The Writer’s Craft

GameLit: Not Just Written Games

Gamelit / LitRPG is one of the hottest literary genres on the market. It attempts to replicate the gaming experience in written form, taking the tropes of role-playing games and reproducing them on the page. As a reader and a gamer, the genre ought to be in my alley. And yet… it is the opposite. […]

How to Not Lose Money From Self-Publishing

Singaporean author John Lim wrote an article on TODAY describing the challenges he faced as a self-published author. Being a self-published author myself, I sympathise with his situation. With that said, he made the kind of mistakes that the successful self-pubbed author cannot afford to make. I am Singapore’s first Hugo and Dragon Award nominated […]

A Higher Level of Horror

Over the past month, I was on a horror kick. Aligned with my current work on the Babylon universe, I read stories that occupied the intersection of horror, science fiction and a touch of fantasy. Some were written by up-and-comers, others were penned by Big Names in the traditional (and now indie) space. At the […]

Ingredients of Action Horror

Action horror. A fiction contradiction if there ever was one. Action stories are about agency: the character’s ability to act on the environment, to overcome all odds, to destroy all foes in his path. Horror relies heavily on a lack of agency: the inability to directly confront the horror, and with it, the despair that […]

The Fight Scene is the Last Scene

Action scenes are the most memorable aspects of any fiction. Fast-paced and intense, they sear themselves into the audience’s memories. Battles between the hero and the lesser mooks punctuate the plot, while the final showdown between the hero and the villain serves as the climax of the story. And that is what action in storytelling […]

Chasing Tropes

People enjoy the exotic, but not too exotic. People enjoy the familiar, but not too familiar. Reconciling these twin desires is the overriding concern of the modern-day fiction writer. A story where everything is formulaic, from characters to plots to setting, is predictable and boring. A story where everything is exotic and unfamiliar is disorienting, […]

A Pulp Perspective on Urban Fantasy

What is urban fantasy? A fantasy story set in a city. A simple definition. With that, you could have a story of jinni and magi in late 19th century Istanbul, an occult detective solving supernatural crimes in 1920s New York, a half-elf mercenary working a corporate contract against a clan of dragons in the Hong […]

Pulp on Pulp is Available for Preorder!

Last year, Misha Burnett and I put together a call for submissions for an anthology of essays on pulp fiction. Titled Pulp on Pulp, it collects tips, tricks and advice on the art of writing pulp fiction from some of the up and coming names in the growing PulpRev movement. Pulp on Pulp was meant […]

The Secret to Writing Powerful Action Scenes

Action scenes are the bread and butter of pulp stories. When the story threatens to get too boring, throw in a fight scene and you revitalize it with fresh energy, stakes and momentum. When the hero finally confronts the main villain, readers expect a climactic battle to wrap up the book. The art of the […]

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