There is an old saying attributed to Bernard of Chartres that goes something like this: “We are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants, and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter.” It is a simple, but brutally true sentiment, stating that each successive generation of humanity, regardless of culture or personal history, are held aloft by the countless others that came before us.

As a fantasy writer, I’ll admit that the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants, marching unerringly into an ever-changing landscape, has a certain appeal, but in some ways the reality is far more awe-inspiring.

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Despite all the courses, books, seminars, and schools, the funny thing is no one can really teach you how to write. The best anyone can do is administer to what’s already there. To that effect, there is a lot of advice I’ve been given over the course of my relatively short career as a writer, much of it from people who haven’t written much themselves. However, probably the one I hear the most is, “Write what you know/Write from your life.”

This is singularly the most versatile and useless advice I have ever been given, mainly because it can mean virtually anything, but everyone is sure that their interpretation is the right one. Read Full Article


There’s an inherent level of frustration that comes with the decision to write for a specific age group, especially when you’re aiming for younger rather than older.

Never has this frustration been more present to me than when I decided to collaborate on a children’s story with with my sister, an artist looking to expand her craft. We had worked together on one similar project (an illustrated alphabet book for my then-two-year-old nephew), and we both decided that it would be fun to collaborate on something slightly more advanced. Read Full Article

One of the earliest and most difficult lessons I had to learn as a writer was that the idea of perfection is more fun in theory than it is in writing.  Perfect situations, perfect worlds, and especially perfect people can be the death of a good story, because the things you remember about the world, what makes the people and the things around you interesting, are their flaws, because in the end those are the things that distinguish them from everyone else. Read Full Article

Fire.  So much fire.  Fire so hot and expansive that not even being covered in a foot of ice would save you from being burned.  The only way you could survive in this inferno would be if you were made of fire itself.  Fortunately, that wasn’t really a problem for the flame’s current inhabitant.  It was born of these fires, and it would die of these fires, again, and again, and again.  Such was the life of a phoenix.  Both blessed and cursed to live one lifetime after another, always the only one of its kind.  Why it was chosen for this task, it wasn’t sure.  What purpose it was supposed to fulfill, no one had ever told it.  All it knew was the continuous cycle of death and rebirth that had no known beginning nor end.  The phoenix looked around before it started to gather up the beginnings of its next death pyre.  The next burning would come soon, and it wouldn’t do for it to miss it.

Notes: Sometimes I muse on what the life of a phoenix would be like; this was the result.