Write now clockSo today I wanted to look at some totally free, internet based tools that I’ve encountered and found useful. A lot of the writerly tools out there are apps that didn’t work on one or more of my gadgets and/or were things I had to pay for. I’ve paid for writing apps before and been disappointed, so unless there’s a free version that blows me away, I don’t spend money on those anymore. Or software for that matter. So it’s just this MS word file and me tonight.

WordCounter.com - This first page is one I’ve had for a while. You plug in an excerpt of your story, set a couple of simple preferences and it will tell you your most frequently used words. This is obviously a huge help in identifying words that you need to change up so that readers don’t get tired of the same word appearing over and over again. TIP: Don’t paste your whole manuscript in there… It doesn’t work, trust me.  Continue Reading »

Yeah, I know what your English professor tried to tell you. But if your English professor could make a living writing fiction, they would have been doing it. – Dean Wesley Smith

Writing fiction is hard, and in some ways is harder than writing non-fiction. At its core, non-fiction is based in finding a unique angle, doing adequate and accurate research and presenting information in an enlightening way. Fiction is all of these things as well, but requires imagination and a more out-of-the-box creative input because a large part of that base you have to make up yourself.


  • Even fiction requires research

Yes, even if your world is a complete fabrication of your mind, you still need to research the mechanics of the things you wish to install, even if it’s just to see how a device’s real-world counterpart works. I usually begin researching about 1/4th of the way into a story, so that I can fact check my groundwork before I get too deep in, and then continue to write and research intermittently. Continue Reading »

We as a race have always had a use for weapons. At the most basic level, weapons were once used to hunt and to protect against threats. And of course to make war on others. I think the title kind of speaks for itself, so lets take a look at some of the killing devices from the past.

  • Chakram

ChakramYes, just like the one Xena used ( :D ) The chakram, which was also sometimes called a chalikar, was a weapon used by Indian warriors, and depending on their size they could be worn around the neck or wrist, or y’know on one’s belt like the warrior princess. Not all of the designs had the curved handle in the middle; some were just razor sharp circles. They was thrown vertically, with a fancier maneuver being to twirl one on the index finger before flicking the wrist sharply for the throw. A similar Chinese weapon, the wind and fire wheels, were actually designed for melee combat as well as throwing when wielded as a pair.  Continue Reading »

I recently started reading a dragon anthology that’s been collecting dust on my shelf. I know, for shame – why would you not read straight through a good dragon book? Well for starters, as I started to read the first short story I remembered that I’d read it already, and it was as mediocre the second time around as the first. Then the second story failed to impress, and now it’s sitting on my stack of writing stuff, about to be neglected again for weeks on end.

The whole point of reading a dragon story is the dragon – yes, we want character development, an awesome plot and an epic setting, but we want to be in awe of the dragon. They’re such iconic creatures that writing them into a story changes the flavor of the entire thing. But it also brings inherent challenges. When dragon stories fail, they fail epicly and usually for simple reasons.

About a year ago, I did a post on tricks for writing dragon characters into a story. Continue Reading »

didyouknowWhen we sit down to write a high fantasy story, we’re usually much more focused on the characters, their comings and goings, and the world. We have this grand scheme, these human emotions, and this amazing world that we want to share. Which is awesome. You go write that. I’ll just leave these here, for your reference, when you’re ready… ;)

Did you know…

  • Bards might be useful for singing tales of your praise, but they’re useless in battle Continue Reading »

Please forgive me...Yes, I’m back. ;) You guys thought you’d lost me, but no! You’re kind of stuck with me, especially now that I’m going to be focusing on my writing mostly full-time now, at least for a little while. This is something I’ve said I was going to do a thousand times before, and like almost anything that anybody says they’re going to do, life often gets in the way. Perhaps that will be the case this time around as well, but each time you start again is just another change to succeed (or another mark in your crazy column.)

One of the things that has often hampered Continue Reading »

Military action is important to the nation—it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it. –Master Sun

Fantasy WarriorsWe’ve talked before about how when you write in a fantasy world it’s your job as the writer to literally re-create the real world, from the smallest details to the most imposing forces at work. Understanding the geography, the political situation, the people in any given district, and latest string of illness spreading through the city are all important, but so is understanding the military and peacekeeping forces.

There’s a difference between peacekeeping forces, like police, and military forces. Peacekeepers protect the people and the equilibrium of power at home, whereas military focuses on defending against the enemies of the state. As Admiral Adama (Battlestar Galactica) pointed out, when the military is used as peacekeepers, the enemy of the state tends to become the people. In a later post, we’ll look at developing police forces in a fantasy realm, but today let’s focus on the gist of constructing a military force. Continue Reading »


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