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
Creating a fantasy world is a unique pleasure. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve survived a tedious lecture by drawing maps in the margins of my notes. There’s something invigorating and refreshing about conjuring an unfamiliar landscape in your mind and walking down its twisting passes. I’d wager us writers are never … Continue reading How to Create a Fantasy World
The box rested in Emily’s hand. Mud speckled her arms and her face and snarled her hair. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes as she examined it, how intensely her gaze scoured the surface as though its contents could save her. Porter leaned against a nearby tree – and this too I remember … Continue reading To The Words On The Tips Of Our Tongues
All stories have structure. Simple structures: the hero wants something, they attempt to get it, they are thwarted, and then they succeed. Complex Structures: frame narratives, flashbacks, multiple perspectives, subplots. Structure is the substance and shape of your story. It is the events that transpire, and it is the sequence and manner in which those … Continue reading How to Structure a Story
My favorite feeling is falling in love with a character. Grinning stupidly whenever they’re on screen or sobbing with them as they struggle. Watching them learn and grow, and cheering for them without restraint, and then that empty ache when the story is over. It’s a rare feeling. The greatest challenge for me when I … Continue reading Creating A Complex Character
How often have you heard the advice, “A good villain is the hero of their own story”? This line is a step in the right direction. But I find it simplistic and I find that it fails to encompass everything a villain should be. One of the most helpful things for me has been to … Continue reading Creating A Villain
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.