NYCC Fantasy Authors Video Panel

As I continue my quest to understand writing, the writer and the craft better, I stumbled across an old video from 2010 with a bunch of great fantasy authors. They talk about their influences, their advice, and their approach in brutal honesty. It is worth the hour of your time but here are a few highlights below…


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Fantasy Writing with Brandon Sanderson at JordanCon 2010

If you are an aspiring author (those in fantasy/scifi might find this more relevant than others), then here are a series of videos from best selling author Brandon Sanderson on Plot, Description, Scene, Setting and Editing.


There are many places to take classes, read articles or review books for these topics, but to hear them spoken somehow seems to be more effective than I would have thought. Plus, it is really amazing to watch someone in the industry revealing their process. Lots to learn!


  1. JordanCon 2010 – Fantasy Writing with Brandon Sanderson – Session 1
  2. JordanCon 2010 – Fantasy Writing with Brandon Sanderson – Session 2
  3. JordanCon 2010 – What an Editor Does


As I am about to begin re-editing my novel from NaNoWriMo, I decided to do some digging into what makes for compelling novel introductions. As many know but don’t really understand, novels are not movies, television or video games. But what are the relevant differences?

That the way you grab a reader is different enough that careful consideration needs to be placed on the opening (I would go so far as to say the opening of every chapter if at all possible). NaNoWriMo stresses story movement and speed writing over precise writing. These 10 tips were very helpful in channeling my thinking towards the small and considered.


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Book – Winning the Story Wars

As I work in digital marketing and am passionate storyteller, I was surprised that I just found out about this book now. It seems to be more focused on marketing but heavily relies on principles from Joseph Campbell and the Heroic Journey.Those interested in learning how to tell stories in a slightly more marketing focused way may benefit from the lessons contained within.

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Book Review – Paladins of Shannara

Terry Brooks, long-time author of the Shannara series, is venturing into the eBooks market with a new short story in the Shannara Universe exclusively for the Kindle.

He will be releasing 3 total stories over the course of the year in partnership with Amazon to see how the new digital distribution opportunities empower authors to write and publish their content.

Paladins of Shannara
Author: Terry Brooks
Pages: 40

The Shannara books are quick reads and demand little of the reader as the stories are straightforward hero-journeys that stay away from complex character relationships, political mechanizations or mysterious motivations/initiatives for the main characters; a trend which has become exceedingly popular over the past 15 years. They’re pure popcorn fantasy that feel like a nostalgic throwback to our youth (when many of us originally read these books).

Many I know who once read these books have left the series behind in their youth – so this new short story will have less relevance for those who have spent little time lately with the series. Or it might serve as a quick reminder what fun the books are and pull them back in. Fingers crossed!

— Spoiler Free Review —

The first of three short stories in this series is entitled “Paladins of Shannara”. It is a brief glimpse into the world of Shannara and is set shortly before the events of the original “Sword of Shannara” (published in 1977). The main character of the story is Allanon, the mysterious wizard-like Druid from the original trilogy, and a fan favorite of many. The story also serves as a bridge between “The First King of Shannara” (published in 1997, 20 years after the original book) and “The Sword of Shannara”.

The story is quick, light, and relatively free of any deep character insights or major reveals that would normally appeal to fans. Based upon the description and the premise I had hoped for more and was somewhat disappointed. There was great potential for the story to show more than it did but in the end it felt too short and more of a light skimming into the world of Shannara. The story is for fans-only and would be of little use to persuade a non-fan to pick up the series. While the subject of the story would be irrelevant to a non-fan, the subject matter lacks depth and an intriguing hook. I would most likely use one of my favorite chapters from “The Druid of Shannara” to convert a non-fan than “Paladins”.

In the end, the price tag and time investment is low and the story reminds us how far we have come as Shannara readers by bringing us back to the beginning of the whole series. The title “Paladins” seems to indicate that the other 2 stories might involve other characters (since the title is plural) or continue on with this same story arc. Either way, I’ll be fan-excited to read the other 2!

You can read more about Paladins of Shannara from Terry Brooks’ website:

Or purchase the Kindle Version:

In other Terry Brooks news…

The new novel, Dark Legacy of Shannara: Wards of Faerie, hits shelves on 8/21/12. It is geared towards those who have been involved with the series for a long time as it follows a continuing set of characters. For more info go here:

Lastly, a fan recently compared Sword of Shannara (and others in the series) against The Lord of the Rings books. The excellent summary is very open and direct in its comparisons. It is intended for those who have read the books and not meant to be reviewed prior to reading many of the novels: