Writing | Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Critique/Criticism and New Writers

I’ve hit my saturation point. It’s time to cast a plea broadly to all new writers who are trying to write a novel or churning their way through short stories and writing to me or others asking for feedback. Listen, I’m not just trying to be curmudgeonly (or controversial, although I generally do prefer the path. . . Read More


Where is Book Four????

Since I’m being asked this question many times a day in tones varying from polite interest to downright exasperation, I’m getting the idea that people might appreciate knowing where Kingdom Blades stands in the lengthy process that begins with my transcribing the activities these characters are carrying on in my head and ends with you reading about them. . . Read More


How to Stay Inspired (and an Update on Kingdom Blades)

Inspiration is one of those elusive words, like “muse” and “success.” It evades us, confounds and confuses us, bewitches when it visits and devastates upon its departure. It’s that girl glimpsed across the subway terminal, or that place in a dream that you just can’t get to. I receive a lot of questions from readers. . . Read More


Artistic Integrity and The Pressure to Be Other Than We Are

Most people think of the word integrity as ‘adherence to moral and ethical principles,’ but there is another definition equally important to understanding the word: ‘the state of being whole, entire or undiminished.’ The two meanings of integrity are integral to each other. When one exhibits moral character, he is whole; when he displays unethical. . . Read More


Author Q&A and a Plea to Aspiring Writers

To my readers: please know how much I appreciate your emails, mentions and comments! Recently, many of you have written to me asking similar questions. I thought it would be best to answer all of you here on my blog in order to give your questions adequate address. I’ve lumped your questions together into these three: “What inspired you to. . . Read More


How Much Should Authors Interact with Readers?

This new age of social media makes it easier than ever for readers and writers to interact. Whether via reviews posted online, comments on a blog, forum discussions, Facebook or twitter, authors now have the opportunity to engage with their readers via multiple direct lines of communication. This is generally fun for the readers. For authors, it. . . Read More


Immortality and Gods in Fantasy

It’s interesting to me how many novels, plays, poems (and even, dare I say, religions) deal with immortality without really dealing with immortality, i.e. immortality is automatically assumed, more understood than explored. In our concept, gods are immortal. In fact, immortality is usually a qualifying aspect to being considered a god. In my experience, even. . . Read More


Writing Kingdom Blades (PSOL Book 4)

Many of you have been asking when book four in A Pattern of Shadow & Light will be released. All I can tell you right now is that I’ll have Kingdom Blades to you at some point in 2016 (the Muse willing). For comparison, each book in this series runs around 300,000 words, and the first. . . Read More


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