Posts on the craft of writing

Ten-step Fictional Empire-builders’ Checklist

Fictional Empire-builders' Checklist; Rome Italy Roma - Creative Commons by gnuckx (3208740782)What goes onto our fictional empire-builders’ checklist? This is where essential world-building for culture and setting begins.

In the current fantasy-fiction challenge, our protagonist is in revolt against the Evil Empire de Jour.  With inspiration from the Mythcreants blog, here’s a ten-step questionnaire for creating detailed and credible Imperial powers.

Twenty Characters to Start a Book?

Twenty Characters to Start a Book

According to Christine Frazier’s Better Novel Project you need twenty characters to start a book. Her post advocates this as an essential kick-starter for pop-fiction. It cites first chapters for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games (19 each) and Twilight (24). Even generalising for genre-fiction, twenty characters in Chapter One seems a bit much.

Do The Worst Thing

Do The Worst ThingThere’s a piece of writing advice which goes ‘do the worst thing to your protagonist you can think of.’

Taken literally, you end up in murder, torture, kidnapping, earthquake, fire and flood. Not exactly genre-appropriate if you’re writing The Ladies’ Sewing Circle Diaries. Or a rom-com. …

Fantasy Genre Tropes We Love and Hate

Fantasy tropes we love and hateI’ve been challenged to write an epic fantasy genre story, so I’m reading a lot of current fantasy fiction. It varies from ‘meh’ to ‘aarrrgghh!’ not only for the quality of the writing, but the vast number of fantasy genre tropes we love and hate.

A trope is any type of figure of speech, theme, image, character, or plot element that is used many times. All genres have them, but the fantasy genre is piled higher than Khazad Dum (too geeky already?).