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.
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.
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.
Good Morning, readers, and welcome to our blog on Interviewing Characters. Today I’m with Colin Wade from Singularity.
#CharacterInterview Lynne: Colin – first, let me say “happy birthday!” Colin: (Laughs) Thanks. It was quite an accomplishment for me.
Lynne: I understand you’re a pilot for Deep-Sight Space Exploration. How long have you been working for D.S.S.E.?
Colin: Not very long. I mean, I’ve been with them for a long time, in training. And I’ve done some odd jobs here and there but this is my first time doing anything this… big.
Lynne: Yes, I heard your current mission is rather ambitious. Can you explain the goal?
Colin: The mission is to study a singularity. The central point of a black hole. Research into black holes is nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve ever attempted anything this close to one. The D.S.S.E. seems to think we’ve got the technology in place to study it safely but in greater detail than we ever have before. The data we get back from this one mission should match or even surpass what would normally have taken us decades with the previous tech. It’s a good time to be in astrophysics.
Lynne: How is it going?
Colin: Slow. (Laughs) So far it’s been surprisingly difficult to find viable black holes. But it’s probably just the regions we’ve been exploring. Ang seems to think it’s just a matter of time before the perfect one shows itself.
Colin: Oh, sorry. My onboard computer – the Artificial Neuron Generator for Universal Studies. “Angus” sounds too formal, though, so I just took to calling him “Ang”. He doesn’t seem to mind.
Lynne: I see. I hear this is your first time as captain.
Colin: It’s my first time on official duty as a captain. I mean I’ve had training. I’ve done the tests. But actually sitting in the chair on a live mission is a completely different feeling.
Lynne: Do you find space to be a lonely place?
Colin: It’s certainly different. I don’t mind isolation, necessarily, but space is different from simply finding a quiet room or spending time alone in the woods. To have literally no other living being around for incalculable miles is a feeling hard to describe. Ang keeps me company, though. For an AI he’s not bad to talk to. Plus he plays music for me.
Lynne: Oh, really? What kind of music do you listen to?
Colin: It changes. Ang’s gotten into the habit of picking songs based on my mood. I like a lot of oldies by Sarah McLachlan and Elton John. Lately, Ang’s been playing mostly “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins. And of course, David Bowie has some good ones for my particular career choice.
Lynne: I LOVE Bowie! And yes, I suppose he does have some fitting songs. What made you choose space exploration as a career?
Colin: I never really asked myself that. But if I think about it I guess there’s a lot of reasons. The biggest attraction was probably that it’s quiet. Not that I don’t like people. I like them in small quantities. A little bit at a time, or a few people at a time. But I do my best work on my own, in a quiet room, with all of space to look at. Compared to people, astrophysics is easy.
Lynne: Do you miss home?
Colin: Oh yes. Way more than I thought I would. But they did warn me that isolation can do that.
Lynne: Is there anything you’d like to say to any friends or family back at home?
Colin: Oh geez. Well, the first thing would be to thank everyone for the razor. It’s been working like a charm. I’ll give a shout out to my mom and dad and my sis. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there on my birthday to see everyone, but duty calls. We’ll do a barbeque at mom and dad’s when I get back. I’ve been practicing. I feel like I’m forgetting some people, but whoever you are, just assume that I miss you too. I’ll see you all as soon as I get back, and thanks for all the well wishes. Ang, do you want to say anything? (Brief silence) Really? Ang just says hello. He’s being unsocial.
Lynne: Well thank you so much for doing this interview, Colin. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.
Colin: Oh, the pleasure’s been all mine. It’s been great to hear another voice.
Well, reader, that was an interesting interview. I couldn’t imagine being alone in space for months at a time. Although listening to Bowie and staring at the stars sounds very peaceful.
Which of your characters would you interview? Why did you choose that character? What would you ask them?
You can read more about Colin Wade and his extraordinary space mission in Singularityby Benjamin T. Collier.
How do we as Christ followers write fantasy without compromising our faith? If we introduce a fantasy realm with a different belief system than our own are we setting the reader up to follow a different path of faith? Can we create a new religion without selling out our own?
7 Things To Keep In Mind When Writing Fantasy As A Christian
Before you write anything and before you begin each day – pray. Pray for God’s guidance for each new chapter, each new topic and the whole book. You are writing the book, your name will be on the cover and you will receive accolades for a fantastic fantasy novel, but ultimately God is the one who called you to write it and He is your divine co-author who presented all those amazing ideas for you to write.
What’s your message? Ask yourself if your story really says what you want it to say to the reader. Stay focused on the main goal. “What are you willing to compromise? What will you commit to and honour in your life? Where will you take a stand?” – Kim Gowdy in Freedom Fighters and Truth Tellers, (published by Author Academy, 2015)
Are you portraying Christ’s character or glamorizing evil? You will need villains but try not to make them ‘cool’ in case readers desire to emulate them.
Make your villains true villains. They need to believe their actions are justified but their history isn’t an excuse for their actions. Choosing to do evil is still a choice.
If you’re writing a redemptive story – keep the villain’s past life clearly separate from their life as a new believer. You want your story to show the dramatic change Christ brings.
Don’t write any faith into your story – either your own faith or anyone else’s when you write fantasy. Maybe add traditions or rites instead, things not similar to our world. Remember Christ came for human kind because we are created in His image – Elves are not. If you want Elves to be redeemed you’re looking at allegorical fantasy (paralleling Christian truths). It can be quite tricky to write so I suggest you read a lot of allegorical works by famous authors before you attempt this. I’ve listed some below.
If you’re writing allegorically it would be really beneficial to ask a Christian allegorical writer you trust to critique your work. If you belong to a Christian writers’ group or your best friend is a pastor, maybe you can read a passage once in a while that you feel you need a critique on. Writing allegorically requires a deeper sense of your message so you may also want to consider writing a few fantasy books to get the feel of that genre before tackling the allegory part.
“The point of a manifesto is that it makes you draw a line in the sand, which forces you to clarify your message. But before you do that, you have to know what you’re about.” – Jeff Goins
I was challenged this week to write a manifesto as part of a writing exercise created by Jeff Goins, a writer and best-selling author. In the exercise we’re called to write a few hundred words about our worldview; the problem, the solution, and what we see as our part in that solution. So here you go…
The problem as I see it is that, like many others, I didn’t know how to do what I felt ‘called’ to do. Just how do you help others? There are so many needs in the world. We can’t possibly remedy all of them as one individual. That realization brought me to find just one way I could make a difference in just one life. I had felt like a tiny boat being tossed around, lost in a sea of helplessness, without a compass to give me a sense of direction in life. I no longer felt that way. I could start there. How did I rise above the relentless waves? How could what I had been through serve as encouragement to someone else?
The solution for me came while visiting a Christian counselling centre. I had rededicated my life and I was talking with a life coach there. She told me to write down all my attributes, educational and life experiences and see if God had already put a pattern on my life. Yes, He had! I decided to study the way God creates us all with a specific purpose in mind and see if I could realize what His assignment was for me.
The next step was to accept that assignment and put it into practice helping others to do the same. People need to know they have worth and purpose. The solution for me was to help others find their own answer to the question, “What on Earth Am I Doing Here?”
If you’re asking yourself – or God – this question, there is an answer waiting for you. You just need to pick up your oars and start paddling in the right direction.
Kingdom Purpose – What On Earth Are You Doing Here?
We’re not content to merely exist – we want to matter in this world. So how do we figure out what our own life means? If we’re not a famous evangelist or humanitarian, what’s our purpose for being here?
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” – (Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 1:11-12 MSG).
We are all unique individuals, with our own unique qualities and our own unique assignment from God. He gave us all the attributes we’d need to do His work here and feel His pleasure in our completed assignment. Take a look at a picture of space.
The God who created the earth and all those amazing nebulas and supernova, dark matter and pulsars, created you and me unique and in His image to be family in His name!
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago”. – (Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 2:10 NIV).
Whatever God has laid on your heart He has given you the ability to do. What has your heavenly Father asked you to undertake on His behalf in this kingdom on earth?
You can find my 22-page mini-course, Your Write Voice For His Kingdom, on the sidebar of the Homepage.
Dec 4th Well, here I am with my NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate! I started out on November 1st with a rough idea for a story, but I hadn’t done the outline or decided on character names or anything. When they said, ‘Write an entire novel in a month”, I took it rather too literally and hadn’t prepared anything! Along the way I discovered I needed an outline. All I had was a beginning idea and an ending. I had no middle. The middle is the entire story – what was I thinking?! But I read a very important coaching tip and decided to just keep that front and centre as I plodded on; Just Write. I tried to ignore the editor in me who sounded a lot like my English grammar school teacher, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote… The final day I was so tired, but as I neared the finish line I was super excited to see the prize so close. I watched the word count click 49, 999 – 50,000. I felt like I’d run a marathon, but I stayed awake long enough to print out my certificate. It’s a great feeling, to reach the finish line in whatever you set out to accomplish, whether it’s a novel or a new recipe for chocolate brownies.
When I got to the middle part of the novel I just kept going. I started researching names at first, for my main characters, but the rest of them in the middle got the first name that came to mind – just write! Some of them will need to have a name change as I revise, or I’ll find myself in trouble with the first name of an antagonist being someone I know! It’s funny how that works. As they say, “Don’t tick me off. I’m a writer and you may end up in my next novel – and I may just kill you”. The plot unfolded all on its own and my characters became real. For my first try at fiction, I am actually proud of my attempt. It will have to wait for now, though.
The novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo is one of a series of novels I’ll be publishing starting in Spring 2016. Before this book is published, I hope to have two more short non-fiction works published and a fantasy. So maybe, if God has this in His plan as I see it in mine; I’ll have this novel published just in time for the next NaNoWriMo.
Thank you to all who supported me through this endeavor, especially my family who ate goodness-knows-what some nights, lots of fast ‘food’, had to put up with dirty dishes in the sink all month, and me endlessly talking about NaNo. You’re all the bestests!
Signing off on my NaNoWriMo posts till next year. God Bless,
I made it! I wrote 50,000 words in thirty days and validated my novel at 5pm. I am officially pooped and I’m going to make a cup of orange tea, and pet my cat – and also watch The Walking Dead again because I don’t remember half of what happened last night I was so exhausted!
I will give you the run-down on my last day tomorrow. Thank you all for the words of encouragement here and on Facebook and Twitter.
Day 29 Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days. As I posted in an earlier blog, I had to take Friday off to go out of town for an appointment. Yesterday I just wrote like crazy, trying to get my word count up to at least 45,000 so I wouldn’t have too much still to do tomorrow. Today is my Sabbath day, so I took it off for church and family and didn’t write. (That took a lot of discipline!) I hope to get to bed on time for a change and start tomorrow early. I have a lot of words still to write!!!!!! Thanks to Sandy Hall and others in the NaNoCoach forum, I know it doesn’t have to be pretty – it just has to be. I will take a half hour for breakfast and a half hour for lunch, but I will probably not break for dinner until I’ve verified my novel and won this challenge. I’ll let you know on Tuesday how I did and what time I finished.
So, I promised you more tips on this blog. Here goes;
Writing an Outline for Your Novel
This is the outline I found easiest to follow, taken from several writer’s magazines.
Act 1 The Status Quo. Your hero’s everyday life.
The Catalyst. A call to action.
Denial. Hero rejects the opportunity.
Guru. The hero gets a mentor.
Acceptance & Action. First threshold of change.
Act 2 Trials. Finding friends and foes.
Edge of the Abyss. Decision of second threshold.
The Plunge. Faces the greatest fear.
The Pay-Off. Hero gets a reward of some sort.
Act 3 The Way Through. On the way home. Maybe being chased.
True Test. Hero proves they learned their lesson.
The New Normal. Returns home, transformed.
I hope that helps some of you who are like me and just starting out on the fiction journey. There are a lot of good magazines available for writers. I usually find mine at Chapters. I love flipping through the magazines and deciding which to buy – don’t you?
Well, tomorrow’s the day. I’m at word count 43,950. Just over 6,000 words to write tomorrow before the verification deadline! (Must remember to stop to eat, and pet the cat. Wait – no, she’ll remind me).
Dancing on the Bus, a short story I wrote about finding love in unexpected places, was accepted to be included in a recently published book called, Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, the third in a series of short stories and poems.
My story is about being accepted and loved as a child, by total strangers. Later, as a mother, I saw that same love and acceptance for my own children. (Side note here; the picture is of my son from the story, showing love and acceptance to another child he met that day for the frist time. Paying love forward never fails).
Day 23 How do you organize your outline? I asked a few colleagues that question and received several different responses from them all. I didn’t organize my outline before I started writing (Pantser) and that slowed my writing quite a bit. As I mentioned earlier, I had to go back over some segments to cut and paste so I could keep track of who was where and doing what. So the suggestions I received were very helpful in trying to help me do just that. Sticky notes seems to be the favourite, with spreadsheet close behind. But my favourite, and the one I’m now using, is to list my chapters in order with titles before I start writing. This tip was given to me by my NaNoWriMo writing buddy. Thanks, Melanie! I admit I’m a little late doing this, but since I gave my chapters headings, I’ve been able to stay on track with my story. I also wrote out my characters’ names and pertinent information on file cards and stuck them on the office bulletin board. If you haven’t started your novel yet, I’d like to suggest you at least put your outline somewhere handy where it’s easily accessible. I wasted a lot of time rummaging through my manuscript to find out where my supportive characters live! Do you have a tried and true method to organizing your writing?
Day 24 I just finished writing my final battle scene – phew! I’m exhausted and I didn’t lift a single sword. I basically wrote about fighting ALL day. I fed the cat, made a conference call to one of my pastors, fed the birds, talked to my son for a bit then wrote about blood and guts the rest of the day (and into part of dinner time). Once my husband went to bed I took up the final battle scene once more (my writing that is) to get it finished. Total word count to date: 35,816. That means if I still take Sunday off, and I have to take Friday off to go out of town with my daughter all day and do a virtual book launch in the evening, I’ll need to write at least 3,500 words each day including the final day on Monday! I know from recent experience I need 7-8 hours of sleep to work at peak performance. Trust me – your brain won’t work well if it doesn’t get enough sleep and people will think you’re a zombie – not good. Tomorrow is the part referred to as The Payoff part of the novel. A nice change from today. Sleep well and long.