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

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