Tag Archives: neil gaiman

I Fell in Love with StarDust

A guest post by Sarah Golden.

IMG_7189The film StarDust has everything a story needs to thrive in the hearts of dreamers. There’s the hero- Tristan Thorn, the villains: the three witches and an evil Prince. A goal- to catch a falling star and a wonderful message that the process of growth can happen only when you decide to be yourself.

I fell in love with StarDust when I read the book by Neil Gaiman, and I was fascinated by the turn of events that lead Tristan on a path to adulthood. While the story is a little more serious in the book, the film uses elements of the fantastical to convey the same spirit and message as the original tale.

The story itself plays out like a fable. Tristan’s growth is the backbone of the tale, because it is a tale we can all relate to. The process of growing up and discovering what you are capable of. Tristan learns this as he journeys through the fantastic world of Stormhold, and along the way, he learns his own strengths- weaknesses and values.

Tristan begins the film as a boy desperately in love with a fickle lady named Victoria. Blind to her condescending behavior, he does the unthinkable, and he promises to retrieve something nearly impossible to prove his love for her: a fallen star. Once he meets the star, things change. The star has a name- Yvaine, and she has no desire to go with him as a prize for his girl.

As the two get to know each other, they discover that Tristan is not the only one after the star. Two villains: a witch and an evil selfish prince are following their trail.
It is only when Tristan and Yvaine face the brink of death that they discover each other’s company isn’t so bad.

They make friends with a sky pirate who teaches both of them how to be sophisticated and confident. This is the moment Tristan’s quest changes, and Yvaine’s desire to go home has changed into spending as much time as she can with Tristan. Tristan soon realizes that Yvaine has become more dear to him than Victoria, and he no longer wants to bring her back with him.

The characters’ motives change, but their greatest conflict appears when the witch catches up with them. Yvaine is taken, and Tristan goes after her as a hero. He wins her heart in the end, and becomes a king- finally learning his capabilities and discovering where he belongs.

The story of StarDust is a timeless tale about following life wherever it leads, and sometimes the path will take you on a journey that you never expected, but it could lead to an even better place. Tristan represents the hero in all of us.

Sarah 2Sarah Golden is a creative writer who draws inspiration from fairytales and folklore all over the world. She is a Kingdom Hearts addict and now owns her own keyblade! She is also a proud tour guide of Beast’s Castle at Magic Kingdom. With a Bachelor’s degree in English, Sarah hopes to share great stories through the written word and inspire others to be the heroes of their own story. She has written her first novel, and she is currently on a quest to publish it. Most of her other writing can be found on her blog Bara Lotus Garden: http://crystallizedheart.blogspot.com

Conventions as Marketing, Part II, or Every Day is An Interview

I wanted to follow-up on Quincy Allen’s great post of October 15, 2013 about the value of active convention attendance on your marketing plan. The post is particularly timely as I’m packing my bag for World Fantasy which will be held in Brighton, England from October 31 – November 2. Quincy shared how his career had been enhanced by his decision to attend conferences. Like Quincy my successes in writing can be traced back to my decision to attend a conference. But that’s only a part of the story. Showing the is the easiest part. What Quincy did, and I recommend you do, is he was an active participant in the conferences.

Taking a convention from being a fun event to being a professional marketing tool is hard work. We attend writers’ conferences or seminars, to market our writing, and to meet other writers, agents, publishers and editors. For ease of reference, I’ll refer to agents, publishers and editors collectively as “agents.” You cannot sit in the seminars and only interact with the group of people you came if you are marketing.  Every day of a convention is an interview. Every moment of every day is an opportunity for you to help or hurt your career. So how do you ramp up your marketing potential at a Con?

Before the Con: do your homework.

One of the things I love about World Fantasy is it posts a list of attendees or “members” so I can see if my dream editor or agent is going to attend. This year WFC also has a separate list of attending publishers so if you don’t know that Jane Doe is with XY Literary you can see that XY Literary is attending and investigate further. Conventions are often crowded. Decide in advance who you’d like to make a connection with, why, and how.

I wanted to talk to Peter Beagle because I love his stories and since he was a Guest of Honor that year . How was I going to meet to him? Because he was scheduled for a reading, an interview session, and to attend the banquet I knew where and when I could find him, but I also asked my friends if anyone knew him. One of the founding Fictorians did and she introduced me. Ask your friends and colleagues if they know the person you want to meet. Chances are that one of them does. A personal introduction will usually take you a lot further than cold calling on someone. If the person you want to speak with is not giving a lecture or otherwise booked to be in a specific place be prepared to check the Con Bar – regularly.

If you are planning to pitch a story make sure it’s finished. “Finished” does not mean the first draft is complete. It means you have done everything you can to make the story as compelling and as free from typos as you can. Prepare your pitches. Ace Jordyn attended last year’s WFC with a list of the people she wanted to meet, and pitches prepared for each work and each person. Amazing, really.

At the Con:  Be professional and bold.

I’ve written about this before so I’m not going to delve too deeply here. Appearances matter. If you want to be taken as a professional be dressed as one. Does that mean you have to wear a suit? No – unless that’s your brand. Look at just about any New York Times best-selling author’s website and you’ll see what I mean. Lisa Scottoline, a retired lawyer and writer of legal thrillers, wears suits. She wore one when she was instructing at the Seak, Legal Fiction for Lawyers convention where I met her. Because of who she is and what she writes the suit is part of her brand. Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson don’t wear suits.  In fact, I would guess that the bulk of professional writers don’t wear suits. Still, they all look professional. You should too.

Act professional. Don’t interrupt, don’t be rude. Enough said about that.

Go boldly.  Follow-up on your plans. Go to the places the people you are looking for are likely to be. Talk to them when you find them. If you can’t find them, ask other people if they might know where Jane Doe is. You must approach strangers at a convention. You must ask friends to introduce you to people you don’t know, but want to. At least one agent has said that she only signs people she’s met at a convention, and the agent doesn’t wear a name tag. She, like every other agent, wants to see you’ve done your research and that you’re passionate about your work. After all, if you’re not excited about and willing to sell your work, why should she be? Sitting in a corner watching the con go by will not result in publication.

Strike while the iron is hot. If you are engaged in a genuine conversation and someone asks what you are working on. Tell them.

After the Con: Follow-up.

Oh lucky day! You spent three hours talking to your dream editor at the Con Bar. So, now what? Follow-up with that person just like you would do at any other networking event. Send her an e-mail saying you enjoyed meeting her at the Con. Make the e-mail specific so that if you drinking a purple girly drink remind the editor so she, who met hundreds of people at the Con, has the opportunity to place you. If you were asked to submit to the editor do so now. It not, just thank her for her time. At minimum, follow the editor’s twitter feed or friend her on Facebook. Comment honestly on posts. If she posts something you find interesting you should comment on it. If not, you shouldn’t. You are trying to maintain and forge a genuine connection with her.

Don’t forget your friends. Remember all those people who helped you research and introduced you around? Thank them as well.

Conventions are one of our most powerful marketing tools if used correctly. Meeting someone at a convention may make the difference between a polite “no, thank you” and a sale. Treat every convention like an extended job interview because that’s what it is. Your primary goal is to form honest and lasting connections with the people you meet. Succeeding at that goal leads to success.


It Really Is All About Me

I’ve been seriously living the Writing Life for six years. Six incredibly long and impossibly short years. And the whole time, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year, I had to decide whether or not I was going to write or do something else.
artist trading card by heidi2524 You can look anywhere and to anyone to be inspired and motivated. But ultimately it comes down to what you do with the time you are given.

My passion for telling stories is the reason I write. My passion to be a New York Times Bestseller is the reason I edit. My family and friends are very supportive. They accept and (mostly) understand this is part of who I am right now.

Sometimes I don’t.

And that’s when the weakest link in my chain forms a crack.

I’ve read a lot of author blogs and interviews and talked in person to some fabulous people. At some point, from what I can tell, all authors develop a crack in their chain.

Even Neil Gaiman.

Sometime I can spot weld the crack by writing – just get some words on the page, tell myself I only need 500 words on the page, and be pleasantly surprised by the time I stop typing, that there’s over 1000 words on the page.

Sometimes I let the link break, completely, and spend hours playing a computer game. This is my down time, I’m offline, unplugged, eating cheesecake before a pizza dinner and tomorrow is a new day. When tomorrow comes, I hook the chain together with a new link and decide I’m going to write.

James A. Owen said it best in Drawing Out the Dragons

If you really want to do something, no one can stop you. But if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.