N.K. Jemison pushes boundaries, and it’s exactly what the genre of fantasy needs. The City We Became, released in 2020, is a herald of a new wave of storytelling. Authors like Jemison reject the tropes that have mired fantasy for so long. In a genre that should be without limitations, too many writers impose the … Continue reading The City We Became: Refreshing Fantasy for a Modern Era
Okay, okay, so maybe the title is an exaggeration. After all, I am conveying these ideas to you through words. So they can’t be totally meaningless. But this is still a fun thought experiment, and one that might be able to help you in your own writing. In order to think about the phrase, “Words … Continue reading Words Are Meaningless
I see her again just outside of Pamplona. She walks on the shoulder of the road. Her stride meanders, wobbly and goofy looking, the toes of her boots scratching the back of her calves leaving dusty streaks. She’s maybe a hundred yards in front of me. Besides us, the road is empty and straight forwards … Continue reading Finisterre
Character arcs are the bread and butter of storytelling. Many people argue that there is no such thing as “plot”, there is just a character undergoing change as they interact with their surroundings. I often find it helpful to think of a story as just a series of choices made by a flawed character. So … Continue reading 5 Easy Steps to Make a Character Arc
Dialogue is one of the trickiest things to get right. But, when done well, it can carry an entire book on its back. Dialogue that flows, that sounds like the characters, that means something. A reader is willing to read almost anything so long as the dialogue is good. Here are six ways to immediately … Continue reading 6 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Dialogue
Lesbian sci-fi space necromancers in an Agatha Christie style murder mystery. That’s the premise of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. And, honestly, if you’re not already sold, I don’t think we can be friends. In all seriousness, though, this is one of the best fantasy books to come out in the last few years. … Continue reading Gideon the Ninth: The Best Fantasy Book of 2019
Jake leaves the house and goes down to the rocks next to the sea and takes a cigarette from his pocket but the lighter won’t light because of the wind, even though he shields it with his hand and shakes it. He puts the cigarette and the lighter away. Scratches his head. The rocks are … Continue reading The Weight of the Seagull
Don’t use adverbs. Don’t use adverbs. I have heard this advice from a hundred sources a hundred times. It seems to be the one thing that style guides and literary critics can all agree on. Adverbs bad. But how useful is this advice? Is there a way that, actually, adverbs good? An adverb often serves … Continue reading How Bad Are Adverbs, Really?
The car skips and bounces down the road. Gravel kicks up in streaks of dust behind the wheels. I look out the window and lean my head against the glass. “Well?” Amy asks. She’s driving. I’m in the backseat, stretched out, my legs pressing against one window and my head against the other. I look … Continue reading Trail’s End
It is rare for a show to grip me so fully as Avatar: The Last Airbender, by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. I rewatched it last week. I went through the entire sixty episode show in five days. I practically breathed Avatar, I was so invested. Avatar tells the story of the titular Avatar, a … Continue reading Avatar: The Last Airbender is Storytelling Perfection
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