Six impossible things

Posts Tagged research

Getting ready to get ready

When I was in college, I had a friend who wanted to be a fantasy writer. He had his career all planned out, and the first thing on his list was to acquire the skills and information he needed to write good fantasy. He had chosen his major and […]

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Three kinds of research

Every so often, somebody asks me if I do research for my stories. I suspect this is because I write fantasy, and there is a perception among non-fantasy writers and readers that fantasy can simply be made up straight out of one’s head, without regard to tedious […]

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Planning battle scenes

Back when I was writing my first novel, I got somewhere in the middle and realized I needed to write a battle scene. Not just a bar brawl or a fight between six of the good guys and ten or twelve bad guys; an actual clash of […]

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4th Street 2012

I spent last weekend at 4th Street Fantasy convention, which was one of the best I’ve been to in a long time. The only trouble with 4th Street is that almost every single minute, you were faced with, for instance, the choice between a fascinating conversation about […]

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Specific Research

A while back, I had an inquiry from a reader regarding research, specifically asking how I went about researching historical slang and stage magic. I decided I’d answer it here instead of in email, because while the specific subjects are fairly easy to address, there are some […]

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What Everybody Knows

On the very first day at Fourth Street Fantasy convention (which as of this posting, is still in session for another half-day or so), Elizabeth Bear mentioned running into a writing myth I’d never heard myself before: Women can’t ride stallions, because stallions get aggressive around women. […]

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Rewriting the past

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there” – L.P. Hartley  One of the tricky aspects of writing books set in any vaguely recognizable version of history is the inevitable clash between now and then, on pretty much every level. There are an enormous […]

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Time Travel the Easy Way

A few days ago, Beth my exercise buddy mentioned that she’d been rereading some of Connie Willis’ time-travel stories, and it inspired her to ask me a question:  If you could go back in time to do historical research, what time and place would you pick? I […]

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But It Really Happened That Way!

Real-life incidents aren’t all that useful in fiction, in my experience, because real life just sort of happens.  Basing a piece of fiction too closely on real-life events and experiences all too often results in stories that don’t work, and which the author justifies by saying “But […]

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The Devil’s in the Details

In the comments on our last exciting episode, accio_aqualung asked: So pretend you’ve spent so much time on something that you’ve got gobs and gobs of backstory and little trivial details, like the MC is  terminally left handed or her brother has to organize his pens in […]

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