Writing Lessons from Manga

Manga and other graphic novels are a unique form of storytelling. In some ways it is similar to watching films, in that it shows us the characters and settings rather than describing them for us to imagine. In others it is more like a book, in that we get insights into the characters' thoughts and motivations, and, of course, that we are reading words and turning pages.

I came to manga fairly recently, and it took some getting used to. After hearing about the story of Deathnote, I was so interested by it that I decided to read it despite being skeptical about these "comic books". If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might have figured out that I am still slightly obsessed with Deathnote from my occasional (haha) mentions of it. Since then, I have read Your Name and some of Erased, and added more even more manga to my ever-growing TBR list.

These stories, apart from being great stories in their own right, are great examples of this particular form of storytel…

The Language of Worlds Linkup

It looks like I'm not the only one missing Beautiful People.

Liv K. Fisher (you can check out her blog by clicking the image above) is hosting a bi-monthly character linkup called The Language of Worlds. It's tailored to Christian Speculative Fiction, but writers of any genre can try it out.

While taking a break from Eyes That See Time, I've been planning another novel with the overly-long and clumsy working title Journey to the New World.

Yeah, I'll be changing that name, but let's go with it for now.

Journey to the New World will be a YA low fantasy novel, hopefully relatively short (I'm thinking about 60,000 words, but me and low word counts don't tend to get along). There is nothing about it on the My Writing page yet, seeing as all the development I've done so far has been drawing maps, figuring out plot points, and research, research, research. However, I hope to change that in the not-too-distant-future.


Without further ado, allow me to …

Your Villain's Relationship with the Hero

When someone says the word "villain", a number of examples might come to mind: Sauron, Voldemort, or Darth Vader for example. An antagonist is simply a character who stands in your hero's way, but a villain is a specific kind of antagonist; a villain is evil.

The three characters I mentioned are unarguably evil. Sauron would prefer hobbits as miserable to slaves to happy, free hobbits. Voldemort and Darth Vader murder people seemingly without a thought. However, is it simply evilness that makes a good villain? Is the way to create the best villain simply to create the evilest villain?

You have probably already figured out that the answer is no. Creating a compelling villain is at least as complicated as creating a compelling hero, possibly more.

To talk about every aspect of creating good villains would take a book (in fact, there are whole books on the topic), so today I am only going to talk about one often-overlooked but extremely important thing to consider when crea…

Writing Lessons from Blogging

Blogging is cool, right?

But did you know blogging can help you with fiction writing as well? I mean, apart from being a great way to procrastinate about fiction writing, obviously.

I don't just mean platform building. Honestly, I don't know where I stand on the "writers must blog otherwise no one will know who they are so they will never get published" problem. Except that if your probability of being published is related to your blog stats I don't stand much chance, so I would rather believe it isn't.

This time, though, I am not going to talk about platform. Here are some other cool ways blogging helps you become a better writer.

Deadlines If you have a regular posting schedule, you will have to have deadlines. Deadlines can be annoying, but they are also extremely helpful. Published authors have to keep to deadlines, but even before you get that far, setting personal targets helps to combat procrastination and make sure you are making progress.
The importa…

Reading and Writing Update + What Do You Want to See on Thinkings?

May, the month of exams and crazy weather (in Scotland, at least) is drawing to an end. This month as been heavy on the writing and quite light on the reading for me, so let me tell you about it. At the end, I will tell you about my plans to change my posting schedule, then wrap up with a survey, so stick around for that. 😉


It has taken me all month to finish Howards End and then read North and South.

Howards End was amazing and I can't wait to read more of E.M. Forster's writing over the summer. Strangely, I didn't like a single character in the story, but because they were so fascinating and easy to relate to, I cared what happened to them and wanted to keep reading. The quality of the writing is exquisite, and unlike many classics it never felt slow.

North and South is... a different story. I was hoping for something like a Jane Austen novel, and I admit I was a bit disappointed. The melodrama is just painful, and many of the characters are really annoying. The…

4 Common Pitfalls of Magic Systems


Arguably the coolest thing about fantasy (though the made up creatures can be pretty cool as well), something with the potential to make your world unique, to raise the stakes, to take us into a new world, and start endless debates in Christian circles.

Also something with a unique set of pitfalls.

As I write high fantasy, I have given a lot of thought to magic. So much so that I wish my stories would magically fix their magic systems and save me the trouble. However, since I see no sign of this happening, I have identified the main flaws in fantasy novels I have read.

Before I give up hope of my magical stories magically fixing their problematic magic and actually fix it myself the normal way, let me share with you the four most common pitfalls in magical systems I have come across.

It's just so convenient
Usually convenient and inconsistent. A lot of fantasy stories fall into this trap. How are they going to get out of this one? Well, conveniently, there is a spell/potion/…

Interacting with Writers at All Stages

If writing is a journey, then you will meet people at all different stages. There is that person who has published five books in as many years and is only twenty-something (who you try very hard to be nice to despite being madly jealous), and that other person who only writes fan-fiction and never finishes anything.

You know what? You can probably learn from both, and them from you.

Here is why you need to speak to writers at all stages of the journey.

Writers Who Are Ahead of You:

This one is obvious. You have a problem? There is a good chance they have already encountered it. You can ask them all the questions, see what they are doing right, and be inspired by their success.

However, try not to make the mistake of only taking; that is pretty much the quickest way to lose writer friends. Just because you are not at their level yet does not mean you have nothing to give! Remember to encourage them and tell them how much they have helped you.

Perhaps you might be able to help them prac…