Create a Language Clinic

I’m starting my world building by following Holly Lisle’s Create a Language Clinic to create some languages for my prospective world.

It feels correct to start there and I suppose it’s as good as any place to start.

The key thing is to start and stop thinking about what to do first.

World Building

Looks like the first step for me will be to develop a world and all the other things that it involves. Languages, cultures, worldograhpy and any other things I can come up with.

If I go at this correctly then it will be a lot of fun to make a place where I could be captivated by it.

Story Bibles

I’m starting a story bible for my next project. I’ve found it hard to find information on how other people do this. Some time ago I managed to find a couple of pages on the net, but I stupidly never kept a link to it and search the net has produced nothing.
So what’s a story bible? It’s a structured collection of notes etc. of information you’ll need in constructing your book.
Main headings that can be included are:
Plot Ideas
Plot Summary or Outline
Image Folder
The Story
How you do this can be down to your temperament. You may be keen to use your computer and there is nothing wrong with that especially if you use software designed to ease the writing process. Something like Scrivener for the Mac or Writer’s Cafe (which is free for the Mac at this time) if you want something cross platform ( Windows, Linux and Mac ).
You can also do it the old fashioned way that can be very sensual compared to a computer. Use box or lever arch files and any other stationery that you like – 5 by 3 cards etc.
If you have any experience of creating story bibles or know of any other resources please leave a comment.

What are You Reading?

What fiction and non-fiction books are you reading?
I’m currently re-reading the
Earthsea sequence by Ursula K. Le Guin as one of my wise guides.
Wise guides
is an idea I came across in Heather Sellers’ latest book Chapter after Chapter where she suggest that you get together with 6 wise guides, 3 books like the book you want to write and three writing/coaching books to keep you on target with writing advice and motivational stuff.
My other wise guides that I’ll be re-reading before I start are:
The World of Null-A by A. E. Van Vogt,
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny,
Writing the Novel by Lawrence Block,
The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray (1st edition), and lastly
Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel.

In spite of what Heather Sellers says about only having six guides I going to include her two books Page after Page and Chapter after Chapter a pair of excellent writing advice books.

Writing Podcasts

I Should be Writing by Mur Lafferty

A podcast by a wannabe writer for wannabe writers. Inspirational.

The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy by Tee Morris

A successful online writer and podcaster and now in print also. He covers more of the business sid of writing

Writers Talking by Matthew Wayne Selznick

It’s a series of interviews with writers about the craft of writing

The Secrets by Michael A. Stackpole

A hughly successful auther with many SF and Fantasy books in print.

The Dragon Page

Interviews with well known writers and book reviews covering SF and Fantasy.

Whispers at the Edge by Philippa Ballantine

An antipodean view on writing.

The Kissy Bits by Kiki

A romance podcast from down under.

Great Writing Sites

I don’t know how I found this site. Holly Lisle is a published writer who believes in paying forward and has done a lot for the writers on the Internet. She founded Forward Motion Writers Forums, started Vision Online magazine ( a paying market ) and has a resource laden site at

Another site that I fine useful is the site with is a structured directory of things of interest or use for a writer. It’s not been updated in a while though.

If your looking for a challenge try if you’d like to get a book written in a month or if you fancy your chances of doing a book in a week or even if your a budding script writer and have a month to spare. These are all great fun sites with a serious side too.

Sometimes you might try a search engine other than Google ( no matter how good it is ) because you might find something unusual going elsewhere.

Lastly for the moment if you want to try your hand at SF have a look at the Science Fiction Worlds of Jeffrey A. Carver where you’ll find a comprehensive and free writing course.
I’ve found these all useful. I hope you do too.

Doing what you enjoy.

I’ve been participating in an online discussion involving a well known fantasy writer who is exploring options for their future. What does come out of the communal discussion is that it’s most important that you write what you enjoy and enjoy what you write and then if you can share that and others are willing to pay to read what you’ve written then that’s really good icing on the top.
So forget what’s in vogue or what earns the big bucks unless you really like them.If romance is your bag, write the best romances that you can, if mystery then be the next Agatha Christie. And don’t be snobbish about different genres. They’re just different no better or worse than each other.
So write and enjoy.

Writing Advice

There’s a lot of writing advice out there, on the net and in print. Who are we to trust our time and money on. The successful published author might be the best bet. They obviously can write well enough to be published (excluding vanity publishing) and hopefully they can tell a story or at least communicate with the learner writer BUT can they teach effectively. Can they cut away the mystique and unnecessary jargon or even remember to explain it.
For a long time I had a notion of what was meant by a beat in writing but only recently came across a clear definition or description. And there are other examples you’ll stumble over. Maybe I’ve just looked in the wrong places.
Sometimes the advice comes in the form of simple aphorisms like ‘Writing is just putting one word after another word on paper or a screen.’ Glib, insightful, probably, but of itself is it useful in making one a read writer because ultimately that’s what we writers want to be read by others and possibly valued by others an have them enjoy or relate to the reality we have created.
And that’s what we do. We create realities that we put forward to our readers, realities that cradle the stories we tell, and if the realities are rich enough and well thought-out and the story is gripping then, with a following wind and a bit of luck, we may have a success.
So, does the advice help you to achieve those ends? It’s not just about fictitious worlds but includes us having a deep understanding of this reality which, to a large extent, we share.
Does the advice help you create pictures in words? Can you create a story that moves along at a pace? Is your world peopled with believable beings? Do they do things that matter?
I don’t think we are looking for formulas, which if they existed would make it all boring. What we should be looking to do is to acquire and develop a toolkit that suits our individual needs and what suits me or another writer might not suit you.
Happy and productive writing.

Rethink Writing

Are the real issues about publishing in its current form is not just or even really about publishing and the current business models, e.g. Novels down to side-bar articles, paper through digital delivery, it’s about creating a new business idea for attracting paying markets for the work of writers.
Should we really be looking at what we can do to innovate in the writing forms we expect to be published I.e not the book.
Should we accept that niche markets are the most likely outlets for the material and the traditional model, regardless of the production values it engenders, writing, editing, rewriting, more editing, proofing, production etc., all carried out by paid professionals is just too expensive a model.
Writers need to have editing, copy editing and production skills to ensure that they can appear attractive to a small low cost, low volume, large number of titles publisher.