Archive for October, 2012

Is My Daydreaming Constructive to Writing Fiction?

Posted in Miscellaneous, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Dawn Ross

I didn’t do much real work during the first half of this week. I was too busy daydreaming. For nearly the entire day Monday and Tuesday, I only did mindless tasks which allowed my imagination to wander. It felt great indulging in my make-believe world. I immersed myself in an entirely new setting as different people. I felt anticipation when the characters in my head were on an adventure. I felt sadness, love, and a number of other emotions my characters felt as the story progressed. These are the sensations I strive for when I write. But I didn’t write any of it down.

So was Monday and Tuesday a complete waste? Today I can’t remember every detail of the story I daydreamed about. Part of it is lost, as is some of the emotional impact. In fact, I am now bored with the story and am no longer inspired to write it down. As a writer I should know by now how to harness this inspiration when it comes over me and use it constructively to write. But sometimes I just want escape without the burden having to sit at my desk and write it down (in other words, work).

Although I didn’t write anything down, I don’t feel these days were a complete waste. I remember enough of the story that I can file it away in my brain and bring it back again on another inspirational day. And I feel like I’ve really developed the story and the characters. When I first started daydreaming, everything was vague. The characters were wishy-washy molds of clay waiting to be sculpted. But as my mind wandered and the tale progressed so did the development of my characters. I feel like I know who they are now. I know how they think and how they will react to various situations. Everything came to life in my mind and I now feel that when I do write it down, it will be easier to bring it to life on paper too.

I do this daydreaming thing a lot. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. When the real world got tough, I daydreamed another little girl named Julia who was stronger than me and was able to stand up to the injustice surrounding her. It helped that she had a unicorn/Pegasus that flew to her rescue whenever she needed it. When my sister Julie was born, I had to develop a new character. (I was jealous of Julie and couldn’t very well have a hero with nearly the same name.) The new character was a boy this time. Over the years, I’ve developed a number of different characters. They fought injustice in various fantastical themes including medieval, the Crusades, Renaissance, colonial, western, modern, sci-fi, etc. I now have more stories in my head than I could ever possibly have time to write down.

Does all this sound crazy? Am I the only one who does this? Do you other fiction writers find yourselves daydreaming your hours away? Does it help you in writing fiction?

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Get Caught Up in Sci-Fi / Fantasy with Netflix

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2012 by Dawn Ross

I love Netflix. No, I’m not being paid to promote them. It’s just that I’ve been really busy lately with drawing pet portraits that I didn’t have time to think about what I wanted to write about for my Saturday post. So, I am going to tell you why I love Netflix and what I have been watching lately.

I love Netflix because now I finally have the opportunity to watch sci-fi/fantasy shows that I missed because I didn’t have cable. For me, cable is a luxury I can do without. I don’t watch much TV anyway. I read more than I watch. But because I keep hearing about these great shows that I missed, I decided to sign up for Netflix.

The first thing I watched in my 30 day trial period was Dr. Who. I watched the more modern version, not the older version. Now I know who Dr. Who is and what a TARDIS is!!! My favorite Dr. was David Tennant and I stopped watching after they replaced him with Matt Smith.

I didn’t continue with Netflix immediately after that 30 day trial period because I couldn’t find shows I wanted to watch. But when I took my computer in to get fixed (after it got a hold of some really bad malware), one of the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy told me that Stargate SG1 was now on Netflix. I had seen a few episodes years ago that my mom had recorded but I never had the opportunity to get into the whole series. Stargate SG1 was as great as I remembered it to be. Unfortunately, they took it off of Netflix just as I was getting into season 3. They will put it back on, though.

Stargate SG1 got me to watching another Stargate series, Stargate Universe. I loved the story line. By implementing a 9th chevron onto the stargate, a team of people were transported to a ship light years away. I also loved the dynamics of the characters. My favorites were the soldier Greer (Jamil Walker Smith), Rush (Robert Carlyle), and Eli (Louis Ferriera). My least favorite was Chloe (Elyse Levesque). I don’t know why, I just wasn’t that into her. She played her part well, but perhaps I felt her character was a bit wishy-washy.

Incidentally, as I watched this series, I noticed that Robert Carlyle (who was playing Nicholas Rush) is also Mr. Gold on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. If those two characters became one, he could be called Mr. Nicholas Gold Rush!

Although I liked Stargate Universe, I did get a bit bored with it towards the end of the 2nd season. It was a good way to end the series.

Right now I am watching Farscape. It is good, but I don’t think I’m liking it nearly as much as Stargate SG1 or Dr. Who. I like all the characters with D’Argo being my least favorite. I wish they hadn’t killed Zhaan. Will they find a way to bring her back like they did with some of the other characters who supposedly died? I’m only in season three right now.

So other than these shows being sci-fi/fantasy like my writing, they really have little to do with writing. Although, sometimes watching such creative entertainment inspires me in my own writing. But lately I’ve been drawing my pet portraits which you can see on my other blog by clicking HERE. While drawing, I am also watching these great shows on Netflix. Can anyone recommend some other great sci-fi/fantasy shows currently on Netflix?

A Wonderful Book Review of The Third Dragon!!!

Posted in Book 1 - The Third Dragon, Reviews, The Dukarian Legacy - Fantasy Novels with tags , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by Dawn Ross

The Third Dragon

Ariesgrl Book Reviews has done a review on my fantasy novel, The Third Dragon. Check it out HERE. She says, “Excellent storytelling and an intriguing plot will capture the attention of readers everywhere.” and “If you enjoy young-adult, fantasy-fiction books, then you will want to mark this book as a must-read.” Ariesgrl has also added the book review to Goodreads HERE.

The Third Dragon is available on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle edition. It is book one of The Dukarian Legacy series. If you like this first book, you can also read the sequel, The Raven’s Fire. I am still editing the third book, The Dragon and the Lion. I hope to have it out in the Kindle version by the beginning of 2013.

By the way, I have a couple of unsolicited book reviews on Amazon too. I’m so happy to see that people are enjoying my story.

Thanks, Ariesgrl!

Dawn Ross

The Political Environment of Your Fantasy Novel

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by Dawn Ross

No, I’m not talking about modern politics where candidates debate over the various issues of the day (although your fantasy world could have these elements). I’m talking about the way people live in society. Even though fantasy is whatever your imagination makes it, it has to be grounded in concepts which we understand. It helps to research various societies, both historical and modern. Here are some questions you should consider when you are creating your make-believe world.

Who Rules?
Is your fantasy world run by a king, a tyrant, a council of nobles, an elected council, the church, a clan chief, a god, etc.? How are kings, nobles, or chiefs made? Is your king or chief a direct descendant of other rulers or is he/she determined by their military prowess? Are councils elected by the nobility or the people? Does the church have more control or the king?

Who Controls the Land?
Do people work as serfs under a lord or do they own it outright? How static or dynamic are your world’s borders? Are there disputes over certain territories or is it generally stable? How widespread or close together are the people in the land?

How does Commerce Work?
Are certain occupations controlled by guilds? Do people have the freedom to make and sell whatever they want or are enterprises controlled by the nobility or church? For example, do they have to get permission from the local ruler to run an inn or a smithy? What about taxes? Is there corruption? Are there groups akin to gangs or mob bosses of whom the people have to pay “protection”? Do people barter and trade or is there an established money system? How stable is that money system?

What are the Various Occupations of your People?
Consider various occupations such as fishermen, soldiers, mercenaries, farmers, smiths, farriers, teachers, innkeepers, wagoners, stablemen, postmen, prostitutes, musicians, sailors, merchants, traders, etc. How does each member of society interact with other members? For example, how do farmers perceive soldiers and vice versa? How do land dwellers perceive sailors? Are merchants generally perceived as fair or do they tend to trick and deceive? Does society appreciate art performers such as bards or musicians or are they seen as beggars and thieves?

Who gets Educated?
Is education open to everyone or limited to the upper classes of society? Are there formal educational institutions such as universities, schools for soldiers, or schools for magic? How accessible are books or scrolls? Are there libraries? Who runs the libraries, the nobles or the church? How much of society knows how to read?

Who Administers the Law?
There are generally differences between town guards and soldiers. What are those differences and what are their objectives? Who are these law enforcers or soldiers controlled by? Are they corrupted? Does the king control all the soldiers and law enforcement or does each town have their own? Don’t forget about the justice system. Is there a formal court system? How difficult is it for an ordinary person to get justice? Is there corruption here as well? How strict is the law? How harsh are punishments?

Are there Foreign Interactions?
Is there a particular land in which your world has to deal with, either amicably or not? How pervasive are these foreigners? Does your land have foreign invaders? How commonplace is trade with these foreigners? What exotic wares do your foreigners bring? What special skills? How tolerant is your society of foreigners? What is the political environment of these foreigners?

These are just a few of the political questions I could think of. I’m sure as you write your fantasy novel more will occur to you. Doing the research for your political environment can be a boring chore but it can also be intriguing. It might even help you come up with some conflict ideas in your story. For example, perhaps your character hates sailors but finds that he has to travel on a ship. Or your character needs to seek justice but administrators require a bribe before they will even bother to hear your complaint. The possibilities are endless!

Click HERE for a list of books that might help you in your research.