Many novels, particularly the lengthier multi-volumes in the fantasy field, are packed with characters, some major, some minor, others appearing so intermittently that they can be easily forgotten. Many readers will remember a full cast list with no problem; or they simply go with the flow and, especially with a well-written story that has an engaging narrative, hardly ever need to check the list of characters, or dramatis personae . Nevertheless, having something that can be referred to when you’re unsure just who is who can be invaluable. Think Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and you can see what I mean. Or you may be reading mainstream or crime or any other genre: the arguments for the dramatis personae may still apply.
You can read the full essay over on the Penkhull Press website. Don’t forget when you do: these are guidelines, not rules.
I recently posted a blog on the new Penkhull Press website about maps and their value when writing your novels.
I have read many stories in which the protagonist moves across vast landscapes, through difficult terrains, in unrealistic times, with the minimum of effort. Is it really possible for someone, for example, to track dozens of miles through unfamiliar, dense jungle, lumbered with a backpack, in a few short hours, even at night (unless s/he is a superman/woman, of course)? This contraction of activity/time is a common fault in some fantasy and SF adventures I’ve read.
I am the editor/publisher of the award-winning Alchemy Press (check out the website to see our range of books). The press has won the British Fantasy Society (BFS) Award for Best Small/Independent Press, Best Collection (twice) and has been short-listed over the years in various categories. I also won the BFS Special Award for services to the society.
Everything written needs a good editor and often the writer is not the ideal person to do this — they are too close to the work. That is why writers require good editors.
If you aim to self-publish, either via POD or as an eBook, the layout is vital. It’s the difference between something that appears professional or amateurish.
With writer/editor Jan Edwards, we are now offering editorial and publishing services. If you have a story that needs editing for sense and/or copy-editing, or if you have a book that requires formatting for publication (eBook or print) get in touch now to discuss the project.