Embracing Discipline and Accountability

deadlineThis is Father’s Day weekend, and I am a stay-at-home dad with three young sons and a daughter who will be born sometime next week.

My Father’s Day commitment to them is my pledge, right now, to no longer let them, and the stress they cause me, keep me from writing.

It’s time to embrace discipline.

In practice.

Even when I’m a little on edge. Continue Reading

Applying the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to Fictional Characters

Cognitive FunctionsThis article is by Sara C. Snider.

For those who don’t know, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an assessment tool created by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, as a means of understanding and making accessible the different psychological types theorized by Carl Jung.

The result of this tool is the collection of 16 different personality types, based on four different sets of preferences one leans towards in everyday life: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); Sensing (S) or Intuition (N); Thinking (T) or Feeling (F); Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). Continue Reading

Magical Creatures for Magical Worlds: The Hydra

hydraThe Hydra is a many-headed creature, fierce and dangerous. If a head is cut off, two more will grow in its place, making it a difficult monster to defeat.

The Hydra story comes from the Labours of Heracles, and, like the Phoenix which I wrote about last time, has gone from being a single individual creature in ancient Greek myth to a species of creature in many modern interpretations. Continue Reading

Knowing When You’re Ready to Publish

board gameOh crap. You have that sinking feeling in your stomach, don’t you? Just the mention of the word publish makes your pulse quicken. But maybe it’s for a good reason.

Getting ready to publish can be nerve-wracking, soul-searing, and heart-soaring all at once. That’s a lot of hyphenated words. So when is the right time to pull the trigger and put your work out in the world?

I’ve composed a list (a list!) to perhaps move you in right direction. Imagine you’re on a game board. Some elements of my list may move you forward, others backward. At the end of the day, you have to decide what is going to help you reach your endgame. Which is hopefully a beautiful, bouncy baby book. Continue Reading

Siege Weaponry: A Primer for Writers

TrebuchetThe sound of steel clashing against steel rings in the distance. Smoke billows into the air, carrying the horrid stench of the battlefield. Through the fluttering tent entrance a muddied, bloodied, messenger runs in.

“Commander, we have their fortress surrounded…”

The commander rises from his plush, velvet seat, and adjusts his belt.

“Splendid!” he exclaims. “Storm the keep! Take no prisoners!”

“Erm, that’s all right and good, but, milord, if I may – “

“No time, we must swarm them now!” he shouts as he slams his hands down upon the table, chicken legs bouncing up. Continue Reading

How to Write a Compelling Story Using a Familiar Setting

This article is by Daniel Adorno.

fantasy planetAs a fantasy and scifi geek, the settings I choose for my stories are always quite imaginative. I want to transport the reader to some distant planet outside of our galaxy. Or to a magical realm with a deep history and interesting creatures like centaurs or wyverns flying around. It’s the fun stuff that comes with being a speculative author: worldbuilding.

Unlike realistic genres like thrillers, crime, and romance, the environments in fantasy and science fiction novels are very important. They’re almost another character in the story. Continue Reading

Keeping Readers Reading (And Yourself Writing)

steampunk readingIt’s becoming easier and easier for people to put books down these days. With so many entertaining distractions in the world, writers have to fight for readers’ attention more than ever.

Normally, I approach these articles only from the stance of a writer. However, today I’m going to wear two hats: one small writer’s beret with an over-sized reader’s fedora over it.

While it’s sometimes hard to think in two different modes, thinking as a reader can help you answer the age old question, “Is this story worth my time?” Continue Reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Descriptions – Part 2

human mindThis is the second part of my Beginner’s Guide to Writing Descriptions. The first part can be found here.

In this part of the guide I’m relying heavily on the belief that the best images and the strongest impressions we get from stories are those we create in our own minds.

I’m sure there are exceptions to this – as with all rules – but for the purpose of this guide, I’ve chosen not to dwell on that. If you have a good example of an exception though, please share it in the comments.

The guide is divided into three parts: Continue Reading

What Your Local Librarian Can Do for Authors

This article is by Jane Chirgwin.

librarianYou might already use libraries for books, movies and internet, but have you considered how your local librarian can help you as an author?

I’m a Library Director, so let me give you the inside scoop. (Side note: not everyone who works at a library is a librarian, just like not everyone who works at a hospital is a doctor.  Also not every librarian is female, I’m just using that pronoun.) Continue Reading

Channel Your Inner Samurai – How Being an Author is Like Performing Martial Arts

This article is by K.S. Crooks.

SamuraiI began my life-long journey with martial arts at the age of eight, when my mother enrolled me in my first judo class. Being a very small boy, she thought that it would give me strength and confidence. It gave me those, plus much more.

In high school I took up wrestling, becoming city champion and provincially ranked. During university I went back to Judo, started Jeet Kune Do and Karate. Martial arts became one of the staples of my life. Continue Reading