A big thank you to Bookneeders and Red String Paper Cuts, who have kindly nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award! Click the links to see their awards (and good blogging advice!) and check out their blogs. I know I’ve been slow to respond, but I’ve been looking forward to accepting and passing on the award love. Continue reading
I always enjoyed coming across the ‘Tough Travels’ weekly feature on fantasy blogs – started by Fantasy Review Barn, every week it highlighted a different fantasy trope, theme or cliché from Diana Wynne Jones’s classic Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and participating bloggers listed books related to that week’s theme. Now Laura Hughes has brought Tough Travels back and is hosting it as a monthly feature on Fantasy Faction, so I thought I’d join in and become a tough (or not-so-tough) traveller myself!
This month’s theme is beginnings: Continue reading
Call me old fashioned, but a God in fiction should have god-like powers. What exactly are those? Well, a snap of the fingers and they can bring drought, famine, flood or plenty, kill hundreds, create hundreds, change the world or influence people’s lives and fates. Hell, they are usually the ones that created the world in the first place. Most importantly, their powers trump everyone else’s. If they’re a god, they’re more than everyone else: they’re the ultimate power.
This leads me to why I often have a problem with gods traipsing around centre-stage in fantasy novels, TV shows, or films. If they’re no longer a mysterious, largely absent and only mildly-interfering power, they can become problematic. Here are a few reasons why (and I’m well aware other people may not mind these things as much as I do!): Continue reading
Writers spend a good deal of time fretting about the opening sentence of their novel, just as readers enjoy quoting first lines from their favourite books. This is understandable, given so much is riding on that first impression. But what about closing lines? What about the final words that resolve the story and linger in a reader’s mind after they shut the book?
I’d hesitate to say last words are any less difficult to write. How do you leave the reader with strong positive feeling toward the book, and – in the case of a series – entice them to continue? And how do you do it without succumbing to cliché or melodrama, or tying the ‘happily-ever-after’ ending up so neatly that people roll their eyes? Continue reading
This guest post is brought to you by Deby Fredericks, whose blog Wyrmflight has taught me many an interesting dragon-related fact and myth. She recently edited an anthology of fairy and folk tale-inspired stories called Wee Folk and Wise, and has shared some reflections from Matthew Timmins, one of the collection’s contributors, on the age-old appeal of fairy tales: Continue reading
Dragons are strongly associated with fantasy fiction, so much so that they have become a symbol for the genre. Given that these imaginary beasts only inhabit the realms of fantasy, fairy tale and legend, and thrill many a reader, this makes sense. However, I’d argue the humble crow or raven pops up in fantasy books and films just as often, even if it is sometimes in a more symbolic or background role.
Since I love crows, and recently changed the look of my blog to feature a crow rather prominently, I thought this might be a good excuse to take a closer look at these sometimes under-appreciated birds and their prevalence in speculative fiction. Continue reading
I recently ventured north of the Arctic Circle in the middle of winter. As you can probably tell from the title of this post, it wasn’t just because I wanted to frolic in the snow, ride husky sleds and marvel at the rare appearances of the sun (though I enjoyed doing all of these things), but because I wanted to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, which are more likely to be spied during the darkness of long winter nights.
Incredible videos like this one – a time-lapse of images taken from the International Space Station – had whet my appetite for auroras: Continue reading
It’s a question often asked by aspiring authors wondering if their manuscript is several thousand words too long or short, but it’s also an intriguing one for readers to consider: is there an ideal length for a fantasy novel?
Every book is different and for any suggested word or page count you see, you are likely to encounter several popular fantasy books that are outside of it. Nonetheless, as someone who reads a lot in the genre and has also submitted work to competitions, agents and publishers, I thought I’d tackle this topic from three different perspectives:
- how long popular published fantasy novels are,
- how long the industry (agents, publishers, competitions) prefers them to be,
- how long readers prefer them to be.
I’m off on a holiday tomorrow, but before leaving I thought I’d finally catch up on some tags and (very belatedly!) do this Goodreads Book Tag. Thanks to Kirsty @ Kirsty’s Book Reviews for tagging me! I’ve been looking forward to this one because I’m a massive Goodreads fan, so here goes: Continue reading
The Gentleman Bastards is a much-loved fantasy series that is particularly popular in audiobook format. Fans who’ve listened to the audiobooks regularly recommend them, the narrator Michael Page has won awards for his performances (including his narration of The Lies of Locke Lamora), and author Scott Lynch has made no secret of the fact he thinks Page does a brilliant job: Continue reading