Writing a good novel demands a number of skills from an author. You need to have a strong writing voice. You have to be able to read people and get inside a person’s head. You should be able to let your characters provide commentary on life and the book’s themes, whether consciously or not. And you’ve got to be well read, well researched, and reflective so that you will be equipped to think things through.
But sometimes those skills, which require experience and thoughtfulness, can feel at odds with another skill that we need as writers: creativity.… Continue Reading
It’s strange to imagine today, but there was a time when the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was a matter very much in doubt.
There were two primary reasons for this near tragedy. One was the scarcity of paper that plagued the United Kingdom in the aftermath of World War II. The other was Tolkien’s initial insistence on releasing The Lord of the Rings to his publisher, Allen & Unwin, only on the condition that The Silmarilion be published in concert with it.
The price of printing the full text of a book the size of The Lord of the Rings posed significant challenges in and of itself; adding The Silmarilion to the mix, particularly given its sometimes tenuous connection to The Lord of the Rings’ narrative, was seen as potentially disastrous.… Continue Reading
That inkling of an idea sparked by reading a great book, taking an afternoon walk, or even being walloped over the head by the muse. Time passes. Maybe months, maybe years.
You see that idea grow into a story concept, the story concept become a rough outline, the outline become a story, the story become a published novel. Sounds easy, right?
Yeah, don’t we all wish.
When I was approached with the idea of creating a series of articles that followed from that twinkling of an idea to the process of trying to publish a finished novel I thought, “Wow, this will be quite the daunting task.” However, I was up for the challenge. … Continue Reading
The elusive muse. Long considered dead by some, still widely sought after with hounds, nets, and harpoons by others, the concept of “invoking the muse” still lurks out there in the writers’ ether.
Inspiration can be fickle: it doesn’t always necessarily come when you want it. There are some tried and true methods for getting ideas and motivation to write. These have been discussed in multiple “killing writer’s block” and other such advice columns.
What I want to propose are ways to find inspiration for writing fantasy, some of which may be obvious and others not so much.… Continue Reading
While Mythic Scribes is geared towards fantasy writing, I’m a big believer in studying writing from many different angles. For that reason, I’m always on the lookout for great writing advice from authors in other genres.
Today I’m going to feature nine of the blogs that I turn to for inspiration. Each of these blogs offers great insight from experienced, talented authors. While there are many quality writing blogs out there, these are nine of the best.
The key to finding your way as a writer is to discover what kind of writer you are.
Are you the type that talks about writing but doesn’t really do it much? Are you the kind that works diligently every day, but always ends up deleting or scrapping the whole manuscript? Are you the perfect planner, but awful at execution? Or vice versa?
Finding your strengths and weaknesses as a writer can help you navigate your way along the path to being the perfect “you.” Sound flaky? Maybe, but the sooner you can chip away at your problems the earlier you can fix them.
I’d like to preface this by saying I’ve fallen into every one of these categories before. So if any of these describe your current writing situation, I feel your pain.… Continue Reading
You’re working on your current project when a beautiful faerie lands on your laptop and says, “Hey! Why are you writing this boring story? Look over here!”
Wow, a story about elven wyvern hunters in 18th Century Central America is much more interesting than my current Work in Progress (WIP) about mutant horse-thieves in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by centaurs.
The faerie grabs your hand, hovers it over a new Word document, and jumps up and down on your finger until you left-click it. Ah. Like sinking into a warm bath. The feeling of cleansing away your dirty, stinky WIP and starting a pristine, new document, that little blinking cursor sending shivers up your spine.… Continue Reading
When others learn I am a writer, one of the most common questions I am asked is “where do you get your ideas from?” Now the obvious answer is “everywhere,” because life is inspiration for fiction. But one of those places where it is easiest to draw the direct correlations between what I see or learn and what I write is in history.
Some of you might, at this point, be thinking, “Oh yes, kings and knights and castles and all that. What’s new about that in fantasy?” But history encompasses so much human lived experience, and we can use it in far more intricate and interesting ways than just including an idealised image of the medieval world.… Continue Reading
With a few rare exceptions, genre fiction is generally dismissed – even disdained – by “serious” authors and critical reviewers alike. Fantasy book sales are miniscule compared literary fiction; even the other genres outsell it. If you want to get rich, you’re better off writing “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” than “Bonds of Sisterhood.”
So what is it about Fantasy that motivates a writer to sacrifice broad cultural acceptance, fame, and money for the genre?
I asked editors and authors, “Why Do You Write Fantasy?” I was curious what it was about the Fantasy genre that made it the best venue for the stories they wanted to tell. Some weren’t really sure, but others had some very definitive ideas on the subject.… Continue Reading
It’s hard to know how to get started as a writer. Should you write short stories or a novel? Should you stick with one genre, or try several? Should you get an agent and submit to traditional publishers, or try the self-publishing route?
The answers to those questions depend entirely on what you want. A full-time career as a writer? Financial stability? (That’s a tough one to achieve by writing!) Fame and respect? To simply be able to say that you finished a novel-length story?
Some people say “I want to be a writer!” without really figuring out what that means. Other folks just want to be able to say “I’m a writer” at cocktail parties and high school reunions. They might not even need any publication credits; simply having tried makes them feel like a writer.… Continue Reading