Aristotle Says “Pitch Your Book”

Western literature’s oldest critic tells us why critique partners help us avoid the idiot plot… .

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Cool fantasy maps make inconsistent stories totally okay, right?

I finished revising The Last Omen last week, and have moved on to trying a new approach to short story writing.  The novel came up in conversation with my wife two nights ago and I discovered, yet again, that telling the events of the story does wonders for ironing out the plot.

My wife is not a fantasy reader, in fact, she reads very little fiction, and since discovering audiobooks has gotten most of her “literature” from Audible.  She does love a good supernatural story, but mostly in contemporary form, and on TV or a movie.  I think fantasy readers are especially forgiving when it comes to certain elements of plot as long as there is cool stuff going on.  As an example of this attitude, Brandon Sanderson’s most important law of magic is “err on the side of awesome.”  We write and read fantasy because it’s fun, and because it satisfies our craving for the stupendous, but someone really into that side of things is not the best critic when it comes to plot. Continue reading “Aristotle Says “Pitch Your Book””

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Worldbuilder’s Disease: Oops, I Did It Again

In which I alienate writers who use index cards.

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Tools for writing this week: quotation mark sticky notes, D&D Player’s Handbook, and the ever-watchful Elsa.

Earlier this week I celebrated getting to the climactic chapter of my novel Firesage, where pregnant sorceress Elspyth Stonehouse, and her rival Bálarmos of Dwynhagen finally confront each other over her husband’s traitorous attempts to make the magical academy independent of their warlord king. Everything comes together in this chapter, and as written, I thought it was very exciting. The two groups of sorcerors clash on the grounds of the academy itself, along with a group of soldiers: there’s a huge conflagration, quite a bit of tragic drama, some heartbreak, and different magics that no one was expecting! On top of that it all starts out with an awesome catfight between Elspyth and another sorceress: an epic “Hands off my man!” leads to an all-out battle. Continue reading “Worldbuilder’s Disease: Oops, I Did It Again”