Attitudes towards LGB characters in your fantasy land

Diversity in books, Editing, Writing, Writing
Fantasy is a genre full of tropes, many of which I love: castles, dragons and magic are just a few of my favourites. Some of the tropes, however, aren't so pleasant. Many fantasy societies closely resemble the medieval English culture they are modeled after, including not just the castles but the strict class structure and the oppressive laws. Main characters tend to rebel against these structures(even when it makes no sense for them to do so) but they are almost always there. But... Why? Why can't our fantasy societies have different morals? They can still have castles, can still have kings and courts of nobles, without needing the entire moral code. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't make sense for most of these societies to have such identical morals. Most fantasy…
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Tactics for when you’re stuck on rewrites

Editing, Goal setting, Writing
I've spent a long time in rewrites--first working on Moonshadow's Guardian, then the second draft of my 2011 Nanovel--and the last two weeks have been the most unpleasant of all. Each day I wrote a page, maybe less, of the actual novel and spent hours entranced in other writing. Avoiding the novel itself. Late last week I hunkered down, figured out the issue causing my avoidance and worked through it. Now I'm back to work on my novel, confident I won't stall again. When you've been working on the same project for a long time it can be difficult to continue. You start to lose your enthusiasm and writing becomes like walking on hot coals. Every scene seems an insurmountable challenge. The book itself becomes a monster you avoid like…
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More On Overwriting

Editing, Editing: The Hard Part, Writing
A couple weeks ago I discussed the concept of overwriting, the use of needless words in your writing. Having known about overwriting for years, it seemed like basic stuff to me. So I was stunned by how many of you told me you'd never thought about it before. I was even more stunned when I asked Twitter what to blog about today and RedParrot told me she'd like me to talk more about overwriting. My goal has always been to help you become better writers, and since there's high demand for advice on this topic, I thought I'd discuss a few more examples of overwriting to give you a better feel for it. Last time we discussed overwriting I gave you a handful of specific words/details that can be left…
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On Overwriting

Editing, Editing: The Hard Part, Novels, Writing
I don't often discuss the technical side of writing in depth, but after reading the self-published works that inspired last Monday's post, I've decided to discuss the biggest problem I've seen in these novels: overwriting. What is overwriting? There are two ways authors overwrite: with excessive details, and with particularly wordy phrasing. Even a perfectly spelled piece with flawless grammar can be made frustrating if the author overwrites them. It makes a book frustrating to read and in today's fast paced society, most readers will walk away. I'm particularly forgiving of this if the story captivates me, but enough of it will make even me gash my teeth. So today I'd like to discuss some of the things that can--and should--be cut from your writing whenever possible to make it…
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My First Live Critique

Editing, Workshops
A couple weeks ago I experienced my first live critique session with the Toronto Street Writers. The Toronto Street Writers are a group of youth who get together each week and participate in workshops run by published authors. Each year the group produces a zine, and we've just started working on the pieces that will be in the zine. I only joined for the most recent year (the program runs October-June) and so far I'm pleased I did and wondering why it took me so long to find the group. Today I am sharing the experience with you in the hopes that it will encourage you to go out and find your own real, living, breathing group of writers. The Experiment Not only was this my first live critique session,…
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Creating your Editing Watch List

Editing, Editing: The Hard Part, Inspirational, Writing
Some of us are instinctively better with grammar than others, but none of us are perfect. We all have to edit our work to make it into something awesome. Every writer makes different mistakes, but individually, we tend to make the same ones over and over again. This is why it's a good idea to create an editing watch list. There are a few things that pretty much every writer does in the first draft that, while not necessarily wrong, don't make the story better. Your editing watch list will contain words and punctuation that you use too often. We all have crutch words and behaviours, words and behaviours that we force on our novels and our characters because we can't think of anything else and we know they need…
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Mission Successful

Editing, Editing: The Hard Part, Novels, Workshops, Writing
Last night-or maybe early this morning, who's paying attention?-I finished the current draft of Moonshadow's Guardian at about 48, 000 words. I've decided to celebrate with a day of watching some interesting anime-a Japanese style of animation, for anyone who doesn't know-and some chocolate. Hopefully you're done editing your work by now, too. If not, get yourself a treat and get back to work. Editing is hard work; you deserve to reward yourself every now and then. Besides, what comes after the celebration? Why, more work, of course. Next week I'm going to work on editing the first in a series of short stories focused on a couple vampires while I research locations for the next few. I'm going to write as many of these stories as I can this…
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