rape in fictional worlds

Raping your Female Characters isn’t the Only Way to Depict a Harsh Fictional World

I recently had THAT conversation again; the one where I criticise a fictional world for gratuitous use of rape and sexual aggression against women, only for fans of said universe to defend it by telling me how it’s a harsh world and that’s what would happen. It’s a tiring conversation, so here’s why you don’t have to use rape to ensure your readers know your world is horrible.


5 Things about Character Names

“He doesn’t look like a Paul“. Ever heard that phrase, or something similar? Like it or not, there’s more to a character’s name than just a title. Your character’s name does a lot more than provide a hook to hang their hat on. Of course, you could just make up the first name that comes…

Deadpool in media res

Writer’s Glossary: In Media Res

In Latin, in media res means into the middle of things. For writers this means start your story in the middle of the action to hook the reader. The temptation is to start a story at the beginning, but that often leads the reader wading through lots of preamble. Start the story when it gets good.

YA epistolary novel

Writer’s Glossary: Epistolary Novel

An epistolary novel tells its story using letters or other types of papers and documents, such as diary entries, newspaper clippings and files. It was a particularly popular form in the 18th century. Famous examples of epistolary novels are Clarissa by Samuel Richardson and Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos.

Thomas Hardy's Wessex

Worldbuilding in Hardy’s Wessex

Hardy’s Wessex is part figment and part reality. Real places were given fictional names, allowing him to create a world that’s sometimes bleak, sometimes idealised, but always familiar. Could you create a Hardy Country of your own and where would it be?

Beltane 2014 by Jasper Schwartz

Welcome the May Queen

Today is Beltane, otherwise known as May Day. It’s a pagan festival that welcomes the move from spring to summer. Novels like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, look at the plight of the old deities in the modern world. What are they doing, behind the scenes, as we become distracted by new religions and even give up our faith altogether?

Add Texture to Your Novel

In a single day, we gain information from a huge number of places. In the morning, most of us may put the radio on and listen to the news and then reach for our smartphones to catch up on emails and texts or social media. We get up and stroll downstairs for breakfast, noticing the morning…