48

Printing Emerald City Dreamer - When Thoughts Become Reality

Why do I believe in faeries?

 

I'm not sure if I believe in faeries. You might call me a faegnostic. The existence of faeries is just about as likely as most other phenomenon of the unseen world. There certainly are enough eye-witness accounts to put them on par with more serious cryptids. Yet extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

 

What I can prove is that I write about faeries. And maybe I believe in magic.

 

Sometimes I get lost in all the mechanics and business of writing to remember why I focused in on these ethereal beings, out of hundreds of other speculative topics I might have chosen. Across three novels and a handful of short stories, I've written 275,000 words about faeries. So they must be important.

 

Over the weekend, I attended Faeriecon West. But not for fun. I had a quest to scope it out, with four simple tasks:

  • Find a spot to place my promotional bookmarks; 
  • See if any book vendors might carry my print copy of Emerald City Dreamer next year; 
  • Make some faerie-industry contacts; 
  • Develop ideas to promote my books at Faeriecon in the future.

I chickened out on most of these. A very jaded me walked past, with barely a glance, at merchandise I've seen at a hundred other cons. All the faerie costumes and glitter and twigs and flowers.

 

To fill the time, an uncharmed me listened with a skeptical ear to Raven Grimassi, who believes in actual faeries. His stories threatened to destroy my world-weary veneer, especially when he spoke about a faerie he met, who believed humans are the only magical creatures in the universe. Faeries can turn thoughts into things in a way that seems magic to us, he explained, yet these objects are made of ether that disappears when thought moves on. Only humans can turn thoughts into real things – by constructing chairs and buildings and books.

 

A me not-long-past would have reveled in the whole spectacle, silk and wands and pagans and all. Instead, I went home early.

 

It took at least an hour into the Woodland & Faun concert the next night for all the fae stuff to finally sink in, and I remembered what it is about faeries that has drawn me to them year after year.

 

It's their magic. It's not always good magic; sometimes it's quite terrifying. But it's magic all the same. Real or not, the fae represent the hidden wild nature of humanity: our animal instincts, our emotions, our occluded fears. Our subconscious, be it collective or individual.

 

Fae folk are earthy, childlike, capricious, and full-of-wonder. They are also vicious, cunning, duplicitous, and debauched. They represent the powers of creation and the other edge of that bronze-age sword: the powers of destruction. The fae are avatars of dream and nightmare, and that is how I present them in my Dreams by Streetlight world.

 

I am releasing Emerald City Dreamer in print this month, and I needed a reminder of their energy in the midst of the mundane work of cover design, font-choosing, layout formatting, software troubleshooting, and price-calculating. These tasks are as oppressive as cheap newsprint that rubs off on your fingers and clothes. Hardly inspiring.

 

As dull as the minutia of publishing can be, it is a form of creation no less important than the day two years ago when I created Ezra, the religious boy unaware he is a troll. No less charming than planning the BrughHaHaus, a University District dwelling full of faeborn housemates ruled by their Elf Queen. No less enthralling than giving the antagonist enough magic to torment, attack, enslave, and terrify my other characters.

 

No less vital than drafting, revising, and editing the thousands of words to form the novel in the first place.

 

And nothing could be as inspiring as the moment I first held a hardcopy of my novel in my hands, with its glossy cover, the captivating image of Jina staring at me, determined to use that sword or guitar or both; to turn it over and admire the layout on the back and spine; to flip through the pages and see all those words, in tangible form, for 320 pages.

 

In my novel, I label some people as dreamers. They are the creators of art who, through their power of painting or singing or writing, produce the energy consumed by the fae. The fae transform those dreams into glamour to create illusions – things that seem real, but are not.

 

Faerie magic.

 

In my way, I have done the opposite. I have transformed my thoughts and dreams into words, and then, through a humdrum process of layouts and formatting, transformed the words into a physical object – a book.

 

I made a thing from a thought, just like the magic described by Raven Grimassi's faerie.

 

It's no mistake that the word "spell" is a homonym with two meanings: "to correctly write a word" and "to create something of magic." A book is a real thing full of thoughts that, while imaginary, will never disappear.

 

Perhaps I am wrong to be skeptical. Raven's faerie spoke wisdom. Humans possess true magic.

 

--

Luna Lindsey lives near Seattle, WA. At some point, she accidentally became an expert on mind control, computers, and faeries. She began writing full-time in 2010 and has been published in the Journal of Unlikely Entomology and in Penumbra eMag as the January 2013 Rising Talent. She tweets like a bird @lunalindsey and blogs at www.lunalindsey.com. Her novel, Emerald City Dreamer, is now available both on Kindle and in print.

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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award nominated editor and a Bram Stoker nominated author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty-five published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Jennifer is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of the Scribe, Origins, and ENnie awards, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and the Shadowrun novella, Doc Wagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns.

When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a Director-at-Large of SFWA, and an active member HWA and IAMTW. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.