FAIRYTALE WORLD BUILDING… AND STEAM TRAINS

FAIRYTALE WORLD BUILDING

As ever, a title that says it all!  I share some tips I have found useful when it comes to world building.  In Fairytale World Building, I discuss how reading widely (including non-fiction) is so useful for sparking ideas and helping you to make your created world more realistic.  It is the great irony in fiction that our stories have to “seem real” even though they are completely made up, but to have any resonance with readers, they have got to seem plausible if say the world is magical or what have you.  The reader has got to feel “yes, it could be like that”.  Anyway, I hope the tips here are of help, they have been to me.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

What Drives Characters follows on from a recent post on motivations.  Tonight’s post looks at what would make a character behave differently from the way they would usually.  In a crisis, is their inner cowardice or courage let loose?  When stubbornness drives them to finish something when they are not usually stubborn? What brought this trait out?  Commitment to an idea?  An extreme situation?  Food for thought here I hope.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I look at The Watercress Line, a Hampshire based steam railway, in tonight’s post.  There are lots of pictures including one of a totally politically incorrect sign, which always makes me laugh when I see it as I can’t imagine who would buy the product with the name it was given.  See the post, you’ll easily spot the picture in question and well, would you buy it?!  I also recommend Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett in this post as he spent a day on the Watercress Line researching this novel.  Strongly suspect this was a real labour of love!

FACEBOOK PAGE

Again I discuss my CFT post here.

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My feature image for tonight's Chandler's Ford Today post. All images in this post were taken by me.

My feature image for tonight’s Chandler’s Ford Today post. All images in this post were taken by me.

 

Story Shuffle Project: Choosing what to read. Image supplied by Eastleigh Borough Council.

EXPECTATIONS OF A FAIRY GODMOTHER

I’ve written lists tonight for both of my website posts.  I do love a good list!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Expectations of a Fairy Godmother lists ten things an experienced fairy godmother should expect during the course of her career.  If you can think of any to add, I’d welcome comments!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Why Annoying a Writer is Not a Good Idea gives 10 reasons why this is so.  Again, if you can think of others, I’d be glad to get your comments!  This post was inspired by a Facebook photo doing the rounds earlier this evening.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I’ve written a quick update post tonight on the Story Shuffle Project.  This project is a great way of encouraging local school children to create their own stories and use their local libraries.

The idea is they write a story which, for this project, will be based on the tales of Sir Bevis of Hampton, Southampton’s legendary hero – think James Bond on tapestries basically!).  The stories are then digitised and put into the Shuffle app.

The children are given a code and have to visit their local library to use this code to unlock their own stories and gain access to a wealth of other books and stories.  From a writer’s viewpoint there is nothing not to like about this – creative writing and library use, wow!

I do hope all who use this project have a great deal of fun with it.  Tonight’s update shares further images sent into CFT about this.  I think the app looks great.  See what you think!  (And I hope ideas like this spread – great use of technology, stories, history, animation etc).

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I share news of my CFT update and must thank Eastleigh Borough Council for supplying the images.  They support the Story Shuffle Project because of its role in encouraging creative writing and reading.  I must also thank my lovely editor for re-arranging the feature image.  She is very creative on this sort of thing!

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Story Shuffle Project: Code Setter. Image supplied by Eastleigh Borough Council.

Story Shuffle Project: Code Setter. Image supplied by Eastleigh Borough Council.

Medieval manuscripts were not always the easiest to read! Image via Pixabay.

FAIRYTALE AND OTHER FICTIONAL LIBRARIES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I look at Fairytale and other Fictional Libraries in tonight’s post.  This partly ties in with my Chandler’s Ford Today post which went live earlier this evening.  More details on that below.  But in FWB I wonder about what your characters would read (sharing your character tastes and traits helps in building up well rounded characters after all). I also wonder about what stories and myths your characters would grow up knowing and how these affect them and the world they live in.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Learning from the Past continues the historical theme and looks at what is vital for coming up with a real story.  Answer:   a real story is in how a character responds to an event thrown at them.  The event doesn’t need to be particularly dramatic either.  How does a character respond to, say, a row with their partner/spouse?  Do they learn from it and rebuild the relationship or does a refusal to learn signal the end of that relationship?  Characters can learn from their own past, their family background or the past of the world in which they live but it is how they react, whether they learn or not, that is crucial to your story.  Personally I would get fed up pretty quickly with a character that doesn’t learn.  It is what they learn (and whether it is enough to deal with their current crisis) that is the interesting bit of the story for me.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I love posting articles about creative writing, history, and ideas that encourage the use of the library service.  Tonight’s post, The Story Shuffle Project, combines all three!

The project encourages local school children to write their own versions of the Sir Bevis of Hampton legend.  Sir Bevis is Southampton’s legendary hero – think James Bond on tapestries!  The stories are then put into a digital app, which can be accessed at the local library (that closest to the schools taking part in this project) using a special code the children are given.  I would have loved this at that age (7 to 11).  I loved codes and historical stories so what is there not to like about this?!

I hope all taking part in this project have a great deal of fun with it.

FACEBOOK PAGE

I share the link with the above project.

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Tapestries told stories - the Sir Bevis of Hampton legends just being part of this.  Image via Pixabay.

Tapestries told stories – the Sir Bevis of Hampton legends just being part of this. Image via Pixabay.

Writing the first drafts! Image via Pixabay.

GOING BACK IN TIME

One of my heroes, Doctor Who, is of course renowned for this but my posts tonight are on the topic of the past and how this could affect your characters and plot.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I talk about a magical education in tonight’s post and how that affects your characters.  Are they getting an education now to make up for lost time in their past?  What happened to make them need to do this?  How does the education they’ve had affect the decisions they’re making now?  After all someone who is illiterate would be very dependent on someone else for interpreting any written documents they come across.  Can they trust the ones helping them?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Going Back is tonight’s post and looks at how revisiting places can affect your characters.  I love visiting places of historical interest and always come away from them having learned something new.  I also come away with a deeper appreciation I can read and write.  This has not always been universal, especially for women.  The past has a deep impact on now and at least in terms of general education in the developed world this has been a major improvement.  (And yes I wish this was true everywhere).

FACEBOOK PAGE

I talk about revisiting the past and education again here.  This topic came to mind as I reblogged a post (first time ever!) from Tales From the Notepad’s Sunday Sojourn series where their post was about Fotheringay Castle.  I would love to visit what remains here given it is the birthplace of Richard III (and I must try and get to Leicester at some point too).

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OTHER NEWS

Have sent off a new fairytale for a writing competition.  I’m currently developing a flash fiction tale into a longer piece of work given the initial idea has sparked other ideas.  I love that when it happens and of course I can hopefully place the flash fiction piece in one place and the longer work somewhere else should it all work out okay.

Am also currently working my way through some fantastic interview questions put to me by short story author, Jacci Gooding, who I met at Winchester Writers’ Festival.  Will post details of when the interview will appear when I know more but am enjoying being on the other side of the fence.  I love carrying out writer interviews and indeed reading them, as I always learn something (one of the great joys of writing at all for me), but it has felt a bit odd having questions put to me!  It is a very good “odd” though!!

Blogging via diaries and tablets - ancient and modern technology! Image via Pixabay.

Blogging via diaries and tablets – ancient and modern technology! Image via Pixabay.

Part of the Reception Area at the Roman Baths, Bath. Image taken by me. Easily the most beautiful place I've ever queued!

AWAY DAYS AND TECHNICAL ISSUES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Away Days, I link to my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post (more below), but also ask what magical beings would do and where would they go when they fancied a jolly outing.  This post was particularly fun to write and I hope you like it.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Aptly, as I have had technical issues tonight sharing my website posts on Facebook (Weebly are looking into it), tonight’s post is on Technical IssuesI focus on what these are for writers – spelling, grammar, presentation of work and so on – and give one or two tips.  I like the technical side of writing.  While the creative side, that imaginative spark that gets you going with a story or whatever, is obviously more fun, I love having a piece to work with that I know a good edit will improve.  (I’ve yet to come across any work of mine that isn’t vastly improved by a darned good edit!).

ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN WRITERS – MORE THAN WRITERS

I write a post for ACW once a month now.  For my fellow Christians who are part of this, my latest post (which appeared yesterday) is on The Joy of Hymns and I share some thoughts about my favourites and why I love them.  It is generally down to the imagery the words create (much the same would go for poetry in general I should imagine).

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My latest post is another in my Away Day series and looks at lovely Bath, once home to Jane Austen, one of my favourite writers.  I focus on the Roman Baths here.  Those Romans were amazing engineers.  The connection with Chandler’s Ford?  Chandler’s Ford has good train links and you can get to a wide range of destinations by rail in a day from the local station, hence my Away Days series.

Beautiful Bath. Image taken by me.

Beautiful Bath. Image taken by me.

 

 

One of the exhibits at the Steam Museum, Swindon. Image taken by me.

PRACTICAL WORLD BUILDING

Tonight’s posts all have a being practical theme to them.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I look at Transport in the current post having visited a railway museum today.  Magic would be an obvious form of (a) fuelling transport systems and (b) actually being the transport system.  But there is a downside to most things in life, including transport, so where would that be in your fictional creation?  How much magic does it take to enable someone to fly?  Can everyone in your world manage it?  Just a few thoughts to consider…

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I look at Practical World Building and set a few questions that I hope may help anyone who is starting off on the process of creating their own world but may not be too sure of where to start.  It is a big undertaking when you think of it – a whole world out of nothing except what your fertile imagination can invent.  But this is where looking around at the world we live in can be such a good place to start.  What is your world’s equivalent of the trains for example?  And Terry Pratchett famously started by working out what the plumbing would be for Ankh-Morpork (the waste has to go somewhere and fresh water, or as fresh as possible, is crucial of course).

FACEBOOK PAGE

I talk more about my railway museum visit and speculate what it is about history (including things like the history of transport) that I love.  It is all about stories.  The story of this, the story of that, when all is said and done but there are fascinating tales in our past, any one of which can be used as inspiration for kickstarting our own ideas into play.

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At the Steam Museum, Swindon. Women at work during WW2. Image taken by me.

At the Steam Museum, Swindon. Women at work during WW2. Image taken by me.