The Writer’s Toolshed

How To Create Fantasy Languages

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?

How To Write Dialogue

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.

The Essence of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Today I present a guest post by Ed White, writer of fantasy and science fiction. It’s these two genres that his article focuses on, discussing their origins, their very essence, and, as Ed puts it, ‘the legion’ of sub-genres that have developed to make these genres two of the most exciting, inspirational and forward-thinking of all.

Roman Battle Tactics

Dros Delnoch, Pelennor Fields, Julatsa, the Battle of the Bastards, Helms Deep. These are just some of the most iconic battles in fantasy. The writers of these epic clashes knew a thing or two about warfare, and this post aims to give you some research to aid your creation of the compelling and gripping clashes fantasy fans love so much. 

Invaluable Writing Advice: Part II

Not long ago I put together a post sharing some invaluable writing advice offered by award-winning novelist, Colum McCann in his book, Letters to a Young Writer. But I’d only made it halfway through at the time, so I thought I’d share some further insights from the second half.

5 Invaluable Pieces of Writing Advice

Not long ago I read an article, the title something along the lines of “The Best Books for Aspiring Writers”. One of them was a book you may have heard of: Letters to a Young Writer by award-winning writer, Colum McCann. Each time I pick it up it fills me with inspiration to write, its pages filled with practical and philosophical advice on the craft, some of which I’ve found tremendously helpful. There’s a chance you may do too. So in this post, you’ll find five of my favourite bits of advice so far.

Clitheroe Castle: A Case Study for the Fantasy Writer

Last week I took a drive up the motorway to the Duchy of Lancaster and to one of the smallest castles in England: Clitheroe. The purpose of this post is to give you some ideas for your world-building and writing. We’ll first look at the castle’s features before exploring what life would have been like in the castle back in ye day.

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