Fonda Lee Profile picture
World Fantasy Award-winning author of the Green Bone Saga & other books. Jade Legacy 11/30. News: Extras:
Feb 24, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
I've been thinking about how much Western storytelling trains us to expect that writers show the audience where they're going right up front. Main characters have to be introduced right away. Twists have to be foreshadowed. Inciting incident in the first 10% etc. BUT 1/ Many of my favorite stories, especially Asian ones, don't adhere to these "rules." In My Neighbor Totoro, Totoro doesn't appear until 30 mins into a 90 min film. The slow sense of discovery makes the film enchanting. Can you imagine any American film waiting until the 33% mark?
Jan 1, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
Dear Hollywood,

Asian-American stories matter. They can and do succeed domestically on their own merit. Stop misguidedly expecting them to be a ticket to mainland Chinese $$$

A loyal but frustrated Asian-American filmgoer… Disney's Mulan. Crazy Rich Asians. The Farewell.

Every time a film resonates with Asian Americans, film industry execs and pundits do a lot of hand-wringing over why it's failing to catch on in China.

ARRRGNNNGGHHH *shakes fists at sky*
May 24, 2019 5 tweets 1 min read
This is the sort of linguistic dilemma fantasy writers run into: Can you refer to something as a manila envelope if it exists in a secondary world where there is no such place as Manila? FWIW, my personal rule in this sort of situation: make up as few words as possible and don't ever allow the reader to stop to think about or question your word choice. So yes, I will use "manila envelope" and "champagne" but not "Xerox" or "tupperware."
Mar 20, 2019 6 tweets 2 min read
The one consistently reliable way to overcome "writer's block" is to lower your standards. I mean really lower them. Already low, you say? GO LOWER. E.g: what I'm writing now can't even be called First Draft. It's a Zero Draft. You know what, let's call it Negative Draft. (1/?) I don't regularly do a Zero/Negative Draft. Some books seem to come easier and you get a solid first draft the first go round. As my books have gotten bigger, bolder, more complicated, I find I more often have to be okay w/ gaining critical momentum by writing complete drivel.
Oct 3, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
Sweet mother of mercy, my book is on sale today for $1.99 and this is a good opportunity to talk about art vs. commerce and how the way you feel about that intersection has bearing on your publishing path (a writing career thread) No matter how long you spend writing a book, how much of your soul you pour into it, the amount of sweat and tears you shed, how deeply and fiercely you love the story and characters, at the end of the day it becomes a product to be sold. Like socks, griddle irons, wallpaper.
Sep 26, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read
I'm deeply fond of Harry Potter (putting me in company w/ ~2 billion other ppl). But JKR and HP have become the prime example of approaching representation in fantasy fiction completely ass-backwards: awkwardly shoehorning it in after the fact. (An irritated thread about writing) As a writer, I know ALL about the mental gymnastics of introducing new plot twists and story elements by mining breadcrumbs in your own work and going, "YES, I MEANT THAT ALL ALONG. I'M A GENIUS." We all do it, trust me. And maybe our intuitive creative selves *did* mean it, BUT
Sep 23, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read
One of the critical aspects of the craft of writing that I've rarely seen formally taught, possibly because it is extremely subjective and dependent on genre, category, and tone, is PACING. I have some thoughts on the subject. What IS pacing? IMO, it's the speed, rhythm, and level of tension in the narrative --FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE READER. Which makes it super hard to put a finger on b/c readers' perceptions on this are ALL OVER THE MAP.
Jul 29, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read
Let's talk about the great green demon that haunts any creative career: professional jealousy. If you're a writer (or artist of any sort) you cannot escape it, but if you have to be careful not to let it eat you alive. (a thread) Publishing is not fair. It is not a meritocracy. Talent, hard work, and perseverance are all important, but luck and timing and other random factors also play a huge role. Sometimes they seem like fate, like the unknowable will of gods.
May 12, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read
Let's parse out some of the noise w/ regards to YA vs. adult. This might be a little long so bear w/ me. First, neither category is "better," or "more complex." We should be past that bullshit by now. Plenty of variety and quality, good books and bad, in both categories. (thread) In recent decades, YA has become a massive and lucrative category. It's clear that there are a lot of adults who like what much of YA offers: fast paced stories tightly centered on teenage MCs. Publishers and booksellers noticed.
May 7, 2018 11 tweets 2 min read
Counting down my Top 10 Seriously Underrated SF Movies:

10. The Host. Not the adaptation of the Stephanie Meyer novel, but the 2006 S. Korean creature feature that it seems to me MOST PEOPLE HAVE STILL NOT SEEN. WHY NOT?? It is so good. Smart, scary, funny, JUST SEE IT ALREADY. 9. Predestination. I'm not a fan of time travel stories. A clever chicken-egg puzzle does not a story make. I didn't like this movie much after I watched it. But the human story stuck with me strongly afterward, enough so that I'd watch it again. That lands it on this list.
Jan 23, 2018 11 tweets 2 min read
Seeing a lot of threads on SFF worldbuilding which makes me happy so I'm going to drop some SUPER PRACTICAL advice right now b/c I'm a worldbuilding juuunnkieee The easiest way to organically show your world is to make your characters live in it. Like, really live in it. WHILE ADVANCING THE STORY. Most plot points consist of characters meeting each other: to exchange info, fight, love, threaten, confront, etc. Where are they doing it?