Category Archives: characters

WRITE FROM YOUR SELF

I’m writing this from the continuing COVID-19 crisis, the accelerating economic fallout, and the inevitable political firestorms that rage in and around those things and all the endemic problems those things shine a brighter and brighter light on. This is … Continue reading

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LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING YOU ALREADY KNOW

Two tweets stuck out to me yesterday. One was from an indie author bemoaning her poor sales. Ads she’d paid for didn’t result in any sales. And she said she was going to give up on her book and assumed … Continue reading

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FIVE THINGS EVERY ASPIRING AUTHOR SHOULD KNOW

This article was originally guest-posted on the now defunct blog Grasping for the Wind in November of 2010. As I promised last week, I’ll resurrect a few of those dozen or so posts, starting with these five nuggets for those … Continue reading

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FAREWELL TO THE OBJECTIVIST “HERO”

If you’ve been following Fantasy Author’s Handbook for any length of time you know how reluctant I am to get into politics—something I avoid not just in my work but in my day-to-day life to the absolute best of my … Continue reading

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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “PLOTLESS” NOVEL, DAMN IT

This week I’d like to channel some of my COVID-19 quarantine frustrations by quickly and angrily debunking a bit of literati bullshit that has always pissed me off. One of many ways in which people without imagination try to belittle … Continue reading

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WORLDBUILDING THE OTHER

All fantasy authors are free to create their own elves, and all science fiction authors are free to create their own aliens. But the key to this are the words “their own.” If the elves in your fantasy novel are … Continue reading

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WHEN CHARACTERS PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING

Almost all of us are engaging, this first full week of April, 2020, in some version of “stay home, stay healthy,” or “shelter in place,” while CORVID-19 continues to have its way with us. I won’t get into why we’re … Continue reading

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CAN YOU LEARN GOOD STORYTELLING FROM A BAD WRITER?

The next run of my online Pulp Fiction Workshop starts up day after tomorrow (March 5) and it’s got me thinking about pulp “master” Lester Dent again. The course centers around the famous “how to” article “Pulp Paper Master Fiction … Continue reading

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IN SEARCH OF THE MACGUFFIN

Apparently coined by screenwriter Angus MacPhail, maybe in the late 1930s, a MacGuffin is a story device that’s as old as stories themselves. Hell, the Golden Fleece is a MacGuffin. Let’s let Alfred Hitchcock, one of the all time masters … Continue reading

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DON’T BE BORING!

Genre authors have one enemy in common and it is boredom. Our number one goal, our Prime Directive, our First Commandment, our first principle is: Never be boring. Our readers come to us for a cure for boredom. I am … Continue reading

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