Genre 101: Historical Fantasy

Among the Shadows is best described as historical fantasy. “What is that?” you ask. Check out Arielle Bailey’s post for the answer:

Intuitive Writing Guide

While I love many subgenres of fantasy, this one is my favorite, because it combines my first genre love (historical fiction) with my great genre love (fantasy).

#25 Historical Fantasy

Historical fantasy can take the form of implying that magic co-exists with us, or can imply that magic used to co-exist and now doesn’t because of some event the story portrays.

My favorite thing about writing this genre is that you can take the events and people that you love from history and re-imagine them without needing to stick to the boundaries necessary for historical fiction.  [It also has the advantage of not drawing the outrage of historians and history buffs–  a considerable advantage, as you might know if you’ve ever gone up against one or the other in a debate.]  By introducing fantasy elements, the reactions and choices of people would naturally be different, giving you an immense scope for story.

For…

View original post 322 more words

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where are the Smartest Kids in the World?

We all agree education is important; that our kids deserve the best learning; that our teachers should be the best at their job — then we have this tendency to walk away and let our government take the reigns. They roll out one “education program” after another — effectively experimenting on our children every few years — while spending loads of money.

Then we all get angry, argue and complain when we find out our children aren’t measuring up to other nations or aren’t prepared for life.

Amanda Ripley takes on this “Twenty-first Century mystery” of why, in a country that spends untold millions on education, still falls short.  In her essential book, The Smartest Kids in the World (and how they got that way), she dives deep into American education as she follows three students as they attend schools overseas. What is one major difference Ripley finds?

Teaching is treated as a top-tier profession. Teachers are educated and expected to perform accordingly.
Continue reading

Categories: Books, Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Creating Your Author Brand (Pt. 2): Your Authentic Voice

Katie Phillips Creative Services

It’s my privilege to welcome Lisa to my blog today. I’ve known her for several years now and have watched her journey through difficult circumstances to find her bold, unique voice that is at once compassionate and compelling. Who better to share her story of discovering her authentic voice than this beautiful woman who has fought for it so hard? 

I spent ten years trying to brand myself.

If I wasn’t thinking about my personal brand as a writer, maker, and coach, I was working at digital agencies large and small that specialized in branding, reading up on the subject, teaching on it, and writing about it. For two and a half years I even ran a boutique branding agency that worked exclusively with creative entrepreneurs. I watched dozens of writers, artists, coaches, healers, and the like wrestle deeply with how to “show up” in their marketplace.

By the time…

View original post 1,136 more words

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Create Your Author Brand (Pt. 1)

Katie Phillips Creative Services

Your author brand is nothing more than your authentic story. 

Let’s set aside all the fancy talk of platforms and networking, fonts and social media strategies, logos and websites, brand archetypes and all the “expert advice.” Because none of that matters until you know your story.

You probably think your story is your book. Your words on the page. And you’d be partially correct. But that’s not your whole story. 

Your story is the experiences and struggles that inspired you to write your book. Your story is all the late nights and early mornings typing away while your kids slept. Your story is the hidden wounds you work through with your characters and the message in your heart you’re desperate for people to know.

You’re living your story right now. 

And the story that you’re living is just as important – if not more – than the story you’re telling…

View original post 282 more words

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Eclipses and Cosmic Purpose

Hundreds of moons, planets and other bodies in the Solar System, and  only ours — Earth and the Moon — have perfect solar eclipses.  Astronomers have long noted this strange phenomenon, and the unlikely parameters that cause it. Not only that, but they happen to occur in a time in Earth’s history where they can be observed.  Astronomer John Gribben writes:

Just now the Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun, but the Sun is 400 times farther away than the Moon, so that they look the same size on the sky. At the present moment of cosmic time, during an eclipse, the disc of the Moon almost exactly covers the disc of the Sun. In the past the Moon would have looked much bigger and would have completely obscured the Sun during eclipses; in the future, the Moon will look much smaller from Earth and a ring of sunlight will be visible even during an eclipse. Nobody has been able to think of a reason why intelligent beings capable of noticing this oddity should have evolved on Earth just at the time that the coincidence was there to be noticed. It worries me, but most people seem to accept it as just one of those things.

Even if we brush this off as coincidence, as some have tried to do, there is another layer to this. Many of the interconnected factors that allow the eclipse to occur, also allow life to exist on Earth. Continue reading

Categories: Critical Thinking, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unstoppable Leaders

When you  hear “history book,”  do you turn and run? Are these books the last on your reading list? Is your perception of learning history colored by memorization and repetition often utilized in schools? What if reading history could be every bit as exciting as fiction?

It can be.

There are some masters of narrative history out there writing the true stories that will compel you to turn every page. One of these authors is Candice Millard. Her books on two of the most influential and compelling leaders of the 20th Century — Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt — are gripping reads.

Continue reading

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cult of PC

Adherents to the cult of political correctness continues to plague writers and filmmakers. Often, before a film or book even is released, trolls come out of the dark recesses of the internet to create fake outrage over films they often haven’t seen, or books they haven’t read.

When trailers were shown for The Great Wall, self-appointed diversity police immediately complained that the “white” star in a Chinese film, must have been indicative of a “white savior” story. In other words, the white man was going to save the poor Asian masses.

These claims were fishy from the start: This was a Chinese film, filmed in China, by a Chinese director, with a cast made up of nearly all Chinese actors. Additionally, the open-minded Chinese government is very picky on what is shown in its theaters. Perhaps, most importantly, is that it was clearly a fantasy film and didn’t pretend to be otherwise. Continue reading

Categories: Critical Thinking, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What if You Trip up Your Reader?

​What if a reader gets tripped up by some small part of your book?  Perhaps a sentence or a few words don’t make sense to them. Maybe one of your creative flourishes isn’t sitting well. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with what you wrote, and there may only be one reader or two that have commented. What do you do?

Do you just brush it off and say, “I’m an artist and people should accept all my amazing choices” or do you see it as an opportunity to possibly improve? If you are serious about your craft, I suggest the second choice. You may not end up changing the issue in question, and it could have been brought to your attention by only one soul, but you should seriously evaluate it.

You can’t hope to make everyone happy with your writing decisions, voice and style — nor should you attempt to. Telling your own story is paramount, but fine-tuning your ability to tell that story is not far behind.

I changed three or four sentences in Among the Shadows based on reader feedback. Ultimately, these things had little impact on the overall story, but I could see why some might not like how I worded them. The revisions do read better. Part of being a writer is deciding which creative choices to keep and which to modify.

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

When Fiction Becomes Fact

In Among the Shadows, many of the characters have learned to use the energy that burns inside them — for good and evil. There are those that can see into the minds of others, cross the barriers raised by time or manipulate matter. Fiction right?

Or is it?

Annie Jacobsen‘s latest book in her fascinating series on Cold War black projects, Phenomena, will make all but the most hardened skeptics think twice.

For decades, the U.S. Government spent millions in researching the practicality of using people who could remote view distant places or influence people with their mind. Note that I didn’t write that they were just determining if these things could be done — they employed people who proved they had unique abilities.

This isn’t a new revelation, but Jacobsen has interviewed dozens of those involved and uncovered newly declassified documentation. Thousands of papers still remain off-limits, so she’s probably only scratched the surface here. However, as with her previous books — Area 51, Operation Paperclip, and The Pentagon’s Brain — Jacobsen has weaved together another masterful narrative history of black box projects. These topics are often the favorite target of conspiratorial and fringe researchers, but this is the real deal.

Or, as a skeptic might ask, is this some elaborate psyop perpetuated by the government against its enemies? If it is, this is the most convincing one ever and the skeptics haven’t shown they are correct.

It’s easy to wave one’s hands and say, “It’s all a fraud!” Annie Jacobsen has laid out the detailed case of why this is all something very different from fakery. She isn’t taking sides, but is surprised at what she finds, and writes, “There is no question that man is extraordinary, each of us a phenomenon.”

Indeed, fact may very well trump fiction.

Categories: Books, History | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show vs. Tell: Draw Your Reader into Your Story

Katie Phillips Creative Services

In my career as a full-time fiction book editor, I’m sometimes asked the most common problems plaguing manuscripts. And I always know exactly what to tell writers.

Show versus tell.

No matter how interesting the characters or unique the concept, telling instead of showing in your prose will kill your story everysingletime.

Most authors know showing is better than telling. They’ve read it in craft books and heard it discussed at conferences. But few people seem to know exactly what it is and how to fix the problem.

Don’t worry. I’m here to help.

How do I identify show vs. tell problems?

One way is to look for key words and phrases that can indicate the prose is telling the reader what is happening, instead of immersing the reader in the action. When I edit a manuscript, I always look for “telling” phrases like, “The woman had…

View original post 500 more words

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: