Any chance you will release the stories that appear in the Sword & Sorceress books into a book of shorts?
Eventually the books will catch up to the short stories – at the end of the last book, Caina is twenty-one, and at the end of the last short story, she’s almost thirty. So eventually the events of the short stories will be incorporated into the books. But not for a few books yet. 🙂
Also, I would almost think you a fan of comic books, for the way you create situations to transition from one to the next.
That’s interesting, because around 2010 (before I discovered ebooks) I played with the idea of starting a webcomic, and tried to teach myself to draw at least passably well. But the bald fact is I have absolutely aesthetic inclination whatsoever, and eventually gave it up as a bad idea. I think THE GHOSTS would transition well to a comic-book format. I have to admit that I sometimes see the characters in anime form in my head as I write.
I am 13 and am wondering if you have any advise for a young fantasy writer.
Well, I would start by writing short stories or novellas. A novel’s a bit of an endurance run, and it takes practice to get up to it, like how you need to be able to run a mile before you can manage a 5k run.
When writing a story of any length (whether short story, novella, or novel), bear in mind that it needs to have four basic things: a protagonist (the hero or main character), a conflict, the method the protagonist takes to deal with his conflict, and a resolution. Now, the conflict can have an actual antagonist, like a knight fighting an evil wizard, or it can be a situation, like a man stranded in the desert – in that case, the conflict is the man’s efforts to survive thirst and the sun. But the protagonist has to have a problem to solve.
Additionally, the protagonist must also take action to solve his problem. A story where the main character doesn’t do anything, but just sits around passively, is not interesting. This doesn’t mean the protagonist’s actions always have to be effective. Often a story can be made more interesting when the protagonist’s actions make the conflict even worse or result in unforeseen complications (like, the knight slays the evil wizard, but this breaks the spell the wizard had used to keep a rampaging dragon in check).
A good way to keep characters from becoming one-dimensional is to give them mutually incompatible desires. Real people often want to do two incompatible things at once – like a woman who wants to go her friend’s party but has to fill a late shift at work, or a man who wants to stay with his girlfriend but has a job offer in a distant city. In fact, the conflict between incompatible desires can often provide the necessary conflict for a story.
Finally, the ending of a story must, must provide emotional resolution to the conflict. It can be a sad ending, or a happy ending, or any sort of ending at all, but it must resolve the conflict. If it doesn’t, the reader will feel massively cheated.
Not every writer recommends this, but I think it’s best to write a complete outline before you start a story. Otherwise you’ll get a third of the way in and realize you don’t know what happens next, much like driving across the continental US, getting to Arkansas, and realizing you don’t have a map and don’t know where to go next. Outlining forces you do the hard work of planning the story before you start to write it.
This will sound dreadfully patronizing, but the bald fact is that it gets easier to write as you get older, because you’ve simply had more stuff happen to you. That said, it’s best to avoid writing thinly-veiled parallels of people you know in real life, since this is an excellent way to get sued or cause familial estrangements.
Write a lot, since the best way to get good at something is practice.
Also, if there’s a topic that interests you, don’t be afraid to write nonfiction.