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Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

Archive for the month “February, 2015”

Writing Prompt: 02-27-2015

Origin“Before the Departure,” by LAS-T on DeviantArt. I know neither the artist, nor any other work by this artist, so beware if you decide to look them up.

Feeling inspired? Write something from this prompt! You can leave a response in the comments, or move the prompt to your blog and leave a link in the comments. I cannot wait to see what you write!

Please keep responses clean.

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So You Want to Start a Blog: Simple Tips for the Beginning Blogger

So You want to Start a Blog: Simple Tips for the Beginning Blogger

I would start this post with, “For ages, people have decided to start their own blogs, and yet never done it for the fear that they might do something wrong. Worse, they start it, and don’t know what they’re doing, and so leave it to sit and gather dust.”

But I cannot do that, for blogs haven’t really been around for that long. When it comes to blogging, most of us don’t honestly have a whole lot of experience.

Because of that, there is a lot of different methods and manners which you will find on many different blogs.  If you’ve seen something contradicting what I shall say in this post, it’s really up to you to decide what the best way of blogging is.

Before you start your blog, you must know: Blogging is hard. 

If you still want to go on with this, now would be a good time to find out what blogging platform you’ll be using. Personally, I prefer WordPress for the professional appearance, the easy dashboard and posting abilities, and the stats page. Others prefer Blogger for the the fact that it is easy to customize, and you have more options (I think? Correct me if I’m wrong). I’ve also seen people using Weebly, but I know next to nothing about that.

You will have to pick your own blogging platform according to your needs and preferences.

Next, Consider the purpose of your blog. 

This will define what your blog becomes. Do you want it to be about writing? About water-skiing? About necklace making? About life? Whatever you choose as your main focus will most likely stay your main focus for your blogging years.

Plan before you start your blog.

As for me, I wrote up a list of things I wanted to do and the days I wanted to do it: Writing Articles go on Wednesday, Writing Prompts on Friday, etc. If at all possible, I avoid switching things around; it gives me a solid structure to stick to. I am something of a list person, so you’ll have to know yourself to be aware of how deeply you should plan.

Be consistent with your style of writing, your advice, and your schedule. It will make your blog feel tied together, one steady piece rather than a bunch of disjoint pieces of writing.

Create a “About” page. 

This is the first thing I check for when I visit new blogs. I want to get a feel for the person and have a knowledge of what the blog is about before I go exploring. Be honest. How upfront you are depends on your preferences, but do be honest about yourself, since this will most likely be the first impression any reader gets — make it an accurate one.

Put up your first post. 

To be honest, you will most likely get very few people reading your first post. This is more for you than it is for them. It gives you a good, solid opening for your brain.

Keep writing, and wait.

Practice makes progress, so keep practicing, and don’t get discouraged. When you find things to fix, fix them; your blog will get better.

Congratulations. You are now a blogger.

Eventually you’ll learn to do things according to the style of blog you have. You may start to attach title pictures, or start up an Awkward and Awesome Thursday. You’ll learn to be friendly on other blogs and to comment back on your own blog whenever possible. Blogging will be hard, but I believe that you will find it worth it.

Don’t give up. Even when your stats drop, even when you don’t have any followers, even when you don’t seem to be doing very well. Focus, improve, publicize, wait. People will come.

Writing a blog will be different from writing a novel, so expect to treat it differently — which is not to say you cannot do some of the same things you do while writing creatively. Personally, I like to have a cup of coffee nearby when I write, whether blog posts or novels. When it’s hard to write a particular blog post on, I turn on NewSong’s CD, More Life. A consistent playlist helps me to focus and keep my style.

Are you planning on creating a blog, or do you have a blog? Drop a link in the comment box below so I can check it out?

Writing Prompt: 02-20-2015

Origin“Commission 31,” by Laura Hollingsworth. I know neither this artist, nor her other work, so use caution if you decide to look her up.

Feeling inspired? Write something from this prompt! You can move the prompt to your blog and leave a link in the comments, or leave your response in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you write!

Please keep all responses clean.

Get to Know Your Characters Responses: Right-Hand Man

Get to Know Your Characters Right-Hand ManHappy Thursday, readers! With blog tours and the conclusion of the Get to Know Your Characters challenge, today has been an exciting day here at the blog. Do take the time to visit (and perhaps comment) on the exceptional pieces below!

By Gabrielle Massman

Prompts Chosen:

  • Your villain’s right-hand man is between three and ten. Write something that shows what their life was like at that point.
  • Write about the time when your villain and his right-hand man (or woman) met.
  • Your character has lost something important—what is it, where is it, and why do they need it?

The Unmaking, by Natasha Roxby

Prompt Chosen:

  • Write about the time when your villain and his (or her) right-hand man (or woman) met.

By Alea Harper

Prompt Chosen

  • Your character has lost something importantwhat is it, where is it, and why do they need it?

Choices, by Katie Grace

Prompt Chosen

  • Your character has lost something importantwhat is it, where is it, and why do they need it?

By Jessica Lockwood

Prompt Chosen

  • Write about the time when your villain and his (in this case, random minion) met.

By Jessi L. Roberts

Prompt Chosen

  • Write about a year before the start of your story.

By Faith Song

Prompt Chosen

  • Write about a time when your villain and right-hand man were interacting normally. Let us know how they talk to each other, what sort of friendship (or enmity) they have.

By—me!

Prompts Chosen

  •    Your villain’s right-hand man is between three and ten. Write something that shows what their life was like at that point.
  • Write about the time when your villain and his (or her) right-hand man (or woman) met.

These two are my villain, and his right-hand man, from the not-yet-begun novel, By the Light of Five Stars. 

Note: The word “Thond” means father. (If you’re curious as to why I used “Mama” instead of creating a word for that: “mama” is a title or endearing term for mother found in many different languages that could not possibly have borrowed from each other. I figured that, if it’s found so frequently in our world, it could very likely be found in another, too. 


 

The shrill, desperate cry of a baby filled the air.

Mathio cringed, drawing in a breath sharp enough to sting his lungs with the cold air. Mama had said that the baby would cry, that it was a good thing—but his mind could not help but flashing back to when this had happened last time. Tumo had cried and could not stop until the day before they buried him.

“It won’t be that way this time,” he reminded himself fiercely under his breath. “It won’t. The baby will be okay.”

Only the frost witnessed the break in his voice.

Backing up against the wall of the midwife’s house, Mathio squeezed his eyes shut, wrapping his arms around his thick coat. Thond would be out any minute now to tell him about the baby. Mama wouldn’t know that Mathio had trekked across the town to get to the midwife’s house when he was supposed to be at home, but Thond would know—fathers always seemed to know.

Across town, a confused rooster crowed—dawn would not come for hours, but apparently the rooster did not know it.

To the right of Mathio, the latch clicked and the midwife’s door opened. His breath catching in his throat, Mathio pivoted toward the door.

He was latching his arms around Thond’s waist before his father even managed to get half-way out the door.

“Whoah,” Thond murmured, sliding further out of the door. “Someone is eager.”

Sniffing, Mathio nodded. “Is the baby good?”

“Very,” Thond said.

Mathio stepped back to peer up at Thond’s face, voice dropping to a whisper. “The baby isn’t going to die?”

“No, Mathio,” Thond said. “He won’t die.”

A rush of relief flooded through Mathio, the tension draining out of his muscles. If Thond said the baby would not die, the baby would live.

“It’s a—a boy?” He asked.

Thond smiled, but the moonlight illuminating his face revealed the wrinkle in his brow. “Yes,” he said. “A boy.”

“Can I meet him?”

“In just a moment,” Thond said. Taking Mathio’s hand, he guided him to the door and sat upon the step, staring into Mathio’s face.

Panic gripped Mathio again, and he reached out with his free hand to wrap it around Thond’s strong, warm one. “The baby is going to be all right—”

“Yes, yes,” Thond’s deep voice murmured.

“Then—,” Mathio started.

“Don’t worry,” Thond said.

Mathio swallowed hard and tried not to worry.

“The baby’s name is Essien,” Thond said, voice soft yet seemingly loud against the relative quiet of a sleeping city. “He is the third son.”

Mathio waited for Thond to continue, but Thond only looked at him, quiet.

The weight of his father’s words hit Mathio like an invisible punch in the stomach. “He—he will get the stars?”

“When he turns twelve,” Thond quietly confirmed.

“But—” Exhausted tears pricked at Mathio’s eyes. “But they’ll hurt him like they hurt you.”

“He’ll be all right,” Thond murmured, pulling Mathio into his arms. Mathio hid his face in Thond’s shoulder, biting his tongue to keep the despair from washing over him.

But Thond had said the baby—Essien—wouldn’t die. Thond had to be right.

“You’ll look out for him, won’t you?” Thond said, his voice vibrating Mathio.

Not raising his head, Mathio nodded. “Always.”

Pulling back, Mathio looked up at Thond’s face.

His father smiled and stood. “Wait here,” he murmured.

Biting his lip, Mathio nodded, not taking his eyes off of Thond as he opened the door, stepped inside, and closed it behind himself.

Squeezing his eyes shut, Mathio tried to envision what his brother’s face would look like. The images flashing across his mind matched only babies that he knew already; boys and girls he could name. Surely Essien would look different from that.

The door opened again. Inching backwards, Mathio tried to quell the nervousness rising up inside of him. Thond stepped out, a bundle of blue cloth cradled in one arm, a candlestick clasped in his other hand. His reassuring smile lit up by candlelight, Thond crouched, nodding for Mathio to approach.

Swallowing, Mathio stepped forward, peering into the face of his brother.

Eyes closed, face illuminated by the flickering candle, Essien’s tiny, beautiful face forced a jolt through Mathio’s heart.

Silently, he vowed that he would never—never leave his brother’s side.

“Essien,” he whispered, testing out the name. “Essien?”

Though Essien’s eyes did not open, Mathio could have sworn his tiny lips turned upward in the faintest smile.

 

 

 

 

 

The King’s Scrolls Blog Tour: Author Interview and Review

TKS Blog Tour Banner

About the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

Some of you probably remember when I reviewed the novel Resistance by Jaye L. Knight back in July. It was an excellent book, and left me eager to read the second book. Of course, therefore, I am thrilled to be able to participate in the blog tour of book two of the Ilyon Chronicles, The King’s Scrolls. 

Haven’t begun the adventure into Ilyon? From February 17th – 23rd, get Resistance , the award-winning first book of Ilyon Chronicles for your Kindle on sale for only 99 cents! Check it out on Amazon!

Not only did I get to read and review The King’s Scrolls (the review is at the bottom) I had the pleasure of interviewing the author, herself. Folks, please welcome the author of the Ilyon Chronicles, Jaye L. Knight! 

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Jaye L. Knight: My very, very first story I wrote when I was eight years old was about a girl named April. I don’t remember much. Each chapter of it was its only little story of simple things like April getting a cat or playing with one of her friends. The first story I ever finished that was truly a story was called Twilight (definitely not anything like the vampire Twilight :P). It was a horse story and my own retelling of a book from my favorite series at the time, Pony Pals by Jeanne Betancourt. I was about ten or eleven at the time.

Do you have a Bible verse that summarizes your reason for writing?

Jaye L. Knight: Probably Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. God created me with the passion and ability for writing. If I didn’t pursue it, I don’t think I’d be accomplishing the work He has prepared for me to do.

What was one major source of inspiration while you were writing The King’s Scrolls? 

Jaye L. Knight I listened to a lot of music, probably more than I have with other books, especially for the emotional scenes. Hurt by Thomas Bergersen is one song I listened to quite frequently. It’s very sad, but it helped me get in the right mood to tackle some of the more difficult scenes in the book.

What is some little-heard writing advice you would give to novelists?

Jaye L. Knight: I’m not sure how little-heard it is, but some of the best writing advice I can give is not to try to write the perfect novel with your first draft. Unless you’re very unique, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it right the first time, so don’t beat yourself up trying. One of my favorite quotes is by Shannon Hale that says, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” No matter how unreadable it might be at first, just get the story written. You can always turn it into a masterpiece later.

Have you ever had an interesting experience while researching?

Jaye L. Knight: I didn’t set out trying to research what different feelings of grief were like, but it so happened that at almost the same time I was about to write some of the hardest scenes in The King’s Scrolls, we got news that our dog had cancer. I was absolutely heartbroken because I’m the type that gets super attached to my animals. Those first couple of days were just awful, but I ended up writing down exactly how I felt physically and emotionally so that I could refer to it later. Well, thank God, we ended up finding out that it wasn’t cancer, just an aggressive infection and our wonderful yellow lab is still with us, perfectly recovered. But that experience and the notes I took on it turned out to be very valuable once I returned to writing TKS.

And – definitely the most important question – do you have a favorite drink or snack that you keep nearby while writing?

Jaye L. Knight: TEA!! 😀 English Breakfast Tea with plenty of sugar and French Vanilla creamer to be exact. I have a mug pretty much every day. Sometimes two. I used to absolutely love eating cheddar Combos too while I was writing, but then I had to go gluten free and couldn’t have them anymore. 😦 I haven’t yet discovered a good substitute.

About Jaye L. Knight

Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Giveaway!

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed Epic Winter giveaway! Prize pack includes an autographed copy of The King’s Scrolls, a CD by Future World Music (some of Jaye’s favorite writing music), a dragon bookmark, a stone hawk pendant (much like the ones mentioned in the book), and a few packages of Twining’s Winter Spice tea to sip while you read! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Click here to go to the giveaway.

Book Review

Characters

Just as last time, I loved the characters. They were well-developed, endearing (or in the case of some, not-so-endearing) people. Kyrin may be one of my favorite female protagonists of all time.

The characters, as in the last one, were fantastic – especially the recurring characters. I loved getting to know Kyrin’s brothers, despised the villain (not the emperor; a different one) just a little more with every word he said, and excitedly followed along with their adventures simply because I loved them.

One thing that I did dislike here was the sheer amount of characters. The author was excellent in keeping each person a separate, unique character (something very rarely seen in books with many characters!), but frequently we found characters fading into the background. It was hard to remember who was present at all times – while reading at one point, I was startled to remember that Trev had been present the whole time. In the last book, we were able to keep track of all the characters and see who they were; in this one, I feel like there was just a few too many characters to know quite as well as we did last time. However, it didn’t bother me most of the time; the characters we did focus on were worth it. I only wish Trask had more screen time. I missed his snarky manner mixed in with his excellent leadership.

Plot

The plot was a good mix of past-paced action and endearing quiet scenes. The continuity was good throughout the novel, and I eagerly kept reading (I actually ended up carrying the Kindle around while helping my little sisters clean their room. And sniffling the whole time). It was one of the books that you honestly don’t want to put down; so you carry it around as you walk around the house, even if you’re not reading, so you can come back to it as fast as possible.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was right about what a particular character needed, and it happened. It was fantastic (and tragic). The plot kept me rooting for the characters through my teeth when I should have been asleep; if my sisters heard me muttering, “Come on, Marcus!” from beneath my comforter—no, I wasn’t sleep-talking.

I was also pleasantly surprised (in a tragic sort of way) that the grieving shown here was realistic; far better than that of most books.

Setting

As in the last book, the author knew her land well. This one went from a mining town, to a forest, to a capital, and we got glimpses of an entirely different culture through visitors to the country. Each place possessed a distinctive feel, but was still bound tightly in the same world. The world is a well-developed one; the type you could almost expect to find across the ocean, or just around the next bend on an unfamiliar road.

Writing

Can I start by mentioning how deeply in-character the story took us? A character with a fear of heights made me, a girl who has always loved heights, understand perfectly how it must be to feel fear racing through your limbs at the thought of heights. Even though I was prepared for a death in the story, the grief of the characters left me with a tight feeling in my stomach. Jaye L. Knight is a master of going into the heads of the characters with her writing.

The style of the writing was the same as in the last book, and made me think of a quote I recently saw: “The prose is a window, beyond which all these wonderful things are happening.” — Brandon Sanderson

In Summary

The King’s Scrolls is an excellent, uplifting book. The characters are good, upstanding people, but with flaws to make them relatable. The continuity between the two books was great; I saw no typos or grammatical errors.

This book was one that captured my imagination, skillfully told a story from the hand of a master. A beautiful book that brings glory to God, I would definitely recommend this to Christian Fantasy lovers. I am eagerly awaiting the next book. Well done, Jaye L. Knight.

Visit the other stops on the tour!

Tuesday, February 17

Wednesday, February 18

 

Thursday, February 19

 

Friday, February 20

Saturday, February 21

Sunday, February 22

 

Monday, February 23

Tuesday, February 24

 

Wednesday, February 25

Two Stereotyped Kinds of Women and How to Avoid Them

Two Stereotyped Kinds of Women - And How to Avoid Them

I am very particular about the females in the books that I read, especially the main female character. These days, it gets hard to find a clean book with a realistic and relatable female main character—even in novels written by women.

Ladies in books tend to fall into two very different categories: the Weeper, and the Warrior. Both of these are drastically enhanced versions of two very different personality traits found in basically girls. Writers have taken two extremes in women, and eliminated all other character from them; half of the women found in books nowadays are more caricatures than characters.

The Characteristics of The Warrior

(*coughTaurielcough*)

She is frequently the leader of an army or a country. She wears pants, and finds skirts horrible (can frequently be heard saying, “Who wears those?” or “I can’t move in them!”). She does not cry. She does not do a whole lot of quiet conversing . She does not wear her hair long—or if she does, she always has it put up.  She is fantastic with fighting, and can beat practically anyone (in spite of the size and strength differences between males and females).

She is always hard and quick, and has very little moments where you see her emotions.

The Characteristics of a Weeper

The classic lady in distress, she has a tendency to stand back when the hero fights (or, worse, faint). She spends a lot of the time crying; she does not wear pants, does not carry a sword. She often gets kidnapped by a dragon. She can frequently be found in older movies (Westerns, for example).

She does not shout (though she sometimes screams) and does not hide her emotions.

The problem with both of these character types? No one is like that. 

Sure, some people hide their emotions more than others. Some people would faint at the sight of blood (but I honestly can’t think of anyone I know who would), and some are good at physical combat.

The author takes something away from them when he or she makes their character to be like this. Humans are complicated beings. They contradict themselves in their personality, they’re different from any other person in the world. Your characters are worth making into realistic, relatable people. I don’t tend to go on adventures frequently. It’s the strange thing about living in modern America; dragons don’t visit very often. Therefore, to make me go on an adventure with your characters, you have to make your characters as alive as you can possibly make them.

You have to find a balance between a strong female character and a female female character.

You need to realize that no one will hate you for having a female character who is not overly strong.

Those who care enough to read your books will be looking for honest characters. They will want a girl, who just happens to be strong, not the other way around.

You also need to realize that no one will hate you for having a girl who is strong.

Because, to be honest, we readers aren’t too picky after you get your characters past the cliches.

Make your characters female.

Make them alive. 

Make them honest. 

Anything else—whether they lead an army, or end up fainting a half-dozen times in three hundred pages is up to you.

After that, you will have to go through the general character development process. But look out for these two character types in your novel, and give the characters more than a stereotyped appearance; make them deeper than that.

Writing Prompt: 02-13-2015

Recently, I got an email from someone suggesting (what I should have come up with myself a long while ago) that I try some writing prompts in a different format – namely, songs.

Songs are quiet possibly the most inspiring thing when it comes to writing. Therefore, throughout the normal writing prompts, expect to find the occasional song on some weeks.

OriginLove Does, by Brandon Heath. And because YouTube is sometimes fantastic, I was able to find the official lyric video (in short: this video is legal, folks. Don’t be concerned about it). Many thanks to Brandon Heath for putting his song on YouTube! (You can purchase the song here, if you would like.)

Feeling inspired? Write something from this prompt! You can leave a response here, or move the prompt to your blog and leave a link in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

I would also love to hear what you think about the new prompt format.

Please do keep responses clean.

Creating a Fantasy Culture

Creating a Fantasy Culture

 

Good worldbuilding* can make or break a book.

A well-developed culture can make or break your worldbuilding.

In so many fantasy (and science fiction) stories, the culture in a world entirely unconnected from our own seems distinctly European.

“But Athelas!” you gasp, “you mean all countries didn’t wear longswords, ride horses, and fashion full-body armor? You mean all cultures don’t wear medieval-style dresses, and not all cultures put moats around their castles?”

Why, yes, that’s exactly what I mean. You catch on fast.

Not all countries resemble Great Britain in medieval times. Not all countries hold the American ideas of clean. In order to create a believable world, you will have to put significant thought into the culture of your countries, even if you decide to echo countries from our world (which I have seen done very skillfully before). You’ll have to work hard to get it to the point where you’ve created a realistic world – but it can be done, and it is a very enjoyable pastime.

Characters will make your readers love your story. Developing your setting will take them there.

What You Will Need

  • A good imagination
  • Careful record-keeping.

Some people say you should start at the very basics – at whether or not they’re human or other creatures, if they keep dragons as pets, if they have special abilities, and other things like that.

That sounds like a very good idea to me.

But if you’re brave, I have a better idea.

First off, find the feel of your country. That’s a hard thing to pin-point, but it will shape everything else you do with your country, ever. It will be in your novel and in your history, in your notes and in your language.

Sit back. Think of the style you want your culture to have.

One easier way of finding the feel of your culture is to write a “tagline” for your country. In that tagline, give a quick sentence or paragraph that captures the feel of your culture as a whole.

For example: “The people of Robegēn are a group of stubborn farmers, peaceful people who can beat back any invader before they knew what hit them, lovers of history and knowledge.”

Sometimes you may want to do this after you finish the rest of the basic worldbuilding steps. However, it will take a long time to create a culture, and it’s likely that if you don’t do this beforehand, you will lose the feel of your people before you finish creating them.
That is never good.

Now figure out how fantasy-ish your people are. This is, after all, an important thing to know.

Values

What does your culture, as a whole, value? This may be summarized in your tagline; it may not.

Different cultures all value different things. In China, they value dignity. You do not make someone lose face. In America – well, let’s skip over America, actually. In a country with a history of war, they may value peace; or they may value bravery in battle. Some cultures value family; some value solitude.

Cultures as a whole have a way of creating a certain amount of character about them. Though they’re a whole group of people, they are people raised by the same people as generations go on; they’re bound to be taught the same thing growing up as their parents learned as they grew up. This may not be certain characteristics they possess, but rather, subtle differences from other cultures.

For an example, look at ancient Mesopotamia as opposed to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians had a certain quality in them that taught them to accept their ruler as their deity; the Mesopotamian people had a definite amount of independence in a way that manifested itself in their rulers being repeatedly assassinated and replaced when they got to the point where the people were unhappy with them.

Quirks and Traditions
Before you go on to governments, hierarchies and religions, take a moment to figure out certain quirks in behavior, practices that they have or do not have. Why do this now, you ask? Well, simply because it’s fun, and you’ve worked hard up until this point.

For example, the people of Robegēn do not eat oblong fruits from trees. At one point they did not eat any fruit from trees, but after the Famine of Nen III, they decided it was necessary to eat some fruit. Many cultures have these types of “quirks.” All of them had a reason at some point in the past, but most have been forgotten by now. None of the people of Robegēn could tell you that they don’t eat oblong fruits from trees because of a certain snake in a certain garden.

Now feel free to move on to governments. Do they have a king? Would they permit a female to rule? Do they elect their rulers? Do some research on the different types of government and figure out which your people would establish.

Going deeper than most people would advise you to at this stage, you can ask how much they would accept from their leaders; how far will they allow their freedom to be taken away?

Religion

Who do they worship? Have they got it right, or have they got it wrong? In what ways do they practice their religion? Are they open about it, or silent about what they believe?

There are many other things you’ll learn about your culture, but these basics will set you up to learn the other things as time goes on.

What sorts of fantasy countries do you have? How have you spent time developing them?

*My spell check is telling me worldbuilding is not a word. My spell check is wrong.

Writing Prompt: 02-06-2015

Origin“Ambush” by Nicole Cardiff. I know neither this artist, nor her other work, so use caution if you decide to look her up.

Feeling inspired? Tell this story. You can leave a response to the prompt in the comments, or move the prompt to your  blog and leave a link in the comments. I can’t wait to read what you write!

Please keep all responses clean. 

What to Do When You Lack Inspiration

What to Do When You Lack InspirationWriting is hard.

I believe that’s something we can all agree on. Though we all love it and would pick it over a thousand other things, occasionally there will be a time when your Inspiration Well runs dry.

That is a terrible time.

It’s not like simple writer’s block—oh, no. That is far better, far less detrimental to your writing. Writer’s block is merely a block— you can get past or around it. When you run out of inspiration, it simply isn’t there. 

This happens rarely for some authors, and more frequently for others. I am incredibly thankful that I’m a part of the first category, but even for me there has been times when I find myself entirely lacking inspiration.

This is a sticky problem to fix; you can’t just stroll to the grocery store and buy a package of inspiration. When you lack inspiration, you find it unnaturally difficult to find and acquire.

Recently, a good friend of mine asked me how I get inspiration. Unfortunately, I honestly don’t have a clue. I know how I occasionally look for inspiration on Pinterest, or I remember how inspiration is triggered by something someone said once, but I have no easy way of finding inspiration—which is unfortunately, for life would be much easier if I did.

Fortunately, I do know some ways to help refill your tank when you run dry. It’s not a way to find inspiration; but, rather, a way to plant yourself firmly on Inspiration Highway 22.

Stop writing. Sometimes deadlines force you to plow your way through a story even if you have no inspiration and no idea where it’s going. Hopefully, they won’t—you rarely come up with good material if you truly have no idea what to write. If you have any choice in the matter, decide to take a break from writing for a little while. Since you’ll mostly run out of inspiration when it comes time to start a new story, you should be able to find time to pause.

Walk around. Be active for a little while; drink water; keep your blood flowing and your mind processing things. Get away from your computer screen.

Read a book. Preferably one you’ve never read before, maybe even in a genre you don’t usually read. After you’ve read a full novel of this, you may go back to your favorite books and authors you know.

Watch a movie or a television show. I honestly don’t think it matters a bit what kind of movie you watch. I got an idea for a novel while listening to my younger brothers and sisters watch Veggie Tales: Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry-Men. If that can produce inspiration, anything can.

Stating it quite simply: relax. Let your mind relax for a little while and expose it to stories. It would be pretty remarkable if you didn’t pick up on some sort of inspiration.

 

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