Switching Focus

My next blog was going to be about compiling a playlist to inspire you as you write your fantasy novel. Instead, I’m letting you, my fellow bloggers, know I’m switching my focus on this site. I’ll let you know how you can still read the playlist post later.

Switching Focus
New Path

#WritingFantasy  Will Carry On

I’ve completed the series of posts I wanted to share with you about Writing Fantasy and the steps I’ve taken on my own journey writing my first fantasy novel. I’m very excited to start the actual writing process this November for my second NaNoWriMo! If you’ve followed my posts over the past few months I hope you’ll join me in November as we fire out 50,000 words together.

My Outline, Setting, Characters, World Building and Premise are all going to be relocated to another blog I write on, White Rose Writers.

So What’s My New Focus? #AmWriting

As most of you know from reading my profile, as well as being a writing coach I’m also a Christian Life Coach and Certified Lay Pastoral Counselor with many years experience coaching and encouraging believers in their walk with God. This will be my main focus on this blog going forward.

I’ll be blogging about Your Sacred Path, Finding Your Life Purpose, Hearing God’s Voice, Choosing Careers and possibly sharing a few gardening tips along the way. I love to network so I’ll be giving you links whenever I can for you to explore further.

My newsletter will be about the books and courses I’ll be writing, plus I’ll let you know when I’m launching something new, and I’ll have giveaways and social media events exclusively for my blog readers. If you choose to continue following me here that would be lovely, if however, you’re interested in continuing to follow my posts on writing, head over to White Rose Writers and follow my posts there, along with branding and marketing tips from my social media partner, Kirstie Shanks.

Thank you for taking time out from your busy life to read and comment.

Till next time here, or at White Rose Writers, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

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Writing Fantasy || Casting Characters

 

So you’re ready to start the first draft of your novel – great! What if it’s so epic that a huge producer (as in hugely famous) wants to make it into a movie? That’s even more fantastic! Some of you reading this may have to do that one day. How awesome would that be? Have you already been daydreaming of who you’d cast in your movie? Let’s face it; most of us envision our stories on the screen even before we put fingers to keyboard.  This is actually very helpful when considering how your characters will respond to events in your story with their mannerisms, quirks and personalities. Here’s an exercise to get your producer juices flowing.

Writing Fantasy || Casting Characters
Your Novel on Screen

If Steven Spielberg called for advice on casting for your movie, who would be your first choice?

Is your story a swashbuckling adventure with a shot of rum humour? Maybe Jonny Depp is who you have in mind for your hero. Or do you see the dashingly romantic Orlando Bloom as your protagonist?

Are you writing a sci-fi novel? Do you see Leonard Nimoy as your strange wise man, or perhaps he fits the role of a High-Elf wizard in your fantasy novel?

Who would you just love to cast as your main Protagonist?

Who would be perfect in the role of your main Antagonist?

Your Protagonist’s Love Interest?

Your Protagonist’s Mentor?

Your Protagonist’s Sidekick?

Your Protagonist’s 4 Main Followers?

Your Antagonist’s Sidekick or Main Henchman?

Other Characters

Family Members

Boss/Teacher

Religious Leader

Governor/Political Leader

Town Clown

Others…

Pinterest For Role Call

By now most of you know how much I love to play around on Pinterest and create secret boards for what I’m working on. I create boards for my character roles, costume ideas, writing tips for the genre I’m currently writing in and so on. After my book is published, I make all the secret boards public to, hopefully, gain readers from my boards. (This a little sneaky tip I learned  about social media marketing from a lecturer at WriteCanada, the annual writer’s conference I attend in Toronto).

Do You Need To Fire A Famous Actor?

As you write each scene, ask yourself if the actor you’ve chosen fits the role you’ve cast them in. If the actor isn’t working for your character – cut them loose! Don’t feel too bad. I’m sure Brad Pitt can find employment elsewhere. I find this casting exercise very helpful and inspiring. There’s freedom in ‘hiring’ professionals to play around in your imagination. And it’s so much fun!

Resources

If you missed my other blogs on writing characters, you can catch up here:

Character Personalities

Character Races

Character Occupations

Character Names

Character Backstory

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Creative Elements

Apart from the actual storyline, our stories need to include other elements for them 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. Your voice will come through in your own writing.

Choosing a writing genre
What Do You Read?

Creative Elements  #WritingTips

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

What Are 4 Of Your Favourite Books? Why? #AmReading

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!

 

#WritingFantasy  #CreativeElements  #ShowDontTell

How do you write humour, for example, into fantasy? A favourite of mine is the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, where misunderstandings of the English Earth 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 we all loved 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 you’ll write with your own voice and use your own creative elements.

Resources

The Avengers movies

Guardians of the Galaxy movie

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Point of View

Who is going to tell 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. Are they interesting, funny, lively, friendly or quarrelsome? The characters telling the story have their own unique voice and, depending on that voice, will tell a scene in a specific way. Have you listened to your characters?

 

Writing Point of View
Point Of View

 

8 Points To Ponder For Point Of View   #WritingPov

 

  • 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 donuts”.
  • Second Person – “You love donuts”.
  • Third Person – “Suzie loves donuts”.
  • Omniscient (aka all-knowing) – “Suzie loves donuts but she doesn’t realize they’re laced with a powerful hallucinogenic”. Use this voice sparingly, as when none of the characters know something but your reader needs to know.

 

Choose Your Narrators   #AmWriting

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   #WritingPOV

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 chosen characters. 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.

 

Resources

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

Structuring Your Novel – K.M.Weiland

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 5 – Foreshadowing

Your characters have a backstory, a personal history that will shape their life in your novel. They have childhoods, education, loves, conflicts, careers. All of these must be present in your character building for you to see where you need to foreshadow an event. When the event happens, your reader should be able to look back and think, “Oh ya, I kinda saw that coming”, but still be blown away when it happens.

Writing Foreshadow
I Didn’t See That Coming!

Keeping Track of WhereYour Characters Have Been

One way to keep track of timeline in your novel is to use a paper calendar with large squares, create one online, or use sticky notes. If you have room, put these on your office wall. If something epic happens to Lucy on Friday, you need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs (metaphorically) or have Lucy experience something similar before the epic event. Put a few breadcrumbs in the days, months or years leading up to the event. This gets the reader anticipating something and committed to turning the page.

Examples of Foreshadowing   #WritingTips

In the story of The Two Towers, Frodo says he needs to know that Gollum will come back from the pitifully evil person he saw him becoming. This foreshadows Frodo later succumbing to the evil power of the ring.

So, it doesn’t matter that your protagonist was a ballerina as a child unless she’s a ballerina when we meet her in the story as an adult, or there was a traumatic dancing accident which will haunt her throughout her life and shape her future. The foreshadow leads to an event or a realization in her life later.

One of my favourite old movies is Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? A nasty crotchety old woman is just plain mean to everyone. You have to know there’s something in her past that made her change from the beautiful little girl she used to be. As the story progresses, we see her relationship with her sister whom she lives with and cares for. It’s in the dialogue and flashbacks that we learn what happened to Baby Jane.

By far one of the best movies of foreshadowing is Sixth Sense written by M. Night Shyamalan. The entire movie is leading the viewer creepily towards a shocking truth. I didn’t see it coming until near the end. I believed everything until then and was blown away by the ending. I had to go back and watch it again to get all the clues that were left like tiny breadcrumbs. Now THAT’s foreshadowing at its best!

Where do you need to add a breadcrumb of information that will have your reader saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming! Wait – yes I did!”

 

Resources:

The Two Towers

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Sixth Sense

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 4 – Conflict

So you have a nice fantasy/fiction story going on and you have a happy ending. Guess what? We’re going to turn that all upside down now! Get ready to throw your readers a curve ball and upset the apple cart. Every story needs conflict – even children’s stories. Think about it. Where would Little Red Riding Hood be without the big bad wolf? We all love a villain to hate.

Writing Conflict
Little Red Riding Hood and the Fox

 

Here are some elements to think about as you write the outline of your conflict:

What To Consider Before Writing Conflict

  1. What motivates both your hero and the villain so they’re drawn into the upcoming conflict?
  • Love
  • Greed
  • Pride
  • Anger
  • Duty
  • Other ideas…

 

  1. What keeps your hero and villain locked together in this conflict?
  • Past History
  • Jealousy
  • Mutual Love Interest
  • Loss of Someone or Something
  • Misunderstanding
  • Other ideas…

12 Key Elements On Writing Conflict   #WritingTips

  1. Your hero tries to understand what just happened in the inciting event and what it means to them and their way of life. This is the start of Act 2.
  2. Reveal the power of the antagonist (villain) and the true nature of the conflict arising.
  3. The hero begins to recognize what’s at stake and searches for ways to fight the battle.
  4. Your hero recognizes the true reason behind the conflict.
  5. With new knowledge and understanding, your hero gains headway in the conflict.
  6. Foreshadows Act 3 (sets up the base for what’s coming next) and reminds the hero what’s at stake. (We’ll look at foreshadowing more later).
  7. Your hero rallies everything they’ve got and launches it against the enemy with a seeming
  8. A defeat for your hero after the seeming victory in Act 2. This begins Act 3.
  9. The hero questions their goal, commitment and choices. They begin to doubt themselves and their ability to win the battle.
  10. Your hero comes face to face with the enemy.
  11. The next event is a duel to the death for the hero and the villain. This can be physically or metaphorically. The reader needs to be kept on the edge of their seat here because they know one or the other will lose.
  12. The hero wins and the conflict is ended.

The ending of your story should give the reader ‘breathing space’ and ease them into the hero’s new reality.

Watch a favourite movie – it doesn’t need to be fantasy – and see how the conflict escalates and is resolved.

Resources

The Hobbit -The Battle of the Five Armies

Maleficent

DivergentDivergent

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Outlining 3 – Story Arc

Most best-sellers and box-office hits have a main character that goes through an enormous transformation and either becomes a hero or ends up becoming a villain. (Anakin as he turns to the Dark Side). The result is what keeps us talking about it long after the story has ended and we’ve slid back into our own reality. It’s this change that intrigues the audience and keeps them riveted to the story, not wanting to put the book down or leave the theatre for a refill of popcorn for fear of missing something huge.

Darth Vader
Darth Vader

Award-winning novelists seem to agree that there are four (sometimes five) key elements to character arc which drives a compelling story arc.

 

4 Key Elements For Character Arc   #WritingTips

 

  1. Need
  2. Yearning
  3. Weakness
  4. Desire

 

  • Your story will usually begin with your main protagonist and their setting. His life lacks something he needs and causes a sense of something unfulfilled.
  • The need may be fuelled by a yearning which he may or may not be aware of.
  • The yearning may come from a backstory that caused them to feel weakened by a loss of love, ability, or perhaps a sense of purpose, and makes them fearful, limited by their circumstances and feeling unable to change. The yearning is most likely to be the opposite of what the protagonist’s life is like now. Identify their yearning in a single sentence and let that drive the story arc, for example, he wants to be free (of something or someone), to find true love, to go home again (or make a home for himself).
  • Something happens to your protagonist that changes their view on their daily life and stirs a desire for change. This is the Inciting Event.

This will all happen in Act 1. After the event that happens to your hero to stir their desire, you’ll be ready to think about your story arc and which scenes belong in Act 2. This took me some time to figure out, but I think I have the most important points now. Remember we’re not writing yet, just outlining. Simple point form or one-sentence sticky notes will do.

 

Creating Intensity Toward The Anticipated Conflict   #WritingTips

 

About a quarter of the way into your novel, the hero will be frantically searching for a reason behind the villain’s antagonism. The hero may not yet realize there’s an underlying cause for the building conflict, or they may have a vague idea but not yet know what’s at stake. The villain may still be taunting the hero to make them give up and turn back.

Before the halfway point of your story, the hero will realize the true nature of the conflict which is imminent and the ultimate power of the villain. Do your notes on story arc build up to your halfway conflict? Include your notes on the hero’s personality and flaws that hold them back, how their mentor tries to persuade them to believe the truth, plot twists, and some fun scenes with their companions for comic relief (The Avengers).

Next time we’ll look at how to generate conflict and why it propels the story.

 

Resources:

Personality Types by Lynne Collier

Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The Avengers

Writing Fantasy ll Characters 4 –Personality by Lynne Collier

Writing Fantasy ll Premise 2 – Plot Twists by Lynne Collier

 

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne