Writing Dune

Spoilers for Dune and all Dune-derived media (books, films, games, television series). In the grim darkness of the 23rd Millennium, there is only... wait, no, that's the other one. In 1965, Chilton Books, a publisher known for producing engineering manuals, published Dune, a science-fiction book which had originally appeared as a serial in the magazine…

Write Like You Mean It 4

An erratic guide to consistent writing. Alternate Alternate is one of those unfortunate words which is very close in appearance to a word whose meaning is both more useful in most conversations and yet also whose own meaning is just close enough to be confusing. To alternate means to take turns repeatedly; it also can…

Writing Hollow Knight

Spoilers for Hollow Knight and Mystical Ninja starring Goemon (computer games). Your evening's light entertainment. In one of my first posts I talked about the jarring writing in Team Cherry's Hollow Knight. Some people bristled at the notion, praising the high quality of the game's story, and thus missing the point. The story of Hollow…

Write Like You Mean it 3

An erratic guide to consistent writing. Last week I started writing about Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and why I had to stop reading it only to discover that Mythcreants had beaten me to it by months, drawn the same conclusions, stopped in the same place, and been much funnier about it than…

Writing Good Places

Spoilers, AND I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW SPOILED THIS WILL BE SO GO WATCH IT IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, for seasons 1 - 3 of The Good Place (television series). It's the most fun two adults can have on a sofa!(Ted Danson (left) as Michael and Kristen Bell (the other left) as Eleanor Shellstrop -…

Write Like You Mean It 2

An erratic guide to consistent writing. Arcane Thanks to the fantasy authors following in the literary tradition of, er, Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks, arcane is assumed to be something to do with magic, chiefly magic done by wizards instead of by priests. In fact, arcane simply means, secret, unknown to most people. In that sense,…

Writing Nice and Accurate Prophecies

Spoilers for Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (book and television series). Pictured: The same man twice.(Good Omens, television series, promotional material) By their own admission, neither Gaiman nor Pratchett expected Good Omens to be as popular as it subsequently became. There is a nice and accurate reason why: it…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 4

A Day in the Life Theology describes what, in theory, believers of a religion ought to believe, for a given value of ought. In practice, however, members of all religions live lives at variance with what they claim to profess, from the evident truth that few people live up to their religious ideals and others…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 2

Eschatological Escapades Eschatology is the theology of endings, the counterpart to ætiology. Eschatologies are as varied as ætiologies, and just as important for shaping religious practice. Norse mythology's final battle at Ragnarök, the Buddhist prophecy of Maitreya revealing to a once-more-benighted world the concept of dharma, the theme of a time of judgement shared by…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 1

Edifying Ætiologies An ætiology is a beginning of something expressed in historical or mythological terms, and therefore a highly appropriate concept with which to begin this short series. Last week I spotted a tweet which drove home to me the inherent problems with discussing religion in fiction. In the West, our experience of life is…