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Worldbuilding 2: the basics of writing fantasy fiction

The basics of writing fantasy fiction

Fantasy fiction is a niche market, but a very popular niche market. It is particularly popular among new writers, and I suspect this is a consequence of growing up on a diet of best-selling fantasy fiction over the last couple of decades. In this article, I will look at the differences between writing fantasy fiction and other genres, and also the similarities.  Read more

Worldbuilding 1: Character names in fantasy novels

Character names in fantasy novels

One of the more rewarding - and difficult - things about writing a fantasy novel is having the opportunity to create and describe a world different from our own; one where magic is real, where non-human beings interact with us, and where reality has a shape and texture that is anything but mundane.  Read more

The Pedant: how to make your editor happy 5: The trouble with ‘as’

The trouble with ‘as’

If you edit for long enough, you inevitably develop pet hates and bugbears; constructions or word usages that just get your goat. Sometimes these are frequent errors, such as the confusion of ‘that' and ‘which', or the misuse of punctuation. Sometimes they are constructions that smack of lazy, sloppy writing.  Read more

The Pedant 4: how to make your editor happy. Spoilt for choice: formats and fonts

Spoilt for choice: formats and fonts

Since the advent of home computing and the easy availability of word processing and publishing software (is it really only a generation ago?), the budding writer has been faced with a wonderland of possibilities; or a tyranny of choices, depending on your point of view.  Read more

The Pedant: how to make your editor happy 4: Spoilt for choice: formats and fonts

Spoilt for choice: formats and fonts

Since the advent of home computing and the easy availability of word processing and publishing software (is it really only a generation ago?), the budding writer has been faced with a wonderland of possibilities; or a tyranny of choices, depending on your point of view.  Read more

The Pedant: how to make your editor happy 3: Bells and whistles? The use of bold, italics and capital letters in prose fiction

Bells and whistles? The use of bold, italics and capital letters in prose fiction

There are times when, no matter how well you write, you need typographical support to emphasise a point. English is a wonderfully flexible and suggestive language, but it can't do everything by itself, and replacing plain type with, for instance, italics, can really help the reader to understand what's happening in your story.  Read more

The Pedant: how to make your editor happy 1: Accents and dialects

Accents and dialects: spelling your way into trouble

‘Oi'm sarry to bather ye, Mam.'

‘We ‘ave ze wonderfool patisseries, no?'

‘'Ere, leave orf, will yer, I ain't dun nuffink.'  Read more

The Pedant: how to make your editor happy 2: Dialogue tags

Dialogue tags

She said, he said: the use (and misuse) of dialogue tags

Dialogue is the engine of good fiction. It makes characters three-dimensional and realistic; it drives the story forwards; it allows the writer to provide background information without resorting to reportage. Good dialogue, one might say, speaks for itself.  Read more

My Say - Natasha Mostert

My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life.

Contributions should ideally be 300 to 500 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us. WritersServices' decision on whether or not to include each contribution is final.

Natasha Mostert  Read more

Talking to Publishers | Series

Talking to Publishers - our new series

Our new Talking to Publishers series is a loosely connected series of articles and interviews in which editors and other publishing people share their insights about publishing and tell us what they're looking for.  Read more

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