Appearance on HuffPost Live, or, You Got Some Shia in My Interview

I had a wonderful opportunity today to appear on HuffPost Live and discuss a topics that I find fascinating: What is creativity, where does it come from, and what happens if someone has the same idea? While it was immensely fun to both contribute and listen to the other guests, it did cause me to break my personal rule against talking about Shia LaBeouf.

Oh well, we all make sacrifices, I guess.

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Creativity Isn’t about Ideas; It’s about Execution

Where does your creativity come from? Do you believe in a muse who touches your mind? It’s pretty easy to believe that our best ideas come straight out of the aether, especially the ones that seem to jump into our minds fully formed. The most creative people seem to have original ideas pop into their brains on a regular basis.

But that’s wrong.

I’ll make two very inflammatory remarks, and we’ll see if you stick around to hear the explanation.

#1 – There are no original ideas.

#2 – Every creator has stolen all their ideas.

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Guest Post Roundup: Submission Tips and the Power of Sci-Fi

In a fit of literary infidelity, I’ve written a few guest posts for other sites recently. Don’t think that means I’ve left you hanging, dear reader of Speculative Intent. I’ve got links to two of the most useful ones below. If you were looking for some other kind of link, I suggest you try Scroll Down to Riker. It changed my life in a way that only Jonathan Frakes can.

Now, back to the writing-related stuff.

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Stick the Landing: Writing Tips for Better Story Endings

One of the interesting things about reading through the slush pile at Fiction Vortex is that I get to see every kind of story in relatively quick succession. After doing this long enough, I started to see a pattern: Writers have awesome stories, but they frequently have no idea how to end them. They spend thousands of words creating great characters and worlds, and then completely flub the ending. Since so few people actually get to see consistent examples of how important a good ending is, I decided to write about it.

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Science Fiction Is a Powerful Tool for Reality

A recent interview in The Atlantic did a fantastic job of highlighting one of the reasons science fiction is so important: It allows us to throw away restrictions and fully explore the question “What if …?”

In the interview, MIT Media Lab researchers Dan Novy and Sophia Brueckner say their “Pulp to Prototype” course makes science fiction required reading. Why? Because it gets students to think about possibilities that would otherwise be classified as crazy, too far-fetched, or unimportant.

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Your Character’s Eye Color Doesn’t Matter

It’s time to air a small grievance I have with writers. Or rather, point out a crutch that seems far too common in fiction: using eye color as shorthand for personality.

It makes sense that this sort of thing pops up because eyes are the most important part of the face. It’s where we look to learn what someone is thinking and feeling. It was the first thing we thought about in English class when we were doing writing exercises about vivid descriptions. But too often writers are using eye color as a cheap way to tell you all about a character’s personality.

You’ve seen it a million times. Brown eyes = boring, excruciatingly normal, uninteresting. Blue eyes = pretty, intelligent, exciting, angelic, possibly ethereal. Green eyes = exotic, unusual, exceptional, feisty, sexy. Red eyes = craves destruction, mayhem, revenge, or your blood. Hazel eyes = Mary Sue.

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