Josiah Bancroft

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Josiah Bancroft

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Born
in The United States
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July 2008

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Before settling down to write fantasy novels, Josiah Bancroft was a poet, college instructor, and aspiring comic book artist. When he is not writing, he enjoys recording the Crit Faced podcast with his authorial friends, drawing the world of the Tower, and cooking dinner without a recipe. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sharon, their daughter Maddie, and their two rabbits, Mabel and Chaplin.

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Josiah Bancroft Hi, Pratik,

Your question reminded me of the four pieces of writing advice that I give to myself (and share with others, if I think it might benefit th…more
Hi, Pratik,

Your question reminded me of the four pieces of writing advice that I give to myself (and share with others, if I think it might benefit them). Here are the four things I try to remember:

1. Don’t talk about your ideas or intentions. It’s normal to get excited about a personal goal. It’s also normal for writers to think about their current projects compulsively. So, it’s only natural for us to want to talk about our ideas and current projects. We want to share our passion and excitement, and we want someone to validate those feelings. But by receiving this premature validation, we erode the motivation that we need to do the work. We are less likely to finish something if we talk about too much. Productive writers are often secretive about what they’re working on because they don’t want to lose the drive to finish it. They’ve learned to take validation from doing the work rather than talking about it.

2. Reading will teach you everything you need to know about writing if you read broadly and carefully. Workshops, conferences, creative writing programs, and writers’ residencies are primarily social engagements. Writing is a lonely business, and so writers naturally look for access to a community. These interactions have an interpersonal value, but they will never teach you half as much about writing as reading will. Read classics, read your contemporaries, read outside your genre, read books that intimidate you, and read every day. Don’t be discouraged by people who brag about all the important, obscure, or difficult books they’ve read; many of them are exaggerating, anyway. Read at your own pace, but don’t stop reading.

3. Develop your own standards and define your own expectations for your work. Don’t look to your peers for validation. You can always find someone who is worse than you, and if you’ve read enough, it’s also easy to find someone who is better than you. While it’s natural to be aware of other writers’ failings and strengths, you’ll drive yourself crazy if you spend too much time measuring your work against the genius of others. Learn to appreciate your accomplishments; learn to identify your weaknesses. Neither critical acclaim nor popular reception will give you lasting self-confidence or self-knowledge.

4. Uneasiness, insecurity, and failure are essential to growth. Learning is often an uncomfortable process. It requires a lot of effort: some of it tedious, much of it discouraging. We can’t grow unless we are dissatisfied with our first efforts and our past accomplishments. We can’t grow unless we risk failure and exposure to scrutiny and criticism. It’s important to remember that failure is unavoidable. Those of us who never take risks don’t avoid failure, we just defer it to the end of our lives when we have nothing to celebrate, nothing to take pride in. That final failure is infinitely worse, not least of all because there is no opportunity for success. If you persist and if you learn from your experiences, you will eventually succeed. There are, of course, many different kind of success, and not all of them end in mansions and mobs of adoring fans. But the success that you earn by dent of diligence and sweat will be incredibly rewarding. I promise.(less)
Josiah Bancroft I plan for The Books of Babel to be a four book series. I'm hard at work on the third book now. My goal is to have it ready for publication in the ear…moreI plan for The Books of Babel to be a four book series. I'm hard at work on the third book now. My goal is to have it ready for publication in the early summer of 2017. I'm not the swiftest writer (it takes me about two years to write a book), but what I lack in expediency I hope to make up for in quality. Thank you for your question, Lulu248.(less)
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Josiah’s Recent Updates

Josiah Bancroft is now friends with Kate
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Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
“Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the m ...more Nikolai Gogol
A Ascensão de Senlin by Josiah Bancroft
"Eu sabia que tinha tudo para eu gostar desse livro, só não imaginei o quanto ia gostar!"
Josiah Bancroft is now following
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The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
"This book was so much fun. Following a normally shy teacher who ascends a mysterious and mythic tower in search of his missing wife, Senlin Ascends brings both the intrigue and the magic to the table.

Senlin Ascends follows schoolmaster Thomas Senlin " Read more of this review »
Josiah Bancroft and 159 other people liked a Goodreads News & Interviews post: Meet the Rising Stars of Science Fiction & Fantasy
“ You can't boldly go anywhere if you only stick with what's familiar. Imagine if Frodo Baggins had stayed home or if Ender had skipped Battle School. (Spoiler alert: The world probably would've ended in both scenarios.) So what are y...” Read more of this blog post »
" Tayler, you won the hardcover of the Hod King! Congratulations! Please send me your shipping details and any requests for how you'd like me to persona ...more "
More of Josiah's books…
“Senlin did not believe in that sort of love: sudden and selfish and insatiable. Love, as the poets so often painted it, was just bald lust wearing a pompous wig. He believed true love was more like an education: it was deep and subtle and never complete.”
Josiah Bancroft, Senlin Ascends

“Even beauty diminishes with study. It is better to glance than gawk.”
Josiah Bancroft, Senlin Ascends

“We are, each of us, a multitude. I am not the man I was this morning, nor the man of yesterday. I am a throng of myself queued through time. We are, gentle reader, each a crowd within a crowd.”
Josiah Bancroft, Arm of the Sphinx

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“The gaps are part of the set, too," she'd said. "You can't replace them. I know how each piece was broken or lost. I broke a plate myself when I was nine. Now I'm an immortal part of the pattern. I'll take my gaps, thank you.”
Josiah Bancroft, Senlin Ascends

“Senlin did not believe in that sort of love: sudden and selfish and insatiable. Love, as the poets so often painted it, was just bald lust wearing a pompous wig. He believed true love was more like an education: it was deep and subtle and never complete.”
Josiah Bancroft, Senlin Ascends

“We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.”
William Butler Yeats, The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore

“My sense of being, my identity, whatever you want to call it, it doesn't reside in my parts. It lives in my past, and in the continuity of my present thoughts, and in my hopes for the future. I'm more afraid of losing a memory than a limb.”
Josiah Bancroft, The Hod King

“Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the mere mention of his name, young ardent hearts are filled with trembling, responsive tears shine in all eyes...No one equals him in power--he is God! But such is not the lot, and other is the destiny of the writer who has dared to call forth all that is before our eyes every moment and which our indifferent eyes do not see--all the stupendous mire of trivia in which our life in entangled, the whole depth of cold, fragmented, everyday characters that swarm over our often bitter and boring earthly path, and with the firm strength of his implacable chisel dares to present them roundly and vividly before the eyes of all people! It is not for him to win people's applause, not for him to behold the grateful tears and unanimous rapture of the souls he has stirred; no sixteen-year-old girl will come flying to meet him with her head in a whirl and heroic enthusiasm; it is not for him to forget himself in the sweet enchantment of sounds he himself has evoked; it is not for him, finally, to escape contemporary judgment, hypocritically callous contemporary judgment, which will call insignificant and mean the creations he has fostered, will allot him a contemptible corner in the ranks of writers who insult mankind, will ascribe to him the quality of the heroes he has portrayed, will deny him heart, and soul, and the divine flame of talent. For contemporary judgment does not recognize that equally wondrous are the glasses that observe the sun and those that look at the movement of inconspicuous insect; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that lofty ecstatic laughter is worthy to stand beside the lofty lyrical impulse, and that a whole abyss separates it from the antics of the street-fair clown! This contemporary judgment does not recognize; and will turn it all into a reproach and abuse of the unrecognized writer; with no sharing, no response, no sympathy, like a familyless wayfarer, he will be left alone in the middle of the road. Grim is his path, and bitterly he will feel his solitude.”
Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls




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