story craft #11 Cover Letter Mistakes

MJG Story Craft 4 Comments

This week I went to the Tokyo Writer’s Workshop for the first time in years. I took with me 8 pages of the first Dawn book, plus its cover letter to agents, hoping to get advice on how to make both more eye-catching and intriguing. The feedback I got was incredibly valuable, and pretty darn surprising. In short, they really liked the 8 pages of actual story, but strongly disliked the cover letter. That’s a big problem, because the cover letter is what agents and publishers see first. In some cases it may be the only thing they see. They …

Nara Dreamland: Japan’s last abandoned theme park

MJG Haikyo, Nara, Theme Parks 118 Comments

Nara Dreamland is the epitome of many haikyo dreams; an abandoned theme park with all its roller-coasters and rides still standing. I’ve heard many stories of haikyoists arriving only to be either deterred by the cameras, sensors, alarms and fines, or actually physically expelled by the furious security guard. For my visit I decided to bypass those risks altogether, and entered by night. You can buy prints here. Orion (you can see the 3 stars of his belt) behind the Dreamland castle. Buy prints here. Nara Dreamland opened in 1961, inspired by Disneyland in California. For 45 years its central …

The abandoned resort of Hanultari on Jeju island

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, South Korea 2 Comments

Hanultari was our second abandoned resort on the Korean island of Jeju. We saw it while cruising to Ilchulbong volcano crater in a taxi, barely peeking through the mist. After climbing up the crater, which was completely covered in mist and thus invisible to us, we got our driver to take us back to the ruin. He stood by his taxi and watched (probably a bit bemused) as we clambered the hotel`s half-built skeleton and took photos of each other posing. Unfortunately, the mist and my old Powershot camera combined to make most of the pictures pretty awful. Here`s a …

story craft #10 Ethics of Plagiarism

MJG Story Craft 21 Comments

Recently I’ve been looking to borrow quotes. None of the sources are from authors still living, indeed most of the people I’m looking to borrow from have been dead for hundreds if not thousands of years. They include passages from the Book of Revelations (up there with Ecclesiastes as my favorite Bible book), quotes from ancient translated Indian caste law, quotes on Medieval law from various British kings, quotes on social ills by Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero, etc… Is it wrong to do that?

story craft #9 Completion Euphoria

MJG Story Craft, Writing 2 Comments

I just wrote the final scene for the first part of the first Dawn book, and I’m feeling euphoric. I want everybody to read it right now and be moved! It may only be redraft, but its a complete redraft, a ground-up re-write that I’m feeling very good about. It follows the principles I talked about in Writing Blog #1 The Dungeon Master’s Screen- all of the stuff that before had been potential on the page; back-story and summary, is now written large and dramatic, with acres of conflict, emotion, and irreversible change. The rest of this (short) post will …

The ruins of Monkey Island

MJG Haikyo, Kanagawa, Military Installations 11 Comments

No, not the game. This particular Monkey Island (‘Sarushima’ in Japanese) is located off the coast of Yokosuka near the mouth of Tokyo Bay, and during World War II served as an artillery battery and first point of defense of the Japanese homeland. After the war the anti-aircraft guns were removed, a ferry service began, the beach was opened to tourists, and walking trails were prepared around the various defensive bunkers carved into the rock. Now it’s a great spot for a BBQ and some sun-bathing. Long walkway troughs cut through the jungle and rock.

story craft #8 Tapestry Narratives

MJG Stories, Story Craft 4 Comments

I`m a fan of convoluted narrative styles. I like stories that are chopped up and remixed, especially those chopped and remixed on the basis of character. LOST did this over 6 seasons, Magnolia did it in a 3-hour movie, Orson Scott Card did it between Ender`s Game and Ender`s shadow, David Gemmell did it across fantasy eras. The effect is always epic. We begin to see the threads that make up not just one person`s life, but the whole tapestry. We glimpse the arc of the world of these characters, and while we`re with them we get to see the …