Inkpop Blog

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Tips from a Fantasy Writer: inkTips from Frewin Jones

Posted by inkpopbecki on October 27, 2010

Writing a fantasy novel is challenging enough. Try imagining writing a fantasy series. That is exactly what Frewin Jones has done with The Warrior Princess series. Want to hear more? Join us for our live chat today with author Frewin Jones on the inkpop events forum at 4 p.m. EST.

 

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1. Always carry a notebook with you to jot down any interesting things you might see or hear, or to make a note of any ideas that might pop into your head – there’s nothing more annoying than having a great idea and then losing it again before you can write it down.

Sleep with a notebook beside your bed – dreams and random sleepy thoughts can sometimes be springboards to a great storyline – but if you don’t write them down immediately on waking, they will often get lost.

Always have your “ideas antennae” up – and when you listen to friends or family talking, or read magazines or books, or watch movies or TV, always be on the lookout for things that spark your creative interest.

2. When writing fantasy, the sky’s the limit so far as creativity and imagination are concerned – but it is important that the fantasy world you create has an internal logic of its own, and that the world and the creatures in it obey that logic.
For instance, if there is magic, how is the magic used? By wizards? By anyone able to read a magic book? By anyone able to get their hands on a wand?
If there are dragons, do they breathe fire? Can they fly? Can they speak?
If there are vampires, are they scared of sunlight? Do they have pointy teeth or do they just take a big bite?
If people are immortal, can they die of disease or accident?
If people can fly, how would that change the way that houses are built? Will there be doors at ground level, or hatches in the roof?

3. It can be tricky to make dialogue sound realistic. You can check whether the words you put into your characters’ mouths sound like things people might really say by speaking them out loud. Record them if you can, and listen to them. Do they sound realistic? If not, try and figure out why not and keep re-writing till you nail it.

4. If an idea you’ve been working on runs out of steam, don’t be afraid to abandon it. You’ll find that the best parts of the idea will resurface later on in a different story. Nothing good is ever wasted!

Never write when you don’t feel like it. Forcing yourself to write on a schedule is a waste of time, and you’ll find yourself having to throw away or totally re-write stuff written under those circumstances; far better to go and do something else and come back to your story later.

5. One thing all writers have in common is the desire to create a story that comes to a satisfactory conclusion. For all writers, published or otherwise, a story needs to work from the beginning right through to the end.

To find out if an idea has “legs” (meaning: it can be turned from an idea into an actual story) – plot out as much of the story as you can before you start writing. If you find the thought of this rather boring and constricting, at least plot out where you want your characters and your story to be by the end of scene one/chapter one. Stories are like journeys – you really do need to know where you are going before you set out, even if you find that you change your mind halfway. Try coming up with the end of your story first (“They all lived happily ever after…”)  – then you will always have something to aim for – even if a better ending occurs to you while writing.

 

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