How Ideas Become Stories

Hello Fiction Lovers!

This week I thought I’d share with you a post that I saw on Fantasy Faction. As you’ve probably guessed it’s about how to turn ideas that you’ve brainstormed into stories with developed plots and characters. The approach the author of the post uses is explained using an example of a floating city and it was very interesting, at least to me, to see that idea develop a lot just within the article. It could also be fun to brainstorm how many other ways that particular idea could have gone after you read the post as well. All in all, I really recommend reading How Ideas Become Stories on Fantasy Faction even if you are more of a reader than a writer. It can be interesting to think about what might of been the core idea that prompted your favorite stories or what could be missing from stories that you didn’t like as much.

Please let me know if you have any questions and feel free to comment about how you develop ideas into stories or anything else related to the topic. I hope you all have a good week!

 

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Streak of White Hair in Fantasy

Hello Fiction Lovers!

So I just saw this post: A Streak of White Hair: Fantasy or Reality? over on another blog called Thoughts on Fantasy and I wanted to share it with you. The post talks about how likely it would be for the streak of white hair that’s so common in fantasy to actually occur in real life, and what some of the causes might be. It was really interesting to read. I would recommend that you read it as well, because it shows how something small in a story can have an interesting history behind it.

Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all have a good week!

Book Recommendation: Steal the Stars

Hello Fiction Lovers!

This week I thought it would be interesting to tell you about an audio book that I just finished listening to recently: Steal the Stars. This book is different from books I would normally pick up because it’s sci-fi and includes aliens. I like sci-fi books, but I’m much more likely to read a fantasy book. However, I’m very glad that I decided to give Steal the Stars a try because it was a wonderful, well-written story and it had an ending that I wasn’t expecting, but also felt much more satisfying than the ending I expected. The reason I decided to give it a try was that along with including an alien and a crashed UFO it also includes forbidden love and a heist–both of which are plots that I love to read about.

It was also interesting to listen to, because instead of the standard one or two readers you normally would get for an audio book, they used a whole cast. It was really more of an audio play than an audio book, and they did a good job of making it more immersive by using some sound effects and playing with distance. If a character was supposed to be across the room they really did sound farther away (but the difference was never enough that you had to mess with the volume a lot, if that’s something that annoys you). Another thing to mention is that even though there is a full cast of characters with different voices you won’t have trouble remembering who is who. All the actors did a good job making their character distinctive. There is also an actual book, I believe, that you can buy and read, but I haven’t read it so I’m not sure how it compares to the audio book.

All in all, I would definitely recommend that you listen to/read Steal the Stars even if it has an element that you normally wouldn’t be interested in. You can find it on Audible and Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and please let me know if you have any questions! Also if you have listened to/read Steal the Stars feel free to post your thoughts in the comments, but please no spoilers.

The Clues to a Great Story

Hello Fiction Lovers!

So I’ve been watching TED talks recently and this week I thought I’d share one with you that I thought made some good points. The speaker of the TED talk is Andrew Stanton and he talks about the clues to a great story. He doesn’t specifically talk about writing but a lot of what he says can be related back to it. I hope you like it and let me know what you think in the comments!

Here’s the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_stanton_the_clues_to_a_great_story?referrer=playlist-how_to_tell_a_story

Reading Recommendation

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Today I thought I’d recommend a book I reread recently: Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. This book has been one of  my favorites for a long time and every once in a while I’ll take the time to read it–and its sequel–again. Doing so is always worth it.

Trickster’s Choice is about a young woman, Aly, who wants to become a spy in the field but her parents won’t allow it because of how dangerous that work is. However, Aly ends up getting captured by pirates and sold into slavery. From there she is recruited by a god and must use her wits and the spy skills she was taught from a young age to protect a family and help a rebellion.

The book has a good romance that isn’t rushed, interesting magical creatures, complex characters, and is paced well. I enjoyed it when I discovered it in middle school and I still enjoy it now in college so I believe that it can appeal to a wide range of ages. You don’t have to read Tamora Pierce’s other books to understand Trickster’s Choice or its sequel, but doing so can give you a greater appreciation and understanding of Aly’s parents and the family’s connection to several other characters that get mentioned. Her other books are also enjoyable to read as well, and if you like Trickster’s Choice I would highly recommend that you read them if you haven’t done so already. If you have then I would recommend that you read them again for pleasure’s sake.

If you’ve read Trickster’s Choice feel free to post your thoughts on it down in the comments (but no spoilers please). Also please let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Writing Resource Recommendation

Hello Fiction Lovers!

This week I thought I’d talk about a writing resource that has been really helpful to me: Writing Excuses. Writing excuses is a podcast that has 12 seasons so far that covers everything you could ever want to know about writing a book. It’s hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal and they cover everything from POV to world building to characterization to publishing. It’s also interesting because each of the hosts–as well as the guest speakers they sometimes have–write in different genres so you can get perspectives that you wouldn’t normally hear. They try to keep each episode around 15 minutes which makes it easier to have time to listen to it and they give a writing prompt at the end of every episode. They will also promote a book every week. I’ve found some really good books through those recommendations so I would encourage you to make a list of the ones that sound interesting to you and read them when you have time.

Here’s the link to the Writing Excuses website: http://www.writingexcuses.com/start-here/

I hope that you all give Writing Excuses a try or let me know if you already listen to it and what your favorite episode is so far. Please let me know if you have any questions and have a good week!

Favorite Quotes

Hello Fiction Lovers!

For this week I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes about writing. Whenever I see them I start thinking about how I can write better and/or these quotes make me want to write. So without further ado, here they are:

“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

–Toni Morrison

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that simple and that hard.”

–Neil Gaiman

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

–Thomas Mann

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

–W. Somerset Maugham

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e,  do not cave into endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days.”

–J. K. Rowling

“Have a point.”

–Phillip Round (My Lit. Professor)

Most of these are classics that I’ve seen time and again when I’m looking up stuff about writing, but even with that repetition they still hold true for me and don’t get old. Do you have quotes or sayings that stand up to the test of time as well? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any questions feel free to ask me those as well and I hope you all have a good week!

 

 

NaNoWriMo

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Since it’s been about a week since NaNoWriMo started this year I thought it’d be good to talk about it this week. For those of you who might not know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it occurs during November every year. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to writing 50,000 words by the end of the month. It also has a website that has forums that give advice on many different topics such as characters, plotting help, and naming things and they send out pep talks to help writers keep writing (https://nonowrimo.org). Through their website you can also join a regional group that helps give encouragement and that you can connect with though you don’t have to do so. NaNoWriMo is good at making the act of writing a more social thing–if you go to the website–and that can help make those 50,000 words seem a little less daunting because you know thousands of other people are trying to reach that goal as well and that makes their encouragement a bit more meaningful.

I like NaNoWriMo a lot, but I have to be truthful and say that I haven’t yet reached the 50,000 word goal in the years that I’ve done it. However, I did write more in a more consistent manner in November than I would have otherwise, so I would still recommend participating even if you don’t think you’ll reach the goal or think it’s too late to try since you missed the first week. It also opens a good way to get in contact with other writers to make friends and possibly get feedback on your work in the future. They also focus a lot on putting aside your inner editor and just getting words on the page, which I’ve never been as good at, but even if you do still edit some it can still help you focus more on the story than what it looks/sounds like. That can help you write more and make it so you don’t spend more time editing that writing when the first draft isn’t even finished.

This year instead of working on a single project I decided to count any words that I write for fun and that aren’t part of a school assignment or other required activity, only what I want to and because I feel the need to write. If you want to find me on the NaNoWriMo website my username is Corinelle.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions! Feel free to post about your own NaNoWriMo experiences in the comments and I hope you all have a fun writing filled week!

Game Recommendation

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Today I thought I’d recommend a game that I enjoy playing. It’s called Dragonwood: A Game of Dice & Daring. The goal of the game is to attack monsters and defeat them to earn points. The person that has the most points once both dragons are defeated or once the Adventurer deck is gone through twice wins the game. There’s also enchantments you can use to defeat the monsters. It’s a simple, fun game that can be played through pretty quickly. The longest game that I played took around 40 minutes, I think, and most got done quicker than that. The game can be played with 2-4 people and is recommended for ages 8+. It’s definitely more fun to play with 3-4 people, though. The designs on the cards are colorful and cute and the dice are a pretty red. It’s important to note though that the dice only go up to 4, so you can’t use a normal dice to replace one if you lose one.

The game is easy to learn and I’ve had older people, fellow college students, and younger cousins have fun playing it. Here’s the official description, if you’re interested:

Dare to enter Dragonwood! Deep in the heart of this mythical forest lurk angry ogres, giggling goblins, and even the famed and fearsome fire-breathers themselves! Collect sets of adventurer cards to earn dice, which you will use to roll against your foes. Stomp on some fire ants, shriek at a grumpy troll, or strike the menacing orange dragon with a magical silver sword. Choose your strategy carefully because the landscape of Dragonwood is ever-changing. Only the bravest will overcome the odds to emerge victorious!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have fun playing this game! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to recommend any fantasy games you like to play in the comments.

A Bit of World Building: Resources

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Today I thought I’d a little about world building and how deciding on a certain climate and landscape combined with the society’s values that live there can vastly influence influence your story, even if only in the background. I also thought that since I’ve been talking more about my current writing recently that I’d continue on that theme.

In A Cursed Blessing for nine months out of the year it is snowy and cold, the other three months have comparatively mild weather. This makes agriculture more difficult but the society is not a hunting and gathering one that follows an animal’s migration. As for the landscape there is a large forest in the south and a few smaller ones scattered throughout the country. The rest of the landscape is more hilly and the whole country is surrounded by mountains. Because, of the society’s fear of their goddess, however, they rarely cut down the trees for fuel or to make things. The cold climate has also caused them to put extra significance on fire and they’ll heat brands with it to mark themselves with symbolic symbols.

All this, I hope, creates an interesting background for my story, but it has also raised some questions that I didn’t have when I first started writing it. Issues such as what do they make their houses and furniture and writing implements out of if they don’t use wood? How do they feed themselves and what do they eat? What animals and plants can survive under such conditions? How does the climate affect the society and religion? Some of these questions I don’t have answers to yet, but I’ll need to know them to fully flesh out the world my characters are living in and make sure there are no logistical errors that will break readers’ suspension of disbelief. Of course, not all the questions always need to be answered but the big ones do such as the problem of food. Everything still has to be believable. Also, you don’t need to worry about the questions right away, but as you write and the world is created it can be good to consider them. Sometimes they can lend a whole new depth to the world and influence the plot in ways you couldn’t have imagined before exploring them.

Resources are important; survival depends upon some of them and wars can be fought over both necessary and luxury resources. Climate, landscape, and society’s values all affect both the availability of resources and the lack of them. They will affect your story, even if only in the background, so they are important to consider once you’ve made decent headway into your story or during the editing process.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions! I hope you all have a great week!