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

Discuss: Writing Process and Regiment

There's an idea floating around out there in the literary community that suggests a strict, x number of words milestone per day to qualify one as a real writer. I've talked before about my indifference to structure; if some preparation or plan works for you I figure there's no reason to call in the chaos. But… Continue reading Discuss: Writing Process and Regiment

Frame Narrative Fiction

As a lover of fantasy I'm often drawn to stories built on a foundation of lore, myth, and history. If a fantasy is good, I feel immersed and intrigued. The story should feel as though it operates within a functional, developed environment. To accomplish this, many authors write lore and legend to give their fantasy world… Continue reading Frame Narrative Fiction

Made for Television: Why Some Books Translate

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is a powerhouse. Even stronger, and perhaps more popular, is the book series’ television counterpart. In light of the fourth season, which premieres tonight at 9 PM EST, I’m inclined to think about the characteristics of books that translate well on television and film. Three… Continue reading Made for Television: Why Some Books Translate

Sacrificing Audience For Description

While discussing "An Outpost of Progress" by Joseph Conrad with my students, I learned that a number of them disliked the story solely based on its length and "wordiness". The latter comment caught me off guard; I don't perceive Conrad as wordy at all. When I think about it, however, it seems that my students… Continue reading Sacrificing Audience For Description