Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Has the fantasy genre become stagnant?

Interesting debate on Helium concerning whether or not the fantasy genre has stagnated.

I'm in the "No, it has not" camp. There's plenty of fresh writing going on--George R.R. Martin, Ellen Kushner, Steven Erikson, Scott Lynch, and stalwarts like Robin Hobb who always seem to break stereotypes and keep me guessing as to what's going to happen next. These are not the sort of writers who use such tropes as dark lords and elves or dwarves--that's a lesson unto itself for budding writers--but who rely on more meaningful devices to keep their readers interested--intrigue, suspense, characterization.

Sometimes you have to sift through some junk to find those authors, though, and I think that's where the belief in stagnation comes from. I received an ARC a few months back that just didn't do it for me. Had I spent money on that book I might have felt obligated to read further. But the fact of the matter is I gave it about 100 pages and had to put it down. There just wasn't anything engaging or original in it.

Let this all be a warning: that as new writers we need to think outside the box, break stereotypes, and write the kind of story that we would want to read were we browsing the shelves looking for that next great fantasy novel.

Debate: Has the fantasy genre become stagnant? - Helium

How Much Time Should Writers Spend Blogging?

IMG20002There was a pretty good take on the Vigorous Writing blog (which apparently, as of 11/28/08, has disappeared) concerning the question of how much time one should spend blogging.

Of note:

"Newer writers still trying to build their credibility and client list might protest that they have much more free time than Bly has and they need to find a way to market themselves so blogging is a great, forward-thinking way of doing it. There's something to that, but honestly, I think it's an easy way out, the path of least resistance--what new writers should probably be doing, instead of blogging and reading other blogs and commenting on other blogs and brain-storming ideas for their latest blog post, is what many writers hate doing--cold-calling for leads non-stop."

Of course, this applies to people like me--mostly unpublished, 'new', if you will, and looking for a way to promote my name and my work. First and foremost, this blog is a marketing tool. It's all about increasing exposure. But it's also about connecting with like-minded individuals and sharing information.

According to one referenced blogger, one shouldn't spend more than 10 minutes/day or an hour/week blogging. How in the world are you supposed to have any quality posts with such time constraints? Geez. The guy is really saying that blogging isn't really work, and that time spent blogging is time not spent working.

Another blogger says to blog in moderation--only post every 4-6 days. That way each post has time to stew, be read, and garner comments.

Robin Hobb weighed in on the issue in a decidedly negative (but productive) way. Her reasoning is that time spent blogging is time NOT spent writing. In a way, blogging is a distraction, and we all know that distraction is the enemy. Another way to look at is this: ask yourself if you are a creator or a consumer?

What it really boils down to is finding a happy medium between the two. For some that medium might be more of one and less of the other, or it might be both in equal portions. It's up to the individual and, ultimately, one's goals. If you are or want to become a writer, though, best to heed Hobb's words: "Don’t blog. Write."

Locus Online: 2007 Cover Art Gallery

This is pretty cool. It's a compilation of book covers released in 2007 that have been "seen by Locus Online", which I guess means they reviewed the titles or some such thing.

They list the authors and artists along with links to Amazon if you wish to buy the book (which obviously helps Locus Online keep doing what they're doing, so go buy something).

Here's a few of my favorites:

ballantyned_82x135 butcherwuf_91x140 fsf11_100x146
fsf12_100x148 lindskoldwb_92x140 marillierws_92x140
mcintosho_93x140 simmonsde_92x140 tolkiench_93x140
albedoone33_110x156 butchercf_92x140 lebbondawn_88x140
lynchrsrs_93x140 robersondw_93x140 cooklsk_92x140

Why Cutting Cliches From Your Copy is as Easy as Pie

I don't think I have a problem with using clichés in my own writing, mostly because such phrases as "easy as pie" don't usually fit within the context of my fantasy world. Perhaps in dialog, where really anything goes (with exceptions, of course), but not in the text in general.

Despite the need to avoid clichés, the author of the post suggests letting "the clichés come", at least at first. Trying to avoid them is a potential roadblock, and you don't want any impediments keeping you from making progress.

However, once you've got that first draft completed, "equip yourself with the right armory, and snipe at them clichés one by one!" I'm not sure what "snipe at them" means, but I get the gist of it: get rid of them!

Why Cutting Clichés From Your Copy is as Easy as Pie | Copyblogger