Saturday, 27 May 2017

Questions to Ask When Creating Magical Worlds

    I am a total lover of fantasy. There are so many takes on it, from the more hard-core, almost 'traditional' fantasy, to the weird and wonderful. Some love it for great adventures or crazy animals. Personally, I adore it because of the world-building; because I can create communities and entire worlds and craft them to my own liking.

   Sometimes fantasy worlds have magic in them, sometimes they don't. In today's post I'll talk about the ones that do. In the past I covered three aspects of how to create a magic system, but today I'll be compiling a list of questions I ask myself when creating worlds with magic in them!   



1) Who has magic? What terminology is used to refer to them (eg. magician, wizard, witch)?

2) Are magical powers gained, are people born with them, or can it be both? If gained, how so? If they are born with them, is it their bloodline or something else?

    Drawing from my WIP, Golden Revenge, one of the types of magicians are called Stormdancers. They are able to control rain, lightning, and thunder. The powers are only granted to babies, however, who are born during storms. Another kind of magician is called a Soulstreamer, and it is passed down through their blood.

3) Where does magic come from? (eg. the world, an object, within the magician)


4) How are magicians viewed by those without magic? Are they hated? Feared? Revered? And how do magicians view those without?

5) Are there any religious groups against magic? Why or why not?

6) Does magic play a part in the political system, or is it completely separate? If separate, are there any policies in place to enforce rules regarding magic use? What is the magical community's response to this?

    Again from Golden Revenge (as will all the later examples), in one of the countries, any magic that is not performed by a certain organisation is considered illegal. As an act of defiance, magicians not in the organisation set up illegal magic markets underneath its cities. 

7) What kind of form does magic take? Is it visible?

8) What effect does magic have on the magician? Are there immediate effects or do they apply gradually over time?

9) Are there any places of education where those with magic are trained? If so, are they being trained for careers in the future, or are their powers being purposefully subdued?

    The organisation mentioned before is called the Scholarly, where those who suspect they have magical powers may attend to learn how to heal the body and mind. When they have finished training they are granted jobs, but they're never allowed to practice illegal magic.


10) What are the limits/rules of magic? What can it do, and not do?

11) Are there different levels of skill magicians can fall under? Can they move between levels? Are there different kinds with different powers?

12) Do certain locations within the world give a magician more power than others? Are there places that magic cannot touch or be used in?

13) Do magicians have a code of behavior between them? What does it entail? Have/do any magicians refuse to follow this code?

    The magicians in the illegal magic markets have no code other than don't get caught. As they're not under the watch of the law, they grant themselves freedom to do whatever they wish, from creating monsters of talons and scales to crafting flowers made of tiny eyes.


14) Why is magic a part of your world? Was it given by a god, or has it been around since the beginning of time? What is its history?

15) Do any other people groups or species have magic? How is it different or similar?

16) Are there any identifiers of those with magic? (eg. robes, pins, a certain tattoo)

17) How does magic influence wars and conflict? Are magicians brought in to fight, or to bring peace?


    And that brings me to the end of my list! I really hope it can help you out in your world-building and fleshing out the magical presence in your world!


Do you have any questions to add to my list? How do you develop the magical presence in your world? What magical power do you wish you had? Are you a great lover of fantasy like me?
Let me know in the comments below, and have a magical day! <3

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bookish Book Lover Tag

    It's not very often I talk about books on the blog, so today I decided to do a book tag Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me in awhile back. (Thanks for the tag Victoria!) I'm super excited to share with you all my current reads, and bookish loves!

   Here are the Bookish Book Lover Tag rules:

#1- Use the banner.
#2- Answer the questions.
#3- Use lots of book covers.
#4- Tag your bookish friends!



1) What book(s) are you currently reading?

   At present, I'm almost finished with Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. I love the quick and simple style that the scenes are organised in, and seeing it done so successfully has given me some hope for my own similar style.



2) What the last book you finished?

   Technically, the last book I read was Magic Study by Maria V Snyder (absolutely amazing by the way), but I also finished re-reading the play Othello by Shakespeare last week, so that was my latest full read. (If you like intelligent villains, I highly recommend the play.)



3) Favourite book you read this year?

   Goodness, this is hard. I've had such a run of awesome books this year, but the best is a tie between Magic Study and Gemina.



4) What genre have you read most this year?

   Fantasy. No surprises there!

5) What genre have you read least this year?

   Contemporary, though I am reading one right now. It's nice to take a break from my fantasy pattern, but honestly, I don't think I'll make them top priority on my TBR.

6) What genre do you want to read more of?

   I'd love to see more re-tellings of obscure folk or fairy tales.

7) How many books have you read this year, and what's your goal?

   *sheepish smile* So, with the move and school and everything, I've only read about six books this year. I'm trying to read one book every two weeks now though, so the numbers should improve (unless I get a billion essays to write again).

8) What's the last book you bought?

    Holding Up the Universe, as I'll be going to a talk and signing by Jennifer Niven on Friday!

9) What book are you saving up to buy next?

    A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas.



10) How many books did you check out last library visit?

    I believe it was four. I couldn't fit any more in my bag!

11) What's a book you can't wait to read?

    I'm eagerly awaiting my opportunity to read Obsidio (which comes out in a couple of centuries, it seems).

12) What's a series you'd recommend to everyone?

    Probably the Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Sooooo good!



13) Who's an author you're hoping writes more?

    *points to last question's author*

14) A few books your heart adores?

    ALL OF THEM!!! (Okay, I don't adore all books, but the following are a few I love to love): Birthmarked by Caragh M O'Brien, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Enna Burning by Shannon Hale, and Captives by Jill Williamson.



15) What series' coming conclusion makes you sad?

    I do but don't want the Throne of Glass series to end. So many mixed feelings!

16) What books are on your wish list?

    There are tons, but a few are: the Angel Eyes Trilogy by Shannon Dittemore, the Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill, and the Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye.



    And now, I tag... *drumroll*


and anyone else who'd like to do it!

Thanks for reading today's post; I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about my reading life! What books does your heart adore? What's the last book you bought? Most read genre?
I'd love to read your answers in the comments! Have a wonderful day! <3

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Beautiful People - Parental Edition

     Happy May everyone! (I'm not sure if that's a thing, but let's just roll with it, shall we?) Today I'll be participating in the wonderful Beautiful People link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It's designed to help writers get to know their characters better, so be sure to check it out!

    This month's Beautiful People focuses on parents, and so I'll be answering most of the questions about Crim's (MC of Splintered Crown) sort of adopted parents, Thekla and Xan. They took him into their home after his true parents tried to have him killed.


    In case you're wondering about Splintered Crown, here's a quick blurb:

Recovering from a bitter civil war between two princes, the nation of Cynnica eagerly awaits the announcement of the next Heir to the throne. Three royal children were sent away at birth to grow up out of palace hands, and when the time is right, the best and most suited to rule will be chosen. The other two will never be the wiser of their parentage, and Cynnica will never be caught between siblings again.

Crim is as sure he'll be the chosen Heir as he's sure he's attractive. In other words, a hundred percent. Raised under the watchful eye of a noblewoman who took him from an orphanage in hopes he'd be a prince, his only focus has been preparing to rule--and his violin.

When the Heir is declared to be a sister he's never met, Crim's life spins into chaos. What will he do now? How could they not choose him? After all, he's perfect...right?


    To the questions!

1) Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

    Crim's relationship with Thekla and Xan develops over the story, as he's practically strangers with them in the book's beginning. His first impression of Thekla was a good one, as she welcomed him with a tight hug, but his impression of Xan was not so much. Xan wasn't mean or anything; he was a bit gruff with the unexpected visitor.

2) Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

    Wow this is a tricky one to answer. Biologically, the king and queen of Cynnica are his parents, and Crim has seen them from a distance, but never personally interacted with them. He was formally the son of High Lady Paizelle--until the Heir was chosen--yet she never acted like a mother to him. As a result, Crim has this kind of hole inside him, one he always hoped the king and queen would fill. When he was younger, he dreamed of what it would be like to call them mother and father.

3) How did their parents meet?

    Back to Thekla and Xan. They met in their time in the army during the civil war, in which Thekla was Xan's commanding officer while he was her cadet. Thekla was deep undercover at the time. Their relationship turned to a friendship, and when it became deeper than that and the war heightened to its peak, things got messy. That's all I can say, because, spoilers.

So I tried to find a picture of Thekla when she was younger, but couldn't find a good one, so here's a mysterious one that you can use your imagination with
4) How would they feel if they were told "you're turning out like your parent(s)"?

    Crim would be glad, because they're tough, generous, and nice people. Heaven knows he wishes he were any of those.

5) What were your character's parents doing when they were your character's age?

    It would be a few years before the civil war, so Xan would be mourning the loss of his father, while Thekla would be starting her army training in the capital. 

6) Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

    They break into fights almost weekly over whether or not Xan should leave their farm and go into town, even for an hour. He suffered a significant face mutilation during the war--his head was shoved into a fire, and so he lost sight in one eye and all feeling on one side of his face--and fears to appear in public due to it. Thekla always tries to convince him that no one will be afraid of him, but Xan swears they will. He doesn't want to scare little children with his 'monstrous' face.


7) What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

   Well, since they didn't raise him, I'll go with the biggest challenge they had taking him in; not the persistent death threat on his back, but his drinking. After the effects it had on Thekla (more spoilers there) it was difficult to find the balance between supporting him and drawing the line.

8) What's their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

   Going back to the king and queen for a second here: the queen sitting with a crowd of orphans, laughing, letting them braid her hair. For the king: carrying a tower of manuscripts and scrolls in his arms, beaming.


9) What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

   Crim was a confident toddler who thought the world could not harm him. He might have fallen down a number of stairs as a result.

10) Why and how did the parents choose your character's name?

   Just to confuse you even more, this was High Lady Paizelle's decision (I know, I know, I'm sorry Crim's parental relationships are so complicated). Crim's real name is Crimson. High Lady Paizelle chose it as it's the colour of her noble family, and so when (as she had planned) Crim was chosen as Heir, everyone would be constantly reminded of her influence in training him. The plan didn't, well, didn't go to plan.



That brings us to the end of today's post; I really hope you enjoyed it!
Do your characters know their biological parents? Why did your character's parents choose the name they did? Have you participated in Beautiful People this month? What do you think of Thekla and Xan?
Let me know in the comments and have an amazing day! <3

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Naming Characters and Places

     I love creating characters, exploring what makes them who they are, discovering their history, families, likes, dislikes, all of it. But I find it difficult to do any of that if I don't have a name for them in my head. The same applies to places in my story-world; without names they're blobs of buildings and nature in my mind. So how do you find a name that fits them perfectly? 

   Today I'll be sharing my personal methods for choosing character or place names! So let's get to it, shall we?


1) Google Translate

   Primarily, I use this method for city and country names when I need one quickly. I'll pull up Google Translate, then choose one or two words that describe my place. I type that into the English section, then translate it to a language that belongs to a similar environment as my country. 

    For example, in my latest project Splintered Crown, I typed in "mountain city" and translated it into German, as the country's geography resembles Germany's. As a result, I got Bergstadt! Usually I switch a few letters around but I loved this one, so I kept it. This method is a quick and easy way to achieve cohesive place names if you stick to one language!


2) Search Name Lists

    I mainly use this method for character names when I want names in a certain language or from a certain region. A quick Google search of, for example, "Turkish names" will have tons of baby name sites coming up. At this point I'm surprised Google isn't giving me baby food ads with the amount I visit.

   Anyway, here are a few sites I highly recommend: Behind the Name, 20,000 Names, and Belly Ballot. Check them out for a little inspiration!

3) Choose a Trait

    If you're in a deep and symbolic mood, and want a name that really identifies your character or place by their values, this is the method for you. Simply search "names meaning ____" to find one that represents your character's soul or country's history. The name could even contain foreshadowing...

4) Alter a Common Name

   It's difficult to find new names that haven't been plastered onto other book characters before. So how about taking one of those common names and putting your own spin on it? In one of my stories I changed Johnathan to Jonathon by taking out one letter and switching another, and in another changed Bird to Byrd. Some languages already do this for you if you look up variants of a name (the Bulgarian form of Samuel is Samuil). 

I made a list of all my characters from Golden Revenge for this post, and this just scratches the surface...I just realised I have a whole ton of characters.
5) String Letters Together

    If none of the above methods work, if none of the names seem to fit, or if you're lacking inspiration to create deep names, pick your favourite letter. Then pick a few vowels and consonants, throw them together, and tada! You have a name. Remember, there's always editing if you want to change it later!


That wraps up today's post; I hoped you enjoyed it! How do you come up with character and place names? Are our methods similar or different? Any name sites you would recommend? 
Let me know in the comments below, and have a marvelous day! <3