Renee Writes

Posts in category Weekly Fantasy Fix

Weekly Fantasy Fix: Dark Clouds are Gathering. Can you Weather the Storm?

 

Some pretty ugly weather rolled across the U.S. yesterday and overnight. We caught some of it where I live, though other parts of the country fared much worse. Bright flashes of lighting filled our living room, and great cracks and booms shook the house. You couldn’t see the rain in the pitch dark outside, but you could hear it beating against the siding and roof. The weather alerts were sounding from my phone every 5 minutes, sending my anxiety levels up a few notches each time, and my 6-year-old was squeezing the life out of my arm as we sat on the couch together. We live in a modern, sturdy house—something book characters don’t always have, particularly those living in a medieval or other historical-type era where the weather’s benevolence is crucial to survival.

As I sat there in a comfortable well-lit room, with the lull of the T.V. to distract me from the tempest outside, I was reminded how weather can play a significant role in a story, or even become a character in itself.  It can set the mood for a single scene, or shape the entire plot.  Weather can grow crops, or destroy them, it can fill sails or sink ships, level homes, and flood streets.  Its temperature extremes are sometimes deadly.  Long periods of unchanging weather can affect the mental states of those subject to its effects. For those characters out on the road, the weather can give them an easy-going, pleasant journey or an uncomfortable, and even dangerous one. If a fictional society is largely agrarian, bad weather has the power to completely destroy it—no armies needed—by bringing about starvation and sickness.  In a time before radar and weather apps, sudden changes in weather would no doubt have been mysterious and alarming to the average person. By the time they knew bad weather was coming, there wasn’t much time to prepare.

Do you have a favorite book in which weather plays a significant role? If you’re a writer, how do you handle weather in your own stories? Is it something that just lurks in the background, rarely seen, or are your characters keenly aware of its impact on daily life? Have you ever written a story in which the weather actually took on the role of a character?

 

Also in this issue:

  • Medieval Menagerie: Potatoes?
  • Pre-Order: Spellbound Box Set
  • Self-Editing Tip: Can your emotions sabotage good self-editing?
  • Fantasy Art
  • Book Giveaways
  • And More…

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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

 

Also in this issue:

  • Great Book Deals
  • Free Books!

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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
  • And more…

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