Afrofuturism, Black Historical Romance, and more…

Page refresh: how the internet is transforming the novel (The Guardian)

Towards the end of 2020, a year spent supine on my sofa consuming endless internet like a force-fed goose, I managed to finish a beautifully written debut novel: Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson, which comes out next month. And yet despite the entrancing descriptions, I could barely turn two pages before my hand moved reflexively toward the cracked screen of my phone. Each time I returned to the novel I felt ashamed, and the shame only grew as I realised that, somehow, though the story was set in the present, and involved an often long-distance romance between two young people with phones, it contained not one single reference to what by then I considered a hallmark of present-day humanity: mindless scrolling through social media.

Beyond ‘Black Panther’: Afrofuturism Is Booming in Comics (New York Times)

Comics are particularly well suited for Afrofuturism, Womack said. Many Afrofuturistic narratives are nonlinear, something that comics, with their ability to move and stack panels to play with notions of time, can convey. Comic artists can also employ visual elements such as images from the Black Arts Movement, or figures from Yoruba and Igbo mythology, in ways that aren’t available to prose writers.

Writer’s blockdown: after a year inside, novelists are struggling to write (The Guardian)

The science fiction writer Jon Courtenay Grimwood sees the irony: “It’s weird as all hell. We spent our lives saying if only we could be locked away in a cave then inspiration and deadlines would be no problem and then it happens and it’s a disaster.” Sutcliffe agrees: “Of all the people to be complaining about not being able to work, writers feel like the strangest group, because compared to everyone else our lives have changed the least. It’s interesting to see why it’s pushed so many off kilter.”

The Queen Of Black Historical Romance Talks Race, Love And History (NPR)

Jenkins has written some 40 books; they focus on intelligent, determined Black women who insist on making their way through a world that mostly isn’t ready for careerists in skirts. And despite the fact that Jenkins’ historicals take place at a time that was constricting and dangerous for African-descended people (not unlike today), there are swaths of great joy and some sizzling sexual attraction.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Lack of Conflict (Writer’s Digest)

When you make your story too straightforward, it removes a lot of the natural conflict within your narrative. Readers love conflict; it’s what makes a story appealing. Will the hero succeed in their venture, or won’t they? Will the romance continue to build, or will it peter out? Will the character succumb to their flaws or overcome them? To create a compelling story, you need to create natural tension within it.

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