Posts Tagged ‘Novel’

– More excerpts! (YA Fiction) –

Serina pulled up the hood of her cloak as she rode down the narrow alleyway. She’d picked up the trail quite easily, though it led right down the main road. Instead, she kept to the shadowy side streets, blending into the dusty ground. She could feel the pull of Fae’s spirit. It pulsed with need and twisted the world around her; destinies falling away into darkness as the world worked it’s way towards a single inevitable fate. Each choice altered the course of the future, and now she was sure the girl was a part of it. Her need would be the hope of mankind when hope was all they had left.

by klauspillon on deviantart

Serina led her mare carefully. She still wasn’t completely comfortable with the creature, but the mare seemed to have sensed the need to be meek. Though she sometimes shook her mane restlessly, ready to take off galloping at any moment. Serina felt the unease rising in the air as well, whirling on the winds, drifting into doorways. Something had turned this once tranquil village into a hub of misery and decay. It crept into the hearts of these people and fed on their despair. Something was here and she feared the worst. She patted the mare’s neck soothingly and noticed her own shadow upon the ground. It was deep and dark, its edges defined as though the sun shown down upon her back. Serina looked up at the sky, which was a mass of swirling gray clouds, casting the village into a dim obscurity. Frowning, she reined in.

As the wind blew down through the mountain pass, Serina saw the shadows of the buildings sway. They stretched out as though to detach themselves from their hosts, then would lay perfectly still again, the wind twisting into a sighing moan in their wake. The mare stamped its feet impatiently. Serina placed her fingers on the pale stone around her neck, her lips moving silently. The mare kicked nervously as the wind around her began to swirl. Serina was enveloped in a thin azure mist that drifted away as soon as it has come. The mare turned her head but there no longer sat the kindly old priestess but a young woman with golden skin and narrow green eyes. She had thin black hair that was tied back and fell the length of her spine. Her red breastplate was inlaid with an intricate gold pattern, her loose fitting white pants fluttering in the wind. A broad saber was tied to her waist, as well as a bow and quiver slung across her back next to her wooden walking staff.

The mare wasn’t startled at the change, but gave Serina a level stare. She leaned forward and patted the horse’s neck again.

“Sorry, sister. I did not mean to put you off.” She straightened in her saddle. “It does feel good to be oneself again.”

Troubled, Serina looked up at the sky, whose swirling clouds had grown much darker. People in the village stopped in the streets, looking up at the sky with hope. They didn’t notice how far and deep their own shadows stretched, but instead lifted their hands to feel for the first drops of a rain that would not come.


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I find myself to be genuinely kind and good-natured, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my faults. Behind this façade of do-goodery is a tangle of human imperfections, imperfections that I’ve only recently begun to notice greatly affect me as a writer. I think it’s safe to say that no one’s perfect, we all have some less than desirable qualities, but understanding how your personality shapes your writing style and habits will help you hone your craft. Be accepting of your faults, but don’t succumb to them.

I. Impatience (Lust)

This first one isn’t very obvious to some and I had to really think on how to articulate its effect on my writing. I’m not a very patient person. I like getting to the good parts of a story. Skimming over long descriptions, I sometimes find myself skipping whole chapters just to pick up the storyline of a character I really enjoy (though I always go back of course). This impatient desire to know what’s going to happen next is particularity troublesome when working on my own novels. I’m always getting ahead of myself, anxious to reveal the interesting plot points or awesome characters that got me invested in the story in the first place. I find it difficult to write what happens in between.

Sometimes my desire to get to a certain part of the story is so great that I don’t find myself writing anything at all. I can’t think of what’s going to happen next because I’m so preoccupied with what’s going to happen in ten chapters. I get frustrated when I can’t link my thoughts together, and end up leaving the project unfinished to start another whose ideas have captured my attention.

When things don’t come together as easily as you thought they would, it can be quite disheartening, especially if you know that the story has real potential. Even if we all hope to achieve it, success isn’t made over night… well at least not for most of us. I’ve tried lots of writing tricks to get over this insatiable desire to get ahead: write out the idea that’s on my mind, outline the story between plot points, work out character motivations to figure where they’ll take the story, but it’s not as easy as it seems. It took me a while to realize that impatience is something that must first be corrected in oneself; I need to become a more patient person in my day-to-day life. After all, it’s not like I stop being a writer when I leave my desk, it’s also a part of who I am.

But I’m starting to realize that this whole process may take some time… and we all know how impatient I can be.

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Here’s another excerpt from my YA fantasy. I’ve been having trouble working through some of the finer plot points, and I’ve been at a stand still for a little while now. I decided it was better to write something than nothing at all, and so I wrote what may be the Prologue to the second book. (I intend for this to be a dilogy). Writing ahead isn’t something I usually do, and I was strongly advised against it. I’ve found however that this has helped me get back in the swing of things, and even gotten me excited about the possibilities the story holds. It’s just a matter of going back and finishing what I’ve started. Again, feedback is appreciated, it shouldn’t take too long to read through!


            The boy awoke frightfully, the usual nauseous unease rolling over in his stomach as his eyes adjusted once again to the darkness of the cave. He squinted, trying to make out the sickly silhouettes huddled around him. Pushing himself up on one knee, he felt a jolt of paint course through his limbs. He ran his fingers along his arm until he felt the pinprick holes at his joints. He remembered the wires and vials and glass tubes filled with glowing liquid, like molten light; and he remembered the pain.

He pushed it to the outskirts of his mind; he needed to find her. The young boy blinked as he started forward cautiously. He could hear the others drawing in their legs as he walked past, flinching at the slightest movement. He strained to hear amongst the murmurs until he finally recognized her voice.

“Teo?” she called faintly to him, her eyes already used to the dimness.

“I’m here Everyn,” he said soothingly as he knelt beside her. He could see her slender outline resting against the hard stonewall.

She smiled weakly, her breathing heavy and coarse. “They’ll be here soon.”

“No, I won’t let them take you,” he protested.

“If you see mother or father again, tell them I miss them,” she said softly lifting her face in the darkness. Teo opened his mouth but closed it again uneasily. “And I will miss you too, my brother.”

She brushed her frail hand against his cheek. Teo grasped it lightly in his own, lowering her arm back down to her side. He could feel the small punctures on her wrists beneath his fingertips.

“Do you trust me Everyn?” he whispered. She nodded lightly, trying hard to control her breathing.

Teo glanced around. The other children lay haphazardly around the damp cave, some huddled in groups, others curled up alone along the walls; most looked like they hadn’t eaten for weeks. Their torn clothes hung about them loosely, their bodies weak from exhaustion. Teo noticed a girl watching him. Her body was shaking anxiously as she cradled her hands, one in the other, her fingertips covered in blood and dirt. He could hear her some nights, scratching at the walls, searching for a way towards the light. She starred at him intensely, her eyes filled with a tempered resolve. Teo lowered his own eyes and slowly turned back towards his sister.

He leaned in to put an arm around her waist. “Come now then,” he murmured gently.

He placed an arm around her shoulder and helped her make her way in between the huddled children. They glanced up at them with open shock and fear as he lead her deeper into the cavern, where it was so dark only her hand and rasping breaths told him she was still beside him. No one dared go into the darkness of the cave. There were pitfalls only known to the others by the sudden cries of those who had ventured to far, their screams receding as they plummeted into nothingness. But Teo had been sneaking off when the others were asleep, treading the paths carefully until he found a way across.

image by: Alexandre Pouliotte ~ monsterboy.ca

He guided her slowly across narrow walkways and ledges, their eyes still blind, unable to adjust to the pitch dark that surrounded them. Everyn was shaking beside him, but she didn’t speak any protests as he led her further. Every now and then, he thought he heard something moving in the darkness, but when he stopped to listen, all he could hear was Everyn’s heavy breathing echoing down into the pits.

The darkness began to lift slightly, and he could see the outline of his hand stretched out before him. He knew then that they were close and soon his hand pressed against a sheer rock face. He felt around above him for the narrow ledge he knew was there. He hoisted himself up carefully, then turned to help Everyn clamber up. She leaned against the wall, rolling her head towards him, but she still didn’t say anything. Teo took this chance to look out into the darkness that stretched before them, but he couldn’t see or hear any thing. Sighing with relief, Teo led her to a thin fissure in the wall, nearly entirely concealed by the rock formation.

“It’s quite narrow,” he warned as he eased her into the crack. “Try to hold in your stomach and just keep moving. It’s not too far.”

“Teo, I don’t think this is a very good idea,” she panted as she squeezed herself between the rock.

“Please trust me Ever,” he said quietly.

Teo could feel the cold stone pressing down on his chest and back, the passage getting tighter the deeper they went.

“I can’t breath,” she gasped as they edged on sideways.

“We’re nearly there,” he assured her, trying his best to keep his voice calm. “Just keep moving.”

“My ankle!” she whispered. “It’s stuck.”

Teo felt panic rise in his chest at the thought of stopping, but he paused and shimmied down as low as he could. He could see faint torchlight through the other end of the passage and quickly loosened his sister’s foot. They emerged into a narrow corridor, straining as they wriggled free from the rock. Everyn sank to the ground, her chest heaving from the pressure. Teo bent down next to her and glanced down the empty corridor anxiously.

“We have to keep moving,” he urged. “The guard will be coming round in a minute.” Everyn tried to mutter something, but she couldn’t manage to form the words. Her skin was glistering with sweat and her eyes unable to keep focus. Teo lifted her onto his shoulders, grunting from the weight of her frail body. He was so tired, and hungry, and nauseous from that day’s treatment, but he didn’t think about that as he began to shuffle up the slight incline. He only thought of getting out.

Suddenly he heard heavy gasps behind him. He spun around to see an arm squirm free of the fissure, which was barely noticeable in the dim light. Soon a girl’s torso emerged, her face a mixture of panic and determination. She looked up at him, smiling eagerly when she recognized his face. She reached out her hand towards him, struggling to free herself.

“Please,” she stammered, “Please help me… I think I’m stuck.”

Teo simply starred at her in shock, his arms and legs going stiff.

“Help me!” She pleaded more urgently.

Teo could hear the guard’s measured footsteps, and he took one step back still starring with horror at the girl.

“Please,” she sobbed, her eyes tearing as the footsteps got closer. “Don’t leave me here with them.”

There were voices now, growing louder by the moment. He could feel Everyn’s harsh breath against the nape of his neck, the sweat from her skin dampening his clothes. Teo took one more step backwards and then clambered up the incline to the mouth of the cave. He could hear the girl struggling violently now, her cries becoming more desperate. As he stepped out into the fresh air, he lost his footing on the rocky ground. He struggled to keep his sister from tumbling off his back as they slid uncontrollably into the ravine below.

When the ground came up beneath him he fell face first onto the hard earth, Everyn tossed forward with a jolt. Teo turned his head slowly and bit his lip to stop from crying out in pain. He could see Everyn staring at him fixedly as she struggled to catch her breath. Teo scrambled towards her and lifted her onto one shoulder. They quickly limped behind a large boulder only a few paces away. Leaning his sister against it, he peered over the rock anxiously. They would have found her by now, she would have told them where they were. Teo strained to hear the footsteps of the guards rushing out, their heated shouts raising the alarm, but nothing came.

He slumped down next to his sister, forcing back tears as he leaned his head against the rock. He turned his face towards Everyn, who was still studying him levelly with her vivid emerald eyes. They did not say a word as he lifted her onto his shoulders again and set out through the forest. Soon they came to an open field, the yellowing grass covered in a white blanket of fog that blended into the cloudy sky. Teo pushed forward one step at a time, his head swimming, unable to ignore the throbbing pain and exhaustion creeping through his bones. He felt Everyn’s head lull against his back, her breathing growing steadier but still heavy.

Teo continued to walk until the fog had soaked his clothes straight through, his skin clammy and numb with cold. He fought to keep his eyes from closing, squinting to see through the thick haze. The sky remained the same cloudy grey long past when the sun should have set, and there was no way to know how far they had come, or how much further they’d have to go. He couldn’t see more than ten paces in any direction, and the air around him hung in dead silence. But he didn’t dare let himself stop, the exhaustion weighting on his limbs like quarry stones. Instead he tried to focus on his sister’s slow rasping breaths.

He felt one leg give out, then the other, falling to the ground with a thud. Everyn gently rolled off his back, but she did not move to him. He looked past her and saw someone walking towards them through the fog. He tried to push himself up, but he could barely lift his arms. The man who drew nearer was draped in robes of muted grey, his head shaved to show a tattoo of a thick black circle on the back of his skull. He approached Everyn, placing his fingers gently on her neck.

“She is alive,” he stated serenely, looking over at Teo. “You can rest now.”

Teo tried to drag himself towards his sister, but he could feel the exhaustion pulling at the edges of his mind until he was consumed by it.


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A short excerpt about Wit, The Thief of Cardel.

The day grew late, and would soon be overtaken by the night. The moon lay transparent in the tawny sky, waiting for the sun to set so that it might become whole once again. Wit pressed himself against the cold stone, hiding in the evening’s deep shadows to avoid notice from below. The ledge where he was perched was narrow, but despite his willowy frame he did not sway as a breeze gust by him, carrying hints of Fae’s voice in its wake. He scrubbed his fingers through his hair, reflecting on what he had just heard. His eyes scanned the surrounding buildings, he wondered who else may have been eavesdropping. None close enough to hear as clearly as he had, but he could spot a few choice places. If there were others, they may not have heard everything but they knew that he had. He felt the hilt of one of his daggers press against his leg, always a comforting feeling.

The alley below was empty save for two city guards finishing their rounds. He watched as they walked directly below him, not even thinking to look up into the eaves where he was crouched. He waited until they were safely around the corner before vaulting off the ledge and landing with soft feet on the cobbled street. Straightening casually, Wit stuffed his hand in his pockets and sauntered around the inn, unnoticeably skimming the rooftops and alleyways. He thought he caught some movement near where he had been hidden, but when he turned to get a better look there was nothing there. He’d have to keep a close eye on the inn and make sure Fae didn’t leave without him knowing. He may be a thief, but he definitely wasn’t a stupid one.

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Here is an excerpt from the young adult fantasy I have been working on. I find dialogue to be particularly tricky at times, especially when trying to find a voice for my characters. It reads fairly quickly, if you have the time please leave some feedback!


They fell in behind merchants and peddlers, all waiting for their carts and packhorses to be inspected. Many jumped down from their seats and spoke amongst themselves, exchanging wares and bargaining for feed. The guards moved steadily between them, lifting tent flaps and checking baskets. A wiry man whose small cart lumbered forward on a cracked axle darted between merchants, showing them various necklaces and bracelets made of sparkling glass. His clothes were rumpled and covered in the filth and sweat of a poor man’s journey. They wrinkled their noses as if he churned a foul odor and turned their back when he would come near. The wiry man would simply grin and bow as if they had kindly dismissed him and swiftly move on to the next. The line trudged on and when it would soon come to be their turn the thin man returned, his hands still full of bright jewelry. Each bead swirled with dazzling colors like smoke trapped in clear glass. Fae dismounted onto the dusty path, smoothing her skirt as she looked around.

“Do not go far.” Matt said absently still studying the guards along the city wall. “We will be moving before long.”

“I won’t.” She said looking over to the wiry man. He was bent over the wicker baskets that overhung on the side of his cart. Fae saw him quickly stuff a few leather pouches that jingled with coin into the bottom of the basket before replacing the thick porcelain jars on top. She walked up behind him, carefully stepping to avoid making too much noise.

“May I see those necklaces?” She asked, leaning over to look at the display next to him. The man straightened with a jolt, looking at her with surprise then bewilderment. He quickly regained his composure and smiled at her.

“Why of course my dear.” He said. “Though these worthless trinkets would do you no justice.” With a flourish of his hand he produced a thin silver chain intertwined with a white thread that sparkled in the sunlight. He placed the necklace around her neck and fastened the clasp with his slender fingers. Now that she was closer, she noticed that his features were soft and young underneath the smudges of dirt. His wiry frame was that of an awkward bony adolescent but he moved into a graceful bow as he backed away.

“Quite stunning young maiden.” He said, lifting his face.

“I’m sure it is.” She said, placing a hand on the necklace. “But I’m afraid I have no money. I only meant to look.”

“But you must keep it then, as a token for your beauty.” He sighed wistfully.

“No I really couldn’t.” Fae continued, as she held it out for him to take. “I don’t know from whose neck you took it. It’d be awkward if they saw me wearing it.”

This time his faced showed no surprise, but a wide grin.

“Well if you have not yet told the guards then what is it you want from me?”

“Only to talk.” She shrugged, placing the necklace with the others. “Mister…?”

“You can call me Wit.” He said picking up the necklace and making it vanish with another flourish.

“Tell me Wit, those emblems on the banners, what do they stand for?”

“The blue is the feudal lord’s Coat of Arms. The sigil of House Cardel” He said slowly. “The other is that of the School of Alchemy; the four elements made into one.” He finished looking at her curiously. “Surely you are from the mountains to have not heard of them.”

“I don’t get out much.” She smiled. Suddenly her eyelids were heavy and she felt herself stumble sideways into a wide corridor. Books and parchment were scattered everywhere. The dim torchlight flickered on stonewalls spattered with fresh blood. A moon, a dove. Empty shelves and overturned bookcases and a need that drove her, pushed her from this place. This place was empty.

“Are you alright?” She heard Wit say as she regained her footing. “You tripped and almost fell over while standing still.” He laughed. She realized she had seen it all in an instant. She reached out to her sister’s awareness to steady herself and felt the familiar warmth. She looked at Wit whose smile had been replaced by a small frown. “Everything is alright?”

“Yes, just dizzy.” She assured him, pulling herself upright. “Wit, I won’t tell the guards what you’ve done, but they’re checking all the carts. Don’t you think you’ll be caught?” She added seriously as she regained her breath.

“You would be surprise how easy it is to be fooled by a fool.” He winked, looking over her shoulder. “I think your friends are looking for you.”

Fae turned and saw Matt starring straight at them.  She smiled and waved back to him, but it did nothing to lift the look of stone from his face.

“I guess I should get back to them.” Fae said starting to back away. “Maybe I’ll see you in the city.”

“It is doubtful you will catch me off my guard again.” Wit smiled.

Fae grinned as she turned back towards her horse. She quickly mounted behind Matt without saying a word, grateful to be sitting once more.

“You would do well not to draw attention to us.” He said plainly.

“I was only talking to him.” She said, slumping slightly in her saddle

“Did something happen?” He asked quietly not taking his eyes off the guards.

“We can talk about it later.” Fae watched Wit as they passed. He was putting on a show for the guards, wringing his hands nervously as he spoke with the foreman.

“I sell fabrics, dyes and glassware.” He said quickly, eying the men who were inspecting his cart. “Best deals in all the mainland, and even better for the protectors of our sovereignty.” He said a little louder.The foreman ignored him, signaling to continue the inspection.

As they approached the back tent flap Wit stepped forward shakily. “As you can see, all the dyes I carry are separated by color in these baskets.” He continued, pulling out the porcelain pots that were hiding what he had stolen. “I have the most exotic colors; ones you have never seen before!”

“We are not interested in the color of your dyes.” The foreman waved, smiling at Wit’s discomfort. “Pack those baskets up. Check the back!” He ordered with a sneer as Wit’s face fell, feigning anxiety.

The guards came around the back of the tent and opened the flap. From where she sat Fae could not see inside, but the guards and foreman looked at Wit incredulously, their faces flushed bright red. Wit simply spread his hands and smiled shamefully as they covered the back up again hastily with canvas.

“Lets move on!” The foreman said flustered. Wit looked over at her and winked as the foreman and the guards moved on, glancing back at his cart only to turn away with a guilty and embarrassed flush. Fae wondered what could have possibly gotten the guards so flustered. With a blush she shook her head and thought it best to leave it be.

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– An except for a young adult fantasy I’m working on –

An early draft but feedback and criticism is appreciated!

            Fae had slept long past noon, the sunlight already casting hard shadows when she finally opened her eyes. She had dreamed of flowers which only bloomed by moonlight, withering away as soon as the sun came over the horizon, so that only those who roamed the farthest reaches of the night would ever know of their existence. Her head still felt hazy as she lay in the blanket roll. It was those few precious moments upon waking where you had no knowledge of time or space, of where you are or of how long you’ve been there. The only awareness that you have is of yourself, lost in the thin veil between dream and consciousness. Before you shake the sand from your eyelids, before you feel the hard wood against your back and you begin to realize that you’re not where you thought you were; that you’re lost.

Fae sat up trying to stretch out the kinks in her back. She looked over at Matt whose fever had broken some time in the night. He lay still, his bed covers drench in sweat and blood. Fae sighed with relief and went over to place a fresh cool cloth on his forehead. She carefully peeled off the old dirty bandages to clean the wound with some water. Fae gasped as she wiped the black-crusted blood from the wound. It had already begun to heal and was covered in a thin layer of raw skin. She carefully wrapped the wound as best she could with clean bandages, she supposed she should ask Serina to re-wrap them again later. When she was done, Fae placed a hand on Matt’s chest and felt it slowly rise and fall. He had the calm deep breath that accompanied a dreamless sleep, still and silent and sad. Fae wondered if this was a sign that he was proud and level headed, that he knew who he was and did not need anything but the truth; or if it meant he was lonely and troubled, resilient in the face of darkness because he knows it can suck you in and swallow you whole.

“What are you doing?”

Fae jerked her hand back in surprised her face flushed pink. His eyes were still closed, his face devoid of emotion, but his breathing was now more steady and deliberate.

“Nothing. Just making sure you’re okay.” She straightened awkwardly.  “You’re okay right?”

“Somehow. Though it still feels like I have a gaping wound in my side.” He squinted one eye open and looked at her. “and you?”

“I’m fine.” Matt nodded as he closed his eyes. Fae opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to apologize to him, thank him or hit him. He’d saved her life, and almost lost his in the process. As he struggled to sit up she couldn’t decide if she though he was brave or just extremely conceited.

“You shouldn’t, you’ll upset your bandages.” She moved to help him sit but he carelessly brushed her off .

“I have no need for your help.” He panted. Definitely conceited.

“Fine.” She stood up, turned on her heels and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” He asked roughly, pressing his hand against his wound.

“It isn’t your concern where I’m going.” She replied indignantly. “And I wouldn’t move if I were you. It took me some time to wrap those bandages but I don’t think I did a very good job of it.” She stepped out into the warm sunlight not caring that the door shut so loudly behind her that she didn’t hear him mutter ‘Thank you.’


             Serina sat cross-legged on an old stump, her thistle walking stick across her lap unbent from its lack of use. The trunk of the tree that had once stood there had been vast, and its rings told of an age whose memory had been taken unto death. Still Serina could feel what once was. Its roots draw life from the earth and water, its branches from the air and sun; its spirit in perfect balance. It was too late for this one though. She tried to draw in from its roots but they were withered with decay. She sighed heavily; too many of the old ones were gone, and with them goes their knowledge of the ancient world, and of the old ways. She had traveled far to speak with this one and fby aaronpocock 2011ound that she had already been cut down for firewood, though the Dryad’s remains had told that her spirit had died from something far more malevolent.

             Serina looked up at the small wisp of smoke that was rising from her cabin. Many things had happened during the night and now no guardian remained to watch over the forest. Without its spirit the forest would grow wild, and untamed it would suck the life from the earth on which it stood and block out the light of the sun to become a place of shadows. She could already feel it changing. Saddened Serina gracefully stood and picked up the pouch of pink cherry blossoms she was able to find amongst the charred, tucking it away in her belt. She could see the tracks left behind by the men who had hauled the trunk away, unaware of the gravity of their sin. But she also saw traces of dark things, paw prints smoldering in the earth and small creatures picked clean of flesh. She had done well to send the child further away, Serina was humbled that the spirit had had even that much strength left.

She briskly set off towards her cabin, a feeling of unease harrying her steps. As she is leaving the clearing she completes the casting. At least now this place would remain as it is, untouched by what will come unto the forest. Serina could still feel the cold earth underneath her fingernails, and she prayed that the spirit had found peace in the end.

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Out of sheer curiosity, and maybe a little been of shameful insecurity, I decided to search for some tips on how to write a good fantasy novel. What I found were mostly ehow’s and wiki links that brought me to some generic 12-step program that mentions such things as ‘create a protagonist’ and ‘outline the story’ which are definitely basics, but also definitely not helpful.  If only creating a brilliant and memorable character was as easy as ‘sit down and think one up’. Every now and then I’d come across a few posts that had some good advice, such as make sure your idea isn’t stupid. Inanely simple yet noteworthy in my opinion, especially considering recent trends.

However I came across a post that was definitely helpful in pointing out to me how easy it is to write a cliché in a fantasy novel. It’s called The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam. It’s a list of 75 yes or no questions where a single yes means your novel will most likely end up in the bargain bin at Value Village. What’s their advice? Scrap it and start over. The list features questions that every novelist thinking about writing the next big epic should read before they start rambling on for 900 pages about characters they pulled out of a D&D manual. Questions such as: Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn’t know it? and Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don’t? are among my favorites.

Though I don’t necessarily agree that you couldn’t successfully work any of these aspects into your novel and still come out with a great story. In my opinion you must always write organically for the plot and characters. As long as it is rooted in the world of your story, I’ll allow a half-elf or two.

Regardless, this list proved to give me a good laugh… and a large pile of scrap paper.

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