How to write a classic fantasy or fairytale. What are the elements of a classic fantasy tale? How can you give your story that timeless, old-school feel?
There's nothing worse than a hero who is too heroic. Maybe the hero is a beautiful girl with a deep sense of honour and a desire to see justice done in the world. I hate her already. Or perhaps the hero is big, strong, decent, and not afraid to wade in and fix international politics.... Continue Reading →
Why are circuses and fairs so fascinating? Why do people run away with the circus? And why do we love a circus fantasy story so much? I think it is because in olden times, the circus was almost the only travelling organisation you might hitch a ride with. There were others - army recruiters, roaming... Continue Reading →
I've been reading and watching The City and the City by China Mieville this week. Two cultures in permanent conflict, sharing the same space, each city diligently 'unseeing' the other. It made me want to create a culture clash of my own. So after my romantic fantasy title generator proved popular, I have created a... Continue Reading →
I read Spellslinger this week in about three gulps and have been inspired by its greatness - to learn about cards, and to hurt my own characters, a lot. Honestly Sebastien de Castell heaps bad luck and trouble on his main character, Kellen, to such a degree that you fear it might be one of those YA... Continue Reading →
I was recently obsessed with New York 1926. If you think that rings a bell, it might be because it is the setting for 2016's Jazz Age fantasy, Fantastic Beasts, which I saw, and alone of all Harry Potter things fell in love with. Partly this was because it was about adults facing, sort of, adult problems.... Continue Reading →
I go to my local library every week and pick up all kinds of books. They have a handy sticker-system on the books' spines to identify the genre, and lately I've been going for the Unicorn (!) sticker signifying fantasy. I had success with The Thousand Names, and my most recent read has been Between... Continue Reading →
Four more fifty-worders for you. This continues the story of the monsters, plus there's a snippet from a mermaid-noir scenario I rather like. Hope you enjoy them! Let me know - I always like reading your comments. If you have a fifty word story of your own you would like to share, add a link... Continue Reading →
As a reader, if you crave a comfortable read, then you'll be disappointed by books that don't explain anything, placing you in the role of stranger. And if you like to think on your feet, learning as you go, you won't enjoy a book which carefully explains a culture's entire backstory before you've even stepped off the boat.
I found a list today that I didn’t know I needed but now cannot live without. It’s a description of every subgenre of cyberpunk. I’ve given some examples, below, but it’s got me thinking about how detailed our fiction categories have become, and how identifying your exact subgenre can help clarify tone, find the right title for... Continue Reading →