Author Archives: Philip Overby

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

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

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

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

Putting Your Novel Where Your Mouth Is

book over mouthTalking about writing can be fun. Hell, I love it.

But a year ago I realized that I needed to stop yapping so much and start tapping more. The keys, that is.

It’s lonely, hair-pulling work sometimes, but I had to keep my nose to the grindstone. No matter how much I wanted to chat and blab about my newest creation, I tried to refrain.

It sucked.

I know some people view writing novels as mystical shamanism channeled through the hair strands of a thousand muses. I don’t find it to be such. I absolutely adore it, yes, but it’s work.
Continue Reading

Pilfering Your Novel Graveyard

graveyard“Finish what you start” is some of the best advice one can give a burgeoning writer.

However, what happens when you absolutely can’t finish something? It’s not Writer’s Block nor Creative ADD. You’ve reached critical mass. No matter how long you edit, send off for critiques, and outline, it’s just not coming together.

Writing can be like making a soufflé: if it’s imploded, sure, you can still eat it, but do you want to serve it to others? So what do you do when the recipe is screwed and you have a burnt dessert?

Scrape off the blackened parts and salvage it, right?

Maybe. Continue Reading

Cover to Cover IV: Learning to Love Editing

editThis is the fourth entry in my Cover to Cover series which follows a story idea from inception until potential publication.

Several months back in my third entry, I talked about owning a first draft and how to get through it to the end. Well, in August of this year I finished my first draft. Allow me a moment to do a happy dance. I spent the next two months editing. I’ve made it publicly known to anyone that will listen how much I hate editing.

Something happened through the process though. I started to actually enjoy my editing sessions. “Love editing? I’d sooner feed myself to a chimera.” Maybe. But I’ll show you how I changed from an edit-hater to an edit-relisher. Continue Reading

30 Ways to Resuscitate a Dying NaNoWriMo Novel

novelIf you’ve done National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) you know there sometimes comes a point when you think, “Why in the hell am I doing this?”

This is a normal feeling albeit a demoralizing one. You’ve been tap-tapping away when suddenly the juice runs out, the muse falls off her glittery pegasus, or writer’s block smashes you square in the face.

You need a pick-me-up, something to keep you moving along towards you goals, whether that be 50,000 words or some other suitably insane feat of writerly badassery. Even if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, maybe you can find a nugget of wisdom buried underneath my sagely ramblings. Continue Reading

Surviving Grimdark Fantasy for the Squeamish

grimdarkWhile there is still some debate about whether it’s a legit sub-genre or not, grimdark has become part of the fantasy lexicon in recent years.

I actually like a lot of the authors that some label as grimdark, so I’m a bit torn on if it’s a good or bad thing. The term can be used to define fantasy with more realistic grit, where morals are gray and blood is bright red. Sounds cool to me.

However, on the flip side, it’s also used as a pejorative term for fiction that is perceived as too bleak, dark, and soul-sucking. This being the opposite of the good vs. evil type of conflicts that may be more familiar for fans of fantasy.

Well, I’m here to show you that grimdark doesn’t have to be unpleasant at all. Continue Reading

Cover to Cover III: Owning a First Draft

manuscriptThis is my third entry in my Cover to Cover series which follows a novel from inception to potential publication. It’s interesting to note since I started doing this, my novel has changed quite significantly. Most notable is that I completed a first draft last month.

If you’ve ever completed a long first draft, then you know how time-consuming and rewarding it can be to type “The End.” I was elated. It’s done, right? Well, no. The dreaded edit comes next. However, sometimes just getting the first draft down can be quite a slog for many writers.

So how do you get from inkling of an idea to a completed first draft? I’ll tell you how I did it and hopefully it will be of some help to others. Continue Reading