The Mentor: Trope Reboot

Fantasy novels are complex tomes filled with beguiling magics, curious creatures, unspeakable names, countless political fiefdoms, more breeds of elf, and thousands of years of adventure. Your readers have to learn all those new particulars without wanting to burn your book in rage. Thankfully there’s a trope for teaching those details. Let’s reboot the Mentor. … Read more

Medieval Kingdom: Trope Reboot

Swords, castles, princes, serfs – just those four words are enough to place readers in a fantasy setting.  They evoke a place both mysterious and reminiscent of fairy tales, archaic enough to hold secrets, but grounded enough to be relatable. It’s a trope to make all magical settings feel familiar. Let’s reboot the Medieval Kingdom. … Read more

Comedy: Your First Reading Quest

Thank you, internet, for making this job harder. Strong characters and worldbuilding are no longer enough.  The well-timed spot of humor was once the mark of Shakespeare. But now fellow writers, all of us have to learn to be clever. Let’s start by reading a novel that’s funny.  Do you accept your first reading quest? … Read more

The Dark Lord: Trope Reboot

In the battle between good and terrible storytelling, we look for personal conflicts with complex characters.  Yet one trope gives our villain vague power and simple goals. It promises our readers a straightforward fight against the forces of evil. There’s one trope that just wants to rule them all. So let’s reboot the Dark Lord. … Read more

The Chosen One: Trope Reboot

We can use any storytelling trope to write powerful novels.  But there’s one trope that angers many readers because it’s close to cheating.  It takes an ordinary character, steals his or her agency, and shoehorns them into the conflict. It’s a trope for forcing an abrupt call to action. So let’s reboot the Chosen One. … Read more

Let’s Talk About Theme

Listen up fantasy writers: We need to talk more about literary themes. I know that themes are hard. In English class my teachers and probably yours talked about themes in a way that felt overthought, random, and forced. Some literary writers describe themes as a regimented dictum that defines every page of our novels like … Read more

Embracing Discipline and Accountability

This 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 … Read more

How to Woo the Writer’s Muse

This Valentine’s Day, I find myself feeling lonely.  My wife and kids are in the next room, playing and having breakfast, while I sit at my computer, wishing that somebody was here with me who hasn’t been around for quite some time. My muse has left me.  Again. In the Mythic Scribes forums, I hear … Read more

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