The Creatures We Base Aliens On
 

Creatures We Base Aliens On

Article

 
Blackwing by Ed McDonald
 

Blackwing

Review

 
Worlds Within Worlds – Part Three: Old Grey Beards
 

Worlds Within Worlds

Part Three: Old Grey Beards

 

Browsing all articles in Writing.

Worlds Within Worlds – Part Three: Old Grey Beards

Worlds Within Worlds – Part Three: Old Grey Beards 

If you ask someone on the street to name the first three wizards that come to mind, you’ll probably hear the names Gandalf, Merlin, and Dumbledore (or Rincewind, if they’re trying to be clever). The image of the white-bearded old man with a staff is woven into modern fantasy, to the point that Pratchett filled […]

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The Pros and Cons of a Macro Timescale

The Pros and Cons of a Macro Timescale 

Most fantasy and science fiction series tend to be, by their very nature, large in scope. We expect stories about the fate of worlds, the rise and fall of empires, and history in the making. A book might still focus on a character’s personal, small-scale struggle, but it’s rare the focus will only be on […]

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How The Other Half Successfully Self-Publish

How The Other Half Successfully Self-Publish 

Uncle Mike has some things to say, people, and you’re not prying this karaoke mic from his hand until he’s done. Is this thing on? Right, okay. Hello. My name is Michael McClung, but for the duration of this little talk, you can think of me as Uncle Mike. In the self publishing world, I’m […]

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On Character Development

On Character Development 

A broken soldier overcoming his failings to make a stand for his home, a powerful sorceress corrupted by her magic and falling into darkness, a boy embarking on a journey and reaching its end as a man. Character development is one of the core aspects of fiction, many readers love watching their favourite protagonist grow […]

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Worlds Within Worlds – Part Two: Magic Warfare

Worlds Within Worlds – Part Two: Magic Warfare 

Fallout taught fans that war…war never changes. Military historians, however, argue otherwise. Case in point: the stirrup. Before firearms dominated the battlefield, it’s generally agreed that the stirrup was the most important innovation in warfare for a couple centuries. Fans of the Rohirrim will recognize why: cavalry is fast and maneuverable, and the stirrup allows […]

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Writing A Successful Query Letter

Writing A Successful Query Letter 

If you’ve heard about query letters, no doubt you’ve heard how annoying, infuriatingly difficult, and soul-sucking they are to write. And every word of that is true. Writing my query was a brutal process, but if you want to get an agent; there’s no getting around it. It’s commonly assumed a query is a novel’s […]

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Worlds Within Worlds – Part One: Writing a Good Game into a Good Book

Worlds Within Worlds – Part One: Writing a Good Game into a Good Book 

Humanity has played games for as long as we’ve been able to make up rules and keep score. As we’ve developed as a species, we’ve created thousands of games, and gaming isn’t just something we do out of boredom. In many ways, games are a survival mechanism, a way to recharge our brains and spirits. […]

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Is This Normal Around Here?

Is This Normal Around Here? 

So you get home to your enchanted castle, hand your coat to the golem butler who waits by the door, tut sadly at Markus; the caretaker who’s trying to fill a light globe and letting all the fairies escape, then you head to the kitchen where your goblin chef has an entire pig roasting on […]

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Exploring Vvardenfell: How Morrowind Created an Immersive Secondary World

Exploring Vvardenfell: How Morrowind Created an Immersive Secondary World 

Back in 2012, I was sitting with a group of fantasy writers at the PNWA conference in Seattle. Everyone had begun rolling off their favorite authors, and soon there were choruses of ah, yes and mmm. I just sat there silently with a glass of ice water. Most of my writing career had been a conscious detour around […]

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The Writer’s Plague

The Writer’s Plague 

If you are a booklover who didn’t die before 1997, I would wager you have difficulty finding a decent story among the piles of…muck. In the past twenty years, authors—henceforth known as the Infected—have emerged, plague-ridden, with what we will collectively call the writing bug. While I try to remain optimistic, I cannot say this […]

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Self-Published Fantasy: How the SPFBO is Revitalising SFF

Self-Published Fantasy: How the SPFBO is Revitalising SFF 

With the exciting kick-off of the THIRD Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (#SPFBO) already underway, I thought I’d share some thoughts about the complexities of self-publishing and how Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO initiative is shaking up not only the medium, but also the genre itself. (An older, less awesome version of this article can be found here.) Self-published […]

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Plot Twists That Defy Genre Expectations

Plot Twists That Defy Genre Expectations 

Most of us love a good plot twist. We’re always trying to predict where a narrative is headed, but we’re usually thrilled when it takes an unexpected turn, surprises us, and makes us re-evaluate the assumptions we’ve made about the characters and the story. However, some of these sudden turns knock the wind out of us more than others, because […]

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