Patrick Rothfuss and Opening Lines

I’ve been thumbing through The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss lately, looking for inspiration. In doing so, I noticed that several chapters open with the words “It was…”.

It was night again.

Chapter One
It was Felling Night, and the usual crowd had gathered at the Waystone Inn.

Chapter Two
It was one of those perfect autumn days so common in stories and so rare in the real world.

Chapter Five
It was well past midnight by the time Kote made it back to Newarre…

Chapter Six
It was early evening of the next day…

Chapter Twenty
It was around noon when the wagon turned onto a new road…

Chapter Twenty-One
It was just after lunchtime.

Chapter Thirty-Two
It was about an hour before noon when I stepped out onto the street.

I’m glad I saw this. As someone who agonizes over opening lines and hooks and the fear of redundancy, it’s nice seeing an author start a scene with “It was about noon.” Life’s much simpler that way.


Neil Gaiman’s Writing Process

This video of Neil Gaiman talking about his writing process always inspires me. There’s some real gold in here.

If you can’t listen to it, just read my transcription here.

Create a Fantasy Map in 12 Easy Steps

I came across a very simple way to make your own fantasy maps (Thanks to LaurelQuade).

All you need is a picture of a cloud and Photoshop (CS4 in this case).

1. Open your Cloud image in PS
2. Select the Magic Wand Tool
3. Right Click your image > Click “Select Inverse” (This will select your cloud)

4. Click Image > Adjustments > Threshold

5. Move the Threshold slider so that the cloud is completely white
6. Hit OK when satisfied

7. Click Edit > Stroke

8. Change Width to 2 or 3 px (This will outline your cloud)
9. Change Color to black

10. Click OK

11. Change your Primary color selection to Green

12. Using your Fill tool, click inside the white areas to make them green
And that’s it. You now have a map to work with!

Guns, Swords, and Magic: Promise of Blood is out today!


Promise of Blood is the Epic Fantasy debut by Brian McClellan.

For those of you who don’t know Brian, he’s a graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bookcamp and a former student of Brandon Sanderson (which he wrote about on his site).

Book Description:
The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

It’s up to a few…
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

Buy the book:

Brian is giving away 100 signed bookplates. Just email him at brian (at) brianmcclellan (dot) com. Enter BOOKPLATE as the subject and include your name and address.


Follow Brian on Twitter