This week:Edited by: May the Waltz Be With You
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An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.
-Hamilton Wright Mabie
For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.
A NEW BEGINNING
How do you start a story?
No matter how you start it, there's always what came before. The background, the history of the place and characters about which you're writing.
Even the words, "In the beginning, God created..." imply a backstory, leading to speculation about what God was doing before the beginning.
The Winter Solstice and the New Year provide opportunities for new beginnings in our own life. Are we going to make resolutions? Set goals? Reflect on the past year and start the new one fresh?
But there are no beginnings, not really. There's where we choose to get on and off the wheel. Sometimes, of course, this is chosen FOR us, but as writers, we decide, for our stories, when to begin and when to end.
Still, New Year's Day symbolizes the new beginning, the place where a new narrative can begin. I like to look at the time between Solstice and New Year's as the Preface, with January as Chapter 1.
If you're reading this because you're an aspiring Fantasy (or other type of fantastic fiction) author, or want to work on your speculative fiction, here's a resolution for you: if you're tired of all the lose weight, stop smoking, be nicer to people, get finances in order, etc. resolutions - resolve to create a world this year.
After all, as fantasy authors, that's what we do: create worlds. It's an awesome and humbling undertaking, but rewarding, because it also forces you to examine how your own world is put together.
Just do it.
How do you start a story?
Your world is counting on you.
A few tales and such for your winter break:
Try it yourself! Here's a fantasy contest to enter.
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Only one comment in response to my Thanksgiving newsletter, "Fantasy Newsletter (November 26, 2008)"
faithjourney writes: Thanks for the great newsletter. I've often wondered if we in the U.S. are the only people in the world that make an entire holiday out of stuffing ourselves silly, then spending all of our money the next day on stuff for other people. I know, that's not what it's all about - but you have to admit that it's a funny observation of how we've "evolved" the holiday to modern society!
It is, for many people, what it's all about. I suppose it could be worse; we could spend the following day buying crap for ourselves. Some of us likely do. As with the solstice holidays, though, it's what you make it.
That's it for this year! See you in 2009! Until then...
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