Writer’s First Source: Making a Guidebook for your stories

Happy Wednesday! I thought that for a while I would make Wednesday, Writer’s First Source Wednesday.


I thought today, that I would tackle on a different subject that relates to writing and that is making your own guidebook for your story. The idea of the guidebook is to help you sort all of your information for your story, especially when you are working on epic fantasies. I’m currently in the middle of making mine for The Raven Prophecy.

It’s where you have all of your information for your characters, settings, the laws of your world, you can list the creatures that are in your story and what rules or laws that they might have to follow. You might also have maps/charts in there. Yes, I know that you can have the same information in Scrivener but what if you wanted to take it with you so that you can look it over? You might want to have it in a notebook or a three-ring binder. The idea is to have all of the information that you need for your book in one place.

The idea came to me when I saw the reference guide that was put out for Twilight, and I have a book similar to that one on The Lord of the Rings also. I also once saw a guidebook for the Dune series. As writers, we want to make things easy for us to find the vital information that we need for our stories that we can refer back to when we need it.

The other point about making a guidebook is that it can make it somewhat easier when we have to write out a book proposal or anything else that we might have to make out for marketing purposes. While it might be a pain to do, but in the long run making a guidebook but in the end, the pain will pay off when we have to write anything meaningful about our books.

Granted, not every book/story needs a guidebook, not unless you want to but I don’t think that they are necessary for short stories unless that one short story is going to be part of a series. But for the bigger novels, they can become quite helpful. Also when you are working on your guidebook, you might want to think about it as that you are making a “Book of Shadows” of sorts which is based on your novel.

 

Dream Interpretation

When we sleep, we tend to dream and when we dream we get ideas for stories if we think back to those stories. Granted, we may get even more curious about our dreams and we seek out or try to look for their meanings. Dreams are wonderful things, and there have been scientific studies done on dreams. However, as writers, we tend to reflect back on our dreams, especially the ones that either speak loudly to us or those that we have over and over again. Some people spend so much time reflecting on their dreams that they tend to have a journal to record what happens in their dreams, or at least what they remember in their dreams.

There have even been a few authors that have claimed that their stories came to them in a dream. Stephanie Mayer the author of the Twilight Saga claimed that it came to her in a dream. J.K. Rowling has also said that the inspiration of Harry Potter came to her while she was on a train and she was drifting off and then she saw a boy in a black cloak running through the train. From that moment on for Rowling, she started to jot down her notes and ideas for Harry Potter.

Dreams can be remarkable things and times they can come back to us without any indication that they are doing so. Dreams can be used as tools in our writings as many authors have shown us countless times when a character falls into a dream state. When we use dreams in our stories, they should pay apart in the motion of the story. If the dream has nothing to do with the story, then the tool of the dream will become wasted.

Here is an excerpt from a dream sequence that is in the Raven Prophecy:

While Draco saw the kiss continue on, the scene began to spiral and several more images came flying past him. The images came fast like a spiraling storm inside his head, for he saw the woman over and over again. Different men wore the crown, several blackbirds that he presumed to be ravens flying in every direction towards him. He tried to duck from them as he felt their talons against his face. Dragons being destroyed and their bodies burned to ash. Then finally the spiraling storm stopped and he found himself in a clean, white room.

Granted, while this is just one example of a dream sequence and this dream sequence is at the heart and soul of my book.

If you are curious more about dreams, you can spend the time either reading about them or doing research on the web. But I hope that you find dreams useful in our writing.

 

Some more changes are coming to the website

d86be4ce65bf82512775609ba751b966--fairy-silhouette-free-silhouette-cameoSo I have made some more changes to the website, as far as the look and feel of the site. You will notice, that I took some pages down. The reason for that is that I want to be smart about the changes and about what content that I put out there. I will still be adding to Writer’s First Source, but instead of it being a section of the website, it will be in the form of posts that occur once a week. That way I can get that content out there without visitors having to dig for that content.

Part of this change that is now being put on the website comes from when I updated the About me page of the website, and ever since then, I have had desires to give the site a proper facelift and to make things easier for visitors of this site to find.

Furthermore, I have taken down the poetry section and the short story section, but don’t worry, for I’m making changes to those sections. As I have mentioned before, and I will say it again this website like everything else that is Faerie Rose Press is growing and expanding. But I want to make the smart choices and not the wrong choices. I have learned a lot of lessons since I have started Faerie Rose Press, and there are many more lessons to be learned but I hope that you will understand when I say that with any business there is a period of growth and we are growing, becoming smarter and we want to gain from this period of growth.

Please, understand that when I first started Faerie Rose Press, it took time for me to see the vision that I want to pursue with this business, and every day I am becoming more aware of things that I want to pursue while growing and helping others with their writing careers. While in the meantime, I am still posting up new information and new content to be shared with those that are fellow writers, or those that have dreams of becoming writers.

Just as our slogan states, “Where Stories are not just for Faeries,” our content is not just for faeries either. We have a vision that we want to help writers reach their goals, while at the same time we want to reach our goals.

Please, forgive our changes but we hope that you will come back to see our content as we are not done putting out the content that we want to put out into the world. As William Shakespear said at the end of A Midsummer Nights Dream:

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this – and all is mended –
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I’m an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.”

Inspiration for Writers

Many times, when I’m wondering about Facebook through all the various posts that come up on my newsfeed, there is one that has been popping up a lot lately through most of the writer’s groups and that what inspires someone to write what they write. Inspiration can take on many forms and it can come from many different places and things.

It can come from music, movies, television shows, games, toys, views, something that we hear or see. As writers, we tend to look everywhere for inspiration to make that perfect character, scene, or storyline.We tend to use inspiration to write so that we can create something that is perfect (since as writers we tend to be perfectionists). But getting back on topic, inspiration is something that we all need. I tend to think of inspiration as the muse showing us what we have been missing from our lives, or from our writing and she/he says, “You should including this in your story or your writing.”

I tend to be inspired by movies, sometimes an image that comes from listening to music, sometimes games, sometimes reading something. But for the most part, I do use inspiration in my writing. However, the true gift of writing is not letting your readers know what inspired you in your writing. Sometimes, I feel that it is better to give your readers a puzzle after reading what you wrote and having them think about what inspired you to write that scene or that book. Unless you feel so inclined you can tell your readers what was the inspiration for your book.

Granted, there is a double edge sword in doing this, in that yes, we want to tell our readers the story behind the book because we want to connect with them. While at the same time, we want them to connect with the story. The other side of the coin is what happens when we say something inspired the story and they find out the truth about the actual inspiration then we can offend our readers which is something that we should not do. We should always be truthful with our readers about the fiction that we write and about the memoirs that we write as well. Granted, memoirs are a little tricky for the stories that are in memoirs are based on one’s memories, and if the memories that you have of an event are different from others then you will be called out as a fraud or a liar. When in all truth, you did tell the truth but the truth is how you see it.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing to have in our toolbox, what we do with it is up to each of us. The best advice that I can give on using inspiration is to make a list of what inspires you to write and then post that list on the wall above your writing space so that you can look at it and go back to that inspiration in your mind or go find that inspiration again so that you can be taken back to that time and place.

I hope that you will find inspiration in something today for your writing.

Giving your Characters Poetic Justice

Have you ever written a character where something in their past was truly horrible? While you wrote about that character and their past, you thought do they deserve justice for that darken past? Granted, after all, you wrote the character and you gave them the ugly past that they never want to talk about. Shouldn’t you also give them the justice that they deserve?

This question has plagued my mind for a while and as I sit and think that yes, I should give that character justice. But I also think that maybe they don’t deserve justice for that past or whoever it was that hurt them in the past. However, my mind was changed again, after watching Grey’s Anatomy last night.

Here is the story one of the doctors ran away from an abusive ex-husband and he turns up in Seattle and finds where she is so that she can sign divorce papers. While he is there, she meets his new finance and she works really hard to convince the new woman in this man’s life to run away from him and never look back. Well, while that did not happen, something did happen to the ex-husband, he is hit by a car. While either woman thinks that the other woman is to blame for the man’s condition, it was actually a drunk driver, who hit the man. But before that revelation comes out, the man wants to leave the hospital but the new finance refuses to help him out of the hospital for she wants him to rot in prison for what he had done to her. But in his anger at the new finance, he hits his head on the end of the bed and is declared brain dead, at which point he is on life support and the one who can take him off of the machines is the original wife, who busts up laughing although, she says she’s sorry and then she cries. But she decides that she will take him off of life support and donate his organs. So was she given the justice that she deserves? While I think yes for the doctor but what about the other woman, yes she took off her engagement ring and she watched from the gallery as his organs were dispensed out, but was she given her justice? Yes, she would have preferred to have testified in court against him and see him rot in jail, I think that she also got the justice that she needed.

Granted, all characters may not get the justice that they deserve, but there are others that do get the justice that they deserve. Another great example that comes to mind is in Game of Thrones when the horrible, Ramsey Bolton gets imprisoned and he is mauled up by his dogs, that as he mentioned had not eaten for three days. While he was being eaten, one of his living victims, Sansa, leaves smiling at the justice that had been served to Ramsey. Another example, that comes to mind from Game of Thrones, is Little Finger’s death when it comes to light that he betrayed Ned Stark and his beloved wife Catlin, who Little Finger swore that he loved over and over again. What was even more poetic about it was that he was on his hands and knees gravling as his throat was slit just like Catlin’s was.

So then do heroes deserve just as much justice as the villains? I’ll leave that up to you, to decide. But I will say that maybe almost every character needs just a bit of justice.

 

In Memorium: Urusla K. Le Guin

ursulakleguinPORCHWEBThis morning, I would like to pay attribute to Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88. If you are a lover of the fantasy genre, then you should know Ursula K. Le Guin and her work in the genre. I first came across Le Guin’s work when I was about 13, at the time I was reading the Lord of the Rings, and the Science Fiction Channel was showing a two-part mini-series, called Earthsea. Then when I was in college, Studio Ghibli released their animated movie, The Tales of Earthsea, where I was transported back to Earthsea and I enjoyed it.

A few years, later I started to read the books that were in the Earthsea series, and I enjoyed them and spent time studying them as to where I could take my stories and what I could do with them. She had a huge gift for writing, and she had a huge grasp of the genre. As one YouTuber put out there, if Tolkien and Lewis are the grandfathers of the fantasy genre then she is our mother. This is so very much true, for as she looked at Tolkien after reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, she said in an interview, and she said that she read the trilogy in four days and after that, she escaped into that world for days. She said that it was like a door had been open and she could see all the possibilities that could be.

As I became a student of writing, I found that she wrote a writer’s guide, Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story. Yes, I have a copy of her book and I read it quite often for guidance. Just as I use other works of fantasy, for guidance or influence when I get stuck with a story idea. The greatest gift that Ursula, like any writer, gave us stories that swept our imaginations, but she also showed us how we can learn lessons from the stories. If you take the Earthsea series, we are taught that life is important and there needs to be a balance in this life and on this plane of existence. But in return, for her giving these lessons and her work, she was told by her readers that the would return to the Earthsea books because they needed them in their lives. She was the greatest thing that she heard but she never knew that it was possible for readers to go to a book when they needed it in their lives.

Ursula, thank you, for what you have given this world and may you rest in peace. Ursula died at her home in Portland due to old age and declining health. She is a true legend in her own right and an influence in many writers of current fiction and fantasy. Furthermore, she won numerous book awards for her work. So this morning and throughout today we pay homage to her legacy.

 

 

 

Updates to FaerieRosePress.com

I just wanted to let you know that I have updated the contact page, to be the about me page. I have just spent the last couple of hours working on the page which is now called, “About Me and Faerie Rose Press.” I hope that you will go check it out and let me know what you think. I’m very proud of how it looks.

I must admit that when I was first putting this site together, some of the pages like the about me page and the contact page, I rushed through getting the content on this pages. The other thing was that it was not showing the best presentation that could be put out there.

I have also removed the following pages based on the updates that I have put forth on the new about me page: the faq pages, the original about pages, and the contact page (which I used to transform into the new about me page). Since I removed the pages I have added some of the info on the about me page so that it is all in one place making more simple to find the information that you are looking for.

When I started this site, I stated that this was a work in progress, and that continues to be true with the new about me page.

Motivation that can tell a character’s story

Last night, I was watching NCIS, Bull, and NCIS: New Orleans, which is CBS‘s usual Tuesday night line up of shows. There was a big theme that ran through two of the three shows and that was motivation for a character. The biggest one of the three that showed the theme was Bull.

The story that Bull was showing viewers was a husband, who had ran the family broke, had been killed and his beloved wife was blamed for his death. Granted, the family that this family belonged to were rich. The only clue was a voicemail that the husband left for his wife saying that he was sorry. The prosecution was stating that the voicemail was clearing that the wife had motivation for killing her husband. Since he had gambled away most of the family wealth away and this left the family scrambling for funds. Whereas Jason Bull listened to the voicemail and interrupted it as a suicide note saying that he was sorry for he had done and no matter he could not undo what he had done to his wife and family. Further clues showed that the dearly departed hired a hitman to kill him and that he had also taken out a life insurance policy, however, if it was found out that the husband died of suicide the insurance company would not pay out the policy. However, based on this evidence that was presented to the wife, she was willing to go to jail since she knew that the insurance money that was needed for their daughter would not be paid out if it came out in court about the suicide. However, in some families, if suicide ever came out it would put a dark cloud on the family name. So there were two possible motivations for the wife’s actions, one side would argue that yes, she would go to jail and hide the truth so that her daughter could get the money to pay for school/ living expenses. On the other side, the wife’s actions would be that she didn’t want a black cloud to hang over the family name due to the manner in which her husband had died.

Now, I won’t give the ending away, but I will say that should we always look for two possible solutions for how a character acts? I’ll make a case that as writers, yes, we should, for depending on how the possible solution goes we could find ourselves with a surprise, that we later reveal to our readers. We are told that we should always keep our readers guessing in that they should not know everything until the end. I totally agree with that perspective; however, we should give information to other characters so that they are also kept on their toes as to what is going on, the only change to this that I would state that there should be at least two characters that know that is going on. Well, it wouldn’t be fair for one character to hold all the cards. Wouldn’t it?

There is no better example of this than in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, when Luke reveals all that he knows about his family to Leia. Leia keeps this to herself until the very end when she tells Han, that Luke is her brother. Granted, we never find out if she tells him that Vader is her father. But we can only assume that she does at some point. Well, come one she sort of has to after all they do get married at some point. Her motivation in telling Han was simple in that she loved him and she didn’t want to lose him to his pride and that he thought that she had feelings for her brother. But on the other hand, could her motivation in telling him had been that keeping the secret was somewhat killing her? Granted, she and Han had just finished with a battle to save the Ewok population on the forest moon of Endor, and she was shot, which could have been more serious if the shot was closer to the heart. Yes, we know that it was the latter but it was fun to through in a monkey wrench in the way that you were thinking.

We are always told that when it comes to crime the person must have a motive for committing the crime and that there has to be a possible motive. So why not turn the phrase that every character has a motive for they do and that motive should have two possible reasons why it is there. Furthermore, could there be two possible outcomes based on the motive that is presented? Gives you something to think about, doesn’t it? As writers, we should always be looking at motives for characters, and furthermore, no character is innocent necessarily.

The nominations are out and how do they impact us as writers

This morning the Oscar nominations where announced, and while most people pay attention to the categories of best supporting actor/actress, best actor/actress, and best picture, it is best to say as writers we should pay attention to the following categories: best original screenplay, best adapted screenplay, and best director. We should pay attention to the following as well as best live action short film, best documentary short subject, and best documentary feature. I’ll even throw in best picture as well as to what should be paying attention to.

Granted, I usually watch the Oscars and at first, it was to see the dresses that the women would wear, and to see which stars got to take home the Academy Awards, but in more recent years I have turned my attention to the writers that are nominated in the categories listed above. As someone once said the best live action short film nominees are usually first timers to making a film, and they usually go one to make the big motion pictures. These directors and writers are storytellers.

As I have mentioned on here before, or maybe I haven’t but I will now, every writer has their own unique background, and each writer chooses what path that they want to be on. But if you want to be a screenwriter, then you should pay attention to the categories of original screenplay and best adapted screenplay. Then see if you can find copies of those screenplays as well as the work that it was adapted on or based on, and study it so that you know what made them great or what you should be including in your screenplays.

I know that not every writer wants to win an academy award, but I say why not? Shouldn’t we dream big with our aspirations as writers? Since every story starts at the desk of a writer, like my own or even your desk. We should dream about winning awards just like actors and actresses do but even take it a step further in that if it was not for writers, actors and actresses would probably not have a job. Sometimes even directors for that matter either depending on who the writer is.

We as writers matter, and we should be paying attention to what our fellow writers, screenwriters, and storytellers are doing.

Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

“Get Out,” Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory

“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green

“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin

“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Here are the nominees for Best Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan

“Get Out,” Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig

“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

The complete list of nominees can be found at https://www.oscars.org

The Importance of Period Piece Programming

When we become writers or dream of becoming writers we are told that we must read. While this is true enough in itself, I also feel that writers must all watch television and movies to get a sense of what is also possible in our chosen genres of fiction. Granted, with reading we get to use our imagination of how a setting might look or even a character for that matter while watching a television show or movie you get someone else’s interpretation of how a character might act or how a setting might look. While that being said, I really want to focus on historical, or rather period piece programming.

While I’m not a fan of historical fiction, let alone historical romance, there is something about occasionally sitting down and watching a film based on the past, such as James Cameron’s Titanic, or even CBS’s Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I have always enjoyed being transported to another place and time, looking at the costumes and listening to the issues that they dealt with at the time. Well, last night I was watching Masterpiece on PBS which is currently running the latest season of Victoria. If you don’t know Victoria is based on the life and marriage of Queen Victoria. While I was watching last night’s episode, it was amazing to see the costumes while at the same time seeing the dynamic between some of the characters. Especially with two of them being men and having a romantic interest in each other, while that was a huge taboo back during Queen Victoria’s day, it was interesting to hear from the actors who were playing these two characters state that while there is no record of homosexuality during that time, we have to assume that it did happen.

Granted, there are two takes here we all know what happens when you assume, “You make an a** out of you and an a** out of me.” But on the second account, we know that any more a lot of televisions shows are raising up the topic of homosexuality for one reason or another. But my point was much rather it was interesting to see the dynamic and how the writers chose to add this part to a historical period show, such as Victoria.  Again it comes down to someone’s interpretation of what was going on during that time.

However, getting back on topic, Masterpiece on PBS is also the channel that brought us Downton Abbey, which hugely popular being and was another period piece. But more often we find ourselves turning to period pieces and enjoying them like wine or a good chocolate. Why is that? The answer is simple we want to escape to another time and place.

While I enjoy the occasional western or episode of Downton Abbey, I more enjoy medieval period pieces. Granted, it wasn’t all bed of roses but there is just something about the dresses that the women wore that were royalty and listening to the way that they spoke to one another, which is equally entertaining.

Given that we are writers, we must pay attention to if we are writing period pieces or adding some of their mannerisms into our works of fiction. Period pieces of fiction whether they are books, movies or television programs can be a huge tool for us in our toolboxes. Furthermore, we can also research the time to make sure that we are getting the historical events, speech and other mannerisms that impacted humans accurately in our work.