I haven’t done an open Q&A in while. Time to remedy that.
Ask me anything you like. Some questions I’ll answer on the spot. More complex questions may get their own blog post at a later date.
I reserve the right to not answer any questions that fall into the category of “I don’t wanna.”
March 21, 2012 @ 10:17 am
Alright, I’ll stick with my one-note attitude.
How do you feel about LGBT representation in fantasy, sci-fi and mainstream comics? Do you feel publishers and editorial teams are doing enough to represent both the gender and sexuality spectrums in works, or do you think they really need to encourage more authors/artists to include them in works?
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 10:49 am
I haven’t read enough comics to give an informed opinion there.
Overall, I think representation has gotten better, but that there’s still a long way to go. I still read about characters who are defined by their gender or sexual orientation, as opposed to that being one aspect of a more fully-rounded character, if that makes sense?
I’d also love to see us reach a point where we can include more female and LGBT characters without getting the knee-jerk backlash that the author/publisher is just “pandering to political correctness” or other nonsense.
March 21, 2012 @ 11:06 am
So, when will your son be reviewing more Oz books/movies?
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 11:52 am
He got tired of the Oz books, but I should definitely ask him to work with me on a review of Harry Potter, which is what we’ve been reading and watching for the past few months…
March 21, 2012 @ 12:59 pm
I’m relatively new to creative writing and finally have a few short stories under my belt, along with a novel just starting to brew. At the moment, I subscribe to a few online writing groups amidst hundreds of other budding writers. The support is wonderful, but I find myself desiring feedback and criticisms from authors who have a bit more experience (i.e. successfully published). Do you have any advice on ways to reach out to these writers and seek a sort of apprenticeship? And no, this wasn’t a thinly veiled attempt to do so. 🙂 Just an honest question.
Thanks for your time.
March 21, 2012 @ 1:56 pm
I understand you do your writing on your lunch hour. How do you do that? I’ve been attempting it (now that I’ve got two kids under age three in the house, I have no time before they go to sleep and no motivation after) and have abjectly failed. Any tips?
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 1:58 pm
That’s where the day job actually works better for me, I think. I have a harder time writing at home when the kids are around, because even though I try to teach them that Daddy’s working, stuff still happens, you know? Whereas my coworkers are all trained that if they interrupt me between noon and 1, I shoot them with the Nerf dart gun.
March 21, 2012 @ 2:43 pm
Followup question, then: which Nerf gun is best and why?
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 2:50 pm
Ooh, good question. Sadly, I don’t know. I’ve only got a few, and haven’t kept up on the Nerf arms race. (Though one of mine has a faux laser sight, which is pretty cool!)
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 2:52 pm
There are a few possibilities. Critters is a large, free online critique group, but I think the ratio is pretty heavily weighted toward unpublished and beginning writers.
The Online Writing Workshop is another online group. This one isn’t free, but I think they have a larger number of pros.
Conventions are another option. Many cons offer a SF/F writing workshop with one or more pro authors, which might work for what you’re looking for.
Then there are the larger and more formal workshops like Clarion or Odyssey. Those tend to be more expensive, but you get a more intense workshop with some pretty impressive names in the field.
March 21, 2012 @ 3:37 pm
We’re re-organizing books and running into some “We don’t have room for all of these books” trouble. Have you ever had that problem, and what did you do? (Buying more shelving would make the most sense but is, alas, not an option for us.) My mom recently gave me all her books (like, 11 paper boxes full) because she’s moving and we’ve been trying to find places to jam them that I can access them and read them, but it’s been a challenge.
March 21, 2012 @ 3:53 pm
March 21, 2012 @ 4:07 pm
Thank you Jim! This is exactly the type of information I was looking for. Your time and assistance is greatly appreciated.
March 21, 2012 @ 6:58 pm
I am suffering from anxiety and depression, so your Goblin books always crack me up, thanks!
So, I am running a Vampires Bloodlines: Masquerade game for my friends. Do you play any tabletop RPGs? Since I am also an aspiring writer, I’d like to make it a good game for my friends, the thing we usually screw around a lot. And that’s fun. Thing is, Vampires is a pretty dark setting where the humor would ruin the setting, but I don’t want to take that away from my friends. Any advice on how to handle humor in a dark setting?
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 7:17 pm
What did *I* do? Well, let me put it this way. My car has issues. It’s been in for more repairs in the past year than my previous car needed in almost ten. Fortunately, last year was a good year, financially, so we have enough tucked away that I could afford to get a new car.
I’m still driving that car, but we’ve got a contractor coming in to turn part of our living room into a library…
That said, it’s definitely expensive, even with the deal the contractor offered us when another job fell through. Hm … one thing I’ve done here is to double-shelve the books. If the shelves are deep enough, you can lay a two-by-four in the back and put one row on that, and a second row in front, which lets you see both rows of books and doubles your storage. Depends on the shelf size, though.
I’m sure lots of people are jumping up and screaming, “E-books, e-books!” Which definitely helps with shelf space, but doesn’t do anything about the books you’ve already acquired and inherited.
What about nontraditional shelf-type space? Any cupboards you can spare? Any room in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom? We’ve got a clumsily-converted closet in the basement that I turned into shelves when we moved in.
Jim C. Hines
March 21, 2012 @ 7:22 pm
I’m sorry to hear about the anxiety/depression. Are you talking to anyone about that? (And very glad my books can help!)
As for the game … oh boy, I am *SO* the wrong person to ask about that. I mostly just play D&D, and our gamemaster tried a while back to run a Ravenloft campaign. Similar to what you’re describing: dark and serious, and very much not about the humor.
We completely derailed it. We mocked the vampires, joked about the dark, ominous settings … we did everything short of tossing a cream pie in the king vampire’s face, and that’s only because I didn’t have room in my pack for the cream pie.
The thing was, we also had a blast.
I think it depends on how comfortable you are as a gamemaster. If you’re willing to let them derail a bit or joke around, I’d say go for it and don’t worry as long as everyone’s having fun. If you’re more invested in creating that full horror experience for everyone, though … that’s a bit harder. I’d suggest setting the tone right off the bat. Throw them into an encounter they can’t win, where they’re helpless to protect random innocent person from getting brutally killed in front of them. If they take their role-playing at all serious, that should motivate them to get a bit more serious and kick some vampire ass.
March 21, 2012 @ 7:35 pm
I am in therapy and I am also taking two zolofts each day. It’s hard to explain to people that I am not just simply feeling blue, but that depression has me in a nasty kung-fu death grip – but it’s not that bad, since my friends seem to care and are very understanding when I can’t go out on a night on the town if I feel I might have a panic attack. I appreciate your asking!
Ha! You think that’s bad? One time we were playing DnD and our ranger took out his dragon-slaying arrow (+5) and said to the dragon “See, what I got here? neh neh neh neh ha ha ha ha!” The ha, ha, ha, ha needs to be read with a Cartman-like intonation:
Suffice to say, the dragon butchered him, but he said it was worth it.
Thanks for the advice Jim! I’ll try doing that! And a little humor is always good anyway!
Say thanks to Jig for helping me out with my pizza conundrum! I’d love to share some ear-flavored pizza with him! 😉
Jim C. Hines
March 22, 2012 @ 8:40 am
Yeah, I really wish more people would understand that depression isn’t something you can just snap out of.
Taunting the dragon. Not always the wisest move, but usually entertaining 🙂
One of these days I’ll write up the story of how I took out the DM’s nasty Big Bad at the end of the adventure in the first round using a wand of polymorph…