Tag Archives: sigler

Getting Out Of Corners

Let it be known up front that I am a big fan of Scott Sigler’s work and work ethic. A harder working writer, I do not know. Having said that, there are things about him that I don’t get. That’s okay. Diversity makes this world and interesting place. But he said something in a recent episode of The All-Pro that made me mad. Hit the link and listen to the last ten minutes or so to get the full context.

He was talking about his writing process. He’s an outliner. Given what he writes, it makes perfect sense to do a thorough outline before he starts in writing. He talks about the whys and wherefores, in particular that he pitches ideas via his outline to his agent/publisher and hones it to a silicone coated pointy point before commencing. All of that’s good and well and makes perfect sense. He went further than that, though.

He said “any time the story gets into a rabbit hole they [paranormal/fantasy writers] can whip up some magic and get themselves out of that”. Now he does qualify that to a degree. It still came across to me as painting with an awfully broad brush. He also said that he has to outline everything and make sure that everything you’re reading does actually matter. That certainly seems to imply that at least some fantasy/paranormal writers don’t have to pay as much attention to the craft and that everything they write doesn’t have to be tightly plotted or make sense. That’s simply not true.

It caused me to tweet:

The FDO basically said as a thriller writer he doesn’t have the luxury of the supernatural to get him out of corners he writes himself into.

I also tweeted:

I’m fine with his stance except that he apparently believes writers of supernatural fiction are lazy somehow

Did he say “lazy”? No. I did infer that from what he said. I certainly don’t think he believes that all writers of fantasy are lazy writers. He himself has written fantasy (I think Nocturnal qualifies and there’s another project he’s working on that I know little about). I also think that his GFL series qualifies as fantasy of a kind.

As a writer of paranormal/fantasy fiction myself, I can see that using magic as a deus ex machina can be a crutch/problem. That’s also true of tricorders/sensors and other SF tropes. It’s one we all need to keep an eye out for. It’s also important no matter what genre you’re writing in to have a solid plot and to make sure that everything you’re writing “does actually matter” to the story at large. To single out a wide swath of genre fiction in the way he did was short sighted at best.

As I told one person, I certainly reacted emotionally. It’s also possible I overreacted. I would love to get Scott’s thoughts and yours. Listen to what he said and tell me if I’m way off base here.

Podcast Pimpage

It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve done this so here goes.

There are these things called podcasts that you should really really really look into. They’re free serialized audio files that you can play on your computer or download to your MP3 player. They run the gamut from audio books and audio dramas to self help and inspirational. I listen to a lot of them and am going to try and give you a run down of the best ones. So buckle up buttercup, this may take a while and if you subscribe to even one it will be a fun ride.

Fiction I’m Currently Listening To-

7th Son – This is by no means a new one. JC Hutchins podcast this bad boy for the first time back in 2007. Getting the word out now is particularly important because JC has a print deal with a major publisher and this goes live in its print version later this month. I will definitely be dropping more information on the blog when it happens. This is a sci-fi thriller that is hands down the best in that genre that I have had the pleasure of experiencing in some time. The basic premise is covered in this trailer. If that doesn’t make you strap in the earbuds I recommend you have someone check your pulse. If you listened, then you heard that right. Even if you don’t “do” podcasts he is giving away serialized PDFs/Blogtext versions of the book through other websites. No reason for you not to at least give it a look (unless pulse pounding, edge of your seat fiction isn’t your bag).

Fetidus – This is a dark trip through the slimy underground of Washington DC, but not just any Washington DC. In this universe there has been an apocalypse. Zombies, ghosts, and who knows what else have been unleashed on the world. And just like in the real world they have their own Political Action Committee. FETIDUS is the Foundation for the Ethical Treatment of the Innocently Damned, Undead, and Supernatural responsible for making sure that they are treated fairly. James Durham; author, musician, and producer is responsible along with a full voice cast, for for bringing us in to that world and fleshing it out and flesh it out he does. This work is one that you don’t listen to so much as you experience. He won two awards for it and is muchly deserving. I will warn you that this world is a dark place and not for the squeamish. Well worth your time.

The Gearheart – The tagline for this podcast is “Magic, Adventure, and Gunfights” and it delivers on all points. Alex White brings us the story of a secret society of wizards called the Seekers of the Arcane Unknown. They are charged with keeping the knowledge of magic from the populace at large while combating threats to their world and to the political powers they are in league with. A great mix of mystery, political intrigue, action, and suspense this story has been a lot of fun so far.

Great Hites – This is a short fiction anthology podcast and the truly cool thing about it is that anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Write your story according to the prompt and send it in. Can’t record? Now problem, they’ll do it for you. Right now Jeff Hite is asking for submissions for 10K word creation stories. Got an idea along those lines? Send them in.

Harvey – Is author Phil Rossi’s latest novella. This dark tale takes place in a little town of the same name. Harvey has some dark secrets and musician Calvin Hubbard, who only wants to make a little music and have a little fun, gets mixed up in the middle of it all.

How to Succeed in Evil – An efficiency expert for super villains is at the heart of this story. He gets tired of the latest crop of villains’ inefficiency and inability to listen to his stellar advice and takes matters into his own hands. This thing is absolutely LACED with humor, at times dark, but ever present. Patrick McLean is working on getting this published and I highly recommend that you give it a listen if you’re into seeing genres flipped on their head. Seeing a comic book world through the eyes of a smart and ruthless villain, that becomes likable through McLean’s excellent craft, is a trip worth taking.

Tumbler – Brand Gamblin is writing the sort of science fiction that I am rapidly becoming very fond of. It takes characters that seem as real as my next door neighbors and puts them in a futuristic world that’s less about ray guns and aliens and more about life on the frontier of space. Libby Carter lost everything that means anything to her, so she hitches a ride on a rocket in an effort to become an asteroid miner. Things don’t go quite as expected and she has to make the best of it. Can she survive? Tune in and see.

A Traders Diary – This is another one of those sorts of science fiction stories I’d like to here more of. Nathan Lowell tells the story of Ishmael Wang over the course of five books (so far). His mother, a university professor and his only family, dies and with her any chances he might have at a future. Or so he thinks. In desperation he joins the space fairing equivalent of the Merchant Marine. Starting out as nothing more than a mess mate on a trading vessel that sails the stars, isn’t his first choice, but it’s his only shot. He’s a “land rat”, one unwise in the ways of space, and no one else will take him. These stories are all about how far hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of luck will take you.

Well this post grows long and there are a lot more fiction casts I’ve wither listened to or will be listening to in the days/weeks/months to come, not to mention the non-fiction. More on the latter in a future post. Meanwhile if you’ve already listened to all of these you should also check out Metamor City, Murder at Avedon Hill, V & A Shipping, and anything Scott Sigler, Mur Lafferty, or Tee Morris puts out. You should also take a gander at Podiobooks. They have over 300 titles.