[New Release] Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling

Upside Down Inverted Tropes in Storytelling Cover

“This compendium of literary undercutting and rebuilding is both enjoyable to read and an incisive work of commentary on the genre.”
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Now Available!

Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates. Over two dozen authors, ranging from NYT-bestsellers and award winners to debut writers, chose a tired trope or cliche to challenge and surprise readers through their work.

Read stories inspired by tropes such as the Chainmaille Bikini, Love at First Sight, Damsels in Distress, Yellow Peril, The Black Man Dies First, The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood, The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse, and many more…then discover what these tropes mean to each author to find out what inspired them.

Join Maurice Broaddus, Adam Troy-Castro, Delilah S. Dawson, Shanna Germain, Sara M. Harvey, John Hornor Jacobs, Rahul Kanakia, Alethea Kontis, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Haralmbi Markov, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Ferrett Steinmetz, Anton Strout, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong and many other authors as they take well-worn tropes and cliches and flip them upside down.

Introduction — Jerry Gordon

On Loving Bad Boys: A Villanelle — Valya Dudycz Lupescu
Single, Singularity — John Hornor Jacobs
Lazzrus — Nisi Shawl
Seeking Truth — Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
Thwock — Michelle Muenzler
Can You Tell Me How to Get to Paprika Place? — Michael R. Underwood
Chosen — Anton Strout
The White Dragon — Alyssa Wong
Her Curse, How Gently It Comes Undone — Haralambi Markov
Burning Bright — Shanna Germain
Santa CIS (Episode 1: No Saint) — Alethea Kontis
Requiem for a Manic Pixie Dream — Katy Harrad & Greg Stolze
The Refrigerator in the Girlfriend — Adam-Troy Castro
The First Blood of Poppy Dupree — Delilah S. Dawson
Red Light — Sara M. Harvey
Until There Is Only Hunger — Michael Matheson
Super Duper Fly — Maurice Broaddus
Drafty as a Chain Mail Bikini — Kat Richardson
Swan Song — Michelle Lyons-McFarland
Those Who Leave — Michael Choi
Nouns of Nouns: A Mini Epic — Alex Shvartsman
Excess Light — Rahul Kanakia
The Origin of Terror — Sunil Patel
The Tangled Web — Ferrett Steinmetz
Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa, Tfu, Tfu, Tfu. — Alisa Schreibman
Real Women Are Dangerous — Rati Mehrotra

I’m Pretty Sure I’ve Read This Before … — Patrick Hester
Fractured Souls — Lucy A. Snyder
Into the Labyrinth: The Heroine’s Journey — A.C. Wise
Escaping the Hall of Mirrors — Victor Raymond
Tropes as Erasers: A Transgender Perspective — Keffy R.M. Kehrli

Afterword — Monica Valentinelli & Jaym Gates
Trope Definitions/Index of Tropes


Book Details:
Cover artist Galen Dara
TPB ISBN: 978-1-937009-44-1
HC ISBN: 978-1-937009-46-5
366 Pages

Monica Valentinelli is an editor, writer, and game developer who lurks in the dark. Her work includes stories, games, and comics for her original settings as well as media/tie-in properties such as the Firefly TV show, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Vampire: The Masquerade. Her nonfiction includes reference materials such as Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse, and essays in books like For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. For more about Monica, visit www.booksofm.com.

Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and communications manager. She’s the editor of the Rigor Amortis, War Stories, Exalted, and Genius Loci anthologies, as well as a published author in fiction, academic nonfiction, and RPGs.

[My Guest Post] Writing Prompt for Perspective

This month at Apex Book Company, I talk a little bit about something I feel is crucial to ensuring your story is your own — perspectives. When I’m worldbuilding and mapping out my plots, I also include something that happens a lot in romance — what the character believes and fears.

Just recently, I had the chance to apply this to a flash fiction piece-turned-short story called The Legend of Aeneis that I submitted into the atmosphere. The premise was about how a group of priests conducted a ritual they believed would save them from an impending attack. Thinking that uber-ancient technology or magic is the end all and be all is quite common in our culture, but it’s not always true. In this case, it definitely wasn’t.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Perspectives are one way to achieve the characterization. I just got done watching Season Five of Doctor Who, and I was reminded of how the Doctor’s view of humanity affects and shapes what he does and how he sees the world. Each alien race in the series has a different view of humanity, and for our own stories understanding that perspective — and why they believe and feel what they do — is crucial to ensuring an alien race is distinct yet something we can relate to. — SOURCE: Writing Prompt: How Would an Alien Describe a Human at Apex Book Company

I hope you get the chance to check this out. For more writing prompts, the Donald Maass Literary Agency has been offering some excellent ways to dig deep and find literary treasure. You can also follow the president of their agency on Twitter @DonMaass.

The First Genre Novel I Read Is…

On Paul Jessup‘s website today, I read about how he’s going to participate in a 30 days meme for genre books. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d chime in.

Today’s the first day and I’m talking about my first genre novel.

Okay, so even though this is part of the meme, the truth is I don’t remember the first genre novel that I ever read. I can tell you I was more enamored with mystery novels as a kid than any other genre. I was into series moreso than individual books; Encyclopedia Brown, Meg, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys.

Splinter of the Mind's EyeAlthough I can’t remember which came first — I remember being very enamored with the Rats of NIMH and The Hobbit — I do recall the first tie-in novel I ever read. It was a book called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster and it took place in between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. For me, this book was the gateway drug to other science fiction novels and series, in part because I was drawn to the mystery of Darth Vader and whether or not Luke and Leia could escape.

From this novel, I branched out into science fiction by way of Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick and…of course…back to Star Wars and Star Trek.

Years later, after I read so many other science fiction novels, I went back and read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye again. This time around, it was interesting because the romantic tension between Luke and Leia means something different now, but then? Only Lucas knew who Leia was going to choose.

Not bad for a first novel. After all, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye opened the door to many other fantastic and otherworldly tales.

Game Fiction Day Two: How to Fit your Story to the Theme of the Game

If I gave you a list of well-known movies, I bet that you’ll quickly identify what the theme of the movie is. For example, we know Indiana Jones is pulp, we completely “get” that Army of Darkness is a comedy, and we understand that X-Men III was supposed to be an action movie where Phoenix was…well…The Phoenix. Looking a bit deeper, we can tie specific elements of those creative properties to see secondary themes based on what the movie is about. For example, we know that Indiana Jones is about Indy playing “the hero,” to triumph over the forces of darkness.

Games, on the other hand, may not necessarily be that intuitive. If you think about what a game actually is, it’s really a set of rules that you either manipulate, avoid, or navigate through. In more times than I can count, the games I’ve been involved with have been designed to target as many audiences as possible. In other words, they are designed so that the player designs the theme so it fits with his (or her) style of play. You decide what kind of a game you want to play: action? mystery? political? With that layer of personal involvement, the theme in many games is really driven by the player not by the creator.

Writing game fiction to fit the theme of a game is very challenging because you have to understand not what falls within the boundaries of the theme, but what doesn’t. To get what I’m talking about here, let’s look at one of my favorite player vs. player video games: Soul Caliber III. Having played this game a hundred times or more I know in my deepest heart of health points, that this is an action game, an “I-can-release-some-stress-in-a-5-minute-death-match-fighting-game.” Now say that I want to write a story based on Sophitia, a character who guards a Greek temple and has a small sword and shield. I have the character’s backstory from different elements in the game, but is it enough? How am I going to write a story about a character so that it fits the Soul Caliber theme?
Read More…

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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