Series

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Warts and All

The question I fielded about literary license in a Q&A in a Catholic Writers Conference I participated in as a non-Catholic guest, (I’m a Baha’i) led to this follow-up question about projecting the flaws of a religion. Q: How can you project the flaws, conflicts, or other “warts” of a religion (particularly your religion) without …

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WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Literary License vs Reality

This is the second in a series built around Q&A sessions from an online Catholic Writers Conference I was invited to participate in as an honorary member from a different faith. I’m a Baha’i, and was actually the only participant who wasn’t from a Christian denomination. It was fun!  Today’s question deals with literary license. …

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WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Portraying Religion in Fiction

I occasionally take part in conferences and conventions that feature extended Q&A sessions on a particular facet of writing speculative fiction. This series of articles features questions raised at an online Catholic Writers’ Conference. I am not, myself, Catholic, but the conference planners thought it would be beneficial to have writers of other faiths participate.  …

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Fish-Ghoti

The Name of the Prose, Part 4: A Ghoti by Any Other Name is Still a Fish

As I commented in the previous installment of this series, my first novel was also my first experience trying to create a fantasy world from the ground up. With Tolkien as my only model, I waded hip deep into Scottish history and Auld English linguistics to come up with character, clan, place and object names …

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The Name of the Prose, Part 2: The Name is Bond—James Bond

Ah, but what if it hadn’t been “James Bond”? What if the name Ian Fleming gave his super spy had been “Crane, Ichabod Crane?” Clearly, a name that worked for the nebbish, nervous protagonist of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow would not work for the decisive, suave hero of Fleming’s tales of espionage and danger.  …

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Word Salad

The Things People Say: Sentence-like Sequences of Words

Today, communication fans, I’d like to dismantle four sentence-like sequences of words that have something in common: muddled meanings caused by a poor (or possibly clever) choice of words. Who said them and with what intent is irrelevant to the discussion. I leave it to you, Dear Reader, to attach significance in the broader realm …

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