How a Book Gets My Attention

I’ve always been fascinated by how books are discovered – by how a person ends up finding and deciding to read a particular novel amidst the ever-growing sea of books swirling around them. Since starting to write myself I’ve become even more fascinated by this process, knowing I may one day have a book out there that I hope to get into readers’ hands.

Sadly I don’t have the expertise or the data to analyse how most people find the books they read. However, I do know my own habits and behaviours as a reader, so for interest’s sake I thought I’d take a look at how a book can stand out from the crowd for me and make it onto my “to-read” shelf. Continue reading

Ways of Measuring Time in High Fantasy

There’s no rule that says Fantasy authors have to avoid clocks and calendars when writing their fictional worlds. Many authors simply stick with seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years.

After all, the 24-hour clock and the Gregorian Calendar pre-date the Middle Ages, so if a fantasy is set on a medieval earth-like world and characters refer to hours and months, it won’t feel immediately anachronistic (though admittedly these measurements wouldn’t have been available in handy wristwatch or smart phone format). Continue reading

The Power of Competitions and Selections in YA Fiction

If a best-selling young adult novel sucks me in after only a few pages, it’s often because the book is wielding a secret weapon. Or rather, a not-so-secret weapon, because I’ve seen it many times before. And although I recognise it, it still has the power to peak my curiosity and get me rooting for a character I know next to nothing about. So what is this clever trope?

It has two components, and these usually form a kind of structuring device that shapes the plot and climactic points of the novel: Continue reading

Two Year Blogiversary

So my blogiversary came and went in May and I completely forgot about it. I’ve been blogging for two years now, though it feels like I’ve been at it for longer… maybe it’s because my memories of pre-blogging days have gotten a bit faded at the edges, or because I’ve had a lot happen in the past two years (including moving to a new country!)… or just because I just have a terribly distorted concept of time.

Regardless, it has been 2 years, so as I usually do on my blogiversary (well, I did it last year, so I may as well make a tradition out of it), I’ve put together a list of the most popular posts on Thoughts on Fantasy from the past 12 months: Continue reading

What Are the Best-Selling Fantasy Books and Series of All Time?

The other day I came across this Wikipedia article listing best-selling books, and as I scrolled through the list (which is based on estimated number of copies sold), it struck me that many of the titles listed – including the top 4 – are fantasy novels. And I’m not just talking about Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings… these two series undoubtedly dominate the top of the lists, but there are other fantasy books in the mix too.

So this got me to thinking, what are the most popular fantasy books and series of all time, in terms of book sales?  I thought I’d use the list to answer this question, compiling those fantasies that are estimated to have sold 50 million copies or more: Continue reading

Endings That Made Me Read The Next Book

With an ever-growing list of new books I want to read and new authors I want to sample, I’m often reluctant to put my ‘to read’ list on hold to plough through a series, especially a long one. As a result, it has to be a particularly brilliant, compelling or intriguing book to entice me to buy the sequels, let alone read them straight away. Continue reading

The Nostalgia Factor: Which Film Remakes, Reboots and Sequels Can’t You Resist?

Jurassic World, The Jungle Book, Independence Day: Resurgence, Finding Dory… what all of these films have in common is that they are reviving or continuing a story I loved in childhood or adolescence – a story that has a good deal of nostalgia attached to it. And I seem to be encountering more and more of these lately. This is undoubtedly because the industry is making more reboots and sequels, but to be honest, it’s also because I’m getting older (noooooo…) and I remember more originals. Continue reading

The Ultimate Game of Thrones Tag

I haven’t done a tag before but one of my favourite bloggers, the Orang-utan Librarian, sent this one my way and it looked like fun, so I decided I’d give it a go! Season 6 of Game of Thrones will be premiering very soon so this should help prepare me to  dive into Westeros again:-) Continue reading

10 Common Mistakes I See in Paranormal Romance and YA Fantasy Writing

Last week, I discussed some common “fatal flaws” that might make me give up on an epic high fantasy novel, rate it poorly, or even avoid reading it in the first place. This week I’ve decided to do the same thing for paranormal romanceYA and urban fantasy novels, because I enjoy reading these genres as well, and I’ve found the problems I encounter in them usually differ to those I encounter in traditional epic high fantasy.

So here are 10 key things that will often turn me off a paranormal romance or YA fantasy (genres I normally like!): Continue reading

10 Common Mistakes I See in Epic Fantasy Writing

I recently encountered a question on Quora asking what some “fatal flaws” or mistakes in fantasy novels are. I wrote a response to it, and it got me thinking about the things that most commonly make me give up on a fantasy book, rate it poorly, or even avoid reading it in the first place. This was a helpful exercise as I want to avoid these things in my own writing, and it struck me that if I expanded and extended my answer it might make for an interesting (perhaps even useful!) blog post. Continue reading