Writing

Speak with the Weight of Three Thousand Years

While watching the Chinese animated film Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification, a thought struck me: The Chinese language is uniquely suited for epic fantasy. An epic is set in a time before living memory, celebrating the accomplishments of heroes, whose dealings with gods and demons and spirits profoundly shape the mortal world for succeeding generations. […]

Sheriff of the Swamps Chapter 1

James Wood heard the car long before he saw it. In the quiet of the woods, sound carried a long way. Loose gravel crackled under heavy tires. The engine purred, low and smooth and steady. A twig snapped. One vehicle, moving slowly, navigating the final turn into the farmhouse. Not an assault. Or so the […]

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 […]

Updated Call for Submissions: Pulp on Pulp

Misha Burnett and I are working on a free collection of essays for writers. Titled Pulp on Pulp, this collection offers practical advice on creating fun, fast-paced fiction. This collection is aimed specifically at writers who want to create pulp-style fiction, though writers from other genres may learn something new from this collection. This project […]

Between the Mythical and the Mechanical

Today when people think of science fiction and fantasy, chances are, they think of two separate genres. Science fiction, the genre of starships and computers and technology. Fantasy, the genre of knights and dragons and castles. Two distinct genres, and never the twain shall meet. The meeting of the two, science fantasy, was the exception, […]

Marcus Wynne’s THE REVENGERS

Rob the corrupt. Then kill them. Evil lurks in the streets of Minneapolis. Where the police can’t or won’t act, retired US Marines Salt and Raul Sanchez take justice into their hands. Hybrid vigilante-hitmen, they stalk their prey, rob them blind, and finish them. Permanently. Book 1, SALT, introduces readers to the world of Revengers. […]

What Makes A Story Dark?

‘Dark’ is an oft-seen descriptor for books, comics, movies, games and television shows these days. These media are usually packed with violence, swearing, sex scenes and the like. But does that really make a story dark? As I made my way through old runs of the Punisher — specifically the MAX runs, the runs filled […]

How to Create Believable Character Flaws

Conventional wisdom states that characters should be flawed. Nobody can relate to perfect people. Flawed characters are more believable, more likely to gain the reader’s sympathies. But the conventional wisdom doesn’t teach how. In the hands of lesser writers, this usually manifests as a grab bag of random negative traits. Alcoholism, smoking, minor but not […]

Bayani Part 1

In steel they saw the truth. For now, wooden sticks were a reasonable approximation. CRACK-CRACK-CRACK. Bayani jumped back, raising his baston to the guard. Rizal retreated too. Behind Rizal, Bayani saw a shadowed figure nod. A sheathed sword hung from the man’s loincloth. That had to be Maestro Alejandro. In the Circle, he was the […]

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