Archive for the ‘Writing Technique’ Category

Stories that Teach: Adventures on the Crossroads of Fiction and Non-fiction

by Alex Woolf

One trend that I think is likely to have more enduring appeal is narrative non-fiction (NNF): the blending of story elements with non-fiction. Typically, this involves the author inventing characters and a simple plot device, such as a journey. Along the way, the characters discover real-world information, be it about science, history or geography. The idea is that by employing narrative techniques such as characterization, dramatic tension, dialogue and atmosphere, the process of information acquisition is made a lot more compelling.

Military Logistics for Fantasy Writers

We all know ‘an army marches on its stomach,’ but it’s not like Napoleon discovered something new. Vegetius (De re militari) and Sun Tzu (The Art of War) were well aware of this concept, as was Alexander the Great (Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, 1980). And it wasn’t news to them, either. Pre-modern military commanders knew this; they planned for this. They paid attention to logistics.

Fantasy writers should, too.

Lovable Predictability: The Pleasures and Challenges of Writing a Children’s Fiction Series

by Alex Woolf

“Why do we always have to reinvent the wheel?” my editor once asked me.

When a new book is launched, it’s like introducing a stranger to a largely disinterested world. Potential readers know nothing about its characters or the kind of plot they might expect. Publishers are forced to spend a great deal of money on marketing to give the book a comforting, pseudo-familiar feel. The title and cover design will be reminiscent of other, similar books that readers might already have enjoyed.

From The Inside Out: Worldbuilding Through Extrapolation

by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

It’s virtually impossible to do ALL of your SFF worldbuilding prior to writing your book/story. How much weight is given to each stage depends on the author (some prefer to do a lot before starting, some build nothing before writing). My own preference is to build the foundation–just enough to get me started, then build more along the way, and go back and change stuff after I’m done.

The Art of the Playlist

by Paul Jessup

Ever since I first started taking writing seriously as a teenager, I’ve always written to music. Back then it was a bit more difficult than it is now, in the days of Spotify and gigantic playlists that can stretch on for hours or even days. Back in those days I would make mix tapes for my writing, each story and scene would get its own mixtape of songs that I felt carried the tone and the emotion of what I’m trying to convey.

How to Avoid Writing That’s as Clear as a Mountain Stream

by Chris Sumberg

The phrase “clear as a mountain stream” gets splashed around pretty loosely, sometimes in reference to clear writing but also in reference to the sometimes not-at-all-clear names of actual bodies of water, clear or otherwise. When you take time to examine the hard, cold facts, it makes you wonder if writing that is as clear as a mountain stream is, in fact, very clear at all.