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Posts Tagged ‘myth’

Beth-Barany_360by270-cropped Author and workshop leader, Beth Barany passed the baton to me on this blog hop. At the same time, she passed the baton to James C. Wallace II And Dan O’Brien. We’re all to answer 4 questions about our writing process. And almost every writer likes to chat about their writing process, so this is an easy post to write.

My Writing Process:
1- What are you working on now? Actually, I have several projects in the works. I know that seems like it would be confusing, but I have a short attention span, so it helps me to move from project to project until I’m nearing the end of the first draft. That said, when I work on a second draft, I focus on one book at a time. I’m currently writing the follow-up book to The Enchanted Skean (a Compton Crook Award Finalist), a YA science fiction novel, a YA urban fantasy, and a non-fiction historical book. Plus, I’m working on illustrations for a picture book.
2- How does your work differ from others in this genre? I think coming from both an illustration and writing background, I “see” the world of my books as I write them. Also, having taught creative writing, especially poetry, for over a decade, I think I bring the poetic emphasis on the senses to my prose.
box of clovers 3- Why do you write what you do? I believe the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, so it’s natural I’d include those things in my writing. I’ve been in love with myths, fables, fairy tales, and folklore since I was a child, so my writing and illustrations are filled with a sense of wonder. By the way, I found my first 4-leafed clover of 2014 today on a walk with my granddaughter – I’ve already slipped it inside the pages of a book. Once the clover is pressed flat and dried, I’ll add it to one of the jars of 4-leafed clovers I have on my shelves. Magic really is everywhere around us.
4- How does your writing process work? Something inspires me – a word, something I see or hear, an over-heard conversation, a “what if” thought about an ordinary moment. Then, I mull the idea over in my mind. Quite often, I dream parts of the story. By the time I actually begin writing, my fingers can’t keep up with my brain! Editing can be tiresome for me – but I know it’s necessary. I revise, polish, submit the manuscript to publishers, and repeat the process.

If I can wrangle a couple of writers into accepting the baton, I’ll post their bio and blog links here. Until then, keep on the look out for 4-leafed clovers! And here’s a question for you: Fellow readers (and writers), are you interested in a writer’s process?

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Wizard A brand new, myth-focused blog, Mythic Well, is up and running with a wonderful post on – what else? – Sacred Springs. There will be “articles about the myths and legends that inspire us” regularly posted by a group of writers who use myth, legend, folklore, etc. to inspire and season their writing.

So, as you can imagine, I’ll be one of the contributors. When a new post goes up on Mythic Well, I’ll link to it, so those of you who love to read about myths and legends as much as I do will have a quick way to see what’s new.

As for Sacred Springs by Jennifer Allis Provost, it’s a wonderful post filled with photos, facts, and magical information. Jennifer has also included links to some other interesting websites that offer even more information. Thanks, Jennifer, for a great debut article, and I challenge my fellow contributors to keep up the fascinating posts – I’ll sure try to do so.

So here’s the list of contributors – I urge you to check each of them and their writing out: Anthony Francis, April Wood, Darby Karchut, DC Farmer, Jennifer Allis Provost, Kimberly Long Ewing, TJ Woolridge, Sherry Ficklin, and me! 🙂

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author 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?

frontcover 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 kariah@donovanfantasyauthor.com 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

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I’m back from a week in the mountains of West Virginia, and I’m filled with both longing for the quiet of the deep forest and eagerness to resume my “normal” life. Coming home after a trip is always like that. I miss the excitement of adventure and travel, but relish the familiarity of Wood’s Edge.

 I think my writing is like that, too. As a writer, I was first a poet. This spring/summer, I worked hard on an essay, “Fairies, Magic & Monsters,” that appears in the latest issue of “Little Patuxent Review,” and on a number of short stories for various magazines and anthologies. By tomorrow noontime, I need to finish my next column for “Harford’s Heart Magazine” and get it emailed to my editor. And before next weekend, I really need to complete an article promised to an editor ages ago. Then, I suppose I’ll write a poem or two. You see, poetry for me is like a faded, well-worn pair of jeans — comfortable and easy to slip into.

 For those who might like to read a couple of my poems, the fabulous new anthology from Maryland Writer’s Association, “Life in Me like Grass on Fire,” contains “Harpers Ferry” and “Venus.” Per usual, I used myth, folklore, and legend in both poems. As a bonus for being part of the book, I got a chance to share “Harpers Ferry” and chat about contributing to anthologies at a meeting of the Howard County Branch of MWA in July. It was lovely to spend an evening with a group of enthusiastic readers & writers.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? Sharing the love of words with like-minded individuals. So thanks, MWA for including my poems and inviting me to participate in several special presentations based on “Life in Me like Grass on Fire.”

Now, back to my column…

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J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “Little by little, one travels far.”

I believe Tolkien got it right, whether you think about a real trip, or one of life’s journeys. As for me, I’ve been on an interesting journey lately — embracing my love of myth, legend, and folklore, and pursuing publication opportunities in those genres.

Besides my “Fairy Stories, Magic, and Monsters” essay in the forthcoming “Make Believe” issue of  The Little Patuxent Review, I have 2 poems, “Harpers Ferry” & “Venus,” due out in the Maryland Writers’ Association anthology, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Both incorporate myth.

Paper Crow magazine just accepted my poem based on a fairytale villian, “A wolf is kept fed by his feet.” My story which features the Daughter of Winter called “On a Midwinter’s Eve,” was just accepted by Tales of the Talisman. And the anthology, In the Garden of the Crow, accepted, “Kingdom Across the River,” a poem of mine that is filled with nursery rhyme and fairytale references.

As part of the process of promoting my collection of fantasy stories, The Greener Forest, I’m attending SynDCon in Rockville, MD on Sat., April 2. And I just attended Mythic Faire a couple of weeks ago where I not only sold a few books, but I got to meet British folklore expert and author of 150 books, John Matthews.

And yes, my geekiness was on full display as I asked a pleasant John Matthews to sign 5 of his nonfiction books for me. I could have lugged along several more, but the volumes were so heavy I risked injury if I loaded them in my backpack. John seems to have happily written about folklore and myth for decades. Me? I’ve just recently gotten brave enough to listen to my heart, and pursue my passion for writing and painting work rooted in myth, legend, folklore, and fairytales.

Finally, I’m taking those little steps with the hope of journeying far, and I encourage each of you, writer or not, to find your passion and pursue it. Deepak Chopra writes: “Listen to our heart, your heart knows.” I believe he’s right.

For those who’d like a peek at the opening poem of The Greener Forest, you can visit poet, editor, educator & mom, Laura Shovan’s March 25th Poetry Friday blog:  http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2011/03/poetry-friday-make-believe.html  Thanks Laura for featuring my poem, and for your kind words about my book.

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For those of you who like Egyptian myth and lore, a poem of mine called “Immortality” is now up at EMG-Zine, an online science fiction/fantasy magazine: http://tinyurl.com/vonnie-immortality  This magazine always has interesting art, non-fiction articles, poetry, and stories. Check out their archives for many of their past themed issues. (I have a poem in their Raven, Dragon, and Spider issues).

And speaking of poetry, I’m busy writing a few more poems to compliment the short stories in my soon-to-be-published collection of fantasy work called: The Greener Forest. The titles of some of the finished poems: Goblins, Dark Fairy, The Greener Forest, and On the Edge. Well, I guess you get the idea – there are fantastical creatures of all sorts mingling with the regular folks in these poems and short stories.

 Also, get ready for several posts with pictures and information from this fall’s FaerieCon. I met some wonderful artists and writers, and sculpted my own goblin.  And speaking of poetry and FaerieCon — award-winning writer, Jane Yolen, read a number of her marvelous poems. Not only did many of the audience members (me included) have tears in their eyes when Jane read her poetry — but facilitator, Wendy Froud, was on the verge of crying, too.

Good writing is a powerful thing indeed!

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First, thanks to those who downloaded my mermaid eShort.  When I sat down to write the tale (pun intended), I tried to answer some basic questions: What if a mermaid baby were abandoned in a sideshow tent? Would her life ever be normal? Would she ever belong? For the answers, you’ll have to read the the story. And I’d love to hear what you thought of my plot choices. Would you have preferred a different ending? (No longer available from the e-publisher, look for this award-winning speculative story in my book, Owl Light, from Cold Moon Press).

Horned Dragon Now, to the dragons. I’m writing a dragon story and investigating the myths and legends where a dragon is either lured by milk or is pacified by milk. I’m pretty sure the old wives’ tale which says black snakes will latch onto a cow’s udder and drain out the milk originate with these stories. Have you heard or read any such legends?

And lastly, goblins have recently been cropping up in several of the stories I’m working on. I’m not sure if it’s the nearness of Halloween, or if they’re a creature that’s demanding to be written about at the moment.  Where do you think all the goblins are hiding in our world? Or maybe, they’re not hiding at all!

My thought for today: Magic is all around us — we just forget to notice it some days.

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