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Writer vs Author

There is a difference between being a writer and an author. This may not seem noteworthy to some, but to me it makes a necessary distinction. Writing is a literary pursuit; authoring is genre grounded. Now, what does that mean? Read more…

Writing as a Reader

I come to genre writing as a reader; much the same as a musician who comes to composing as a listener. Craft is a necessity to grant the tools used to write what sounds good; what moves the story; what evokes the listener’s emotion; what fits the ear’s expectation. Craft does not drive, it enables, and this fits into my assertion that authors and writers fulfill similar roles, but use very different methods to bring about results. More on that in an upcoming post, but I’ve chewed on that identity schism, and I think it rings true enough, at least for me. Read more…

Why My Dragons Aren’t Nice

I’ve noticed two distinct types of dragons in fantasy literature. The first is an evil, demonized creature that must be defeated to save the kingdom. This beast breathes fire and destroys villages before making off with the sheep. The second is the benevolent dragon that is a companion to the hero and often attached by some sort of bond that links dragon and protagonist/rider. It gets scratched behind the ear by small children and purrs in the presence of old women. In my series, Ashandor Chronicles, I write about a dragon that has a deep bond with its rider, but still retains the base instincts of a dangerous predator. I’ll take a moment to explain why I chose to break away from the normal tropes. Read more…

That’s Why It’s Called a Cliffhanger

A reviewer wrote that the end of The One Rider made her angry, because I left too many plot-lines open that would need to be resolved in Stone of Power. While that may, at first reading, seem like a negative comment, I take it mean that I’m doing my job as an author of serialized fiction. While book-length plot-points should have a level of resolution, I want readers to “need” Stone of Power, not just “want” it. It’s this “need-building” that keeps a series moving forward. The cliffhanger has been an integral part of serials since the old days of Saturday Matinees featuring Buck Rogers, Commander Cody, and Flash Gordon. I know. I was there, and always convinced to “tune in next week” because my hero was hanging from a cliff, hence the term “cliff-hanger.” Let’s take a look at this literary technique and some of its most celebrated users. Read more…

Wizards That Go Bump In The Night

It’s time to address magic in fantasy literature, and much can be learned from the world of Sword-and-Sorcery fiction. Many of the magicians and wizards of the modern fantasy genre have taken a turn where they are represented as kind and benevolent souls working for the good of the world they inhabit. As authors, we can, too easily, succumb to this type of thinking and forgot the unhealthy nature of magic and its ultimate end of perverting the natural order. Just the same as the paradox presented in time travel stories, the smallest act of magic changes the nature of destiny and re-orders the expected timeline of events. Rather than bore you with rehashed thoughts, I’ll let the following quote from C. L. Werner, author of the Warhammer series, speak on its own. Read more…

Red Hair, Black Hair, Blond Hair, Squirrel!

It would seem that one of my characters had a dye-job between books. While reading through the finished portions of Stone of Power¸ I discovered that one of my characters had changed hair color and another managed to change the spelling of her name. How rude! As authors of serial fiction, what can we do to keep the details straight? In this post, I’ll look at the best way I know to ward off dye-jobs. Read more…

Retro Reads #2 – Great Sci-Fi From the Golden Years

This is the second list of some of the speculative fiction from the golden era, books that have remained classics throughout the years.  It’s not hard to find good science fiction, but there are certain works that we should read or re-read to remind ourselves of the stories that sparked our own desire to write about an imagined future that holds a place in our hearts.  This will be an ongoing series of posts that will spotlight books that influenced the development of thought during my formative years.  There is nothing magical about this list, it is nothing more than a compilation of my own personal tastes.  I hope you find something that piques your interest.  And so, here’s a little Isaac Asimov. Read more…

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