Concealing Your Awesomes

fantasy mountains“And there among the lofty peaks of the Sanandrin Mountains were the tombs of the Founding Kings carved into the living rock. The angels guard their entrances as they guarded their lives, and shield their bodies from the churning rot of time. When the winter passes into spring, the fresh melt carries the blessing of light and is said to heal any affliction of the body. So, blah blah blah…”

I know, it’s tough to refrain from sharing with the world your awesome piece of worldbuilding. You want them to appreciate your creativity, to validate the many months you’ve gnawed over the minor details of your awesome. The unfortunate truth is no one cares about your worldbuilding. Continue Reading

Anticipating Story Length

thick bookI recently reconnected with some old projects, and was a little upset when I read them.

One of the mistakes I’d made was incorrectly anticipating story length, and now it feels like those old stories, that I thought were done and buried, have risen from their graves to haunt me.

Not only did I take some too-big concepts and try to write them into short stories, but I’ve got a few longer works that should probably be trimmed dramatically, because my work is better and cleaner when I begin with a short story format.

While some novels seem so complex that one could hardly try to distill their concepts to a single sentence, others are easy to peg on the first try. What makes it so hard to nail down a concept? And once you have a concept, what length of story will tell it? Continue Reading

Warfare in Fantasy: Forgotten Logistics

fantasy armyEver wonder how armies of tens of thousands of men spring up from the ground overnight like weeds?

How these weedy men go clickity-clank across the landscape with few troubles?

Do you question the ability of a feudal society to maintain said massive weed crops which they throw willy-nilly to the wind against one another?

For me I think that actual weeds have the decency to drain the land of its resources. I do not see any gardening of any sort go on in many of today’s fantasy stories that involve large scale warfare. No one is watering these things, feeding them the nutrients they need to batter down the other bigger weeds in their way. Continue Reading

Small Sparks of Life – Making Your World Feel Alive

spark of lifeAs a fantasy writer, you’re likely to create new and fascinating worlds for your stories to take place in. You have entirely new races, and their cultures and histories date back thousands of years.

You have gods and religions, dragons and monsters, heroes and villains. You have magic.

In short, you have a world.

Now it’s time to bring it to life.

Sure, the story is the important bit, but having your story take place in a living, breathing world just adds to the magic – and isn’t that part of the allure of reading and writing fantasy? Continue Reading

The Obsessive Worldbuilder Quiz

quizDo you spend weeks and weeks designing the ceremonial cloaks that your orcs wear for their Annual Wereboar BBQ?

Do you sketch maps of obscure villages that haven’t existed in your world for thousands of years on napkins?

Do you lie awake before bed and think, “I really should figure out how the ogres in Fazbaath take care of their teeth.”

If you even thought for a split second, “This sounds like me,” then you might be an Obsessive Worldbuilder.

Now let me start out by saying, this isn’t a bad thing. You have a certain eye for detail that some of us can only dream of having. However, it might be important to factor in the “Story-Worldbuilding Ratio.” Continue Reading

Writing In a Foreign Language – Like English

writingI have a confession to make. It’s probably not a big deal to anyone, except to me – specifically to me as a writer. So, here goes: I’m not a native English speaker.

I was born, and grew up, in Sweden. I learned Swedish first and didn’t start learning English in school until I was ten years old. Still, I choose to write in English, even though it’s not my native language and even though my grasp of it is weaker than my grasp of Swedish.

You might wonder why. Continue Reading

Do Writers Really Need to Know Theory?

theoryFor as long as I can remember, I’ve always had ideas for stories. When I was young, many involved Gary-Sue-ing myself into my favorite TV shows and movies, as a security officer with Borg implants on ST:NG or as a cryogenically frozen Jedi from the Old Republic.

As I got older, my desire to explore my own universes grew. ‘Original’ ideas filled my head, and I believed I could tell a fun tale or two. Unfortunately, I thought stories only came from the magical places in my head called talent and creativity, and once tapped, the words would flow like a river. I expected the story to appear on the page complete and perfect and ready to publish. And when it didn’t, I felt like a failure and a fraud. Continue Reading

3 Easy Steps to Crafting a Language for Your Fantasy Novel

This article is by Daniel Adorno.

fantasy languageHave you read an epic fantasy novel recently?

Ever notice how every race in a fantasy world must have a unique culture, history, and language?

It’s almost unheard of to not include each of these aspects in the genre. It’s become a convention fantasy readers have expected since the days of Tolkien. If you leave any of these out in your story, you’ll probably pay a heavy price in readership.

That’s why savvy fantasy authors include them. Not just to meet the conventions mind you, but also to create an engaging world. Continue Reading

How to Plan and Write a Conversation

conversationA while back, I came across the following question:

How do you write so much dialogue without it getting boring?

Conversations and dialogue are perhaps the biggest parts of my stories. It’s where things happen – in the interaction between the characters. I write a lot of conversations, and I’ve put a fair bit of thought into how I do it and how to make them work.

This article is split into three parts. First, I’ll mention some general advice that I’ve found to be helpful. Next, I’ll explain the method I’m using. Finally, I’ll go through an example of a conversation I created using this method. Continue Reading