It’s time to reveal the front and back cover for A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook. I’m sure you’ll agree that the wonderful artist behind it, Mark Vernall,
Everything in this world of ours changes. Mountains crumble into the sea. Islands disappear. Forests become icecaps. Change is eternal. It is one of life’s only constants. For some of us, we welcome it, embrace it. Others resist.
Writing fantasy can so often leave you caught up in a web of your own making. Most fantasy involves a secondary world, that is a world different from our own. Granted, it doesn’t have to be totally original, but it raises the question: how different should we make it? Should we scrap everything we know and play God and build from scratch? Should we shape and morph things that already exist? Or should we keep what everyone finds familiar?
These questions can be asked when it comes to inventing anything for our worlds, but one such area in which it’s particularly prevalent is with language. In this new world of ours, does everyone speak the same language?
As you may or may not be aware, I’m in the process of drafting ‘A Fantasy Writer’s Handbook’, a non-fiction guide to writing fiction, fantasy fiction in particular. The book is split into three parts: fiction writing, fantasy writing, and what to do when the writing is done. Today, as a little midweek treat, I thought I’d share one of the chapters from part one: Dialogue.
When all you have for counsel is yourself, you can never be sure if a re-write is the right thing to do. What if the original version is better? What if I’ve made it worse? There are, however, some things we can do to help make this crucial and difficult decision a little easier.