Tag Archives: Fantasy

Writing Workshop – Week 4 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Duncker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

The other students were stomping and shouting loudly as they entered the classroom, and I tagged behind them slowly even though we were already late, not wanting to interrupt their boisterous behavior, fearing the possible repercussions. The fat one was called G’romm whose hobby was to smash things. The fatter one was called K’romm who loved nothing more than to bash things. And the fattest one was called Q’romm whose favorite activity was to trash things. Amidst all the smashing, bashing and trashing, you have yours truly who is dashing. And all this while our teacher Tom’s teeth were gnashing. He loathed tardiness, and he gave us all the evil eye, but he did not dare reproach us, as his physique was rather unimpressive, feeble even for an orc. He had nothing to fear from me obviously, but if the others were to fully unleash their barely suppressed violent tendencies and to come smashing, bashing and trashing towards him, we would be in immediate need of a replacement teacher, of which there is none.

Tom was not his real name. His real name was in fact T’Gromm Orkenstein III, and he hailed from a noble family of distinguished marauders, but he changed his name to Tom when he ventured out into the human world. Continue reading

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Writing Workshop – Week 4

This week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Duncker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

Click here to read the story

This week’s assignment sure was a lot of fun. The exercise clearly brought out a lot of creativity from everyone. It’s amazing to see all the characters, scenes and settings everyone came up with, and it was fun to read them all.

More importantly, I also had a lot of fun writing my story and I allowed myself to indulge in my love for fantasy. At first I was afraid that it wouldn’t work out too well, but the others enjoyed the story. The only thing I should think about is how I should have the narrator connect more with the audience. Go a little deeper and bring in an element which the reader can relate to. For example, in the part about ‘reciting poetry’, I can work that out a little bit more to convey the feeling that the narrator feels like an outsider in this society (which he is!). Again I completely agree. That would make the story more interesting. But all in all it was pretty good.

I’m also particularly interested in the opinions of people who read a lot of fantasy. So for you fantasy lovers are there, and I know there are a few, let me know what you think!

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The Problem with Numbers in Fantasy

Ishana wrote an excellent post on her blog about how etymology has no place in a fantasy novel, and I tend to agree with her. Sure, it is possible to create new languages if you really put your mind to it – Tolkien pulled it off in his creation of Middle-Earth, and it does make Middle-Earth seem more real and alive than it would have been otherwise. For mere mortals like us however, the time and effort could be much better spent on character and plot development. It is also easy to screw it up; if handled wrongly, your efforts will only confuse the reader and the quality of your novel will suffer as a result.

Now, most people are probably aware of language differences, since it is not an uncommon phenomenon in our own world. Most people however, do not possess the same awareness when it comes to numbers, or at least, I rarely if ever heard anyone discuss this topic. This is due to the fact that the way we handle numbers seem to be near-universal (apart from the linguistic aspects obviously). When I write 10 or 1111 on a piece of paper for example, almost everyone on Earth will know what I mean despite any cultural or language differences we may have.

But what about in fantasy or sci-fi, when we first come into contact with new races of beings who are intelligent enough to come up with their own number systems? Continue reading

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Writing Challenge #1 (by Thaumaturgist)

So I decided to participate in the first Writer’s Challenge posted by Thaumaturgist. I could choose between two challenges, and this is the one I picked:

1: Open page 23 of the book closest to you. Write the last sentence on a piece of paper. Using that as the opening sentence, write the first 700-1000 words of a FICTIONAL story. Have fun. Note: Even if you picked up a cookbook, you must use that sentence in a fictional story!!!

The book closest to me was Issue 109 of Granta, which is a literary magazine. The sentence I found was taken from an essay by Daniel Alarcón about book piracy in Peru. I was quite lucky; it was a sentence that you could really play around with: You see old friends, go to dozens of readings, and when you can’t stand it anymore you hide in your apartment and wait for it to be over. You can find it on page 8 of the online version of the essay. It is a very interesting read by the way, and I can recommend it to anyone.

It became quite clear early on that it was going to be a fantasy story, although it took me a couple of days to come up with the basic premise of the story. I think the idea itself is quite interesting, and I might actually reuse this idea and expand it into in a larger work in the future, possibly a short-to-medium length story. And you might notice that the number 7 comes back quite often. I only haven’t figured out yet what the exact significance of the number 7 in the story should be, but I thought it was pretty cool to add it, what with all the math behind it, which I won’t fully explain for now. 🙂

I think the story as I posted it below is still a bit ‘over the place.’ I think that is one of my biggest weaknesses: how to take the ideas and thoughts in my head and form it into something coherent. If I do expand into the future, it will probably be completely different than the current iteration (and I probably will NOT use the second-person narrative, but I just though I’ll stick with it as the sentence itself uses it).

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy the story.

Continue reading

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