Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.
  • September24th

    Omir: warrior, thinker, a man of both action and reflection, a monarch who never thought of himself as ruler of Anaquist but more of a protector of its people. Plus, the Autumn Plot!

    For more, see the podcast website: https://theworldbelowthewarintheheavens.podbean.com/

  • September13th

    Episode 6 of the World Below the War in the Heavens podcast explores Kenlill 1, the second monarch of Anaquist. Kenlill Anaquist had large footsteps to fill and she had to compete against her siblings to show that she was the best person to succeed to the throne. How did she do it?

    And here’s a link to the podcast website.

  • August23rd

    It’s here, personally curated for your listening, Episode 5 in my podcast ‘The World Below the War in the Heavens’. You can hear me explore, uncover, investigate and probe an imaginary land in a depth you wouldn’t believe possible. Truly. ‘Entertaining and entrancing’ – The Podcast Compendium. ‘Startling, innovative, diverting’ – The Podcaster’s Guide to Podcasts. ‘Unique. Undoubtedly ground-breaking. A landmark series’ – another made up critic. Get on board, subscribe and/or review. Say nice things. It’ll do us both some good. You can find it wherever you usually get your podcasts, or listen via the player below.

  • July23rd

    Episode 3 of The World Below the War in the Heavens podcast examines one of the most extraordinary figures in the entire history of this remarkable place: Ucantha Anaquist. Buccaneer, adventurer, entrepreneur, leader, military genius, architect nonpareil, visionary, exploiter, arch-manipulator and founder of the richest, most powerful realm in the entire World Below the War in the Heavens. She’s the stuff of a thousand stories, countless ballads, quite a few sculptures and even an opera or two. Can we separate the woman from the legend? Or is it worth bothering since the legends are so juicy, so wildly romantic that they don’t just make the heart beat a little faster, you might just need to keep a fan or two handy, in case of imminent swooning.

    Listen below, or pop over to podcast website.

    Don’t forget to subscribe and like!

  • July1st

    Episode 2 of my ‘The World Below the War in the Heavens’ podcast is live now, and things are getting even juicier as I delve into the history of the ancient realm of Anaquist, which is full of strife, betrayals, false alliances, glorious triumphs, dazzling artistic achievements, humane advances, dark treachery, petty personal vendettas and extraordinary magical phenomena.

    Cool.

  • June17th

    After the teaser/preview of a few weeks ago, here’s the true first episode of my brand new podcast, The World Below the War in the Heavens where we dive into this imaginary land of magic and adventure and explore its wonders. Enjoy!

  • May31st

    I’ve finally made public a two minute sneak preview of a project I’ve been working on for some time: I’m writing a fantasy epic and complementing it with a podcast that explores the world I’ve created. The podcast will delve into the history, the geography, the culture, the politics, the arts and the backgrounds of the multifarious characters in my story. It’s a chance to expand the narrative outside the covers, to add depth and complexity to what is already a fascinating world of magic and adventure, a world where people live, love and strive while in the heavens above an eternal battle goes on between gods and demons – a struggle that sometimes results in the detritus of war falling to the land beneath, with far-reaching consequences.

    The World Below the War in the Heavens is a story of intrigue, betrayal, alliances, romance, lost hope and fast friendships all played out in a world that is an absorbing character in its own right. Listen to the preview below, and keep an eye out for subsequent podcast episodes, available in all the usual places.

    The podcast website can be found here.

  • June7th

    Indiana: THERE’S A BIG SNAKE IN THE PLANE, JOCK!
    Jock: Oh, that’s just my pet snake Reggie!
    Indiana: I HATE SNAKES, JOCK! I HATE ‘EM!
    Jock: Come on! Show a little backbone, will ya!

    In the classic movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, after Indiana Jones’s death-defying encounters after he loots the golden idol, dodges poison darts, avoids the giant rolling stone ball, flees from angry locals and a nasty rival archaeologist, this exchange in the plane that provides his escape is welcome bit of comic relief. Indiana Jones, afraid of snakes? After all those heroics he’s upset at a harmless python giving him a cuddle? He has a weakness after all! How human!

    Yes, it’s comic relief and it’s perfect timing after the breathlessness of the helter-skelter opening but it’s also a magnificent example of a very useful writing tool, that of Foreshadowing.

    Foreshadowing is the art of dropping in something early in a story that turns out to be important later. Done well, it’s immensely satisfying for the reader/viewer, especially the ones who’ve been paying close attention and can feel rewarded for their efforts. And if they haven’t, it’s an ‘Oh, yeah!’ moment as the connection clicks. It’s a useful technique, and one well worth adding to your Writer’s Toolbox.

    In Raiders of the Lost Ark the rewarding moment comes much, much later, when Indy and Salah have found the Well of Souls, the keeping place of the Ark of the Covenant. Once they uncover the way into the Well, Salah is puzzled by the way the floor far below is moving. Indy tosses in a burning torch and glumly says, ‘Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?’

    Imagine if those lines were said without the earlier scene. Having to wade among deadly snakes is no picnic, but because it’s been established that Indy has a particular fear of snakes the ante has been upped. He has to face a special, personal, challenging – possibly disabling – fear and so the scene has even more tension than it would otherwise have had.

    Indy could have peered into the Well of Souls and simply said. ‘I have a lifelong fear of snakes, Salah’ which would have served, but the cleverness of the foreshadowing technique is much more subtle, much more artful, much more adroit.

    We see foreshadowing all the time in books, TV and movies, but it’s often heavy-handed. For no obvious reason, the camera lingers on that piece of jewellery, basically announcing that it’s going to be stolen later, and at the same time the soundtrack rises to draw your attention to it. A big neon sign – invisible to the characters but clear to the audience – may as well be blaring ‘Pay Attention to This!’

    How does Raiders of the Lost Ark avoid this ham-fisted approach? The secret is that Indy’s fear of snakes is revealed in a scene that has its own integrity in the context of the narrative. There’s a reasonable rationale for him to state this fear in the context of the scene – he’s discovered a big snake crawling into his lap! At first, it looks like it’s another trap/challenge/danger he has to overcome in order to escape with his life, on top of the aforementioned crushing stone balls, poison darts, spiders, bottomless pits and so on, but that’s turned on its head by the revelation that it’s a pet and we laugh – and we remember.

    Foreshadowing is a useful and potentially impressive writing technique, but like all writing tools it can be implemented well or it can be implemented poorly.

    When the object/person/situation is first introduced to your narrative, give it a rationale in the context of the scene, a reason for it to appear above and beyond ‘It’s going to be important later on’. This way, the reader is likely to accept it as integral part of that moment in the story and not see it as an obvious ploy, shoehorned in just so it can play a part later in the story. When it does appear again, the reader will be both surprised and delighted.

  • April27th

    Soon I’ll be in Sydney for the first time in ages, appearing at the Writers’ Festival next Saturday evening (1st May) and again on Monday and Tuesday for the Secondary Schools’ Days. Looking forward to it!

    https://www.swf.org.au/writers/michael-pryor/

  • November19th

    The first draft is you telling yourself the story.

    The second draft is you telling the story to trusted readers.

    The third draft is you telling the story to your cat/dog.

    The fourth draft is you telling the story to random strangers on the street.

    The fifth draft is you telling the story on a nationally televised chat show.

    The sixth draft is you telling the story to the general assembly of the UN.

    The seventh draft is you telling the story to a shadowy transnational cabal.

    The eight draft is telling you the story to yourself again, but under a blanket, in a hushed, quavering voice.

    The ninth draft is the story achieving self-awareness and telling itself.

    The tenth draft is the story rebelling against its master, destroying you and itself in an orgy of violence witnessed by villagers with flaming torches and pitch forks.