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    Ten Things Every True Fantasy Writer Should Know

    "Write a fantasy novel," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. No one ever talks about the nitty-gritty of the business. Until now, that is! Fantasy author Sam Sykes shares ten tips to becoming a successful author...sort of.

    So you want to write a fantasy novel, huh? Well, I'm not going to lie: it's not for everyone. It's a little like second puberty: hair starts growing from weird places, your voice changes, you can't stop thinking about sex and dragons. But even though I wasn't there for your first puberty, I'm here to help guide you through writing your fantasy book.

    1. Details. Always write more details.

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    Say you want a character to enter a room. You can't just write "he entered the room." They'd LAUGH at you. Write "he seized the doorknob made of stag ivory from the hunt in the Baldlands last winter and swept into the room, sweeping his piercing gaze about his surroundings." Now THAT'S professional.

    2. Feast scenes.

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    How many feast scenes do you have? That's too few. You need more. Everything is a feast. You can't just have someone eat meat and drink water. You need to describe the cloying scent of glazed duck in your character's nostrils as globs of fat slide down the prickled, crispy flesh. If your descriptions of food couldn't land your book in the erotica section, you're not doing it right.

    3. Sex scenes.

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    How many sex scenes do you have? That's too many. You need less. You can't just have sex because it's a natural human function. It needs to advance the plot. Nobody just has sex. Everyone thinks carefully about the consequences and whether or not it furthers their own emotional journey before embarking on it.

    4. Magic systems.

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    You can't just wave your hands, you butt. What do you think this is, children's literature? You need a system. You need checks, balances, prices to pay and other shit. Ideally, you should have at least two textbooks worth of explanation. Charts! Graphs! The kids love graphs!

    5. Worldbuilding.

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    Cut all these paragraphs about the characters' emotions. Add exactly ten pages more explaining the economics of millstone-trading.

    6. Political intrigue.

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    Oh fuck, we need some of that, don't we? George is doing it and now everyone needs to do it. Fuck, man, let's, uh...I don't know. So there's this crown? And I guess people want to steal it? And they say they don't, but they do and the reader knows that. Boom. Nailed it. Go back to the millstone-trading.

    7. Elves. Everything is elves.

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    That new race you invented? Elves. That old race that occupied the world before anyone else? Elves. Those creatures you created that have squids for faces and talk out of their cloacas? Elves. Elves all the way down.

    8. Female characters.

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    Got a female character? Have her reference her boobs constantly. Like, at least six times a chapter, otherwise we might forget she's a girl.

    9. Magic wolves. Or glowy swords.

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    You can have one or the other, but not both. I know, it's a weird rule, but it's just this whole...thing, okay?

    10. And the absolutely most important rule to writing fantasy: never accept advice from other authors.

    They'll deliberately steer you astray to trim down the competition.

    Except me. You can trust me.

    THE CITY STAINED RED is available now!

    A day in the life of an adventurer is not all fun and games. Everything wants to kill you; nobody wants to pay you; and it’s just about certain that you’ll die horribly.

    But the life does have a certain appeal for the right sort of personality. If you’re that sort of thrill-seeker, step up to the gate and purchase THE CITY STAINED RED by Sam Sykes -- available now in print, e-book, and audio formats.

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