Why I Write Fantasy: A Question of Morality, Part 3: Upon What Authority?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve looked at morality in fantasy writing and world building. This week I’m going to look at what kinds of things a moral framework or viewpoint could be based upon, what people may experience as the root of their morality. In fantasy, as in the real world, there can …

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The Writing Life: Doubts Part 2: The Perfect as Enemy of the Good, or Great

Last week I talked about the primal doubt all writers face: the “am I good enough?” (AIGE?) question. Unfortunately it is not alone in the doubt-riddled ecosystem, and other forms of doubt can sabotage progress even when you have managed to ignore AIGE? long enough to get some writing done, and even *gasp* have enjoyed …

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Why I Write Fantasy: A Question of Morality, Part 2: Beyond Good and Evil

Last week I chatted about the idea that morality in fantasy fiction is often either taken for granted, (painted in simple terms of big evil versus plucky underdog good) or oddly out of step. (Why would 20th and 21st century Western morals be the norm in a variety of quasi-medieval settings?) I also mentioned that …

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The Writing Life: Doubts Part 1: Am I Good Enough?

Last week I talked about dissatisfaction, and in the process mentioned its big brother, doubt. Doubt manifests for writers in quite a few subtle guises, so I’m going to dedicate a column a week for a while (with potential interruptions to allow folk to recover!) looking at how doubt can sneak into a writer’s life. …

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Why I Write Fantasy: A Question of Morality, Part 1

Today I had the pleasure of talking with Jesper Schmidt about morality in fantasy world building, one part in an extended series of  discussions on this topic that are well worth watching. He has a great YouTube channel dedicated to all things fantasy writing related – check it out here! He also helps to run …

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The Writing Life: Dealing with Dissatisfaction

Writers, it is often said, are their own worst critics. I take this to mean that writers, and artists in general, tend to be very harsh on themselves, though it could of course mean they are simply poor judges of their own work, and are incapable of accurately critiquing their own output by virtue of …

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Why I Write Fantasy: The Blind Faith Edition

So two weeks ago I talked about the infinite possibilities in fantasy, then last week I discussed why it can sometimes seem repetitive, at least in terms of setting. These things would appear to be contradictory, but I think can resolve quite easily, even as I believe we will see new authors pushing or shattering …

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The Writing Life: Commodity Versus Art, the Eternal Challenge.

Ursula K. Le Guin died this week. I read The Earthsea Trilogy (as was) a few times in my youth, and loved it. I really should get around to reading the complete Earthsea fictions, and of course many of her other works often referenced in this week of obituaries and commentaries mourning her passing. In …

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Why I Write Fantasy: The Why Is So Much Of It So Similar? Edition

Last week I talked about the infinite possibilities offered by the fantasy genre, but buried in there was the nagging question: “Why then is so much of fantasy writing so similar?” I think any reader of fantasy over the last thirty years knows what I’m talking about, but let’s do a quick recap without falling …

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The Writing Life: Sometimes You Don’t

Sometimes, despite your best efforts and most earnest intentions, you just don’t make progress in your writing. Not because you’re blocked, or uninspired, or bored, or frustrated, or overwhelmed by whatever it is that you are working on. Sometimes you just can’t. Life, in capital letters, gets in the way. Loved ones get sick. You …

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