Rome Italy Roma - Creative Commons by gnuckx (3208740782)

Ten-step Fictional Empire-builders’ Checklist

In the current fantasy-fiction challenge, our protagonist is in revolt against the Evil Empire de Jour. Which raised the question, what goes onto our fictional empire-builders’ checklist? With inspiration from the Mythcreants blog, here’s a ten-step questionnaire for creating detailed and credible Imperial powers.

Twenty Characters to Start a Book

Twenty Characters to Start a Book?

According to Christine Frazier’s Better Novel Project you need twenty characters to start a book. Her post advocates this as an essential kick-starter for pop-fiction. It cites first chapters for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games (19 each) and Twilight (24). Even generalising for genre-fiction, twenty characters in Chapter One seems a bit much.

Fantasy tropes we love and hate

Fantasy Genre Tropes We Love and Hate

I’ve been challenged to write an epic fantasy genre story, so I’m reading a lot of current fantasy fiction. It varies from ‘meh’ to ‘aarrrgghh!’ not only for the quality of the writing, but the vast number of fantasy genre tropes we love and hate. A trope is any type of figure of speech, theme,…

How long is a pragraph?

How long is a paragraph?

Today’s readers spend so much time looking at screens, a dense wall of text with little or no white space sends them running. Online and digital devices mean short paragraphs are the new standard. So how long is a paragraph?

Edvard Munch - The Scream

Seven Deadly Fears of Writing

What’s been stopping you from producing that magnum opus? Taken from the opening of Jurgen Wolff’s 2007  Your Writing Coach, what follows is our take on his Seven Deadly Fears of Writing; those fears that stop would-be, and even some professional writers getting on with the job of writing.

Kitty Bank (AliExpress)

Artwork for blog posts

As I have to keep telling clients, the bad old days of text-only blogs is over. Every post needs at least one image at the top so that it has some visual interest on the page and in any list of search results. You need not only to find that image, but know how and…

Blog posting how-to

How-to: Write a Blog Post

A couple of years ago, I calculated that I’d racked up about four and a half thousand blog posts across all my personal and professional projects. Yes, I’ve been doing this a while. I won’t say there’s a set formula (if there is, I break it regularly), but there are definitely good practices.

Harry Potter Outline

Outlining a book

  Sixty, seventy, eighty thousand words or more. That’s your typical novel. Somehow you have to get to there from a blank page. Unless you’re an accomplished free-writer, that’s where an outline can help.

Art of FOil Fencing - two covers

The Art of the Good Cover: the Re-design (re-post)

Back to where we started. Earlier this year we revamped The Art of Foil Fencing with a new cover because the original was, well, terrible. It didn’t even fit alongside our other draft covers on our imprint, never mind anyone else’s. In a search results list, you’d swipe right past it. Something had to be…