The Chosen One: Trope Reboot

The Chosen One: Trope Reboot

We can use any storytelling trope to write powerful novels.  But there’s one trope that angers many readers because it’s close to cheating.  It takes an ordinary character, steals his or her agency, and shoehorns them into the conflict. It’s a trope for forcing an abrupt call to action. So let’s reboot the Chosen One.… Continue Reading

Writing Groups 101

Writing Groups 101

Where there are writers, there will be writing groups. They may take any number of forms and serve various functions: feedback, support, learning, or commiseration. Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird, compares a writing group to “one of those weird little families that we fashion out of whatever’s around us.” It’s so true.… Continue Reading

Let’s Talk About Theme

Let’s Talk About Theme

Listen up fantasy writers: We need to talk more about literary themes. I know that themes are hard. In English class my teachers and probably yours talked about themes in a way that felt overthought, random, and forced. Some literary writers describe themes as a regimented dictum that defines every page of our novels like… Continue Reading

Finishing That Endless Manuscript

Finishing That Endless Manuscript

I’ve been working on the same story for months now. It’s the slowest I’ve ever written a single story in my whole life. What started out as a one-off short story evolved into a long short story, then a novelette, and now it’s looking like a novella by the time I’m finished. In some ways… Continue Reading

Why You Should Care What Others Think

Why You Should Care What Others Think

So, you’ve completed your manuscript. Everything is clean. Pacing is solid. Tension is present. The plot is bulletproof. And, unlike my opening, you’re writing is mostly active. You’re ready for the big time. Ready to submit your work to agents or publishers, or both. Let’s do this! Hold up, young grasshopper. Rein in your enthusiasm… Continue Reading

Lessons of the Last Witch Hunter

Lessons of the Last Witch Hunter

When The Last Witch Hunter first hit the theaters, the reviews were a mixed bag of complaints and acceptance. Many often stated that the movie entertained, but lacked the depth of a blockbuster offering. I have to admit, such reviews prevented me from watching the movie on the big screen. A recent international trip offered… Continue Reading