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Mythology, Origins, History, Language, Culture, Religion

Mythology, Origins, History, Language, Culture, Religion

Photo by 贝莉儿 NG on Unsplash Readers want to be transported out of their reality and into a brand new world, but that only works if the imaginary setting feels real to them. Fleshing out your worlds by giving them their own history, folklore, languages, and cultures can create the illusion of a world which feels lived in,…

Genre Rules & How to Break Them

Genre Rules & How to Break Them

Image Attributed to Mark Dixon via Flickr By the time someone reads the opening line of a new book, they already have certain expectations. The book’s stated genre and the genre tags used to market it online indicate to the reader what likely awaits them in the story. And since most fans return to their…

Slogging Through the Mushy Middle

Slogging Through the Mushy Middle

Photo by Валерия on Unsplash It’s easy to get pumped up about writing the start of a book. New worlds, new characters, exciting possibilities! And after the inciting incident, the reader has typically been presented with an intriguing question—will the characters fall in love? find the treasure? defeat the villain? etc.—so you also get excited to write the…

Genre Setting, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Genre Setting, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

If readers want exciting storylines, plot twists, relationships, and characters, they can find them in good books from pretty much any genre. But speculative fiction has something which makes it stand out. Fantasy and science fiction authors have total freedom in creating the imaginary settings of their stories. These settings aren’t simply used as background…

The Beginning in an Age of Distraction

The Beginning in an Age of Distraction

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash Billions of human beings now have a rectangle in their pocket that can access near infinite amounts of video, images, games, news, forums, blogs, and feline-based gifs. This being the case, you should ask yourself why—in the holy name of Google!—any of them should bother sitting down to read your book. Is…

Insecurity and Voice as a Writer

Insecurity and Voice as a Writer

Photo by Christopher Brown on Unsplash Find your voice. That’s a piece of advice writers are given too often, and frankly, it’s poppycock (pardon my British). Why? Because you already have a voice. You’ve been talking since your toddler years, developing speech patterns, favorite words, and maybe even your own catch phrases. Chances are, while driving, you’ve had…

Genre Setting: Alternative Earth

Genre Setting: Alternative Earth

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash Speculative Fiction, at its heart, is a game of “whatifsmanship.” What if Faster Than Light Travel was really achievable? What if Elves and Dwarves and Orcs really existed? What if Charlize Theron could really find Seth Rogen appealing? One of the most intriguing forms of fiction then is “Alternative Earth” fiction. Take…

Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience

Photo by Justice Amoh on Unsplash Unless your name is J.K. Rowling, your writing isn’t going to appeal to everyone. And that’s okay. In fact, it makes your job easier, since it allows you to write for, and market to, a specific audience. To do this successfully, you’ll need to identify who your readers will likely be, then…

Beats Vs. Outline Vs. Discovery

Beats Vs. Outline Vs. Discovery

Image Attributed to Bs0u10e0 via Flickr There are as many ways to write a story as there are grains of sand on a beach. OK, so it isn’t really a famous quote, but it actually happens to be not far from the truth. If you put twenty authors in a room and ask them about…

5 Ways to Hone Your POV

5 Ways to Hone Your POV

Photo by Jonas Lee on Unsplash Today’s publishing market is more competitive than ever. To stand out, us writers are constantly asking ourselves how we can tell our stories in a way that no one else can. How can we narrow the gap between a story’s ultimate potential and its ultimate execution? If we expect our books to…