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Updates and Stage Setting

Friday, March 23rd, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

Black Gate Update

Black Gate 10 should be back from the printer in the next week.

E-submissions — I accidentally ended up with most of the week off from day job writing, and so threw myself into reading e-submissions for Black Gate. I’ve now read up through the middle of August 2006. There were some great finds in there. There are a lot of responses to write, but I hope to get them out in the next two weeks prior to another big push through submissions.

John is sifting through the e-subs I’ve forwarded to him as well as diving into some more real-world subs, prior to returning to work getting Black Gate 11 out the door.

Stage Setting

I don’t know how other writers go about it, but I like to keep my weaknesses in mind as I sit down to write a scene. For instance, I used to have a big problem with having the plot dictate what my characters did, so I started reminding myself to always know what the characters want before the scene starts. I still do that. Something I’ve been striving for lately is to make the place itself a character — to bring it to life and present it as an interesting place to be. I mean, really, why set a scene in just one more generic tavern? It’s not as though when you’re writing fantasy prose you’re on a budget. My friend Eric Knight — someone who excels at giving his landscapes character — wrote a nice article about Solomon Kane for the www.swordandsorcery.org site that sums up this point nicely:

“Wings of the Night” features a marathon running fight through ruin, countryside, and even air that only a team of computer animators with a sixty-million dollar budget and the latest rendering technology (or a single Texan from Cross Plains hammering the story out with worn typewriter ribbon) could bring properly to life.

We don’t even have to worry about paying for typewriter ribbons now. We shouldn’t constrain our imaginations — we should give our characters, and our readers, interesting places to visit. I wish it didn’t have to go without saying that landscape should make sense in the world the writer’s creating and be woven through the events rather than be thrown in as a gee whiz moment. It all has to work together.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking lately about stage setting.

Does anyone else keep lists in mind of things they watch for as they write? I’d be interested in hearing about them.

Warm Regards,
Howard

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