Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Trailer: Camelot

Posted: January 14, 2011 in TV Reviews
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I caught this video trailer on one my fav sites IO9.  Due to premiere on April 1st on Starz, just 16 days before Game of Thrones, the website asked their readers if this will outshine Game of Thrones.   

My opinion:  I don’t think so.

The storyline looks good and I love the fact of a female villan vying for the throne.  However, the plot looks very linear, whereas Game of Thrones has much more plot lines, alterior motives, and conflicts for the mind to digest.  From the looks of this trailer, Game of Thrones seems to have more dynamic characters and more epic fantasy candy than Camelot.

That said, you take a look and let me know what you think!

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Christmas is almost upon us my friends and the holiday madness is only moments from starting!  So I thought it would take this time to share some of the cool artwork from Frederic St-Arnaud an artist I just discoverd after coming across this first picture.  If his work doesn’t get your creative blood going I don’t know what will!

Click to view full size image

Click to view full size image

Click to view full size image

 

Totally awesome huh???!!

All photos courtesy of: http://www.starno.net/

As you know I have been nose deep in world building work for my novel.  I’ve been researching biomes, trees, plants, animals, animals that eat the other animals, rivers, the critters in the rivers – well you get the idea.  World Building is a ton of fun and the more you get into it, the more you’re world comes alive.  It becomes this living and breathing place that exists completely on its own and independent of the story.  I saw my world coming together and the more I got into it, the more engrossed I was in my world.

Though I made excellent progress, I think I got carried away.   I lost sight of my main character.

I read this excellent blog post  on Anna Staniszewski’s Blog about world building through your character and it’s just confirmed what my writing partners hipped me too – you can do all the elaborate tree naming and fruit creating in the world but you can’t forget the person who has to navigate through it.  I got so wrapped up in creating my world that I completely forgot about my main character Damaris.  Even worse, I was overwhelming myself with so many details, not discerning first what was necessary to flesh out and what wasn’t.

So how do you keep from falling into this trap and make your world building more effective?  It all starts with a really simple exercise of free writing.

Take your main character and take him/her through your main city/forest/town/village.  While your character is “talking” to you via first POV keep the following questions in mind:

·         What is the very first thing he notices?

·         What does she smell?  Does it remind her of anything familiar or stir up a memory she would rather not remember?

·         What would he most likely want to buy in the market place?

·         Would she be caught dead in the tavern?

·         What does he think of the common people?  Does he feel at home or are they beneath him?

·         What are some things he has never seen before?  Strange aliens?  Exotic fruits?  Or even centaurs?  How does he react?

·         What does she hate most about this forest?  Too many trees?  Too many bugs?

·         What was the most memorable part of her trip?

I learned so much about my character when I wrote about her visiting the city of Ophira for the first time.  I learned about her favorite places, what she has never seen before, and those places she would rather not go.  Taking that information I was able to tailor my world building to my character’s experiences, using her as a guide to what’s important in my world.

How about you?  How has your main character help your world building?

Photo courtesy of:  gossamerstrands.com

If you remember my last post, it was all about dreaming – dreaming of attaining the goals and successes you want in order to get through the rough times of writing life.  After seeing the extended trailer for this upcoming HBO show Game of Thrones, I was even more inspired and motivated.  I mean this series looks so awesome and if this author could pull it off, then why can’t I?  Could their be an extended trailer for my Children of Epsilon series for HBO in the a few years?  Why not?  Go big or go home, right?  🙂

If you’ve read my world building post from last week, you can get a glimpse of the writing frustrations I’ve been experiencing lately.  Because I did my worldbuilding half ass before writing my novel, I’m paying the consequences by having to go back and start from square one.  It’s been three weeks now and though I’ve been working quite diligently, I’m not even close to where I need to be.  Just when I think I’m done with one aspect, another funky one shows itself and I’m like “Aaaah!”  With every new tree I make up, another scene in my book will face the editing ax. I mean, I knew this was going to be work but geez!  It seems like my whole novel might have to be redone – one that took me two years to write in the first place!

Please point me to the nearest wall so I can bang my head into it.

Last night I found myself getting a little depressed about it. The more I seem to work, the larger my manuscript hole is getting and for the first time in a very long time I found myself asking, “Is all of this really worth it?  Did I get in over my head?  Will I ever get done with this thing? Am I even good enough to do this?”  The doubt monster was working crazy overtime last night and my funk was only getting worse.

Please, please show me that wall….wait a minute…

I had to stop myself from engaging in my head banging (followed by a pity party and the temper tantrum of “I’m done with this piece of ****).  I had to do that one thing that has kept me going this far with my book.  This particular “thing” has me attending my 4-hour long writing meetings, reading my favorite writing blogs every day, researching until my eyes bleed, and writing that damn first chapter over and over.

I have to start dreaming again.

Dreaming of HBO, Showtime, or heck, Universal Pictures knocking on my door wanting to option my book for a movie or cable TV series.

Dreaming of people going to MegaCon, ComicCon, and all the other Cons dressed up as my characters.

Dreaming of being on panel discussions on fantasy literature at major writing conventions

Okay, I’ll be a tad more realistic!

Dreaming of seeing my book on the book shelf along side other notable fantasy authors.

Dreaming of showing my future children that their mom set out to do what she always wanted to do.

Dreaming of where I want to be damn sure helps me get through all the frustrations, doubts, and fears that come with the writer’s territory.  And that my friends, is what kept me from banging my head into oblivion and keep it moving.

What has kept you pushing through you tough writing moments?

Photo courtesy of:   domesticdivinity.blogspot.com

bellevuepublicschools.org

After fighting my POV monster, I must admit that my manuscript is looking so much better!  I’m still going through and chopping, rewriting, and reordering scenes and chapters and all of them are going pretty smooth.  But this wasn’t so bad, at least not as bad as writing the first chapter.

Why is that first chapter so freakin hard?  You would think the middle would be an issue, due to the fact that it’s where your climax dwells.  The end I thought would be hassle only because if my book ended on a sour note, it would make reading everything before it a waste of time.  But no, the first chapter has been the bane of my existence ever since I started this novel two years ago.  At this point, I could probably make a novel out of my chapter 1 rewrites! 

After thinking about this for a little bit, I have come up with a reason why the first chapter can seem like the hardest:  It’s called:

Chapter 1 Pressure

What is this pressure exactly?  It’s the pressure to hook your reader in the first three pages.  It’s the pressure to introduce your main character, your setting, and the conflict, while making your reader actually care about your story.  It’s the pressure of not dumping back story but give your reader just enough information to keep them reading.  As a fantasy writer, it’s the pressure of not boring my reader with tons of details about my new world but letting them know that this story doesn’t take place on planet Earth BUT not confuse the mess out of them either!  First impressions are often lasting impressions and this is my first novel.  If the first chapter totally sucks, the rest of it doesn’t even matter.

So how do you get over this Chapter 1 Pressure?

Well after you have a glass of wine (or mixed drink of you prefer), just write the damn thing.  Write it knowing that it will probably stink the first go around and it will take you a few tries to get it right (and you still may not like it!).  You have to get over that hump and take your novel to the end of the line, i.e the end.  When I finished my first draft and saw where my story ended up, it made rewriting the first chapter a lot less painful.  That’s because:

I knew where my destination was.  I knew where my main character Damaris would end up plot wise as well as in her emotional development.  As for plot, I have already written the climax and resolution of the plot of this book by finishing it.  Now I can go back and make sure the first chapter doesn’t start too far away from the climax.  That alone helped me eliminate a ton of back story.  When it comes to my main character, Damaris is on the verge of being a total bad ass at the end of this book, so I have to make sure she’s the naïve and sweet little girl in the first chapter. 

I know more about my world now. In the beginning, you can do all of your world building to a T, but I learned firsthand that during the course of writing the story, certain things have changed.  I also took opportunities to introduce new things about my world Epsilon through other chapters, scenes, and character exchanges.  Therefore, I had a better grasp of how much the setting I need to explain without a massive info dump – which is a chapter 1 no-no.

Have any of you writers had this much trouble with your first chapters?  I would love to hear how you dealt with it!

Fighting the POV Monster

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

 

Last week has been one of the roughest writing weeks for me – EVER! 

I had a great friend of mine do a critique of the first chapter of my novel and one issue she pointed out to me related to POV (Point of View).  Up until a certain point and even after a certain point, my story was being told in Third Person Limited, or, through my main character’s eyes only.  I thought it would help maintain a level of suspense in my story as well as have my reader go along and discover my world with my main character.

However, as I was going along, I realized that I was doing some head hopping, or revealing what a supporting character felt, quite often.  So my first method of attack was to just eliminate all of that head-hopping all together.  What I was left with was a dull, shell of a story.

The POV monster totally kicked my ass.

After a day of doing some serious (yet unnecessary) panicking and (figuratively) beating my head up against the wall, I did some reasearch into POV and I realized that for my story and consequently my epic, I needed to expand my point of view.  Instead of my book being told through one point of view, I would tell it through a few of the main characters points of view.

I got that POV monster dazed a bit with that punch.

To not have my reader confused, I only changed POV with a new chapter, with my main character having a few more chapters in her POV than the others.  So I basically had to break my novel down, start some major rewrites of my chapters, and give my supporting characters a lot more depth and a lot more story to them while keeping the focus around the main character.

The POV monster is about to fall.

It took me all of last week plus all day Sunday to get through three chapters.  But, I’m seeing my story take on more life and have more depth because through other actors I was able to reveal a lot more about by world and how my main character was perceived by others that I wasn’t able to do before.  Is it a lot of work rewriting some of my chapters from another POV?  Hell yeah, but it was all worth it!

The POV monster is down for the count.  I totally kicked it’s ass!

Have you had any serious issues with POV?  How did you overcome your POV monster?

I’ve finally fallen back into reading for pleasure again and with all these new books I plan on reading and writing about, (such as this one I reviewed last week) I can’t forget about those books that made me fall in love with the sci-fi and fantasy genres in the first place!  When I was kid through high school, I read a lot!  I took a lot of english literature courses and had such awesome teachers who taught me how to truly appreciate the classics.  I learned from reading those books how plot structure worked and what it meant to have fully developed and relatable characters.  The stories are timeless and whenever I sit down to write, it’s always my goal to have my work be just that.

So here is an ode to my five favorite science fiction and fantasy books that always hold a special place in my heart!

*all summaries are courtesy of Goodreads.com!

 

amazon.com

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle:

Meg’s father mysteriously disappears after experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel. Determined to rescue him, Meg and her friends must outwit the forces of evil on a heart-stopping journey through space and time. A commemorative edition with an Introduction by the author. A Newbery Medal winner.
 
I identified with Meg so much and I’ve read this book twice already.  I also have the other two book in the trilogy in an awesome box set.  Though the concept of time travel was a little hard to grasp the first time around, I appreciated the second time!  This book never gets old and I will probably pick the book back up and read it again!
 
 
 
 
 

amazon.com

Beowulf

 
Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel’s mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.” “Drawn to what he has called the “four-squareness of the utterance” in Beowulf and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.
 
I read this book in high school in the Middle English version.  That alone was a challenge but once I got through it, I totally loved the story.  It is a classic epic story with Grendel as the menacing monster, his mother a wicked and conniving temptress, and a hero who seeks nothing but glory.  It doesn’t get more fantasy than that!
 
 

sfgate.com

1984 by George Orwell

 
Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a “Negative Utopia,” watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.
 
The scariest version of reality TV with Big Brother always watching and people waging a war they know nothing about.  I did my first literary analysis on this book my senior year of high school devling into the underlying concepts, meanings, and uses of symbolism, I truly appreciated this work that I would have otherwise found rather daunting to read.  I may revisit this book again.  I mean its 2010 and the concepts this book explores aren’t that far away from real life!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 
The epic battle between man and monster reaches its greatest pitch in the famous story of Frankenstein. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor himself to the very brink. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship …and horror.

Forget the commercialized version of Frankenstein because this one was downright scary!  I can still remember the scenes of Victor gathering dead body parts!  This story sent chills up my spine, taking me on Victor’s journey to absolute madness!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Animal Farm by George Orwell
 
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned–a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
 
Orwell makes this list again because behind this seemingly children’s story are underlying themes, ideas, and concepts that are utterly fantastic. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your turn!  What are you favorite classic books?

Music is a huge inspiration to me when it came to writing this novel.  I literally have a playlist on my IPOD that’s filled with songs that evoke the words, feelings, and moods of my novel, depending on which part I’m writing.  The last one from the Prince of Persia went along perfectly with a romantic scene I wrote in Damaris. This time around, we’re going to take things up a notch with this video for the song Night by Disturbed.  I listened to this song a lot while writing this excerpt below because it takes about the mental changes my main character goes through.  Her connection to the Epsilian God Eros (the God of Fire, Lust, and Passion) manifests itself through her dreams.  This dream sequence is the last one she has before she realizes who she is and before the whole world of Epsilon is turned on it’s head!

Damaris.

She opened her eyes to find herself at the steps of Eros’s temple in the City.  At its entrance were two big golden urns, each one overflowing with flames.  Its smoke just added to the ominous fog that surrounded her.   Emerging from the temple entrance was the same figure in the red and gold cloak, its face still hidden.

Damaris.

It extended its arm out in front of it, exposing a dark, shadowing hand.

Damaris

She was slowly walking up the steps, the fog slowly turning to flames.

Damaris

She was just a few steps away from it now, its hand still a shadow.  The air was ablaze all around them but Damaris couldn’t feel its heat.

Damaris….it is time.

The voice was crystal clear now, it’s feminine voice strangely familiar. She took its hand and they both disappeared in the flames.

 

Follow Friday #4

Posted: October 22, 2010 in Follow Friday
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OMG – Friday couldn’t come fast enough!  This week has been such a madhouse between my day job and managing the social media for the up and coming self publishing company Visual Adjectives.  I’ve also been schooling myself on the writing biz by listening to some great podcasts (which I promise to post about next week so hold tight!)

If you’re new to Follow Friday, this is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View.  Make sure to check it out if you want to participate!

This week’s question:
What are you currently reading? Basically, what book is that?
Well I just finished Punish the Sinners by John Saul this week (which was wicked awesome and I promise to review it!)  So now I’m reading the Lord Protector’s Daughter by L.E Modesitt.  I’ve haven’t read anything from this author before but I’m a few pages in and I’m already intrigued by the setting descriptions alone.  So I’m enjoying it so far!
Here’s some info about the book, courtesy of Goodreads!
The Lord-Protector's Daughter (Corean Chronicles)

Photo courtesy of: Amazon.com

The Lord-Protector’s Daughter is a standalone fantasy novel that takes place in Tempre, the capital city of Lanachrona on Corus, the world of Modesitt’s Corean Chronicles. Mykella, the eldest daughter of the Lord-Protector of Lanachrona, discovers that someone is diverting significant sums of money from her father’s treasury. One of the ancient soarers appears to Mykella, telling her that she must go to the antique stone Table in the cellars of the Palace and find her Talent in order to save her land and her world.
From there, matters become more perilous. There are attempts to remove Mykella and her sisters from Tempre by marrying them off to lords in neighboring lands, and fatal and near fatal accidents occur to members of her family and trusted retainers. While Mykella develops a solid idea of who stands behind it all, every attempted solution is used to discredit her. How can she save their father and land?

Have any of you guys read it? Am I in for a treat?