Monday, September 23, 2013

Follow Fest!

So!  I've signed up for this thanks to Melissa Maygrove.  Let's get started.  ^_^

Name: Mason T. Matchak.  Real name, not a pen name, and yes I'm keeping the middle initial.

Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction.  At least in writing.  I once tried to tell my former boss I was fictional, and he asked if that meant he could pretend to pay me.

What genres do you write? Fantasy of various flavors.  The book I'm working on now is somewhat magepunk because magic is an everyday thing, but I've written urban fantasy as well, and I'm working on some interplanar stories too.

Are you published? I had one short story published, back in 2007.  It's called "The Crystal Girl", and appeared in issue #54 of Leading Edge, a small-press magazine.

Do you do anything in addition to writing? I have a day job, but. . . .

Where can people connect with you? Here at the blog, as @MasonTMatchak at Twitter, or via e-mail (address altered to foil spammers).

Is there anything else you’d like us to know? I'm really big on diversity in sci-fi and fantasy, and in fiction in general.  The book I'm currently editing, The Accidental Warlock, has both LGBT and person-of-color characters, which I think we don't see often enough.  I know things are changing, but it's a slow change, and I'm glad to help support it.  Heroes don't have to be straight white people, simple as that.

I love the idea of New Adult and I wholly support those who write it; I think it's something missing from YA and Adult fiction and needs to become a recognized category.  I just haven't listed myself as writing it because, well, I don't have anything that's NA planned.  But considering how many plots I wrestle with regularly, that could change.

Other than that, I'm here to meet some new people and spread the word a bit.  TAW is a ways from being ready to submit (if it's ready by the year's end, I'll be a little surprised), but I've been blogging about writing for long enough without really putting myself out there, so it's time to change that.

Hi.  I'm Mason.  It's good to meet you.  ^_^

Monday, September 9, 2013

Uh-oh, it's Magic

Music for tonight's entry.  It's unrelated, but it's from the CD I have playing, and I'll be stunned if anyone reading this has heard this song before.

I've recently started listening to Writing Excuses, a podcast featuring two authors whose work I well and truly enjoy.  It's a series of fifteen-minute episodes about a different writing topic each time, easy to listen to and very helpful.  I saved some episodes several years ago and am only now getting around to listening to them, as the writing panels I attended at Dragon*Con were extremely helpful and I'm now seeking more advice from authors whose work I love.

One of those old episodes was all about creating workable and believable magic systems, and thanks to that, I'm now trying to figure out several magic systems at once.

I've written about writing magic with its own rules before, and since Brandon Sanderson is one of the authors on Writing Excuses, it's no surprise the episode discussed writing magic systems that work.  This made me realize I need to do some more work on the new magic system for Abraxas (the world of The Accidental Warlock), and that the book I'm currently plotting needs a magic system as well.

The book's heavy on interplanar travel and going to a dozen or so different worlds across the multiverse, so I'd planned on keeping magic simple - it was just going to be there, no big deal.  Tonight, I ditched that idea and hashed out three different possible magic systems.  Now I just have to figure out which one to use.

Each system would have distinct and dire effects on the characters and plot if I chose to use it.  Each one has disadvantages, such as "every member of a species could seem the same" and "the main characters will always run out of magic when they need it most", and I'm not yet sure how to work those out.  In other words, yes, I've created a brand new set of problems for myself.

The thing is, though, I'm good with this.  I'm looking forward to hashing this out and coming up with a system that really works.  I want to know how magic works for the six different species that encompass the main crew.  I want the reader to see why it's such a scary thing that the main antagonists don't follow the usual rules of magic.  I want all the worlds the crew visits to make sense because of how magic works on all of them.

This is a significant change for me; I'm more used to working with magic in my stories where it's easy to use and freely available and has few consequences for using it.  But I know this is going to lead to better stories.  It will also lead to a lot more trouble for Our Heroes, but that's a good thing too.

Because really, without that, what's the point?  ^_^