Story Concepts « Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Archive for the ‘Story Concepts’ Category

4 Steps to Writing Organically, Part II – Viewpoints, Mimicry and Imagination

Think of writing like sailing a massive ship. There are an enormous number of mechanical actions that synergistically combine to keep the ship plowing forward through the waves. It behooves you, as the captain of the vessel, to have an understanding of all of those mechanical workings. Yet if a ship’s captain spent all of. . . Read More


Pantser or Plotter: 4 Steps to Writing Organically (and the Science Behind Why You Should) – Part 1

After my last blog post on the four things you must know before starting a novel, in which I suggested not inventing a character, kingdom or creature until the story calls for it, a number of readers wrote in to ask, should nothing be planned? My answer is absolutely plan the four points on the list I gave. . . Read More


How to Avoid Cliches (or The 4 Things You MUST Know Before Starting A Novel)

A reader recently wrote to me and asked, how do you write a novel when every time you start (oh, so many times!) you get a few chapters in and suddenly become deluged with doubts? And how, when you’re so well-read in the genre that you’ve read it all and seen it all a hundred. . . Read More


4 Steps to the Ultimate Compelling Villain

I want to talk about villains. Not the blackened-to-the-core, maniacally twisted kind or the ultimate evil, soul-devouring kind—I’d say genre fiction is all too familiar with stereotypical antagonists of this ilk. No, I want to talk about the villains you love to hate. Once upon a time in fiction (say, twenty years ago), good and. . . Read More


An Amuse-bouche for Fans of A Pattern of Shadow and Light

As some of you may know, I’ve been traveling in Europe this month gathering a plethora of research for book three. Much of the third installment of A Pattern of Shadow & Light is set in the Empire of Agasan – specifically in the Sacred City of Faroqhar – which in turn is based on. . . Read More


Fear: The Most Undervalued Emotion in Fantasy

I’m thrilled to host this guest post from fantasy author A.E. Marling (@AEMarling) in celebration of the upcoming release of his epic fantasy novel, Gravity’s Revenge.  “The time for fear is past.” ~ King Theoden, The Lord of the Rings In fantasy worlds, fear is the enemy. It swoops down on black wings to smash the heroes to. . . Read More


Exploring Tropes – The Ultimate Evil Dark Lord

The word trope is defined in most dictionaries as “a word or expression used in a figurative sense,” but trope has become reinterpreted in today’s vernacular to refer to an often overused plot device.   The conflict inherent in tropes as they apply to genre literature is that many of these selfsame conventions are the. . . Read More


The Mysterious Character Syndrome: When a fringe character rears his head and demands mainstream attention

I’m still on this subject of character development. It’s a hot topic among fiction writers—or at least among bloggers, who seem to think it’s a hot topic among fiction writers. In any event, all of the recent posts flying about the blogosphere on the subject have certainly garnered my interest and attention. So I’ve hooked. . . Read More