Would-be writers of fantasy often assume that fantasy worlds are easier to write than stories of the everyday. They also assume that in fantasy, you can ignore all the rules that govern the writing of non-genre fiction. This isn’t strictly true. You may be able to break the laws of physics in your book, but break laws of story at your peril…
1: Build a world that your reader wants to visit - that is, that satisfies an as-yet unfulfilled desire - for instance, freedom; adventure; exploration; the ability to break the rules and conventions of the society we inhabit. This does not necessarily mean an ideal world - dreams and fantasies are often dark and challenging, hence the amount of fantasy dealing with war, conflict, apocalypse (all cathartic experiences, viewed from the security of the printed page).
2. Set down your rules, and stick to them. It’s fine to break the laws of physics in fantasy literature, but you do need to show consistency. If you’re writing a world in which magic works, you need to establish the laws of magic. Is it something innate? Can it be learnt? Are runes, incantations, spells, potions involved? Even fantasy needs to have its own internal logic, otherwise the suspension of disbelief becomes impossible.
3. Seek emotional realism. Whatever the setting of your story, at its heart lies a human connection between reader and writer. Fantasy speaks to us on a deeply emotional level, dealing with subconscious wish-fulfilment and the exorcism of personal demons. Just because this is fantasy doesn’t mean it can’t be emotionally real. Use your own experience to make your feelings work for you.
4. Make your characters human at heart. That means creating empathy between them and the reader - whether they are elves, wolves, rabbits, dwarves, anthropomorphic space machines or aliens from the planet Targ.
5. Archetype, not stereotype. With such a strong foundation in folk-tale and fairy story, it’s easy to confuse the difference between archetype and stereotype. The first is an expression of the hidden dreams and desires of the human subconscious, articulated through traditional figures in story. The second, a gateway to cliche. Avoid.
6. Give familiar tales a twist. Don’t be afraid of breaking traditional conventions, of rewriting legends, or taking folk tales and making them yours. They are yours. They are also mine, and everyone else’s. You (and I, and we) have the right to tell them any way we like. Traditional stories need to evolve and grow in order to stay alive. Own them, and make them live.
7. Find out what makes your society tick. Does your fantasy world run on money? Magic? Tribal interactions? Philosophy? Slavery? Religion? War? Is there a king? A government? Gods? How do these things affect your characters and their journey through the narrative?
8. Think about the details. Every country or fantasy world has sayings, food, folk-tales, dress, weather, weapons, slang, customs, smells, plants, birds. Without writing a guide book, try to immerse yourself (and your reader) into this new environment. Just because it’s fantasy doesn’t mean it can’t be real.
9. Don’t confuse fake with fantasy. That means getting your facts right if you want to write about authentic-sounding weapons, ships, armour or other quasi-historical details. Sound research into these things makes for more convincing fantasy.
10. There’s more to this than Middle-Earth. With infinite worlds to choose from, your inspiration doesn’t always have to come from mediaeval England. In the same way, urban fantasy doesn’t always have to be set in New York. Vary your landscapes; expand your horizons.
- Wind down. The stress of the day stays in your system until you give yourself time to detox. Do something relaxing, even if that means scrolling a few pages on your dash – but be careful, because Tumblr and other social media sites are time thieves. Two hours later, you’ll realize you’re on page twenty of your dash and still on page 1 of your story.
- Wind up. Spend some time getting yourself into the mood. Look at awesome art, play the right music for the right scene, doodle, even if your doodles suck. Sometimes windup time is also taking a shower or folding the laundry – mindless chores where you can let yourself immerse your brain in your story and get excited again.
- First drafts suck. “I wrote too much of [thing]” or “My opening is just not working” or “I hate every word of it” are all legitimate thoughts, but leave all that in the past. It’s done. When you finish, you can go back and revise all you want (and you might even find that the beginning isn’t as bad as you initially thought). What matters is not the quality, but finishing. Give yourself permission to suck.
- Gain momentum. For me, the first few minutes of writing are absolutely agonizing. Focusing is pretty much a physical strain, but once I’ve forced myself to focus for a good ten minutes, the next time I look up from writing, it’s dark outside. Let yourself get started before you get frustrated or distracted.
- The beginning slump. Openings are always the worst part for me, and by “opening”, I mean the first few chapters. All I want is to be completely submerged in the story, and the opening is far from that. But once I labor through these first few chapters, I find myself writing a lot more proficiently with fewer agonized groans.
- The post-beginning slump. For others, the slump happens after the opening chapters are finished. The shiny newness of the story is gone, and now we face being married to these characters and this story until the end. Find ways to keep yourself interested in your story, if that means simply writing through the agony or transforming your outline to make it fun again. Sometimes the scenes we don’t want to write are scenes that drag the story anyway.
- When you’re stuck, outline. When we hit the “Now what?” problem, sometimes that stops us from moving forward. I get to a point of “I didn’t plan this out as thoroughly as I should have,” and then it’s easy for me to get distracted by other things instead of figuring out the perplexing problem. Oftentimes, I’ll take a moment to outline each step I need in order to clear the problem, using it as a guide to conquer the scene.
- Don’t edit. It’s easy to get caught up in wondering what we’ve written, wanting to take a step back and look at it, but then we chance getting caught up in fixing things that don’t need fixing until the revision process. It’s like productive procrastinating, but it’s definitely not building your word count the way actually writing can. That being said –
- Reread. I used to reread in order to get my brain back into the story, and I allowed myself only micro-edits here and there. Rereading can work for some writers, revving the fingers for plenty of words, but it can also work against other writers who might have trouble with confidence in what they write. Figure out what helps you versus what hurts you.
- Read. If rereading doesn’t work, try simple reading, but read something that’ll get going that drive to write, something that inspires that absolute need to type a million words into your story.
- Write with someone. Word sprints and word marathons are good ways to keep up morale. If nothing else, having a writing buddy to whine with about writing woes is always good for morale. But –
- Don’t compare your word count to others. I can write for long periods of time, but just about all of my writing friends can write nearly twice as fast as I can. I’m a slow writer (and a slow reader, actually), but my writing stamina has built up over the course of a decade. You’re not in the same place in your life that others are, so set the goals that are right for you, not for them.
- Give yourself permission to fail. If you only write a couple hundred words in a day, that’s okay. That’s a couple hundred words you didn’t have before, and if you write a couple hundred words every day, you’ll have a few pages by the end of the week. If you don’t write any words in a day, that’s okay. Tomorrows are not the same as yesterdays. You don’t know what you’ll do until you’ve done it.
Apocalyptic by Nuclear Snail Studios
Okay, I was trying to ignore this, but I can’t:
Third picture, is that a gas mask for that guy’s crotch?
iammissanna asked: I struggle with anxiety and occasional depression. After seeing a therapist for about a year and a half, I was able to move out of a damaging environment, and start taking Lexapro, which have all helped my mood drastically. However, I still have problems with low energy/"motivation" (i.e. the ability to actually bring myself to get up and do something I know I need to do). My parents want to look into other medications that can help with that, but I have never heard of any. Have you?
Well, first of all, Lexapro isn’t the only med for depression - since it helped you so much, it’s possible that a different SSRI (same med family) might help even MORE. There are also some options, like adding an atypical antipsychotic (Abilify, for example) that help with the residual parts of the depression. Some doctors might also try prescribing a stimulant for that but I’m not a huge fan of that idea…
Thanks! I’ll see if I can talk to my parents/doctors, and talk about maybe trying some things.
Anonymous asked: How would you describe dissociation to people who don't have it or understand what it is? I really want to know because my sister was just diagnosed and I'm trying to understand it better.
dissociation is basically (in simple terms) when someone feels a disconnection between their emotions and physical state. Often when people dissociate they don’t really feel aware of whats going on around them and may feel like they’re not really fully present.
Dissociation presents differently for everyone so I think the best way for you to understand what your sister feels and is going through is to simply ask her. She’ll be able to best describe what she’s going through and what will help her when she dissociates. I think that would mean a lot to her that you’re trying to understand it better by asking her.
I’ve been recently trying to figure out if this is something I do. When I hear a description like this, part of me goes, “oh yes absolutely that happens when you’re having an anxiety attack,” and part of me goes, “no you don’t, you’re just making it bigger than it is so you can have a new word to use.” And I really don’t know how to tell without the ability to allow someone else to get inside my head and experience the world the way I do…
Like, what’s the difference between dissociating, and just being “in my head”? If I’m thinking a lot, and I sort of stop paying conscious attention to my physical surroundings but am still subconsciously aware enough not to run into things/crash my car/etc., does that count? Or is that just daydreaming? Because that sounds like it fits the description, but it happens all the time, and I was always under the impression it was completely normal, and happened to everyone constantly. Although when I “zone out” in the middle of a conversation, it does tend to annoy some people and they don’t always accept my explanation that it’s not a conscious choice and I can’t help when it happens. That I often don’t even notice it’s happening until somebody tries to snap me out of it.
If I’m crying, but my emotional distress has already passed, and I am just sort of sitting there getting bored and wondering when I’m going to stop, while still sobbing my eyes out, is that dissociating? I really want to understand this.
Does anyone else have any experience/ways to describe this in more detail to help me figure out if it’s something I’m experiencing? Thanks. <3
what do u call an upperclassman who likes math?
I am still attempting to identify different animals in distress, so if I ever reblog a photo or photoset depicting this can you message me to let me know? I don’t want any kind of images of animals being harmed on my blog.
The Hemsworth brothers, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep star in a 1:00 “Charlie Bit My Finger” spoof
is thiS FOR REAL DID THEY ACTUALY TAKE THE TIME TO DO THIS I CAN NOT HANDLE
What is this and how can I never see it again?Correction: I believe you mean: What is this and How can I discover it’s origins & enjoy it over & over again for all of time.
If this is not an entire ballet devoted to Squirrel Girl, I will be sad.
"aesthetic" is a very good word, important word. "i love the fifties." no you don’t the fifties kinda TOTALLY SUCKED for many human beings in America. "i love fifties aesthetic" well then, awesome. go you with your bright blocks of color and cute skirts and mini jackets and hair poufs.
A very good word used in explaining steampunk, too. Steampunk is not the desire to live in the Victorian Era, it is a love affair with the Victorian aesthetic, but with newer technologies and social ideals tagged onto it.
I’d raise it higher, personally. I could survive on $10.10, probably, but I’m a single person with no spouse or kids to support, and in some areas I’d still need to share an apartment with someone else to cover the rent with that.
But it’d be a start, for sure…
This took me way to long to get. XD
"bench? why is there a bench? wait, that’s not really a bench, it’s a….oooohhhhh….."
im poor ill try it
ooohhh i have to try this
This looks fun. ^_^ but don’t bother with that colby jack nonsense, you need mozzarella. Can’t buy nice expensive mozzarella? Don’t fret, string cheese is made from mozzarella. Just buy some string cheese. :D
And obviously you can change up the fillings however you want.
I bet you could slather a little marinara/pizza/pasta sauce into the dough before you do the rest, too. :3
I can’t tell if the dough is actual pizza dough, or pie dough. But both should be available pre-made at stores.
And for the top seasonings, some salt obviously, maybe some pepper, maybe some red pepper flakes if you’re feeling gutsy, and then dried oregano or “Italian Herbs” which you can usually get premixed at the grocery store pretty easily.
And don’t forget to slather the tops with a little milk and/or beaten egg to make the seasonings stick and make the color gorgeous.
Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view.
And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone.
When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.’
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