chriswlester

The Raven & the Writing Desk, Episode 03: Metamor City – To Walk in Shadow, Part 2A

The Raven and the Writing Desk - logoIn this episode we hear from Sara T. about Dreams of Change, from Tarmo in Finland about straight read vs. multiple voice narration, and from Mildred Cady about shout-outs to the Metamor City Live audio dramas.

Links:

Rafak Aliri and the Book of Shadows – Live at Balticon 47

 

Hunters Unlucky at Worlds of Abigail Hilton — available for free for a limited time

Storybundle – The Write Stuff

The Story: “Metamor City — To Walk in Shadow,” Part 2A

Agent Jessup journeys into the Realm of Shadow with Prince Ba’al and his faithful assistant. What he finds there is like nothing he had imagined…

TRATWD 003: To Walk in Shadow, Part 2A 

Posted by chriswlester in The Raven and the Writing Desk

The Raven & the Writing Desk, Episode 02: Metamor City – To Walk in Shadow, Part 1

The Raven and the Writing Desk - logoIn this episode I give you the Weekly Writer’s Report and share exciting news about the new StoryBundle that J. Daniel Sawyer is part of this month.

The Story: “To Walk in Shadow,” Part 1

The sun hid itself on the day the devil came to the city. Thick, forbidding clouds crept in from the north overnight, a dark, angry carpet rolling in to presage his coming…

The Raven & the Writing Desk, Episode 2

Posted by chriswlester in The Raven and the Writing Desk

The Raven and the Writing Desk, Episode 01: Metamor City – Cleanup on Skyway 3

The Raven and the Writing Desk - logoMy new podcast is here! In this episode, I explain what The Raven and the Writing Desk is about, why I’m doing this instead of podcasting the rest of Things Unseen, and what is in store for the future.

The Story: “Cleanup on Skyway 3”

Fiz and his team are the best cleaners in the business. If you’ve got a messy problem, they can make it disappear overnight — guaranteed. But when the folks leaving the mess are the Lightbringers, even Fiz and his boys might have their hands full…

The Raven and the Writing Desk, Episode 01: Metamor City – Cleanup on Skyway 3

Posted by chriswlester in The Raven and the Writing Desk

Editorializing with the Fantastic

jurassic worldThe new trailer for Jurassic World came out this week, to what seems like mostly positive buzz. For myself — while the image of Star-Lord leading a raptor pack on a motorcycle makes me as giddy as the next geek — I have to admit I had been wondering, Why now? The first Jurassic Park movie came out 22 years ago. The current members of the #1 movie-going demographic either weren’t born yet or were still in diapers. The two JP sequels were flat, ridiculous monster movies, uninspired and uninspiring. Why return to a well that seems so thoroughly dry?

After watching the latest trailer, though, I think that Jurassic World has ambitions to be more than another mindless summer monster mash. Rather, I think they’re aiming for one of speculative fiction’s most important and valuable cultural functions. I’ll explain more about what I mean after the jump.

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Posted by chriswlester in Culture

Building Character: Who’s Driving This Thing?

This is the second in a periodic series about characterization in writing. Please check out my first post in the series, which looks at a character’s role in the Story Mind as expressed in the Dramatica Theory of storytelling.

A story begins when something changes the status quo.

Luke Skywalker doesn’t start becoming a hero until two droids crash on his planet. John McClane doesn’t become a terrorist-fighting cowboy cop until Hans Gruber takes hostages in an office building. Hamlet doesn’t start on his murder investigation/rampage of revenge until he gets a mysterious visit from a restless ghost. Even a feel-good romantic comedy like Sleepless in Seattle needs a trigger to set things in motion — in this case, Sam Baldwin’s son Jonah calling a late-night radio talk show.

People don’t spontaneously change their lives for no reason; an external trigger of some kind has to change the balance and push the protagonist into becoming a protagonist. Joseph Campbell called this “The Call to Adventure,” and it’s always something outside the protagonist’s control.

What really sets characters apart from one another is what they do next.

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Posted by chriswlester in Writing

Landscape Journals: What’s in YOUR Noggin?

For the last few months I’ve been participating with my partner Melanie in the Montana Artrepreneur Program (MAP), a business course for artists who want to make money doing what they love. I’m attending the workshops both as Mel’s business partner in her photography career and in the hope of learning things that I can apply to my own business as a writer. There are a number of business tools that must be completed in order to finish the course, and one of these that I think is particularly valuable for writers is the Landscape Journal.

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Posted by chriswlester in Writing

Interview with Lauren “Scribe” Harris

authorPhoto_laurenScribe_harris_604x403I first met Lauren “Scribe” Harris at Balticon in (I think) 2011 or 2012. Since that time I have gotten to know her through her voice acting and her hilarious round-table discussion podcasts with Abigail Hilton. Earlier this year she became an Assistant Editor with Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, one of the most popular online magazines for speculative fiction. I sat down to talk with Lauren about her new job and her perspectives on the world of SF/F publishing. Continue reading →

Posted by chriswlester in Publishing
The Lost and the Least: Unidentified and Unclaimed Persons

The Lost and the Least: Unidentified and Unclaimed Persons

This is the second post in a monthly series about the origins of the next Metamor City novel, The Lost and the Least. In this series I examine the real-life tragedies that are overlooked by the news media: the unseen suffering of the forgotten.

Jane Doe, Alsip, IL, 1980

Jane Doe, Alsip, IL, 1980

On September 23, 1980, at approximately 12:19 pm, the body of a Black female was located in the Cal-Sag Channel in Alsip, Illinois. The victim was face down in the fetal position and was naked from the waist down. The victim had six stab wounds to her back and two stab wounds to her chest. The victim’s hands were bound with an electrical cord, and a neck tie around her neck which also bound one hand to her upper legs. Her face was covered with adhesive tape. The victim was found wearing a blue wool sweater, a dark floral blouse, and a beige bra.

– From the FBI ViCAP database

In 2014, the FBI received 876 new reports of unidentified persons: recovered bodies whose identities could not be ascertained. This was actually a light year; in most years since the FBI began keeping records, the number is over 1000. In 2007 there were an astonishing 1788 new cases.

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Posted by chriswlester in The Lost and the Least

Publishing on a Shoestring: Open-Source Software for Self-Publishers

Step into any big business office and you’ll find lots of software with big names attached: Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Intuit QuickBooks, Adobe InDesign, and many more. These software packages have a long history behind them and a huge installed user base. Many people learned to use them in college and have continued using them throughout their professional lives.

For a do-it-yourselfer trying to get started in self-publishing, however, they have a big disadvantage: they’re all expensive as hell. Even if you have access to them through your primary employer, you’ll probably be violating some terms of service if you use them for your own for-profit work. Getting yourself into murky legal waters is the last thing you want when you’re trying to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Fortunately, there are a number of excellent tools available that can do everything the big-name software titles can do, but which are completely free or very inexpensive. Here are a few that I couldn’t do without.

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Posted by chriswlester in Publishing