Writing Angel Mage

Spoilers for Angel Mage (novel). I first spotted Angel Mage when, on the recommendation of a friend, I resolved to pick up a copy of Gormenghast. The cover was slick and striking (black and gold will do that), and at the top, over the words Angel Mage, stood Joe Abercrombie's words of adulation, 'The most…

Writing The Wheel of Time

Spoilers for The Wheel of Time (books series and upcoming television series) and Dune (pan-media franchise). N.B. In this article, I will be using various potentially contentious words, including sexism and sexist, in a general, even colloquial, sense, rather than the highly technical and narrow senses used in certain academic disciplines. That should probably give…

Writing Kelewan

Spoilers for The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist and The Empire Trilogy by Janny Wurts and Feist (book series). There is a lot of bad fantasy out there. I know this, because I have written some, and whenever I look over the disastrous mess I have poured into my manuscript, I can cast my…

Observations on Observation

Spoilers for Observation (computer game). This week, I was supposed to get back to books: my plan was scuppered, however, when the book I chose to read turned out to be underwhelming, and then construction work in my neighbourhood made any attempts to read utterly impossible due to the constant noise. That is why, somewhat…

Writing Warcraft

Spoilers for Warcraft (computer game franchise and great big cash cow). Thanks to Russell (of "giant magical spider" fame) for the idea. In retrospect, Blizzard naming a sapient creature 'Thrall' should probably have been a warning sign. ('Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos', promotional material) Back in 2002, Blizzard released Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (henceforth…

Writing XCOM

Spoilers for X-COM and XCOM (rebooted game franchise). This week, proving that tactical science-fiction games can do it as well as fantasy adventure games, we take a look at the rebooted XCOM franchise, which seems to have caught on to Link's cunning plan and has recently reinvented/rebooted/re-realized its mythos for the nth time in the…

Writing Sekiro

Spoilers for the following games: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, mild spoilers for Dark Souls (series), Fallen London (formerly Echo Bazaar), and Cultist Simulator. Ninpou! Dark Souls Bunshin no Jutsu!(Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, official promotional material) I love Japanese food. There is something so fulfilling about a full Japanese meal: the flavours, textures, colours, the neatness…

Writing The Sexy Brutale

Spoilers for Undertale (game), The Sexy Brutale (game) and an absolute corker of a soundtrack. 'We didn't rig the roulette/ it was always turning/ whilst my mask was burning.('The Sexy Brutale', promotional material) On 7th December 2017, Tequila Works released a quirky murder mystery game set in a stable time loop, a story of subtle…

Writing Dune

Spoilers for Dune and all Dune-derived media (books, films, games, television series). In the grim darkness of the 23rd Millennium, there is only... wait, no, that's the other one. In 1965, Chilton Books, a publisher known for producing engineering manuals, published Dune, a science-fiction book which had originally appeared as a serial in the magazine…

Write Like You Mean It 4

An erratic guide to consistent writing. Alternate Alternate is one of those unfortunate words which is very close in appearance to a word whose meaning is both more useful in most conversations and yet also whose own meaning is just close enough to be confusing. To alternate means to take turns repeatedly; it also can…