Tag Archives: Literature

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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Filed under The Creative Spark, The Written Word

black lgbt artsy event: orlando: june 5: books and brunch literary workshop @ orlando vista hotel

Books and Brunch, Orlando Black Pride

Books and Brunch, Orlando Black Pride

June is the official Pride month. Each week there seems to be a Pride celebration happening across the states. Orlando Black (gay) Pride is May 31 – June 5. The event I’m most excited about is Books and Brunch, hosted by Kat Williams, host of Sipping On Ink radio show (Blog Talk Radio). Books and Brunch is a literary workshop featuring G. Winston James, Fiona Zedde, Cheril N. Clarke, Spoken, Ortis Randolf, Sherry Michelle, Skyy, and Kat Williams.

Kat William’s Sipping On Ink Interview With Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene

Event Description:

Kat Williams will be moderating a discussion on writing and how to get published and each of the featured authors will talk about their experience getting published. Guests will have the opportunity to chat with the authors and purchase books for signing. The event is a teleseminar. If you can’t be there you can see it as it happens at Orlando Black Pride.

Fiona Zedde On Gender/Race/Sexuality For black./womyn.:conversations

Location: Orlando Vista Hotel, 12490 Apopka Vineland Road

Date/Time: Sunday, June 5, 2011, 11am-2pm

Price: Only $20 entry and brunch or $10 entry only (The brunch will include: Mimosa, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Chicken & Vegetable Kabobs, Home Fries, Texas Rice, Caesar Salad, Rolls, and Coffee)

Go out and meet all the authors. Tickets for the event can be purchased http://www.orlandoblackpride.eventbrite.com or http://www.orlandoblackpride.com. Please purchase in advance as space is limited.

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Filed under lgbt resources, News, save the date

black artsy event: los angeles: tonight: 5/19/11: spit – urban mic night @ the kickback lounge

Yolo Akili Performing Are We The Boys We Want

Come out LA and snap yo fingers.

SPIT, an urban open mic night is happening tonight at The Kickback Lounge in LA from 7-10.

The special featured guest is Dorothy Randall Gray, noted author, lecturer, and spoken word artist. Gray’s book, “Soul Between The Lines” will be available for sale. She conducts transformational writing workshops at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Jair “The Literary Masturbator” of Oakland will be performing as well. Jair’s book, “Touch…Poems and other writing of Love, Erotica & Sensuality” will be available for sale as well. He also has a spoken word CD available “Confessions of a Literary Masturbator.” With royalties from “Touch” Jair donated money to help poet and spoken word artist Yolo Akili produce his one man show. Sign up ends at 7:30 to get onstage. The event is sponsored by In The Meantime.

Stage Microphone TTV

Keith Bloomfield via Flickr

Event Information:

Where: The Kickback Lounge, 4067 W. Pico Blvd. LA CA 90019 (Parking at the Catch One)

Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Time: 7:00p.m. Networking/ 8:00p.m.-10:00p.m. Showtime (Participants must be signed up by 7:30p.m.)

Price: Free/Donation at the door

For more information on Dorothy Randall Gray go to her facebook page and for more information on Jair “The Literary Masturbator” go to his website.

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I’ve put down my beautiful cape: a poem

I’ve put down my beautiful cape
the bulls can chase me through the streets
carry me back home in gold and pink
red cloth fogged what they saw
a bearded man to flaunt
I’ve put down my beautiful cape

I’ve put down my beautiful cape
the bulls can chase me through the streets
I was so afraid what they’d say
the not-gods, I obeyed
them and the sadness
I’ve put down my beautiful cape

Countee Cullen Reading Heritage

Countee Cullen’s poetry haunts me. Cullen’s poem, “For A Poet,” is one of my favorites. The poem published in the book “Color” (1925) is used a symbol in my book, The Taste of Scars.

For A Poet

I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold;
Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
I hide no hate, I am not even wroth
Who found earth’s breath so keen and cold;
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold.

— Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen, photographed by Carl Van Vecht...

Image via Wikipedia

This poem inspired me to write “I’ve put down my beautiful cape.” Their are different theories why Cullen wrote “For A Poet.”

“Married to W. E. B. DuBois‘s daughter Yolande in 1928 (they divorced in 1930) and Ida Roberson only six years before his death (in 1946), Cullen had a steady string of male lovers in the United States and France,” according to Alden Reimonenq, Professor of English and Chief of Staff to the President at California State University, Northridge. “Cullen was a premier member of a thriving gay coterie in Harlem. Cullen and most gays of the period were, understandably, closeted publicly. The influence of gayness on Cullen’s literary imagination can be seen through the coded references to homosexuality in much of his poetry.”

“The poems “Tableau,” “The Shroud of Color,” “Fruit of the Flower,” “For a Poet,” and “Spring Reminiscence” can be classified as gay poems in which the speaker decries the oppression of those who are different.”

One theory is that “For a Poet” was “written at a time when Cullen was embroiled in unrequited love for Langston Hughes.” Langston Hughes is a black gay icon known for writing some of the most widely read poetry to come out of the Harlem Renaissance. Other important gay and bisexual writers from that period include: “Alain Locke, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, and Richard Bruce Nugent” says Reimonenq.

To read more of Countee Cullen’s poems go to Poem Hunter.

Countee Cullens Poem Yet Do I Marvel Read by Todd Helens


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happy endings and mic stands

hot java is a community coffee house in long beach’s gay ghetto at broadway and junipero. across the street from the coffee house is bixby park, a notorious park where gay men cruise (i accidentally found out it’s a cruising park). a sign is posted to prevent cruising. inside hot java you’ll see a lot of gay men and lesbians and hipsters and straights, of course. i went the first saturday of the month for the sanctuary open mic night. a poetry, spoken word, and music event. it’s hosted by two lesbians but straight-friendly. i met a poet by the name of husseldiva and a woman with brown locks whose name i can’t remember. the woman with brown locks suggested i get up on stage at the next open mic night. i’m debating if i should go. i have until may 6 to decide.

what piece would i do? my poems are typically short and really open mic/spoken word type/Def Poetry Jam pieces.

An Unfinished Zeta-Jones

Image by forklift via Flickr

somehow this reminded me of catherine zeta jones. she’s been admitted to a mental health unit for bipolar.I read she was stressed out over her husband, michael douglas’ cancer battle. that sounds more like stress and not bipolar. whatever it is sounds serious though.

it’s the stressful times that has inspired me and made my work real. when i was trying to get over the last guy i was dating i was editing chapter 4 of my new book, the taste of scars. i used everything i was feeling with him to make the characters made relatable. i achieved with memory and imagination. creative souls, that’s often, what we have to go on.

to all the crazies out there stay crazy and create.

which gets back to my original question what piece should i do? maybe i’ll write something about Catherine Zeta Jones, at least i’ll tell people it’s about her when really it’ll be about me.

 

 

 

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