Fantasy and science fiction have been my reading genres of choice ever since that first day of highschool when I stared awestruck down the rows and rows of library shelving. More books than I had ever seen in my life. I had no idea where to start so I started at A and there I discovered Aldriss and Asimov.
I read the first chapter of Genesis, the first book in Lara Morgan's The Chronicles of Rosie Black series on-line and knew I just had to continue on. If you too want to take the Rosie Black challenge (and I dare you to do it) you will find the extract here. And if like me, you discover you have to have a copy, you have until 30 November to enter the free give away competition on Lara's website.
Now it's confesssion time. I haven't finished Genesis yet but I am loving it. I can however tell you a few important things. This book can get you into trouble - especially when you are discovered reading it at work becuase you can't put it down. This book can make your family hungry and cranky when you delay dinner for an hour to read just a few more chapters. This book is excellent. And so is the trailer for it at http://www.rosieblack.com/
I am very pleased to have Lara visit me on Day 4 of the Rosie Black blog tour to talk about a subject close to my heart - writing a fantasy series. I hope to do that myself one day!
Writing a Fantasy Series
Writing a fantasy series is a like having a group of friends come to stay. In the beginning it’s exciting as you spend all this time together exploring each other’s ideas and personalities, visiting new and exciting places together…but then you wake up one day and realise they’re not staying for months, they’re here for years. Now you’re going to have to find a way to live together, despite one of them hogging all the cereal. So you settle in, put your head down and get to work.
At least that is what writing a fantasy series feels like to me. It’s all fun in the very beginning as I create the world and get to know the characters but there comes a point where I know the fun is over and the work must begin. And it’s going to take years.
Writing a series is a big commitment and it really helps to have an idea of the basic story arc that is going to carry through all the books. I’m still learning all the skills I need to get this right.
My first series is an adult fantasy series and when I started work on the first book I didn’t have any clear idea of what was going to happen. Hell I wasn’t even aware it was going to be a trilogy. I thought I was writing a standalone novel, but as I’ve discovered, I tend to have problems letting go of worlds and want to keep discovering more about it, so it became a trilogy.
I wrote that first book and still only had a vague idea of how the third would end, but then I got a publishing contract and had to figure it out – or at least provide the publisher with a reasonably coherent synopsis. However, despite sticking to the bare bones of what I submitted, things still change as I write. This is because I’m the kind of writer who learns more about the story as I write it than by sitting down and meticulously plotting every chapter. If I try to plot too much it stifles my imagination and I end up being bored by the whole story because I know too much before I get there. I know I’m not the only one who does this, but there are times I wish I was a more organized plotter because it seems like it would make life easier.
I was on a panel recently at Worldcon where I was inspired listening to Kate Forsyth and Ian Irvine talking about how they work. Both of them are meticulous plotters. Kate especially is so super organized in creating her plot lines, writing detailed files and even a dictionary for some of her worlds that I wished I could somehow borrow her brain. But that’s just not how I’m wired. Incidentally, DM Cornish was on the panel and that’s not how he works either so I figure I’m in good company.
I have learned to be a bit more organized though since my first series. When I came to write my next one, The Rosie Black Chronicles, I really tried to see into the future and develop the arc for the series before the first book was in print. I think I’ve done a better job this time and was able to sow the seeds that will carry the story through to the end. Although I must admit I do see this one as going on for some time. Rosie is only sixteen and we get on so well, I think this is definitely the beginning of a beautiful friendship – as long as she doesn’t hog the cereal.