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A Fantasy Life

October 28, 2009 by in category Blogs with 0 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > A Fantasy Life



By Janet Quinn Cornelow

Dragons. The mythological creature that breathes fire and graces our fantasies. Everyone seems to love dragons. Even Harry Potter had dragons.

I wished that I had put dragons in my Augeas fantasy series and have been trying to figure out how to work them into it.

Then I saw this television program about dragons. They found what they thought could be a dragon in a frozen cave in Romania. They also found three crispy men. One of the men had managed to spear the dragon before she torched them.

All cultures seem to have a fire-breathing dragon myth. The strange thing about all of those myths is the fact that the dragons are physically the same. Besides the fire-breathing part, they also all flew and had large mouths and teeth.

When the frozen dragon was dissected, they discovered that it would have been able to breath fire. Those studying the body of the dragon figured it had to have been a pre-historic creature that developed during the dinosaur period. They think it was a large predator and that dragons may have caused some of the damage that has been found on the skulls of tyrannosaurus. The dragons were one of the first birds and soared in updrafts like condors. They lived in the mountains and may have used their fire abilities to keep their eggs warm.

Then the dinosaurs disappeared. Those studying the remains of this juvenile, female dragon theorize that the dragons must have returned to the water at that time and that is why they survived. Maybe that is what the Loch Ness monster is.

Then, when the world changed again, the dragons left the water and returned to the land. Then they returned to the mountains and their frozen homes where they were hunted by man. The myth of the knight hunting the dragon to save the lady in peril could have come from this creature found frozen in a cave with the three men she took with her.

It was a fascinating special and if I could find the channel again, I would tape it.

However, it does help with my dilemma of how to put dragons into my Augeas series. When Rayna goes after Gideon into the mountains, there can be dragons there.



This is the Tax Collector from my short story, Weaving A Dream, part of Whiskey Shots, Vol. 17. Myna must face down the tax collector and not allow him to cheat her out of her money and her home.

The new year has started, and with it, new ideas. I have been judging the Rita’s and I always seem to come up with a new story idea while I am reading. It is a “Oh, I have never done this type of story. What could I do?” The Enchanted Hawk was one of those books. I read a shape-shifter book and decided I wanted to write one. However, I didn’t want to write werewolves or any other type of were animals. So, Brylyn of the Hawk Clan came into being. Of course, when you have shape-shifters, there is always the clothing problem. When they shift, they are no longer dressed as humans, so when they shift back, they’re naked. I read one book where the werewolves carried backpacks with a change of clothes in them so they didn’t have to run around naked. I decide I didn’t want my shape-shifter naked, running through the castle with evil men after her. So, I decided the clothes turned into her feathers or fur. I can do that. It is my world.

Sometime last year I came up with an idea for a short contemporary dark fantasy involving a Chimera. My plot group told me it was too good of an idea with too much to it for a short. I thought about it and decided maybe they were correct, but then I had to come up with a new idea for the short. I haven’t done that, but, while I was reading the books I was judging, I decided maybe the characters were too good for just one book. I could make a serious out of this. The hero and heroine could chase more monsters after they kill the Chimera.

That leaves me with more work. For a short, the world doesn’t have to be as developed as it will for a series. Also, I have to come up with new monsters. I don’t want to be using the same monsters as others. I don’t do were-creatures or vampires. I guess while I finish my sequel with Sam – he’s still in bed with Jubilee – and write a sequel to my mystery, I’ll be doing world building. Lots of world building.

by Janet Quinn

I have been spending a lot of time working in Augeas lately and finally have managed to finish story five and six. One is about an inn keeper with secrets. The second is about twins who have very powerful magic. The two tie together, which is the first time I’ve done that with a set of stories. Working with magical children was fun, but as always, working with children is a challenge. Trying to make them sound like children and keeping them from being boring is like walking a tight rope.

As with any society, when there are two races, there is interbreeding. So, the half-breeds are born and along with them societal statements. Are they accepted or shunned? Do they have magical powers like one of their parents or none? If they do have magical powers, can they be as strong as a purebred. How long will they live? So Brencis finally settled on an age. He’s not an Ancient One, however, his father was. He’ll live longer than a human, but maybe not as long as an Ancient One. Other half-breeds might live only as long as a normal human. He has magical powers, but not all of his kind does. His powers are strong, but other half-breeds have weaker powers or no powers. And what do the half-breeds want? To be accepted? To rule? Do they all want the same thing? Probably not since even the purebred can’t all agree on what they want. But the half-breeds bring another layer to the world as they hide and work within the society.

Last month I was talking about the drawings I had made and wondering if my characters wore underwear. My critique partner, Debra Young, and I finally met and I showed her the picture of Dorjan. Her comment was that because of the era, they probably didn’t wear underwear, which makes the picture even more risqué.

This month I have a picture of Carissa. She is a very strong Ancient One in one of the first set of short stories. She is middle aged for her kind with an agenda of her own.

She could see the lord’s guard. They were coming for them. She jumped up. “Grandmother!” she shouted.
All turned to stare at her.
“Quiet her,” snapped Inuus.
“No!” shouted Dyna. She looked directly at her grandmother. “Carissa, we must leave now.”
Carissa blinked at her, searched her mind, then rose.
“Sit down,” ordered Inuus. He stood and glowered at Carissa.
Carissa smiled at him. “I must quiet my granddaughter. For some reason, she is distraught.” Carissa stared into Inuus’ eyes, unblinking. “It is nothing but a fit. I would never consider leaving before we discuss what we are to do.” Her voice came in a low, soft murmur.
Inuus slowly sank back onto the cushion. She motioned to Govert and Elga. “Come.” She beckoned to Dyna.
“We must take the child.” Govert moved toward the back of the house.
“Leave the child.” Carissa swept past Dyna.

With each step in creating a fantasy world, as in adding half-breeds to the mix, the world changes and grows. It becomes an ever evolving society with added intrigue and layers.


by Janet Quinn

When writing fantasy, there are so many things to keep track of it takes an entire notebook of its own. If I’m writing a historical, I know what religion my characters are likely to be, though it’s not always important. I know how my characters are going to dress and I have books to double check that I have everything correct.

In fantasy, I’m making it up as I go along. Linda Mac (Linda MacLaughlin/Lyndi Lamont)took a class on building a fantasy world which she found very helpful. I think it might have been a good idea, but I seldom have time to take classes. That means I learn from my mistakes, which are frequent.

Writing a fantasy novel, it’s easier to catch the mistakes. If the world is for one time use, then anything that needs fixing, I’ll find by the time I get to the end of the book. Ooops, I forgot about what religious ceremonies I might need. I can always go back and fix that. Maybe the dress I picked for my characters really doesn’t work, not a problem. I can redress them before I’m through.

The problems come when you want to create a world and use it over again. When I started the Augeas stories, I was only concerned with getting two of them finished and into the publisher. Having my characters dressed in robes seemed like a great idea. Robes are really awkward especially for soldiers, but I’m stuck since two of the stories have been published. Then when I commissioned pictures of my characters, just because I wanted to, and received the picture of Dorjan, my first thought was, “Boy, I hope he’s got on underwear, otherwise things could get indecent.” Guess I’d better add underwear to the list of clothing.

The other problem was, that being in a hurry, I didn’t really sit down and plan everything out. I wrote the two stories, sold them and went on to the next two. Story three, I figured out that the humans shouldn’t be as long lived as the Ancient Ones. Why would they call them Ancient Ones if they didn’t live a lot longer? So I had to write all these notes on the first two stories so that I’d remember to make changes when I got my edits. Poor Brencis has been several many ages now. He was really old, middle aged, no age mentioned and finally back to sort of really old.

The important part about writing fantasy is consistency. When you build a world, as the author you have to think about such things as religion, politics, life style, recreational activities, food, clothing, housing, and on and on. Every part of daily life has to constructed. Then you have to throw in the fantasy part. I have magic in my world, but figuring out what kind of magic wasn’t an easy task. I consulted my expert, my son Rob, and finally decided that the magic was done with the mind. But not everyone could have the same abilities. Not only would that be boring, but then they’d all be equal and there would be no conflict.

There are still several many holes in my world which I keep filling with each new story. Augeas’ residents are of two races, so of course there must be half-breeds. How are they treated? The Guard plays a game called Clootie. What are the rules? They must have some kind of religion. Every culture has a religion.

As soon as I finish stories five and six, I’ll try and figure out some of these things. And I’m still trying to figure out where I could put in dragons, just because I like dragons.

Drawings by Jasmine Tanner, veildandy.deviantart.com

*********************************************************

Available now by Janet Quinn at her website: http://www.janet-quinn.com/

WHISKEY SHOTS Vol 7 from Whiskey Creek Press,
WILD HONEY

Available from Whiskey Creek Press
THE IRISH COUNTESS, THE LUCKY LADY and A MOMENT IN TIME

Available at Amber Quill Press
THE KILTED GOVERNESS, ARROW OF THE HEART and THE RIVER’S TREASURE

By Janet Cornelow Quinn

When Michelle Thorne asked me to blog on the OCC site, I was thrilled. Then I get this email in the middle of the week saying I needed a title. No one said I had to have a title. I have a problem with titles. I have two short stories and two books that are in desperate need of titles. Not only did I need a title, but I needed one right then. In a state of panic, A Fantasy Life came to me.

After all, isn’t that what we do as writers? We “play god” and create characters, settings and problems to be solved. We create fantasy lives.

On the other side, I have moved into writing fantasy. My first fantasy novel comes out in February. It’s called THE ENCHANTED HAWK. I’ve written time travel novels, which are in the realm of fantasy, but with time travel I’m only breaking the rules of time and space as I move a character through them. I still have to adhere to the laws of physics and the realities of history. There is only so much leeway for breaking rules.

With real fantasy, I can create my own laws of physics and don’t have to pay any attention to history. I can create a medieval feeling without having to be totally accurate. In THE ENCHANTED HAWK, I have polymorphic beings (shape shifters). The heroine can become as small as a mouse or as large as a dragon – a very large ragon. I can ignore the law of conservation of mass.

In my world of Augeas, long-lived, magical beings exist beside humans. (Augeas is done in short stories.) They have various magical abilities, most of them to do with mind control. Mixed in are the humans who have only normal abilities. Rayna is a warrior, trained with sword, dagger and bow and arrows, to protect her lady. She has no special ability, but a great deal of loyalty and a thirst for revenge.

The thing with fantasy, however, is that whatever rules of physics I make up, I have to follow them. I can’t suddenly change them because I decide I want to do something else. This requires copious notes to make sure everything stays the same. My shape shifters can’t turn into a mouse one time, then not be able to the next time. Also, the color of the animal is tied to the color of the hair, so if Brylyn turns into a hawk, it’s always a red hawk. Every animal she turns into is red.

In Augeas, those who have magical powers can only use those magical powers that they possess. A character can’t read minds one moment and then three pages later not be able to do so. Unless the character faces another character who can block his power.

So enjoy your fantasy life.

Drawings by Jasmine Tanner, veildandy.deviantart.com

*********************************************************

Available now by Janet Quinn at her website: http://www.janet-quinn.com/

WHISKEY SHOTS Vol 7 from Whiskey Creek Press,
WILD HONEY

Available from Whiskey Creek Press
THE IRISH COUNTESS, THE LUCKY LADY and A MOMENT IN TIME

Available at Amber Quill Press
THE KILTED GOVERNESS, ARROW OF THE HEART and THE RIVER’S TREASURE

1 Comment

  • Anonymous
    on September 30, 2007

    Janet,

    I’m really glad to see that you will be writing a regular column about writing fantasy. It’s really becoming a hot market. Or I should say it already IS a hot market!

    Thanks for your post!

    -Sue Phillips

Comments are closed.

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