Friday, October 21, 2011

Letter to my Future Self

October 21, 2011

Dear Future Self,

I am writing to you from right at the beginning of your writing career.  You are about to submit your first short story, you have just begun the journey to understand the publishing, marketing, commercial side of writing, and are still in the early stages of the creative side as well.  So, what is it that I want to say to you, my future self?  First, I believe that I will get to you some day.  You are out there – with short stories published, novels published, and a fantasy world of depth and mystery that is appreciated by your audience as much as you care for it now.

Second, I want you to remember some things from now, things to be carried forward into that future. 

Remember why you are writing – how much you love the words and the stories, the characters and the richness of the land you are creating.  As time passes your writing will (hopefully) improve, and, no doubt, it will change as you change.  Don’t disparage the things you are writing now – no matter if they’re never published, no matter if they become that story that you could squirm to remember its melodrama or verbosity.  Don’t be unkind to me, here and now, struggling to figure all this out.  All of the things you have written and will write are genuine, and passionate, and sometimes awkward.  In that they are as human as you are.  There will always be critics who hate your works and ones who love it.  Don’t forget you have chosen a middle path – to love the work and to keep learning and striving.

Remember what it is like to be a beginning writer and to be flooded with advice and forecasts of doom and woe.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest about your experience of a writer’s path, but when you are sharing that experience remember to share the core of your passion as well as the warnings of the pitfalls.

Remember that I still have to go through all the challenges and hardships that you have already learned from.  Honor that journey.  Send me hope and encouragement for the tough times, send me joy and excitement from the successes.

I am excited to meet you someday – hang on, I’m on my way!

Love, Tannara

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wonderful Little Film

Check out this lovely little film "Anchored" from Lindsey Olivares. It was her senior thesis project at Ringling College of Art and Design.

Struggling with (Fictional) Religion

I am finding that creating a religion is much harder than any of the world creation or invented history I have been working on.  I want to create a religion which is both unifying and divisive and that can enhance the stories I am telling without overwhelming them.  The religion I am creating is called Daletha.  It is a duotheistic, with a God and a Goddess, as well as a legion of heavenly messengers and saints.  Coming from one mind and in a short period of time, there is no way that its philosophy can attain the complexity over time that a centuries-old religious system encompasses, but I am trying to work out the broad strokes of its theology over time and record its major movements and systems.  Ultimately, it is going to be a transcendent religion, but I am trying to balance that with some descendant theology as well.
In some ways creating a religion is a profoundly personal aspect of the world, because it will become a skeleton for the stories I want to write.  If I create a religion whose adherents are not people I would want to write about, I have created a useless construct.  Yet, trying to develop a world-view and philosophical system that fits the characters I create has ended up making me take a close look at my own world-view, and consider the fact that though I am fabricating an imaginary creation it is personally resonant.
Scholars examining J. R. R. Tolkien’s cosmology have been quick to point out the ways it fits (or does not fit) his own Catholic faith.  While I have no idea if my (real or fictional) cosmology will ever be studied, I am, at any rate, aware of the assumptions (true and false) which can be drawn.  One of the reasons that Tolkien’s writing is so powerful is the powerful forces underscoring his story, and while he does not have a religion in Middle Earth that we would recognize as such, we do recognize the deep spiritual underpinnings of his work.  It is impossible to say if my writing will ever achieve that depth – I can only hope it will.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SF Signal's Flow Chart for NPR's Top 100 SF/Fantasy Books

M just sent me the link for this and I found it enormously entertaining.  I am trying to get myself pepped up to do some rewriting/editing for the Amber Grimoire, but found this to be much more entertaining:

Visit SF Signal's Post here.