Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Reading

Hey FFFers - before we go on with talking about writing fantasy, and because I'm up to my eyeballs with summer theatre and my husband's health issues, let's talk about some good books. 

Right now, my reading consists of my script. But after the show is done and we're on vacation, I'm planning to read Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus by Joyce Magnin, Cooking the Books by Bonnie Calhoun and a nonfiction book, Unleashing the Writer Within by Cec Murphey.  I may reread The Hunger Games.  Depends on how busy my family keeps me and how often I can get to the pool by myself.

Good writers are avid readers. We can read to learn, to enjoy, to glean what we can from those who have gone on before us. So, let's hear from everyone! What are you reading now? What are you planning to read?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yay! It's working again!

hey FFFers - I can finally post something new!  I want to update you on what's been going on with me before getting onto the next thing in fantasy writing.

I attended the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference in May - on faculty - and taught a workshop on writing fantasy. It was great. I also met with several editors and was asked for the full of my YA fantasy novel, Fairyeater. I'm super jazzed and will keep you posted.

An agent I signed up to meet with ended up with pneumonia and couldn't make it, so I signed up for a phone conference when I got home. I spoke with her assistant for almost an hour and was asked for three proposals: Fairyeater, a middle grade novel and a nonfiction book. I'm also waiting to hear and hoping it won't take too long.

I'd love to see more first paragraphs that show us something about your main character, so please send me something and I'll take it apart like I did for Russell in the previous post.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Those Flat Characters

Okay - let's expand our discussion on flat characters. What makes a character "flat?" It can be a matter of opinion. Look how popular the Twilight books are. Bella is a flat character, especially in the beginning. She has no real goals and her conflict isn't that big, either. At least, not for a novel. So, what can a writer do to make sure their main character is not flat? Uninteresting? Three dimensional? The first thing is to give your hero a goal. What does he/she want? What do they *think* they need? Does it make you care? Remember, we are the first readers of our work. What kind of emotions are stirred up when we read our opening paragraph? If you are really honest, you'll know if what you've written is weak and needs some pumping up.

Here's an example of before and after in my WIP, Fairyeater - the first is what I had. The second is what I decided to go with after some feedback.

Mist hovered just above the lake as the sky began to show the violet-pink glow of a new day. Akeela pulled the leather archery glove on her right hand. She sighed, sat on the stump of a tree, examined her bow and waited for the forest to wake up. Hunting was the only escape she had from Krezma’s sharp tongue.

Akeela yanked the leather archery glove on her right hand. She sighed, sat on the stump of a tree, examined her bow and waited for the forest to wake up. Hunting was the only escape she had from Krezma’s sharp tongue and she was sick of both.

Do you see the difference? Now, it's your turn. Give us the first few sentence of your opening paragraph and we'll see what we can do with them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's Been Quite a While

hey FFFers - wow, has it really been since Feb. that I've posted? I've totally lost my sense of time and I'm sorry. Life has been really hectic lately. I kept thinking about my blog, but did not get around to posting anything. We last left off talking about characters. This is a good place for me right now. See, I entered Fairyeater in the ACFW Genesis contest. I did not make the semi-final round, but got some good notes. The judges spoke mostly about character development for my main character, Akeela. Then one of the members of my writer's group read through the manuscript again and suggested a couple of MAJOR revisions to the plot. I'll bel showing Fairyeater at the Colorado conference in May and don't have time to totally rewrite my grand, epic fantasy adventure. But I need to do something. What's a writer to do? Let's keep talking about character development. What makes a flat character? A stereo-typical character? And how can you rescue them? I look forward to your input.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fantasy Characters, part one

We've taken a good look at building a fantasy world for your characters. Now let's build those characters. What makes fantasy characters different from non-fantasy characters? What kind of characteristics should you include when developing the protagonist? Antagonist? Secondary characters?

1. The protagonist – this is your hero or heroine. They usually have some kind of gift. Sometimes they know about it, sometimes they discover it. It can be magic or a special talent. They often are not aware of how special they are. This is typical for fantasy. It’s your job to come up with something totally fresh.

2. The antagonist – this is your hero’s enemy. They should be as strong as or stronger than your protagonist. In fantasy, the antagonist is typically the evil dark lord/lady who is going to destroy the world. If you don’t want to write a typical fantasy adventure, you’ll need to give this a twist.

3. Secondary characters – you can give these characters magic/powers or nothing at all. But they need to have something that helps the hero in some important way. Be careful your secondary characters do not outshine the main character.

Let's start with the main character. Once you've decided what kind of fantasy you're writing, you now can build your hero. Let's say you're writing high fantasy. Your main character will need some kind of magical quality or skill, even if she doesn't know it yet. It can be full magic. It can be one type of skill. The hero can know about it from the beginning or discover it. It can help them or hinder them at first, but should help them at the end.

In Fairyeater, Akeela has what I've called "spirit sight." She can see the auras around living things, including plants. It's something she's always had, and it helps her save herself and the group she's traveling with when they're lost in the caves because she can see where to walk in the combined light of everyone's auras.

So, let's talk about your main characters and their characteristics.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Poetry

Let's have some fun. Pull out a few random books and use the titles to write a fantasy story line or poem. Put the titles in caps. Here's mine:


You can use fiction, nonfiction or children's ... whatever you have! Hey, maybe you'll get an idea for a new novel. Don't forget to share your book poem with us!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something fun

hey FFFers - here's a fun thing:

It tells compares your writing to established authors and scores you 0-20 on if your writing is strong enough to be considered "best-selling."

I entered the beginning of chapter one of Fairyeater and scored a 14.1. Pretty good. Then I did the beginning of chapter two and scored a 3.4. YIKES! And an editor told me chapter two was stronger than chapter one. HA!

So, try it and see what you think. It's just for fun. I'll get back to writing posts when things have settled down here. My husband was dianosed with Bell's Palsy on Sat. night and we're a bit weary at the moment.

Happy Testing!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Examples of Great World Building

hey FFFers - hope you had a good Christmas and a great start to 2012.

Over the Christmas break, I read three books I received for Christmas. You are probably familiar with them: THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy by Suzanne Collins.


If you can handle the violence, these books are an incredible example of world building. The setting is earth, North America, and post-apocalyptic. It's a perfect example of how the setting compliments the characters and the story arc.

If you've read these books, chime in and let me know how you liked them, but don't give anything away.