Tag Archives: black and gay

How to Create a Fantasy World

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Jarrod King

I read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, after completing my first draft of Pangaea: Unsettled Land. When likening the writing process to archaeology, he wrote, “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.” I completely understood this to be true. When beginning to write a story, you already have an idea. Now, you just need to uncover all of the elements that make it work.

Know Your Idea

Forcing things like magic and ancient lore into your story isn’t going to work if they weren’t at the core of your idea to begin with. If they are, then you can go places. When I began writing Pangaea in 2009, I started with this core storyline: ‘three friends go on a quest to find a rare magical artifact that would make a huge impact on their world’. I also had the idea of a maniacal antagonist who had gone mad after being in a dungeon for so long. If you read the book, then you know right away what has changed and what hasn’t. None of this is groundbreaking stuff, and in fact could very easily be cliché. What makes fantasy unique are the things only you can bring to it.

Focus On The Story

First, I would strongly suggest an outline – not necessarily for plot in the beginning, but for your characters. This website showcasing the snowflake method is a great source. It helped kick-start me towards completion after multiple start-and-stops over the years. It’s a great way to uncover more about your characters and the world around them. Once you know their motives and barriers, things like the ancient mythology of the land, the world/character’s histories, and a timeline will begin to fall into place. That’s because you’ll have the mindset that “A needs to happen in order for B to happen”. Again, this is not about forcing things into place. It’s about naturally discovering what it is about the world that makes your characters behave the way they do. If you can’t prevent the love interest’s death without changing your story a great deal, it’s probably supposed to happen.

Be cautious! Just because you know the timeline and all of the mythology and history, does not mean your reader needs it. They only need what’s absolutely necessary to the development of the character and the furthering of that story. Otherwise, you could make the mistake of info-dumping and bogging down your story with needless details.

Once you have a firm grasp on all of the details, you can decide on whether plot outlining is best or if you want to get straight into writing. In both cases, don’t be rigid. Allow for some unforeseen changes.

Go With The Flow

When you begin writing, you’re going to learn even more about the world you’ve created and the characters. Things are going to change. Initial ideas are going to seem way overblown, and some of the minor ones will need to be brought to the limelight. This sense of discovery is the fun part! I remember wanting to end my novel with a bang by having Pangaea separate from one super-continent into the world as we know it now. This does not happen. My ending is much simpler and has more impact now because I paid attention to the path of the characters. By not remaining inflexible, I brought the far-fetched (and horrid) idea back down to Earth.

Time For Some RER: Revising, Editing, and Rewriting

It’s so important to edit your work. This is a must for writers in general. However, when creating a fantasy world, it’s highly important to look not just at the grammar and story, but at all of the world-building elements. Look at the government, society, technology, and magic. What works? What doesn’t? Here’s an example of my editing:

My book involves a mixture of old and new technologies, so I had a scene where my characters are flying somewhere on a plane. My editor let me know to make my world a bit more distinct by paying attention to the structures and names of certain technology. I changed the structure of planes into a stingray-like airship called a supertrop. Phones are all called comms, cars are called wheelers, etc. These changes helped distinguish my world from the one we live in today and added even more of that fantasy allure.

This also highlights the importance of an editor. Don’t expect to publish anything that’s been self-edited. Leave that version for beta readers. After accepting or refusing suggestions from them, have a professional with a focus on your genre look over your work and let you know what needs to change. This especially helped me understand what fantasy readers expect and to meet those expectations without compromising my own ideas.

Follow these steps and you can soon have readers escape to a world of your own!

Subscribe to my mailing list for a free preview of Pangaea: Unsettled Land now!

Jarrod King fantasy and sci-fi author. His debut novel, “Pangaea: Unsettled Land”is available on Amazon. You can find him at jarrodking.com or Twitter.

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Video: Proud Stories

Grand Park’s social media coordinator edited together this amazing video of Proud Stories. I am so honored that I was part of this inclusive and affirming event. My hairy mug makes an appearance at 1:26.

Victor Yates SOGIE Library Proud Stories

Q Youth Foundation’s SOGIE Human Library

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Proud Stories @ SOGIE Human Library

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The Q Youth Foundation curated the SOGIE Human Library at Grand Park’s Proud Stories on October 3, 2015. At Proud Stories, the community was invited to hear stories of love, acceptance, and joy through the powerful voices of L.A.’s LGBTQ and ally community. The PROUD Series celebrates the LGBTQ experience with readings, kids’ activities, and theater performances.

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During the SOGIE Human Library experience, guests were invited to flip through the catalog, read book summaries, check out a human book, and learn more about them. The human books’ role was to engage the reader to start a dialog in hopes to gain better understanding about alternative perspectives in the SOGIE/LGBTQIA+ community.

Aaron Saenz, a founding board member and current President of the Pasadena Pride Center, was one of the human books. Along with Amaury ‘Ketzal’ Reducino (behind East LA Art Walk), Claudia Rodríguez (writer/performer), Omowale Oniyide, Juan Castillo Alvarado (Latino Equality Alliance), Jesse Gutierrez (film director), Kyle Sawyer, Karene Daniel, Arturo Hernandez, and myself.

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Page from the Catalog

There was also a SOGIE Stories Recording Booth, were guests and human books recorded thoughts about, “Who they are proud to love?”

The event just happened to take place on the same day as Amber Rose’s “Slut Walk” and a sign language event. Therefore, the attendance was larger than normal.

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Page from the Catalog

Q Youth Foundation is a start up non-profit organization dedicated creating environments of Safe/Brave Spaces for LGBTQIA+/SOGIE community in Los Angeles.

Writers and performers from In The Meantime, Eastside Queer Storytelling, Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQ, Writ Large Press, Gender Justice LA Theatre, and Better Brothers LA shared their stories on the main stage.

Victor Yates A Love Like Blood writer

Page from the Catalog

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Video: Reading at In The Meantime

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Excerpt from A Love Like Blood

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If you enjoyed this excerpt, then you will love the book. You can purchase “A Love Like Blood” at any of the links below.

Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Like-Blood-Victor-Yates/dp/0692553312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447353518&sr=1-1

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Like-Blood-Victor-Yates/dp/0692553312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447353518&sr=1-1

If you have Kindle Unlimited the book is free.

Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/5793911

Use the code XBFGEU69 to receive $10 off.

 

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My Interview with Fiona McVie

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Two days ago, I was interviewed by Fiona McVie of Author Interviews. Here is a brief snippet of the interview:

Fiona: Tell us a little about yourself i.e. your education, family life, etc:

I moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles, California to be part of the larger writing community on the West Coast. I could not find a writing job in Florida. Once, I moved I realized I had to enter a writing workshop to be a writer. I researched schools and found Otis College. Being in Otis’s Writing Program allowed me to become a writer, in the sense of the word. Since graduating, I have taught several writing workshops, I freelance write for three local magazines, and I published my first book.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

In November, I published my debut novel, “A Love Like Blood.” The book was a ten-year obsession. I thought of the idea when I started working at the Ann Arbor District Library. I started reading “how to write” books and read more to help me start writing the book.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing at the age of 14. I read a poem by Maya Angelou. I do not consider myself to be a poet, but I won first place in the Elma Stuckey Poetry Awards and have two poems published in “For Colored Boys,” which was published by Magnus Books in 2012.

To read the full interview, visit Author Interview.

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Check out my Qulture Video Blog


This week, a number of major stories dominating the headlines concerned the LGBT community. Qulture staffers, Antonio Garcia and myself met to ruminate over those stories. The stories include: the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Marriage Equality; GLSEN’s LGBT harassment report; and Zachary Quinto’s thoughts on the gay community and PREP (in Out Magzine’s 100 issue). As well as the HRC’s Equality Index; a lesbian couple’s wedding nightmare; and husbands, Scott and Daniel Wall-Desousa receiving retaliation from the Florida DMV for changing their drivers licenses.

Our opinions on these issues may shock you. And if they do, please leave a comment below to join the conversation.

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