Angel Up Front, Devil In The Back

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As I write many books on worldbuilding, one might assume that my motivations are wise and benevolent. You can put away any image of me as some saintly writer, as anger and frustration infuse plenty of my work.

I’m fine with this. More than fine, I’m happy.

I’m not saying I don’t want to help authors and creators – I do. There’s something magical about being able to give worldbuilding advice that leads to a new work. Every book I sell feels like both a triumph and a reason to be humble because every one might be the seed of work surpassing anything I could do. I care about what happens to my fellow creatives.

Behind this angelic feeling is a blazing furnace of frustration.

My worldbuilding books started from sheer frustration about terrible worldbuilding. From role-playing games to “continuity optional” television, bad world design poked at my soul. There’s something about seeing good stitched together into some half-alive monstrosity. I wanted to see less of this, because creators and their audience deserved better.

The subjects I choose for worldbuilding books often come from frustration over “why is no one focusing on this.” Seeing conspiracy theories recycled into fiction, I did a book on that. Tired of the same old superhero stories, I did a book on that. I’m in the middle of a three-part book on disasters and worldbuilding, and you can pretty much guess why.

I’m good with this. The devil of frustration needles me about bad ideas and writer’s books that don’t help writers. My benevolent (dare I say angelic?) side drives me to do something and help people out. It’s a partnership of heaven and hell that keeps my writing going, and keeps me helping people.

If you’re worried “oh my writing comes from some dark places,” then trust me, you’re fine. It’s what you do with it. The Devil helps the Angel know where they’re needed.

Steven Savage

Frustration Friday: Networking 101 Is With Us Forever


OK, you're tired of hearing about it.  Every book you read on job searching mentions networking.  Job counselors recommend networking.  *I* recommend networking as do other bloggers.

Guess what?  I like networking, but *I* am getting tired of hearing constantly how it's the key to getting an ideal job – because by now I know it.  A lot of people know it.

So why is it we constantly are bombarded with the "networking message" despite the fact we've gotten it?

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Job Research: Look for the Best Of

You have any trouble finding the right resources for your job and career?

If you're the average progeek, there's two situations:

  • You haven't done enough research, and when you do you are overwhelmed with the books, websites, meetups, and other resources and have no idea to start.
  • You have done the research long ago, and you're still painfully aware of just how much stuff there is out there you can use to find a job, research a career, etc.

One of the problems we progeeks face is, being information-oriented one way or another, being plugged in, is that we're swept away by a flood of options when we do career research.  Sure, we're great at surfing the web, mining amazon, and finding local event boards, but we have no idea where to start.

We could go do everything, and read everything, but we just don't have the time.

We could be very selective, but we worry we'll miss something.

We have frankly, no idea where to even start

Read more