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Posts Tagged ‘bogle’

I was invited to participate in Darkover this past Thanksgiving weekend in Timonium, Maryland. Wow! What a wonderful con. I was part of several panels including substituting at the last moment on the “Animal Sidekicks” panel for a couple of writers who had planes/rides to catch.

I love adding animal sidekicks in my stories. Per the advice of Dr. John Flynn, who taught “Writing Science Fiction” as part of my Masters in Professional Writing Degree Program & served as my advisor for 2 Independent Studies on writing science fiction & fantasy prose, I try my hardest to avoid cats, dogs, and horses. Now, it’s not because I don’t love cats, dogs, and horses — but rather because they’re the most common animals used.

 So what critters have I used as sidekicks or important characters in my stories? In “Assassins,” I use a singing opossum – it’s genetically altered, hence the singing and glow-in-the-dark eyes. In “Birdling,” a robin is an important character. I must admit to using a one-eyed dog and three-legged cat in “Appleheads,” but they’re really a goblin and bogle, so I’m not sure if that counts. In “Toad,” I use a toad. (That was hard to guess, I know!) In “Henkie’s Fiddle,” a calf-shaped buggane is a sidekick. In “Weathermaker,” a Chinese dragon has a starring role. In a novel I’m pecking away at, I use rats and pigeons as sidekicks. I’m also currently at work on several stories where owls are either a sidekick or necessary character. Then, there’s this tale where telepathic beetles bond with the protagonist…

The advice I gave on the Darkover panel (with a nod to Dr. Flynn) is still good — “Think outside the box.” Cats, dogs, and horses make fabulous sidekicks and characters, but so do spiders (EB White’s “Charlotte’s Web”), cockroaches (Suzanne Collins’ “The Underland Chronicles”), beavers (CS Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia”), polar bears (Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass”), snakes (JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter”), and even trees (JRR Tolkien’s Treebeard in “Lord of the Rings”).

I think readers like to read about cats, dogs, and horses — but they probably would like a pinch of emu, lizard, and lion, too.

Till next I blog: Happy reading! Happy writing! And thanks so much to the folks at Darkover for inviting me.

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 At the recent FaerieCon, I attended a clay sculpting workshop led by the delightful, Patricia Hedegaard. (Shown to the right of text). Ten attendees were each given a lump of clay and 2 black beads. We borrowed Patricia’s ceramic tools, and with her patient instruction — 10 strangely different goblins were born.

 And though the medium is different (words instead of clay), creating a goblin character for a story is much the same. The writer begins with a heap of words and possible ideas in her head. She begins to separate the words, stringing a few together at a time, and eventually shapes them into sentences.

 Next, the writer gathers the sentences into paragraphs. She edits her descriptions, reveals the goblin through its actions (rather than telling), double-checks her folklore and legend references for accuracy, and tosses the faery creature into a plot with a few twists and turns.

 And if the writer is lucky or skilled or a little bit of both — a well-rounded goblin character appears. Whether the nasty, nose-picking spriggans of “Tootsie’s Swamp Tours & Amusement Park” or the mischievous gremlers of “Waiting for More” or the shape-shifting bogle and goblin from “Appleheads,” I had fun creating an assortment of goblins and their kin for my new book, The Greener Forest, due out in March 2011 from Cold Moon Press: http://coldmoonpress.com  And I also had fun creating the little goblin to the left.

My challenge to you: Take time out of your busy schedule to create something magical whether in words or clay or the medium of your choice. And check out the brand new publishing company – Cold Moon Press.

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