It was inevitable. Eventually, I knew I’d face the Fantasy Writer’s Exam. I had seen it a few years earlier but had ignored it. This week, it was brought to my attention again.
So here I am, taking the exam created by David J. Parker and Samuel Stoddard at Rink Works. They believe, “Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created the worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia, it seems like every windbag off the street thinks he can write great, original fantasy, too.”
That’s quite a statement, and there’s more: “The problem is that most of this “great, original fantasy” is actually poor, derivative fantasy. Frankly, we’re sick of it, so we’ve compiled a list of rip-off tip-offs in the form of an exam.”
Fantasy writers who answer ‘Yes’ to just one question fail the exam and are instructed to abandon their novels immediately.
Posted by Diane Tibert on June 13, 2012
With plans for the paperback version of Shadows in the Stone underway, I realised today that I need a map of my fantasy world: Ath-o’Lea!
I’ve already completed the initial sketches and the second draft, decided on place names, compass position and various other things I want to add. Still, I don’t have it print ready; just the draft. I need to hand-draw the sea dragons and decide on the final design of the compass rose and Key.
Here’s what I have so far. I created it on paper, scanned it and plugged in the extra items and place names. I’m not happy with the font, so I’ll have to find something more fantasy-like. This was done with the Ulead program, but for my final version, I’ll use Power Point.
Posted by Diane Tibert on June 8, 2012
Bronwyn moved off to the side. “To make a firm stance, move this leg back like this. And put the other like this.” With Anna’s feet in position, he slowly moved his hands in an exercise motion to get her to handle the sword efficiently.
After a few tries, she lowered it. “It’s heavy. Your sword is not appropriate to my body mass.”
He picked up a fair-sized stick. “What you need is a slim sword, one weighing about a pound. It looks similar to a long dagger, but you wield it the same as you would a sword. The next chance we get, I’ll show you what I mean. Until then,” he exchanged the stick for the sword, “you can practise the movements with this.”
So how heavy were those swords back in the dark ages? One popular writer, who I won’t name, claimed the sword her character used was ten pounds.
Posted by Diane Tibert on April 12, 2012
Characters are the essence in a story as corned beef is the heart in Jiggs Dinner. But just like the beef, characters can have no flavour and instead of enticing you to eat read more, you pass on seconds put the book down.
Like corned beef, good characters take time to create. I’ve cured my characters in Shadows of the Stone for several years. Now, they’re almost read to be served (think May 6th). I love my characters, the good, the bad and the ugly. None of them are perfect because perfect characters are boring. Even The Good Guys Must Be Flawed. You can read my thoughts about this in a guest post at Thea Atkinson’s blog.
Posted by Diane Tibert on March 14, 2012
I met Argon when I was thirteen. Back then I was a naive thief, a wee hauflin traipsing through the forest acting like I knew how to pick a lock faster than any other thief. I was pretty handy with a sword, better with a dagger, and possessed a silver tongue that could talk me out of a fickle.
While lost in the Caverns of Confusion with my travel-mates, we stumbled upon a young dwarf who turned out to be an explorer from Aruam Castle. He was fairly handsome and I thought, if only he was fifty years younger, I’d give him a whirl. But then again, he was an honourable man and wouldn’t be interested in a common thief.
Posted by Diane Tibert on March 5, 2012
Today begins my journey into Ath-o’Lea. That’s the name of the fantasy world where my characters of Shadows in the Stone dwell. This journey contains about 130,000 words and 42 chapters. It spans twelve years and about 300 miles. I’ll travel by foot, waggon, magic portal and horseback. Along the way I’ll see a child born, loyal men killed, a kidnapping and a chase.
I’ll witness heated arguments, passionate moments, sword fights, emotional turmoil and both innocent and evil magic. My path will cross that of honourable men, dutiful women, innocent children, humans, thieves, murderers, dwarfs, lords, hauflins, troglodytes, lost souls and stubborn ponies.
Posted by Diane Tibert on March 1, 2012
Due to kicking myself in the butt a few weeks ago, I finally completed removing words which made my sentences passive from the Shadows in the Stone manuscript.
Grand Total: In 27 chapters, I eliminated 1,424 was, 292 were and 449 that words, reducing the overall word count by 2,837. On average, each chapter contained about 3,000 words, so in the end, it felt as if I eliminated an entire chapter. That’s incredible.
My hope is that after completing this exercise that I’ll think twice before ever using was, were and that words in my original drafts.
Today, I began Part II: The final edit before it goes to the editor stage. During this stage several other tasks take place, such as recording character names and making final name changes.
You can read about Part II on the Shadows in the Stone page. As always, a brief update on my progress appears in the right-hand column of every blog page below the book cover.
Posted by Diane Tibert on February 28, 2012
Since I was a wee lass I’ve hunted for the perfect location for a fantasy novel to take place. Oft times, my camera sat only a stretch away, so if the magic of the scenery moved me, I could attempt to capture it on film. This was more difficult to do than one can imagine.
I’ve found many pockets of wonderful locations throughout Atlantic Canada and on my travels. The pictures I’ve gathered easily show the location, but when it comes to revealing their beauty through words in a novel without pictures, at times they’re tough to describe. That’s when you need landscape lingo.
Writing fantasy requires me to learn landscape lingo, the basic names for the structure of the land. After all, who wants to travel through a bland forest all the time when the countryside, glen and meadow are free for the taking?
Posted by Diane Tibert on February 27, 2012
The translucent lustre of spinel cast the spell of loyalty and calmness. Wearers of the stone are shown the path to peaceful meditation and self-healing. When separated from loved ones, the power of the stone reduces anxiety and aides in coping with the separation. Spinel protects from troublesome influences and helps one find their way.
Isla gives her best friend Liam a handmade necklace containing a blue spinel in my fantasy novel Shadows in the Stone. She chose the gem carefully, sensing he’d one day need a resilient inner strength to help him survive and remain loyal to her. He’d also need extensive healing from the horrendous path I’ve plotted for him and positive encouragements to combat the negative influences in his life.
Posted by Diane Tibert on February 23, 2012