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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy fiction’

Last time, I mentioned that I’m trying to devise a suitable title for my current novella in the Minstrels of Skaythe series. But after I got done with that blog post, I realized I might not have to work so hard.

“There’s probably an app for that,” I said to myself. And I was right!

This one, on Reedsy, offers you a title if you haven’t even started writing. It shows an option for if you have already written your book, but gives no way to enter any keywords that would make the title relevant to that book. This one, at Fantasy Name Generator, gives you a list of ten possible titles, but again offers no way to use your own subject matter.

This held true of every title generator I could find out there. Although I could generate random titles as a way to spark inspiration, I guess for my actual WIP I’m gonna have to do the hard work myself.


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Quests are widely recognized as part of the fantasy genre. In fact, they’re SO widely recognized that I find it difficult to base a story on them. It’s like flogging a dead horse.

For some genres, having your characters stay put can benefit the story. In a dark fantasy, your story gains suspense if the characters are trapped and cannot escape a horrific menace. Military SF isn’t my thing, but I could see a lot of tension if a group of soldiers were pinned down in a location where they could neither advance nor retreat.

Travel across lands and cultures involves a certain amount of work as far as world-building goes. Some of that creative energy might be better spent on deeper characterization or tighter plotting.

For me, personally, having my characters travel has become redundant. Of my 11 books and novellas, 8 of them involve a journey for at least part of the story. That includes my current WIP. I really feel that I’m repeating myself, and that doesn’t make for an exciting tale.

The irony is, my current series, The Minstrels of Skaythe, involves a group of mages who scattered for their own safety. Each one of them has to travel away from where they were. This means I’m going to have to be creative in how I show them dispersing. Which is fine — if nothing else, authors should be creative.

What do you think? Are quests still cool, or are they more meh?


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The Tower in the Mist is basically set up as an e-book. The pre-order link is active. But there’s still a mad rush before publication. Currently, I’m writing a handful of blog posts to publicize The Tower in the Mist, making bookmarks, and so forth.

At the same time, I’m preparing for an in-person presentation to Idaho Writers League, which will be tomorrow at 6:30 pm, at the Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d’Alene, ID. My topic is “Readings, Signings, and Book Parties.” I’ll cover how to set them up, the planning and preparation. If time allows, people will have a chance to read in front of the group and practice their technique.

Honestly, I didn’t plan to be doing this presentation in the middle of the pre-publication rush. I requested a date in March, but it didn’t work out. At least I’ll have my bookmarks and such to show off at Idaho Writers League. I know that most of you are not near North Idaho, so you can’t attend. But if you want the address in Coeur d’Alene, please drop me a comment!


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Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my cover choices! I’m pretty much settled on Option 1, with perhaps the subtitles moved around.

This brings me to the cover copy, and here’s what I have so far: “As a hunter-guard, it’s Zathi’s job to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into the accursed Hornwood. Together, warrior and mage will battle deadly beasts and face decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten power. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.”

This description packs a lot in, but it may go on too long. My question, bluntly put: would you want to read this book? If not, what would tip the balance? As ever, I look forward to your advice.

One of you sharp-eyed readers also noticed that I’m still trying out variations on the series title. The gist is that these people live in a world after the evil overlord, Dar-Gothull, has triumphed. The mages are trying to bring back hope, and this makes them renegades.

Their powers are based around light, hence I’ve been calling them Light-Bringers, but that title has already been used for a couple of recent series. They travel in disguise as a troupe of minstrels. The name of their land is Skaythe. They spend a lot of time in a dark forest called the Hornwood. So I’m boiling it down to Minstrels of Skaythe or Minstrels of the Light.

What do you think? I really like Minstrels of Light, but I have a hunch it’s already been used by a Christian band somewhere. I also like The Hornwood Series, but I understand there is a Hornwood character in Game of Thrones, and I don’t want to create confusion. More searching to follow…


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I mentioned that I’m searching for key words and phrases in The Tower in the Mist and The Bitternut Grove. I was thinking of using something like “light bearers” or “light bringers” as a series title, but it turns out there’s some folklore there. Who knew that Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) is sometimes called a “light bringer?” Doesn’t that seem like the opposite?

Anyway, those have both already been used. In fact, “Light Bringers” or “lightbringers” has been used a couple of times. So that’s still in progress. I may just call it the “Skaythe” series, after the setting, and leave it at that.

Mostly, I’ve been working on my cover layout using Canva. I usually make between three and five designs, to try and find the perfect image. The Tower in the Mist will be the first of a series, so I hope to come up with something that will readily be adapted. Then each e-book will look like part of a whole.

I’m finding a limitation with Canva, though. I can’t seem to make those really big, dimensional titles that will pop from the cover. I’d love any advice you have about other programs that can make that big title for me. Something I can save and then upload to Canva would be perfect.

Thanks for all your ideas, and thanks for reading my blog!


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I’m still kind of wiped out from RadCon, so here’s an article from 2017 about Common Writer Problems. Some of the thing they list are:

  • I can’t remember how to start a book.
  • Typos.
  • What is character development.
  • Does anyone actually like my story???
  • What if I’m a terrible writer.
  • Tyops.
  • Is this too slow? Or too fast?
  • I don’t even know what genre this is.
  • Does my book suck, or is it just not right for that person?
  • TYPOSSSSSS.
  • Plot holes.
  • Procrastination.
  • help

But she left off an important one: I should be working on my blog!


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This snippet is from the most recent book I read, How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, by Jane Yolen.

The passage really speaks to me about the nature of fantasy, and perhaps all story telling. How much is meant to be taken literally? What truths do stories hold, even without an objective basis in fact?


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