Guest Post: My Top Five Tips For Writing Great Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Michael Phillip Cash

Hey everyone. I’m honored to share this amazing guest post from author Michael Phillip Cash. Be sure to check out his website and links down below, and don’t forget to follow the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway as well! Take it away Michael!

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“My Top Five Tips For Writing Great Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels”

By Michael Phillip Cash

When you’re just starting out as an author you may be tempted to heed the advice to “write what you know.” But what about writers who want to write in the Science Fiction Fantasy genre? That’s certainly not a world you’re going to have some knowledge of. But wait. Don’t get discouraged. You have a distinct advantage over some other genres. Everything you need to know about writing Sci-Fi Fantasy is already stored right in your noggin. That’s because it’s your world and you get to create every single thing about it. It’s known as world building and it’s awesome. As long as you keep some things in mind you’ll be good to go. Here are my top five tips for writing great Sci-Fi Fantasy books:

  1. Read, read and then read some more

Read every science fiction/fantasy book you can get your hands on. Study them like you would any other reference book. Learn from the masters. Take notes as you read. Don’t aim to copy, but use other books as jumping off points for your own unique stories.  

  1. Tap into traditional fantasy elements

It’s okay to include the standard trolls, elves, giants, wizards, warriors, or whatever. Just use them in totally different and unique ways. Use these tried and true elements, but do it as originally as possible.

  1. Combine basic writing principles in distinctly unique ways

Boy loves girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets captured by a ten-foot tall giant and girl must use her magical powers and her talking dragon to fool the giant into letting boy go. You get the idea. Much of what works in say for instance romance or another genre will work in fantasy. You just have to do it with a magical sort of imagination.

  1. Make sure your characters have dreams, hopes and goals

If your characters have nothing at stake, or nothing to overcome then no one will care what happens to them. When you’re creating your cast of characters, be sure to give them strengths, weaknesses, fears and flaws. Even fantasy characters have these and this is what will keep your readers invested in your story.

  1. Study old (and new) maps, and learn about different cultures and climates.

Maps are beautiful and artistic props to use as inspiration – particularly older maps. Imagine what it might be like to live in a foreign land. Research the clothing, tools and equipment other cultures use now and in the past. Considering what the terrain or climate might be like in your fantasy world will ultimately allow your readers to immerse themselves in your story.  

About Michael Phillip Cash

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Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novel The Battle for Darracia is a three-part saga and is available on Amazon.

Michael’s novels are best-sellers on Amazon under their genres – Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Ghost, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. Michael writes full-time and lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wonderful wife and screaming children. You can follow him @michaelpcash or connect with him via his website.

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What Is Depression? (Guest Post with BetterHelp)

Hello there everyone. This is Anthony Avina. I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this guest post regarding depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and I hope this will be the first of many guest posts working with this amazing company to bring awareness to these very serious topics that affect so many people. I hope you guys will enjoy this article and if you or anyone you know is suffering from any sort of mental health disorder, please be sure to go to this website and find the necessary resources and support systems you need to help you or those you love. Now here is BetterHelp with a look at depression.

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How to Live with Depression

For those of us who suffer with depression, we know that life is not as easy for us as it is for other people. What makes it worse is that depression and other mental health conditions are “invisible” diseases so nobody can tell what is wrong with you just by looking at you. While some may think this is a good thing, it also makes it hard for others to understand why we may not feel like getting up and going to the beach with the gang or how it takes everything we have to just get out of bed on some days. In fact, I am sure some of you have heard “you are just lazy,” or “quit being so dramatic,” or my favorite “it is all in your head.”

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is very common in both adults as well as children. In fact, it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives, which is almost 17% of the American population. It is not just feeling sad or grouchy for a while or being upset because you lost a loved one, although that can trigger it. Depression is a group of symptoms that include:

  • Feelings of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Sleep changes (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual)
  • Extreme fatigue or listlessness
  • Feeling empty or lost
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who Is Most at Risk?

While anyone can suffer from depression, it is more common in some people than others. For example, women are twice as likely to have depression as men. Other risk factors of depression include:

  • Hereditary – Mental health conditions such as depression can be hereditary so if someone in your family has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, you may be more susceptible.
  • Chemistry – Many experts believe that a chemical imbalance (too much or too little) in the brain is a major cause of depression.
  • Previous mental health disorders – If you have had trouble with anxiety or depression before, you are more likely to have another bout of one of these mental health disorders.
  • Environmental situations – Many situations such as abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, or exposure to violence can make you more susceptible to depression.
  • Physical ailments – Certain major chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can cause depression.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone. Even if you do not have a doctor or therapist, there are experts who are available to you that can help. In fact, you can talk to an online psychologist without even having to leave your home or make an appointment. These therapists are licensed and trained in dealing with depression as well as many other disorders. There are other things you can do in the mean time to make your life easier to deal with such as:

  • Exercise – Force yourself to get out of bed at least once a day and move around. Even if it is just to get up and take a shower and walk around the house.
  • Smile – According to experts, even a fake smile can make you feel happier.
  • Break things up – Do things a little bit at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Thinking about all the things you have to do that day can be a major block but if you break things up into smaller tasks, it is much easier.
  • Talk about itTell people how you feel. Even if they do not seem to care, talking about it helps you understand your illness.
  • Goals Set some small goals for yourself. Talk yourself into doing at least one thing from that goal list every week.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and do not try to hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it is more common than you think. Talk to someone. Today.

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