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Re: Most Unique Fantasy you have read? I'm going to go with "Little, Big" by John Crowley. it covers several generations of the eccentric Drinkwater family living in upstate New York, but the family also have links in fairyland.
January 15, 2011, 11:27:31 AM
Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
Ken Grimwood's Replay was another one I'd never heard of, but affected me deeply. It did also win the World Fantasy Award, but that was in the '80's, so maybe why I'd never heard of it.

Funny you should mention it - I just ordered it this weekend!  :)

One I can think of myself which doesn't seem to have gotten the hype it deserves (though it's only been out a few weeks) is Herald of the Storm by Richard Ford. It's very similar in style to Abercrombie, but with a bit more magic and a far more focused setting. It won't do anything for those who dislike gritty fantasy (I wouldn't really call it grimdark...) but I enjoyed it and hope it finds a wider readership.

I'm just going by recs I've seen on this forum, but another book/series which doesn't get nearly enough love on here is Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks (Landover series). It is nothing like his Shannara books. The sequels aren't really as good, but the 1st book is fantastic. Its premise is very tongue-in-cheek and quirky, but it's actually quite a dark story. Possibly the best single book Brooks has written and well worth giving a go. It's quite well known, but certainly on here I don't see it recommended often. Still the most enjoyable portal fantasy I've read.  :)

May 14, 2013, 08:45:42 AM
Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing. I actually wrote a whole blog series about this very topic (after I got the rights back to my first book, which was published through a small press, I self-pubbed it and have been pleased with the results) which, ultimately, involved comparing the publishing industry to the videogame industry (my day job).

People self-pub in videogames all the time. We call them "indie" games (one recent example - Minecraft). Even if you make a really good indie game, it is very, very hard to stand out or get noticed, at least relative to a game published by a big publisher (EA, Blizzard, etc). You must do all promotion yourself, you're lumped in with tons of poor quality titles (try getting on Steam and see how that goes), and even then it's often luck (such as a random editor on Kotaku playing your game and writing about it) that determines if you get any traction.

Simply put, while you can self-publish a game, it is ALWAYS better to get a big publisher - despite the huge difficulty in doing so - because you start so much further ahead of the pack. Take all I just said and substitute "book" for "game" and you've got the basics of self-pub vs traditional publishing.

The biggest difference between the videogame industry and publishing industry is that the game industry celebrates indie game publishing, and sees it as a positive, whereas it is still the opposite with the book industry - regardless of the quality of the final product. So that's another caution against self-pubbing a book.

That said, whenever I see someone say "never self-publish" I have the same reaction when people say "never traditionally publish" (which, believe it or not, I have heard from self-pub authors who are doing extremely well). Both options have pluses and minuses. You, as an author, simply need to understand them.

As one final note, at a panel I was on at ConCarolinas this year, one panelist made a very good point. The other thing to remember is that to self-publish "right", you must become a publisher, essentially. This means you must hire an editor, must pay for quality art, and (if you don't know layout) pay for someone to layout your book. Yes, this costs lots of money, but if you don't do this, it's no different from releasing a glitchy, crash-ridden Android game. No one will buy it. So yet another advantage of traditional publishing is they pay these expenses.

August 04, 2015, 10:30:13 PM
Re: Write Fantasy as if it is History

Darn it, my awesome meme won't work.

Well, I think it means write is as complex as history.  Trade routes, sanctions, ancient alliances, geographical locations shaping continents, cultures, cities, wars, and everything.
The world has to be living and breathing, as complex as our world, and vibrant as every shred of emerald grass. But, it has to have mystery, impossible places and buildings, and most of all...

November 16, 2015, 06:08:56 AM
Re: Hello all welcome to the site. You have joined on the day it went live 5 years ago.
November 30, 2015, 03:17:28 PM
Re: Write Fantasy as if it is History
I love world-building and all, but there's a right way to do it. Coming up with trade routes and different types of crops and all that is cool. But give me a reason why I, the reader, should care what country is trading with where my characters are. If it doesn't effect their life, why does it matter?
Otherwise, your book does become a fictional history book, with detailed descriptions of events.
What do I mean by effecting their life? Of course trade routes are going to effect things. But how is it relevant to the story? Would the characters be thinking about that to help solve their problems?
Hope that makes sense.

As the reader, you shouldn't care -- and a good writer will not bore you with exposition about how trading works. 

The writer himself, though, should have a sense of these things.  This way as his plot interacts with his world, he can keep things realistic and the immersion good.  Often this only manifests in minute details.  Let's say a king is overthrown and the capital city is in chaos, well if the capital is the primary exporter of <whatever>, that would be a tiny plot blip that might come up elsewhere in the kingdom between characters.  It has nothing to do with the story, and is probably only mentioned in passing, but as you subconsciously absorb a few of these things you get a sense of a real living and working world.

Leave it all out, and the story probably works just as well, but the depth of the immersion is fractionally lower.

I would say a new writer should err on the side of less details, for the reasons you mentioned, whereas a more experienced writer knows how to weave this tony details into the right place to create the immersion.

December 01, 2015, 01:00:36 AM
Re: A Writer's Stash - Share Your Resources
Link to an article I did on worldbuilding, which is basically outlining a fantastic book for worldbuilding, called Pathfinders, by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, and how it helped me with my fantasy world, Sarun.


I enjoyed the post and it quite interesting. It reminds me, too, of the winds impact on seed dispersion that is prominent in the Guns, Germs and Steel narrative on human history.

@Adrian_Selby, I also scanned your discussion of The Children Act, and am going to have to add the author to my list. I just saw the movie of Brooklyn, which has a nice connection through the movie actress to your author. I'd be interested in your response to a US book, "The Memory of Old Jack". I found the book, which is generally a quiet thing, so intense emotionally that I about it down for months in the middle before being able to bring myself to finish the read.

December 06, 2015, 12:09:01 PM
Re: Real life experiences and non-fiction sources for better worldbuilding Here for anyone planning on writing about knights in full plate of armor. These are from the 15th century. Just look at it all, but especially the "mobility" part they show early on. It might debunk a few people's idea of the clumsiness of armor.


December 24, 2015, 01:38:42 PM
Re: What's another word for...? When it comes to describing the taste of blood, don't forget the old tried and true "taste of blood". Maybe not all the time, but it's always an option and very often calling things just what they are works better than some poetic replacement.
January 04, 2016, 10:42:15 AM
Might be getting published in Denmark A Danish publishing house has now read the two novels I have translated into English, and really liked them both. But they do have a lot on their hands, and are currently debating on what to take on. They will, apparently, have an answer for me "this winter".

I have learned to keep my hopes in check, but this is the farthest I've ever gotten with a foreign publisher. And IF they publish my books it could serve as my gateway to the rest of the Nordic market, and the German one.

So, yay? Maybe?

January 22, 2016, 10:50:18 PM