Category Archives: Writing - Page 2

Magic is fun!

There’s a lot to be read online and offline about the system of magic in world-building.

Alright, maybe not that much, but all of it is very interesting to me. I like magic. Always did. When I was little I was always in awe of fairy godmothers and sourcerers who could change the physical universe with a wave of their wand or a smart rhyme.

The success of Harry Potter and the popularity of Gandalf in recent pop culture just shows that I’m not alone there. But coming up with a system that makes sense in itself is an artform. Do wizards just know how to do stuff or do they have to go to school? Is using magic physically exhausting? Can you buy or sell magic? Can you use some magic but not other magic? Does it require a wand or a potion, or only the right thought or word?  Read more »

Where villains come from

I suspect some writers breed them in a dungeon below the privy. Or have a hive of them somewhere in the woods near a creepy cabin. It’s amazing what evil villains some authors can come up with!

(Insert envy here…)

Mine almost always start their life as a real person. I find it much easier to base characters on real people, and then go from there – changing this, adapting that, turning them inside out and put putting them back together in a different way. Read more »

Inspiration in unlikely places

Sometimes I have days where I have no inspiration at all. I kinda know where I want my story to go, but getting there seems like a drag.

A bit like commuting to work. Even though I enjoy my day job, sitting on the commuter train on the way to or from the city is a drag. Then again, sometimes it’s a fountain of inspiration.

A while ago the entire carriage was terrorized by a wailing child. I bet we’ve all been on a bus with one of those at some point. Everyone was pointedly staring past the mother, ignoring the noise. So did I, until I decided to have a look at the kid out of pure curiosity. Read more »

Accidental Race Creation

I’ve been busy world building again.

This time, I didn’t even mean to (honest!), it just happened.

I was writing away happily on the spice trader stories (which still don’t have a proper working title), when I quickly needed a character in a hurry. Usually I have no trouble coming up with random people, because most of the time they’re created to serve a certain minor purpose and don’t reappear again.

Seras needs to overhear something in a tavern, for example. Put two guys on the next table, make them discuss whatever Seras needs to discover to further the storyline. Give them faces, hats, cloaks, boots, throw in a mug of ale – done. Read more »

World Building: Why maps are so important

Every good story needs a setting. Whether that’s a real one (say, New York), a pre-made one (for example The Forgotten Realms) or a completely new made-up one.

Sometimes it just serves as a background for the story to take place somewhere. Sometimes it becomes an entire universe in itself (like Discworld). The important thing is to get it right. If your entire story takes place inside a roadside diner, does it really matter whether it is in Texas or in Iowa? But if your characters are tramping across a continent, you need to know where the hell they are, or you will trip yourself up. And your readers.

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