A big thank you to the first 50 followers

Seven months ago, I started this blog because I was tired of talking to myself while writing (and it was getting embarrassing). Also, I wanted to see if I could find readers for my short stories; and to impose the pressure of public exposure on my writerly self. More or less, I’ve posted twice a week, despite the fact that I willfully ignore all good advice and rarely plan posts in advance. There are now a goodly number of reviews of speculative fiction, and writing advice, and posts about illustrated fiction and language, among other topics.

It’s going pretty well. While researching topics and reviewing stories, I’ve connected with good readers and writers in this space and in others. I’ve garnered the support of collaborators who have made this blog a better place because of their insights, especially those who are translating posts and short stories for me. And, last but not least, I’ve found 50 readers who are actually following this blog!

Dear First 50, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I am so glad you are following Imagined Worlds, but I’m not always sure why you do it. Feel free to let me know what compelled you to follow by commenting on this post or sending a message via the contact page.

More to come,



Art award helps, but it can’t make the tarnished 2015 Hugo Awards shine

I tried to read the short story nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards. I really did. I went to the list blind–meaning that I did not know whether or not the nominees I read were on the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate or not. However, after the first two nominees I picked up seriously disappointed me (and I shall not tell you which ones), I gave up. Of course, I know that I won’t appreciate every worthy piece of writing that is out there, so if you did find one or all of this year’s short story nominees inspiring, then great! I hope your favorite story wins.

My second attempt to look into what the Hugo Awards 2015 might bring to speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy/horror was to look at the nominees for the Best Professional Artist category. The nominees are

*Big shout out to Rachel Neumeier for her post, and the links to these artists’ work. Continue reading

6 ways to keep nice characters alive

Writing the second draft of my WIP is starting to scare me. I’ve spent a week on chapter 1. One of my main challenges is dealing with two characters who are, well, nice people. I like them. They’re young, not sure who they are yet, generally good to other people. They are not soldiers or serial killers or intent on world domination. So, I’m struggling with making them interesting and not sappy.

Nice characters will not go quietly into the good grimdark! Rage, rage against  the fate of Eddard Stark!

Nice characters will not go quietly into the good grimdark! Rage, rage against
the fate of Eddard Stark!

Brutal and violent is so much easier to write than nice. Seriously, how hard is it to run for your life, shoot flamethrowers at plague victims, describe a madman’s gruesome murder of an unsuspecting victim? Granted writing psychological violence and manipulation are quite tricky arts, but we still let the violent and psychotic characters off the hook. They don’t have to think or reason or deal too much with complexities and consequences. You can (and should) put your nice characters into justified violent action mode, but they cannot stay there all the time. They’re rational. They think of others. Dammit! Continue reading

“Pretty Little Dead Girls” –where fantasy and horror collide in a wonderful way / “Pretty Little Dead Girls” – donde la fantasía y el horror chocan de manera maravillosa

pl_dead_girls-mock-900pxI had a childhood friend who suffered several unlikely calamities, and for several years it seemed as if fate was just waiting for her to drop her guard. Although I’m happy to report that she did survive her childhood and survives to this day, I still worry about her occasionally. So, with this sense of familiarity, I picked up Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy by Mercedes M. Yardley. Outmaneuvering impending doom is the heart of the novel. Yardley’s perfectly clear opening sentences had me hooked.

“Bryony Adams was the type of girl who got murdered. This was always so, and it was apparent from the way that men looked at her as she adjusted her knee socks to the way that women shook their heads in pity when she rode by on her bicycle.”

There’s no doubt about where this story intends to go. Every aspect of the novel moves forward quickly and, almost as soon as the reader understands the problem, Yardley gives us the answer to this dilemma, which is a chorus of characters urging Bryony to run. She must run as fast as she can ahead of fate. It might not work out. It will catch up to her at some point. But, hey, valar morghulis! And while you’re running, Bryony, remember to love fully and truly. There’s no time for games or pouting.  Continue reading