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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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

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!

19 – Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy – The Art of Naming

In this episode, I look at how Derek uses names to craft compelling, fleshed-out, interesting characters. Enjoy!

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Or click here to listen online

Shownotes:

Derek’s tactics for creating awesome characters (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB5o1uAqodA

Superhero nation article on names: http://www.superheronation.com/2007/10/15/character-naming-superheroes-and-otherwise/

Random name generators:

https://www.behindthename.com/random/

https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/

17 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Crafting Compelling Narrators

This historical World War II novel by Australian author Markus Zusak has compelling characters, an engaging plot, and wonderful writing. But it’s biggest strength is the narrator: the personification of Death. In this episode, I use The Book Thief to break down the key qualities of a compelling narrator. 

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***

Shownotes:

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!

8 – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Creating Empathy for the Hero

If you want readers to keep turning pages, empathy is crucial. In this episode, I examine how Cline uses goals to make readers care about Wade Watts in Ready Player One.

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***

Twitter: @JedHerne

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

Shownotes:

(note: this post may have affiliate links – using them will give me a tiny bit of money, at no extra cost to you!)

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (affiliate link – using it will give me a tiny bit of money, at no extra cost to you)

6 – Neuromancer by William Gibson – 6 Lessons for Writers

Neuromancer was a 1984 genre-defining novel – and it still has a lot to teach writers today. Settle in as I extract 6 key lessons from this ground-breaking sci-fi novel.

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Or click here to listen online

***

Twitter: @JedHerne

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

Shownotes:

Neuromancer by William Gibson

(note: this post may have affiliate links – using them will give me a tiny bit of money, at no extra cost to you!)