Food in Fantasy

There are several novels out there that are in the fantasy genre and have some kind of unique food or beverage that exists within the author of that novel’s made-up fantasy world. One famous example is butterbeer from Harry Potter, which has been created in real life, but at one point was a complete fabrication. Another example is from my own novel Kingslayer, where the characters can be seen eating a dish called “dragonloaf,” which is basically a meatloaf made of dragon meat.

If you want to truly make your fantasy world come to life, it is important to give the characters interesting food choices. For example, Japan has far different food choices than Italy. Part of this is due to geographic differences, but part of it is also because their culture is different. Both those things are unique in a secondary world fantasy, and you can have even more possibilities when you consider that magical creatures exist in your fantasy world.

What kinds of animals do the people of your world eat, and how are they prepared? Both these questions will depend on the culture of your fantasy world. Let’s say that grapes are outlawed by your world’s government, so what other fruits would be used to make wine? These are very important kinds of things to think about if fantasy is the kind of book writing that you want to do.

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

–N.L., 2017

Dialogue

Everyone has a unique voice, whether you be from Boston in the U.S. or Ireland in the U.K., but how can a writer use this fact to make dialogue that is unique from character to character? Well, there are lots of components to this, which will inevitably have to be covered in future posts,  but at its most basic level, dialogue stems from how people talk.

If you want to write realistic dialogue, it is important to note that there are three major components to speech: phenology, morphology, and syntax. Phenology is basically how people pronounce certain words, morphology is the choice of one word over another that basically means the same thing, and syntax is all about overall word choice.

For example, if someone says “worsher” as opposed to “washer,” you’ll know this is an example of phenology where they’re talking about a washing machine. Different people pronounce these words differently depending on their geography. Morphology works similarly in that you’ll say something different depending on where you live, except you’ll use a different word as opposed to the same word that’s pronounced differently. Fireflies are a good example of this. Where I live in the south, firefly is the accepted word, but in other places firebugs or lightning bugs are just as acceptable. Syntax is a little more complex, but it’s self-explanatory, so I won’t go any further on that.

The point is, we’re all going to talk differently, and it’s your job as a writer to convey that in how your characters talk. Geography is very important in the real world, because different kinds of people settle in different places, and therefore different accents and even dialects develop. If you want to create realistic dialogue, even in fantasy, these are all things to keep in mind.

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

–N.L., 2017

How to Not Get Burnt Out on Writing

Sometimes, I have a hard time getting words on the page. This isn’t because of a lack of planning, or writer’s block, or something else entirely. The truth is, writing a lot on the same story is something that can cause you to get burnt out. It’s happened to me. For Kingslayer, I worked on that story for 10, so by the time I was done nitpicking and changing words around, I was sick of writing everything and anything. This is part of the reason my blogs will sometimes not get posted, but I digress.

The real question is, how do we avoid getting burnt out? Well, that’s a great question. I feel like most writers should be able to slow things down and live a little. Experience the world, hang out with friends, yada, yada, yada. Now, that’s not to say don’t write during your scheduled writing periods; however, you have to be willing to take a break and explore the world. For instance, I’m going on a trip to Houston in a couple of weeks, and I will likely not do any fiction writing during large portions of that trip.

Now, writing is important if you want to see your work in print, but for goodness sake, don’t burn yourself out in the process. If need be, take Saturdays off (or some other day of the week). Just give yourself some time to do other things, because too much of a good thing can be bad for your mental health.

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

–N.L., 2017

Dealing with Nay-Sayers

Negativity is a crushing thing for a writer, and unfortunately, most of us will have to deal with it in one form or another at one point in our writing life. Personally, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone act all negative or critical when they discovered I wanted to be a writer.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a published author or someone who aspires to be one. At some point, you’re going to have to deal with negativity. Negativity is going to show up in several ways. The most common, in my experience, is going to be that person that keeps telling you that you’re just not going to be successful and make any money off your writing.

But you know, even if you get published, you’re still going to have to deal with jerks saying crap about your books. In other words, you’ll have to deal with reviews. That doesn’t mean you have to listen. Opinions are like buttholes: everyone has one. What you got to do is learn to filter it out and only listen to encouraging comments. Those other guys don’t give a crap, and they’re usually not the kinds of people you want to go to for writing advice anyway.

The bottom line is that people are going to criticize you for wanting to be a writer. Even J.K. Rowling gets criticized for her work, so don’t let it bother you. Being a writer means that dealing with stuff like this is a fact of life. If you can’t take it, you really can’t be a writer.

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

–N.L., 2017

Taking Care of Yourself As a Writer

If you’re a writer (like me), then you probably spend a fair deal of time writing stories. But where does all that time to write come from? If I was being entirely honest, I’d have to say most writers make sacrifices in order to get their writing done. And in my case at least, making certain sacrifices can result in not taking care of myself very well. So, I figured I’d discuss the importance of taking care of yourself as a writer.

There are a lot of ways writers are terrible at taking care of themselves. Personally, I get into a panic if I’m not working on a story. This means I often forget to eat, and my hygiene actually sucks at times. I also am not your typical guru for fitness and wellness. Bodily exercise is a friend I need to see more, but because I’m a writer I usually spend more time writing. And don’t get me started on my social life. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate people, but sometimes I focus more on getting a story written.

The truth is, all of the above are some of the most common problems writers have when it comes to taking care of themselves, and additionally, every single example is something I struggle with personally.

If you’re a writer, it’s okay to write every day. But for goodness sake, eat a well balanced diet every day, and keep up with your hygiene. Also exercise, and don’t forget to have friends you spend time with (even if it’s only on the weekends). All of the above are important things in every person’s life (writer or otherwise), and if you forget that then there’s a real problem.

Obviously this shouldn’t be stated, but if you’re a writer, you’re more prone to these problems than the general population. And if you struggle with these problems like I do, just know you’re not alone.

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