Sep 29, 2010

The Universal Question Important for the Ways of Life: How do I write?

Well, maybe not universal.
This question I see in two ways.
Q: How do I write?
A1: Well young Padowan/Genin/or whatever noob you are(please don't be offended), you must write! How can you become a better writer if you don't write? Make some time to write everyday, even if it's 30 minutes to an Hour. Write a scene, some lines of dialogue, a description. Look at your room and describe your room, but don't TELL ME what's in your room, SHOW ME.
A2: Read! Most people who have told me I must read to be a better writer never told me the simpler way of saying it(though now I think about it, it's pretty simple now). When you read other fiction, you are studying how the writer writes. Your eventually going to start writing like the writers you read, but this is okay. I find myself reading Charles Dickens and Yoon Ha Lee more because I love the prose and the poetry-like writing. Every writer is different though! Read the genre of your choice to see the trends of that genre, read non-fiction like history, mythology, the news, etc. to come up with ideas for your story!
You see that reading has a great power over your writing. Also by reading, you learn new words and start to "thin out" what you like to read and by doing this, you start to know who your audience is. Well you guysl till next time.

Creating a Race, Part2

Last time, I talked about my process of creating your very own Fantasy race. Of course, your race is your race, and you can do whatever you want with it. Well, this is for people who can't really create their own races, but still love Elves and Dwarves.
Now, I think creating a race of Elves and Dwarves is harder than making your own. After Tolkien, people used Elves and Dwarves to no end. Whenever me, as a reader, think of Elves, I think of the following characteristics:
-Pointy Ears
-Fair skin
-Live in forests
-Blonde hair(or brown/black)
Whenever I think of Dwarves, I see:
-Long Beard and lots of hair
You see the problem? This formula for creating Elves and Dwarves has been used countless times in the past. In the early days of Dungeons and Dragons, they were guilty for this. Most people who read, and see the appearance of the Elf, will think of these characteristics, much like if the reader sees a Dwarf coming along.
People say that these are over-done. Not entirely so.
Let's take a look at Brooks and his Shannara series. Yes, their are Dwarves, but their origins are what stand out. *SPOILER* The origins of Shannara's Dwarves are the result of Humans who fled underground during a nuclear fallout, and over the course of years, have become Dwarves.
So, looking at this, I still see potential in these races if the writer puts some time into it.
We all know about how Dwarves like to mine, but did we know that they are ancestor worshippers? In Norse mythology they are.
Or how about that Humans who die can become the fair Elves, and yet they are seen, can pass through walls? Or how about the African Wakyambi Elves who have tails, dark skin, and live in the clouds?
My point here, is that their are tons of myths AROUND THE WORLD about Elves and Dwarves, so showing something new in these races IS NEVER A BAD THING! In fact, it gives life to your genre, and you earn much more respect. To have your Elves and Dwarves really shine, try combining the myths of all the Elves and Dwarves. Try mixing Norse Dwarves' association with death with the African dwarf Biloko's carnivorous appetite. Or think of why would Elves hide in mounds instead of a forest. Speaking of mounds, what about a graveyard or a place where many people died? Elves are associated with death too you know.
So, writing the Elf and Dwarf is never a bad thing, one just has to put the time and research into it. Till next time guys.

Their are no Blacks or Whites in Fantasy, Just Elves and Dwarves: On Race Creation

Well, the subject line is a bit far from the truth: Their are Blacks and Whites and Hispanics and everyone is in Fantasy, but that's not the point in this post.
In this post, I will try to help you create your won races.
Q: But Brandon, I don't have to! Fantasy is characterized by Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs! I can just use those!
Now, this question can be answered from two perspectives.
A). Fans of Tolkien, Brooks, and Paolini will enjoy returning to a world inhabited by their favorite races. These people won't mind.
B). Because of the way Fantasy is now, people will see Elves, and Dwarves as just a lazy way out of actually creating a world, and are viewed as taking from Tolkien, Brooks, Paolini, etc. and wish to see something new.
Personally, I'm with the latter than I am with the former, but I can help you in how you may create your own races, or give elves and dwarves something new.

First, creating a race. This is the process I use when creating my own alien race.
First, I try to get a vision of what my race is going to look like. Is it human like? Giant? Furry? Does thus race have horns? I'm looking for anything that will strike out to me, something I can mess with and develop a history on and maybe culture. When creating a race, I also look at other mythological races, legend, urban myths, history, and even today's news.
For example, let's say that I wanted to create a race of Black people with flaming red hair. How would society view this race? Well, in my mind, people think they are demons because of their long red-hair, and their unrivaled warrior skills and strange culture. In turn, this guys live in the jungles, savannah, etc. Anywhere to protect themselves. See that? Even though I just thought of that on the fly, I've given you a race, the history, and their physical features. Now,every race can have their own rules and social norms, taboos, laws, etc. to give it even more depth. You may use the fact that people see these guys as Demons against your characters. What I mean by this, is that this Black person is not the demon everyone think he is. This is breaking that stereotype that you originally thought of at first, but now you question "if that isn't true, then what is?". This even has your reader hooked to world even more, and they will want to know "who are these people?"
Alright you guys, this ends this post for now, and yes, their is a part2.