There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

As You Wish: A Post to Honor “The Princess Bride” February 12, 2014

The Princess Bride is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it. Well, I’ve read the first chapter. But, I’ve watched the movie a gaziliion billion times and it never gets old.

Why?

Well, a fantastic screenplay and cast doesn’t hurt, but really, it’s because William Goldman is an exceptional abridger. I mean, he wrote all the best parts: fencing and fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, pain, death, brave men, cowardly men, strongest men, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion, and miracles.The Princess Bride, when all is said and done, is a classic tale of true love and high adventure. Even the great Florinese writer, the immortal S. Morgenstern, called it such.

Anyway, while I had fun storming the castle the other day, I came across this photo:

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Inconceivable! The movie is twenty five years old?!? Yep. This is Entertainment Weekly’s reunion photo. The New York Film Festival celebrated the film’s 25th anniversary with a cast reunion at Lincoln Center. You can read all about it here. I did. And then, of course, I watched the movie again. I also downloaded the book; I’m going to read it this weekend for relax.

So, if you’ve never seen the movie, or read the book, I suggest you do so immediately. You’ll at least learn how to fill out your name tag properly. You might even fall in love. You think I’m teasing you? I’m not. The Princess Bride the best thing in the world. Well, except for cough drops.

So, good night readers, and movie watchers. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

Kate

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A Hint of Fantasy: Pushing the Genre Boundary February 5, 2014

I have a particular soft-spot for stories that tip over into the realm of fantasy. The ones that on the surface appear to be fantastical, but could equally be explained by some unusual combination of circumstances. The best ones, in my opinion, are the ones which have a great logical explanation, but still leave you wondering.

One of the best examples I’ve come across in this vein is The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.

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Based on a Russian folk-tale, this is the story of an older, childless couple, who bury their emotional pain trying to carve out an existence in pioneering Alaska. One night, in a rare moment of levity they build a child out of snow. The next day the snow child is gone, and the retreating footprints of a ‘real’ child remain. The result is a journey into the hopes and dreams of both husband and wife as they try to reconcile what they’ve discovered.

The setting, the harsh and unforgiving Alaskan frontier, has a wild, untamed, beauty that adds to the magic and reflects both the struggle for survival and the fragile nature of hope the snow child brings.

Is it fantasy or not? 

I won’t be giving away the ending, except to say perhaps it depends on the reader?

Other popular examples play up the magical qualities of food, including Joanne Harris’s works, Chocolat and Blackberry Wine; Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate; and Pomegranate Soup, by Marsha Mehran.

Carol Goodman also draws together fairytale or legendary themes in her books: Arcadia Falls touches on changeling folklore; The Seduction of Water, on selkies. She has since crossed over the full-fantasy line writing the Black Swan Rising series with her husband under the name Lee Carroll.

On the faith based front, one of my all time favourites, The Miracles of Santa Fico by D.L Smith, deals with the nature of miracles. The story is based around a group of men attempting to create their own miracles in order to restore the faith of their local priest. (The priest lost his faith due to the actions of these men). The manufactured miracles go awry quite spectacularly, and yet as they do circumstances seem to line up in a way that could be seen as truly miraculous. And like the other stories you’re left wondering if the rational explanations truly tell the whole story.

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I’m not sure if any of these novels quite cross over into realm of fantasy? At the very least they all have that not-quite-of-this-world element about them.

Do you think these novels should be considered fantasy novels? Why? And do you have a favourite mainstream novel that brushes shoulders with fantasy?

– by Raewyn Hewitt

 

Darth Vader & The Knights of Rilch by Rachel O’Laughlin January 18, 2014

Filed under: Reading — thereanddraftagain @ 6:00 am
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Have you ever noticed how over the course of the three original Star Wars movies, Darth Vader gets a bit more impressive with each one? His shoulders get a bit broader. His voice gets deeper. He just appears more menacing. At least it always seemed that way to me.

Where writing is concerned, that’s what I expect of a series. The first book may be good in its own right, but the second is usually a bit better, as the author starts to find their stride. Characters are becoming more filled out. The good become better. The evil more evil. The ambiguous become even more blurred. The seeds of plot scattered across the ground in the first have taken root, and are starting to grow. If this doesn’t happen, if that second book is weak, or just a rehashing of the first, or if it feels as though we’re not reaching a crescendo, I won’t go on. Likewise, if it feels totally disjointed from the first, I’m done.

When I read Coldness of Marek last year, the first book in Rachel O’Laughlin’s Serengard Series I was blown away. I devoured it. I loved the characters, the world, the plot–pretty much everything about it. I hated the ending. Not because it wasn’t good, but simply because it…well…ended. I waited with anticipation for the second book, Knights of Rilch. Well,waited with my usual blend of impatience, anticipation, and skepticism. I’ve read too many series where the second book falls flat. I didn’t think that would be the case here, and I was right.

Knights of Rilch is Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Broader, more intense, and I found myself unable to put it down. Questions that had haunted me since Coldness of Marek were answered. New questions were raised. Characters surprised me. There were a few chuckles and, yes, some tears. I’m not a softy, so when an author can make me care that deeply about a character, they’ve done their job and then some. And even though the story jumps from present to past and back again, I never felt lost or confused. That takes a deft hand to pull off. Rachel O’Laughlin makes it look easy.

With a plot involving political intrigue, rebellion, war, scheming, and characters holding themselves out to be something other than they are, Knights of Rilch could have become a clunky monster struggling under its own weight. Could have, in less skilled hands. In Rachel O’Laughlin’s hands it is a sweeping tale of loss, pride, and the challenge of holding onto your beliefs when it seems it would be wiser to just let go. She gives us characters with all their faults, all the subtle shades of grey that make them seem so real. Her world-building is incredible. Her storytelling exquisite. The ending…

Once again I’m left flipping my Kindle over, as though there may be more on the backside of it, and screaming, “Noooooooooooooo!!!!”

Final_WebVersionBlurb:

Nearly a decade ago…
When Serengard rebelled and the Orion monarchy fell, former crown princess Kierstaz Orion’s love for her people became a burning desire to set things right. With a price on their heads, Kierstaz and her brother Mikel led a handful of Border Guard against the new army along the border of Dreibourge. But months of heavy bloodshed forced her small band of knights to abandon the border — and all of Serengard — to the rebels.
Nine years and a thousand betrayals later…
Kierstaz and Mikel again find themselves on the run, only this time, they’ve a boy in tow: Malcom, the son of two of the Seren rebellion’s strongest leaders. The new regime wants him dead, Mikel wants him alive, and it’s all Kierstaz can do to keep their tracks covered. Desperate to preserve the innocent life she’s sworn to protect, and afraid Mikel’s may be forfeit, Kierstaz must gamble the last thing in the world she owns — her identity. Secrets are a staple of the Orion family, and those Kierstaz keeps are as dangerous as the ones kept from her.
Author Bio:
Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories in which heroines tend to get their hands dirty, bad guys sometimes win, and someone always gets kidnapped. Her passion for all things history morphed into a love for fantasy in her late teens. Lattes and The Fray are daily dwellers in her home in New England, where she lives with her husband and children.
~ Kathi
 

More Fantasy Please January 11, 2014

I read through Fantasy-Faction’s Best Fantasy Books of 2013 yesterday, and realized the number of fantasy books I didn’t read in 2013. I read 106 novels total, most of which were horror, paranormal romance, and contemporary, with a few literary sprinkled in for good measure. As fantasy is my #1 genre, this shocked me.

And then I asked myself why I’d avoided the fantasy books on my TBR list, and I think it’s this: I didn’t want the story I’m writing influenced by others. The ms I’m currently working on has given me way more trouble than my previous one. This one is epic fantasy, filled with action, mythical re-tellings, battles, you name it. I’ve struggled with plot, direction, plot, and more plot. I know what the end looks like, but getting there has been one hell of a journey.

I think I feared reading fantasy because I feared I’d take the easy route and structure mine based on what worked for others. Reading outside my genre while writing is something I’ve always done, for various reasons, but never to this extreme. And now that I’ve passed a number of hurdles, and the end of my ms is truly in sight—Jan. 28th is my deadline for this draft—I’m looking forward to catching up on my fantasy reads. The first of which is Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

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Happy reading! Kate

 

Most Anticipated Fantasy Books of 2014 December 29, 2013

Hi everyone !

This is our last post for this year and today I’ve decided to look forward and see which 2014 Fantasy books are the most anticipated… In order to compile the following list, I’ve used several Goodreads lists as well as forums such as this one.

Adult Books:

Bastards and the Knives

The Bastards and the Knives (Gentleman Bastard #0) by Scott Lynch (Expected publication: March 3rd 2014 by Gollancz)

Prince of Fools

Prince of Fools (The Red Queen’s War #1) by Mark Lawrence (Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Ace)

The Magician's Land

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman (Expected publication: August 5th 2014 by Viking)

The Broken Eye

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3) by Brent Weeks (Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by Orbit)

[NO COVER ART YET]

Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson (Expected publication: 2014 by Tor Books)

Young Adult Books

Defy

Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson (Expected publication: January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press)

Stolen Songbird

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen (Expected publication: April 1st 2014 by Strange Chemistry)

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor (Expected publication: April 8th 2014 by Little, Brown & Company)

A shard of ice

A Shard of Ice (The Black Symphony Saga #1) by Alivia Anders (Expected publication: April 14th 2014 by Red Alice Press)

Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo (Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.)

What was your favorite Fantasy book in 2013? Which 2014 Fantasy book are you most anticipating? Make sure to leave us your answers below!

EM Castellan

 

The Beginning of a Tale December 21, 2013

Filed under: Reading,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 6:00 am
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Hello, Readers!

You know, occasionally we here at There & Draft Again come up with some crazy lunatic insane fun ideas. I’ll take the blame for suggesting this one. We’ve decided to present you with an on-going tale. Each month, one or more of us will add to this tale for your readerly enjoyment (we hope). Of course, it’s a fantasy tale, but it will be totally organic in its growth so who knows where it will wind up. To keep off this little venture, I have written an introduction of sorts. Fine. I’ll call it what it is. *duhn duhn da duhn* The Dreaded (dreaded dreaded dreaded) Prologue (prologue prologue prologue). Do you like the echo machine? It’s cool, no?

Okay, on with the tale which I shall title: Okay, I don’t have a title for it yet. We’ll work on that. Enjoy!

PROLOGUE

Once upon a time, and a very long time ago it was, too. . .

Isn’t that how all Fairy Tales begin? But this isn’t your run of the mill fairy tale. Oh, there are fairies, and tales by the plenty, but nothing ordinary lies in wait. You doubt, I know, but allow me to set the scene and begin the telling, and let us see where the words will take us.

Under a crystalline blue sky a woman walks amid the runes of a once great fortress. This is Corrin. Dressed in the greens and browns of the forest, lithe, tall, her black hair bound in a tight braid, she is young. Too young to remember when the spires that lay in crumbled heaps beneath her feet once pierced those late summer clouds gathering above her. Nor does she particularly care. Ancient lore never held her interest.

Those clouds, however, and the heaviness to them, those caught her eye and she frowned.

“Rain. It always has to rain.”

Something scampers over tumbled rock and rotted wood behind her, dislodging a small avalanche. She turns her gaze over her shoulder, unconcerned. In two more breaths a long-legged Wolfhound surges over a pile of rubble and bounds toward her, tongue lolling from the side of its mouth.

“Nice of you to join me, Cafyl,” she says, and though her tone drips with sarcasm, her eyes speak of love and the bond of true companionship. She points skyward. “It’s going to rain. Again. There will be no trail to follow.”

Again.

She mumbles a curse under her breath, idly scratching the hound behind the ears as he rests his huge head against her waist. After a time, she shoulders her pack and resumes picking her way across the runes.

With my luck, she muses to herself, the rain will hold off until nightfall, and I’ll be stuck in the open with only a pine tree for shelter and no hope of a fire.

But she has no one to blame. She has set this task for herself. There is no fame or glory to be found in its success. There will be no celebration in the city on her return. No statue in her likeness will be commissioned of the royal sculptor. Truth be told, the great likelihood  is that no one has even noticed she is gone.

“You, they will miss,” she says to the hound. “Great Cafyl, how will they manage the hunt without you? But Corrin, daughter of dirt and nothing? Too few will wonder where she’s gotten to.”

And so Corrin leaves the runes and continues north, following a trail she will lose to the coming rain.

Less than half a league behind her, a figure pauses in the shadow of the trees, and gazes down the hill at the remains of a once glorious castle. The hooded head turns to track the progress of the receding duo: a girl and a hound. An eager light shines where eyes might be. As the wind picks up, it brings with it the first hint of a coming storm.

And so begins the tale . . .

Watch for the next installment(s) next month. Happy Holidays!

~ K. L. Schwengel

 

The Expansion of Fantasy December 11, 2013

We all know the sub-genres of fantasy and the myriad elements of each, and we know our literary categories, those in which every genre, not just fantasy, exist. Well, this last year has seen the emergence of a new category: New Adult.

I’m excited about this. Not just as a reader, but as a writer. Trying to fit my stories into either YA or Adult has been tricky, often frustrating, and at times I’ve changed, or forced, what grew organically into one or the other category, when really it didn’t belong in either. Now, I’m going back through my WIPs and making notes on where I changed specific things, and re-reading my original drafts and thinking, “Aha, this is New Adult!”, which makes me very happy.

Currently, mainstream New Adult is contemporary romance, and though I’ve never been a huge fan of this (aside from reading all of Nora Roberts and Kathleen Woodiwiss) I’ve devoured a ton of these this year. And I have even more on my Amazon wishlist. They resonate with me because they not only center around the age range of most of my own characters (18-25), but because they explore the same issues as mine. And I’m not just talking sex. I’m talking about characters in the midst of that transitory period between youth and full adulthood, struggling to find their place in the world on their own.

But I think other genres, especially fantasy, are about to explode onto the scene. Agents and editors are asking for different genres in New Adult. Those who follow the Twitter hashtag, #MSWL, have seen this, and if you’re like me, reviewing updated agent bios and what they and their agencies want, you’ll have seen this as well. Here’s a great post by literary agent, Suzie Townsend, and her thoughts on New Adult and its emergence into different genres, as well as books already out there that might appeal to this audience.

Suffice it to say, I’m thrilled about all this. Beyond. Belief. And I hope one day to see a whole section in bookstores dedicated to New Adult Fantasy. What do you guys think?

Happy Holidays!

Kate