The Barbarian Bard

Tales and Musings by Michael A. Espinoza

13 Steps to Fame: Essential Advice for Novelists

As an author with exactly one work in progress that should be done soon, it can be unanimously agreed that I am an unparalleled expert in the art of writing, character development, plot pacing, and other aspects of noveling. Being so well-equipped, I will now share some essential bits of noveling advice, so that you too may one day have a work in progress that should be done soon. Good luck.

1. Fantasy novels always take place in medieval Europe. If your setting isn’t medieval Europe, or a thinly veiled analog, fix that. Now.

2. Swords are often so heavy that several sentences must be spent describing your characters’ rippling thews as they heft their weighty weapon. Nonetheless, they must have no problem swinging said sword for hours on end, felling a foe with every stroke. People who say swords are light are clearly confusing swords with loofah sponges; a common mistake. Imbeciles.

3. If your reader knows every word on any given page of your novel, you must rewrite your project, but this time with a thesaurus. Stick with words with the notes “(archaic)” or “(literary)” in parentheses after their listing.

4. Don’t work on your project too much. You can’t get people excited about a soon to be released novel if it actually comes out. The best projects have no release dates.

5. Inconsistently, use commas in the midst, of sentences, just to make sure, you’re, not missing any, where they are really, needed.

6. All fantasy readers play D&D, so your characters should spend at least one battle using a d20 to decide what to do. If you don’t know what a d20 is, don’t write fantasy. Stick with modern fiction about angst-ridden plumbers from the Bronx.

7. No one hears the massive altercation and comes to the hero’s aid until it’s over. This is not a senseless cliche. Use it.

8. No one likes wrist watches, and the people who wear them think they’re better than you.

9. All of your readers are 15 year-old boys. The more impossibly proportioned elf women in your work, the higher it will rocket up the best-seller list. And as we all know, best-selling fantasy novels rarely feature clothes. Except for men though, they must remain in plate armor at all times, and move swiftly in it, too.

10. Don’t even get me started on hygiene. If any of your characters smell good, they must be a time traveler from a land beyond medieval bathing standards.

11. Pick a body part. Describe that body part on all of your characters. Odd fixations cause your authorly presence to gain mystique amongst college lit classes.

12. If all else fails, segue into a political rant. Readers love that.

13. Take every piece of advice seriously, no matter how terrible it obviously is. The best authors follow the rules.


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2 thoughts on “13 Steps to Fame: Essential Advice for Novelists

  1. Pingback: A Bit of Wisdom | The Barbarian Bard

  2. Love your humour in this piece, loofah sponge. Haha Thanks for cheering me up a little and making me smile when I red this.

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