Series

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Checking with Religious Authority 

I found this question from an attendee of the Catholic Writers Conference I spoke at for several years an interesting one with a number of possible answers. Q: When should you check your work with a religious authority?  If I were presenting a piece I expected to be read as representative of my Faith, or …

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Checking with Religious Authority  Read More »

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Heresy & Sin 

This question from the Catholic Writers Conference dealt with how I handled the complicated subject of heresy. Q: Have you ever had a story dictate you portray heresy or sin sympathetically?  How did you handle it? The protagonists of The Mer Cycle trilogy were considered heretics by the religious institutions they challenged. Both the orthodox …

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Heresy & Sin  Read More »

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Cultural Influences

Q: Do you agree that religion influences culture?  Does culture influence religion?  If so, how much do or should you take that into consideration while preparing your book?  I think religion is at the heart of what we call culture. Our world culture is so steeped in religious principle that there’s no way to separate it …

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Cultural Influences Read More »

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 …

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Warts and All Read More »

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. …

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Literary License vs Reality Read More »

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.  …

WORLD-BUILDING & RELIGION: Portraying Religion in Fiction Read More »

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 …

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

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.  …

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

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 …

The Things People Say: Sentence-like Sequences of Words Read More »