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Hello all Hi everyone,

I've spent most of my very limited forum time online at writing forums.  Since the announcement of my book Snakewood on this site, I've now discovered a very cool fantasy forum!  Looking forward to keeping tabs on what's cooking in the genre!

All the best for now,

November 30, 2015, 08:30:35 AM
Re: Write Fantasy as if it is History I would also interpret it meaning, alongside the great comments above, a research of real history, i.e. an understanding of history.  I feel I benefit greatly from using actual history as a springboard.  To give a really cheesy example:  A tin sword is never going to be much use :) If therefore I want to write, in a fantasy novel, about someone forging a tin sword, I need to understand the former to know what I need to do with the latter, i.e. put some magic in the sword, or have 'tin' in my world, be quite unlike 'tin' in this one.  But unless I specify this, a reader will laugh when my hero hurls herself into battle with a tin sword.

A less cheesy example is social order.  I'm reading a lot lately about the transition from tribal societies to fully fledged nation states - Francis Fukayama's The Origins of Political Order.  The question of taxation of people, the roles of the gentry, the nobility, commoners and the crown in the creation of wealth, the taxation of that wealth, trade and so on and what it means for war and empire, as well as intrigue among these principle social actors is important to understand because all of it was grounded in what people (and any book is really only about people) actually did, and they do things driven by what makes fiction good; greed, jealousy, hate, love etc.

So how things came to be in reality should always be the basis for a fantasy author's springboard off into their own world, because our reality was defined by how people are.  As such, characters in a fantasy novel will be trying to do the same kinds of things there they would be doing in our own pre-modern era (generalisation alert :)) such as protecting the family, feeding the family, doing one's duty, fulfilling one's ambitions etc. etc.

November 30, 2015, 09:03:58 AM
Re: Help! Page fright/low self-confidence getting in the way Hi H.O.

Interested to know if you feel like it's you or the book specifically.  With a book that feels like it's just going nowhere I retreat to the characters and their bios, work out why I'm not in love with them enough to keep telling their story.  Or it has been because I don't believe anyone else would be interested in their story, so I ask myself why, and it's a bit like self-flagellation but it clears the fug away, when I'm honest about a story or the characters in it being a bit safe.  Usually it's because I don't know the characters well enough, I'm not close enough to them to root for them and, of course, to mess up their lives as much as I can to see how far I can push them and how I can help them get over that.

If however it's more self belief that's lacking, that's a different country :)
You've written five books, that's four more than me :) Hopefully you've learned some stuff, but again, is it that you don't feel you're developing as an author?

November 30, 2015, 01:22:28 PM
Re: Historical Fiction The book won the Booker Prize.  Then its sequel, Bring Up The Bodies also won a Booker Prize!!

The book contains some of the greatest writing and storytelling I've ever read.  I've not seen the TV show, but as it contains Mark Rylance, I daresay it's pretty splendid too :)

November 30, 2015, 10:24:40 PM
Re: Recommend me a Detective Novel Surely Arthur Conan-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories? :)
December 06, 2015, 09:47:59 AM
Re: Rivers of London- Peter Grant series At the behest of Lady Ty, I drop my thoughts on Rivers of London here, via this link:

TLDR Very much enjoyed how well paced and easy to acquire the world and the magic is.

December 09, 2015, 08:41:18 PM
Re: Forest World If the whole world is fully forested I imagine you'd have a hard time defining nation states.  It would be hard for the apparatus of state institutions to arise out of the tribal structures that would do well in such a habitat.

It's likely, if you believe the world to be sparsely populated, that slavery wouldn't be strong, as coercion works only where there isn't anywhere easy to escape to.  This applies also to any state apparatus that tries to exert sovereignty over a dispersed area or multiple tribes.

December 20, 2015, 10:16:19 PM
Re: What do you want from an author website? There's some good points here, many of which I should probably do a bit more of!

I never feel like I have enough time to get stuff down on my blog but the one thing that I feel strongly about, whether I should or shouldn't, is for it not to replicate my twitter account, where I'll post updates about my book(s) among other things.

My blog gives me a bit of breathing room to write longer pieces, mostly about books I've enjoyed reading, but about anything that otherwise takes my fancy, including the odd piece on my research (which are also books I've enjoyed reading :)).

Perhaps I ought to put more on there about what I've written and what I've learned, but that always felt rather too anecdotal to be useful.  In a nutshell, read a shit load of books, practice writing till your hands fall off and pay for an editor to look over your submission chapters when you've finished with them, and one day you might get a deal.  That's about it :)

I think a blog/website should be authentic, i.e. it's an unmediated/unsanitized connection with the author as a person.  People sniff out sales puff remarkably easily.

I'm an unknown author anyway as far as the world of sff publishing is concerned, so all this may change, but I hope not, because one of my great pleasures is finding a topic I'm keen about and then writing about it there and then, in a way that others hopefully find of interest.  I'm sure if I get a readership of some sort they'll let me know what they want.

From other author's websites I want to see thinkpieces and their perspectives on things that aren't necessarily about their own books.  The work is usually enough for me, for the same reason I haven't watched all the DVD extras on LOTR - I don't want to watch those films and see Andy Serkis in a bodysuit climbing over a rock, I just want Gollum :)

January 02, 2016, 08:55:11 AM
Re: Recommend me a Detective Novel If non fantasy includes sci-fi, then can I recommend Altered Carbon?
January 11, 2016, 07:30:36 PM
Re: World Building?? There's some great advice and links on this thread.  I'm afraid to say that it took me years of research, but I started from knowing almost nothing.

I can recommend Francis Fukayama's The Origins of Political Order, Henri Pirenne's Medieval Cities and Felipe Fernández-Armesto's Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration.

February 09, 2016, 10:23:23 PM