Middle-earth: Lamenting the Adventure

Over the weekend I finally got the chance to see the final Hobbit movie, The Battle of Five Armies. In a strange mirror to my experience with the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I only watched the last two parts at the cinema. I think that the cinema experience adds to films like these. They are lent an additional depth as you sit in a vast, quiet, dark space and focus on the movie and nothing else for the best part of three hours. You can almost imagine yourself seated in a hall in the depths of Erebor, peering out at events unfolding on the surface.

But today I don’t want to talk about movies, as such. I want to talk about a very important theme that Tolkien’s work seems to invoke. A theme that the movies by Peter Jackson replicate perfectly, and perhaps even convey better than the books.

I’m referring to the adventure, the journey, and how we are made to lament their coming to an end.

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How Ideas Die on the Tongue

Just a short post today, but one with a very important message!

As writers we spend a lot of time thinking. Thinking about characters. Thinking about setting. Thinking about plot. But a lot of this early thinking will usually be focused on ideas. We think of something interesting and then we go about our daily lives, still thinking about and expanding on this initial idea.

Then, it will usually go one of three ways:

  1. The idea turns out to be a dead end. We abandon it and move on to the next interesting idea.
  2. The idea turns out to be really good. We incorporate it into our project or create a whole new project around this idea. It becomes something exciting. Exciting enough to write about.
  3. We think the idea is so great, so utterly ingenious, that we have to share it with someone. Against our better judgement, we corner a loved one or a friend and we flood their ears with our primordial, unspoken idea.

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Author Interview: Jen Williams

Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted an article discussing my most anticipated fantasy debuts of 2014. That article had a fantastic response and I’m so pleased that I am able to introduce these new authors to those of you who hadn’t yet heard about them. One of those new authors is Jen Williams, whose novel The Copper Promise is released in just under a week’s time.

Author Photo

Following that, I’m pleased to report that Jen has kindly agreed to give an interview for Fantasy In Motion! So, without further ado, here is what transpired…

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Hi Jen, thanks for joining us today.

I wanted to start this interview talking about you as a writer. When did you first know you wanted to write fantasy? What inspired you to take that path?

I’ve always leaned towards fantasy. When I was a kid I refused to read books that were set in our world, or involved normal kids doing normal things. My very first stories, always heavily illustrated by me, were about dragons, pirates, and secret treasure – so not a lot has changed. I loved stories set in strange lands, in places that didn’t exist in our world, and as I got older I became more interested in mythology and folklore. When I first started thinking about writing a book I didn’t even question what genre it would be; fantasy has always been the place where anything could happen, and I found that deeply appealing. With The Copper Promise, I had quite suddenly fallen back in love with traditional fantasy, and it occurred to me that I’d never really written anything like that. I wondered what would happen if I embraced the kind of fantasy I’d grown up loving, and the book was the result of that.

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Author Interview: Luke Scull

Luke Scull is a British designer of computer RPGs and writer of gritty fantasy. His debut novel, The Grim Company, was released last month and is set to become an exciting new fantasy series with enough teeth to take on the big players in the genre. We were lucky enough to put some questions to Mr. Scull – here’s what transpired…


Luke, thanks for joining us today.

Your debut novel and first in a trilogy, The Grim Company, is available early 2013 from Head of Zeus. Could you introduce us to your world and the series overall?

The world of The Grim Company is that of the traditional fantasy setting fallen to a state of ruin and decay. The gods are long dead and immortal tyrants have divided the land between them. Continue reading

The Top 10 List of Fantasy Famous Last Words

Welcome to this week’s Epic List of the Week! As always, you can let us know if you agree/disagree with our list by leaving a comment below.

We missed last week’s Fiction Friday: The Story, but rest assured it will be along this week!

  1. ‘Hmm, I’m not sure if you should touch that sword. It’s glowing an awful lot…’
  2. ‘There’s no way you can hit me with that bow and arrow from all the way over th–‘
  3. ‘Zombies? Yeah. I’m 100% sure you stake them through the heart.’
  4. ‘Werewolves? Trust me on this. Get the garlic crusher.’
  5. ‘A sea monster? Well, I don’t see anything… apart from this huge dark cavern.’
  6. ‘If you’re really a demon prince, why don’t you prove it?’
  7. ‘What kind of giant evil chicken god are you? Why, you couldn’t even squash a fly! You chicken or something?’
  8. ‘It’s our last chance to defeat evil! Just put that cursed amulet in the slot on the pedestal and pull that lever.’
  9. ‘When the wizard said it was a bad idea to experiment with our powers, I’m sure he wasn’t referring to genocide… right?’
  10. ‘A horse? Nahhhh! I want to ride that huge thing with the spiky back!’

Come on, I dare you to tell me those were rubbish!

The Top 10 List of Magic Objects

Welcome to the second Epic List of the Week! I want to hear your suggestions to add to the list, so drop a comment below.

  1. Excalibur (King Arthur)
  2. The One Ring (Lord of the Rings)
  3. Stormbringer (Elric)
  4. Frostmourne (Warcraft)
  5. The Infinite Gauntlet (Marvel Universe)
  6. The Flying Carpet (Aladdin)
  7. Elder Wand (Harry Potter)
  8. Dagger of Time (Prince of Persia)
  9. Necromantic Bells (Abhorsen)
  10. Hermes’ Winged Sandals (Ancient Mythology)

Got anything to add?

Author Interview: Tim Marquitz

Welcome to another Monday morning, the start of a new week and a brand new interview with author Tim Marquitz!


Tim is the author of the Demon Squad series and a myriad of fantasy and horror stories. He once worked as a gravedigger, loves martial arts and is a familiar face on fantasy forums across the web.

I’m really excited to have had a chance to pick at Tim’s thoughts. Read on to discover what he had to say… Continue reading

The Top 10 List of Fantasy Little People

Here’s our new Monday feature, Epic List of the Week! I’m sure I’ve missed out some famous characters and some personal favourites of yours, so join in and let everyone know who else should be included in the list! You can leave a comment on this post underneath or you can click ‘Leave a Comment’ just above.

  1. Tyrion Lannister
  2. Bilbo Baggins
  3. Gotrek Gurnisson
  4. Gollum/Smeagol
  5. Muradin Bronzebeard
  6. Dobby the House Elf
  7. Gimli, Son of Gloin
  8. Frodo Baggins
  9. High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque
  10. Gilius Thunderhead

Don’t forget, you can still enter the Fiction Friday weekly contest! You could have your writing featured on the blog on Friday! Just visit this link.

Worldbuilder’s Workout – Transport

Worldbuilder's Workout

In our last Worldbuilder’s Workout, we talked about Distance. Well, today we’re going to look at Transport.

By Land

By their very nature, fantasy worlds are usually medieval, in technological terms. What did people use back then to get around? Horses and their own two feet? It’s sort of correct, but not very imaginative. Horses/mules were important because they were the tools that drove society. They drew wagons and carriages, helped farmers work their fields and transported goods from one place to another. However, they were also expensive; in much the same way that some people can’t afford to buy a car nowadays. Bicycles weren’t invented until the 19th century, so walking was the other option. But that shouldn’t be the end of the matter. Think how someone who buys a horse and cart could profit from it. The medieval world had taxis, just not as you know them today.


By Sea

Sailboats and rowboats are usually the transport of choice for the high seas. When you start bringing in steam-powered ships, you edge out of fantasy territory and start to add in steampunk elements. There’s no reason why you can’t do this, but I’m talking about standard fantasy here. Writing about ships and adventures at sea can be really good fun, but you need to know your stuff. Look up some basic information on sailboats so that you have a good idea of where everything is on one and how they worked. You can adapt things for your story’s needs, but I find its always best to stick relatively closely to established real-world rules.

By Air

Now, this is an interesting one. Airships or dragons/giant birds are usually what we’re presented with in fantasy. I find airships don’t sit well with me. Warcraft uses them, but I feel they detract from the fantasy setting a little. Giant winged creatures, on the other hand, can sometimes work if done well. However, I would advise steering clear of dragon riders or anything similar, as this has now become a huge fantasy cliche, in my humble opinion. Magic systems providing flight is another option, of course, which I cover in the final section.


By Any Means

Depending on how cleverly you can do it, you could try to invent new ways for your world’s inhabitants to get around. It could be magic-based or not. What about a new species of animal that’s different to a horse in some way? How about a crude and unexplained form of electricity that is used to give speed to ships? Or what if instead of roads there were tracks and horse-drawn wagons ran on them? The possibilities really are endless, it’s just up to your own imagination!

What’s your view on transport in fantasy settings? Got any ideas/questions for the community?

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Remember – if you missed the chance to take part in the second episode of our community-written fantasy story, you can still leave your entries by following the below link!

Friday Fiction: The Story – Episode 2

More Worldbuilder’s Workouts…

Worldbuilder’s Workout – Distance

Worldbuilder’s Workout – Distance

Worldbuilder's Workout

It’s Wednesday, it’s time for a brand new Champion Post! I figured I’d kick off the new Worldbuilder’s Workout feature with the topic of Distance.

When you’re creating a fantasy world, one of the most important things you need to work out is how big it is. It’s no good creating a smorgasbord of countries and regions if, when you start writing, it only takes a few minutes for your characters to traverse them. Similarly, you don’t want to get to the climax of your story and then realise your protagonist needs to travel for six months before they can take on the bad guy.

So, here’s the big question. How do you work out distances?

First, you should work out what sort of size you want your world to be. Is it roughly the size of Earth? Is it smaller? Larger? Here are some rough measurements for our own world:

Circumference = 24900 miles / 40000 km

USA coast to cost = 2500 miles / 4000 km

UK north to south = 420 miles / 680 km

Once you’ve decided what size the world/landmass is, you need to choose a unit/units of measurement to be used by the inhabitants of your world. For my own story, I currently use leagues for distances traveled and a unit of hands for height. It feels satisfyingly medieval/old world and yet it still gives an accurate impression of distance and movement.

Here’s a few simple conversions for changing our modern measurements into archaic ones. If we look at the unit of one mile, the other measurements are:

Miles = 1

Kilometers = 1.6

Yards = 1760

Feet = 5280

Leagues = 0.3

Furlongs = 8

Link = 8000

Chain = 80

If you want to be really original, you can always create your own units of measurement. It might be a good idea to keep the calculations the same as one of the above, though, to make it easier for you.

Now that you have your world measured out and you know roughly how long it takes to go from A to B, you can go ahead and plan out how your characters will move around their environment.

I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post – let me know what you thought. Next time we do a Worldbuilder’s Workout, I think I’ll talk about transport, whether it’s on land, at sea or otherwise.

The Olympic Games

Welcome to a brand new week and the start of our new posting schedule! Don’t forget, you can leave me your feedback using the form that appears above.

I just wanted to talk a little bit today about the Olympics. I watched the GB team win a lot of gold and silver over the weekend and thought it was pretty impressive, seeing how we weren’t expected to win very much at all. It got me thinking that the support of the crowds and fans at home probably contribute towards some of their success and give them a real boost both in confidence and focus.

As a writer, it would be really nice to have a stadium full of fans there to cheer me on when I need it. You can’t lie, it would be pretty damn nice, wouldn’t it? Having said that, I do have my family who encourage me and show interest in what I do, so that’s a huge bonus.

Usain Bolt

As part of this Monday post, I’m going to set you all a challenge.

Think of an Olympic event that has inspired you recently and try to capture some of its spirit to infuse into your writing. Whether it’s Usain Bolt winning gold with ease, Andy Murray beating Federer or America’s domination of the swimming pool. Find out what inspires you about these things and try to use that to inspire your readers in the same way.

That’s all for today. Remember, there’s no new post on either Tuesdays or Thursdays, but there is plenty of other stuff to check out on the blog when you visit. Check along the sidebar on the right-hand side and you’ll find reviews, interviews, writing advice and tons more! Make sure you come back Wednesday!

~ James

Writing by Quotes – Discworld



I told you the next post today was going to be good, didn’t I? Welcome to the third installment of Writing by Quotes! When I was trying to decide which work of fantasy to focus on today, I considered Warcraft. I know it’s fantasy, but I think it would be nice to focus only on written works (and their movie adaptations) rather than video games. So, today we’ll explore the whimsical world of Discworld!

Let’s just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards’.

~ The Colour of Magic

This wonderful quote comes from the first installment in the Discworld series. It’s the first one I read and still a great read now. I love this quote because it’s very Monty Python-esque and makes me chuckle each time I read it. If we applied it to writing, I think the major piece of advice to take from it would be to think of this when you’re writing characters. Sometimes, characters do stupid things. Really stupid things. Usually it’s just a part of their personality, but other times it’ll be the author’s fault. If your character taunts gods and evil guys without a care for his safety, he should get obliterated. Be careful what your protagonist does…

Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as between terrorists and freedom fighters.

~ Eric

This same comparison can be applied to protagonists and antagonists (good ones, anyway). It’s good to paint characters in shades of grey and make the reader question who’s got the moral high ground and who hasn’t. If characters are falling a little flat and lacking depth, add a bit of uncertainty and make them question their own actions.


‘You know me,’ said Rincewind. ‘Just when I’m getting a grip on something Fate comes along and jumps on my fingers.’

~ Interesting Times

A brilliant quote which explains what we as writers do to our protagonists to keep things interesting. If the goal is too easily achieved, we lose interest, don’t we? Make it difficult–make it brutal, even–and the readers will thank you for it even if your characters don’t.


‘Look out of the window. Tell me what you see.’
‘Fog,’ said the Chief Priest.
Vetinari sighed. Sometimes the weather had no sense of narrative convenience.

~ The Truth

I have to say, I love this. It reminds us as writers that the world carries on around your characters when they’re going about their business. Things shouldn’t just work out perfectly all the time. Maybe your characters are going to have a walk under a clear, starry sky? Well, maybe that night there’s a storm and the characters have to find shelter instead. There might even be a greater opportunity for development in such a situation. Think about it.

‘In a world where we all move in curves he proceeds in a straight line. And going straight in a world of curves makes things happen.’

~ Night Watch

Why write a meandering, round-the-houses story, when you can get straight to the point and whack your reader in the face with a tonne of action, mystery and intrigue? Just imagine how much quicker you can write and how much better it could be if you head in a straight line? I’m not saying you should cut corners, but you can always stand to streamline the way you write.

My Top 3 Fantasy Reads

Here’s an idea for today. I’ll share my top three fantasy reads and give you a good reason to go and read them yourselves. Then you tell me your top three in the comments section and we’ll see if we can find some stories we’ve not tried before. I’m not going to include obvious choices like Lord of the Rings.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Dark, gritty, bloody. Written fantastically and full of action, the characters are all hugely flawed, but likable, and the story itself is intriguing. Definitely recommended.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Although it’s written for children, Sabriel (and its two sequels) are full of unique ideas and great worldbuilding. You’ll find yourself warming quickly to the characters and unable to put the book down.

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

A story based around airships, which are piloted around like something out of Star Wars. There are dogfights galore, intense ground-based skirmishes and fantastic characters to top it off.

So, what are your top three fantasy reads?