Writing Tips, Games and Prizes!

Who Doesn’t Like a Party?

Ok, granted most writers are introverts, we tend to shy away from parties or hide in a corner and hope no one talks to us. I’ve become a little more outgoing over the years but I still prefer quiet over noise. Unless, of course, I’m taking notes for a party scene in my next novel!

Invitation to a Launch Party

Fear not, this invitation is for an online party and you don’t have to talk to anyone in person or virtually, only in comments and only if you want to. Kirstie, my co-author, and I want to share our excitement with all of you on the release of our new workbook for fiction authors.

There are almost 200 pages of writing tips, information, brainstorming prompts, character building graphics, mapping graphs and tips for creating a new world, plus posters to encourage you along the way, publishing tips, marketing strategies and launch ideas. Then we go through the promotional steps you can take to grow your following, branding yourself as an author and successfully marketing your books.

The workbook fits regular copy-size pages so it’s easy to take along. So if you’d love a place to collect all your creative thoughts, plot your scenes and have it all handy in one place, this will be a great workbook for you!

I hope you can join us for the Facebook launch of THE NOVEL AUTHOR’S WORKBOOK!

 

the-novel-author's-workbook-launch

Tips, Games and Prizes!

We’ll be hosting four hours of fun with writing tips, games and prizes from 2pm – 6pm, Ontario Eastern time. And there’ll be lots of chances for extroverts to interact and launch ‘Congratulations’ balloons (I just love seeing those float up on my screen!).  Add yourself to the guest list!

See you on Facebook!

Lynne

 

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Writing Fantasy Settings || World Mapping

 

Mapping Your Fantasy World

When we write fantasy stories we need to decide where the story takes place. This is called ‘mapping’ and can be an artistic rendering of the world where your story lives, or it can be a topography of the terrain drawn like an actual map with all the hills, valleys, rivers, roads and towns. I prefer to collect Pinterest pins, but at some point, I need to discover what components make up my fantasy world and literally how long it would take a Dwarf to get to the Castle Keep. So, a drawn or written map is essential to the span of time for him on his travels.

10 things you need to know about your fantasy world before you begin writing your novel.

If it takes a few days for the journey, then I know to add an adventure, altercation or meeting with someone along the way, because let’s face it, a journey without an event is just plain boring and not at all interesting to your reader. In real life we couldn’t travel three days without meeting a fellow traveller, missing a bus connection or experiencing bad weather. So it is with other worlds. That’s where the storyline unfolds, in the in-between times.If you’ve already decided on a rough outline for your story (more on this later if you haven’t already started one), now is the time to decide how big your fantasy world needs to be in order to incorporate all the events you have planned. Even if you don’t have an outline written down, you’ve probably envisioned an encounter with an enemy, a chance meeting with someone, and a plot twist somewhere. What kind of backdrop needs to be in your world for these events to happen? Walk around in your world a while.

Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold”, from The Lord Of The Rings (you can see it on YouTube), describes the terrain beautifully and sets the scene for the Dwarves’ backstory and imminent adventure.

Your Hero’s Lifestyle

 “…using real places as a springboard can help you frame elements consistently and with a more grounded result” – Ammi-Joan Paquette, author and literary agent explaining mapping in Writer’s Digest, March/April edition 2016.

Look around your real world. Do you see the potential for mapping your fantasy world based on reality?

I often draw from my childhood memories of the hills and dales of England, where the Bronte sisters gathered most of their inspiration. You can find some of those places on my Pinterest board, West Yorkshire England

10 more things to consider before you write your fantasy story.

Fantasy Inspiration

Who were the authors who shaped your childhood memories of fantasy and make-believe? These are the writers we tend to remember the rest of our lives. My childhood memories of magical and fanciful tales come from four well-known children’s books:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Magic Faraway Tree and Noddy by Enid Blyton

Rupert The Bear by Alfred Bestall (originally created as a comic strip by Mary Tourtel)

 

Your Next Step

Draw or describe your own fantasy map and copy to your secret Pinterest inspiration board if you’re not ready to share it with the world yet. Here’s a link to my Fantasy Inspiration board which is public, but I have a secret board I’ll share once my novel is published. Or pin your inspiration to a board you’ve created to share your work with your followers. I’ve done this with my Dwarf Book I’m Writing. Another way is to cut out pictures from magazines and actually pin them to your office bulletin wall or stick them to your fridge with a crazy magnet.

Comment on how you were inspired for your creation and where you post/pin/stick your inspirational images/words. I’d love to hear about the world you’ve created.

Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image and gave us this beautiful world to live in.

Lynne

 

Writing Speculative Fiction || Christian Worldview

Do you find it challenging to write fantasy as a Christian? When I first set out to write in this genre I wasn’t sure what was ‘ok’ for me to add to my stories. Could I write about wizards and magic, vampires who live forever because they suck the blood out of people, zombies who are the walking dead not anywhere close to embodying the resurrection? And what about trying to convey a scriptural message? How was I going to do that with this imagination of mine?

Holy Bible, God's Word, Living Water.

A. K. Preston comes pretty close to summing it up for me when he writes, “The Christian worldview is, in fact, the most creatively inspiring of all. You need only take a glance through Isaiah, Daniel or Ezekiel to see that God inspired the biblical writers with truly vivid and fantastical imagery to communicate His message to the world. This makes the speculative genre, to me, one of the richest possible from a Christian viewpoint. Here we have a place where both writer and reader step completely outside of everyday experience to consider things from a radically new perspective – a forum for ideas to be sketched out to their logical conclusion and for the hypothetical to be explored.

When it comes to sharing the truth, the question we ask ourselves usually goes “How can I answer this argument?” In my own vocation, I rephrase it thus: “What kind of story can I tell about this?” For the latter is the most truly enduring argument of all.”

Read the entire post here A.K. Preston on Worldview As Story.

Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image and gave you such a beautiful imagination.

Lynne

 

Resources

https://www.pinterest.ca/lynnecollieraut/writing-christian-speculative-fiction/

https://www.pinterest.ca/lynnecollieraut/writing-christian-fantasy/

http://speculativefaith.lorehaven.com/

 

 

Writing Fantasy || World Building

How to begin writing fantasy

Read. Read. Read. Follow other fantasy writers online, take pieces from every fantasy book you’ve ever read and enjoyed, scribble notes while you watch your favourite fantasy TV show, watch fantasy movies till your eyes get all buggy and you grow antennae. Then when you’re about to burst – Write. Write. Write!

Fantasy world with floating island, tree and house in the sky
Fantasy World by andrianvalentino

George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, offers this advice when writing fantasy: “…stealing from one source is plagiarism but stealing from lots of sources is research!”

The fantasy world

I believe you can’t add characters until you know where to put them. Feel free to disagree. That’s just a personal opinion because that’s the way my brain works. So before your Elf prince can rescue the fair woodland maiden, you may need a place for them to live in.

If you’re like me and you’re a very visual learner, Pinterest is a great place to start for fantasy images you can save for future reference. You can click through to the websites and read the entire article about the image if you trust the source. You can also create a ‘secret’ board for images you may like to use for settings and characters in your next novel. Another great place to find images to inspire you is DeviantArt, (you can block certain images by using the ‘Mature Content Hidden’ button). Then, when you can steal a minute to yourself, grab your favourite libation and sit back in your chair and daydream of the faraway places and mystical beings on your boards. Or sketch yet-unimagined places and beings of your own!

What does your fantasy world need?

As you collect your images or draw your own art, be thinking what your world needs to make your story a fantastic one.

  • What kind of terrain and atmosphere will your story need?
  • Does it need seas, rivers, animals, birds, mountains, valleys?

I love to take a walk in the woods and imagine my characters walking there too. A woodland would be a great place to take some photos of your own if you’re writing a book about Elves and Halflings and use them as ‘gems‘ to promote your book later.

This is one of my favourite things to do when I start a new book. Watch for my next blog post on Fantasy World Mapping with two free cheat sheets!

Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Dwarf Name Generator

Are You Writing a Book About Dwarves?

If you’re writing about Dwarves in your fantasy book this post is for you.

One of my writing projects is a short story about a Dwarf, so I needed a few Dwarf names for the minor characters. My son and I, who also writes fantasy, came up with a short list of names for inspiration but then, bless his creative heart, he decided I needed a name-generator so I could, well – generate names myself. I was so impressed with the results I asked him if I could share the generator with you. That started a frenzy of ideas and here’s the result. Shared with his blessing.

 

Dwarf Name Generator Sampler – Find Your Dwarf Name

Try it out to find your own Dwarf name. All of this is based on names from Tolkien’s books. My birthday is in February so my Dwarf name could be Flin, Filin or Falin.

Writing Fantasy. Dwarf Name Generator. Fantasy Characters. Dwarves.

Prefix (based on the month you were born)

January = K(i)-

February = F(i)-

March = D(a)-

April = N(a)-

May = (O)-

June = Gl(o)-

July = Gim-

August = Bom(b)-

September = Bo(r)-

October = B(i)-

November = Dw(a)-

December = Thr/Thor-

 

Suffix (based on the first letter of your last name or maiden name if applicable)

A, B = -(f)ur

C, D = -(a)lin

E, F = -in

G, H = -oin

I, J, K, L = -(i)li

M, N = -(o)ri

O, P, Q = -or

R, S = -ain

T, U, V = -(e)rin

W, X, Y, Z = -is

But wait – there’s more! (I’m making fun of commercials here).

 

Get the Extended Dwarf Name Generator

There’s a longer list of names in my Resources.

Have fun creating your Dwarf names!

Want to know more about the Dwarf Name Generator creator Benjamin T. Collier ?

 

Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || ‘Design Your Own Flag’ by Ann-Margret Hovsepian

 

Design Your Own Flag

I had a lot of fun with The Dwarf Name Generator, how about you? I have names for all the characters in my ebook now!

Ready to have more fun? This week I’m sharing an excerpt from a blog a friend of mine wrote. She’s a talented artist and her heart is to help people discover their creativity. Here’s why I’m sharing this with you; she blogged about creating a personal (or group) flag. I thought, seeing as most of you are writers of fantasy like me, you’d love knowing how to add that creative element to your books. You could even create a flag for your fantasy world and use it on your book cover.

On her blog, Ann-Margret digs deeper and gives you links to resource further. Cool, huh? Here’s part of her blog post:

 

Ann-Margret Hovsepian

“This activity is perfect for a family, youth group, classroom or any themed club. It would make a great ice breaker for a big event, too. 

I want you to imagine that you (or your group) are a country. What would your flag look like?

There are endless ways to design a flag because you have these options to consider:

  • Shape (most flags are rectangular but there are a few exceptions)
  • Pattern (stripes, cross, quadrisections, canton, etc.)
  • Colours
  • Symbols

Vexillology

According to the North American Vexillological Association (vexillology is the study of flags), here are five basic principles for designing a flag:

  1. Keep It Simple. The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory…
  2. Use Meaningful Symbolism. The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes…
  3. Use 2 or 3 Basic Colors. Limit the number of colors on the flag to three which contrast well and come from the standard color set…
  4. No Lettering or Seals. Never use writing on any kind or an organization’s seal…
  5. Be Distinctive or Be Related. Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections…

snip_20180323204731

(Ann-Margret adds a link here on her post to a flag creator)

If you want a more old school approach to designing your flag, you can print out this simple template and then colour it in. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

flag

 

–Ann-Margret

Follow the rest of Ann-Margret’s post with fun ideas for completing your flag design at    annhovsepian.com  (and PS–she has freebies!)

Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image and have a blessed Easter.

Lynne

Writing A Dwarf Short Story – Pun Intended!

What I’m Writing Now

I’m slowly writing a speculative fiction novel about lies and deception, but I’m also writing an ebook about a young Dwarf who goes off on an adventure. It’s a story for adults of all ages who love fantasy but I’ll make it a ‘clean read’ so older children can read it too. (It does have some ugly fight scenes and nasty villains so I won’t be releasing it as a children’s book.)

I’m following my Writing Fantasy blog series to keep me focused because I tend to get scatterbrained if I don’t have an outline to follow. Are you like that? I’m definitely a pantser when it comes to writing, but I’ve learned I also need to plot ahead of time to free up my creative brain to just write, write, write, once the outline’s ready.

Here’s my premise:

Ephesians 4:32
“And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Here’s the logline:

The quiet life of a farmer is about to change for the son of outcast Dwarves whose clans have been warring for many generations. An invading army is descending from the land of the Nords across the sea, slaughtering hundreds of Dwarves and Elves in their path, and the young farmer has been asked to go and warn the very clans who exiled his parents. But when he nears Dwarf Mountain, he’s met by travellers who will change the course of the battle, and the young Dwarf’s life, forever.

Dwarves on Pinterest

Want to see some great Dwarf pins?  Here’s a link to my Dwarf Fantasy Book I’m Writing image board. You’ll find ideas for the main hero, villains, Dwarf battle armour, settings and clothing. I hope some of them will inspire your fantasy work. (I don’t censor pins so click through to other people’s sites cautiously)

 

Dwarf male with spear and axe. Art concept from The Fellowship Of The King book by Lynne Collier.

Are you writing about Dwarves?

Here’s a basic Dwarf Name Generator you can use to find your own Dwarf name and some others for your characters, created by Benjamin T. Collier

 

You can get a full list of prefixes and suffixes for Dwarf names as well as other free resources here.

You can follow my writing progress on Twitter.

Have fun writing your Dwarf story!

Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.

Lynne