Writing

Establishing Important Characters

A story is not the people or things in it, or even the events that occur. It is a fully-expressed person, facing a particular set of challenges, operating within a specific worldview. When you don’t fully understand your story, it’s difficult to find the right … read more »

Seven Tips for Receiving Feedback

Writing a bunch of words down in some semblance of order is a challenging and involved process, but it’s only the first step of crafting a story.* Practically no one can sell a first draft, and frankly you shouldn’t try. First drafts do not represent … read more »

Five Books on Writing Fantasy, Compared

Of the many books on writing, almost all are for a mainstream audience. Instead of stoking a fantasy writer’s enthusiasm, they can kill it with example after example featuring the humdrum lives of Harry and Sally. That’s why we need genre-specific guidance from time to time. Read more »

Ten Ways to Inspire Your Description

Good description is meaningful and imaginative, but it can be difficult to conjure an exciting rendition of every tree and shrub in your story. If you’re struggling against another bland paragraph, here are ten ways to give it some interest. Read more »

Should You Show or Tell?

“Show; don’t tell” is one of the most popular adages in writing circles. For many writers, it’s tried and true advice. However, the real rules behind showing and telling are more complex than this simple statement suggests. There is a smooth gradient between showing and … read more »

Staying Interested in Your Work

Do you get bored with your story right after you figure out the ending? Do you lose motivation before you can turn your concept into a draft? If so, you’re not alone. Many people who want to write lose interest in new ideas very quickly. … read more »

Should You Outline?

There are few greater slug matches between writers than the debate over using an outline to plan a story. The line is drawn firmly in the sand, with “planners” on one side, and “pantsers” on the other. Each side has big names claiming their way is the only … read more »

Six Tips for Doing More With Less

Speculative fiction readers are interested in different things. Some of them are passionate about characters, some want to explore new worlds, and others look for a riveting plot. It’s easy to make any of these elements memorable if you throw enough words at them. While … read more »

The Four Rules of Using Fake Words

If your story takes place in another world, none of your characters are really speaking English. They aren’t telling stories or recording history in English; they’re doing it in the language you invented for them. An English language book describing their journey is clearly an anachronism. Read more »

The Myth Called “Running Out of Ideas”

I was astounded when several close friends told me I would eventually “run out of ideas” and have to quit blogging. They each said it independently, and it applied not just to me, but to every blogger at Mythcreants. If this notion of idea scarcity doesn’t sound strange to you, let me … read more »