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

Defining Human

elfAfter a recent break from writing, I’m back in the chair and am assessing my unfinished stories and the world I’ve forged around them.

One story in particular, The Rage Within, was written to explore a race called the Dagorans. They are a gray-skinned folk afflicted with a berserk-like rage. Sifting through my notes revealed the possibility of them interbreeding with eight out of nine physical races.

This fact conflicted with my original intent of having a diversity of races. Were all my races really humans with differing physical traits? Continue Reading

Writing With Confidence

confidenceDeveloping one’s confidence as a writer isn’t easy. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know my own path has been an arduous one, and confidence waxed and waned along the way.

I read a fair amount of articles written by a variety of authors and bloggers, and in doing so, it’s become apparent that there’s an implied division between “real” writers and the aspiring. However, I put forth that there is no such division, and we’re all real writers if we dedicate ourselves to the craft.

New writers (or those who have yet to find their stride, as I prefer to think of them) get a bad reputation. How is one to develop confidence when so many articles fall into one of two categories: Continue Reading

Avoiding Fantasy Fatigue

reading fatigueIf you’re reading this article you might be thinking two things:

1. Why would a fantasy website feature an article about being burned out with fantasy?

2. I’m burned out on fantasy, so I want to see what this guy rants about.

Well, to put this into perspective, I’m a life-long fan of fantasy, have written it for years, and consider it my bread and butter. However, I often hear the advice, “Read outside your genre.” The same can apply to writing. Embracing different styles and genres might just increase your love for your “main genre.”

Is it bad to abandon your main genre for a spell and try something else? Let’s explore this idea together, shall we? Continue Reading

Real World Issues and Fantasy Literature: Police Forces

This article is by Thomas Cecil.

handcuffsI recently attended WisCon, a feminist SFF convention in Madison Wisconsin. I saw and heard a lot of great things, but one of the panels I keep thinking about is the one about policing and how we can use fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy fiction, to help imagine solutions to a very real world problem.

I realized while writing this article that the entire question about reforming our police forces is only a political question. What I can do, and have done, is keep my personal beliefs out of this and just reported the panelist’s discussion. Continue Reading

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