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Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 11:13 AM
Good morning, all! Here's today's topic and poll...

TOPIC: Creating Worlds, Both Historical & Fantasy: Are horses faster than unicorns? Moderator: Lyn Armstrong

First, let me answer the question: Are horses faster than unicorns?

Of course they are not. LOL. Unicorns are enchanted creatures and have the ability to fly. At least the unicorn called Silas in Lady of the Mountain (4th book in Celtic series) can fly, which makes him faster than a horse.
Creating a world within history and one within the realms of fantasy are two very different skills and has varying levels of difficulty. However, you can combine the genres, which is what I love to do the most. But for today’s purpose, I will talk separately about historical and fantasy worlds.

Historical World
A traditional historical can be set with characters that embody the time period with personality, clothes, culture, body language, weapons, and dialogue to name a few. With the right research, a writer can weave a tale with setting and characterization to create a world for a reader rich in historical texture and flavor. However, a historical writer must adhere to certain boundaries a fantasy writer does not – historical accuracy.

Research is the key in creating a believable world set in a particular time period. (See yesterday’s post – Making Research Fun and Fast) You would not have a heroine carry a lacy parasol while strolling along the Highland moors in the 14th century.

Creating a historical world is not all about research. It’s about bringing senses and surroundings to the page so your reader believes they are really in a 16th century castle. Use the five senses to create the atmosphere. Taste, sound, sight, touch, and smell.

Describe the smell of the master’s chamber on a spring morning after the rushes have just been changed. And what emotion does that provoke in a visiting farm girl who is used to sleeping in a horse’s stall?

Fantasy World

Creating a fantasy world is very near and dear to my heart since the Celtic series is based on a historical and fantasy world. I have created witches, sorcerers, wizards, unicorns, oracles, shape shifters and Celtic Goddess/Gods. In fantasy there are no boundaries to your imagination, however, it is important to keep in mind the organic elements that support the unbelievable as believable. In other words, if you are writing about a unicorn that flies, or a shape shifter, support these mystical creatures with information on how they came by their powers. Try to explain the unexplainable and readers will follow you into that world.
Authors have many ways of imagining their worlds. Inspiration comes in varying forms. I love watching movies and reading romances that take me to a different world outside the dishes, laundry and daily stresses.
Create a world you would like to visit, one filled with excitement, adventure and romance. Write what you are passionate about and it will lead the reader into a wondrous world shaped by your imagination.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR WRITING HISTORICAL ROMANCE:

From Minnette (to name a few):
1. Make sure to research word usage for your period.
2. Contractions give the piece a more modern sound, so use them sparingly in older time periods.
3. If available, read books from the era you’re writing about…classical authors can give you great insight into the language of the time.
4. Put yourself in the moment – history can be very dry. You need to breathe life into it.
5. Consider writing about periods that are not normally covered in historical romance. It might give you a fresh voice.
6. Having said that, make sure you do your research on the prevailing markets, as well. Make sure there is a market for your story.
7. Join Romance Writers of America and your local RWA chapter. This is a fabulous way to network, find critique partners, get training, seminars, and lectures free or at very low prices. Best money you’ll ever spend.
8. If you are unpublished, consider submitting your work to the many RWA chapter romance competitions available each year. You will get critiques and a chance to get your work noticed.
9. Take writing classes from your local writers associations.
10. Consider taking a history class at your local community college or university.
11. Visit museums regularly and sign up for historical blogs.

From Delilah:
*Don't just write about a time period. Delve into it. If your era is say, 1830 (which is mine), spend all your effort and time researching everything and anything evolving around 1830. From newspapers, to books, to Google searches, to fiction and non-fiction books. You should know about the way people dressed, ate, what they rode in, the houses they lived in, what money is worth, the political climate, what entertainment was for the people in your era, what books they would have been reading, what newspapers would have been in print, and the list goes on and on.
*Your research should be wallpaper, not clutter. Although I think it's pretty obvious by what I mean, I'll make this point. You've researched as described above. You know EVERYTHING there is to know about 1830. Does that mean you tell us EVERYTHING? Please, no. Everyone loves history. But in fiction, it is but a backdrop to your story which reflects real life. If you clutter your scenes with too much history, say, what the King ate even though there is no King in your story, you better believe not only will your characters be tripping all over the so-called furniture, but so will your reader. Make history the wallpaper of your story. The point is, you can see the wallpaper at all times and you know it's there but it's not going to stick a leg out and trip anyone as they make their way across the room.
*Make love scenes believable given the time period. In other words, don't have your hero whip out rubber condoms (they didn't make an appearance until after the 1850's by Goodyear and even then weren't available to be bought for some time). Depending on the social ladder you place your hero and heroine that will also determine whether they can or cannot make love. Of course, you can always bend the rules to create great conflict. You just can't have the hero and heroine making love beneath a tree in Hyde Park...well, you can, but...you get the idea.

DISCUSSION: The pro's and con's in creating historical/fantasy worlds.

ASSIGNMENT: Write a few paragraphs and create a world by using the five senses: Touch, taste, sound, sight and smell. It can be historical, fantasy or both.

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 11:41 AM
I like the idea of mixing historical with fantasy because it gives you an opportunity to do a bit of "alternate history". I like the "what-ifs" embodied in fantasy. What if the Civil War in the US had a different outcome? What if WWII had been fought using magick missiles? I think there's something to be said for being creative.

Some also like the "fudge factor" of mixing fantasy with historicals, and I'll admit that's not a bad idea. But I'm more about the alternate history as viewed from a paranormal and/or fantasy perspective.



Love & Magic,
-A

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 11:48 AM
I LOVE alternate history stories and have been reading them for ~blank~ years, starting with the golden age in the fifties and sixties (much, much later, of course) - I'd love to try my hand at one some day.

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 12:00 PM
I LOVE alternate history stories and have been reading them for ~blank~ years, starting with the golden age in the fifties and sixties (much, much later, of course) - I'd love to try my hand at one some day.

I'm soooorta doing a little bit of that in the novella I'm currently working on. At the very least, I'm tampering with a few points in history which happened to intersect very, very nicely. :D

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 12:10 PM
I'd love to hear from some of our other writers on this subject. What tips and tricks do you have for writing historical pieces, doing research, or creating worlds? Don't be shy...speak up...

candaceclayton
October 14th, 2008, 12:41 PM
I am currently working on a fantasy world that is based on our current time, with a few changes thrown in for fun. My world has another human race called The Dreamlings. The magical humans have been hiding their powers from us ordinary unmagical humans for centuries. The arrival of the Golden One is changing all that and oh,the upheaval it causes.

As for research, I am trying to use my research to make sure I have things correct like Time zone changes, economics, music and more. Mostly I have used google forhis. But I am also keeping an eye on the current news on television and online and in Newspapers.

Candace

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 12:42 PM
I'm going to be working on a m/m dark fantasy/vampire erotic paranormal romance set in Victorian England around 1897. It's going to be the tale of how a particular vampire magickal order was founded. :D

candaceclayton
October 14th, 2008, 12:44 PM
Cool, Adrienne. I love Vampire stories!

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 12:45 PM
Cool, Adrienne. I love Vampire stories!

Thanks, Candace! :D I enjoy them a lot myself, and I think that the idea of secret societies and magick lends a little spice to the tale.

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 01:23 PM
Candace brings up a very good point about research; you still have to research even if you are writing about a time you are intimately aquainted with...now. Honestly, I think it takes as much research sometimes to do a modern piece as it does a historical one. Angie Fox (Accidental Demon Slayer) has a great article (http://rosecityromancewriters.blogspot.com/2008/07/biker-dogs-ride-again.html) on this subject of modern day research.

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 01:25 PM
Candace brings up a very good point about research; you still have to research even if you are writing about a time you are intimately aquainted with...now. Honestly, I think it takes as much research sometimes to do a modern piece as it does a historical one. Angie Fox (Accidental Demon Slayer) has a great article (http://rosecityromancewriters.blogspot.com/2008/07/biker-dogs-ride-again.html) on this subject of modern day research.

It does. I've actually travelled to the places I've written about in order to get a better feel of the area. It allows me to insert little details here and there--not a lot mind you, but a little--which gives it a bit more of an accurate feeling.

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 01:26 PM
I'm going to be working on a m/m dark fantasy/vampire erotic paranormal romance set in Victorian England around 1897. It's going to be the tale of how a particular vampire magickal order was founded. :D

I love these sub-sub-sub genres...I'm currently working on a paranormal-erotic-comedy romance myself. Yours sounds fascinating...how do you research on something like this?

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 01:28 PM
It allows me to insert little details here and there--not a lot mind you, but a little--which gives it a bit more of an accurate feeling.

And that's what you need...just a little flavor, I think. Here's a good question: How much is too much when working in "flavor" for your time period?

githomas
October 14th, 2008, 02:13 PM
Hope it isn't too late to join. I have written two ms, both historical/fantasies. When I began to research historicals for a new idea, I stumbled across some not-so-romantic info abt the medieval and later times. That STD's were rampant, (1/3 of regency era military had syphilis according to one researcher). And king Henry VIII's penis was (rumore has it) rotted off by it. If we are going for at least a little accuracy, how come not one of the dozens of novels I have read has hinted at this hideous stat? The hero is almost always a randy goat, but never defiling virgins! That leaves the more accomodating variety of entertainment (90% of professional ladies had an STD) but the goats are alway healthy. Talk about fantasy. Naw, I don't want a "realistic" romance novel. But if accuracy is the goal, it would seem that issue has been completely glossed over.

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 02:39 PM
I love these sub-sub-sub genres...I'm currently working on a paranormal-erotic-comedy romance myself. Yours sounds fascinating...how do you research on something like this?

Well...some of it I already know a bit about--the history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, for instance--and others I happen to know of some people who have done the research in the past and can help me out a bit. :)

Thankfully I'm an avid reader and don't mind geeking out, lol

Adrianne_Brennan
October 14th, 2008, 02:40 PM
And that's what you need...just a little flavor, I think. Here's a good question: How much is too much when working in "flavor" for your time period?

When the details either confuse, derail, or overwhelm the story. I think that there should be just enough for flavor and the rest for the sake of driving plot, IMHO.

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 02:41 PM
Hope it isn't too late to join. I have written two ms, both historical/fantasies. When I began to research historicals for a new idea, I stumbled across some not-so-romantic info abt the medieval and later times. That STD's were rampant, (1/3 of regency era military had syphilis according to one researcher). And king Henry VIII's penis was (rumore has it) rotted off by it. If we are going for at least a little accuracy, how come not one of the dozens of novels I have read has hinted at this hideous stat? The hero is almost always a randy goat, but never defiling virgins! That leaves the more accomodating variety of entertainment (90% of professional ladies had an STD) but the goats are alway healthy. Talk about fantasy. Naw, I don't want a "realistic" romance novel. But if accuracy is the goal, it would seem that issue has been completely glossed over.

It's not too late to join, at all. Welcome!

That's a very good question and I'd like to throw it to the moderators and the participants. What do you think? Why are STD's virtually ignored in romance? Personally, I think these are fantasies and like to escape into them, so there is a certain amount of the "ick" factor in the subject...what does everyone else think?

Lyn Armstrong
October 14th, 2008, 04:16 PM
. Talk about fantasy. Naw, I don't want a "realistic" romance novel. But if accuracy is the goal, it would seem that issue has been completely glossed over.

Don't forget that it was considered unholy to bath, so many people used perfume to cover the stench of unwashed bodies. Not to mention the bad teeth. We can't have our heroine with black teeth and stink of B.O.
LOL
I prefer to gloss over those facts and keep the story fictional. :rolleyes:

rgraham666
October 14th, 2008, 04:44 PM
The closest I've come to full world building was for a role playing game I designed in the early '90s.

It was science fiction, cyberpunk, set in 2060.

So for the most part it was extrapolation from today. I looked at the political, social and economic forces that existed now and wondered where we'd be in seventy years. It was interesting and fun.

I think the most interesting piece of world building in fiction I've encountered is in The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Age-Illustrated-Primer-Spectra/dp/0553380966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224016958&sr=8-1) by Neal Stephenson. It's both quite fantastic and very familiar. The book shows how people change under social pressure but don't change at the core.

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 05:07 PM
Great point, Rob. I love future extrapolations...I'm a huge sci-fi geek, so it comes to me naturally. You know that exercise where I had you close your eyes and imagine yourself in the past...it works for the future, too. Just go through the differing life dynamics if you want a real challenge: personal, family, groups/work, community, world, natural environment (including space), and spiritual. Think about each of those elements in your life and how they would be different (or the same) in a different time and place. Caution: It could give you a headache, but what a ride!

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 06:10 PM
Hey - Want to remind everyone about the assignments (I know, it's the teacher in me - blah!) - I only received one from yesterday and that's all. You don't HAVE to do the assignments, but I'd love to share our writing with everyone else ~wink~ Just sayin...:winkiss:

Mary D
October 14th, 2008, 07:47 PM
Don't forget Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland. I think it contains the essay "A Horse is not a Quadruped Motorcycle." The title of today's article reminded me of it.

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 08:06 PM
Don't forget Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland. I think it contains the essay "A Horse is not a Quadruped Motorcycle." The title of today's article reminded me of it.

This looks like a great reference book. I ordered it from Powells. I'll be working on some YA books and it sounds like this would be great for that, too. Thanks for the reference! M:)

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 08:07 PM
I'll be announcing my contest winner for the day around 8pm PST (about 3 hours), so make sure to get your entries in asap.

Minnette
October 14th, 2008, 11:12 PM
Here's the results of the poll:

<TABLE class=tborder cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=alt1 width="75%">Traditional </TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap>http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar2-l.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar2.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar2-r.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/clear.gif </TD><TD class=alt1 title=Votes noWrap align=middle width="12%">5</TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap align=right width="13%">38.46%</TD></TR><TR><TD class=alt1 width="75%">Fantasy </TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap>http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar3-l.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar3.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar3-r.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/clear.gif </TD><TD class=alt1 title=Votes noWrap align=middle width="12%">5</TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap align=right width="13%">38.46%</TD></TR><TR><TD class=alt1 width="75%">Erotic </TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap>http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar4-l.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar4.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar4-r.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/clear.gif </TD><TD class=alt1 title=Votes noWrap align=middle width="12%">5</TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap align=right width="13%">38.46%</TD></TR><TR><TD class=alt1 width="75%">Paranormal </TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap>http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar5-l.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar5.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar5-r.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/clear.gif </TD><TD class=alt1 title=Votes noWrap align=middle width="12%">6</TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap align=right width="13%">46.15%</TD></TR><TR><TD class=alt1 width="75%">Other </TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap>http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar6-l.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar6.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/images/bo20/polls/bar6-r.gifhttp://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/clear.gif </TD><TD class=alt1 title=Votes noWrap align=middle width="12%">1</TD><TD class=alt2 noWrap align=right width="13%">7.69%</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
Thanks everyone for your participation today. Join us tomorrow for our next topic: Historical Hunks & Kick-Ass Heroines - Characterization in the Historical - See you tomorrow!

:susel::knight::knight2::red_dragon::fencing:

CharmedGirl
October 14th, 2008, 11:15 PM
I'm sure I've got an entry in.

candaceclayton
October 15th, 2008, 10:45 AM
It's not too late to join, at all. Welcome!

That's a very good question and I'd like to throw it to the moderators and the participants. What do you think? Why are STD's virtually ignored in romance? Personally, I think these are fantasies and like to escape into them, so there is a certain amount of the "ick" factor in the subject...what does everyone else think?

For me, it would definitely be the ick factor. In a romance, i expect things to be on a happy upbeat level at the end. Kinda hard to do if someone is suffering from std's. If the book is not strictly a romance, then it might work.

Candace