Friday, May 29, 2009

An amazing discovery

I have made an amazing discovery. I thought I was alone as a Christian who liked to write fantasy and science fiction. There certainly wasn't anybody in my life I could talk to about it.


When leafing through the websites section at the back of my copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction, I saw a link to a website called Where the Map Ends. (I also found the link to Randy Ingermanson's site there, which I visited not long ago - I was pleasantly surprised to learn Ingermanson is a Christian). Anyway, I went to this site, and through it found a deluge of other stuff about writing Christian "speculative fiction" (the catch-all publishing category for fiction "speculating" about different worlds than ours, such as sci-fi, fantasy, and alternate history). I even joined two forums I found through this searching: The Anamoly, the official forum of Where the Map Ends, and Christian Anime Alliance, a forum about anime and manga for Christians. There was even a thread in The Anamoly about the problem of whether to use magic in Christian fantasy (which I also saw a good article about on some other site), an issue I've been struggling with myself.

Even though it wasn't the greatest day today - I hurt my foot at work and the side of my left foot is throbbing as I type this - I am happy because I feel like I have made a breakthrough. It's almost like an answer to prayer, though I don't remember specifically praying for this. I know I prayed for career guidance, but not quite like this.


In other news:

As I said, I hurt my foot. I tripped, except I didn't trip on anything or over anything - my foot just sort of tilted (it does that sometimes). My mom says it's my shoes. I'm going to go look for new work shoes tomorrow, regardless of how my foot feels (because my mother will make me go regardless).

I also have to clean my room tomorrow, although the floor is pretty much clean except for some laundry on the floor. I can't even do my laundry tomorrow because the guys currently working on our house pulled out the washer and dryer, so they're not hooked up for use right now. Because I didn't keep my end of the bargain with my parents and consistently keep my room clean, my rent got raised. I get paid tomorrow so I should have enough money to pay the higher rent for June and still have money left over, even though I made some big purchases recently (like some manga, a ridiculously high $50 for an online career test that really didn't do anything for me, and of course, my new iPod).

When I bought my manga, I also bought a book called The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference. I have been reading it through, even though you're not supposed to do that with "reference" books. But it's my first time through, so I don't know what info in it might be of use to me. Compiled by editors for Writers Digest and with a very nice introduction by fantasy fiction legend Terry Brooks, it's a pretty useful book. I don't really see anything in it of too much use to me specifically at the moment, but it's much more digestible than Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, a book considered a must-read for aspiring sci-fi and fantasy writers (a book I didn't understand at all, which might be because I haven't read any of Card's novels). It is, like it sounds, a reference book. It contains a whole chapter on magic, for example, and one on witchcraft (which provides a rather thorough treatment of Wicca, more so I think than what I read in the Christian book Dewitched: What You Need to Know About the Dangers of Wicca and Witchcraft). There's also info on armor and armies, weapons, and even fantasy races (in which they blame Tolkien for the current stereotypes of many of the races listed, especially elves and dwarves).

I also came across a site when I was browsing Where the Map Ends on my iPod this morning while waiting for the bus (one of the rare places besides my house where I can get our home wifi signal) that provides a program for mapmaking. It's targeted mostly toward RPG makers, but is supposed to be useful for authors too. The site is called ProFantasy Software and its main mapmaking program is called Campaign Cartographer (the current version being Campaign Cartographer 3). They also have a bunch of add-ons to this program, including a sci-fi add-on called Cosmographer Pro that lets you create galaxies and spaceships. You have to pay for the software, I think, but they have demos you can download, so I may do this if I decide I need to. I read on some site (Holly Lisle's, I think) that it's good to draw a map of your world if you're writing fantasy, but I stink at drawing and know nothing about cartography (mapmaking).

I'm also trying to decide which I like better, fantasy or sci-fi. Fantasy is easier for me to write because I've read a lot of fantasy. But I have attempted sci-fi mainly because I like technology and computers. (I have only seen one story that combined fantasy with technology in a cool way - the game Tales of Symphonia, with its magitechnology, technologically created things that were magic because they required mana to function). You can't really introduce technology into a fantasy world because of the tradition of medieval settings for fantasy. The only way to do it is through the alternate-universe idea (à la Philip Pullman) or through fantasy steampunk, in which case the technology has to be steam-powered due to the typical Victorian or Edwardian setting of steampunk.

I also am not sure about my decision to set my sci-fi novels in London; it seemed like a logical place at the time, mainly because the UFG or United Federation of Galaxies - which I am now calling the UIIC or United Interplanetary and Intersidereal Council, to avoid legal difficulties with Star Trek canon (which has a United Federation of Planets) - was going to be part of the plot, and a big city like London seemed like a logical place for it to be based. (Then again, Star Trek's United Federation of Planets is based in San Francisco).

I am somehow reluctant to write about the area in which I actually live, because to my knowledge nothing much of note has happened historically in the San Diego area, other than the city of San Diego being the site of the first mission founded by Junípero Serra, San Diego de Alcala. But then I guess I'm not writing historical fiction, am I?'s late. I should go to bed now. Good night.


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Hi, Misty,

I found your blog because I have a Google alert for "Christian fantasy." You definitely are not alone as a Christian writing fantasy and science fiction.

Besides the sites you mentioned, check out the Lost Genre Guild and the CSFF Blog Tour. Oh, I almost forgot. There's also a team blog I participate in called Speculative Faith. One more--a Yahoo group called ChristSF.

Hope to see you again somewhere in the Christian writing community.


Misty said...

Hi Becky! Thanks for commenting. A Google Alert, huh? People find my blog in the strangest ways (I still haven't figured out how Heidi Tandy of found my blog post about a panel she was part of at Comic-Con last year).

I have seen the sites CSFF Blog Tour and Speculative Faith - in fact, I commented on a post on Speculative Faith about anime the other day. I'll check out the other sites though. Thanks for bringing them up!

I do hope to really get involved in the community, now that I know it exists. The info I have seen at the sites I have already explored will greatly help me in evaluating the fantasy and sci-fi ideas I am working on right now. One of my struggles was how to make them Christian, and now I can get some answers! I'm happy!