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Writing Tip — 63

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Keeping notes for your story is important. A list of the characters that appear, and how they are related to the protagonist and antagonist will help keep you from getting confused as the story progresses. If you have a lot of minor characters, these notes are important. The information in these notes can contain a few important details, or you can write up a complete dossier for each one. Remember, keep the back story of the characters to a minimum in your story. If something doesn’t relate to the plot or why a character acts a certain way in a certain situation, don’t add it to the story. Notes on locations, any special technology, or weapons will help to keep things factual. There are rea...
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The Road of Kings: Conan and Italian Opera (probably)

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Sometimes good ideas are not. Foreign-sounding names for characters, for instance. Apart from the vaguely Welsh/Gaelic/Tolkienoid elves and the alphabet soup of Lovecraftian monsters (of which my favorite, if apocryphal, remains “Shuub-Wankalot”), a name can make or break a character. A basic trick I was taught long ago when naming secondary characters in my fantasy stories is to select a geographic area that somehow has the same feel of the place from which my character comes, get a map, jot down a few place names, and then tweak them a little, moving vocals around or cutting and pasting names. Et voilà, instant names for characters. The method can backfire spectacularly – in the 1959 versi...
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