There’s a story behind every photograph. Some photos aren’t interesting to everyone, whether that’s Aunt Jenny at the Hootenanny, or Uncle Jim at the Barn-Raising. Others are fascinating for the sheer fact that they exist at all. Take the above Samurai Posing by the Sphinx, shot in 1863.
All we need now are some ninjas, and this photo achieves transcendence. There may be ninjas there already. I’m told there are three in this article!
How many stories could you tell without actually knowing the history behind a photo? …
Prologues have such a bad reputation — hanging out on the wrong side of the tracks, smoking cigarettes and getting tattoos — that some readers will roll up the windows and drive past quickly.
Never in the history of humankind has there been a more divisive subject.
There has never been a war, a battle or a barroom brawl without first some poor soul uttered the word, “prologue”. Don’t bother looking it up. That’s a fact.
And yet, here we are.
Here we are —
Prologues are loved/hated depending on the individual and I’m not here to tell you…
“It was in keeping with the practice of mankind for us to accept an empire that was offered to us, and if we refused to give it up under the pressure of three of the strongest motives, fear, honor, and self-interest.”
— Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War 1.76
Villains, enemies, allies, and friends should all act with motivation. It’s easy to tap into with the “good guys” but it becomes trickier with antagonists. This largely stems from the fact that we don’t really want to sympathize with the Big Bad. …
They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they want to.
― Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
Alright lads and ladies, I know these dungeon guard meetings are boring, but they’re important so pay attention. First, a quick moment of silence for our newly departed: Guillaume, Bob, and Pedro. …
One of the coolest fighting styles — a real, that is — is sword and parrying dagger. Writers who are looking to engage the Rule of Cool, but also remain steadfastly in the realm of historic reality should really jump on this one. Shields often get a the short end of the spear, because they seem bulky, and bulky is generally not cool in a fight. But parrying daggers are fast and nimble, which means your fighter can be fast and nimble while dual wielding, which is always cool!
If you’re like me from back in the day, you hear…
Congratulations! You’ve completed your manuscript, your best friend, spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend has given you their obligatory ego-stroke, and you’re ready to experience what readers “really think”. You’ve engaged beta-readers or signed up for Critters Workshop. The future is so bright, you’ve gotta wear shades!
But, before you open that email, or login at Goodreads, you should prepare yourself . . . for your eventual fame, of course!
Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to get ready.
This is not advice. This is mandatory. Sit down with a shot glass and a bottle of something at least 80 proof. Price is…
Head, Shoulders, Chests and Those!
Breasts are a wonderful topic, and in my previous article on worldbuilding with female characters, I briefly touched on a subject that is sore among some writers. It also nicely highlights exactly what I was talking about in regard to world and character building. If you have a child-like character, why is he able to go out to the forest, rip up the biggest tree, and then start slaughtering armies? …
Worldbuilding With Female Characters
There have been, in almost any era, women warriors: Harriet Tubman, Fu Hao, Tomoe Gozen (of whom I’m writing a book), Boudicca, Arachidamia. They generally stand out as the exception, rather than the rule, rendering them even more exceptional. Tomoe Gozen was said to have been incredibly strong, not just carrying a sword, but one that was oversized. That we have so few suggests that due to social and cultural constraints and pressures — as a particular lens was applied to the investigation and writing of history — many women warriors have been relegated to the…
With “The Tudors” and “The Borgias” I would have thought the question of premarital sex during the Medieval era (or really any era) would have been answered. Heck, basic human behavior, which certainly hasn’t changed much in 500 years, let alone 50,000–100,000 years, should have answered the question from a common-sense perspective. Alas, fantasy writers, usually wonderful people with very open minds and inquisitive natures, seem to have locked this one down and thrown away the key without ever looking inside the chest.
Award-winning author of steampunk and urban fantasy.