I know I’ve said this a lot (in comments, in the last blog post, I maybe even muttered it during my morning coffee), but thank you (ABK) so much for what you do! It is amazing for a writer to see someone else read and talk about something they wrote; it makes it all more real.
Now, on with the show!
In his Friday video, ABK brought up many interesting questions and made many fascinating remarks, which I will try to address in the paragraphs that follow.
- My gender. Well, so far I’ve chosen not to divulge this little bit of info, partly out of a desire to let my stories live without my influence and partly because I am using a pen name. However, to prevent future confusion, I will say that I go by he/him. Thank you for asking! (Incidentally, gender is something I am trying to pay more attention to in my stories; the Permanent in “An audience with the Permanent” is voluntarily referred to as them/they).
- My pen name. Accipiter G(entilis) Goshawk. I’ve never explained why I chose this name on the blog. Accipiter Gentilis is the Latin name for the northern goshawk, my favourite member of the raptor family. If you aren’t familiar with this incredible bird, type “goshawk” in YouTube. It is known for its incredible ability to fly through thick forests in search of prey. I admire this greatly because I feel that one of the skills that I’ve most profited from in life, is the ability to be flexible and overcome obstacles in a creative manner.
- A side note: Goshawk is pronounced “Gos”-“hawk” (sorry ABK, this is me being a little nit-picky)
- Story titles. I love what ABK says in his video about titles. It is true that without a title that is compelling, the reader won’t feel tempted to dive into the story. It’s similar to shopping: if the store looks shabby or uninteresting, you probably won’t even notice it. As far as my own writing is concerned, I am embarrassed to say that I don’t really spend much time thinking about titles…I just go by ear and hope they sound good. I think I’ll start integrating a “title tune-up” into my editing process.
- Critique. Ok, so I am not a big fan of negative comments. And by that I mean anything that is not “Oh wow, your last story filled my head with the Universe”, is unsatisfactory. All jokes aside, I think nobody likes to hear comments about their work. It is very difficult to accept that your story needs more time to mature, or that your grammar is less than stellar. But, it is necessary (if done correctly). I personally thought that your (ABK’s) critiquing and nit-picking was actually very balanced and quite constructive. Sure, going into details on a first draft isn’t always pleasant, but I took a lot from it. An example: I have now taken to reading my stories aloud before I post them, and that is thanks to the “nit-picking”. So bring on the nits!
- A personal note to ABK. Dear fellow creator, the fact that you mentioned Neil Gaiman (my all-time favourite author) and my work in the same video, made one of my dreams come true. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
- To all writers. You are perfectly welcome to anything my writing can give you (short of plagiarism). I believe that we are here to learn from other members of our community; writing –like any art- thrives in a world-village. I’m constantly inspired by the things I read on the internet and I can honestly say my writing has greatly improved in the last few months. Keep sharing!
- ABK’s advice on fictional languages is brilliant. As someone who has worked their way through the creation of several (my WIP is filled with them), I agree with the concept that languages should be spoken and thus speak-able.
- An audience with the Permanent. The idea for the story came from thinking about the Prompt and asking it questions. It probably went something like this:
- “Ok, “Golden Tattoo”, what can I do with that? Does the character use its tattoo for magic?”
- “They could, but it’s been done before. What would make your story special or different?”
- “Hmm…can I look at this from another angle? What do I know about tattoos?
- “Well, they are permanent (that actually sounds like a cool title for a character)…”
- “Oh, wait! Permanent magic as opposed to impermanent! Now, that is interesting…”
- And then the world building started. In a way, I created the world around the Permanent and then thought up the story. There is a lot more than what I chose to show in the short story, and maybe one day I’ll find the time to write a series or maybe even a book.
- To fantasy writers: if you need help with world building, or are at a loss for inspiration, my advice is to start playing Dungeons and Dragons. Even better, jump in and take up the mantle of Dungeon Master. By doing this you will be forced to create a sprawling world for your players to romp around in. The details you may have lost when you were trying to write jump out at you immediately; five people questioning the detailed history you took hours to invent make for the best editors in the world.
That’s it for me!
Thank you again for reading, commenting and liking, and I’ll hear from you all very soon!