Choosing a Genre and the Science of Magic

It’s true that I hadn’t read much fantasy. There were some I read and liked; a vampire story by George RR Martin called Fevre Dream impressed me quite a bit, the few fantasies that Heinlein wrote, and of course anything by Harlan Ellison showed me what fantasy could be. When deciding on a genre, I knew we wouldn’t reach those levels. But if we were going to write fantasy and break a few laws of physics, at least we could set some rules and not violate them because we wrote ourselves in to a corner. As we were writing...
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The Lessons of Harry Potter

Any authors trying to break into this industry enviously noticed the success of the Harry Potter series and dreams of duplicating it. I doubt any author will have the success of Rowling, but we would be fools not to analyze her writings. What makes Harry Potter so successful in my mind is the broad appeal beyond its target audience.  Her readers gain an emotional attachment to the characters and her world is vivid and well developed.  She does a good job of seeding solutions to later problems early in the book.  And of course she loves to end...
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A Plot is Born

I think my original suggestion for Duck Blood Soup was that we recast Ender’s Game as a Fantasy novel.  Not very original, but at least a starting point.  I figured the book could start out with a bunch of Orcs attacking and wiping out human settlement.  A lone wizard prevents the Orcs from completely destroying humanity, but dies in the process.  The king starts training up young wizards as a defense against a second wave he is sure is going to attack at any time. Fortunately Frank shot down that idea.  He wanted nothing to do with Orcs, or...
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Picking a Genre

When we Frank and I started collaborating on Duck Blood Soup, the first discussions were around basic plot and genre.  I have always been a fan of Fantasy novels by Weis and Hickmann, R. A. Salvatore, and of course J. R. R. Tolkien.  Frank taste were a bit wider, covering Science Fiction and Historical Fiction, as well as more of the military and spy novels.  Oddly enough, Frank had little taste for Fantasy novels. Frank suggested that we stick in the Fantasy realm, but switch from Swords and Sorcery to Muskets and Magic.  We had no idea of the...
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