the dark side of human nature

The Dark Side of Human Nature

“If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us… But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn A…Read More

why we tell stories

Why We Tell Stories

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” — John W. Gardner Make No Mistake Nobody wants to make mistakes. But at least when we draw, we have erasers to undo them. Sadly, life isn’t like that. Our choices and actions are fixed in time. We can express remorse. We can make amends. But…Read More

Hyperactive Agency Detection

Hyperactive Agency Detection and the Suspension of Disbelief

“It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.” — James Boswell The Magic…Read More

why fantasy matters

Why Fantasy Matters

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” — Albert Einstein Storytelling People love a good story. Since time began, stories have created magic and a sense of wonder at the world….Read More

the big lie

The Big Lie

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave… when first we practice to deceive.” ― Walter Scott. Any historical novel, however well researched, is still a work of fiction. To my mind that means writers should focus on telling a great story and should incorporate only enough anecdotal history as is necessary to bring the plot…Read More

chronos and kairos

Chronos and Kairos: The Gods of Time

“Every kairos is a chronos, but not every chronos is a kairos.” — Hipporates It seems simple enough on the face of it, but what does time really mean? If you’d asked an ancient Greek to define it, he would have asked you which aspect of time you were talking about. You see, the Greeks…Read More

moral compass

The Moral Compass

 “Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.” – Oscar Wilde I had insomnia last night, which is why I was watching TV at three o’clock in the morning. It was a gripping drama, brilliantly presented: a lurid cocktail of murder, intrigue, and political cover-ups—of naked self-interest and personal ambition. No, it wasn’t the world…Read More

Swiss autumn landscape

Autumn Transition: Shifting Gears

“Autumn is as joyful and sweet as an untimely end.”— Remy de Gourmont Late autumn has come to Luzern, and we’re enjoying an Indian summer. Days are still sunny and the afternoons warm, but mornings are nippy and the sunshine is paler. It’s a time for fleeces — a time for layering. Autumn won’t mean…Read More

language barrier

The Language Barrier: Encounters with Swiss German

“If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you talk to him in a language he speaks, it goes to his heart” – Nelson Mandela Which language a character speaks is something all fantasy world builders must deal with though few have Tolkien’s mastery of inventing…Read More

story timelines

Beyond Flashbacks: Dual Story Timelines

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…” – William Shakespeare Everyone has a history. But when it comes to fiction, how much of a character’s past is relevant to their story? The answer…Read More

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