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 || 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 || Character Backstory

Writing Fantasy || Character Backstory

If you’ve been writing your story along with me, you probably have a pretty good idea of who your hero protagonist, their main sidekick, and the evil antagonist and his henchmen are and what they’re doing when your story starts, but how did they become who they are? Why is your protagonist a charming young female who loves to wander the forests of a mystical land on horseback? Why is her companion an outcast from a faraway land? What led your antagonist to despise all Elves?

What’s the story behind your story?

How do you find out the backstory of your story? As you know, I’m learning this whole process as I go along – like most of you too, I expect, as I write my Dwarf story. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

In my research, I discovered that the best information to start with is the character’s birth. (Duh.)

Sleeping Baby in feathers nest
Sleeping Baby by Tawny Nina on pixabay

I also found as I wrote my first NaNoWriMo novel draft in 2015, it really does help to plot all this before you start writing your novel. I wasted many hours going back to a previous chapter to correct something I didn’t realize about my character until halfway through. Did I mention I switched my focus halfway through the story? Yep, the first half was a superhero and the second half was – well, I’m not exactly sure but it wasn’t a superhero. Something I learned from a fellow NaNo writer was to write all the main characters on sticky notes or in a journal with their own page, then add anything you discover about them as you write so you don’t lose track of information. Scrivener is another, more technical, way to organize your work. (The link goes to their page for a discount).

Let’s start with the protagonist

Where they were born and were there any unusual circumstances surrounding their birth?

  • Was it an easy birth?
  • Was the father present?
  • Were they delivered by a doctor or a travelling healer?
  • Maybe in their realm, they were delivered by supernatural means.
  • How many siblings did they have?

Write as much as you know about the birth of your protagonist.

Then go on to childhood.

  • Did they go to school?
  • Who was their best friend?
  • What was their favourite subject?
  • Did they excel at anything?
  • Did their experiences as a child influence their career choice?
  • Were they homeschooled or sent away at a young age to apprentice with someone?
  • Were they born with all the knowledge they would need in life?
  • How did that happen?

Your protagonist as an adult.

  • What drove them to be in the situation they’re in now?
  • Did they suffer prejudice, health issues or a failed relationship?
  • Write as many life events as you can think of and delete each one as you write.
  • Be open to adding new things you discover about your protagonist as your story unfolds.
  • Let the story evolve and delete any notes that no longer apply.

Then do the same for your major antagonist.

  • Ask why they’re angry, mean, and vicious.
  • People don’t start out that way as a newborn baby so what happened in their past to steer them down that path?
  • Is the antagonist driven by fear, guilt or jealousy?
  • Why do they have metal teeth or wear a mask?

Do the same for a few minor characters. Write only what’s important for your reader to know, not their entire life story.

Take a look at The Watcher by Sara Davison as a great example of backstory for her protagonist,  Kathryn Ellison.  Check out The Watcher on Amazon.

and Great Expectations as a wonderfully written backstory for the antagonist, the embittered Miss Havisham. Check out Great Expectations on Amazon

 

And check out my blog interview with the protagonist, Colin, from the sc-fi novel Singularity.

Check out Singularity on Amazon

 

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

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Character Personalities

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.

Writing Fantasy || Character Names

Writing Fantasy || Character Names

What’s In a Character’s Name?

When we write fantasy or any other genre of fictional story we need to name our characters. We get to create the people and creatures and then give them a name, so they come ‘alive’ to us as we write and to the reader who’s going to be blown away by our stories. Cool, huh?

Writing Fantasy - Names. Male Nord Paladin
Writing Fantasy Names – Male Nord Paladin from ‘The Fellowship Of The King’

Art by Kirstie Shanks Brand & Web Design

 

3 Ways to Create Fantasy Names

Reading and researching old books from the countries or regions which have influenced your setting can be a big help. Consider the character of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Heath means ‘an area of land covered in heather or similar low dense shrubbery’, and Cliff is ‘a high steep rock or precipice’. Heathcliff is a perfect name for the dishevelled and tortured romantic hero living on the English moors. (Dear to my heart as I was born there–not on the moors, down the road a bit).

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, on Writing Character Names
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Other characters have more obscure names such as Mark Twain, the renowned author and humourist. He was born Samuel Clemens but used the pen-name Mark Twain, which means the second line on the side of the riverboat where Twain worked as a young man. The second line (mark) was 12’ and the safe depth mark for the boat.

How do you go about choosing, or inventing, a name for your fantasy characters? If I want to quickly write a short story or an ebook, I find it easier to use a name that fits with the occupation of the character.

 

First Name + Occupational Surname

Penelope Donkeyrider (Courier)

Dugan Bagsnatcher (Thief)

Ventrice Shoemaker (Cobbler)

Tola Axegrinder (Blacksmith)

Roland Brewmaster (Winemaker)

First Name + Setting Surname

Fantasy characters can also be named for the place where they live:

Jon Greenwood

Alex Steephill

Lara Pigstye

Beulah Wortbog

Lolita Lakebottom

 

First Name + Race

How about naming your character as easy as using their race as a descriptor?

Kreg Cave Dwarf

Felicia Fairy Princess

Harry Halfling

Trevor Troll

Eleander High Elf

 

You get the idea. I’ve come up with a few hilarious names doing this. I’ve also found watching the credits from shows and movies to be inspiring, especially if the show was filmed in a place similar to my story world. There are name generators that can help too. Here’s a site I go to for inspiration – Name Generator

And here’s a Dwarf Name Generator for you.

 

Authors and Pinterest

Giving my main characters names helped me to organize my files on my Pinterest boards where I stash every image I can find that looks at all like I envision my character to be as well as my story settings and other features. Now that Pinterest allows me to add ‘sections’ to my boards I have one for my hero, minor protagonists, the main villain, minor antagonists and one for settings. Also, I feel a closer connection to my characters when I talk to them if they have names (admit it, you do this too, right?) Check out my published books on Pinterest and the new novel I’m writing. I also use these images for my social media gems (unless they’re repinned and have copyright).

By naming my darlings, I feel them take on a personality, and it’s easier to write their story, how they would respond to situations and their mannerisms. Do you feel this way about your characters?

A brainstorming session with friends could generate a lot of names for you – and a lot of beverages snorting out of the nose (always a good party trick). What else could influence your characters’ names?

So, have fun with naming your characters.

 

What name would you give the character in the title picture?

Leave a comment. I’d love to know what name you came up with.

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

Lynne