Author Archives: dan

Let slip the Birds of War!

This started as a conversation with the Great Khan Melissa Walshe about how Central Asian horse nomads like the Mongols had a big advantage over city-dwelling people (hint: the answer is “horses.”) Melissa isn’t a horse nomad, but she does raise chickens and she … Continue reading

Posted in Wonderful, Awful Ideas | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Very Worst Thing

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process. Here’s the sixth exercise in the book. “Given her misbelief, what does she think the very worst thing that could happen would be?” Ruth … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

The Sommalier Theory of Genre Fiction

I’ve been wrestling recently with why I like some books and don’t like others, which has led me to drinking thinking more deeply about what genre fiction delivers to its readers. Emotional investment. That sense of what will happen to them next?? Also … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why does Ruth want it?

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process. Here’s the sixth exercise in the book. “why does your protagonist want what she wants?” Ruth wants Johnnie Magician in jail because he deserves … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Kingdom of Phoneme

This week, I’m playing with awkwords! The Kingdom of Phoneme is in turmoil, torn apart by the factions around the brothers Hluatat and Derifum and meanced by the great general S’LãGs̩ of Abjad, as they fend of the piratical attacks of Captain KuLaEn’ZuLe … Continue reading

Posted in Wonderful, Awful Ideas | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Ruth Wants

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process. Here’s the fifth exercise in the book. “Write a short paragraph about what your character enters the novel wanting,” Ruth wants to see Johnnie … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Writing about sugar and colonialism

The alternate-history competition from last week has a winner! 2. Molasses Empire: sugar-fueled Bantu Merchant-Kings colonize the world (5 votes) Now I have to figure out a story that takes place in this timeline. Any ideas? EDIT: Turns out introducing a new … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chapter 6 is done!

Chapter 6 of The Centuries Unlimited, bringing us up to 21% completion. Chapter quote: “Why are you perpetuating a childhood you grew up despising?” — Mona Rodriguez First line: “I opened my eyes to find myself facing a buffalo skull.” … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Protagonist Before

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process. Here’s the fourth exercise in the book. “Write a thumbnail sketch of who your protagonist is before the novel starts.” Ruth was about to … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Choice of Lady Yu

A girl from a stifling culture gets rescued by the Mongols and finds a place for herself in the Mongol meritocracy, but is self-fulfillment worth killing a third of the population of Eurasia?

Posted in Wonderful, Awful Ideas | Tagged | Leave a comment