February 7, 2024

Resources for Boskone Panels

        This weekend I will once again be at the Boskone sci fi/fantasy convention in Boston.  As usual I’ll have work in the Art Show (63 pieces, which I think is an all-time high!); I’ll be participating in the Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading (sharing a preview of something from Bittersweetness & Light) and taking shifts at our book-selling table; and I’ll also be participating in four panels on a variety of writing topics.  It’s that last facet that’s providing the reason for this post.  This is a map and guide to various previous posts likely to be of interest to anyone attending those panels and looking for more details about anything I might reference.

A Protagonist Walks Into a Bar…  
…what does it look like? Who's in the room? How is it decorated? What does it smell like? How loud is it? We discuss just how much detail you really need.”
I’m in the pro-description camp, as a reader and therefore also as a writer.  The following posts are arguments in favor of plenty of lush description:
Here are a couple posts that have to do a little more loosely with how to choose words and description to express more than just bare bones of plot:
And something on balancing how much information to share in world-building:

Uncommon Creatures from Fairy Tales  “What about the creatures we don't hear so 
much about? Who are they and what role do they play in the realm of the fair folk? Are they getting short shrift in the literary realm in favor of their more common cousins? Let's scan the globe for other instances of curious creatures with poor PR.”
If you click the Label “mythical creatures” in the sidebar, you’ll find over 200 posts on all manner of creatures, but for the posts which give information specifically about various creatures from fairy tales, folklore, and mythology, here are some categories that pare it down (slightly):
     26 alphabetical posts on collected creatures here: A-Z Challenge ’16
     26 more regarding the creatures in my own bestiary On the Virtues of Beasts of the Realms of Imagination: A-Z Challenge ’19
     And 26 posts on creatures arranged according to particular traits, with lots and lots of examples from all around the world: A-Z Challenge ’22

If what you’re looking for is resources to do more research of your own, the following posts include lists and reviews of encyclopedias and other reference books that feature magical creatures:

     Creature Collections: Encyclopedias

     Creature Collections: The More the Merrier

     Creature Collections: For Young and Old

     Creature Collections: a Touch of Science

     Creature Collections: Artists’ Edition

     Field Guides to the Creatures of Fantasy

     More Field Guides

Plus, a great on-line resource can be found here: A Book of Creatures

Language in SFF
  “From The Languages of Pao to Embassytown, authors from all eras have explored the limits of humankind's greatest invention: language. In this panel, linguists and language experts discuss what works and what doesn't, and where one draws the line between science and science-fiction with respect to language.”
     My posts on this topic tend to be a little more tangential, but a few stories and issues related to SFF exploration of language are mentioned in the post L is for Language
     One facet of the use of fantasy languages appears in Poetry for Worldbuilding
     And some of the issues around using made-up languages in your fiction are the same as those involved in Character Names in Fantasy
     (Since it came up during the panel) a post about writing swearwords as Grawlixes and Other Maledicta
(Plus, if you’re interested in linguistics more generally, and especially in etymology, just click the Label in the sidebar for “words” and find all my monthly posts on tidbits of language.

Alternative Publishing 
     I haven’t written so much about this, but we’ll start with an essay on Why I Chose to Self-Publish
     You can see my current Kickstarter campaign here: Bittersweetness & Light
     And you can also still visit the page for my first Kickstarter campaign, if you want to see what that looked like: On the Virtues of Beasts of the Realms of Imagination.
     If you have any questions about any of this stuff, I’m always happy to do my best to help, so feel free to contact me.

[Pictures: Barmaid, lithograph based on linocut by William Nicholson from London Types, 1898 (Image from Cleveland Museum of Art);

Polypodrollery, rubber block print by AEGN, 2019 (details here);

Two scholars discussing books, illumination on parchment from Brevicum ex artibus Raimundi Lulli electum - Codex St. Peter, 14th century (Image from Badische Landesbibliothek).]

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