I’ve read a lot of books and articles on writing. The ones I like the most I return to again and again, when I am stuck on a project, when I am bored with a project, or when I fall into complacency and laziness. The best writing guides are the ones that teach me something new every time I read them or enhance my understanding of a concept I already know.
The rants of Limyaael, a fantasy/fanfiction writer who unfortunately disappeared off the Internet in 2010, are one of my main writing guides. I discovered her rants a few years ago via the NaNoWriMo Fantasy subforum. I started reading and was hooked instantly. I now look upon her as something of a writing mentor, even though I have never met nor spoken to her even once.
In her rants, Limyaael clearly knows what she wants in a fantasy and isn’t afraid to say it. As a result, she is blunt and sometimes even vulgar in her language, yet it’s hard to dismiss her obviously well thought-out opinions. I don’t agree with everything she says, but most of what she says is spot-on and well worth taking into consideration during your own writing.
My favorite rants of hers are her rant on clichéd fantasy (her first rant, actually, and a good place to start if you want to read through them), her ten pieces of writing advice, her rant on avoiding archetypes, her rant on writing without an outline, and her rant on flaw-scrubbing. Almost all of her rants are good, however, so don’t just limit yourself to my favorites if you intend to read them. You don’t even have to read them in order, if you don’t want to.
What I like best about her rants is that she covers nearly every possible subject related to fantasy. She talks about themes, characters, worldbuilding, politics, religion, plotting, protagonists, antagonists, fantasy with and without magic, sexuality, non-human species, description, clothing, animals, the environment, geography . . . you name it, and she’s probably got a rant about it. It makes her one of the most prolific writers I’ve ever read, at least when it comes to giving out writing advice.
To be honest, I have not actually read any of her stories. That was primarily because I didn’t know where to look for them, but thanks to Curiosity Quills’ mirror, I will probably begin reading them soon. If she follows even half of her own advice, I imagine she’s probably one hell of a writer.
If you like to write at all, I suggest reading some of her rants. Even non-fantasy writers, I think, can find a wealth of great advice and ideas in some of her less fantasy-centric rants (such as her personal advice on writing, for example). Many of the principles behind her fantasy rants can probably be applied to other genres and types of writing, too.
If you need inspiration, ideas, or just a good old fashion kick in the butt, read Limyaael’s rants. You may not agree with everything she says, but if you seriously engage with her rants, you will come away a better writer for it.