Steve’s Book Roundup

I write a lot and have quite a few books.  So now and then I post a roundup of them for interested parties!

The Way With Worlds Series

This is what I do a lot of – writing on worldbuilding!.  You can find all of my books at www.WayWithWorlds.com

The core books of the series will help you get going:

  • Way With Worlds Book 1 – Discusses my philosophy of worldbuilding and world creation essentials.
  • Way With Worlds Book 2 – Looks at common subjects of worldbuilding like conflicts in your setting, skills for being a good worldbuilder, and more!

When you need to focus on specifics of worldbuilding, I have an ever-growing series of deep dive minibooks.  Each provides fifty questions with additional exercises and ideas to help you focus on one subject important to you!

The current subjects are:

Fiction

Take a typical fantasy world – and then let it evolve into the information age.  Welcome to the solar system of Avenoth, where gods use email, demons were banished to a distant planet, and science and sorcery fling people across worlds . . .

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet – Two future teachers of Techno-Magical safety find trying to earn their credentials hunting odd artifacts backfires when they’re hired to put some back . . . on a planet where gods go to die!
  • A School of Many Futures – The crew is back, and finding having secrets and keeping them isn’t the same thing! Unfortunately they also find “very normal” is a cover for “anything but” . . .

Creativity

I’m the kind of person that studies how creativity works, and I’ve distilled my findings and advice into some helpful books!

  • The Power Of Creative Paths – Explores my theories of the Five Types of Creativity, how you can find yours, and how to expand your creative skills to use more Types of Creativity.
  • Agile Creativity – I take the Agile Manifesto, a guide to adaptable project development, and show how it can help creatives improve their work – and stay organized without being overwhelmed.
  • The Art of The Brainstorm Book – A quick guide to using a simple notebook to improve brainstorming, reduce the stress around having new ideas, and prioritize your latest inspirations.
  • Chance’s Muse – I take everything I learned at Seventh Sanctum and my love of random tables and charts and detail how randomness can produce inspiration!

Careers

Being a “Professional Geek” is what I do – I turned my interests into a career and have been doing my best to turn that into advice.  The following books are my ways of helping out!

  • Fan To Pro – My “flagship” book on using hobbies and interests in your career – and not always in ways you’d think!
  • Skill Portability – A quick guide to how to move skills from one job to another, or even from hobbies into your job.  Try out my “DARE” system and asses your abilities!
  • Resume Plus – A guide to jazzing up a resume, sometimes to extreme measures.
  • Epic Resume Go! – Make a resume a creative act so it’s both better and more enjoyable to make!
  • Quest For Employment – Where I distill down my job search experiences and ways to take the search further.
  • Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers – An interview-driven book about ways to leverage cosplay interests to help your career!
  • Fanart, Fanartists, and Careers – My second interview-driven book about ways to leverage fanart to help your career!
  • Convention Career Connection – A system for coming up with good career panels for conventions!

Culture

  • Her Eternal Moonlight – My co-author Bonnie and I analyze the impact Sailor Moon had on women’s lives when it first came to North America.  Based on a series of interviews, there’s a lot to analyze here, and surprisingly consistent themes . . .

My Sites

Making Some Changes, Learning From The Year

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

You haven’t seen me post as much lately as things have been continuously insane for the last few weeks, and as you know, the last few months weren’t a picnic.  I try to learn from experience, and that’s applying to my projects for next year.

This last year I was constantly interrupted since August.  As you all know, I was also analyzing my new creative direction.  On top of that, the world continues to be insane.  So these are one of those moments to take a hard look at yourself.

I want to catch up.  Gotta clear the field!

MyfFirst goal is to catch up end of the year/into the next.  That means trying to blog again, get the feedback on that Agile book, launch the new Sanctum, and try to finish Way With Worlds’ next book (which might be interrupted as my Editor is busy).

Scale back to stay focused.  Don’t loose momentum, but slow down a bit so I don’t burn out.

I plan to do about 3 Way With Worlds books, but nothing else is solid book-wise for 2023.  Those are fun, aren’t onerous because I’ve got a system and they’re fascinating, and they’re what I do!  I figure it keeps my writing momentum without overdoing it (I overdid it bad in 2021-2022).  I can slow down more if needed, but I don’t want to just stop.

I want to get back to blogging regularly.  I’m going to start with once a week period, and might expand it.  But right now I just want regularity (seems to be a focus, doesn’t it?).

I will of course keep up the newsletter.  I like the personal touch I’ve cultivated here!

Try some side stuff to inspire me and leave myself space.  This will help me find inspiration and pace myself.

I’ve got various side things I do that don’t always end up here, like computer art, etc.  I’m going to be doing some experimental and outright strange stuff and see how it inspires me.  Who knows what will come of it?  Some of what I’m doing will be “prototypes” for later things you might just see . . .

This also means I’m going to play more.  I think I lost my sense of play the last year, and heck the whole covid mess didn’t help.  I wanted to stay active and focused, and managed to overdo both.  You have to take time for play.

Have a list of side projects but do “whatever.”  Make progress, but don’t pressure myself.

This ties into my experimenting.  I’ve got things like that unedited books of column, moving over Way With Worlds to new covers, etc.  I want to do these, but will more keep it “whenever” for now.  Of course with the way my mind works, one of them may end up in my plans, but I won’t force it.

Self-cultivation.  I want to take more time for exercise, self-improvement, vacations, etc.

I want to keep up and expand my self-improvement and self-care.  Take a few more vacations.  Continue to use the best techniques of mental and physical health.  Read more and diversely and expose myself to more media.  A mix of maintenance and self improvement.

Share what I learn.

I hope this inspires you as well.  Sit down after . . . well, everything . . . ask what you want to do and post about it in your blogs, Tumblr, etc.  Let’s share what we’re trying, we can learn from each other.

Steven Savage

It is Weird.  It is Art.

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

If you were to ask me who are the greatest musical artists of the past 100 years, I’d first wonder why the hell you asked me.  But, as I answered, I would have to say Prince and Weird Al Yankovic.  Prince’s place is obvious – talented, a supporter of musicians, etc. – but Weird Al also fits the definition of artist.  He’s a musicologist in a jester’s outfit, a man who gets music and truly reaches you – art that makes you laugh for many different reasons.

His “biopic” Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is also art.  In fact, it’s art in the sense of James Joyce’s quote that the emotions art produces are where “The mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing.”  Art takes you out of yourself, and this movie – also a comedy – definitely does that.

Weird is a fictionalized telling of Weird Al’s career, but that doesn’t do it justice.  It takes the all-too familiar beats that many a bad biopic shoved a real person’s life into and does it with Weird Al’s life (which is often rather tame).  The result is the movie version of one of his songs – taking one thing and making it about another.

However this is not a song, but a movie about a real person, real events, played by real people.  It’s also done with a straight face, except for a few over-the-top moments and sly lines.  The result is surreal, jarring, and funny – where familiar faces and situations appear scrambled inside an often misused story framework.  We know Weird Al didn’t have an affair with Madonna, but the film has that happen because a bad romance is a common biopic trope.

As these falsehoods occur on the screens, the actors sell it with sincerity.  Daniel Radcliffe is exceptional as Weird Al, capturing both his sweetness and going off the rails in service of the plot.  Rainn Wilson does an almost disturbingly good Doctor Demento.  Evan Rachel Wood’s life-ruining Madonna is basically one of Madonna’s old personalities brought to life.  Even when he has but one scene as Wolfman Jack, Jack Black embraces it with a passion to be both the man and the bad biopic role he fills.

It’s all very wrong, all done with a straight face.

Watching Weird is funny, but the more you know about Weird Al (and I’ve been a fan of his, especially into the 90s) the more the experience keeps taking you outside of yourself.  It’s so gloriously wrong about everything that you don’t know what will happen next.  It’s also so familiar in its use of bad biopic beats that it’s a savage mockery of tropes we’re used to.  A Fauxumentary if you will, where you’re both unsure of what is to come but completely sure you’ve seen it before.

Thus I really have to consider this art – because it keeps knocking you outside of yourself.  Is that a trope or real?  Wait why is that history out of order?  Isn’t that plot twist something every bad biopic pretends happens anyway?  How can these people say these stupid and false lines without laughing themselves silly?  Wait, aren’t a lot of these supposed real-life documentaries just this dumb?

It is perhaps the perfect film to falsely sum up Weird Al’s life as it’s, well, just like his songs.  But it’s not just appropriate or a good jab at the media.  Weird is a reminder that art doesn’t have to be staid and dignified – it can wear a Hawaiian shirt, have an affair with Madonna, and eat LSD-laced corn chips.

Steven Savage