Tip Tuesday Round Up: Stallions and sci-fi5 min read

by | Nov 1, 2016 | Tips | 0 comments

A weekly roundup of writing advice and inspiration

In what concerns many car-free fantasy worlds, horses are the perfect solution to transport issues, barring flashier options of teleportation or dragons. Yet a regrettable trend across much fantasy writing is that of a horse not really being a horse, but simply a plot device; a vehicle to help carry a story along. Horses, however, are not vehicles.”

So your fantasy fiction hero is needed in the next town over to save the day – just pop him on a horse and set him on his way, right? Not so fast. Rosalind Moran is here to set you straight in the matter of writing the steeds of fantasy fiction.

You’ll usually be given a metaphorical box of narrative body parts with which to work with. These could be things like a rough spine of a story, artwork for setting and characters, whatever the developer has managed to come up with. Your job will be to flesh everything out and assemble it into a coherent story, taking in the considerations of the ever evolving gameplay. This often comprises a lot of backstory, world building and character work, alongside answers [to] a lot of the “why?” questions.”

For those of you interested in writing for video games, it’s worth reading this fantastic interview in The Mary Sue with Rhianna Pratchett, the lead writer for the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and its sequel. There’s lots of advice here on the practicalities of writing for games – contracting for developers – as well as some insight into expectations when writing for female characters, and more.


Being extremely studious with your language during dialogue and narration from the perspective of a very alien character is quite difficult. Unfortunately, the tendency of most authors is to fall back to extremely factual and scientific-sounding language when confronted with the difficulty of addressing extremely alien characters, leading to the stiff dialogue that many campy sci-fi media are known for.”

Building a character in a sci-fi universe invites a whole new set of problems to think about: education systems, culture, body language, right down to language and idioms. Sci-Fi Addicts has you covered with an in-depth tutorial on how to polish your character to a well-rounded shine.


What can an art of words take from the art that needs none? Yet I often think I’ve learned as much from watching dancers as I have from reading. Dance lessons for writers: lessons of position, attitude, rhythm and style, some of them obvious, some indirect.”

In her latest Guardian blog, Zadie Smith takes us on an unusual journey between two seemingly unconnected practises, drawing upon the parallel between writing and dancing.


Break planning down into smaller chunks. You don’t have to know everything on the first day of writing. Work out a couple of scenes you know you need to include so you’re ready to write them. Once you start plotting out these, your brain will start whirring away and figuring out connecting scenes or ideas that spiral off of one of those first few events.”

Are you having a Nanonwrimo breakdown? Let Plotist‘s Jenny talk you down, with some calming advice on how to act in your Nanowrimo panic station.


And remember to join us on the Plotist forums to let us know how your Nano project is progressing!

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