Prioritizing History in Your Fictional World
I’m going to again site the fictional world of Sarah J. Maas’s series, “The Throne of Glass,” for my discussion. As before, I hope I don’t give away too many spoilers for those who haven’t read this excellent series yet. I’m just amazed and thrilled at the work that has gone into these books. When we first crack the pages, we don’t get any hint that what we’re about to read is about any other group of peoples than humans.
The histories of Celaena and others like her are carefully inserted into the whole. Just a brushstroke or two to tell us that something’s a bit off, a bit different from a “normal” medieval fantasy tale. We are so caught up in seeing a young girl fight for her freedom from a life of imprisonment that we don’t quite take in at first that those around her are not quite what they seem.
It started subtly with the revelation of the first queen of Havillard being revealed to be of the Fae ancestry. I’ll be honest, I’m not quite a fan of the Fae people. I thought of them more like the fairy version in folklore. Although the idea of a realm of little, angelic beings does fascinate me, at the same time, with some of the stories I’ve read, they’re just downright annoying.
The Fae of Glass of Throne, I imagine to be similar to my creations in the series I’m working on now, more lion/lioness than anything else. A powerful, magical being that is all-parts warrior and no part coward. This is the type of people I imagine would fight The Dark One or Evil King that the Fae Queen is married off to in the beginning of the world here.
Shapeshifters are a big part of these books although, I’m not sure I’ve heard of shapeshifters per se other than in more recent horror films. Here, they are integral to the plot. Let’s just say, without their abilities, a lot of what happens couldn’t. The funny thing is a lot of these creatures are hiding in plain sight. You just don’t realize it.
Like I said, they’re there when needed. I do like the shapeshifter option though. It has endless possibilities. And any character could be one. You never know. They walk among us, wearing faces of loved ones. And our enemies. I guess that’s the point of their uniqueness. Never sure just where they’re going to pop up next.
Then there’s one of my absolute favorites. I don’t generally like witches in stories (lol, though I’ve done a few of my own), but the Iron witches are fearsome and badass. No other words for them. They just—top the scales on legendary in this world. I started off, of course, not liking them because some of them can be revolting but the character of Manon won me completely over. She is a true anti-hero. There is as much to dislike about her as you like.
These witches don’t fly on broomsticks. No, too tame for them. They have Wyverns which I think are some sort of cross between a dragon and a bull? Possibly a bat? Not sure of the picture in my head, lol. These creatures are as loathsome as the witches at first, but you come to like Manon’s choice and respect why she picked him despite her grandmother thinking he’s a weaker specimen (he’s not). And just to clarify: the iron in iron witches are their nails and teeth. Yeah, keep that image in your mind.
So, there you have it. A few of the creatures that inhabit the series. There are humans. Ordinary and not-so-ordinary. Magical and downright deadly. Some of them are the scum of the earth. Others are princes in hiding. This extraordinary world is a joy to visit, and I look forward to many more books by Sarah J. Maas. Just astounding!
Happenings: I don’t even know how to begin. Last Friday, when I went in for the cortisone shots, the doctor there mentioned the swelling in my legs I think I’ve previously spoken about. He said I needed to see my family dr. Well, that dr. sent me to the hospital for tests and it turns out, I had congestive heart failure as well as water on my lungs. I’m going to see my heart dr. on the 7th so we’ll see what plan he puts me on but as of now, I have to wear compression socks and take a water pill. They did labs on my kidneys, liver, brain etc. to determine if there’s any damage. Just when I thought things were getting better, wham. But I’m plodding along. The socks help, believe it or not. So does the pill. I’m coughing up a bit and I have to use my asthma meds a lot more right now.
Some links around the web you might like:
- Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2023/02/04/standupcomedy-%f0%9f%98%80-anjelah-johnson-law-and-order-detectives/ Lol.
- Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2023/02/fear-thesaurus-entry-physical-pain/ Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both character arc and the overall story. This thesaurus explores the various fears that might be plaguing your character. Use it to understand and utilize fears to fully develop your characters and steer them through their story arc. Please note that this isn’t a self-diagnosis tool. Fears are common in the real world, and while we may at times share similar tendencies as characters, the entry below is for fiction writing purposes only. These thesauruses have helped me time and again in my writing.
- Meeka’s Mind https://acflory.wordpress.com/2023/02/05/a-new-decade-requires-a-new-meeka-pic/ How lovely!
- Angel Messages https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2023/02/05/angel-messages-feb-5-2023/
- Word Craft Poetry https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2023/02/07/tankatuesday-weekly-poetry-challenge-no-306-2-7-23/ This week’s challenge is a photo prompt. I’ve asked my friend, and photographer, Terri Webster Schrandt, from secondwindleisure.com to share her photos with us for inspiration. Terri runs a weekly photo challenge called Sunday Stills. Check it out HERE. These poetry challenges are a wonderful way to stretch your writing muscles. Try them and have fun!
- Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2023/02/are-you-writing-a-shiny-idea-or-a-robust-story/ by Sandy Vaile
- Too often I see authors enthusiastically start writing a novel, only to run out of steam part way through. In fact, only 30% of people who start writing a novel will actually finish it. It’s heartbreaking when a fantastic concept languishes in the bottom drawer forever. Why does this happen? You could be writing a shiny, exciting idea that doesn’t have the substance to support an entire book. A lot of this hinges on the main character (and it doesn’t matter if you prefer to plot or discover your way into a story). A story’s rock-solid foundation comes from knowing who the main character is and what their journey through the story looks like, especially their motivations and “why” everything happens, which provides readers with a deeper understanding of the story as a whole. This clarity is what turns your awesome idea into something tangible and purposeful. Today, I want to explore the very inception of a story and how we can shape those initial ideas into a tale we are passionate to tell. Groundwork is needed for all stories. Except perhaps, short stories 🙂
- Middle Grade Mojo https://middlegrademojo.com/2023/02/08/3-must-read-middle-grade-books-for-february-2023/ Winston Chu vs. The Whimsies by Stacey Lee (February 7, 2023) A re-imagining of a classic Chinese folktale. When Winston Chu stops a robbery at Mr. Pang’s Whimsies, a shop in Chinatown, Mr. Pang invites him to pick any item from the store. He warns him not to touch until he is sure, because what he touches will be his. When he touches a broom, Mr. Pang throws in the dustpan for free. When some of his possessions then go missing, Winston is sure this is magic. Can he solve the mystery? The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels by Beth Lincoln (February 7, 2023) A hilarious mystery-adventure perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket. When Swift children are born, they are given a name and a definition by the Dictionary. Shenanigan Swift is given the definition Mischief -maker. But when she goes to the Swift Family Reunion, she decides to be a detective. Can she track down a murderer and prove the Dictionary does not define her? When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn (February 28, 2023) Book reviews are some of the most important posts we can put out there. It helps the author, it helps the reader.
- Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2023/02/10/grannysays-humor-inspiration-wisdom-29/ I love little posts like these! They help me enjoy the day!
- The Smorgasbord Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2023/02/10/smorgasbord-music-column-william-price-king-meets-music-legends-musician-producer-humanitarian-quincy-jones-part-one/ It is nine years since William Price King joined Smorgasbord to share music across the genres. We continue in 2023 with series sharing the lives and music of some of the great names in music over the last century Welcome to a new series on the life and music of producer, conductor, arranger, composer,entertainment all rounder and humanitarian Quincy Jones. Entertaiment and Music Legend – Quincy Jones Part One Before we take a look at his life and music perhaps I could just briefly cover some of his lifetime achievements. This extraordinary man has not just been awarded the accolades heaped upon him by the music industry but has given back to the business, its artists and to those outside of music who have needed his help. It is extremely difficult to include all the achievements of this remarkable all round entertainer and advocate for his fellow man, but I hope you will enjoy finding out more about him. Despite being centre stage as a performer, Quincy Jones has excelled in most of the areas of popular music for over 65 years. He is a record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, musician, television producer, film producer, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entertainment company executive, children’s activist and humanitarian He has received 79 Grammy nominations and 27 Grammy Awards. He was nominated for 7 Oscar Academy awards and he received The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. He has composed sound tracks for movies from the early 60s including for The Slender Thread, In The Heat of the Night, MacKenna’s Gold, The Italian Job and They Call Me Mr. Tibbs.
- Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2023/02/10/originalizing-your-story-idea-by-becca-puglisi/ ’ve been thinking a lot recently about differentiation—how we can make our stories stand out from all the others. Customers are being more careful with their money, which means they’re very likely buying fewer books. With the estimated 1,000,000+ books being published each year, ours need something to set them apart, something that will jump off the shelf and grab a potential buyer’s attention. But how do we elevate our ideas? I took a good look at some books that grabbed me straight off and continue to stand out in my mind as incredibly memorable. Here are some methods those authors used to originalize their story ideas and turn them into something truly groundbreaking and never-before-seen. This is very important! Because readers aren’t looking for more of the same but what stands out as different, true to the work.
- Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2023/02/09/riven-riven-1-by-mindee-arnett-bookreview-ya-fantasy-dystopian/ From acclaimed fantasy author Mindee Arnett comes an epic, adventurous story of a young mercenary magic-user trying to escape the oppressive island of Riven—and a young noblewoman trying to change it forever. Mars Darksvane wants out. Out from under the thumb of Una, the crime boss who pulled him off the streets as a child and trained him as an assassin; out from the island country of Riven, where magic, in the form of a dangerous material called Ice, allows the rich to live in luxury and keeps the poor in thrall. Mars is a secret adept—a person born with the ability to channel the magic that flows beneath Riven—and while his power gives him abilities useful to an assassin, it also makes him a target. And when his last mission ends in tragedy, Mars finally decides it’s time to escape to the mainland. No magic, no history, a new life on his own. But Una has other ideas. If Mars wants his freedom, he’s going to have to perform a final job: protecting Fura Torvald—the heiress of the rich and powerful Torvald kith, and the daughter of the last man Mars was sent to kill—and stealing from her a mysterious object known only as the Primer. Mars has no interest in Fura or whatever the Primer is, nor in Riven’s corrupt and oppressive politics; he just wants to do his job and get out. But as Mars comes to know more about Fura, the Primer, and the true nature of the power in Riven, he realizes that he will soon have to take a side in a fight he has avoided his entire life. Which side, however, he does not yet know. I just love and appreciate book reviews! Their good for the author and good for readers!
- Fiction Favorites https://johnwhowell.com/2023/02/09/thursday-a-little-personal-lucy-and-twiggy-are-back-where-they-belong/ Wonderful to see a writer appreciate his team! That’s what it’a all about.
- Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2023/02/09/menagerie-by-joan-hall/ I’m really excited to have Joan Hall visit today. She’s branched out into short fiction and published her book of 13 short stories, and even published on Friday the 13th. That’s something I’ve done before, and I think it’s cool. Joan is a long-time author friend and one of my collaborators over at Story Empire. I’ve read a bunch of her books and recommend them without fail. I’m sure Menagerie is wonderful and will be reading it myself. Make Joan feel welcome everyone, and please use those sharing buttons before you leave. I can almost bet she’s done it for most of you
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