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I recently RT’d the following message because it is a concern I’ve had before: @matociquala, @stillsostrange: Withholding obvious information from the reader/viewer/player is not actually narrative tension. The resulting Facebook comments reminded me that (back in 2007) I posted a blog post on this very topic. Since it’s no less relevant now, I’m reposting for my current readers.



I always thought there was nothing more frustrating than an “I’ll know it when I see it” answer, but I’ve found something…it’s when that’s the answer you give yourself. I recently did some critting (multiple authors and both novels and short stories) where I raised an issue with POV and the author hiding secrets. I thought it was simple: if you’re in someone’s POV, you know what he/she/it knows. Finding out later that they knew something important they didn’t reveal is just frustrating to me because it feels like author intrusion. If I’m holding a big secret, you better bet it crosses my mind a thousand times a day in a myriad of ways. I might not talk about it, I might not even mention it, but how I react and what I think will be governed at least in part by the thing that’s bugging or consuming me. (more…)
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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll find the statement that I enjoy Steampunk a little obvious, but I learned as I read Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi that I have a very clear sense of what Steampunk is to me.


I have devoured the current Steampunk trend, delighting in the innovative designs and the literary analysis of the phenomenon. I can’t tell you how many attempts to define Steampunk I’ve read over the past couple of years. A recent one stuck with me, though, because it was a tirade against Steampunk design, a rather articulate analysis of how changing your laptop, etc. to look Victorian with a mechanical brass edge actually goes against everything Steampunk stands for. I didn’t blog it because I prefer positive over negative, and have now lost the link, but it clearly had more of an impact with me than I’d expected (had I known, I would have blogged it, negative or not).


So why, you might ask, do I feel the need–nay, the urge–to offer up my own definition of Steampunk? Well, because I’m curious about whether others feel as I do, and because, having thought it out, I want to share.

(more…)

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Last night I went to see a high school performance of a play that I have now seen three times, A Servant of Two Masters. This is not a major play like Cats, and I hadn't sought it out, but coincidence or what have you led me to seeing this same play multiple times. The first time was at a community theater in Alameda, California, enough years ago that I didn't remember having seen it until the events in the play the second time were too familiar to be dismissed. The second performance was last year on a school trip (you bet I volunteered ;) ) to Ashland, Oregon to see a portion of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that is ongoing there. And the third, as I mentioned, was a local high school. (read more on my new blog)


Also don't forget to check out the Interesting Links posts since you last paid a visit to Tales to Tide You Over.

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Margaret McGaffey Fisk

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