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Fun analogy on plotting! 😉
by Andrea Lundgren
I’ve been thinking a lot about plotting lately (as my works-in-progress have been at that stage), and it occurred to me that it’s kind of like a game, played between reader and writer. In some ways, it reminds me of the game of rummy, where the goal is to collect a certain group of cards–so many duplicates and so many in a run (2-3-4, 5-6-7, etc.).
Of course, it’s a cooperative game, where the writer is trying to feed the reader certain cards in a certain order so the game will last a certain length. Too many right “cards” too fast, and the story will be over and resolved in the first few chapters. Too few, and the pacing will drag.
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There’s a 50% end of year sale on all the Challenge Series ebooks at Smashwords.
Grab your copies
A big thank you to Felicia for hosting my guest post and helping me promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forbidden Age. This is the last book of my fantasy adventure series, which is 15 volumes long. That’s a lot of adventures, monsters, characters, and world building. That last part is one that comes off as the most daunting and I always feared I’d have trouble with it. To be honest, I found evolving Windemere itself easier than developing the characters and story.
I did design a lot of Windemere before I started writing but only doing city write-ups that included name, landmarks, and important events in the area. So, I depended a lot on spontaneous creation when I was working on the settings. I’d let my imagination take the reins since I made a world where magic was everywhere. There was more wiggle room for strangeness like reverse waterfalls and unique animals like river sharks and griffins. It was fairly basic at the beginning because I didn’t need much. There was only Visindor Forest, the Caster Swamp, and the Hamilton Military Academy in Beginning of a Hero. New areas and cultures were added as they progressed, so I gradually built up to them. Every book introduced additions to the world to create a bigger picture, which was one of the biggest sources of fun for me as an author.
Speaking of cultures, I rarely had a plan for these because I didn’t know how much of what I designed would be in there. I still have a calendar and holidays that I’ve rarely been able to use in the actual book. At least I remembered the four moons, their seasonal cycles, and names, but I couldn’t do the rest without it being forced. There’s a natural emergence of the world in a long series and this is especially true with cultures. It helps to have a member of that culture around to demonstrate the traditions. The best example is Kira Grasdon who is Luke Callindor’s girlfriend and comes from a city where you’re urged to date multiple people before marriage. The reason for this is because divorce is met with exile for both parties, so you have to make sure you’re with the right person. The reason for this is because Luke was originally going to be with a later character, but he clicked with Kira who was a third-tier character at the time. I went with it and thus emerged the city and culture of Bor’daruk. One challenge with fantasy cultures though is that going too far away from the real-world norms can cause some backlash.
A key part of world-building in fantasy is the magic system. This can range from no magic to hidden magic to what I did with Windemere. I went with a world where magic is very common and part of everything through auras. Long ago, the dimensional plane of magic crashed into the physical plane, so everything is basically enchanted to some extent. It means those who use magic, called casters, are more common and not really seen as fascinating beings like in other series. They’re almost like tradesmen, but a natural gift is still needed to get beyond basics. Much of the system was flushed out with the introduction of Nyx in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower. She gave me an opening to explain the mechanics and demonstrate them because the previous characters weren’t as adept. So, you really can get a more natural blossoming of the world if you make a character the emergence point. Once Nyx showed up to reveal the true force and workings of magic, the system was locked in and given a chance to evolve as she grew stronger.
Specifics aside, one thing I realized about halfway through my series is that Windemere wasn’t only a setting. It may be the world where my heroes and villains live and operate, but it needs to grow and evolve too. Not to mention it influences the characters who return the favor by traveling and altering the landscape. Treating the world like a character took a little time to get used to because it’s one that doesn’t really talk while always being there. Still, I can’t deny that every story expanded Windemere as if it was learning from the events. New locations would grow when I needed them along with the flora, fauna, history, and cultures needed to make it more than a piece setting. It’s not that different than a hero getting a new weapon, but on a grander and usually less pointy scale.
Again, thank you to Felicia for letting me be a guest on her blog. Please feel free to check out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forbidden Age and enjoy the adventure.
Author Bio & Social Media
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN
Many thanks to Charles for sharing some of the background of his epic fantasy series, Legends of Windemere, as he releases the final installment, Warlord of the Forbidden Age. Check out his links today! All books in the series are currently part of the Kindle Unlimited program, and book 1, Beginning of a Hero, is currently a free download on Amazon!
Earth to Centauri – Alien Hunt
The year is 2118. The First Journey from Earth into interstellar space has been successful, but the explosive secret carried aboard Voyager 1 will have grave consequences.
As Captain Anara and her crew returns to Earth aboard their faster than light spaceship Antariskh, civil war breaks out on the world they have just left behind. A cryptic message warns her of the dispatch of mercenaries to Earth. Their mission – unknown but deadly. She may have just days to prevent unimaginable carnage on Earth and stop the outbreak of interstellar war.
Her crew and the National Investigation Agency or NIA, engage in the greatest undercover search for the mercenaries in the streets of the megacity. As they race against time to uncover the plot, a traitor is unmasked and Anara herself comes under suspicion. She must use every ounce of her resourcefulness to protect 30 million people and one unique innocent life.
Immerse yourself in an edge of the seat thriller on a realistic future Earth and geek out on the technology just a few decades away from today.
Releasing December 2017
Read the prequel Earth to Centauri – The FIrst Journey – now only 99¢!