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

Religion in Fantasy

In one of my previous blogs, I discussed the religious structure of my novel Kingslayer. And the truth is, creating an entire religion–whether based on real religions or not–is a huge undertaking. You have to decide what is ethical in accordance with its teachings, and you have to decide how the religion is organized, and so on and so forth.

The truth is, the hard part is deciding what the people of your world believe, because that will ultimately impact how your characters behave. What do they eat? How do they eat it? What do they wear? These are all questions you’ll have to ask yourself, aside from what goes on in the church (or other holy temple).

It should also be stressed that if your fantasy world has religion, there is likely to be disputes over how the religion ought to be practiced. This is a big part of Kingslayer, as a matter of fact.

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

–N.L., 2017

Quarterly Writing Update: Spring 2017

For this evening’s blog post, I’ve decided to give you an update on everything I’ve been working on lately. The majority of my work, of course, has been focused on my forthcoming debut Kingslayer. However, as many of you who are on Twitter know, I’ve also begun working on an epistolary novel (a book written in the form of letters).

The work on Kingslayer is coming, though very slowly. I’ve completed typesetting the print version, but there’s been an issue with the cover. While it looks pretty good, it doesn’t work with the spine and back cover. This means that I’ll have to create a new cover. In addition, the eBook is mostly done, but I’m still figuring out the complexities to making the footnotes that are in the novel accessible to readers. All in all, I’m nearly done. I just have to put in a solid day’s work to get everything just right.

The epistolary novel has been started. I have bits here and there completed, including two letters (or chapters). This novel will be a side novel to Kingslayer, though both books can stand entirely on their own. I have less than 1,000 written so far, but the work is coming together a lot better than Kingslayer did. I will reveal the title and plot at a different time.

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

–N.L., 2017

Finding a Writing Group

Many writers, including some published authors, are known for relying on a writing group to get feedback that is key to their revision process. But how does a writer go about finding one or starting one? Well, the truth is that this depends greatly on the resources available to you.

One of the most common places to find a writing group is a location that is somehow connected to the education system. In other words, schools (or rather, colleges) and libraries. A college writing program is the best place to find fellow writers aside from a library. And libraries tend to support literacy (obviously), so it’s pretty much common sense that a writing group may gather there once a month or so.

Personally, I’ve found that looking online doesn’t help at all. On the other hand, starting a writing group is something different entirely. You have to know other writers, and I’d advise you to find people who write similar stuff as you.

I once tried starting a writing group by posting an ad on Craigslist. Needless to say, it didn’t go very well. One writer wanted to do manga, and I write exclusively fantasy. Also, the two writers that emailed me didn’t take their writing seriously at all. That brings up another point. If you are a serious writer, only be in a writing group with other serious writers.

Always remember that having a writing group helps, but only if the other writers are as serious as you are. Otherwise, it’s just another hobby.

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

–N.L., 2017

Something About Word Count

As writers, we all write stories of one kind or another. And some of those stories, naturally, will be longer than others. For example, the first Harry Potter book is about 87,000 words, while other books, such as Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, is far bigger than that at over 400,000 words. So, how many words should your story be?

The answer is not easy to give right off the bat. Some stories are naturally going to be more complex, and will therefore have to be longer. The key is to make your story as simple as it can be, while at the same time making it only as complicated as it needs to be. If you’re wondering why I’m using the word “stories” in this blog as opposed to “novels,” that’s why. It is important to remember that not every story is meant to be a novel.

Sometimes the complexity of the story demands that it be an entire series of novels, while at other times, you have to let the art be art, and let it remain nothing more than a short story. The bottom line is this: tell the story you want to tell in as few words as possible, and let the art be art. The rest will take care of itself.

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

–N.L., 2017

 

Plotting a Novel

Writing a story is hard, but it’s even more difficult when you don’t plot out your novel beforehand. Every writer goes through the plotting process differently, just like they go through the writing process differently. But should a writer plot their novel or story? Well, I’m here to help provide some answers to that question.

First and foremost, it is important to gather ideas. You cannot have a plot without first knowing what your book is going to be about, and by ideas, I mean the basic premise of your book and not the actual plot.

Once I have a basic idea of what my book is going to be about, I start thinking of subplots and character development type stuff, as well as events that I want to take place in the novel. Once I have this done, I do a bubble chart to figure out how these things relate to one another. Other writers use flashcards to do this instead, and that may be more effective, but I’ve never done it myself.

There is another option, and that is to just wing it entirely. Basically, you take the main idea and some outlines for several characters, and you see where it goes. I don’t suggest this, since it can get you into trouble, but if that’s how you do it go right ahead. There really is no limitation to how you should plot a novel.

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

–N.L., 2017

The Art of Making Art

As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I have chosen to self-publish my novel Kingslayer. But the truth is, the self-pub community didn’t always have it so easy. It used to be that if you self-published, you were treated as inferior by the elites in the publishing industry. Quite the stigma, if you ask me. But what they never told you is that a large portion of the books out there were writen merely to make money and nothing more. There wasn’t much of an art form with writing in that period.

However, that all changed when the eReader was invented. Now self-publishers can share their work with other writers, but in a lot of ways, the greed of corporate publishers still exist. The problem is, they’re not interested in telling a story that deserves to be read. In my opinion, they have destroyed the notion of creating art in their authors’ fiction. And, also in my opinion, that is why indie writers are in a lot of ways superior to their traditionally-published counterparts.

If you listen to indie music and compare it to mainstream music, the principle still applies. A lot of it is generic, and in some cases boring. So, is it a good idea to “sell out” in the interest of your career, or would it be better to focus on telling a good story, whether it sells a lot of copies or not? I think the second option is far better. Keep in mind that some genres of fiction (like fantasy) are, by their nature, generic. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The point is, write the kind of stories you want to write, and don’t worry about making a career out of it. If you just happen to be able to write what you want and make a career out of it, more power to you. But making money should never be the priority. Doing so would make you a part of the problem in the publishing industry. In other words, focus on making art, and let the rest take care of itself.

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

–N.L., 2017