51. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie – Concrete and Specific Setting Descriptions

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie is an innovative and captivating work, merging the fantasy and western genres into something new and fresh. A big part of its success are Abercrombie’s vivid and immersive descriptive language. This episode dissects how to write setting descriptions that make readers feel like they’re part of your story’s world. 

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Show Notes:

My fantasy book, Across the Broken Stars, is free on Amazon until 01/05/2020! Get it here: https://amzn.to/2Ya3WEf

Previous episodes on Joe Abercrombie’s books:

Episode 50: Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie – A Simple Way to Craft Compelling Characters 

Episode 7: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie – Exploring Theme 

Episode 2: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie – Characterisation through Contradiction

44. Master of Sorrows by Justin Call – Crafting Compelling Magic Systems

An in-depth look at creating interesting, cohesive magic that improves your story in meaningful ways. 

This is a follow up to an interview I did with the author a few weeks ago. We had an excellent chat about his book as a whole, and to complement our discussion, I wanted to do an episode diving deep into his magic system – which I really enjoyed and made the book feel super unique. Enjoy!

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Or click here to listen online.

Show Notes:

My interview with Justin, author of Master of Sorrows: https://novelanalyst.com/2020/01/07/justin-call-interview/

My upcoming space fantasy book, Across the Broken Stars: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49125250-across-the-broken-stars

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

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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

29 – The Way of Kings – Stormlight Archive book 1 – by Brandon Sanderson – Crafting Epic Fantasy

What does it mean to craft epic fantasy? How is it different that other forms of fantasy? What are it’s unique strengths, and potential pitfalls? All those questions and more answered in today’s episode, which focuses on The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.
Enjoy!

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Shownotes:
Check out my new youtube channel for writing advice every weekday: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVjB-qFoNxNbQq0S3boWxIA?view_as=subscriber
Join my exclusive free Reader Club email newsletter to stay up to date with my writing projects: https://jedherne.com/club/
Twitter: @jedherne
Email: jed.herne1@gmail.com

25 – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – The Art of Setting Descriptions

In this fantastic YA fantasy novel, the town of Ketterdam is a living, breathing, three-dimensional creation: as much a character as any of the other (brilliant) characters in this story. Bardugo is a master of making a setting come to life. In today’s in-depth episode, I analyse a scene to extract key techniques writers can use to improve their setting descriptions.

No mourners, no funerals.

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***

Shownotes:

Get my free short story! A Clockwork Prison

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24 – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 2 – How to Write Funny

In the second part of my analysis of Hitchhikers I extract micro and macro techniques for creating comedy. (You don’t need to have listened to the 1st part for this to make sense).

Micro comedy techniques include:

  1. Garden Path – lead readers to expect a certain outcome, then deliver another.
  2. Emphasis on what comes last
    • Not so much a humour technique, but generally the last word in a paragraph has the most impact. (like we saw in that last quote)
  3. Literal Mis-interpretation: take a term normally used just to convey an idea, then actually follow through with the meaning:
  4. Fun with Homophones
  5. Reframe – how can you make readers see a common thing or a common concept in a different, more humourous, absurdist, satirical way?
  6. Oxymoron – the linking of two ideas which really don’t make sense together

Macro techniques include:

  1. Genre awareness
  2. Escalation
  3. Absurdism
  4. Surprise! (aka Subverting Expectations)
  5. Synthesis with the theme:

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***

Shownotes:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FunWithHomophones

https://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/humor-writing-filled-novel

 

Want to read my free short story? Get it here: A Clockwork Prison

Want awesome short stories, bite-sized writing advice, and lists of the best books to improve your craft? Join my VIP email list!

 

23 – The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 1 – Why Characters Don’t Matter

This absurdly funny sci-fi comedy is a fantastic example of how you don’t always need amazing characters to create an amazing story. Buckle up as we use Orson Scott Card’s MICE quotient to analyse what makes this novel work. And remember: don’t panic!

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***

Shownotes:

http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/Workshop-stuff/MICE-Quotient.htm

Get my free short story! A Clockwork Prison

Want awesome short stories, bite-sized writing advice, and lists of the best books to improve your craft? Join my VIP email list!