I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

...and a happy new year!

Another Christmas rolls around, and I find myself happy at the thought that, starting tomorrow, I can once again listen to the news or read a newspaper without some prominent article reminding me about the plight of the unfornate at Christmas. As an atheist, I don't celebrate Christmas, and usually just try to keep a low profile and enjoy it, if not celebrate it. I'm happy other people find happiness in the day, I recognize it's good for the economy, and I'm not one to complain about a paid day off. Plus, I like eggnog, and this is the only time of the year most stores carry it.

But, one thing I've gotten weary of over the years is the nagging, scolding tone of the news this time of year. It's become such a cliche that, when the holiday rolls around, reporters go out in search of the most miserable people they can find in order to remind us of the less fortunate at christmas. Sometimes, there's a happy spin to it--a mystery donor gives some poor kid a kidney or something, or some comunity group chips in to buy a homeless man a christmas tree.

Just once, I'd like to see a reporter stand in front of a mansion and deliver us a story reminding us that christmas also comes to the more fortunate among us. A heartwarming story about a man who gives his teenage son a sport car that costs more than the GNP of Bali, or perhaps his own professional baseball team. A christmas morning where the children run outside and find actual reindeer from Lapland have been flown in by their father on his private freight helicoptor, along with three feet of snow and new snowmobiles, even though they live in Miami. That would be a Christmas story I haven't read before.

Ah well. I can dream.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Things Edmund Schubert Knows About Writing

Ed Schubert has started producing his articles on writing now. Check out his Sideshow Freaks blog for a variety of interesting topics. I particularly liked this point from his article on using metaphors:

Another advantage of using metaphors, similes, and analogies is this: they help people remember your keys points. By using one of these comparative devices, you are subliminally telling people (by placing extra emphasis on it) what your most important points are.

This is a very good point, with the counterpoint being that there are times where you will deliberately be toning down your writing, keeping it simple and free of metaphors, just so when you reach the point you most want the reader to carry away, the sudden elevation of language will have the intended impact. I've read stories where practically every paragraph has some sort of simile in it, and I find such stories almost unreadable. It's like watching a movie where all the extras are in the background waving their arms and shouting "look here!" while the main actors are trying to deliver their dialogue.

Anyway, you can read more of his excellent advice here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One more thing Lisa Shearin knows about writing...

I hope to update my blog soon! I've been in a real time crunch, getting the second draft of DRAGONFORGE onto paper. (Well, onto magnetic particles on my hard drive, actually.) I'm done with that draft, and now comes draft three! Still, I've got a lot of time off coming soon, and plenty of stuff to talk about here and at my Bitterwood blog.

In the meantime, check out Lisa Shearin's latest blog posts in the "Things I know about writing series." In fact, it's worth checking out her whole blog. Lots of interesting insights into her experiences as a novelist.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You gotta want it bad

Lisa Shearin is live with her second article about writing, You Gotta Want It Bad.

From the article:

Some authors are literal overnight successes -- they hit pay dirt and even the "big time" with the first book they've ever written. We've seen their stories -- six- and seven-figure advances, press coverage out the wazoo; heck, sometimes even Oprah.

Then there's me -- and 99.99% of writers. The first book we have published isn't our first or second. Mine was my third.