Holidays in Fiction

Hello Fiction Lovers!

This week I thought I’d talk about including ceremonies and holidays in fiction becuase of Memorial Day. Whenever I see a ceremony/holiday included in a story–whether in a passing comment or actually making an impact on the plot–it always seems to make the world the story is set in more immersive.

People celebrate, they mourn, and usually at some point during the year in an actual culture both things are recognized in the form of a holiday. Whether that means celebrating a new year or remembering the dead cultures set aside times to let people break away from their daily lives. How that gets manifested and what gets deemed important enough to get a holiday can provide great insight into a culture and the people belonging to it. They can also help show the divides between people if different cultures are mixed together and don’t celebrate the same things or different ways. Holidays also help show the passing of time in a story and that the story isn’t being told in a vacuum–there is a larger world that this story is a part of and is affected by.

Ceremonies can also be good to include or mention, becuase they can also help show what is important to a culture and add more depth to worldbuilding. They help mark things that don’t always happen annually but are still important to a society such as becoming an adult, getting married, and reaching a certian point in education or religion. Depending on what is emphasized during a ceremony will also reveal things that culture values, which could be anything from honor to cunning to being a certain gender.

Holidays and ceremonies give something for characters to look forward to and talk about as well as showing their values and how well they might know a culture. It makes the worldbuilding more believable and immersive. Though that isn’t to say that you should just include a holiday/ceremony without any rhyme or reason. Both are shaped by culture and so they must fit into the culture to make sense and add to the world.

Feel free to post any comments if you have anything to add or think I missed something, and let me know if you have any questions! I wish you all happy reading and writing. 🙂

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Story Prompt #7

Scenario Prompt:

The main character is running late for school/work so they decide to cut through the overgrown park that also doubles as a cementry in one corner. No one has entered it in years becuase it’s rumored to be haunted. Halfway through the park the main character sees something they weren’t supposed to see. What was it and what happens becuase of it?

Feel free to post anything this inspires in the comments. I hope you all have a fun weekend and let me know if you have any questions!

Diagonal Dialogue

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday. My internet stopped working and I didn’t have a way to get to a place that had internet and was still open by the time I had a chance to write.

As for the topic for today lately I’ve been thinking about “diagonal dialogue”. It’s a term I first heard in one of my writing classes. It’s what happens when characters are talking to each other but not neccessarily answering what the other is saying. Instead they are responding to what the actual problem is or what’s important to them. For example, when Character A keeps complaining about how pretty another character is and Character A’s friend forces them to face their insecurity. Or when one character wants to stay and the other character wants them to leave and both are pretending to talk about different character, propriety, candy, or anything else, really.

Diagonal dialogue isn’t lying (though that can have it’s own interesting implications and uses) but is instead when the topic of conversation isn’t what’s actually as important. The important thing is the tension between the characters as they try to lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go–the tension that’s created by what they choose to say and what’s left unsaid.

I find that when I try to write diagonal dialogue the conversation becomes more interesting and gets closer to the  heart of the story. It helps to create better dialogue becuase it doesn’t allow the characters to talk about nothing, becuase even if they are only talking about the weather on the surface other clues show that more is at stake. An important thing to remember is that dialogue isn’t just things that are said but includes body language as well, and diagonal dialogue makes use of both (as any good dialogue should).

Of course, not all conversations between characters have to use diagonal dialogue, but making use of it now and again can be a good exercise and can help characters approach topics that otherwise would be too painful or awkward and such to broach.

Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!

Story Prompt #5

Scenario Prompt:

This time I thought it would be fun to give a prompt based of the lyrics of a song. The song I picked is by one of my favorite bands, Civil Wars, and is called “Girl With the Red Balloon”. I’ll post the lyrics here but you can also find the song on YouTube. I always wonder about the backstory of the girl whenever I hear this song and how she got to where she is in the pub. Now we can fill that story in if anyone feels inspired.

Feel free to post anything this prompt inspires in the comments or contact me if you have any questions!

Lyrics:

There’s a pub on the south side of town
Time stands still while there’s still wine around
She’s the one you let in out of the cold
The one who’s neer and always alone
Did she let him go,
Or did the four winds blow him away?
Oh does she even know,
She’s the girl with the red balloon?
Keep her glass full of cheap champagne
She will tell of a man with no name
Smoke and mirrors have done her in
She’s in love and she won’t be again
Oh did she let him go,
Or did the four winds blow him away?
Oh does she even know,
She’s the girl with the red balloon?
So lovely
So lonely…

Story Prompt #4

Character Prompt:

Write about a character who wants to become the best griffon rider in the country but who somehow gets on the bad side of every griffon they meet. The character has yet to even touch a griffon without getting snapped at.

I hope you have fun with this prompt and feel free to post anything it inspires in the comments or contact me if you have questions.

Book Recommendations

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Today I thought I’d recommend some of my favorite books to read since there’s little better than sitting under a tree reading a book when the weather is warm, or snuggled up under a blanket with a  book when the weather is cold and rainy. Here they are:

  1. The Name of Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Many of you have probably heard of this book but I couldn’t make this list without it. It’s a frame story where a man tells the story about he became a legend. The book is full of worldbuilding that sucks you into the story and nuanced characters. I just have one warning for those who haven’t read it yet: the book is part a trilogy and the third book isn’t out yet. Still, it and the second book are worth reading now even with the wait.
  2. Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey. This book is also part of a trilogy but all the books are out. It follows the story of Moirin, a girl and then woman who has both the magic of her people and the blessing of the goddes of desire. There is sex in the book given the nature of the goddess’s blessing, but the book is more about Moirin discovering who she is and what it means to have a destiny. It’s full of magic and intrigue and complex characters that makes it hard to put the book down.
  3. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. This book, I will admit, I listened to on audible (it was narrated by Jennifer Ikeda) and it was very enjoyable to listen to. There were a few times I cuaght myself doing extra chores just so I had an excuse to listen to it longer. I believe it is also part of a trilogy. The book takes place in the real world, but also includes witches, vampires and demons. It blends science and magic together in an interesting way as well as having new explanations on how vampires and demons came to be and why they are the way they are.

I hope you’ll find something new you’ll like to read out of these three books! Feel free to comment if you have any book recommendations of your own or contact me if you have any questions.

Story Prompt #3

Character prompt:

This time, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to urge you all to write a story about or involving a mother. She can be a single mom with three kids who is just trying to make a living at the magic wand store down the street, or in a loving relationship and always ready to show you a new picture of her tabby kitten.

Make her unique, make her original, and remember that while she might be a mother she can also be more than that. 🙂

Often mothers (and most parents) are killed off in fiction in my experience, and I think it would be nice to see how actually having mentorship and kindness (or cruelty and pettiness depending on which direction you want to go) can affect a story when it comes from someone other than an old man with a long beard.

Have fun and feel free to post anything you come up with in the comments or contact me if you have any questions. I hope you all have a fun weekend!

Writing Resources

Hello Fiction Lovers!

I know I don’t have a lot on this website yet so I thought I would point you towards a few resources that have helped me.

The first is a fun and to-the-point writer and vlogger Jenna Moreci. You can find her videos on YouTube though she’s on various other social media outlets like Twitter. She gives a lot of great advice on how to keep writing as well as characters, the do’s and don’ts, and self-publishing.

The second a website called fantasy-faction.com which does everything from tips on writing to book reviews to writing contests. It’s become my number one spot to go to check on anything fantasy related. The tips on writing cover all the basics as well as some more interesting topics like what to consider when writing a siege and medicine in fantasy.

The last is a magazine that can be found at thefirstline.com. As the name suggests the contest provides the first line and you create a story using it. it’s a fun way to come up with a new story idea and you gain the chance to earn $25-50 for fiction, $10 for poetry, and $25 for nonfiction (all US dollars) if you submit. It’s free to submit but they do ask that you not publish anything using their first lines until they’ve notified you of their decision to accept your work or not. The next submission deadline is August 1st, 2017.

I hope you all find these resources as helpful as I do. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck with your writing and/or finding another great fiction book to read!