Would-be writers of fantasy often assume that fantasy worlds are easier to write than stories of the everyday. They also assume that in fantasy, you can ignore all the rules that govern the writing of non-genre fiction. This isn’t strictly true. You may be able to break the laws of physics in your book, but break laws of story at your peril…
1: Build a world that your reader wants to visit - that is, that satisfies an as-yet unfulfilled desire - for instance, freedom; adventure; exploration; the ability to break the rules and conventions of the society we inhabit. This does not necessarily mean an ideal world - dreams and fantasies are often dark and challenging, hence the amount of fantasy dealing with war, conflict, apocalypse (all cathartic experiences, viewed from the security of the printed page).
2. Set down your rules, and stick to them. It’s fine to break the laws of physics in fantasy literature, but you do need to show consistency. If you’re writing a world in which magic works, you need to establish the laws of magic. Is it something innate? Can it be learnt? Are runes, incantations, spells, potions involved? Even fantasy needs to have its own internal logic, otherwise the suspension of disbelief becomes impossible.
3. Seek emotional realism. Whatever the setting of your story, at its heart lies a human connection between reader and writer. Fantasy speaks to us on a deeply emotional level, dealing with subconscious wish-fulfilment and the exorcism of personal demons. Just because this is fantasy doesn’t mean it can’t be emotionally real. Use your own experience to make your feelings work for you.
4. Make your characters human at heart. That means creating empathy between them and the reader - whether they are elves, wolves, rabbits, dwarves, anthropomorphic space machines or aliens from the planet Targ.
5. Archetype, not stereotype. With such a strong foundation in folk-tale and fairy story, it’s easy to confuse the difference between archetype and stereotype. The first is an expression of the hidden dreams and desires of the human subconscious, articulated through traditional figures in story. The second, a gateway to cliche. Avoid.
6. Give familiar tales a twist. Don’t be afraid of breaking traditional conventions, of rewriting legends, or taking folk tales and making them yours. They are yours. They are also mine, and everyone else’s. You (and I, and we) have the right to tell them any way we like. Traditional stories need to evolve and grow in order to stay alive. Own them, and make them live.
7. Find out what makes your society tick. Does your fantasy world run on money? Magic? Tribal interactions? Philosophy? Slavery? Religion? War? Is there a king? A government? Gods? How do these things affect your characters and their journey through the narrative?
8. Think about the details. Every country or fantasy world has sayings, food, folk-tales, dress, weather, weapons, slang, customs, smells, plants, birds. Without writing a guide book, try to immerse yourself (and your reader) into this new environment. Just because it’s fantasy doesn’t mean it can’t be real.
9. Don’t confuse fake with fantasy. That means getting your facts right if you want to write about authentic-sounding weapons, ships, armour or other quasi-historical details. Sound research into these things makes for more convincing fantasy.
10. There’s more to this than Middle-Earth. With infinite worlds to choose from, your inspiration doesn’t always have to come from mediaeval England. In the same way, urban fantasy doesn’t always have to be set in New York. Vary your landscapes; expand your horizons.
//Absurdly helpful for people writing royal characters and/or characters who interact with royalty and members of the nobility.
A wonderous fuck-ton 3D male anatomy references.
[From various sources]
I made these as a way to compile all the geographical vocabulary that I thought was useful and interesting for writers. Some descriptors share categories, and some are simplified, but for the most part everything is in its proper place. Not all the words are as useable as others, and some might take tricky wording to pull off, but I hope these prove useful to all you writers out there!
(save the images to zoom in on the pics)
peanut butter (any kind, other nut butters would probably work too)
plain yogurt (greek or regular)
honey (if you are missing either of these sweeteners you can probably adjust to use only the other one, but I haven’t tried it)
unsweetened cocoa powder (hot cocoa mix also works, though you’ll have to adjust the amount of sugar)
chocolate chips (optional but they make it 1000% better) (you could probably also use other candy if you want)
Also need: a big mug, a couple of spoons, a microwave
Take a big spoonful of peanut butter, stick it in the mug, and microwave until it’s all melty (30 seconds to a minute, varies by what kind you use). Add a roughly equal amount of yogurt, a bit less than half as much honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until it’s completely blended and looks all gross. Add the egg and mix again. Now go rinse and dry your spoon or get another one and add like 4 spoonfuls of cocoa powder and 3-4 spoonfuls of sugar, whatever makes it taste good. Mix it all up. If it gets really dry and hard to stir, which it probably will, just add a little more honey or yogurt or try to get some of the oil off the top of the peanut butter. Don’t make it too liquidy, though! It should stay pretty thick. Now add a shit ton of chocolate chips. No, more than that. Stir it all together. Microwave for a minute or two. It rises some in the microwave, so if the batter almost fills the mug, either get another mug or prepare to do some cleaning. When the top doesn’t look liquidy anymore, it’s done. Turn it out onto a plate, grab some milk and enjoy that shit!
I came up with this recipe when I wanted to make a regular mug brownie but had almost none of the required ingredients, so I improvised: changed peanut butter for oil, vanilla yogurt for both cream and vanilla, etc. It has since evolved into a more refined form (but still not very refined). There aren’t any measurements because I’ve never bothered to measure anything when I make it, but no matter what I do this recipe always turns out the most moist, delicious, and chocolatey mug cake I have ever tasted. It is pretty rich! Not a light dessert here. Also, when you don’t use chocolate chips it has a slightly custardy texture, which is pretty cool. It’s still better with them though.
I’ve found that the cheapest and easiest food I am able to make (at least in my country) is onion soup. You need:
- cooking oil/margarine/butter
- vegetable stock (or whichever other stock you prefer), and
- optionally: flour to thicken the soup, soy/rice/other milk to make it more creamy, spices you have on hand
You cook onions (as many as you like, the soup freezes well so I usually use a lot) in cooking oil until soft and add garlic an keep cooking for a couple of minutes. Add vegetable stock until soup-y and let it cook on the stove until finished. Add spices if you’d like (I think dried thyme is quite good in this, as well as salt and pepper). It can be blended if you have the equipments for that, but is just as fine without.
I prefer to serve it with bread to make it a more filling meal.
Ingredients: apples, onions, potatoes, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cheese.
This is a really great recipe for fall/winter nights when you want something hot and hearty! It has carbs and protein from the potatoes and cheese, and is pretty easy to make.
- Cut up the apples, potatoes, and onions into chunks.
- Spread them out on a lightly greased pan and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
- Add a layer of cheese. Personally, my favorite to use in this recipe is yellow cheddar, but there are lots of good options—provolone, aged mozzarella, whatever. Pre-sliced and pre-shredded cheese are great for this because they spread evenly, but whatever works.
- Bake at 350 until the cheese is melty. I like my potatoes/apples very brown and the cheese crusty, so I wait until the cheese starts bubbling.
- Eat it while it’s hot!
Recipe #34 - Apple Crisp
Review: Ah comfort food. AKA the bottom of my pre-2005 food pyramid. I’m a fan.
Apple Crisp is great as a dessert but really you can eat anytime of the day as a warm-me-up winter/autumn snack. If you have some apples on hand it’s ridiculously easy to make. Technically, you don’t even need to use an oven, I’ve made apple crisp in the microwave before. For this recipe, however, I kept things as traditional as possible.
I actually did this recipe in the wrong order when I made it. I mixed the two sugars together instead of mixing the brown sugar into the oat and flour bit. Turns out, it doesn’t matter! This recipe is very forgiving and requires no special skills to get right. It is, essentially, mush after all. If you want to make a dessert/treat for a party but don’t have the time or skill I’d say Apple Crisp is the way to go.
Here is my source
-10 cups of apples (I used about 6 apples)
-1 cup white sugar
-1 tablespoon flour
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 cup quick-cooking oats
-1 cup flour
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup melted butter
If you’d like to try making some apple crisp for yourself, check out my source page! See you next time when I revisit The Haunted Carousel :)
If you’re a regular of fandom exchanges you may already know what we mean by this, but for everyone else, here’s a quick-and-dirty rundown:
Dear Jadefest letters are an optional bit of fun. They are not a requirement of the exchange. To participate you just have to write up a short thing detailing what kind of tropes and stories you really love in a fanwork in as much or little detail as you’d like, and which ones you do not prefer. This applies more to fic than art or other fanworks, but feel free to detail those as well if you’d like.
It’s not guaranteed that your gift giver will use your post while they’re making their Jadefest entry, but it will give them a brief overview of your tastes.
Once you’ve done this, we’re compiling letters in THIS SPREADSHEET so that they’ll all be in one place for ease of browsing while also keeping everyone anonymous. When you’re done with your letter, please go to that spreadsheet and link it there! If you’re posting them on tumblr, please tag them with the tag ‘dear jadefest letter’ in case.
If you’ve got more questions, feel free to shoot us an ask or an email at email@example.com. Thanks for participating!