Tag Archives: Writing Fantasy

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

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 so we can write a society for our fantasy characters to live in.

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 their 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 they live 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 lengthy, unnecessary descriptions which aren’t relevant to your story and 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 — grab the cheat. 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 as if you were there 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

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 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 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

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.

Get the Extended Dwarf Name Generator

There’s a longer list of names in my protected Resources. If you don’t mind adding your name to my mailing list, you’ll get the login and a list of free resources. (I only email occasionally with info on new book releases and such).

Have fun creating your Dwarf names!

Extra Fun

“THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE KING” is a Christian faith-based book about setting your goals if you’re a Christian who thinks outside the box, sorta speak. We who are Christians with a slightly different way of viewing the world because we often live in our own.

If you identify with that, I wrote a book about being a fantasy geek and finding our unique path in our faith. You can check it out on Amazon.

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…

 

Create your own flag by Ann-Margret Hovsepian

(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.

Lynne

Writing A Short Dwarf 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

 

 

Writing Fantasy || Character Casting

If Steven Spielberg called you for advice on casting the main character for your movie, who would you choose?

As I was doing research on creating characters for my stories, I came across an intriguing idea for character profiling. If you think of a famous person and keep them in mind as you write, it helps when you write dialogue and body language. This is actually very helpful when considering how your characters will respond to events with their mannerisms, quirks and personalities. I tried that and it works!

And what if your novel is so epic that a hugely famous producer wants to make it into a movie? Hopefully, some of us will be able to do that one day. How awesome would that be? Have you already been daydreaming about 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.

Casting characters

Which famous person reminds you of your character?

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

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 love to cast?

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

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?

Pinterest For Role Call

By now most of you know how much I love to play around on Pinterest and create boards for my writing projects.  I have boards for my characters, costume ideas, writing tips for the genre I’m currently writing in and so on. 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!

I ‘hired’ a famous actor to play the role of my hero in the Dwarf story I’m currently writing. You can check out my Dwarf storyboard with sections about my protagonists, antagonists, mountains, caves, armour and more here.

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

Character Personalities

Character Races

Character Occupations

Character Names

Character Backstory

I hope you have fun casting famous people in your movie. If you can’t think of a famous person you can always cast someone you know. My advice here would be to not be too obvious!

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

Lynne

 

Writing Fantasy || Character Personalities

 

How well do you know your characters?

  • Do you know the personalities of these people who live in your head?
  • Have you spent enough time with them to know how they’d feel about what’s going on in their story?
  • Would their reactions to certain events or a flippant statement lead to a fight scene?
  • If they saw a mouse in the kitchen would they scream and jump up on the couch?

Writing Character Personality Types
How would your character react?

 

How to get to know your characters

Knowing your characters well enough to be able to use their personality traits to your advantage as you write your novel will make the writing flow easier and create logical and organic story arcs.

  • For example, who is your protagonist likely to befriend?
  • Who may hate your protagonist?
  • What drives your protagonist’s passion?
  • What may drive a particular character crazy?
  • How would your antagonist behave in an argument?

As I study the next steps in writing my novel, I realize I can’t answer some of the questions I need to ask to plot my story. The reason being, I don’t know what my character would do in any given situation. So, I need to take the time to get to know who these people are and what their responses would be to the events I want in my story. I need to be able to walk through this story with my characters and see, hear, touch, smell and taste what they experience and how they respond to the circumstances I set before them.

 

Personality Types

We need to take time to get to know everyone in our story. It’s fascinating and fruitful. Once we know our main characters well we’ll be better able to write an accurate and believable story. It may come in handy with a few of those friends who’re giving us a hard time. If we understand people better we may just be able to get along better.

 

What’s Your Personality?

How about you? If you’d like to dig a little deeper or find your own personality type, you can check out a blog post I wrote for my mini-course, Your Write Voice For His Kingdom.

Once we know our characters’ personalities we can go on to discovering their backstories and why they responded to events in their past based on those personality traits.

Have fun discovering the ways we were all made so differently by our Heavenly Father.

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

Lynne

 

Resources for digging deeper:

There are several personality tests online but, in my opinion, these three are the best. Each one brings a different perspective to a developing character.