How to write fantasy, and other aspects of the craft.
Delve deeper into the world behind the legends. There’s a lot more to fantasy than meets the eye. It’s a real trip. This page is for aspiring writers and fantasy fans who like to understand how to make magic.
Scott Fitzgerald Gray has been flogging his imagination professionally since deciding he wanted to be a writer and abandoning any hope of a real career in about the fourth grade. That was the year that speculative fiction and fantasy kindled his voracious appetite for literary escapism and a love of roleplaying gaming that still drives [...]
All good epic fantasy stories have a map. I suppose you’re thinking of Lord of the Rings, but my first epic fantasy was Winnie-the-Pooh. Really? A.A. Milne is often overlooked as a fantasy author, yet most people would have no problem classifying Watership Down by Richard Adams as animal fantasy, or even heroic fantasy. Pooh Bear was my first hero. He went on quests. He had companions. Strange creatures inhabited his world, but I grew to love them all, even the terrifying Woozles. And right at the start, there was a map, which I could pore over and imagine all the adventures that could happen, and what the places might be like.
When you’re just starting out as a new fantasy author, publishing can seem like approaching a dark pit guarded by monsters. The harder you try the bigger the monsters become. As an author and small publisher I get approached regularly for help. Here’s a real email that might represent your state of mind: Good Day, [...]
If you’re looking for the best fantasy novels for the Amazon Kindle a good place to start is the Amazon Kindle Fantasy Bestseller lists. These rankings are fast-moving, but today shows: 1. A Dance with Dragons (Ice & Fire: Book 5) George R.R. Martin, $14.99 2. A Game of Thrones (Ice & Fire: Book 1) [...]
How does an epic fantasy come into being? What is it like writing fantasy? And how have things changed in the digital age? I recently chatted with South African speculative fiction writer Cristy Zinn about such things. You can check the original interview out on cristyzinn.com. Aside from the blog, where she writes about her [...]
It’s important have a clear voice, but how long should one spend chasing the lost apostrophes in a 650 page epic fantasy novel?
If you’re going to write a new fantasy novel that starts with a map, you have two paths: you can choose to be just like Tolkien, or not at all like Tolkien. You get a poor kind of mirror-image, written in the negative space that surrounds The Lord of the Rings, or cliché after cliché (magic ring, dark lord, orphaned hero, stupid orcs, wise elves, dark riders, ancient language, runes, abandoned underground civilisations, dragons…). Write like Tolkien? Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.
Ever wondered how fantasy authors put together an imagined world? Some books can transport you to worlds that seem so real you begin to wonder if the author was really there. What makes them so convincing, and how does an author begin to imagine a world that doesn’t exist? I’ve been living in a fantasy world for the past decade and have learned some strange things about fantasy you probably wouldn’t expect.
Fantastic! You’ve written a fantasy book. You need to find a literary agent for UK and USA publishers because publishers don’t look at unsolicited manuscripts (or so they say). You need a publisher because they can make a massive difference to your editing, cover design, production, marketing, distribution, review coverage and bookstore placement. In all [...]
As an author, you’re selling an idea. It’s not the flow of the prose, the colour of the characters, the world-building and dialogue, the placing of the comma and the fine details of grammar (which can be agonised about for days and days). It’s simple. What is the book about? Is that an exciting idea? You can write it any way you wish.
As a writer, I work in isolation for a long time before presenting a finished work. It’s always a labour of love, and is my best work. So how do I deal with criticism? Truth be told, I pay very little attention to it, because it always relates to something I wrote a long time ago. The time between finishing the story and finally releasing it to the market is measured in months, sometimes years. But I do listen to criticism. It is useful feedback from my readers. How I deal with it depends on what kind of criticism it is: bright criticism, cynical criticism, or stupid criticism.
Nerine Dorman of the Cape Times (part of the Independent News and Media group) interviews South African fantasy author Greg Hamerton about his new fantasy novel Second Sight, part of the fantasy series The Tale of the Lifesong.
Writing the 600 page new epic fantasy novel is the short bit. Trying to build a writing career on that book can take years. Here’s some advice for first time fantasy authors on how to find a fantasy publisher.
Now that Second Sight has been released, it’s time to take Tabitha and her crew on a blog tour to find some interesting websites and have some fun. What better place to begin than Fantasy Book Critic, a mighty fantasy book review site in the States. They produce in-depth critiques of the books they read [...]
How to reach for the world of visions. Reading fantasy fiction allows us to dream in a vivid way. Writing fantasy fiction takes the dreaming to another level. You are the dreamer who leads the dream, the creator of the dreamworld. [...]
This interview was conducted in June 2007 by Something Wicked Magazine, when Viane Venter talked to Greg Hamerton about the imminent release of the fantasy novel The Riddler’s Gift (First Tale of the Lifesong).
Writing is a tricky business. These books will help you plot a course through the twists and turns of fate.
You’ve written a debut fantasy novel. You want someone to publish it. Let’s assume it’s well-written, as good as anything out there. To sell, the fantasy book needs to be long, most often double or triple the length of the common novel. That means it costs almost three times the amount to produce. Which is why fantasy is a genre wherein most books are produced by a very few (big) publishing houses in the UK and USA. [...]
A question and answer session on what it’s like to write a fantasy novel. The Riddler’s Gift is the first tale in the Lifesong fantasy series by Greg Hamerton.
When I read a fantasy novel, I want to have my reality replaced, redrawn. Reinvented. I want that sense of discovery. I want to become someone new. I set out to find the best among the fantasy greats like Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb and Tolkien.
The hunger for magic is universal, most people have it in some way or another. It’s in our natures as creatives to see more than what is visible. The more creative you are, the more likely you believe in the possibility of magic, or even use it in your work. You may not even realise how much magic you use. [...]
The inspiration of the Muse, and the challenges of bringing the vision back.
When I was thirteen, I went to the College of Magic, to learn all I could. It was kind of a Harry Potter school for stage magicians – there are rabbits coming out of hats, white doves flapping about and silk scarves that turned into ropes. I sat down eagerly to my first class, apprentice wizard that I was. I was told there is no magic. I was told it is all illusion, all trickery, all a sham. I couldn’t have been more disappointed. [...]
I’m reading The Light Fantasic, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. I’ve got to the point (fairly early on) where I don’t care what he does with the story, the plot can go nowhere and I’ll still be contented, because he has made me laugh. He’s poked a finger at things everyone has been foolish about (like the tooth fairy) and by making me see how ridiculous they are, I have been won over (what’s she live in, then, a castle made of teeth?) [...]
A writer’s review of Keeping It Real (by Justina Robson).
It starts on the front cover. Lila has a blend of sass, hardcore metal and intriguing curves. Damn, she’s the coolest cyborg ever. But why did I buy it in the first place? When it comes to actually BUYING a book, I want at least 500 pages for my money. I want to get lost in an intriguing fantasy world for DAYS. So at 279pages I already have major resistance with Keeping It Real. I turn it over. And the basic premise of the story gets me. [...]