There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Creating Your Fantasy Bible: Races August 11, 2013

Not every fantasy novel has to have different races, but if you decide to go that route, you should most definitely include all the details of the races you create in your fantasy bible. Why? To save you headaches and prevent continuity errors.

You might think you know the ins and outs of your world like the back of your hand, but as your world continues to grow, it is going to be harder and harder to keep track of each detail. Going from personal experience, I would actually say detailing whatever races you create is probably of the most importance.

I know, I know. How can creating a race of people be more important than outlining the governmental system under which your world operates? Well, because your characters might not come across every part of that system. But racial traits influence who your characters might be, and help to emphasize plot points as well.

Take, for example, the hobbits of Lord of the Rings. They are kind, simple, and gentle folk. It is in their nature to be warm and happy, which proves to be a stark contrast to how dark and depressed Frodo becomes under the influence of the ring. If he was as sullen as Aragorn could be, the heavy influence the ring has over those who possess it might not be as clear.

Another example would be the house elves from Harry Potter. They have their own rules they live by, which causes them to essentially become slaves to wizards. They are owned, and to be freed is shameful. But they are also incredibly loyal, which drives Dobby to help Harry time and time again. This same trait led to Kreacher’s ill demeanor, and is the cause for the insanity plaguing his mind.

If all house elves were meant to be warm and fuzzy, we wouldn’t have Kreacher. If all hobbits weren’t kind-hearted and loyal, Sam might’ve ditched Frodo at the first mood swing. The characteristics of their races help to define them as characters, and help them to stand out as well. Hobbits aren’t naturally brave, but the four we journey with sure are. House elves aren’t meant to question their owners, but Dobby does, and even punishes himself in order to do so.

So what are some of the things you might want to include about the race you are creating? A lot of the same things you might include about a particular character. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself as you create your race, or even as you play around with that race more:

  • What are some of the physical attributes the people of this race share? (Ex: Hair color, skin tone, height, build, etc)
  • What are some of the physical abilities the people of this race share? (Ex: Heightened sense of smell, speed, agility, etc)
  • What kind of religion or rituals do the people of this race follow? (Ex: Human sacrifice, multiple deities, coming of age rituals)
  • What sort of laws does the society of this race adhere to? (Ex: Mixing with other races, competing for a hand in marriage by a fight to the death, etc)
  • Where (geographically) do these people originate from? (Ex: Another world, a desert land, mountains, etc)
  • What are some common personality traits of this race? (Ex: Compassionate vs cold and logical, animalistic vs etiquette, naive vs skeptical, etc)

You’ll probably find that some of these questions go hand in hand together. The religion or rituals they follow probably influence their society on the whole. Also, their physical attributes might influence their overall characteristics as well. I’ve created three races so far in my series, two of which I will use as examples here. One, the Athucreans, are a warrior race. They are very closely tied to animals (no, not werewolves), so they tend to operate a lot like a pack, which means they don’t welcome outsiders. However, the Baiul are essentially psychic vampires, feeding off the emotions of humans around them. So they are very open to socializing.

These are definitely things you need to think of because they influence how your story unfolds and how your characters interact with one another. A Baiul and Athucrean would make for a great Romeo & Juliet-esque love story (kinda bummed I never thought of that before now), or a nice antagonistic set of advisers (again, should’ve thought of that). But they wouldn’t be likely to become best friends. Kinda like a dwarf and an elf finding an unlikely friendship on the road to Mordor.

Answering these questions and solving your own mysteries surrounding the races you create will only enrich your story and your characters that much further. So what are your answers? What are some of the races you’ve created for your fantasy (or sci-fi, since the same rules apply here) worlds? How do they relate to one another?

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Dare I Say It? Romance in Fantasy August 7, 2013

Filed under: Reading,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 12:55 pm
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Kathi’s post, From out of Nothing, reflected me this week with my own post. It must be going around. Her statement, “As the deadline for my post slithered closer, I sat and banged my head against the desk praying for inspiration because, quite frankly, I had nothing”, is EXACTLY how I’ve felt. So I’m just gonna tell you what I’ve been up to in my current WIP——>Nothing.

Yep. Nothing.

I swear I’m not in a funk, nor do I have writer’s block. But I do have a slight issue with my story. I struggled through my plot issue and resolved it a few weeks back and I was like, Yeah, baby! But when I got down to writing and revising I realized I had another problem: the chemistry between my mc and her love interest was totally flat.

I hear some of you groaning already. Romance in fantasy? Enough already. Give. Me. A break.

Sorry, can’t do it. All my novels have romance. It’s how I’m wired. Anyway, while my two characters are off on their mad quest, battling blood thirsty monsters and defying vengeful gods, they fall in love. Writing sexual tension is nothing new to me, but these two characters have me pulling my hair out by the roots.

So what’s a writer to do?

Read. That’s what.

I’ve read twelve, TWELVE, contemporary romances in two weeks. Some were meh, with the emotional charge lacking even the smallest spark, while others were strong enough to jump start my SUV. I’m now going back through every one I read, and making notes as to what worked and didn’t, and why.

And though my FANTASY novel doesn’t have “in your face” romance, what is there should be as strong and powerful as every other element in the story. I’ve read fantasy novels where the romance or mystery seemed like an afterthought, which left me wondering why it was there in the first place. I don’t want any reader to say that about mine, so I’ll spend just as much time perfecting each glance, each kiss, as I do with world building and swordplay.

What do you guys think?

Happy writing! Kate

 

And drumroll…GIVEAWAY TIME!!! August 1, 2013

Filed under: Industry News — thereanddraftagain @ 1:49 am
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HI EVERYONE!!!

I’m a little squeamish about hijacking There and Draft Again to make flowery mention of my new little book, but since my fellow bloggers have said it’s okay, and seeing as it is coming out in 5 days (!!!), I thought I’d pop in, drop a teaser, and do a giveaway. Yup, giveaway time again!

AGAIN?!

I’m giving away an eBook of COLDNESS OF MAREK to two lucky winners!

Annnnnnnd I have a [previously unreleased] short little teaser…

Trzl turned her eyes on Marek in question. “Not rich enough to afford a war?”

“I’m still unclear as to why you think I’d have any interest in a war,” he said. “One war was enough.”

She shrugged. “I can’t imagine you turning around and selling those gate sequences once you had them. The temptation to use them would be too strong. Bloody man such as yourself.”

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below, including your email address so we can contact you if you win. Giveaway is open to international entrants.Followers of There and Draft Again get an extra entry! Winners will be drawn on release day, August 6. Thank you for entering and good luck! I can’t wait to send two of you an eBook!

— Rachel O’Laughlin

COLDNESS OF MAREKReleases August 6, 2013
The First in the Serengard Series
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Serengard has been under Orion rule for centuries—centuries of insufferable adherence to laws and traditions that its people no longer believe in. Raised by her scholarly grandfather in the fiery southern city of Neroi, Trzl is dedicated to turning the monarchy into a free society where knowledge is king and no one has to be subject to the whims of an Orion.

As the rebellion escalates, her choices have an eerie impact on the revolution at large, elevating her to a position of influence she has only dreamed of attaining. But there are downsides to her new power that entangle her in a dangerous web of emotions, appearances and alliances. Even as she plays to the attractions of Hodran, a rich nobleman who wants to aid her cause, she is drawn to Mikel, a loyalist farmer who hates the rebellion but just might be winning her heart.

By the time Trzl realizes she is in too deep, she has an infant son and a dark mess of betrayal and lies. She runs to the furthest corner of the kingdom in hopes that she will be left alone with her child, but she has created too many demons. A figure she once trusted will take her captive in the chilling Cliffs of Marek, throw her back into the political upheaval she helped create, and leave her at the mercy of a man she never wanted for an enemy.

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