Writing Fantasy – Names

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

 

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

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Writing Fantasy – Character Occupations

 

What Do Fantasy Characters Do For A Living?

Why do we need to create an occupation for our characters? Well, our characters will need something to do on a daily basis while they wait for the epic events of their story to unfold. What does your main protagonist do all day? Do they work as a clerk in a shop, go to school, apprentice, or are they independently wealthy? Depending on your story genre, the answer to their occupation may be a different answer entirely. Maybe your protagonist is a dragon trainer!

Writing Fantasy - Characters Occupations - Dragon Trainer
Dragon Trainer by Owensart

 

The storyline will determine your characters’ occupations according to what you need to happen. For example, in order for your story to flow well, characters may need to be in a particular place at a certain time for a spectacular fight scene. Who will be involved in the scene? If you have a wonderful protagonist who’s going to be fighting, how do they fight and why? Are they saving a fair-haired maiden from the clutches of an evil villain or are they catching her as she falls off a cliff?

One scenario may lend better to the protagonist being a knight and in another story, the protagonist may be a wizard who projects a beam to catch her mid-air. On the other hand, if you’re a romantic at heart, your protagonist may be a handsome prince who just happened to be riding by and catches her in his arms as she falls (swoon).

According to the occupation you choose for your characters, they’ll need the ability to carry out their work. Writing in their abilities somewhere helps to keep the characters believable. For instance, a young scholar may not have the physical strength to wield a five-foot sword, or the understanding of human anatomy to know where to land a fatal blow.  Show their skills at work instead of telling the reader about them. I’ve learned that action draws the reader into the scene.

10 Fantasy Occupations and Abilities

WIZARD – Magic, Focus, Research

PIRATE – Sailing, Leading, Navigating, Thieving

KNIGHT – Swordsmanship, Strategizing, Loyalty

GLADIATOR – Physical Strength, Combat Skills, Fearlessness

BLACKSMITH – Forging, Metallurgy, Craftsmanship

RANGER – Travelling, Stealth, Archery

CLERIC – Teaching, Learning, Wordcraft

BARD – Musician, Singing, Entertaining

VAMPIRE HUNTER – Night-Shift Worker, Precision, Analysis

SHEPHERD – Animal Farming, Patience, Protecting

In her book, Worlds Unseen’, Rachel Starr Thomson writes a compelling story about an orphaned girl, a dying council member and a gypsy. Her characters come together from different occupations to battle the unseen forces of evil.

Writing Christian Fantasy
Worlds Unseen by Rachel Starr Thomson

What occupations fit well with the story you’re writing? What will your main protagonist do? Do they enjoy their work? What unexpected twists will drive them to do something extraordinary? Do they long for an awesome adventure? You’re exactly the right person to give them one!

Want more fantasy occupations to choose from?

A reader sent me a link to a pin with 100 jobs for fantasy characters! Here’s the pin link.  Thank you, kyyuan 🙂

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

Lynne

Writing Fantasy – Logline (Elevator Pitch)

What is a logline?

Have you ever been in a situation where you tell someone you’re writing a book, all excited, and then they ask you what it’s about, and you get that glazed look like you just woke up from a nap? Yeah, I did that a lot with my first book. Then someone told me at a conference that I needed a logline. A logline is an extended premise sentence. It tells your readers more about your story. Your one-sentence premise catches their attention and the logline gets them hooked. The idea is to leave them wanting more without giving away your entire plot. The logline is what you use as your Elevator Pitch.

Why you need an elevator pitch for your fantasy/fiction novel

The Elevator Pitch is meant to be answered in the time it takes the elevator to get to the next floor, because that’s sometimes all the time you have with someone in person, and it’s the time most people online will take to decide if they want to spend time getting to know more. So–thank you for sticking around so far!

The logline is also a gem for social media such as Facebook where you have the opportunity to post more words than on Twitter.

5 key components of writing a fantasy/fiction logline

  1. Main Character – the hero/protagonist
  2. Their Situation – their daily life
  3. Their Objective – what they want that they don’t have
  4. Their Opponent – the person or thing that gets in their way
  5. Disaster – you’ll need an epic battle or devastating event

Here’s an example: 

  • Main character

Dave.

  • His present situation (occupation, relationship, what’s going on in his life?)

 He works at a coffee shop.

  • What does he want? (the treasure or objective).

He wants to escape the drudgery of his job and start his own business.

  • Who or what stands in his way? (the antagonist can be a person or situation).

He doesn’t make enough money to start the business because his boss (the antagonist) won’t give him extra hours.

  • What happens to change his life?

He’s met by a band of creatures in the forest, and they take him to a mystical city hidden in the woods. They show him how to make delicious pastries from organic ingredients found in a secret part of the forest. The cakes are healthier and actually help with weight-loss. Dave sees the potential for a successful bakery business.

  • Your story will need some exciting conflict

His boss steals the recipes.

Here’s all the information in one concise sentence:

“Dave, a dissatisfied coffee shop employee, wants nothing better than to quit his job and open his own business but lacks the finances to do that because of his mean boss. Until he meets mystical creatures in the forest who surprisingly change Dave’s aspirations, but Dave’s boss isn’t ready to let him go that easily”.

This is the sentence you use as your Elevator Pitch.


Remember the premises from the last post?

Here are their loglines–

“Colin Wade is on a mission. A mission to study a singularity – the enigmatic centre of a black hole. But things are definitely not going according to plan, as Colin finds himself in an area of space with no visible stars at all until a lone blue light threatens to engulf the ship in a strange fire. Colin will need all of his cunning, and plenty of unlikely help, to solve the mystery of the singularity, or else find himself lost in space indefinitely.”

Singularity by Benjamin T. Collier


“Bookstore owner Meryn O’Reilly and Army Captain Jesse Christensen are on opposite sides of a battle. After a series of terrorist attacks in 2053, martial law has been declared in Canada and the military has taken over. When a radical Christian group claims responsibility, Jesse and his platoon are sent to Meryn’s city to keep an eye on the Christians and ensure they are not stepping outside the confines of the law.”

Wring Fantasy, Writing a compelling Premise, Christian Fiction


 

And, by the way, if you come across those pastries, please let me know!

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

Lynne

How to Boost Your Writing Career with Short Stories

An excellent way to break into the writing realm, or boost your already established writing career, is to submit a short piece of work to an anthology. They usually consist of short stories, poems and nonfiction ideas. It gives you the chance to work with an editor and get valuable feedback on your writing skills. Plus, you’ll meet other authors, personally or virtually, and maybe make new friends.

Find 2-3 writing groups who publish collections of work and join the groups. They’ll likely have an annual or bi-annual call for submissions for a new book.

Earlier this year I sent off five submissions altogether and was excited to have two of my pieces chosen. I write Christian Speculative Fiction and Christian Fantasy stories, so both anthologies are from Christian groups.

Anthologies make great gifts for all ages. I’m delighted to share with you the ones I”m in this year —

Christmas – Stories and More

Christmas Stories and More
An anthology of Christmas stories, poems and more…

 

Christmas with Hot Apple Cider

Christmas with Hot Apple Cider
Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving

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

Lynne

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO CREATE INCOME FROM WRITING

Income From Writing
How Do I Create An Income From Writing?

  

Do you ever wonder if any author who isn’t famous ever makes a decent income from writing?

I was wondering this after two years of little in the way of sales from my first book. I did eventually realize if I could just write more, that would increase my income. But who’s got time to write more?

Here’s how I did it – I took what I’d already written on my social media and made it into a book!

Seriously. That’s what I did. All my blogs about writing, my posts about my life, my tweets of writing tips and coaching, my pins about my interests, all became tidbits to expand and form into a book! It was a lot of fun, and I’m using these methods to write more books. So, I wanted to let you know how to use what you’ve already written and get started with that income too. Still with me but wondering how the heck I did that?

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Here’s How I Used These 5 Simple Ways to Create Income From Writing 

  • From Blog To BookThe Novel Author’s Workbook I created an Etsy downloadable 99-page workbook from blogs I’d written over the course of a year on how to write fiction, as I was doing the research. It takes the author from the beginning premise and outline of a novel, through to publishing and marketing.
  • From Pin To Print/Nonfiction  Hosting a Shire Party is a simple ebook about a cosplay party I had. I wrote about creating easy costumes, food, and games, as I pinned the photos from the party.
  • From Tweet To Tutorial Your Write Voice For His Kingdom is a course I wrote from tweets about my workshop notes as a Christian Life Coach and writer’s coach. I coach students through the decision process of becoming a writer and how God has equipped them to write for His purpose.
  • From Post To Published – Life at White Rose Shire is an ebook in-progress of a collection of devotionals which I’ll be posting on my blog under a sub-heading and later publishing as a Kindle devotional book.
  • From Muse To MemoirRaising Benjamin Frog – A Mother’s Journey With Her Autistic Son is a print book from notes I wrote originally for my earlier blog posts on Autism. It chronicles my son’s journey from birth to age 29, and his success as an author.

And that’s how I used 5 simple ways to create income from writing– from ebooks, print books, and tutorials.

A simple way to get to that 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo!

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If this is something you may be interested in doing, I’ve explained all the social media methods in my business school at  White Rose Writers School.

(The TWEET TO TUTORIAL and MUSE TO MEMOIR courses will be open for registration at White Rose Writers School soon.)

 SIGN UP  

to get news on all the new courses as well as exclusive cheatsheets, writing tips, resources, and other insider goodies!

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Another Way to Create Income From Writing

I’m still working on the ‘full’ part of my income but here’s a colleague who’s grown a full-time income and has permitted me to add her blog link for you. Because she’s published by a royalty publisher, she brings a different perspective.

Ann-Margret Hovsepian has a full-time income from her writing and engagements. She shares her success tips on her blog ‘You Asked Me’:

https://annhovsepian.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/you-asked-me-5/

 

I hope you found something useful here. Let me know.

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

-Lynne

Resources

Devotionals

White Rose Writers on Etsy

Middle Earth Party on Pinterest

Collier Christian Writing Academy

White Rose Writers School

 

Spacial Creativity

I’m an optimist most of the time, a perfectionist never, so I made mistakes occasionally as I tried to do things my way, before I gave my writing over to God. It kind of showed in the chaos that was once my office.

Closet Office
My Closet Office 2012-2016

This was my office as I began writing seriously. A converted closet my husband created so I could keep ‘organized’. The shelf to the left houses my binders and a carpet for my cat who likes to help me type. The water bottle is for times she ‘helps’ me too much. It’s where I wrote my autobiography of raising a child with autism, and my fun ebook about hosting a shire party.

So, I tried to minimize things. Here’s my hobbit office in the sun room.

My Hobbit Office
My Hobbit Office

Canning jars? I think they ended up being outdoor lighting for a party. The small stool behind me was for current projects. If it seems a bit on the ‘condensed’ side, I should add that I’m 5’1”. This office was definitely way too small once I started my business and writing online courses.

I now have a nice corner of the sun room with an old secretary desk from the 40s, complete with the pull-up shelf for a typewriter and drawers with slots for file folders! It’s huge and I love it. I have several piles for projects I’m working on so I can grab a pile and work away as I need to. I’m still not too tidy but I know where everything is among the chaos. Being more organized has cleared my head, some what, so I can hear God clearer and be more peaceful. I need that for my creative writing.

How about you? Where do you write? Are you organized or do you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’? Whatever method pleases you, keep on writing.

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

Lynne

Redefining My Life–A Closer Walk With God

A Closer Walk With God

WriteCanada Conference 2016
WriteCanada Conference 2016 with one of my clients, Melanie.

Part Three

In my first blog about my transition from blogging about writing, I wrote about Discovering My Kingdom Purpose and how I discovered my Kingdom Purpose. In my second blog I wrote about how God created all of us with a Unique Design. So in this third and final blog in this series of my transition, I’d like to show you how God put both of those together to shape a wonderful future for me.

 

My Ministry at Church and in the Community

I no longer try to serve at church or in the community in a position I’m not gifted for nor have the natural talents to carry out. Having said that, if there is ever a time when no one else with the gifting or ability to do a certain task is available, I will do my best to muddle through because ‘Helps’ is one of my stronger gifts. But it will, most likely, be a muddle. I volunteered to serve in the kitchen once – and only once!

Coaching and hosting workshops is my ministry in the church as a life coach (my gift of encouragement) and workshop host on various subjects I’ve learned through the years. This utilizes my personal experiences to help others go through similar times in their own lives.

At my church, I started the SHAPE ministry using Erik Rees’ videos and study guide. I enjoyed this immensely, though I was not expecting to be the team lead and I don’t have the gift of leadership. But other leaders and helpers I worked alongside were wonderful and because of their patience with me we managed to work well as a team. I was overjoyed to see many participants realize God’s purpose for their lives too. The coach in me was thrilled to hear someone say she realized God had been calling her to the worship team.

I don’t like being a leader, (did you get that impression?) and I don’t like public speaking, but I know God wants me to share what I experienced with others so they may experience the same joy I have been blessed to experience. So I’ve led workshops at women’s retreats and women’s groups such as MOPS where I can sit on a stool, and it’s ok to speak from notes. I like to have the participants interact and have fun, and it saves them from listening to me ramble for an hour. God opened these doors for me to share and I’m happy to do that rather than be the keynote speaker.

 

My Service Through Business

White Rose Writers is a website for writers and authors, and writing service providers to connect with others in the business. I started the website to help authors promote their work, and we now have talented artists, editors, social media experts and more, who use their natural talents to help authors publish their work. Starting this was my service to God’s Kingdom here on Earth through helping writers.

 

My Long Term Assignments:

– Christian Life Coaching

Coaching in an office was good training but turned out to be only a temporary assignment for me. I had offices in two locations, but God closed those doors after only 10 months. He had a broader clientele for me.

Now I coach here on my LynneCollier.com and through White Rose Writers, and occasionally host workshops through business and church venues.

 

– Author  

I write about what I have a passion for; my Lord, my simple life in the country, my coaching. This is my second (actually more like fourth or fifth) career later in life, and it was a bit of a struggle at first to accept that this is what God is asking me to do now. I never saw myself as an author. But now I write novels of fantasy and fiction, and online courses to help authors tell their stories well. I can’t imagine not writing now. I get very cranky if I have to go a day without writing something. I would never have guessed.

 

I wonder what God has in store for me next. Do you know how God has designed you? 

When I forget:  1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.”  – NIV

 

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

Lynne

Resources

White Rose Writers website

My Writing Courses on Teachable

My Author Workbook on Etsy (co-authored with Kirstie Shanks)

S.H.A.P.E by Erik Rees