Today's challenge is going to be fun! But first, if you haven't already, be sure to check out DAY ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, & FIVE.
Today's Challenge: You are somehow transported into the world of your story. Name the biggest challenge you would face having to transition from living in the real world to your story world. Be as detailed as you like.
Camping. Plain and simple.
I have never done any real camping before. Camping has always entailed sleeping in an air conditioned camper with a soft foam mattress under me and warm fuzzy blankets on top of me and a self-lighting stove to cook on in the kitchen area of the camper.
Yes, I am ashamed that I have never done any real camping before.
Of course, the first monster I came across – Roshar, anyone? – would mess me up pretty bad too. Hand me a sword and I can do some impressive fun stuff with it, but if I had to depend on a sword for survival… yeah. Forget the sword. I’d rather have a dragon. It’s long range, it’s effective, has impressive fire power, and nothing is walking away from it.
A dragon could also come in really handy for camping, come to think of it! If I had a dragon, all my problems would basically be solved. The only one remaining would be the lack of chocolate. There is chocolate in my world, but it has limited distribution. Sure, I could fix that, but what is life without challenge?
Hey! This is going to be a really fun challenge today, but don't forget to check out DAY ONE, TWO, THREE, and FOUR if you haven't been keeping up with this challenge so far.
Today's challenge is: Your protagonist is somehow transported to this world, meets you, and learns that you are responsible for creating his/her world. What is the first thing he/she would say or do after learning this fact?
Well..... I'm doomed.
Keegan is technically my protagonist in Tales of the Wovlen (he's such an idiot, but we won't get into that). If he found out that I was the person who caused the red dragon to kick his people out of their kingdom, turning them into nomads (the life he was born into), and that I wrote the prophecy about the Dragon's Son, picked him for the job, and then sent the army that massacred his friends and family....... Yeah, he'd try to chop off my head. And yes, I'd scream and run like a little girl. He may be an idiot, but he gets ugly when he's angry, and I have a highly developed sense of survival.
If Pharrgon (the dragon) was with Keegan, though, he would be more understanding. He'd see that I created the safe forest for him to hide in, all the wonderful creatures for him to enjoy, put Keegan in his life, and made him the formidable beauty that he is. He would try to help Keegan see the positive side to all of that, and he would certainly keep Keegan from chopping my head off.
There is also one other delicate little thing that Pharrgon would be thankful to me for, but I can't mention her right now because...
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Make sure to wear green, or you'll get pinched (that's what happens in my house)!
By the way, don't forget to check out DAY ONE and DAY TWO of this challenge, if you missed them.
So, today's challenge is: a trope in your genre that gets on your nerves.
I'll be honest; I had to look up what "trope" meant.
Trope - a: a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech
Ooookay. A cliche! I got it now. Why didn't you just say so?
So, what is a cliche in my genre (fantasy) that gets on my nerves? I have no idea. Cliches very, very rarely get on my nerves. There is something about the predictable that makes it familiar, like an old friend, and I like that.
Thinking about it now, there is one cliche in fantasy that, only recently, I have come to find a little annoying. It is the super strong, tough, battle hardened, young female characters.
In most of the fantasy books I have read, the female characters are either warriors, assassins, mages, barbarians, or some other type of Xena Warrior Princess or Red Sonja "bad-A". Plus, they are always young and hot. Now, I'm not saying that tough, young, hot chicks are bad or unrealistic. I'm a tough, young, hottie if I say so myself, but not all women are young, hot warriors. Some are gentle and delicate - the healer, and the priestess. Some are quiet, regal, and proud - the queen, the duchess, and the farmer's wife. Some are fun-loving and flirty - the bar maid, the gypsy girl, and the merchant's daughter. And don't forget about the sassy boss - the cook, the store keeper's wife, and the governess. Not all women are Xena warrior princess, or Lessa the dragon rider, or Arya the elfin princess. Also, battle hardened warriors are definitely NOT young and hot. They are beautiful in their own way, but they have many scars and they are tired and worn thin, because they have seen many, many gruesome battles.
The only reason this cliche has started to bug me is because of the reviews a friend was getting on his first book (The Heroes of Ravenford by F.P. Spirit). I LOVED his book. I adore one of the female characters introduced in it. But many of the reviewers who read it were upset because of the "lack of strong female characters".
Excuse me? What in the cube kingdom of gelatinous are you talking about? What happened to the "stop using cliches" sermon?
Everyone wants "fresh content", but as soon as one of their favorite cliches are avoided, they throw a fit.
I guess what actually gets on my nerves in the fantasy genre is the readers. Authors are always getting preached at to create original stories free of cliches. But then they get bashed if they publish a book without cliches.
Shut up, you picky readers! Either read the book and enjoy it, or go write your own. Then let's see how well you handle criticism from other readers like yourself who love/hate/love/hate/love/hate cliches.
OH! And one other thing that annoys me about the fantasy genre: NOT ENOUGH DRAGONS.
When I read a fantasy book, and there aren't any dragons, I feel just like this chick from Game of Thrones:
Don't forget to check out The Writing Challenge - Day One.
Today's challenge: a one sentence summary of your current WIP (work in progress).
Oh boy. Let me see. How do I put this?
The witch did not really die at the hands of the hero and has possessed an important character, causing the dragons and the giants to emerge from hiding and help the Dragon's Son stop her before she summons an ancient demon and starts a world war.
Can you guess which book it is that I am working on? That's right: book #3 in Tales of the Wovlen.
Now, I will leave you to fret about your favorite characters because, yes, they are in peril and, yes, some of them are going to die!
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
I was challenged on Facebook by a fellow author to do a 30 day writing challenge. I read through the challenge list and accepted it, but instead of doing 30 days of Facebook status updates, I am going to make 30 blog posts. If I do one a week, that will be 30 weeks of writing themed blog posts.
Here is the challenge list:
Day 1 is a one sentence summary of the first story you ever wrote.... Well, in this instance, it will have to be the first story I can remember writing. I wrote lots of stories as a kid, but I can't remember what they were all about.
So, here goes: a special girl, called Raina Morning Star, is rescued from drowning and taken in by a merchant family who live in a land where dinosaurs are a common everyday sight and form of transportation.
There you have it!
It was a pretty cool story idea, but the plot never took off in my head. I still love the ideas that I had for the dinosaurs, though. I'll put them into a story some day.
I didn't really know what to post about today, so I thought I would just post a few writing prompts.
What is a writing prompt? (Believe it or not, I have actually heard that question a few times.)
A writing prompt is an idea to get you started writing.
My favorite prompts are for books and stories, but you can find writing prompts for nearly anything. If you use them for writing stories, you can find them in just about every genre - fantasy, science fiction, romance, etc.
Today, I am going to share a few writing prompts that I made. You can find more of them on my website under WRITING PROMPTS.
As you will notice, my obsession with dragons carries on into my writing prompts (and everything else I do, to be honest).
I want to hear the songs of the Wovlen.
Who are the Wovlen? They are a group of people I created. Keegan, the hero in my series (Tales of the Wovlen) is a Wovlen. If you would like to learn more about them, you can check out their page on my website: The Wovlen (it even has a pronunciation guide to help you, because I know you are trying to figure out how to say it right now...).
The Wovlen have a complicated history and culture. And, yes, they even have their own folk songs and lore. You can read some of their songs on my website: Legends and Lore from Tales of the Wovlen.
I would love nothing more than to hear the songs of the Wovlen playing on my computer. I want to actually hear someone put them to music and sing them.
The songs I have written are really only poems. Out of all of my poems, only four of them have a tune that I came up with to sing them to. And of those tunes.... well... dang-it Jim, I'm an author, not a musician! So they aren't very good.
One of my favorite YouTube artists is Karliene. She has a whole playlist to herself on my YouTube, which you can listen to HERE (and I do suggest you listen to at least a few of them).
I love her voice. It's haunting, but still human. The way she composes her music and sings her songs - her style - is exactly what I hear when the Wovlen people sing me a song in the dead of night. Their haunting melodies never stay with me (I forget them by morning), but they force me to wake up and write them down before I forget the words.
If I could choose anyone in the world to sing the songs of the Wovlen, I would choose Karliene... no offence to any of my musician friends. I love you and your music. Don't ever forget that. If you want to put my poems to music, go ahead! But, since none of you have done so yet......
I told my family about my fascination with Karliene's voice and that I feel her voice is perfect for the Wovlen songs.
They suggested I contact her about it.
They think it would be awesome if she made an entire album of Wovlen songs. They believe it would be a win/win for both Karliene and I - she would make money on the songs and album, and I would profit from the extra publicity.
I, on the other hand, have this thing about contacting people (celebrities...cough, cough). I don't feel like I should message or call them out of the blue and ask them for stuff. It makes me feel like a pest, or one of those creepy people that we have all been warned about...
Okay, no. That's not the real reason. I am afraid of being rejected. Plain and simple.
I would rather approach the gal with money and offer her a paying job. I feel that, if I had money to offer, she'd at least take me seriously... and I'd take myself more seriously too.
Alas, money and I are not on good terms. We remain distant acquaintances.
My family also feel that I do not need to offer money to have my "songs" sang, especially when both parties would profit from it in this situation. I'm inclined to agree with them, but I'm still way to nervous to just contact the gal and ask her if she'd put my songs to music and sing them.
After expressing my fears, my family took it a step further.
We are all big fans of Celtic Woman, and one of our favorite voices from Celtic Woman has been Orla Fallon. Her voice is haunting and beautiful. Here are two of my favorite songs she has sang: Siúil a Run (Walk My Love) and Newgrange.
Well, Orla has said that one of her dreams is to sing songs for a movie.
My family really thinks my book is worthy of a movie. Therefore, they think I should contact Orla and ask if she would like to sing my Wovlen songs, and also see if she knew anyone who was in the movie making business.
*Runs away... Hides under bed*
Okay, so contacting Orla is probably WAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of the question.
But is contacting Karliene, the YouTuber who has 50,000+ subscribers, out of the question? Would it be absolutely flagrant of me to send her a message and ask if she would be interested in working with me? Is it worth the risk?
I don't expect much of a response, but what do you, my readers, think of this situation? Do you think I should let it lie? Or should I give it a try?
To end this, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite songs by Karliene. She's a Game of Thrones fan. I'm not, but I love this song: You Win or You Die.
As I've been editing book 2 of Tales of the Wovlen, I've also been chopping out unnecessary scenes. The reason for this is the same reason for "deleting" scenes in a movie: the movie is shorter, the story flows more smoothly and the action keeps rolling. It just makes the overall experience for the audience better.
The only difference between a movie and a book is that one can't generally buy or sell a book of deleted scenes, whereas, with a movie, you can purchase the "directors cut" or "extended edition", or get a DVD with special features and deleted scenes. This fact makes if very painful for an author of books. We are cutting pieces of time and effort off our darling, and no one will ever see them. Ultimately, this is for the greater good of the book. Deleting scenes will keep critics happy and fans will never know what they're missing. But it still hurts.
Thankfully, though, there is a solution: I can share these deleted scenes with fans via my blog!
As a special treat, I am going to share one such scene with you today (even though, as of today's date, the book isn't published yet).
This deleted scene comes from Chapter 3 of The Dragon's Due, book 2 in the #TalesoftheWovlen series. As you will be able to guess by reading it, Keegan, our beloved hero, is already getting on everyone's nerves. Saul, Alia and Brainna express their frustration over the situation, and Walneff tries to put it into perspective for them.
The reason I cut this scene out is because it took away from Keegan and the overall sullenness of the chapter. I really liked it, because it lightened the mood, but the mood change is jarring and I don't think the reader needs any help getting things into perspective. They are in Keegan's head most of the time anyway, so they will either resonate with his attitude or they will identify with Saul who is asking "Can I just punch the snot out of Keegan now?"
Without further ado, here is the deleted scene - Frustrations.
Alia cleared her throat, dipped a spoon into a pot over the fire and stirred the contents. "I think it's safe to say I'm also growing very tired of Keegan's attitude." She said, which put Saul back into his flustered mood.
"He’s acting like he is the only one who has suffered through anything!" Saul huffed, pacing angrily "He does not seem to realize we have also suffered the loss of our friends and family, we are being hunted by the same beasts as him, we are as displaced in this world and as involved in all of this prophecy mess as he is!" He kicked a broken tree branch against a tree.
Walneff sighed. “Saul, try to understand how Keegan is feeling right now. He has learned that, because of his existence, hundreds of people, his friends and family, were tortured and murdered. He has also learned that thousands of people now depend on him to fulfill his part of prophecy. How would you react if your shoulders were suddenly saddled with the responsibility of saving an entire land from an unknown enemy? How would you hold under the realization you had been destined to become the savior, and later on king, of your people? What would your feelings, your reactions be when you learned everything in your past made your future, and the future itself depends on you and the choices you make?” Walneff watched as Saul’s face fell and grew somber.
The tall man uncrossed his arms and lowered them to his sides. He opened his mouth to say something, but then closed it.
Walneff dipped his chin, keeping his eyes on Saul’s face. “More than you can understand is resting itself on Keegan’s shoulders right now.”
Saul nodded. “I- I know,” he scratched the back of his head again “I hadn’t thought of it… not in that way.”
“The least we can do is to be patient with him and support him in any way possible.” Alia said, sorrow caressing her face. “I should have been the most understanding of all. I am his sister.”
Walneff nodded with a gentle smile before reaching into his cloak, pulling out his pipe, and filling it. “Wisely said, Alia, my dear.” he stooped down to the fire and pulled out a smoldering stick to light his pipe with “I might add, none of this is an excuse for Keegan’s sore behavior. And, I must also confess, I too have grown weary of it.” He puffed on his pipe and lowered himself to sit on a log “His grumpy behavior really has been putting a damper on my generally cheerful demeanor, and that makes my bones ache.”
Saul grinned as he looked at the old man with a raised eyebrow. “Cheerful demeanor? I believe Keegan would disagree, even if he were in a good mood. He thinks you're always grumpy.”
Walneff looked up at Saul and his diamond blue eyes twinkled with mischief. “Does he now? How interesting! Because I have the exact opinion of him.” The girls giggled, causing a grin to turn up the corners of Walneff's mouth, his eyes sparkling all the more. "Ah, well, I heard a saying once that could be applied to this situation I suppose: 'it takes one to know one'." The girls giggled again and Walneff continued to puff on his pipe in silence.
"When is book 2 going to be done?"
"Are you done with book #2 yet?"
"I'm dying here! I need to know what happens! When is book 2 going to be published?"
I cannot tell you how many times these questions have been thrown at me this summer alone. Often times, they are accompanied by a friendly, threatening undertone.
I love it. It means that my book has fans! I mean, that is SO AWESOME. I never dreamed I or my book would have fans.
On the other hand, it is driving me up the wall. I love the questions, but I hate that I have no definitive answer for them.
Book #2 of the Tales of the Wovlen series is currently in the editing phase. I'm done writing it. It's 500 pages long, give or take a little. So, I haven't wasted the better part of a year writing a teeny-weeny thing! The editing phase has been a killer, though. You can't just finish writing a book, slap a shiny bow on it, and throw it at your ravenous readers. If you want it to succeed, it must be scrubbed, polished, shined, and meticulously groomed. Because of this, I'm sorry to say that I have no idea when it will be ready to publish. All I know is that it will be soon (not soon enough though!).
Editing is an exciting stage for an author, because we are watching our baby book go through a growth spurt.
At the same time, editing is a nightmare for an author. We just want our story to be DONE and everyone to love it. We don't want to read through it 50 times, and then 20 more times after that. We don't want to chop scenes out, shorten things up, keep Madam Point Of View in line, or endure the tedious trials of dialogue, grammar, and word-overuse!
WHY CAN'T YOU READERS JUST BE HAPPY WITH AN IMPERFECT WORK OF ART???
The only reason we authors do any editing at all is to please our readers. Y'all should be thanking us instead of threatening us with suicide notes if the next book doesn't come out by Christmas.
*squints at all the bookworms*
However, I do have some good news for you: my beta readers (those who help with the pre-editing phase of the book) have made some very encouraging remarks which suggest readers will LOVE book #2.
Exciting new characters, fantastic battles, goosebump generating scenes, and, of course, awesome dragons are only a few of the good things my beta readers have mentioned about the book thus far. All of it makes me super excited, and I can't wait to share the book with the world!
Seriously, I am way more excited about this book than you are. Like, you have no idea.
What Can You Do While You Wait?
The waiting process is killing me and I know it's not doing you, the reader, any favors either. So, here are three things you can do to make the waiting time shorter!
1. What thing in particular makes westerns appealing to you?
Faith: All of it! The ruggedness, the danger, the flexibility, the shootouts, the romance, the multiple redemption possibilities, and so much more. Sorry, I can’t pick just one.
2. Where did the idea for Hymns of the West come from?
Faith: It came after I had a beta-reader ask what the next book in the series was about. I wasn’t even planning a series, so I told him there wasn’t a second book. But his question got me to thinking and I eventually came up with the ideas for six or seven books in the series and I am now considering connecting this series to a contemporary fiction trilogy I have ideas for. We’ll see where that goes.
As for the name of the series, that came when I decided to make all the novel titles hymn titles. And since they’re all Westerns, Hymns of the West works perfectly!
3. What’s something about yourself that really annoys you?
Faith: My forgetfulness. I forget things way too easily and sometimes that is a very, very bad thing.
4. What’s the name of a book you’re reading?
Faith: “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. It’s a shortened version of his full-length book by the same name. I haven’t read much of it yet, but it is good.
5. What scares you?
Faith: Heights. Especially suspension bridges or manmade towers that sway in the wind. *shudders*
6. Bonanza or Gunsmoke?
Faith: Bonanza. There’s just something about those Cartwright boys that Gunsmoke doesn’t have. I like Gunsmoke as well, but not as much as Bonanza.
7. Why do you write?
Faith: To encourage and challenge Christians in their walk with God and to hopefully reach some non-Christians for the gospel as well.
8. What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?
Faith: Franz Schubert’s Impromptu Opus 142 number 2. It was on a CD I was listening to and I skipped ahead to it because I didn’t remember which one it was.
9. What is your favorite salty treat?
Faith: Dill pickles. They’re about the only thing I like that has a lot of salt. Even with potato chips, I prefer the no salt chips rather than the salted ones. I’m weird that way.
10. What makes you laugh?
Faith: Jokes. Sometimes. Other people laughing hysterically and unable to stop. Things like that.
11. Who’s your favorite cowboy movie star?
Faith: John Wayne all the way. Can you get anymore cowboy than him?
12. You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?
Faith: Unpack whatever needs unpacking, take my shoes off, and then it depends on what else is going on. J
13. Here’s a free plane ticket! Where would you like to go?
Faith: Scotland! Or Montana, but I could, conceivably drive out there someday, so yeah, I’d pick Scotland. I’ve always been fascinated by Scotland. Of course, since I have some internet acquaintances in Ireland and England, I’d probably try to get there as well since I’m on the island.
14. Before we end, would you tell us a little about each of your books in the Hymns of the West series and what inspired each one?
Faith: A Mighty Fortress is about Joshua and Ruth Brookings and their encounter with Jed Stuart. It’s a story of trust and redemption. The idea for this story came from a picture and a short story contest. I was too old for the contest and the idea I had was too long for the contest anyway, but the picture inspired me to write this novel.
Be Thou My Vision is about Jed Stuart’s sister, Anna, and how the events in A Mighty Fortress affect her life and change it completely. Be Thou My Vision came about when I decided to write Anna’s story.
Amazing Grace is a continuation of Be Thou My Vision, but from Caleb Stuart’s perspective. After finishing one of the drafts of Be Thou My Vision, I knew I had to write Caleb’s story. Since Be Thou My Vision is in first person, I couldn’t do his story in there, so I wrote Amazing Grace.
About the Author
An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, Captaining on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?).
As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.
You can find Faith on her Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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