Adventures in World-building: Devising Magic Systems

A complex fantasy world isn't built in one day or seven days. In fact, fantasy writers may find that their secondary-world isn’t complete until after their story comes to an end. This is a daunting concept to consider, particularly for writing-perfectionists with a tendency towards completeness. Even more daunting is the process of creating a… Continue reading Adventures in World-building: Devising Magic Systems

Discuss: Your Brain on Fiction

In an effort to justify the benefits of reading fiction to the average non-reader, I came across a video short explaining the effects of fiction on the brain. The video titled "How Fiction Makes Our Brains Better" is produced by DNews and gives viewers a unique perspective on the process of reading. Watch the video… Continue reading Discuss: Your Brain on Fiction

No Right Way to Write Dialogue Tags

My natural inclination to write dialogue is as follows: "Your style is generic and boring," said Lisa." Notice I wrote said Lisa, rather than Lisa said. I can't place when I started using this particular syntax, or why I started using it. How do any of us decide on style and syntax, when the books we read are… Continue reading No Right Way to Write Dialogue Tags

Adventures in World-Building: Fantasy Religions

Religion is a staple in any fantasy world. And although our society is filled with worshipers of various faiths, creating a new religion for a novel, short story, or even table-top game is bound to be challenging. Here are a few elements to consider: Pantheon or Solo God? Your characters may worship a single god,… Continue reading Adventures in World-Building: Fantasy Religions

4 Essential Beta Readers (and 1 who’s super useful)

Every new short story or novel needs a few good beta readers. You can certainly go ahead and grab your mom, significant other, cousin, and crazy cat-lady aunt, but these aren't necessarily the best choices. There are few types of people you'll need to beta read if you want to maximize the benefit of these… Continue reading 4 Essential Beta Readers (and 1 who’s super useful)

The Charms of Cross-Genre Writing

When I hear the word "cross-genre", I instinctively picture Gene Wilder's Dr. Frederick Frankenstein and Peter Boyle's  Monster performing a tap dance to Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz". The visual says it all: easily identifiable figures of the horror genre set to musical stage for absurd effect. Comedy-horror, as it is best described, is just… Continue reading The Charms of Cross-Genre Writing