Category Archives: characters

DOES FANTASY HAVE TO BE MEDIEVAL?

I’m going to answer that right away: No, it doesn’t. By now we’ve all read “urban fantasy”—stories set in the contemporary world but with the addition of magic and monsters—or historical fantasy set in Victorian times, or combined with the … Continue reading

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FANTASY AND/OR SCIENCE FICTION AND/OR HORROR

I’ve written before on the difference between fantasy and science fiction, and even how we can combine genres like science fiction-horror or science-fantasy, but in reading Science Fiction Handbook, Revised (1975) by L. Sprague de Camp & Catherine de Camp, their take on the subject … Continue reading

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HOW TO ENJOY WRITING

I have been guilty of perpetuating the… myth? feeling? cliché?… that writing is not just difficult but effectively impossible, no one should be encouraged to try it, only mentally ill people are attracted to it in the first place, and … Continue reading

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WHOSE POV SHOULD IT BE?

Building a bit on my post from three weeks ago, “Write What Your Characters Know,” which was really all about point of view (POV), let’s look at one fundamental question every fiction author needs to ask at the beginning of … Continue reading

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WRITE WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS KNOW

By now I think we’ve generally disposed of the old saw: Write what you know. This is, in any case, especially bad advice if what you’re writing can in any way be described as fantasy, science fiction, or horror. If … Continue reading

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PANTSING MY WAY THROUGH AN OUTLINE

In an effort to dispel the ongoing nonsense “battle” between pantsers—authors who get an idea and start writing “by the seat of their pants”—and plotters—authors who write detailed outlines to which they slavishly adhere throughout the writing process—I’d like to show you … Continue reading

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SOME THOUGHTS ON HORROR

All fiction is shared experience. Authors reach out to some unknown other people, across time and distance, and say: “I felt this.” We look to horror in the same way we look to all genres of fiction, to experience what … Continue reading

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APPEAL TO ALL FIVE SENSES—WITH EXAMPLES!

I’ve written before about how we want to try to appeal to all five sense in our writing. Not all five senses in one paragraph, mind you, and especially not in one sentence—that would be quite a challenge. But pick … Continue reading

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CHARACTERS SHOULD “MENACE” THEMSELVES

I’ve been reading Steven James’s book Story Trumps Structure, and that, combined with ongoing work with editing clients, has got me thinking about story structure, plot, and the driver behind all of those things: character motivation. James starts his book by … Continue reading

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WHAT WRITING ACTUALLY IS

“Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness.” —Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction” We write in … Continue reading

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