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

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

Adventures in World-building: Writing Local Color

Imagination can take a writer far; what it can't do is take a writer to the moon and back whenever it pleases. Writing Fantasy is a wonderful experience, but writing local color in Fantasy to make your towns, villages, and cities appear dynamic is a difficult task. Here are some ideas and resources to consider… Continue reading Adventures in World-building: Writing Local Color

What’s a Portal?: Gateways and Their Place in Fantasy Fiction

The portal-quest fantasy is one to love and one to be confused by. Surprising to many readers, who believe The Lord of the Rings is what Farrah Mendelsohn calls an immersive fantasy, Tolkien wrote what really functions as a portal-quest. The truth is, Frodo passes through a gateway of sorts: he leaves his idyllic Shire… Continue reading What’s a Portal?: Gateways and Their Place in Fantasy Fiction