Friday, 8 April 2011

Ode to fantasy writers

Something I came up with while waiting around for a friend to pick me up.

Sung to The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World".

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my Word doc is complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who writes everything?
Look at this trove
Stories untold
How many wonders can one folder hold?
Looking around here you think
Sure, she dreams everything
I've got fairies and princes a-plenty
I've got gremlins and villains galore
You want cool demi-gods?
I've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more

I wanna be where the characters are
I wanna see, wanna see ‘em dancin'
Walking around in those - what do you call 'em?
Oh - sheets!

Flippin' your pages, you see so far
Magic’s required for flying, chanting
Fightin’ a bunch of those - what's that word again?

Down where they walk, down where they run
Down where they slay all day, everyone
Wanderin' free - wish I could be
Part of that world

What would I give if I could live with the goddesses?
What would I pay to spend a day in a fantasy land?
Trident in hands, Olympians
They could be, so much fun to slaughter
Poison apples, marriage chapels
Fairy tale lands

And give me a quest with a trapped princess
Raise the stakes and build the climax
Add an apprentice and let him - what's the word?

When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore that world I dreamed of?
Pure fantasy
Wish I could be
Part of that world

ETA: I've made a youtube video of this song, with lyrics (oh god!) really bad images and transitions (my eyes!), and MY ACTUAL SINGING, which has never been heard in any capacity except road trips (PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP!). If you would like to would like to endure this kind of suffering, skip on over to the site

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Learning writing from reading

With the twenty-four hour read-a-thon happening again this weekend, I’ve been thinking about the one piece of advice that authors, agents, publishers, editors – everyone in the writing business, really – are constantly giving new writers.


You learn the craft of writing by seeing what others have done; by reflecting on what works and what doesn’t. You can study plot, characterisation, setting, and structure – not by reading how-to books, but by reading widely.

Some important things that I’ve learnt so far about writing, and the books I’ve learnt them from:

1. Smaller chapters make for easy reading - UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

2. Protagonists don’t always have to be reliable - LIAR by Justine Larbalestier

3. If done right, having multiple protagonists can give a story many rich layers - TO THE GENTLEMAN IN THE BACK by Alicia Blade (aka Marissa Meyer). You can find the story here.

4. Middle grade does not limit your audience to just children - The HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling

5. Epilogues to give ultra-happy endings don’t necessarily equate to ultra-happy readers - HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling

6. Stories don’t need romance to be fun - CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis; RONDO series by Emily Rodda

7. Having a witty, cheeky protagonist means you can get away with writing epistolaries - DADDY LONG LEGS by Jean Webster

8. A well-placed twist can make the whole story - AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS by Jules Verne

I could go on for pages. Reading is the best way to improve your writing.

Now it’s your turn. What have you learnt about writing from reading?