Making Monsters

I’m delighted to share with you a guest blog post I wrote for http://www.writingbad.org. This is part of my Fantasy Friday series (though please forgive it going live on Monday!).

Fantasy is a genre rich with imagined creatures and beasts. Creations which haunt our dreams and make us walk that little bit faster after dark. This article first looks at a few of the more common monsters and then explores some methods to assist you in becoming the next Dr. Frankenstein.

Thank you, Sam, from Writing Bad for letting me loose! I hope you enjoy it.


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The fantasy genre is rich with imagined monsters, creatures, and beasts. Creations which haunt our dreams and make us walk that little bit faster after dark. This article will first look at a few of the more common monsters, and then will explore the methods to assist you in becoming the next Dr. Frankenstein.

Types of Monsters

Demons

Cthulhu_by_disse86-d9tq84iDemons are probably one of the most common types of monster I come across in fantasy. They feature in James Barclay’s Noonshade, quite heavily in Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga. H.P. Lovecraft had his famous demon, Cthulhu, and Tolkien his demon, Balrog. But what is a demon exactly? Let’s have a look at some of the most common tropes:

  • They are inherently associated with evil. Their desire is to break into our realm from whatever plane they come from and wreak havoc on life as we know it.
  • In terms of…

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Prose: The Controversial Flashback

Why the hostility toward flashbacks? If done well, they work. But done badly, they break the reader’s experience, preventing them from discovering what happens next in the story. To quote editor, Sol Stein, “If we are enthralled, we don’t want to be interrupted.” The trick, therefore, if you feel compelled to use one, is to use the flashback in as little a disruptive way as possible. Here are a few techniques to help you do that.

The end of another year…

In June I began this blog with a post on the writing process. I was always a bit apprehensive about starting a blog. What have I got of worth to give to the world? I managed to shake that niggling thought.

Prose: “Tell me, and I’ll forget.” Showing Instead of Telling

In his book, On Writing, Sol Stein provides a very helpful guide on something writers so often hear about: showing the story instead of telling it. Do you remember asking someone, a family member perhaps, to tell you a story? It's almost as if we've been conditioned to tell rather than show.

We did it!

Yesterday, after months of promising, I finally got to treat the residents of Ranelagh House to a rare day out to the cinema to watch 'White Christmas'.

Real Writing Stories #4 – My Writing Day – Marya Miller

I'm delighted to share the writing day of Marya Miller, a wonderful person who I met through social media. Marya is an excellent storyteller with some fantastic ideas. Not long ago I read her collection of short fiction, Tales of Mist and Magic, and fell in love with the characters, Granny Maberly in particular.

The NaNoWriMo Review

NaNoWriMo has come to an end for another year. This was my first time, and after speaking about taking part before the event I thought I ought to share my experience.

Real Writing Stories #3: My Writing Day – Caroline Barden

Real Writing Stories returns with a fresh instalment. Continuing with the series My Writing Day, I'm delighted to introduce friend and fellow writer, Caroline Barden. Caroline is a writer and professional proof-reader. Her work has featured in The Guardian newspaper and recently she was victorious in the Writing on the Wall flash fiction competition. If… Continue reading Real Writing Stories #3: My Writing Day – Caroline Barden

Real Writing Stories #2: My Writing Day – Forest Wells

Real Writing Stories returns for its second installment. This week, with the help of writer Forest Wells, I'm launching a new weekly feature called My Writing Day. Readers of The Guardian newspaper may have seen this before. A writer shares their average writing day—the process, the distractions, the strife, the achievements. The Guardian however looks at the writing days of more well-known writers only. They're very insightful and inspirational pieces, but I think the stories of other writers at different stages in their journeys can be more interesting and relatable.

Time Management (infographic)

Not so long ago I looked at the bastard that is procrastination. After reading it, an excellent writer and blogger by the name of Jack Milgram got in touch. Jack has very kindly put together an infographic to help with time management. I'm sure we all feel we could use a few extra hours in the day. Well, Jack's infographic may just be what you need.