Category: Writing

Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/3/21: Fairy Tales III

This illustration by Arthur Rackham appeared on the cover of a book of Grimm’s fairy tales given to me by my parents. I forget the name of the story, but in it, the child hero, who is peeking out of the stove at the illustration’s approximate center, is hiding from the ogre. He has been …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/17/21: Fairy Tales II

The plasticity of fairy tales is demonstrated by these illustrations of Beauty and the Beast from over the years. In the original fairy tale, the Beast is never explicitly described, so artists had to use their imaginations. From the top left, going clockwise, he’s a spotted hyena, a wolf-boar, a very weird walrus-mole hybrid, and …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/10/21: Fairy Tales I

Fairy tales were not intended for children. I repeat that, fairy tales were NOT intended for children. Just take a look at the Kay Nielson illustration for Cinderella above. Despite the name, Kay is a he, a classically trained Danish artist who worked heavily during the first half of the 20th century. The moment depicts …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/3/21: Blues Singers

Entirely by coincidence, I found out that tables used for generating magic spells could also generate names suitable for blues singers from the first half of the twentieth century. Enjoy!   Blues Singers Sissy Withers Addie Gate Sister Willie Ella Denny Durst Quincy Pearl Slow Soft Bird Nickie Jackson Jerris Howler Jerkie Davis Viola Peach …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/27/21: Let’s Talk About Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is considered by many to be the greatest writer in the English language. He left behind a legacy of 39 plays and 154 sonnets that are still being performed and read today. Just to hear the name “Shakespeare” among someone’s interests is a mark of high intellectual discernment, and used as an adjective, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/13/21: Ancient Empires

  Over the summer as I was immersed in Narnia I read a lot about the Old Testament, and in turn about the ancient civilizations of the Near and Middle East. Most people know of Ur, Assyria, and the Phoenicians, but there were many others more obscure — Adiabene, the Girgashites, Hayasa-Azzi. Some were kingdoms, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/6/21: Teen Movies of the 1980s

The 1980s were, perhaps, the Golden Age of the teen movie. Exemplified by John Hughes, these slightly raunchy, traditionally romantic movies had wholesome names like Sweet Sixteen and Pretty in Pink that belied the nasty origins of their conception. Which came from the pages of The National Lampoon, of which Hughes was a writer. Yes, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/30/20: The Best of
xxxxTwittersnips (SFF Novels)

A selection of randomly generated SFF novel titles that appeared in my Twitter feed 2017 – 2020. Any one of them would make a fine book.   SF, Fantasy, and Steampunk Novels Rebellion’s Acolyte Shadows of Stinging Grass Dowsing the Dragon Harry Potter and the Brawler of Blackworth Harry Potter and the Assassin’s Blade A …

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Experiments in AI-generated Writing

Over the past few years there has been a lot of attention devoted to the idea that AI — artificial intelligence —  will eventually be writing fiction. There’s tons of example in the Twitter and YouTube communities, mostly due to the efforts of comedy writer Keaton Patti, who uses predictive text to compose random, hilarious …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/23/20: Christmas Songs

Most Christmas songs are recognizable by their titles. There’s something Merry, something Snow, maybe something God or Jesus. Sometimes there’s an anomaly, like “I Want a Hippopptamus for Christmas.” But mostly it’s white bread. Here’s some titles yet to be used for your self-created Christmas tunes.   Christmas Carols Young Father Christmas The Old Gray …

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