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!
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!
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: email@example.com
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!
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!
A Canticle for Leibowitz is a 1959 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel by Walter M. Miller Jr. It’s often described as one of the first post-apocalyptic stories. Without it, there would be no Book of Eli, The Stand, or most other post-apocalyptic tales.
Don’t just take my word for it. It won the 1961 Hugo Award – one of science fiction’s highest honours. Legendary scientist Carl Sagan described it as: “so tautly constructed, so rich in the accommodating details of an unfamiliar society that [it] sweep me along before I have even a chance to be critical”.
It’s a remarkable novel. I don’t have the space in one episode to fully analyse it, so today I’m focusing on just one thing: how it uses an unconventional structure to explore the theme and emotionally gut-punch readers. Enjoy!
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a gritty YA fantasy heist story. It’s got a racing plot, an interesting setting, and amazing characters. In this episode, I analyse the relationship between Kaz and Inej, using Mary Robinette Kowal’s 6 relationship axes
:Mind – Both people have similar levels of intelligence.
Money – Both people have similar attitudes about money. They don’t both have to have the same amount. This is about what money is for and how it’s handled.
Morals – Similar moral compasses of right and wrong.
Manners – Similar senses of what is polite. So it’s possible to have the same manners and wildly different morals.
Monogamy – Similar attitudes about the relationship. You know that guy that thinks you are BFFs and you think you’re just colleagues?
Marx Brothers – You both find the same things funny.
Arguably more intelligent, but this often gets in the way of him
connecting with people. High IQ, low EQ – apart from when he’s
sociopathically manipulating people
Not as cunning or clever as Kaz, but with better genuine people
“he is a young criminal prodigy, ready to do anything for the right
price” – Leigh Bardugo. Wants money for selfish reasons (so he can destroy a
gang leader who hurt him)
Also wants money, but for unselfish reasons (so she can destroy
Rock solid, mainly because of her religious convictions.
Manipulative; views manners as a tool to use to further his goals.
Seems relatively kind; uses manners in an unconsciously kind way,
because she’s a kind person.
Has feelings for Inej, but puts up walls to protect himself.
Also has feelings for Kaz, but won’t commit to anything while he
still maintains his walls.
They both find it funny to upset the privledged, the cruel, the
sadistic. In many ways, their mutual hatred of abusive authority figures binds
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.
21 – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Meaningful Endings and the Truth.
Truth. It’s one of the most important aspects of story – especially of stories that are fantastical. In this episode, I explore how Gaiman created a truthful, meaningful, and emotional resonant ending to his Hugo and Newberry award-winning novel: The Graveyard Book. (Includes bonus singing from yours truly) Enjoy!