Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Just How Much Awesome Do I Need?

I've been reading and listening to a lot about putting awesome, original ideas into fantasy. And I started wondering how much is necessary? Is a story really fantasy, if it is small scale with ordinary human antagonists and a fairly familiar world? Or does it need something more?

After considering the question a bit I came up with a guiding principle. My goal is to bring glory to God and too show his love. Whatever helps me to best do that is the right amount. It will be different for every story. And that is what I need to figure out.

Pretty much all the fantasy I've read has something unusual. The Ilyon Chronicles has different races and dragons, The Rizkaland Legends has coloured water and a myriad of other amazing things, Eyes of E'veria has telepathy and illusions for story telling among other things, Blood of Kings also has telepathy, others have got fairly standard fantasy worlds, but they are obviously recognized as fantasy. 

I can think of a few exceptions, Annabeth's War and Brothers and Betrayal feel like historicals, but the locations are made up. They don't get awesome from the setting, though the stories are still great.

Another series The Forest at Edge is set on some kind of alternate earth. It's a different world but mostly works like ours. It doesn't feel like fantasy, but it certainly isn't sci-fi or historical. It does have a few odd elements and certainly has a fresh unique feel, but the it's awesome comes more from social satire and great characters. (I don't completely recommend them because of a little bit of strange theology, but with discernment they're worth reading. Also I would consider them adult for some elements.)

Now, onto my own work. I'm afraid that for my current world I am leaning into the boring a bit too much. I'm not sure that I've quite got the sparkling sense of wonder. Or maybe it's just that description is lacking in my first draft. I've had cool ideas but they just don't quite connect with the story. They just seem to be there for the sake of being cool and don't appear in any essential moments. That is a problem.

I think I need to cut them out entirely or find a way to integrate them entirely. Perhaps the tiny dragons can be trained, or something attracts them at the climax. Fighting tiny dragons as well as brigands would be so much cooler. I'll see if I can develop them more and find a way to fit them in there. Cool element must affect the plot.

Now as for other settings, I'm wondering if jungle, tree-houses and swings is enough to make my world feel amazing. I can't figure this out on my own. What do you, my readers, think? Do those things in the setting along with a few odd animals and customs make an interesting fantasy world? Or do I need something a little magical? Something that couldn't exist in our world?

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Liebster Award

I got nominated for the Liebster award by my friend Annie Twitchell. Go check out her blog at: http://annie-louise-twitchell.blogspot.com.au/

Here are the rules:
- Thank the blog who nominated you and link back to them.
- Nominate up to 11 other bloggers to receive the award. To be eligible, they need to have 200 followers or less.
- Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
- Tell your readers 11 random facts about yourself.- Give your nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog when they post their nomination.

My Nominees:
Kendra E. Ardnek
Amanda Beguerie
Alea Harper
Sierra Joane
Hannah Heath
Daniel Thompson
Morgan Huneke

My Eleven Questions from Annie:

#1 - What's the 'outdated' phrase that you use the most?

I really have no idea. I can't think of any phrases that I particularly favour.

#2 - What was the name of your first character you created?

There was a princess named Grace, but she wasn't really a character. It was really about three princes who never had names since I didn't write more than a sentence or two on that story. Other than that I really don't know.

#3 - About how many books do you read a week?

About one or two. Plus books like A History of Venice that I try to read every week and take forever.

#4 - If you were a dragon rider, what colour would your dragon be?

I am actually a dragon rider, at least in this forum. My dragon is blue and cream.

#5 - You're in a fight. What's your weapon of choice?

Staff, it's less likely to injure people permanently.

#6 - How many times a week do you use sticky notes?

Less that once.

#7 - When was the last time you hand-wrote a letter to someone?

Probably in 2014, maybe longer.

#8 - How many story ideas have you come up with in the two and a half minutes before falling asleep?

Not very many, unless ways to improve my current story count. Then it's a larger unspecified number.

#9 - Text or phone call?

If an email counts as text, then certainly that. Otherwise it would have to be phone call and very rarely. I do not use a phone for communication.

#10 - Do your characters have conversations with you?

Not really.

#11 - Stars or hearts?


Eleven Random Facts About Me:

#1 I am a bit of a heath fanatic sometimes. I don't take it too seriously though and I'm sceptical of most of the ideas out there.

#2 - Almost everyone I know in person calls me by my full name.

#3 - I haven't read any of the books that live on my shelf this year and I might not.

#4 - I do not own physical copies any of my most favourite books.

#5 - I hate wearing pants.

#6 - I love sewing.

#7 - I once owned a pair of hand-sewn pant and loved them. That was then, though.

#8 - The only tea I like is ginger. However tea and I have had a very limited acquaintance.

#9 - I live in the country and love it, but I'm not a farm girl.

#10 - I bought a pair of hiking shoes. They're brown with pale pink, but cost half the price of a pair that didn't quite fit which were cheaper in turn than a pair that did fit.

#11 - I don't have any sisters. (So why do I keep trying to write about characters who do?)

Eleven Questions for My Nominees:

#1 - What is your favourite book of the Bible?
#2 - Do you like maths?
#3 - What is your favourite thing to do outside?
#4 - What is your dream house?
#5 - Who do you look up to most?
#6 - What is your favourite word?
#7 - What are your five most prized possessions?
#8 - Is there a question you really wish someone would ask you?
#9 - What would you do if you had one month to live?
#10 - If you could live under water, would you?
#11 - Light or dark blue?

And that's that. Any blogger reading this may consider them-self nominated too. I'm sorry for missing you.

I hope everyone found that interesting and I may have another post on Friday.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Beautiful People: Arthen and Leisa, and sailing

It's this time of the month again. The time when I tell you about my characters. Or rather the Beautiful People linkup. Because it's February It's romance themed.

The two characters I'm doing are are Leisa Rosir, and Arthen Stute. Both of them are secondary characters and their relationship isn't a very important part of the story but it is there nonetheless. I was going to let them speak for themselves, but they are both rather quiet people and would just freeze up and not say anything in front of each other.

How did they first meet?

They knew each other as children, but they met again more recently when her father, Captain Rosir sent him with a letter for her mother. And also to stick around and be helpful in his spare time.

 What were their first impressions of each other? 

Arthen was surprised by how much Leisa had grown up since he'd last seen her. Also he noticed that she was much more dignified and restrained than her sister. She saw why her father had praised him for his steadiness, and that there was strength under his quietness.

How long have they been a couple? 

Well technically they're not quite a couple, but they've been spending time together for a few months.

How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other? 

They're pretty committed. Her father is behind their relationship, so that's a good sticking force. Besides, they do like each other. I think they'd get through secrets and disagreements and they're pretty stressed at the moment. It's bringing them together not pushing them apart. Arthen would die for Leisa and though Leisa doesn't seem very brave, she surprises even me sometimes. So I think she would.

 List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

This is a tricky one, but he knows she likes inventing new twists on dishes and hates wasting anything. She thinks his habit of sprinkling cinnamon into his drinks is really odd. (Yes, I did just make that all up on the spot.)

Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?  

Not really. Leisa's mother is a little uncomfortable with any young man hanging around her daughters, but she doesn't have anything against him. Aydel(her sister) doesn't completely like him and think he's making Leisa insufferably good at first, but she isn't around for long and later she is quite happy about it.

What would be an ideal date? 

If things are ever peaceful again, they would love to just do some simple things together, go for a walk in a safe part of the forest, walk through a village and talk to the children. Those kinds of things.

What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly? 

Arthen is stronger and wiser then Leisa and she looks up to him. Her desire to learn fits well with his knowledge. On the other hand He is a bit of a wanderer, while she is very domestic. When he goes off into danger, she worries. Or she would worry if she knew what he was doing.

What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple? 

The best times would be when he was repairing the roof and answering her questions about God's word. And later praying together. The worst would be when there was a conflict between his duties and her needs. Details would spoil the story.

Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years? 

Possibly married with children. Neither of them is quite sure how they think of the the other though, not yet at least. What they really need is a bit of danger to make them realize it though. Or time of course, but that's not likely to happen.

I wanted to find a picture for each of them, but after much searching I still failed to find anyone who looks like Arthen, so I'll just give descriptions instead.

Arthen, or Stute as I often call him, has mid-brown skin and dark hair and eyes. He has a small neatly trimmed beard, smiles when he is relaxed.He is of ordinary height, whatever that is and almost always where a broad-brimmed hat and dark green and brown clothes.

Leisa is fair and blond and often wear blue along with natural linen coloured clothing. He eyes are a fairly nondescript grey. She is not particularly tall.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about them. How do you manage romance in your writing? Front and centre? Hidden away in the back? Hate it entirely?

P.S. This post is late because I went sailing this morning. And because I didn't write it ahead of time. Anyway, as I was saying, I got  to sail a boat, a catamaran to be exact. After drifting around in the bay for an hour and getting nervously close to some moored boats, Dad (who was in a different cat) came back and told us we needed to pull the sheet(sail) in close. After that we actually started getting somewhere on the odd moment when there was a breeze. Remember that, if you ever are sailing into the wind, pull the sheet in.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Announcing: Rose of Prophecy

My friend Hope Ann just published her first book. I'm really excited about his as I've read one of Hope's un-published novels and quite enjoyed it.

About the Novel:

She is afraid. Not because she is alone. Not because thick roiling clouds obscure the moon. Not 
because the wind rushes through the forest like a wild dragon. She is afraid because she is late. And to be late means death.

Her life had been happy once. 

Despite the destruction wreaked by Tauscher, traitor to the King. Despite the distant war led by
the Prince and fought with the help of her three brothers. Despite her own poorly-chosen nickname of Beauty, she'd enjoyed life. 

Of course, that was also before her father left home on a hopeful errand but returned weary and ill, bearing a velvety scarlet rose which he claimed would never wither. But even life in the ancient hall, tucked away in the center of Mosswood, surrounded by roses of every description, overshadowed with mystery and home to a scarred figure who is more beast than man, wasn't too bad after a time. 

But now...now, in a flash of light, Beauty finally glimpses the truth. And the cost. The price which must be paid, or the sacrifice which must be made.

It is a curse which even love alone may not be able to break.

Writing in the Light Publishing proudly presents the first of nine novellas in 

The Legends of Light series!

Rose of Prophecy,

a fantasy seeped retelling of Beauty and the Beast

containing an ancient promise, an invisible spy, and the legendary Stieg der,

is more than a mere retelling of a favorite fairy tale.

Each novella focuses on one of the

nine Fruits of the Spirit

while also following the conflict between the Prince and Tauscher

and expertly retelling and twisting some popular, as well as several lesser known, fairy tales.

About the Authoress:

Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who loves reading and writing fantasy, retelling fairy tales and futuristic fiction. She has been writing for over five years and is currently working on several fantasy books as well as a futuristic trilogy.

Some of her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Serena Chase, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.

You can visit Hope’s blog at www.writinginthelightpublishing.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

You can get Rose of Prophecy free at Smashwords for Kindle, Nook, or as a PFD, by clicking here. Yes it's free. Hope is such a lovely person that she's giving it away for nothing. I've read it already and loved it. You should read it too. 
It's not free on Amazon yet, but it will be in a few weeks. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Book Review: Finding the Core of Your Story

It's only the beginning of February and I've already spent more money on books that I did last year. I bought three books on writing.

  • The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
  • Finding the Core of Your Story by Jordan Smith
The last one arrived yesterday and I've already read through it once. It's an amazing book, all about writing what is called a log-line in the film industry. I've heard it called the elevator pitch. Basically it's the gist of your story in one sentence.

In his very enjoyable writing style Jordan explains what a log-line is and why you need one. He goes on to explain in detail how get to the core concept of your story and various ways to make your log-line more compelling.

I've already gotten a better idea of what my story is really about and I'm going to keep working through until I have a log-line I can share with you all.

I'm also going to use it when I start working on my next book. A log line can help your story keep going in the direction you intended and makes sure you do actually have a story. You can even write one from the point of view from each of your main characters to keep them on track. 

I wish I'd owned this when I started writing, but there is a chance that it wouldn't have helped me much as my story has changed dramatically. I'll never know though and it's certainly going to help now.

I highly recommend this book for all fiction writers. (Including screen writers of course, though I doubt any of you are reading my review.) It talks about more than I've mentioned, yet it's not a book that will take you too long to read. 

And something that's a little plus for me: Jordan Smith is a Christian which means all of his examples are clean. That's something that I find a problem with many writing books. And he happens to have a website: fixmystory.com I've looked at it a little bit and there's some good stuff on there, mostly on marketing.