Archive for all posts in 2022

Mind's Eye Theater, 2022 Edition 2022-12-31 12:00:01

Every time I see an artist whose work makes me tell myself, "There's a story there," I know I'm on the right track.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips 2022-12-28 12:00:00

On leaving behind a teacher who's outlived their usefulness.

Dogeared And Beloved 2022-12-27 12:00:00

On beloved books, grown distinguished with age and wear.

Vanishing (And Reappearing) Act 2022-12-23 12:00:00

What I did on my extended winter vacation. For one, I moved house.

On Doing One's Homework 2022-12-12 12:00:00

Especially when you want to write about your world, of which you've not seen very much yourself.

Band-Aids For Severed Limbs 2022-12-06 12:00:00

Fixing little problems makes it easier to fix bigger problems. But we keep thinking it's the other way around.

Happy Accidents 2022-12-05 12:00:00

Commercial success for creative work is less about the work itself and more about its circumstances.

Smarties 2022-12-04 12:00:00

Our mistake with intelligence was to consider it as possession rather than a skillset.

The Kessel Run Is A Unit Of ... Fun 2022-12-03 12:00:00

How consistency, foolish or otherwise, can be the hobgoblin of small minds in SF&F.

Knock It Off, Criswell 2022-12-02 21:00:00

Why I find the obsession with "prescience" in science fiction to be misguided.

Show, Don't Tell (A New Way To Get It Wrong) 2022-11-30 12:00:00

"Just depict, don't also imagine" is a poor program for art.

The Postmodern Story (Or Lack Thereof) 2022-11-29 12:00:00

On the lack of stories with moral authority and narrative force about life in the vacuum of reactionary postmodernity.

Fronting And Faking 2022-11-26 12:00:00

Too many times I've started a project only to shelve it because it was nothing but putting some attitude on display. And a bad attitude at that.

Input/Output 2022-11-25 12:00:00

When is "Write the story you want to read" not good advice? When you're not much of a reader.

Out Of Mind 2022-11-23 12:00:00

Discussion: "If you will conceive of a Buddha, you will be obstructed by that Buddha!"

You Got It 2022-11-11 12:00:00

"Your true nature is something never lost to you even in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of Enlightenment." A discussion.

Save The Cat For Something Else 2022-11-06 21:00:00

On my disdain for instructional storytelling guides: at best, such things are meant to be outgrown.

Imagine That 2022-10-24 12:00:00

Over the course of my life I've emigrated from one kind of imagination to another -- from just "making things up" to seeing what we have in front of us in a new way.

Mystory, Repeating Itself 2022-10-15 21:00:00

On examining what feels like the formula I've devised for most every book I write.

Workaholica: Read 'Em All 2022-10-11 21:00:00

How I've unthinkingly made too many fun things into "research" or "creative work".

Blurbage And Other Difficulties 2022-10-11 12:00:00

The difficult art of writing marketing copy for books.

Less Is Moore 2022-10-09 21:00:00

Alan Moore's latest grumbling about comics is as reductive as you'd expect.

Pens Down! 2022-10-05 21:00:00

"Getting lost in your knowledge management system is a fantastic way to avoid creating things."

Blow Up 2022-10-03 12:00:00

Of utopian and annihilatory urges.

Ducking The Wind 2022-10-01 21:00:00

Excuse my silence, I was avoiding a hurricane. (And now, some work updates.)

Labels, Labels, Labels 2022-09-25 12:00:00

I don't particularly care if my SF is hard, soft, or mushy; I care whether or not I give a darn about who's in it and what happens.

A For Amoral, Or Artistic 2022-09-19 12:00:00

With amorality in art, we tend to single out the wrong things to get upset about.

The Escapist Imperative 2022-09-18 12:00:00

In dire times, some people (me included) feel uneasy about seeking escape from the moment they're in.

End(game) Result 2022-09-17 12:00:00

People see your results, not your efforts. By design.

Head Above Water 2022-09-15 21:00:00

Barely. (More on writing draft 2 of "Shunga-Satori")

How Patreonizing 2022-09-13 12:00:00

No, I have absolutely no idea what's going on with Patreon either.

Campbell's Folly 2022-09-10 21:00:00

"The 'three-act structure' and the 'hero’s journey', are editing tools, not writing tools."

Fast, Cheap, And Under Control 2022-09-08 21:00:00

Paraphrasing Neil Gaiman: "Make cheap art."

Towards A More Lovely Dog Biscuit Package 2022-09-05 12:00:00

"What makes dog biscuit packaging an unworthy object of a designer's attention as opposed to a museum catalog?"

A Mouthful Of Ideas 2022-09-02 12:00:00

Comparing and contrasting two critics, Roger Ebert and Serge Daney.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Few 4K Titles 2022-08-29 21:00:00

A wishlist of stuff I'd like to see reissued as 4K BDs.

At The One-Third Road Marker 2022-08-27 21:00:00

A third of the way through the major rewrite of a new book, and some lessons learned.

A Splinter In The Mind's Eye 2022-08-25 21:00:00

AI-generated imagery and CGI in general, and how the uncanny valley has many manifestations.

Fantfacy [sic] 2022-08-24 21:00:00

On the presence of inarticulate, inexpressive prose -- "Engfish" -- in SF&F.

One-Pointed Text 2022-08-22 21:00:00

The overwhelming majority of Western fiction that tangles with Buddhism comes out looking flat-flooted and foolishly literal.

Roger's Empty Glass 2022-08-20 21:00:00

When Roger Ebert revealed that he was a recovering alcoholic I was shocked, but not surprised. The clues had been in his work all long.

Re-Make, Re-Model 2022-08-19 21:00:00

Which is more of a challenge -- starting a project from a completely blank page, or restarting an existing one while surrounded by its mocking scraps?

Wrinkling My Nose 2022-08-18 12:00:00

Where am I obliged to like anything merely because it exists?

Crisis? What Crisis? 2022-08-17 21:00:00

On the concept of accelerationism.

I Got The Feelin' 2022-08-15 21:00:00

Gut wisdom and creativity, examined.

Crash And Burn 2022-08-14 21:00:00

"Shunga-Satori", draft 1 -- more like draft zero. Time to take a hatchet to it.

The Tragedy Of The Cultural Engineers 2022-08-12 12:00:00

Those who are most in the position to effect massive social changes through cultural engineering at scale are hidebound from doing so.

More Wrong Lessons From The Singular Sensations 2022-08-11 21:00:00

The lessons we learn from singular, idiosyncratic works are not necessarily positive ones.

The Fine Art Of The Center-Eligible Play And Other Cheats 2022-07-25 12:00:00

On cheating in a work of fantasy or SF.

The Dark Stuff 2022-07-24 12:00:00

Something that disturbs us can be profound, but that does not mean disturbance is profundity, or a certain route to same.

All 'N All 2022-07-23 12:00:00

Zen wonkery: on the idea that all things are enlightenment incarnate.

What I Was Trying To Be All About 2022-07-17 12:00:00

The only thing I want from my work is to use it as a way to make sense of myself and my world, and to do that in a way that other people can share.

The Human Use Of Human Beings, And All That 2022-07-13 21:00:00

What are people for in SF&F? To show us what's possible, and to show how that's possible right here, not just "out there somewhere."

Artisan Or Assembly Line? 2022-07-13 12:00:00

There's no point in trying to emulate the A-list culture machines at your scale.

Tell It To Me Straight 2022-07-12 21:00:00

We don't want validation just to know that we're doing the right thing, but also to know we're not doing the wrong things.

Toss It In Your Satchel 2022-07-09 21:00:00

One of the many things the proliferation of the smartphone seems to have killed is the Beloved Weatherbeaten Paperback.

The Spaghetti Moment 2022-07-08 21:00:00

It's a familiar story trope. A bunch of people come into a restaurant/room/hotel/office, reveal themselves in miniature, and get briefed on The Mission.

Roll Them Dice 2022-07-08 12:00:00

At some point I imagine someone came up with (or should come up with) a game theory of creative work.

Wave A Wand And We Got The Bomb 2022-07-07 21:00:00

Most fantasy stories never confront the idea that magic would have the social impact of the atomic bomb.

Half Step Dance 2022-07-06 21:00:00

Welcome to draft 1.5 (so to speak) of "Shunga-Satori".

Open Book Exam 2022-07-01 12:00:00

On how messy my note-taking can be on my projects.

Crossed Wires 2022-06-27 21:00:00

Sometimes, just sometimes, you gotta let a professional deal with things. Case in point: flaky internet service.

The Cardinal Sin Of Repeating Myself 2022-06-26 22:00:00

No matter how much I try to avoid it, I see more similarities than differences in everything I write. But is that a problem?

Looking Onto Other Pages 2022-06-25 23:00:00

"When everyone in the community reads the same books, you can an inward-looking, intellectually impoverished community that can only contemplate its own navel."

Join The Faker's Club 2022-06-24 21:00:00

On the sociology of impostor syndrome.

On The Transformation Of Inspiration 2022-06-23 21:00:00

Most projects don't end up anywhere near where they start out, and for good reasons.

The Container It Goes In 2022-06-20 12:00:00

We put things into genres to make them sellable, and the best way to do that is after the fact.

The Art Of All, 2022 Edition 2022-06-16 21:00:00

"All entertainment is art whether we like it or not" holds up better with every passing year, and for many reasons.

Self-Criticism Session 2022-06-15 12:00:00

What do you do when you find yourself writing the kind of book you might take issue with if someone else wrote it?

The Popligopoly 2022-06-11 21:00:00

"When you’ve got a million movies to pick from, picking a safe, familiar option seems more sensible than gambling on an original." Discuss.

To Embody The Moment Without Trying 2022-06-10 17:00:00

People can get the anger of the current moment from anywhere. See what else you have to give.

Here, Now, Nowhere 2022-06-08 12:00:00

On using Zen Buddhist notions of time in writing SF&F.

Time, Time, Time, See What's Become Of Me 2022-06-07 12:00:00

Some healthy tension is needed between keeping the wheel of production turning and leaning on myself for being a lazy slob.

A Clear(er) Head For The Future 2022-06-06 12:00:00

What Zen taught me about writing SF&F, part 1.

Magpie Mind Power 2022-06-05 12:00:00

With every story set in a strange new world, give yourself as many individual elements of wonderful strangeness to draw on.

How To Make Sense Of The Universe 2022-06-02 12:00:00

We might as well have narratives that make sense of the universe in constructive and nurturing ways.

Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth 2022-05-29 12:00:00

Or until, as I did, break a tooth.

A Glass Of Chablis And A Corn Dog 2022-05-19 18:00:00

On spontaneity as the wellspring of all creativity.

The Same Furniture In The Same Room 2022-05-17 12:00:00

On deliberately not finding an equilibrium for one's creative work.

Lest We Repeat Ourselves 2022-05-14 12:00:00

In some ways this new book of mine is a rewrite of an older book. In most ways, I hope it isn't.

Bookish Heroes 2022-05-12 12:00:00

Let's have an end to the trope that a character who is an artist or an avid reader automatically makes them a protagonist.

Your Own Thing 2022-05-11 12:00:00

"What is it that I have to bring to the table?" is the hardest question any of us can answer, and I think many of us never do in fact answer it.

Misery Index, 2022 Edition (And Earlier) 2022-05-10 12:00:00

The story of a never-written project that made me realize why I don't want to rub the misery of our moment in people's faces and call that art.

Inhuman Affections 2022-05-09 12:00:00

Why would we find it easier to feel sympathy for a cartoon animal than another human being?

"Your Dreams Will Never Love You Back" 2022-05-08 12:00:00

Our dreams will never love us back precisely because they are our dreams. Only you and I can love each other, and we cannot afford to let anything else usurp that responsibility.

Picking Up The Broken Pieces 2022-05-07 12:00:00

The problems with multi-installment works are worse than we think.

The Little Guys Have It Hardest 2022-05-06 12:00:00

On indies avoiding the mistakes of mainstream publishing, 2022 edition.

But Of Course You Have Heroes 2022-05-05 12:00:00

Maybe one should not have heroes, I once said, if only because they are mortal and have feet of clay and will inevitably disappoint you. But I know I have them.

On The Noting Of Some Turning Words 2022-05-04 12:00:00

How an entire story can pivot on a single sentence, and lead to a new world in the head.

My Inner Eye 2022-04-27 12:00:00

On being a writer as an extension of being an artist who plays with images, rather than words.

Leaving The Nest 2022-04-26 15:00:00

When a Tweeter considers exiting.

What Is To Be Done, And All That 2022-04-24 21:00:00

On the meaning of "self-care" in a burning world.

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles 2022-04-23 12:00:00

Chantal Akerman's singular masterwork observes three days in the life of a Belgian widow with a precision and unblinking patience that becomes all-encompassing.

Look Under The Sun 2022-04-21 12:00:00

How to find something new there. (And how to make it.)

The Momentum Of My Curiosity 2022-04-19 21:00:00

I still want to review stuff, it's just making stuff that's taken first priority.

Towards A More Nearly Perfect Elevator Pitch 2022-04-17 12:00:00

Being able to sum up your own stories succinctly isn't an insult to their complexity. It means you understand what they are really about.

Higher Ground 2022-04-16 21:00:00

On the disconnect between the highest and most refined forms of spiritual guidance, and the day-to-day suffering people have.

Multiplicities 2022-04-15 12:00:00

Examining your inner creative voices: "Are you 'one' writer or 'many' writers?"

American Psycho 2022-04-03 12:00:00

Mary Harron's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's divisive novel amplifies its satirical power without making its protagonist into an antihero.

Ring Around The Story, Pt. 2 2022-03-30 21:00:00

More Marvel discussion: On entertainments vs. objects of study vs. role models.

Ring Around The Story 2022-03-29 12:00:00

A few thoughts on "Shang-Chi" and the benefits of efficient story construction.

In The Right Spirit 2022-03-23 21:00:00

More notes on writing SF&F, as a Buddhist- and Zen-influenced author.

A Different 70% 2022-03-21 21:00:00

"Odds are you know 70% of what there is to know, but everyone knows a different 70%."

On The Job Training 2022-03-20 12:00:00

I always go back and forth about the value of "formal" education in creative endeavors -- e.g., creative writing classes or MFAs or film school or whatnot.

A Hundred Films, A Hundred Years 2022-03-18 12:00:00

In my humble opinion, here's a great way to spend a few hundred hours.

Solving The Ego Problem(s) 2022-03-16 12:00:00

"Solving the problem is more important than being right." A quick guide for writers.

Knots Within Knots 2022-03-14 21:00:00

The job of a storyteller should not be to make things complex, but to find common threads in complex things. Doubly so in SF&F.

The First Week Later 2022-03-12 21:00:00

The first seven days of writing "Shunga-Satori" convinced me I shouldn't use the word "weird" to talk about this book. Even if it's deserved.

Let Me Slide Into Your Inbox 2022-03-11 12:00:00

As some of you noticed, I now have a newsletter. Its mission is simple: to bring you the best and newest of All Things Infinimata straight to your inbox, once a week on Monday mornings.

The Storyteller Is Asleep 2022-03-08 12:00:00

On attempting (and largely failing) to stitch together dreams into a narrative.

The Big Kick 2022-03-03 21:00:00

On Brandon Sanderson's big kick(start).

Short Attention Span Theater 2022-03-03 12:00:00

Distraction or recreation? On the meaning of fun.

Here Comes The Pain 2022-02-24 17:00:00

I fight the idea that the only sensible response to a world that seems to be driving itself mad is to hide under one's desk with one's head in the wastebasket.

Arrival 2022-02-23 12:00:00

An actual SF movie, not just a tarted-up shoot-'em-up, both because of the breadth of its ideas and how they are lovingly personalized.

Over The Top, Out The Bottom 2022-02-22 21:00:00

If there was an envelope I wanted most to push, it was envelope of "accessible and fun" as it edged up against "complex and challenging".

Yours And Yours Alone 2022-02-20 17:00:00

Whatever it is you make, make it so yours they can never take it away from you.

Ask Yourself This 2022-02-15 12:00:00

Whenever I've said to myself "I'd like to write a book like X", I always had to ask myself, why? And to what end?

All Of This And Nothing 2022-02-12 12:00:00

More about Buddhism's most misunderstood concept, "emptiness".

Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 8: The Soundtrack 2022-02-11 12:00:00

The soundtrack for my new novel "Unmortal".

Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 7: The Themes 2022-02-10 12:00:00

A discussion of the themes in my new novel "Unnmortal", and how they are embodied there.

If I Wouldn't Want To Read It, I Probably Wouldn't Write It 2022-02-09 12:00:00

The title tells it. Let's dive into this idea and see what comes up.

Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 6: The Supporting Cast 2022-02-07 12:00:00

A discussion of the supporting cast in my new novel "Unmortal", and the roles they play.

The Dizzying Whirl Of The Perfection-Go-Round 2022-02-05 12:00:00

That last long stretch of finishing up a book is often taken up with nattering about the kinds of details only you and one other jerk can see.

Look For Our New Facelift 2022-02-03 21:00:00

Some design- and art-related thoughts on assembling a new Bootstrap 5-powered theme for this site.

'Unmortal' Is Now Available! 2022-02-01 12:00:00

My new novel, "Unmortal", eighth in the Infinimata Press lineup, is now available in both paperback and ebook editions!

Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 5: The Characters 2022-01-31 12:00:00

An introduction to the roster of characters for my new novel "Unmortal", starting with the main characters.

Wrath Of Man 2022-01-29 12:00:00

Closest in spirit to the bleak noirs of the 1970s, where the "good" guys are only slightly less terrible than the competition, and where everyone is staring down from the edge of the same abyss.

Titane 2022-01-27 12:00:00

Julia Ducournau's Titane has at its heart a great tenderness, something you don't expect from a story about a sociopath who kills with a hairpin, then apparently has sex with a car and becomes pregnant with its child.

The Cocoons We Spin 2022-01-26 12:00:00

"It is not possible for reviewers and critics to provide what they purport to provide — and for which writers so ridiculously and childishly yearn." (Doris Lessing)

The Arbiters Of The Arbitrary 2022-01-24 12:00:00

Stories driven by arbitrary conceits tend to lose the reader's engagement, because in a story where anything's possible, nothing matters very much.

One Door Closes, Another Opens 2022-01-23 12:00:00

Goodbye, "Unmortal"; hello, "Shunga-Satori" - or whatever I do work on next!

How To Give Constructive Feedback 2022-01-18 21:00:00

My advice for how to give truly constructive feedback on someone else's work.

Don't Hide It, Provide It 2022-01-17 21:00:00

The idea that you have to guard your story ideas, lest someone steal them, is a pernicious myth.

Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 4: The Story 2022-01-17 12:00:00

How everything from 'The Battle Of Algiers' to 'Soul Eater' fed into the making of my new novel.

Naked Brunch 2022-01-15 12:00:00

On the problem of avant-gardism having no criterion for failure.

The Story Worth Telling 2022-01-13 23:00:00

"Asking 'what is the story worth telling?' is a question we can’t avoid."

Free Your Mind, Guy 2022-01-11 21:00:00

Or at least, free your Guy, and the rest will follow. (On "Free Guy" and some thoughts related.)

The Strongest Poison 2022-01-09 21:00:00

A nightmare of how the power of modern envy makes it the deadliest of human emotions.

Hybrid Unconscious Hyperspaces, January 2022 Edition 2022-01-09 12:00:00

An earlier dream returned in a new incarnation.

The Anything Machines 2022-01-08 21:00:00

"You can do whatever you want" seems better expressed as "You can attempt anything you want to attempt."

Outside The Copying Spiral 2022-01-07 12:00:00

How do you get out of the spiral of copying your influences to producing truly original work?

What I'm Due in '22 2022-01-04 21:00:00

Some creative news for the new year at Chez Infinimata.

Behind The Scenes With 'Unmortal', Pt. 3: The Influences 2022-01-01 12:00:00

A rundown of some of the other stories and films that influenced "Unmortal"'s growth and direction.

See previous posts from 2021

See future posts from 2023