Thanks to Michigan fantasy author M.A. Donovan for stopping by. Hold on a minute, weren’t you promised a visit from author Shelby Patrick? Yes – but they are one and the same. M.A. Donovan uses the name Shelby Patrick when writing horror and thrillers. Now, let’s see what she has to say about fantasy.
Fantasy Meets Reality by M.A. Donovan
“Fantasy should have its grounds in reality. Yes, we can totally make up our own little worlds but they fall flat without some truth to them. They need structure and rules. Even magic can’t get by without some sort of organization.
In The Golden Horn, I have created my magical kingdom where dragons rule, unicorns keep the peace, and magic users wield power. It pits my four main characters against dangerous beasts and demonic warlords on a quest to find the ultimate weapon – The Golden Horn. Nations have gone to war over this legendary weapon; treasure hunters have died attempting to locate it; and whole cities have been destroyed to keep it safe. When their kingdom is taken over by evil, my heroes begin their journey that is fraught with deadly traps and hungry monsters. If they fail, they will become enslaved to an ancient wizard with the power of the shadows on his side.
Although my imagination created this mythical world, I still had to pull from history and myth. Anyone can throw a few orcs or wizards in and claim it to be a fantasy realm, but it will lose readers. People want to feel like the place could have existed and their dreams will whisk them away to this wonderful kingdom. To do that, you need to come up with a society which involves villagers, towns, markets, trades, neighboring kingdoms, soldiers, religions, money, nobles, etc.
It helps to map out your world so that the reader can follow along as your characters travel along roads (rocky, dirt, paved) or paths (forests, meadows, rivers) to get to their destination (the next town, the castle, the monster’s lair). Once you have the basics down, how will they be traveling – horses, carriages, on foot, by ship? If you decide to go with horses, make sure the animals become part of the story. They need to be rested, watered, and fed as well. Figure out distances and time traveled depending on the mode of transportation. For example, it will take longer to go by foot than by horseback. What type of equipment do your characters carry? This will affect their travel pace. Who or what will they encounter in their travels?
When I first wrote my story, I left out a lot of the background information. My editor said I needed to make my world “real”. My characters weren’t situated for a book. Since they went from one battle to the next (in the original version), it was more like a role-playing game. They had to interact with other people along the way and have some down time. Plus, some of the monsters had to be downsized. They couldn’t fight the most intense creatures every day, but if they did, the fights had to be death-defying. The reader had to feel as if the character may not live to survive the tale. Reality check! Not only did the world need to be believable, so did the characters and their actions. That’s what makes a good story – fantasy or not.”
The Golden Horn is available at: http://amzn.to/WHRULe (print edition) and http://amzn.to/YN40FX (Kindle edition) or createspace.com And you can read the first three chapters for FREE at http://bit.ly/XC5pst Visit M.A. Donovan online at http://www.donovanfantasyauthor.com or check out her blog at http://www.freethewriterinside.com You can also find her on Facebook (ShelbyPatrickAuthor) and Twitter (@shelbypatrick).
Special Offer: Want to win a free signed copy of The Golden Horn along with a special gift from M.A. Donovan? Enter her “Letter to a Hero” contest. Simply craft a genius letter to your special hero (can be a fictional character or a real person) and send to her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Letter to a Hero” in the subject. She’ll select a winner at the end of her virtual book tour, on or around March 1, 2013. Please make sure to include your name, mailing address, and email in your letter.
Thanks again to M.A. Donovan for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and my new feature, Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastical day.– Vonnie