This year is getting away from me, and somehow despite that I’m always keenly aware of April. My year does not run January to December, it runs April to April – the closing and beginning of new cycles. There are days quickly approaching that I count down to all year, caught in pointless thoughts and memories that I couldn’t let go of even if I wanted to.
There’s already so much about to happen in the next 30 days, and here I am adding more. But this is my year. That’s something I’ve been promising myself since 12:01am January 1st. 2014 I was broken. 2015 I was a little less broken. 2016 I recovered. 2017 is where I’m going to discover a new me.
So here’s to the new year, still rotating around the days that have shaped me the most – the ones that happened to me and the ones that I make happen.
Let’s write. ❤
Last week at my Saturday writer’s group, we had a discussion about character names. One of our people is taking her first crack at fantasy, and one of the questions I had for her was whether or not she intended to change the plain Jane names she was using in her drafts. She was, she said, but was unsure of how to go about choosing fantasy names. This lead to a discussion on the different techniques for choosing character names, and how consistency within each universe is important.
Here are some naming themes you could use for your next story.
Even if following a theme doesn’t float your boat, there are some additional conventions to consider when creating names. Continue reading
I first started exploring herbs and what I could collect and do with them myself some years ago, and I have to confess that I was nervous about it at first. As a kid, there was a berry bush that grew at the edge of my backyard, and sometimes I would sit out there and pick the berries, just to squish them in my hand and smear the dark purple juice around. I know now that they were Pokeberries, and they’re quite poisonous if ingested. This discovery highlighted my own ignorance about the plants around me, and even as I started dabbling and researching I was always well aware of the potential to miss something important. I have to imagine that the people who were first discovering the uses for all of our plants today had the same kind of excited fear going on.
As a writer, you needn’t worry about endangering yourself; research and creativity are your tools here. Before we get into some of our herbs that could translate well into a fantasy setting, take a look at the following list. If you’re going to have any healers in any primary or secondary character positions, you might want to consider also having common knowledge treatments for some of these common ailments (also consider that these might be different for adults and children).
At this point, it’s probably fairly obvious how obsessive I am about the little details when worldbuilding. With some of my larger WIPs I have a bad tendency to spend more time determining things about the world that are unlikely to actually have a direct impact on the story than actually drafting and writing. This is usually justified with the mentality that maybe at some point when the story itself has expanded more, I’ll be glad I have this information already organized and written out.
And in the meantime, a lot of the things I end up doing for my own fantasy worlds translates well into writing articles for my awesome reader base. ❤ So today I want to look at herbs and herbal medicine, with the second part of this mini-series being a list of common herbs that translate well into fantasy. I might also do a third part detailing some of the common processing methods we have for herbs, such as how to make tinctures and what exactly constitutes a brew.
Modern medicines are largely derived from the plants and animals in the world around us, but getting a prescription from your local pharmacy doesn’t have quite the same awe factor that is inherent in gathering plants from the outdoors and processing them in small amounts in one of literally dozens of ways. Depending on how technologically advanced your world is, “medicine” could be any number of things, all the way from a traditional, old school tribal shaman to a grimy slum city dealer dispensing pills with mystery contents. It can also be more than herbals, but we’re going to stay focused in one direction for now. Continue reading
Writing dragons is a popular topic here at Invisible Ink, and one of my personal favorites. We’ve talked about general tips for writing them and some of the common types, and today I want to look at some of the more technical aspects of writing these mythical creatures. My number one piece of advice when writing dragons – or any other creature, for that matter – though? Ask the writer. 😉
The difference between dragon, drake, wyrm and wyvern –Contrary to light hearted fantasy, these four are not always the same creature. Though drakes are sometimes called young dragons and wyrms extremely old, they each have their own characteristics. Dragons are six limbed creatures, possessing two pairs of legs and a pair of wings, all fully developed evolutionary. Drakes are usually considered to be smaller and less capable version of dragons, though tending more towards evildoing in disposition. As a result, their cunning and trickery is said to surpass most dragons. Wyverns on the other hand only have four limbs (two legs and two wings) and are sleeker than most dragon species. The winged appendages usually function as forelegs, giving wyverns a markedly different appearance from a dragon. Lastly, wyrms are snake-like creatures with massive and powerful tails, double jawed heads and wicked sets of teeth. If they have limbs at all, they are small and likely useless. Especially if you’re going to have more than one dragon-type in your work, keep your terms consistent and make it clear which one is which. Continue reading
We see them all the time, plastered across Google searches and in our magazine subscriptions. Heck, there are probably more of these than there are actual writers out there. Yup, I’m talking about writing related tutorials, tips and tricks articles. The simple truth about searching for tips and tricks is that in reality, you can look for ideas, but what gets you to sit still and write and what works for the girl next to you are likely going to be different things. Deciding that you’re going to make things work for you in your own way is probably the best, most honest advice you can give yourself. When you know that you’re going to make your own decisions, you stop looking for direction from others and just look to incorporate the things that strike you and leave behind what doesn’t.
That being said, every once in awhile I do organize some of the techniques I’ve been using lately into an article. Full disclosure, too: these change. I change up my routine to address writer’s block so much easier than I hit the delete button, though that too is a lesson. Writers have to protect their time and ability when writing. If something isn’t working, don’t spend too much time trying to force it together.
So here are some of my current writing tips and tricks. If you’ve got something that’s been working really well for you lately, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 😀