Setting

In writing, one of the key elements to making a story great is determining where your story takes place. The location, the culture, and the people in that culture are key when figuring out what happens in your story.

The setting is, in a lot of ways, the most important thing in your story. In a lot of ways, it impacts your characters more than even the plot itself. Without setting, what is to determine how your characters feel about religion and politics? Setting can also define how the characters in question dress. Do they wear cloaks? A turban?

I say all of this because knowing where your story is set is an important thing for you to know even before you write the first word. If you’re setting your story in the real world, it’s key to figure out where. If it’s fantasy, do you have two parallel worlds set in the same place like Harry Potter, or do you have a single world set apart from our own like in Lord of the Rings? In both those cases, some world building is required, but in Harry Potter, some knowledge of the real world is also required.

When it comes to world building, you make everything up from the culture to the religion. But if you incorporate real world settings in the mix, research is mandatory.  The bottom line is that if you want a setting for your world, you need to know everything you can about that setting before you even type the first word.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

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World Building

In novel writing, research is key. You have to know what you are writing about before you go about writing the subject in question. But in fantasy and other genres with made up settings, world building takes the place of research, and it is the author’s job to create a world that only exists in the mind.

In order to do that properly, you have to look at things that exist in the real world and ask yourself how that can relate to a fictional one. In the real world, you have cars and other motorized vehicles, but how do people get around in a fantasy world?

Also, if you’re writing fantasy, what does the politics or the religion of people look like? Is your government a monarchy with a democratic twist? Is your religion a polytheistic version of Christianity? Also, what do the world cultures look like? In my novel, Kingslayer, I based a lot of my culture on Europe (not exclusive to England), plus I added a few hundred years so the characters could carry guns and ride airships and trains.

One of my all time favorite examples to world building is Harry Potter. In the magical world, there is a real world equivalent to pretty much everything. For sports, you have Quidditch and the Tri-wizard Tournament; for school, of course, the students focus on the magical arts as opposed to math and grammar, and instead of your ACT’s you have your OWL’s and NEWT’s; and you even have the media with The Daily Prophet.

I haven’t even touched on the Chocolate Frog Cards, so needless to say, HP is chock full of examples of world building. These are just a few ways a writer can make their world truly unique. And in fact, if you are setting your story in a secondary world, there are even more things you can do that are ripe for the picking.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

Politics in Fantasy

Every society–whether it be the U.S., Great Britain, North Korea, or a more tribal society like those found in Africa–there is some kind of government that rules over it. There are democracies, republics, dictatorships, monarchies, and even theocracies, but what kind of government you want to put in your world is entirely up to you.

For instance, in my novel Kingslayer there is an evil dictator that is in control; however, 24 years prior to this, there was a government in control that was a hybrid of a democracy and a monarchy (I call it a democratic monarchy). This is something neat that you can do in fantasy. You can take different ideas for governmental systems and mix them to get new types of systems.

You could have a monarchy where the kings are chosen by the church, and therefore have a hybrid of a theocracy and a monarchy, or you can just have the regular types of government and put a new spin on it. There really is no shortage of what you can do when you open your mind up to the fantastical.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Symbols in Fantasy

Hello everyone! As you will certainly have noticed from my recent blog posts, I’ve been focusing a lot more lately on world building in the fantasy genre. This will be the last of those for awhile, since my scheduled posts list doesn’t have another until this time next month; however, for today’s blog I thought I’d get into a few things about symbolism in the fantasy genre.

This is an interesting topic, since there is a lot of symbolism in the business world, as well as the political and religious worlds as well. Short of going out into nature, coming across organizations with insignias or something of the sort is impossible. But in fantasy, how should a writer tackle the subject? Well, the answer is everywhere in the books we like to read. For example, in Harry Potter you have four houses at Hogwarts, and each of those houses has a Coat of Arms. In other books, a Royal Crest like this could represent a family that is part of the political landscape of your country. Or in the more religious side of things, you may have a symbol that represents a specific religion.

These are important things to think about, because even taverns in fantasy worlds will have a crest of some kind representing it. Coming up with things like this will help your reader feel more immersed in your world, but it will also add a little flavor to your world. For example, why does that organization represent itself with that particular Coat of Arms? Answering that question will help your reader better understand your world.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

 

A Few Things About Character Development

Despite the fact that I’ve been doing this blog for several weeks, I’ve just now realized I haven’t yet done a single post on the development of characters. So, I figured I’d make several posts on the subject, each focusing on a different type of character (and their different roles in the story). But for this post, I figured I’d get into the basics on how to create characters in the first place.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that people are creatures of personality. Everyone has strengths, along with a few weaknesses thrown in the mix. For your main characters, you want them to have more redeeming qualities than you do negative ones. Are they reliable? Are they funny? Do they have anger issues? I’ve heard that 80/20 is a good ratio, unless you’re creating a villain.

Something else to remember is that every person has beliefs. What religion do they believe in? What does their politics look like? What offends them and why? Also, if the story is set in an alternate world, their beliefs will need to reflect on that. So if eating dogs is taboo in your world, how does the character in question respond to such an act? These kinds of things need to be kept in mind when writing the character.

These are just a couple of things that should help. I have more that will be posted about protagonists and antagonists (and other character types), but that’s all I’m posting for now.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

 

 

A Review of CreateSpace’s POD Services

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I received a package in the mail on Thursday that contained 4 copies of my novel, Kingslayer. This post will basically be a review of the printing services offered by the company I used, which is CreateSpace. Before I get to that, however, it is important to view the video of me opening the package. Sorry in advance if I seem a little awkward. I’m not much for cameras.

Assuming you’ve gone an watched the video, let’s just cut to the chase. I’m very pleased with the experience. As I said in the video, I’d say it’s 4 1/2 stars out of 5. In other words, I’m 90% pleased, which is pretty good. At first I said that as a bit of a random number, because it’s not going to be perfect; then I realized there was a bit of glue on the backs of a couple of the books.

So in other words, I’m still 90% impressed, only for a different reason. The binding is good, the matte cover is professional looking. Even the Canva cover I made for the book looks flawless. The bottom line is that if they had managed to print the 4 books, I’d give them a full 100% on this. I’m sure they’ll get it right in the future.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

 

Politics in Fantasy

A few days ago, I posted about religion in fantasy, and how to create a fantastical religion. Well, today I’d like to do another world building blog and talk about creating a fantastical political system.

In order to understand how to do this, one must first understand how governments operate. Many of today’s government have three branches: the executive (or king), the legislature, and the courts. Even stories as out there as Star Wars have made up governments built out of these three branches, though the Imperial Senate was abolished in episode IV. That’s not to say you have to do it this way.

It really all depends on what you’re going for. Are you creating a theocracy? If so, do the gods in your world serve as the king, and do earthly priests serve as the legislature (if one even exists)? Are you creating a monarchy? If so, how is it different than the monarchies of Europe?

In order to answer these questions, it is important to research what kind of government you want your world to have. Kingslayer once had a legislature and a court system, but in the novel these things don’t exist anymore (and it’s therefore a dictatorship). Just some things to think about.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017