Tag Archives: writing tips

Weaving The Threads

One of the hardest things about writing Fantasy is trying to create a rich, multifaceted world with intriguing amounts of depth. You can write for literally years getting lost in the minutia of creating a fantasy world but ebook readers like their content to come fast and furious. For this reason a lot of writers create one world and stick to it for as long as humanly possible. Still there are a few tips I’ve discovered to help make weaving the intricate threads of your world together a little easier.

Time

First, accept that it’s going to take some time. I’d recommend at least a year’s worth of time spent in research and just taking notes. Your story will seem richer if you spend as much time as possible living in the fantasy world you’re going to create. You want to see it go through all of it’s seasons, holidays and environmental changes and the easiest way to do that is to take down notes as you go through their real life equivalent.

Organize

Once you know the key races, cultures, holidays, lands, naming schemes, etc etc etc for your story you’re going to have a mountain of notes and ideas. One of the most important things you can do is get organized early and stay organized the whole way through. It doesn’t matter if you’re the type that organizes by throwing all the relevant items for a particular race into a box and not looking at it ever again, or if you’re the type of person that takes copious color coded notes – decide what you’re going to do and stick with it. Last thing you’re going to want is to decide a month or two in that you need to drop what your doing at the moment so you can reorganize your entire system. Remember, writers block isn’t just about staring at that blank page, it’s finding yourself neck deep in meaningless chores that only detract from your actual writing time.

Explore

Spend time throughout the year exploring all the angles. Go ahead and indulge yourself thinking up the birthday rituals of the blind warriors of the craggy depths. You might not encounter these blind warriors, and their penchant for gifting each elaborate garments each embossed with well wishes from their entire village meant to be worn only in battle, in your first book but when you do find an occasion to mention it you’ll be overjoyed to have fully fleshed out the idea before hand saving yourself time in crafting the culture of the moment off the cuff.

Hopefully those three tips will prove as invaluable for you all as they have for me. Whatever else, remember, get writing and keep writing until the thing is done!

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Sympathy For The Devil

Everyone loves the hero, including the writer. We spend so much time in the heads of our leads that they’re like family to us. We know our hero’s favorite foods, that time that they skinned their knee when they were six, all their little loves and hates. All those little bits might not make it into the book – but they do help us to flesh out our protagonist in a way that makes them seem to leap off the page breathing and ready to slay dragons.

On the other hand our antagonist, the villain, only exists to stick their foot out at the right time and trip up our hero. It’s easy enough to tell yourself and your reader that the reason that the villain is such a douche is simply because they’re evil – except that breaks the cardinal rule to show and not tell. That’s why it helps, while you’re gathering together you’re notes for your new book, to ask the same questions of your villain that you ask of your hero.

The questions can be bane or profound, it’s more important to ask them and record the answers, than what the original question was. The answers will help to frame the villain less as just evil and more as a person with hopes, desires and goals that are no less valid than the hero’s though they are at complete odds with the hero’s. Which leads to a richer more textured book – something both writers and readers will appreciate.

An example of this wonderful little tool at work? When I asked one of my villains, who was their first love, I not only discovered their wife – a woman my villain loved with such all consuming passion it would have destroyed them both if she hadn’t been a wonderful person herself – but to revelations about how he was raised. He was born heir to a very rich old family, raised by a series of tutors and minders, never given open affection nor given any long term companions to foster even the tiniest of relationships with. He’s intelligent, wealthy, ruthless and relentlessly fierce with his affections which leads him to more and more desperate, even insane acts as first his beloved wife dies and then his son becomes fatally ill.

None of that is likely to make it into the book but it does color the way I’ll write this character, making him more human and, hopefully, more interesting. Give it a try on you’re next writing project, ask your villain a few pointed questions and see if they don’t rise to the challenge of showing you their human side. So don’t be afraid to ask you’re bad boys and girls some heavy questions!

You can read more writing tips and general blather from Y.K. Greene at Blargle Splect.

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