S&S: Howard Jones – Writing Sword And Sorcery Fiction

Jack Vance’s Dying Earth is mentioned as good reading material with a darker slant. Leigh Bracket for Sword And Planet, Space Opera. Charles Saunders for Sword And Soul, with his black hero in the Imaro books.

Tips: Don’t write about whiny characters. Get your characters to act! I finished a book just recently, were a murder occurred in the first ten pages, and then nothing big happened until page 100. Everything in between was love interest trouble and dumb runarounds that went nowhere, as a way to establish the protagonist’s place in the world.

Jones complains about elf and dwarf detective stories. I didn’t know that was even a thing, except I saw that same idea somewhere else recently. My personal peeve is ‘I’m the cat’ stories written by cat ladies. On the submission guidelines to my Verum Et Inventa e-zine, I wrote this:

Fiction can range from MEDIUM to HIGH controversy, or about from PG to R ratings, because I don’t like pop culture fluff or vicarious cat stories. Bleah! I take cats apart here, sew them up and make little Frankenstein Kitties out of them.

Don’t start a story in a tavern.

Show don’t tell.

Read the best writers.

Mentioned in the discussion:

Howard Andrew Jones website.

Howard Andrew Jones on Amazon.

Tales From The Magician’s Skull magazine.

Dice Geeks’ Book Of Random Tables on Drive Thru RPG.

Black Gate Magazine wiki.

Black Gate Magazine website.



Descrip: Tales from the Magician’s Skull magazine editor and author Howard Andrew Jones returns to the podcast. In the discussion, we define the sword and sorcery genre. We cover the submission guidelines for Tales from the Magician’s Skull magazine and Howard tells us feelings about dwarf and elf detective stories. Howard enlightens us as to why stories shouldn’t include whiny characters when writing. We also talk about why simply writing up our RPG campaigns usually does not work as short stories. Plus, we talk about Howard’s new novel released in August 2021 called When the Goddess Wakes.

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