Being a Better Writer: What Makes a Fantasy?

Hello writers!

You know, if I’m honest it feels like it’s been more than a week since the last Being a Better Writer. That’s probably because I had numerous days last week where I was up well past midnight on account of editing Starforge. One week kind of stretched into two.

But, the good news, as many of you saw Saturday, is that Starforge will be going into Copy-Edit this week. Which also means that yes, pre-orders will be opening at last.

This also means that the long-promised pricing adjustment for the rest of my books is on its way, so if you’re looking to grab anything before the prices go up to reflect the last ten years, do so now. Though again, the whole point of this pricing adjustment is to bring the prices in line with inflation-adjusted prices based on paperback prices from 1994. There’s gonna have to be a new post about this to update the old The Price We Pay article.

Anyway, lots to come in the next few weeks. You know, including Starforge itself at long last. You’re all finally going to be able to get it! So keep watching this space.

But right now? Let’s talk about today’s Being a Better Writer topic.

Tackling discussion of a whole genre has always been a dicey proposition, not that we haven’t done it before. BaBW has discussed Science-Fiction, Westerns, and Mystery in posts prior, and each of those is a pretty broad genre all said and done. Especially Science-Fiction, which is both broad and controversial these days (some of the arguments I’ve seen over what is or isn’t Sci-Fi online …).

Fantasy is just as broad a genre, really, though many don’t think of it as such. Which is in part why we’re going to be talking about it today.

So hit the jump, and let’s talk about what makes something a Fantasy. I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t magic.

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Starforge News Post!

First of all folks, I’m sorry there’s not a Starforge preview post today. They’ve been quite popular, and I know you guys are really excited to see the book finally drop. But sadly, I don’t have a teaser today.

I know. This will be the last one I miss. I promise. I didn’t hit it today because, well, I went over 50,000+ plus words today, a full tenth of Starforge, polishing stuff. Seeing as it’s now 3:30 AM … yeah. Sort of behind on getting that post written. And I didn’t just want to drop random chapter excerpts on you. I’ve only got one more of those kind of previews planned, and I need to be—to put it bluntly—a bit more cognizant than I feel right now.

So why make this post? Surely there’s a point here? Well, there is. After spending the last week going over more than a 100,000 words worth of Starforge (and that’s just this week) with a fine-toothed comb, I’m making the call.

Starforge is going into Copy-Edit.

What does this mean? It means that the pre-order, will, at last, go up next week.

That’s right. It’s finally here. I’m going to punch Starforge onto my reader and start doing formatting checks, on the introduction, the author page, table of contents, all that good stuff. Plus, you know, make sure all the “page breaks” are in the right place, and that everything is ready to go.

But while that’s happening? The pre-order can go live. Ladies and gentlemen, this is about to happen. The final piece and part of the UNSEC Space trilogy is going to be in your hands at last. One final ride for our trio. Jake … Anna … Sweets …

It’s all about to end.

And believe me. You won’t want to miss it.

I am exhausted and need sleep. See you folks Monday.

Three Years Ago … Jungle’s Pre-Order Went Live

Today I got an interesting reminder. Jungle, the second book in the UNSEC Space trilogy, had its pre-order page go live today, three years ago.

Now, this is relevant because I’m currently hard at work on getting Starforge, the third and final book in that same trilogy, into the same state.

As you might have guessed from the lack of a pre-order, I’m a little behind. Jungle released November 19th, three years ago, and right now that day is just two weeks a few days away. I’m not certain Starforge will be able to match its release date. At this point, shooting for the 29th seems more likely.

Why post about this? Well, two reasons. The first is that I want to reassure you folks that I am doing everything I can short of burning out to get this book out, and in as polished a state as I can get it. Right now the changes are all small. In fact, I’ll bet if it were to release in the current state, many of you wouldn’t even notice what typos I haven’t caught yet. Yesterday I went through almost 30,000 words and made something like four changes, most of which were “eh, that comma doesn’t need to be there.”

But I want this book to be as polished as a work of 500,000 words can be before I get it out, so the work continues.

The second reason I bring this up is because well, it is kind of a notable moment that three years ago today Jungle‘s pre-order went live. Since Jungle there have been several other projects, Axtara – Banking and Finance the most notable, but also Fireteam Freelance and a couple of other large projects atop Starforge.

Things have been busy. Getting Starforge out, combined with all those other projects (Axtara, Freelance, Stranded, etc) is no small feat. Combined that’s well over a million words of writing. And that’s just the fiction, and what’s been released. Or about to release.

My point being, I know the wait may seem long. But three years is a pretty speedy pace, all things considered. I know that hearing that the Starforge pre-order page isn’t live yet might be a bit grating to some of you, because you’ve been on this journey for six years now, starting with Colony, and you just have got to know how it ends.

I’m doing what I can. Starforge‘s pre-order isn’t live today, but it’s going to be soon. We’re close. And with luck, every book in the trilogy will have come out in November.

Now, back to work with me!

Oh, and I should probably do a Jungle retrospective if I haven’t already in the coming weeks. It feels apropos.