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

Excerpt: Seeds of Resistance

This is a bit of a surprise post. I wasn’t going to say it until later, but I’ve chosen to go ahead to reveal that I’m working on bonus content to add to the print edition of Kingslayer. This is an excerpt, and the full first chapter. Any feedback is welcome, but I’m mainly posting for your enjoyment. Enjoy!

***

Since leaving Liverpool, Jocelyn and I watched as the rolling hills of the Gililands passed by our compartment window. We were aboard The Runaway Express, which was fitting since we were fugitives from the Empire. If we were seen, we were as good as dead. But we wouldn’t stay on the train long; after all, we were nearing the industrial city of Issylot.

“There’s been a riot in Saxony,” Jocelyn said, turning the pages of the daily newspaper.

Of course, this wasn’t a surprise. Tiberius ruled the Isobellian territories with an iron fist. If there was a riot (like Jocelyn said), then all it meant was that people were getting tired of the Black King and his Imperial Knights.

After a moment, I looked over at Jocelyn.

Slender body, hazel eyes, red curls. Throw that together with a pair of rosy cheeks, and you’ve got one heck of a beautiful wife. To be honest, Jocelyn looked upset by the news of another riot, and I couldn’t blame her. I just wish there was something I could’ve done.

“How many were killed this time?” I asked, biting into a half-eaten apple from the night before.

“Thirty-seven,” Jocelyn replied. “That’s the worst one to date.”

True, I thought.

“I just wish there was somethin’ we could do,” Jocelyn said. “Don’t you agree, Vensyr?”

I didn’t give a verbal answer. I finished the apple and tossed the remains out the nearby, opened window; then I gave my wife a nod of the head.

When we arrived in Issylot, Jocelyn and I left the train station as quickly as possible; then we moved into the nearest alleyway. The city was a bustling metropolis, with airships and skyscrapers as far as the eye could see. It was good to be back in Jocelyn’s hometown. After all, it had been years since our last visit, plus there were lots of places where we could hide from the Empire.

“Where you want to go?” I asked, looking at Jocelyn.

“How about the tavern in the Business District?” she replied, pointing down the alley with one finger.

This was a natural choice, since the local tavern belonged to Jocelyn’s cousin. Whenever we came to visit, he always let us eat for free. Once we arrived and took our seats inside the bar, we both received a plate of dragonloaf with a choice of our favorite beverage. Jocelyn went with a glass of wine, while I settled on a chocolate, peanut butter milkshake.

Not a single Imperial Knight was present. And since we were covered in darkness (with nothing but a light to cover our faces), Jocelyn and I felt safe lowering the hoods of our cloaks.

Clearly, Jocelyn was starving. She practically inhaled her dragonloaf the moment it touched her lips.

I tried not to laugh. It was quite the sight to behold.

“That looks yummy,” Jocelyn said after a moment, eyeing my milkshake.

“It is,” I said simply, taking a small sip.

“Can I have a sippy-whippy?”

I grinned. “You have your own drink,” I said, looking over at Jocelyn’s wine.

“Pwease!?” she asked in a babyish tone of voice, crossing her arms and puckering her lips.

I rolled my eyes. “Jocelyn, knock it off.”

“You hate me….”

She’s acting like a five-year-old, I thought, shocked by my wife’s behavior. Still, she was a cute little thing, which is why I chose to give in.

“Here,” I said while handing her my glass. “You owe me one,” I added with another roll of the eyes.

“Thank you!” she told me after taking a sip. “I wuv you forever an’ ever!”

“Love you too,” I said, amused.

After we finished our meals, Jocelyn pulled out her newspaper and started to read. She was fixated on the paper for the better part of fifteen minutes, occasionally turning the pages with circular photographs.

“Hey Vensyr?” she said, looking up from the paper.

I looked at her, not saying a word.

“Sara Willington’s been sighted,” Jocelyn continued. Right then, a group of Imperial Knights entered the tavern.

I stared at Jocelyn. The Sara Willington—daughter and heir of the late King Michael Willington—sighted? This was a big deal, and not because the Black King wanted her dead. Rather, it was a huge deal because the princess hadn’t been seen or heard of in nearly thirteen years: not since her parents were killed.

“Sighted!?” I said in a whisper. “Where?”

“Alma Defa,” Jocelyn replied, passing the paper to me. I blew out the candle between us so the Imperial Knights who just came in couldn’t see our faces in the dark corner of the bar. It wasn’t easy, reading without the light of a candle, but the task seemed manageable nonetheless.

And so, I read the paper aloud:

Princess Sara Willington (age 15) was sighted in Alma Defa last night. She should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information leading to Her Majesty’s arrest will be awarded 50,000 gold shillings.

I reread the article several times. It was short, yet Sara’s mugshot covered half the front page. After a moment, Jocelyn took up the newspaper and stuffed it in a pouch beneath her cloak.

“It’s interesting. Isn’t it, Vensyr?” Jocelyn said.

“What’s interesting?” I asked.

“The location, more than anything. It is Alma Defa, after all. The Empire’s Supreme Court is there. But why would she go there of all places, when the Emperor himself wants her dead?”

Jocelyn’s guess was as good as mine.

I looked at the tavern’s front door. At the moment, the owner of the bar was servicing a couple whores and a half-drunk midget. Each of them seemed to be getting their fair share of wine, yet the Imperial Knights that just came in were as sober as a priest before mass. In fact, to tell the truth, the gentlemen standing in the doorway looked as if they were looking for something.

Or someone.

I didn’t think much of it at first, but then as they made their way through the bar, I knew better. They weren’t just looking for someone. They acted as if they’d seen someone, namely me and Jocelyn. Do I even have to say it? They must have seen us enter the freakin’ building! Why did we have to lower the hoods of our cloaks? I thought, but now wasn’t the time to complain. I had to warn Jocelyn, and together we had to escape.

“Hey Jocelyn, does this place have a back door?” I asked, trying to remain calm.

Jocelyn pointed to her left. “Why you askin’?” she replied. I cleared my throat and motioned toward the approaching knights. Jocelyn looked to see them and immediately understood. “I’d say our welcome here is officially worn out,” she said.

And less than a minute later, we were out the back door.

 

About My Second Novel

As some of you know, I’ve been working on an epistolary novel for a few weeks. Well, for today’s post, I wanted to give an update and let everyone know what the book is basically about.

As I revealed in a Tweet a few days ago, this epistolary novel is very much related to my novel Kingslayer. What I didn’t reveal, however, is that this new book chronicles the events in one of the main character’s life. This is basically the story of Vensyr D’Artanian, who is very much important to the villain’s backstory in Kingslayer.

I won’t say any more about the character as a person, since it would spoil. However, I can say that the novel is from mainly his POV, and another character who he’s sending letters back and forth while he’s away fighting in war. It will talk way more about his backstory, as well as the backstory of Tiberius (the main villain from Kingslayer). It will also talk about the main events in the war that lead into the final chapter and epilogue (which cover some events from Kingslayer, plus a surprise).

At the moment, I’m not certain what the title will be. I have one that I really like, but it gives away the ending. I also have another title in mind, but it’s underwhelming from my point of view (I’m calling it Scribbler). Perhaps a better one will come to mind, but time will tell.

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 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