Tag Archives: why I write

Why I (Co)Wrote It: Her Eternal Moonlight

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

So somewhere among books on careers and worldbuilding, I co-wrote a book on how Sailor Moon impacted female fans in North America with my friend Bonnie. To this day it stands out a bit among my writings, and that is a worthwhile journey to explore in this series.

It was born at Fanime, a Bay Area anime con. Bonnie and I observed the large amount of Sailor Moon cosplayers at a gathering, and it got us asking if anyone had written about what Sailor Moon meant to people. We saw cosplayers who probably hadn’t been born when Sailor Moon first aired in the US. We remembered the impact it had from our younger days. Someone had to have written about this . . .

. . . and we checked the internet and were very disappointed. So somewhere during the con or after we agreed to write a book on it. To this day we couldn’t remember who first came up with the idea or suggested writing a book. But a book we did write.

Our idea was to simply interview as many fans as we could find of Sailor Moon of any age and interview them. We also wanted to focus exclusively on female-identifying fans so we told their story specifically. For years we had heard from female fans what Sailor Moon meant to them, and it was time to see what they had to say.

Finding people was easy and people were anxious to jump on board. We had a standard interview form, we also talked to people by various means, and compiled our notes. Every interview brought stories of passion and interest and transformation – it was humbling.

We were on the right track.

Of course we wanted to research more on what else had been written on Sailor Moon, and I ended up with a pile (virtual and otherwise) of anime books and references. It was honestly underwhelming – Sailor Moon often got shortchanged, and in a few infuriating cases written off as a “girl thing.”

It only inspired us more.

Once we had the interviews we compiled them, and found something that further inspired us – clear patterns. In the end we identified nine common ways Sailor Moon transformed people’s lives, from identification to careers. No one had the same experiences, but everyone’s experiences might touch on a few of these nine categories.

Also it allowed us to make each chapter a reference to a given Sailor Scout’s attack. Because we were not going to let that possibility slide.

The result was each chapter tightly focused on one major impact, exploring personal testimonies from the interviewees. We must have done well – when we sent people test copies they were happy!

Finally, the cover. We had to have the right cover, and Fanime had provided as well. We’d met the incomparable Jennifer Cox at Fanime, and were impressed with her style – one of her strengths was taking various ancient art styles and doing pop culture pictures. We asked for a Sailor Moon one with a Grecian theme, and she made something perfect.

So that was the story of the book. Inspired at a con when we saw something that just had to be done. Inspired by the people we talked to. Confirmed when we saw a void of thought about Sailor Moon and even disrespect in some circles. Wrapped up in a gorgeous cover.

If there’s a story to take away from this it’s that sometimes you know you have to write a book. If you know when those moments truly appear, that fire can power you through the process and even be rekindled to burn brighter.

Steven Savage

Why I Wrote It: Quest for Employment

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

So let’s take a break from my attempts to blog regularly during the Dumb Apocalypse of the coronavirus, and get back to my Why I wrote It’s.

Let’s talk Quest for Employment, a book I’m actually kinda proud of and have done a second edition of.

The idea of this book came about from looking at job search advice. A lot of job search advice was 101-type stuff about resumes, etc. In fact, a lot of the advice felt cut and pasted over and over again, and there wasn’t a lot of “next step stuff.”

At the same time, not everyone was interested in manic personal branding and other advice that was basically “career all the time no life” type stuff.

Finally, I also had been through a lot of annoying job searches – layoffs, contracts ending, etc. I had gotten good at the job search purely from a need to survive, at times from my unwise choice to try and keep up a contracting and freelance life. I had a lot of lessons that weren’t 101, but also weren’t about dedicating your life to your career.

These were advanced job search lessons that were about leveraging the system to do better and I had used them.

For instance, I had learned that when you need a job or are close to the end of a contract, you needed a shameless blitz of resumes, and I had a system for it. This was like an investment, where you spammed the heck out of any relevant, and reaped benefits days, weeks, or months later.

Or another example was to empathize with recruiters. After all, you talked to them once, but they talked to a hundred of you. Empathy made you memorable, helped you understand the market, and was the right thing to do.

So I pretty much wrote up all my tips after a job search and made a book. Then I rewrote it. Strike while the iron is hot, but form it a bit better with greater knowledge.

Sometimes, I think it bears a third rewrite but I’m not sure what’s relevant these days, irrelevant, etc. Maybe I’ll review it with a co-author to bring new insights.

But it all came out of me wanting to do better, and having plenty of hard-earned lessons.

Steven Savage

Why I Wrote It: Food, Culture, and Worldbuilding

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

The third of my “Worldbooks,” my 50 question coaching guides for worldbuilding, was on food. So why did I do this? Oh, I had reasons because I cook, and cooking is a gateway to the rest of the human experience.

Food is far more than food.

Food fuels humanity. It’s vitally important to us, obviously, but because it is so important, we miss how important it is to us. We need food to be fueled, to be healthy, and if you’re aware of how people have battled over diets and how famines affected history, you realize how much food matters. Food must be in your worldbuilding.

Food is about experience. We have sensations we associate with food, we have meanings we attribute to it, we have food that has meaning to us. Food is personal. It is part of your characters and culture.

Food is about history. Humans have been seeking food and how to get more of it for the extent of our existence on earth. We have fought wars to survive, tilled land, found what is edible, and tried new things we thought would kill us. Every meal you have bears the impact of ages. Food is the result of your entire setting’s history.

Food ties into many other things – health, religious symbolism, traditions, and more. Every holiday meal, every religious law about food you follow, is just a sign of how deep food connects to our lives. Food is one of the places in culture where everything very visibly comes together – which is so obvious we miss.

It shocked me there wasn’t more worldbuilding books on food because of these items, but I think it’s because food is an intimate part of our lives, and thus we miss it. We’re too close to it, and thus we miss it.

So I wrote one. I won’t lie, I was looking forward to it because of all those above issues, and because I thought it’d get people to think.

If anything, I could have probably gotten a much larger book out of it. But on reflection, had I made a larger book, it would only appeal to serious foodie writers. Better it be left some coaching questions to let people find their own paths.

A lesson here is that just because something is common doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about it – the commonality is why a deeper analysis is warranted. You may have a book in mind that seems as if it’s “just common sense,” then it probably needs to be written, if only as a reminder.

Steven Savage