Imagery in Story Dialogue

  “The original quality in any man of imagination is imagery.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton Evolution of Imagery Storytelling began with visual stories such as rock art and cave paintings. Later, oral and written traditions emerged with the progress of language. Today, language plays a vital role in storytelling. It can be plain and succinct,…Read More

Why Write a Novel

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” —Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird. What motivates someone to write novel-length fiction? It’s a solitary activity, and not for the faint-hearted. It means hundreds of hours tapping…Read More

Mad March Weather

“Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson It’s early March. Daylight hours are stretching, and some daring primroses have opened yellow rosettes in more sheltered spots of my garden. Northern Switzerland experiences four defined seasons that are typified by long, cold winters and humid summers that can…Read More

Food in Fantasy Fiction

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” — Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin February has brought a cold snap to Switzerland, and my winter stomach has been craving meals that are hearty and comforting. Food is like that: it’s an essential part of life, and it provides more than mere nourishment. Food…Read More

Liminal Characters

“Then I shan’t be exactly a human?” Peter asked. “No.” “Nor exactly a bird?” “No.” “What shall I be?” “You will be a Betwixt-and-Between,” Solomon said. — J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens Betwixt-and-between It’s December, the season of midwinter. Christmas is just round the corner, and soon we will stand on the…Read More

Orphan Heroes in Fiction

An orphaned calf licks its own back – Kenyan Proverb When I began plotting my Grail-quest novel, Graëlfire, my main protagonist, Lena Dubois, was a young university student whose parents worked overseas. This was fine for the character arc I’d invented, but as I progressed with my plotting, I gave Lena a secret identity unknown…Read More

Book Editors are your Friends

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill Open to Criticism Some people take criticism better than others, but not all of us can take it gracefully. It’s uncomfortable at best,…Read More

Holy Grail Fiction

  “The journey is the treasure.” – Lloyd Alexander Myths have been recurring elements in storytelling down the ages, and none more so than the Holy Grail. It has fascinated writers for centuries and is a popular theme in TV series and movies. You only have to look at the success of films the Grail…Read More

body language

Body Language: More Powerful Than Words

“The eyes are the windows to the soul” – William Shakespeare Writers of speculative fiction portray mind-reading as a superpower. In the real world, reading others is an inborn ability most humans have. We can’t read their minds, but we pick up cues from their non-verbal messaging. How People Read Each Other When trying to…Read More

When Tribalism Goes Toxic

“We all face a choice. We can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration. Or we can retreat into a world sharply divided, and ultimately in conflict, along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.” – Barack Obama The Group Instinct Tribalism is human nature. We are…Read More

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