Part V of Conflict, War, and Mortality

I think when we write fantasy, sci fi, lit fiction … any fiction, when we join our own “what ifs” to the ink in our pens and spread a part of ourselves across each page, we invest our characters with everything that experience has taught us, everything that life has shown us. Line by line, page by page, chapter by chapter we labor to fashion heroes and villains who step out of our imaginations with all the surety of flesh and bone, their words and thoughts, hopes and dream as solid and compelling…


Part IV On Conflict, War, & Mortality — Characters of the Nasty Sort

Characters of every sort, shape, and persuasion form the skin of a story. Villains, victims, heroes; for good or ill they inhabit a novel’s pages, march across its landscape. Through its characters we discover what we cannot see of a story — its bones, heart, and sinew, the scaffolding of plot and story arc that, like blood, flows hot with hidden purposes and slowly revealed secrets.

For my two cents, of all genres within fiction’s sweep, fantasy and science fiction enjoy the broadest canvas upon which to paint a story. What colors can they not use when all and every…


For myself, it’s the characters I remember long after the titles of the books I’ve read have settled into the bubbling quagmire that is my memory. I may not be able to place a name to them, but I can describe them — what they did, how they looked, their personalities. Those are the things I remember. That’s why I read the book from cover to cover in the first place, and, maybe re-read it a few times over the years. Hell, I’ve read Dune what, a dozen times and enjoyed each read. …


Part III On Conflict, War, & Mortality

It’s true. As writers we can pull some serious mileage out of warfare. As a fantasy author, at least of “epic” fantasy, warfare is all but mandatory. Epic? All right, it’s a legit term if a bit grand sounding. Let’s just say that several tomes are required to encompass the tale’s full sweep. And in the spirit of full disclosure, my kinda favorite read as well. Hence my unvarnished enjoyment of Steven Erikson’s Malazan epic and Robert Jordan’s grand, Wheel of Time (And gods bless Sanderson for finishing the series.) And the list goes on. For moi, it all started…


The shock was immediate. That damned Martin. He can’t kill off Robb!

OK, he can. And obviously did! But it feels like I’m just happily sinking into the series and he’s killed off the bloody hero who’s supposed to carry this epic to the end. Or not. And at a wedding. Must admit, though blindsided, I’m impressed. Old Marty’s got some brass ones. I’ll say that much for a louse who doesn’t seem inclined to finish writing what he started. (And that’s all I got to say ‘bout that.) Still … when Robb’s father was killed the presumption was that…


To write is first and foremost to come face to face with the reality of ourselves. What we see will be reflected within the consonants and vowels, the pauses and flourishes of our words. For better or worse, warts and all, the more accomplished we become the more of our soul is bared. Oh, I can hold up my shining heart, wave high every fine shred of virtue I claim, and just as easily beguile myself into believing such is all that I reveal of myself. But I write adult fantasy and know that sooner or later, if not myself…


The ink for my Music & Writing blog was still drying when I finished the prologue of my latest novel in the series, The Years of Bone and Ash. Having just focused on how ubiquitous and quietly inspiring music is in my writing, I took note of what, exactly, I had been listening to as I wrote the opening for A Bridge of Stars.

I started listening to a loop of The Dreaming Tree by The Dave Matthews Band. And surprise, surprise … when the ink first brushed paper my three Aestrâgor brothers were perched high atop a great tree’s…


A Concert Series with A Wee Story or Two Included

I have listened to music while writing since the first time I sat staring down at a sheet of freshly scraped parchment, quill in hand, ink well filled, my lone candle pushing the shadows back even as its guttering light creates them. This morning I’m listening to Flamenco Sketches by Miles Davis.

A voice in harmonies is my muse,
of wind in the trees and rain across my soul’s quiet waters,
a stream’s tumbling sighs and a storms angry howl,
the patter of tiny feet and the thunder of mighty hooves.

And when the night sleeps silent and still,
veiled grey…


Map of Krîl-lôc

The Best Sci Fi and Fantasy Books Have Maps — (Editorial Opinion) 😉

I’ve read a number of authors on their take of world building for fantasy and sci fi. Author Nyki Blatchley’s Worldmaking: The Secret Ingredient approaches the issue of “time” very nicely. Well worth a read.

World building is something we who write fantasy, and especially epic fantasy, and sci fi all do. The gods only know the hours I’ve spent in creating the world of Krîl-lôc on which my epic, The Years of Bone and Ash unfolds. And wonderful, challenging hours well spent they have been.

Truly, there’s the actual stone and bone world itself — its physical history from…


Or Not …*

  • As a general rule at least. I concede to there being exceptions. Many in fact.

ALERT! Much of my own tastes and opinions follow. Feel free to agree or not. Just don’t hang the messenger.

If you’ve read my earlier pontifications, you know I really enjoy anything written by Steven Erikson and Frank Herbert and … well, there’s a list somewhere. Erikson seems to use Steven Stone exclusively (at least now). And for all the right reasons. Looking back at the Malazan Fallen series, wherever he hasn’t (or TOR publishers haven’t) the book, while bought and read, disappears from my…

Drew Dobson

A musician, avid reader, crochet master, and author of an epic fantasy shared with many. ("The Years of Bone And Ash")

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