Massive Map and Worldbuilding Updates

I recently received a very kind Goodreads review where she said my worldbuilding was so strong I probably knew the best place to grow grapes in my created world. This was the second compliment I received on worldbuilding within the week (and then a third!), which has me thinking on the concept as a whole. It also has me planning several posts in the near future looking at worldbuilding on a macro level along with critiques as to how to assess it. But before I get all that out, I realized I needed to step up my worldbuilding game here on the site. So I invite you check out my MAPS section I updated all this afternoon. So yeah, that's a lot to read. Like about 15 single-spaced pages by my coun

The Good In the Bad

There’s been a lot of talk about Did Not Finish (DNF) books in the internet back alleys I haunt, which are the books one puts down without finishing in case anyone is wondering. And as a reader, I completely understand DNFs: Life is just too short to waste on writing that does not touch you. But as an author, the best thing that ever happened to me was not being able to DNF. For those not in the know, most screenwriters will work as readers at some point, those poor (usually unpaid) individuals who pore through agents’/ production companies’ slush piles to try and find that rare gold nugget amidst the dross. Readers’ job is to make it through these (usually terrible) scripts and then distill

All Fantasy is Cultural Appropriation. In the Best Possible Way.

NOTE: This post appeared earlier this year on Leona's Blog of Shadows and I'm reposting it here because I like all my stuff in one place. Cultural appropriation is seldom said with a positive connotation, and for good reason. Because nothing is more offensive than seeing suburban kids dolled up in hip-hop attire, or idiots donning red wigs and drinking themselves to oblivion because it’s Saint Paddy’s Day. I think we can all agree that for both those examples punishment is in order. Preferably corporal and with extreme prejudice. You know, because of their extreme prejudice. But in the case of the fantasy genre, cultural appropriation is necessary; a cultural and historical shorthand aimed a

Villains Before Heroes

I truly wish “Vills before ‘roes” was a common jackass statement akin to “bros before hoes,” but alas I have yet been unable to instill the phrase into the popular vernacular. However, it’s something you might want to keep in mind as you structure your story, because, as Batman will prove, villains make your hero. I mean, we all agree Batman is cool, what with his tragic concept, the gadgets, cool cars, detective abilities and completely hetero-relationship with his young ward, but it’s his rogue’s gallery that really cements him as one of the best superheroes (and Superman as the worst). And heroes, especially superheroes, are often reactive in that they need to STOP the evil deeds of their

Heart of Stone Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. And if the 80s taught us anything, it’s the Dead Can Dance, and with any luck so can golems as we follow Ben Galley’s protagonist Task in his latest novel Heart of Stone. Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time. Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters. Now, he has a new master to serve a

Entish Blood Sausage

If we had a nickel for every time some wisenheimer demanded a vegetarian BBQ recipe from us, we’d be millionaires instead of hundredaires. And honestly, we see the intended humor of expecting vegetables as a main dish from an institution whose moto is “You say monster manual, we say ingredients list.” But the joke’s on these jokers since we are connoisseurs of Entish blood pudding. But wait, our tormentors say, don’t you at Bugbear BBQ have a policy of not eating sentient creatures? Why yes we do, with one exception, we answer. Then how can you eat ents?! With anthropology, we answer. Ents, for people who have been living under Tolkien-free rocks (so, not dwarves), are giant plant-based crea

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