Category Archives: characters

10/80/10

“Ninety percent of everything is crap.” —Sturgeon’s Revelation Science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon meant that about fiction in particular, but since then (and not to take anything away from Mr. Sturgeon, before then) it’s become a sort of rule or … Continue reading

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I RANDOMLY GENERATED A RELIGION

…and here’s why, how, and what I ended up with… This is part of what at this point is just kind of a fun exercise, exploring the idea of writing a randomly generated fantasy novel as part of an effort to maybe write … Continue reading

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WHEN THE MOMENT PASSES YOUR STORY BY

How many times have I cautioned against following trends with your writing? Well, “current events” can be just as tricky. When I sat down in December 2019 to write the short story that follows, a lot of what was going … Continue reading

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SHOULD WE STOP CONJURING THE APOCALYPSE?

Right from the start let me make sure you know that I in no way subscribe to any version of the “Satanic Panic” or its second incarnation, which was to blame “violent video games” for any and every real life … Continue reading

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THE GENUINELY POPULAR CULTURE OF YOUR WORLD IS…

Start with the most basic premise that a story is characters in conflict, and the best stories are those that present the most fully realized characters—characters who feel like real people, however unreal their circumstances—so that no matter how outlandish … Continue reading

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WHAT I CAN’T TEACH YOU

As an editor I’ve always seen my role as mostly what can be described as “teacher.” That mindset also helped me move into that role more overtly in print, here, and in live and online courses, tutorials, and seminars—a world I need … Continue reading

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FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION AS INVENTED HISTORY

Are we all writing historical fiction, but the history is invented? When I was working as the Forgotten Realms novel line editor at Wizards of the Coast, this idea became something of a mantra to me. When it comes to … Continue reading

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ON “THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER”

Even if you aren’t writing hardboiled detective, crime, or mystery stories, I think pulp grandmaster Raymond Chandler’s 1950 introduction to “The Simple Art of Murder” is a must-read. Here he dissects the traditional mystery and really seems to be dismantling … Continue reading

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IN A LANGUAGE FAR, FAR AWAY

Some more from the old online worldbuilding course… If we begin with the basic concept that no one literally speaks English in either Westeros or in the galaxy far, far away in which Star Wars takes place then we have to assume … Continue reading

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PIXAR’S 22 RULES OF STORYTELLING

I bet you’ve seen these before—at least a few of them quoted here over the years. The list is all over the internet. I found it at iO9. But this week I’d like to share all twenty-two of what Pixar storyboard … Continue reading

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