Writing unsure


As a writer I get to put a lot on the page. Emotions, beliefs, imaginings and so much more. At the moment as you know I am working on the next in the Saga of Loralil Greyfox boos. A Fragile Peace: Found picks up after the ending of Revenge is a more emotional book than the first two. Writing the journey Loralil needs to go through to become an adventurer is something I didn’t expect to be quite so difficult.

When writing the inner emotions of a character you actually have to delve into your our beliefs and understanding of the emotions. Not that I understand truly how this character feels. She has been cut off entirely from any family due to death. Lots of death and that is always a fun topic.

Working on the traveling sequence I realize that you can’t have a fantasy quest type story without a lot of creatures dropping in to visit, fight and probably die. So I am currently trying to deal with those sequences.

One of the important things is to make your creatures recognizable without having them be too cliche. I was going to use bugbears for a monster attack and realized that they are both cliche and not what I remembered them to be. One of the things in fantasy writing is that the monster creatures evolve. Bugbears have been around for a very long time. In fact they are based off of old Germanic boogymen tales. Centuries ago mothers would tell their children to behave or the bugbear would get them. Just a wee bit too cliche don’t you think?

So instead I have turned to a different monster. Still a bear but one that thanks to a twisted mage in the past is actually a cross between a bear and an owl. I am sure you can see the potential of such a monster.

The fact that these are truly monsters means that not everyone who goes up against them will survive. Sad but true but you can’t keep everyone in the party alive till the end of the book. Currently I am working on the aftermath of that encounter. Coming up with funeral rites for two different cultures is a little confusing but I can’t wait to see where it goes.

While I admit that working on this part is coming slowly but once I do finish up the writing part it actually reads really well. Here is hoping I can get more done and move into the Spine mountains. I all ready have a plan for the traveling through the mountains to Tal’shin.

Happy Victoria Day Everyone!


Well started out the morning working on A Fragile Peace Found. Managed to put in three pages of new text before going out for a walk. I do plan on a lot more typing today but I wanted to get out into the sunlight and enjoy the day before the rain moves in.

Today I will be adding in those fun tertiary characters that happen in any quest type fiction. You know what I mean right? Those people that the hero meets along the way that make an impact but are not around for more than a chapter or three. These are not random villains but basically NPCs who are there for background information and exposition. Also you can think of them as guides to your reader exploring new environments your characters are walking into.

As I have Loralil and her companions riding through the Forest of Calyn I have of course dealt with the random bandit/slavers all ready. Those low lives who think that random travelers are, to put it in a modern vernacular, ATMs. They have been fought and dealt with. Now it is time to bring in those others who live in the Forest.

See I have of course a number of small settlements in the large forest. Those that are along the King’s road are generally a mix of humans and other races running inns for the travelers. But as my companions are no longer on the King’s road they will run into those who don’t like travelers in their part of the woods.

Just how difficult they will be is yet to be seen of course. Yes, they are wood Elves, and yes Loralil is part Wood Elf, but the three tribes of elves rarely work together. The fact that Loralil if half wood elf, half High elf and all Grey Elf should make things interesting. Will they be intrigued? Will they be disgusted? We shall see.

And that is the fun of writing. We get to decide just how the races in our world interact. This is a fantasy world with filled with many different races. The morality of the different peoples will of course be a mix of some modern ideals and more medieval ideals. As I am not at the moment tossing in a heavy religious overtone to this tale, don’t expect to have that impact much…or maybe I will? You never know.

I have a lot of heavy slogging to go to get to the ending that I have all ready written. So we shall see what happens.

Spring has sprung for real thankfully


Well I have been a both busy and lazy lately. Last week I just wasn’t feeling up to writing my blogs, instead I just read and read and read and read….yup did the thing that makes us the best of authors.

Every writer needs to read. Because we need to see what else is out there. Not just in the field we write but what else the world likes. Now we need to read not just our genre, but as many genres as we can. I tend to delve into fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, mystery, western, the occasional biography, manga and of course comic books.

Yes folks I mentioned illustrated work. See the truth is manga and comic books is a great source of writing. While they don’t have to go into the world setting like we do, describing everything. They do have to give you depth to the characters to make you care enough to buy the next issue.

For example I will pick one of my all time favorite comic book series, Elfquest. Now I started reading this way way way back (1982) yes that far back. When it was coming out about three or four times a year in this huge format. It was stylish, intense and well written. The characters were very diverse (yes all those elves each had personalities) It dealt with racism, violence, love, tenderness and so much more. The fact that they are doing a current series that ties up many of the threads that have been made in the various issues shows how long a series can endure. The Pinis (author and artist) have taken us along for a very long ride and managed to keep us determined to read every last word.

As an author I only hope to write a story that can have people still reading it thirty years later. It is something I think most authors dream of. In this world of needing to sell the most, the biggest total we forget that we aren’t writing to make the most money, we are writing to tell a story and to hopefully find people who love our words.

I of course have been writing since I was young. With working on my oldest character’s next set of books, I am bringing people back around to reading a character who means a lot to me. Loralil is a huge part of me. While no, I am not a 4’10” sexy silver haired warrior/bard elf, I have grown as a person and a writer along with her. I have dealt with some of my own internal fears by writing her and I will continue to do so. Every writer will have that one character who means more to them than the rest. In my case it is her. So you gentle readers. Do any of you have characters the you find more Interesting than the rest?

Getting back into the saddle


As a lot of you know I have been blocked lately. Having trouble writing is nothing new. Everything author goes through times like that. I have gone from writing pages and pages a day down to years between. This time it was not so much life and kids blocking me but a lack of drive for a lot of things. Yesterday I sat down and I am happy to say Loralil has finally started talking to me again.

As my oldest character there are so many tales that she has to tell but she gets a wee bit stubborn from time to time about the details of these tales. Well yesterday I managed to get almost up to 11K words in her newest tale.

This picks up just months after the end of Revenge and as I have said before it is not as action heavy (so far) as it was before. I am at the moment trying to decide if I will stop this story when she reaches the Grey elven city or if I will just keep going. I have two parts. A Fragile Peace is the story and the first part is Found…the second is Broken and it takes place fifteen years later. So most likely this will be two stories, either novella length or novel, we will see.

Now one of the things that is helping is I finally did a rough map of Loralil’s world. Okay really just of the Kingdom that she is currently in. Based very roughly on my old home state I have three mountain ranges, Three rivers, a massive forest, A inland sea, a fen, a swamp and various town and cities. I haven’t detailed things like the grasslands and plains between the other places. The fun part is after the research I did on how fast you normally travel via horseback or with a pony cart I can estimate how long travel will take from place to place.

This is important folks. Even when you write fantasy like I do, you need to do your research. Writing stories set in the horse and buggy times travel will take so much longer than you realize. Never mind fun things like what type of horse could carry a Minotaur! (Yes in my fantasy world Minotaurs and intelligent farmers who rider horseback…on those huge draft horses that are practically extinct in our modern world.

Also one of the things I will be working on today is a cover for an erotic fantasy that I will be releasing. Now this is not light on the erotic side. There is a lot of steamy sex before I even introduce the true fantasy elements in this tale. I do plan on doing a bunch of these, not a tale type for the general reader of my work. I have written a lot of erotica that is either sweet or very wild. I have a very small following for those tales and I will be putting them out as I get them edited to completion. If you are looking for something hot and steamy with a touch of fantasy elements, then this will be for you. The title is “It was a Dark and Stormy night”” Yes a cliche but it works in the story.

Another thing I am looking at doing is some free complete stories over on either my website or on Wattpad. I have not seen a lot of attention over there, so I am hoping to get some attention for my work.

Back to diversity research


This morning I spotted an interesting video on facebook about the changing face of male beauty around the world. Yes I said male. We all want to have a good looking, sexy male in our book to bring in the readers. But back to the video. In this they went through countries around the world and showed what was the current trend in the various countries. Every one of them was buff, mostly hairless on their chests/bellies and had thick hair, mostly dark and yes most of them are lighter of skin tone. Though there was more diversity than you would expect. The ones from India, South Korea and Nigeria were interesting to me.

Now for the research part. You see after watching the video, getting tired of all the comments that I see online and on tv, I wanted to see just what is the biggest racial group and this is what I found. It isn’t white (we knew that). it isn’t black (no matter what they say), it isn’t Latino (really folk it isn’t), the largest racial group in the world with 18% of the over 7Billion people on this plaent, is Han Chinese! The old rumor of the Chinese taking over the world from when I was growing up is close to true if you look at the numbers. The next largest group is those of Indian (from India that is) descent. So the two biggest groups are of the Asian world.

Now I have written characters who were of Japanese descent, native American descent, a few of African descent and a lot of course of Irish/Scottish (my own personal racial group). We do write what we know of course. I write characters that I want to read.

My question for reader this week is what do you want to read? When it comes to a hero does he need to be tall, dark and handsome? Have a square jaw, 12 pack of abs and more muscles than brains? Or can we do real men? Ones who might be short or thin or fat, pale or darker ?

The links for the research I did are these

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_world

http://www.queerty.com/heres-how-the-male-standard-of-beauty-changes-around-the-world-20150319?utm_source=bb82&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=malebeauty&ts_pid=2&ts_pid=2   This is the video

Getting stuck


Every writer goes through times when we get stuck. Some call it writer’s block and stop writing. Others move on to something different. We are all different and all have ways to cope.

Generally I move back and forth between things when I get stuck. If one character won’t tell me where the story is supposed to go I move onto another. Problem is that for the past month I seem to be stuck period.

I am hoping that things will loosen up again. I have some story things moving around in my head. A set of two different new characters and stories that might go somewhere but just not sure where.

Now this tiny bit is part of a post end of the world tale. Most of the stuff I have been watching seems to take place right after the world crashes. This is obviously from much later.

***

It’s been ten years since everything collapsed. The old world ended pretty messily.
There were monsters of mankind’s making, both living and dead. Things were pretty bad for a long time, but nothing can last forever.

While the big cities had turned into wastelands or war zones, there were still places out in the world that were barely touched by the madness that had descended. Places that had been hidden so well that they looked like a part of the natural world around them.

***

Now this one I actually have six pages of but here is the first two paragraphs of a new urban fantasy tale with an elder protagonist.

***

They say that the talent for magic appears at puberty. That the strongest practitioners would show signs from birth that they will be great and powerful. They tell you that if you have not shown ability by the time you graduate high school that you might as well just become an accountant.

I showed no sign of that gift. At puberty I was too busy helping to care for my younger siblings to even take the tests. When I graduated high school it was decided that I should marry and pass on my genes to another generation. So I started having babies, one every two years till I had six children to care for, all girls. A regular stay at home wife and mother and expected to stay that way.

***

Just two little bits from my most current WIPs.  Now hopefully I can get them to move on.

Diversity in writing and research


Okay something has been bothering me a bit lately. There is a huge hue and cry about diversity in writing lately. That we as writers are not doing our job by writing diverse characters in our books. That we need to write less white characters and more of everything else.

Now as a writer who put characters in my books of all kinds this had me thinking for a bit if I was doing enough. Guess what? I am.

I decided to pull up the most recent census data for both the US and Canada. Why both? Well I am an American living in Canada so it made sense right? When it comes to my home country the figures surprised me a bit. The break down of races in the US is a lot less than people try to tell you. I have put more diversity in my books than there really are in the US.

Well you see in the US 77% of the population is that dreaded color, white (yeah like me) so it is 23% that breaks down the rest of the wonderful colors of people who live in the states. The black, the brown, the yellow and the red…or more accurately those of Asian decent, African descent, Latino or Hispanic descent and of course those of Native descent.

In Canada, my adopted country, the break down is even most white. In fact if you look at the breakdown the next largest group is those of Native decent. Interesting because Canada seems more racially diverse when you look at the shows and news.

In most cases when you are reading a book the character’s clothing is described but not always their face. You have no idea if the character is a beautiful caramel skinned goddess or so pale that they glow in the dark (my skin tone!)

If we go on to describe our characters in our books, it is because we want you to see the character as we see them. From the rich mahogany of her skin to the deep sapphire of his eyes we want you to see our character.

Now for other diversities. Yes, most characters I write are straight. It is what I know and of course we write what we know. Writing LGBT characters takes research to get right. I want them to be right, not a caricature of what I think they are. I will work toward good ones I hope.

But what about those who are not as physically able? Now in my work I have a lot of action, so I haven’t yet written a handicapped character but that will be coming. As a writer who is slowly growing older I am finding my joints are stopping me from doing things I want to do. This will help me write but like everything, I will need more research so as to not insult those who are less physically able than I am.

And finally there are two types of diversity that we don’t see enough of. That of strong characters who are neither sexy/thin or under the age of 35. I admit I have fallen into the trap of writing a lot of characters that are around 25-40 and are all in the sexy/buff build.  We write them because we want our books to sell but since I mostly don’t write romances why should I do this? I mean what is wrong with a strong big bodied woman who happens to be a grandmother?

I think there is an audience out there that would be glad to read about that woman. So why not write her? It couldn’t do worse than any other of my books right?

Try doing this readers and writers, put in a character that is not common to your work and really write them. Don’t just make them the background, make them your main character. Don’t make them a teenager in an adults body. Write a nicely rounded adult character with all the wisdom that they earned by making it to adulthood and even grandparenthood.

Who Is – Lisa Williamson?


Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

Today I bring you my friend Lisa Williamson.  A talented author with several different genres, all terrific.  She is also a fantastic cover artist.

Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson is a writer of odd cross genre fictional stories. With dozens of short stories, novellas and novels her fantastic worlds span the genres of fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, erotica and horror.

Her first publication was in the beginning of the Ebook movement with a short story and poetry collection from the 1990s. Writing in themes of self discovery, she mixes myths and legends from various cultures with a mystical bent. No matter that genre there will be a touch of romance, a sprinkle of nontraditional religions and a dash of enlightenment. He stories strive to let the reader open their mind to the wonder of the world around and within us.

Born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, she is currently living…

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Another week and just how much action does a book need?


Well I am finally getting moving on with Fragile Peace. The past week had me thinking how much action does a novel need?

Depending on the type of novel there is a large amount of leeway when it comes to action. I have had a few reviewers tell me that I had too much and others saying I did not have enough. So the balance is important.

In the case of action, genre plays a huge part. What would seem too much for a romance would be too little in military novel. A space tale needs things that a comedy would not. And that is all well and good but what is too much for a fantasy novel and what is too little?

I generally try to put in three action sequences in a novel. Yes I have put in more but i try not to do less. These sequences are what help the novel move along with a solid pace and style. In fantasy we have the luxury of doing both weapons action and magic action. Depending on the type of fantasy you are doing the weapons action can be very different.

Research is the key to getting things right. Writing scenes with a single character fighting lets you focus on style. Does your hero/heroine fight with a sword? A pair of daggers? A staff? Or something other?

I have written mostly sword or staff wielding characters. This comes from some personal experience but mostly from doing my due dilligence and researching. Things like anime, movies, tv shows help in ways you can use. Watching them will let you know how the bodies should move but one thing you need to do is research the weapons you plan on using. Knowing how much a sword ways or what side the edge of a blade has.  It makes fora more believable tale if you make sure that your character is using their weapon correctly. Having a five foot tall thing woman wielding a six foot battle axe might seem like something interesting but it it just is not at all realistic.

Now you might say realistic? This is fantasy, we don’t need no realistic! Well you do. If you want to have more than a handful of people reading your tales, you need to keep things close to realistic.

So if you can’t watch real sword fights there are a lot of resources out there. One of the best in my opinion is the SCA or the society for creative anachronism. This group is a bunch of people recreating and acting out things like sword fights and tournaments. While they are not in most cases using live steel they are doing actual sword fights. By watching them or even participating, you will get an idea how to move and how to write your action.

If you can’t find one of these groups then try going to a local dojo. If you ask them most will allow you to watch the classes. Some might even let ask questions. the more advanced classes will be using weapons like staves or the staff if you don’t know the word.

So make sure your action is believable and make sure you don’t over due it. While a lot of battles can be interesting to a same group, too many will leave you with no place to take your characters. Balance out your action and your development and you will have a very good tale.