42. A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix – The Triumph of Humanity

Cohesion and resonance. More than anything else, they’re what will elevate your story above the rest, and leave readers thinking long after the final page.

This is the story of my three deaths.

– A Confusion of Princes, by Garth Nix

Show Notes:

Send me your questions: https://jedherne.com/question/

Or: jed.herne1[at]gmail.com

Listen to my in-depth analysis of an amazing fight scene: https://novelanalyst.com/2019/10/16/38-words-of-radiance-by-brandon-sanderson-giving-readers-chills/

40. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy – Writing an Amazing Series

For months, I’ve struggled with how to write a series. See, most of my ideas come to me as stand-alone books, but this current project felt like something bigger than one novel.

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany.

Now, I think I’ve cracked the code on writing a series.

And today I’ll share it with you.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online.

Show Notes:

My interview on A Writer’s Explorations

A huge Q & A writing talk I gave to primary school students

My previous episode analysing Skulduggery Pleasant Book 6 – Death Bringer

Derek’s 2010 blog article that I quoted

The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

Save the Cat Goes to the Movies by Blake Snyder





39. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey – Grounding Stories With Characters

Science fiction space operas are stories told at an epic scale. How can you make such a vast world accessible to readers? How can you ground these fantastical and strange new worlds in a sense of realism?

Balancing the epic with the human is perhaps the greatest strength of Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (first book in The Expanse). Today’s show dives deep into analysing how characters are they key to guiding readers through epic stories. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online.

Show Notes:

jedherne.com/fires – get a free short story and join my email newsletter to hear about future book giveaways!

jedherne.com/question – submit your questions for the show!

anchor.fm – what I use to make my podcast for free (note: I am not sponsored by them and I make no money for this – just recommending a useful tool that I use)

38 – Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – Giving Readers Chills

Words of Radiance is the second book in The Stormlight Archive, an epic fantasy series of incredible ambition – and superb execution. What’s remarkable about WOR isn’t just the world building, the twisting plot, or the amazing characters (although they’re all great). No, what made this book remarkable was the emotional response it created within me. In this episode, I explain how you can do the same for your stories. Enjoy!

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online

Read Fires of the Dead, my debut fantasy book: jedherne.com/firesofthedead

Win a signed copy of Fires of the Dead: jedherne.com/win (closes 23/10/2019)

Ask me a question! I might answer on this show: jedherne.com/question

Email: jed.herne1(at)gmail.com

Listen to my episode on The Way of Kings, which is book 1 of The Stormlight Archive.

37 – Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling – Disguising Exposition

Subtly conveying information to readers is a delicate skill. It’s one that Rowling mastered in the Harry Potter series, where all the information is available to readers well before it’s needed, but only coalesces at the required moment. In today’s episode, I describe the 4 M’s of subtle foreshadowing, in relation to the Potter saga. Enjoy!

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online

Read my debut fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead.

“The perfect read for someone looking to be quickly immersed in a magic system unlike anything else.” – Nicole Wallace, editor of Synopses by Sarge.

Available in ebook, paperback, hardback, and audio book.

Email me – I love hearing from listeners and I respond to every message! jed.herne1(at)gmail.com

36 – [Interview] Gareth Hanrahan: World Building, Writing Advice, and Creating a Successful Writing Career

Stoked to interview Gareth Hanrahan, author of The Gutter Prayer – which I analysed on the show just a few days ago. We had an excellent in-depth chat about his book, how writing for role-playing games has helped him as an author, and lots more. Enjoy!

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online

Show Notes:

Gareth’s influential books:

DECLARE, Tim Powers

Lavondyss, Robert Holdstock

Deep Work, by Cal Newport

Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey (more accessible version of Deep Work)

Hamlet’s Hit Points, Robin D Laws

Storyteller Tools, M. Harold Page

House of Leaves 

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

My debut fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, comes out tomorrow! (Sep 20th, 2019). Read it here: https://jedherne.com/firesofthedead

Questions, comments, queries? I love hearing from you! I respond to every email sent to: jed.herne1@gmail.com

35 – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan – World Building for Fantasy Cities

In today’s episode, I outline a guide for world-building amazing fantasy cities – like the one Hanrahan created in The Gutter Prayer. Here’s my key world-building lessons learnt from this book:

1. Consider the first scene as a microcosm

2. The first scene sets the tone

3. Explore your interests

4. Consider how different characters react to the same world.

5. More ideas is better than not enough

6. Layer it up!

7. Treat the city as a character

8. It’s about the intertwining

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online

Show Notes:

My debut fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, comes out September 20th! Buy a copy during launch week (between 20th-27th September), then send me your receipt and I’ll set you up with exclusive bonuses. My email: jed.herne1@gmail.com

Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Fires-Dead-Fantasy-Jed-Herne-ebook/dp/B07WDBLW9Y

Special sneak peek! Chapter one of my debut fantasy novella, FIRES OF THE DEAD (releases Sep 20th!)

My debut fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, releases in 10 days on September 20th! It’ll be available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook forms. You can pre-order the ebook now for automatic delivery on Sep 20th.

I’m so stoked to share this book with the world :). Can’t wait to hear what you think!

In today’s episode, I read the opening chapter. Enjoy!

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or click here to listen online

The audiobook cover for Fires of the Dead, a fantasy novella by Jed Herne


Wisp is a Pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.

Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …

A jaded gang leader longing for retirement

A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power

A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks

A young thief desperate to prove herself

A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried

Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.

Fires of the Dead is a dark fantasy novella with a unique magic system, perfect for anyone wanting a fast-paced read.  


To stay updated with the book launch (and my writing in general), you can join my free author email newsletter: https://jedherne.com/club/. When you sign up, you’ll get some bonus fantasy and sci-fi stories!

34 – The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough – Creating Emotion

The Language of Dying is an elegiac, emotionally moving novella, about a woman whose father is dying. In today’s episode, I dive deep into analysing how the author crafted such a profound emotional experience. If you want your words to move your readers, this episode explains how. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Stitcher

Or click here to listen online

My debut fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, is available on amazon for pre-order! Get it here:  http://bit.ly/firesjedherne

Or use this link to read a free prequel story:https://jedherne.com/dead/