Writing A Novel || The Importance Of Playlists

Writing A Novel || The Importance Of Playlists

How Playing Music Can Help You As You Write

I find it helpful to have a playlist as I write my stories and I choose songs that fit with the genre I’m writing in. I learned this from another author and I’m very thankful to him for suggesting this. My playlists are collections of various artists in various music styles, even some instrumental, and follow the course of the story.

For instance, if I’m writing an epic battle scene I’ll usually listen to an instrumental with loud drums and clashing symbols. If my protagonist is departing on an epic adventure and happens to be a halfling, I’ll play all the scores from the entire collection of LOTR, if my protagonist is in the mood for romance — well, you get the idea.

Benjamin T. Collier is the one to thank for this playlists idea. Here, he talks about why he uses playlists to inspire him when writing and as added enjoyment for his reader.

“… Each song referenced in ‘Singularity’ is mentioned by title and musical artist, so readers can find each song online as it comes up in the story. In case some of my readers want to have the songs all lined up already before they start reading, I’ve written out the playlist below, which I played often in the background as I was writing…”  Read Ben’s full blog post about his Singularity Playlist by Benjamin T. Collier

How A Playlist Helps Your Reader

Do you find yourself enjoying a show more when there’s relevant music playing in the background of a scene or as a filler? I faithfully watch reruns of Heartbeat, a British show about the people of a small town close to where I was born. The background music takes me back to that era. I may even sing along. Do you enjoy a movie more when the music actually becomes part of the story as in Guardians Of The Galaxy when Quill plays tunes from the 80’s?

220px-Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol_2_poster from the blog by Lynne Collier

Music can enhance your reader’s experience with your story. Give it a try. Maybe I’ll create one for my readers of The Fellowship Of The King and share it in my next blog.

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

Lynne

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Writing Fantasy || Point of View

Writing Fantasy || Point of View

Whose Point Of View Matters Most In Your Story?

The answer to this question will play an important role in the tone of your entire novel. We listen to other people probably every day in one form or another, in personal conversations, a lecture at school, a boss or characters on a TV show. Notice how the tone of their voice influences you. What tone do you want to convey in a particular scene or throughout the entire story?

  • Interesting
  • Funny
  • Lively
  • Friendly
  • Romantic
  • Quarrelsome

The characters telling the story have their own unique voice and, depending on that voice, will tell a scene in a specific way.

8 Points to Ponder when Writing Point Of View. Writing tips.

8 Points To Ponder For Point Of View

  • Have you thought about what tense you’ll write in? Will your story read better in past tense or present tense? Past Tense – “Suzie shopped at the mall”.
  • Present Tense – “Suzie is shopping at the mall”.
  • When you sit to write each scene, who do you hear talking in your mind?
  • First Person – “I love doughnuts”.
  • Second Person – “You love doughnuts”.
  • Third Person – “Suzie loves doughnuts”.
  • Omniscient (aka, all-knowing) – “Suzie loves doughnuts but she doesn’t realize they’re laced with a powerful hallucinogenic”. Use this voice sparingly, as when none of the characters knows something but your reader needs to know it.

 

Choose Your Narrators

Just like in a movie audition, test your characters’ voices to see which point of view sounds best for each scene. You may want to do several viewpoints throughout your story, but remember to not switch viewpoints in the middle of a scene or chapter unless you make a specific break in the narrative. It confuses the heck out of the reader. If you’re new to writing fantasy/fiction keep it simple and write one POV for each scene. You may feel like you want to write the entire story from one POV, but test other voices to see if you can spice things up, add some humour or simply add a different perspective to delight the reader.

 

Voice Test for POV

Write a paragraph from the author’s POV. This means you just write out the paragraph as it happens, without emotion or opinion. Then write it out in all the voices of your characters who are in that scene. Let them say what they feel and what they’re thinking.

  • Who sounds good for this particular scene?
  • Who has an emotional investment in what’s happening?
  • Who will it influence later in the story as your plot unfolds?
  • Who sees something no one else does?

 

Example:

  • “Suzie went to the mall again. I hope she’s not spending all her money. She still has two weeks before her next paycheck”.
  • “She went to the mall again. Who does she think she is, buying all those fancy expensive clothes? They look ridiculous on her anyway.”
  • “Suzie went to the mall this morning. She needed to choose a dress for her grandmother’s funeral”.

Do you see how each character changes the tone of the scene? What were they thinking and feeling? Ask them why. Draw the scene out from your chosen character’s point of view.

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

Lynne

 

Resources to check out

Back To The Future – where the twists are revealed by other people’s POV and by the main character.

 

 

 

Writing Fantasy || Society

Writing Fantasy || Society

Who Lives In Your Fantasy World?

We have the freedom to create an entirely new world from our own imagination! How amazing is that? We get to decide everything that happens in this world and who lives there. We’ve already decided what our world looks like. Now we’re going to decide how our world works.

fantasy-society-lynne-collier-blog
art by kellepics

Your World’s Society, Technology & History

Before you can create your characters you’ll need to know what goes on in the world around them and how they fit into this world. However, if you’ve already drawn up an extensive list of characters and decided what they eat for breakfast, no problem, don’t waste all that creativity, just build the society around them and let it unfold from there.

Here are some things to consider about your world:

Social Norms

  • What kind of work do they do?
  • What significant events have shaped the history of this world?
  • What’s their educational system like?
  • Do they own businesses or trades?
  • Are there male and female or children and how do they develop?
  • What religious beliefs are in play? How do they worship? Write down some of the moral values.
  • Is there a law enforcement system? How is it run?
  • Is it a democratic society, dictatorship or monarchy?
  • How do they communicate? Is there more than one language?
  • What about transportation?
  • How do your characters communicate long distance?
  • What do they do for fun
  • Does your world run on electricity, steam or natural resources?
  • Are there warring factions?
  • What are their weapons?

 

Ask Yourself, “If This Is True, Then What Needs To Happen?”

• If characters go to work in cities, then where do they live?
• If in high-rise buildings, then how do they get to the top floors?
• If by elevators, then how are they powered?
• If by electrical power, then how is it generated?
• If by water, how is it produced?
• If by rain, how is it stored?
• …
You get the idea. Here we have characters that live in high-rise buildings where they get to their apartments by taking an elevator which is powered by electricity produced by water which is held in reservoirs outside of the city.

You can go on from there, filling in the “If This, Then What..?” questions until all the questions about your characters’ needs are met in their world. You only need the details that are relevant to the characters. There’s no need to write long unnecessary descriptions which will only bore your readers. You just need to know how they do what they do.

Remember to show this in your writing, don’t tell it. (More on this later).
You may need to go back and add transportation routes, such as wide rivers and ports for boats, roads for trades’ people, or something like train tracks to your world map. Add any changes as you write your story so you don’t forget the details.

The easiest way to figure this out is to put yourself in the shoes (hairy feet, hooves) of your characters. Walk around in your world like them and see what you need.

Have fun!  #writingfantasy

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

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || 6 Creative Elements

Writing Fantasy || 6 Creative Elements

6 Creative Elements of Writing Fantasy

Apart from the actual storyline, our writing needs to include other elements in order to hold our reader’s attention. Look for ways to incorporate some of the things you find interesting and entertaining when you read a novel or watch a movie. What you find interesting will come through in your own writing.

Adding creative elements to your story will capture your reader's attention and keep them hooked.

Add These Elements to Your Stories and You’ll Grab Your Reader’s Attention

  • Humour
  • Romance
  • Relationships
  • Plot Twists
  • Fights
  • Chases

What Are 4 Of Your Favourite Books or Movies and Why?

This is an exercise in finding creative elements for your novels. You’ll write best what you enjoy most because it will come easier. Your story will take on a life of its own as you write so let it flow naturally and don’t think about getting it perfect the first time. You’ll probably find that you automatically write the elements you’re attracted to and, if humour is one of your favourite elements, go ahead and laugh out loud. If anyone’s listening and asks you what you’re laughing about, tell them they’ll just have to wait for the launch date.

As you read through your first draft later, look for lapses in your storyline and see if you can add more of your favourite elements. Creative elements also serve to bridge the gaps between scenes and break up long dialogue. Have you ever noticed how some movies are good at throwing in humour right in the middle of a battle scene? One of my favourite franchises for this is the Avengers. Iron Man is always cracking me up right before he clobbers someone!

the-avengers-movie-release-poster-2012

Writing Creative Elements in Fantasy

How do you write humour, for example, into fantasy? I love the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, where misunderstanding of the English language stumps the character Drax through the entire movie, but the movie is packed with other elements such as adventure, romance, battle scenes and chases. And let’s not forget Groot! He doesn’t say much, but that’s half the humour. And who doesn’t love to see the baby Groot dancing? Remember to show, don’t tell. The key to making your story memorable is to engage your audience. Be yourself and your own voice will use creative elements naturally.

220px-Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol_2_poster from the blog by Lynne Collier

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

Lynne

Resources

The Avengers movies

Guardians of the Galaxy movie

 

 

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

 

Writing Fantasy || World Mapping

Writing Fantasy || 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

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/