Renee Writes

Posts in category Weekly Fantasy Fix

Weekly Fantasy Fix: Death in Fantasy Stories

 

Valar morghulis — all men must die. Very rarely do we ever read a story where the mortality of the characters does not concern the specific piece of art or literature being shared. Even in children’s books and movies, death often can play a central role. I think this awareness of our own mortality is something that speaks to many readers while providing a believable dilemma for any given story. It bespeaks to an inescapable truth that we all will die, and offers the question as to what that means to us. Is the death worthy? Does it need to be? And what choices do we have between our first breath and our last?

This is really the mentality many fantasy writers grasp during the process of telling their story, right? The decisions that the characters make in the course of their fictional lives defines them and their legacy, whether you actually kill the character in the book or not. BUT, when you do choose to kill any character (from the significant to the mundane), is it done to highlight the character and choices they made?

See, I get frustrated when fantasy stories include easy rescues for the heroes in order to keep the plot moving forward. This is one of the reasons I like Martin’s Game of Thrones; he simply isn’t afraid to eliminate a character, and he will always find a way to carry on with life (aka, the story). The threat of death is real in his stories, and even heroes can die. This realism makes readers think about issues like death and about how unpredictable life can be. This is a central theme that resonates with me. What themes will resonate with your readers?

As writers, we must understand death is a subject that makes people uncomfortable, and although our stories will tell of death, it should be done with purpose. People have emotional reactions to fictional character deaths. Some come to fiction to escape the concerns of their everyday life, but this is a certain avenue–especially in fantasy–that can rarely be escaped. And, when confronted with the sudden death of a beloved character, viewers and readers are jarred into dealing with the uncertainty of their own life.

How will you approach this topic, and what message will you tell?

Joshua Robertson, CEO

Crimson Edge Press, LLC

 

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Weekly Fantasy Fix: How I Feel When I’m Creating the Villain!

 

Good authors like to get into their character’s heads when they’re writing, much like an actor does when portraying a character on the stage or screen. It’s the best way to make your characters seem real and behave spontaneously rather than assuming what they’d do next. But what happens when an author gets into the head of their villains?

I’ve always had a bit of a warped imagination. You’d have to, to write about torture and other such horrors. When I started writing Shadow Stalker, I wanted a villain that wasn’t just evil. I wanted him to be completely psychotic, but not just for the sake of being psychotic. There had to be a purpose to it (which hasn’t come out in the story yet, so I won’t mention it here).

I’m not a psychotic person, though. I’m sure I’d have been locked away by now if I was. So getting into his head and trying to think like he would has been rather difficult. Since the story is written from the main character’s POV, I didn’t have to write for him much, but he is the emperor of a society he built from the ground up. His mentality had to show in the “world” he created around him. So in that sense, I still had to get into his head.

His psychosis is a mix of what he was born with and his experiences growing up or at least how he viewed his experiences as a deranged man. So I had to first do a bit of research to find out how a psychotic person might view the world. Then I had to put myself in his shoes.

For a while, I could see the world as someone like that would see it, and it was a bit startling. It gave me nightmares. I have to say I was a bit tame when I started writing the story. The things that went through my head were much too horrific to share with my readers. At least to start with. I didn’t want to scare people away.

Drevin is definitely an interesting character though, and one of these days, when I’m brave enough, I might write a short story or novella from his point of view. I think some of my readers would probably enjoy something like that… maybe…

 

Also in this issue:

  • Books on sale!
  • Author Spotlights
  • Fun Fantasy Quotes
  • Book Spotlight
  • Awesome Book Deals
  • Free Promotion for Authors
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Weekly Fantasy Fix: Beating that Scary Blank Page–A Writer’s Nightmare

If you’re a writer, at some point you’ve probably encountered it. The scary blank page. What makes it scary is that you have absolutely no idea how to fill it…and all the other blank pages that come after. Bits and pieces of ideas are swirling around in your head, and you’ve got disjointed notes scattered across different files on your computer. Your desk is full of barely legible scraps of paper you scribbled on in haste (gotta get that flash of an idea on paper before it dissipates), and notebooks you dragged with you on trips, or maybe to the park. Somehow it all has to come together into a cohesive story. But where to begin?

I’ve been staring at that blank page for a few months now. Mostly because my overly-busy life hasn’t afforded me the time to center myself and organize my thoughts. I thought maybe if I just tried not to stress out about it, the ideas would start coming together on their own. You know, like when you forget someone’s name and the only way to remember it is to think of something else for a while?

But you probably don’t have to be a writer to realize that plan was destined to fail. After all, I’m not trying to remember something forgotten, I’m trying to create something totally new. Its threads must tie neatly into everything that came before, as well as everything that is yet to come after. The further I get into my series, the more complex that job becomes. Sometimes it gets pretty intimidating and I wonder if I’m up to the challenge I’ve set before myself.

So the blank page continues to stare at me, and the longer it looms, the scarier it seems. And that has been bothering me. A lot! So now I’m pushing myself to get past the anxiety and really focus on the task at hand. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. But first I must stop thinking like a writer, and get into the minds of my readers. What are they expecting to happen next? Which of those expectations must be fulfilled, and which do I hold back until further on in the series? What surprising twists and turns will make the story fresh and exciting, rather than predictable? What will move and intrigue my readers to keep coming back for the next book, and the next after that?

It is in answering those questions that I can more easily get back to the job of being a writer; balancing expectation with inspiration, and weaving together what seems to be nothing but a random tangle of loose threads into a vibrant, tightly woven fabric. I’m already starting to see the patterns and colors as they come together in the back of my mind. Scenes are taking shape, characters are whispering their thoughts to me as I sleep, and the mood of the book is building in my chest.

That blank page doesn’t have any words on it yet, but all the signs are telling me the time is just about right to begin. Once again, I’ll do my best to fill it, and hundreds more, with words that will take my readers on new adventures, full of heart, wonder, and suspense. In the end, if I do my job well, my readers will inspire me to face another new set of blank pages. But that’s for another year—one challenge at a time.

 

Also in this issue:

  • Medieval Menagerie: Where did milk come from?
  • Join my Faith-Filled, Fantastical Journey! – New Newsletter
  • Self-Editing: Affect or Effect?
  • Inspiring Fantasy Art
  • And more…

 

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