All genres of writing come with unique challenges, but fantasy writing (and speculative fiction in general) usually involves a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Regardless of the subgenre you’re writing, there are plenty of times you need to rely entirely on your imagination. What are you going to call your squirrel-racoon-pigeon mutant hybrids that are terrorizing New York City?
Look, I’ve been there. Over the years that I’ve been working on Project Quest, I’ve found several useful online tools that have helped me generate ideas, visualize, and keep track of things in my fantasy universe. So whether you need a map of an alien planet, a timeline of world history, or you just need character names for your next D&D campaign, these tools can help you out.
In the interest of sharing things that are both useful and accessible, this list only includes tools that are either entirely free (ad-supported, etc.) or have a “free version” that allows use of all key features without additional payment.
As I did in my previous post about book heroines, today I’m revisiting my three-year-old top five heroes list. And, like I said in my previous post, I’m certainly not diminishing the awesomeness of the characters I wrote about before (although, if I’m being honest, there are a few that I haven’t had many thoughts about in the years since). The characters of Artemis Fowl from Eoin Colfer’s beloved series and Sage from The False Prince are still some of my favorites.
But like I said before, I’ve read a lot of books since then, and I think it’s time to give a few other characters some love too.
Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.
As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!
But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.
Full disclosure – I renamed this tag because apparently it was originally called the “You’re Not Good Enough Book Tag.” That title felt a little misleading, because honestly, this is all about characters fighting each other. Figuratively, at least.
This tag was originally created by Booktubers ReadLikeWildfire and Beccathebookreviewer, but the video is no longer available. I actually found it through another blogger, Dreamland Book Blog. The rules are simple: There are 15 questions (well, 14 in my version – I cut one out), you write various character names on slips of paper and draw names for each question. You have to pick between these two characters for each question and decide which one is better for the question.
To be honest, it’s kind of hard to explain, so I’m just gonna get into the questions!
As I mentioned last week, I’m taking a bit of a “sabbatical” from blogging for the next month in order to be able to restore myself creatively. I’m still posting weekly, but I’m focusing on things like linkups, blog tags, and so on – partly because I’ve been wanting to do them for a while, and partly because they don’t require as much creative energy from me.
This week, I’m participating in the Language of Worlds Linkup, which is hosted by Liv K. Fisher. The Language of Worlds is a bimontly character linkup (think like the Beautiful People linkup). It’s specifically tailored to Christian speculative fiction (sci-fi and fantasy), but it’s open to anyone who wants to participate. If you’re interested, you can read more about it on Liv’s blog.
I’ve never done this linkup before, but I decided to give it a try with Silas, a character from my fantasy work-in-progress that lacks a proper title. I won’t tell you much about him, since you’ll meet him in a minute, but here’s a quick overview: Silas is a bounty hunter that meets Myrina and Adrien in the course of their travels. He’s not very talkative, and can come off as a little mysterious, but here’s a peek into his character…
When you’re only one person and you’re trying to come up with an entire cast of characters, it’s hard to make sure they don’t all end up being clones of each other. Trust me, sometimes I look back at the “books” I wrote when I was eleven years old and I realize that all of my characters are the same people with different names.
When we think of a “smart” character, we usually think of the stereotypical maladjusted nerd, always spouting facts but is generally pretty useless. However, this isn’t the case in real life – people are smart in all kinds of different ways, not just in terms of what they learned (or didn’t learn) in school.
How do you write a cast of characters that are smart, but also unique? Based on books I’ve read and movies/TV shows I’ve watched, I’ve compiled a short list of different ways your characters can be smart. It’s not an exact science, but hopefully this gives you a place to start.
Continuing what I did last week, here’s another character questionnaire! Like I mentioned last week, I was inspired by Miranda Kulig at Miranda Writes to do these questionnaires, so be sure to visit her blog too! She gives awesome writing advice. And don’t forget, you can find all these questions for yourself here.
Today, I’m featuring Spencer Rose, the other main character from my Camp NaNo story, “The Show Must Go On.” Spencer is the newcomer in this story, having just met the band when she finds out they’re looking for a drummer. She fits in with the others pretty easily (well, most of them at least). But enough about that – on to the questions!
As I mentioned in my June In Review post, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month! We’re almost 2/3 of the way through the month, and I’ve been keeping up with my goal well. Just a little under 14,000 words to go!
Since it’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I wanted to do something fun to introduce you to the two main characters from my story. The story is tentatively titled “The Show Must Go On,” and it’s a sort of companion to another novella I wrote, Summertime. You can read more about both of these projects on my newly-updated Writing page, by the way!
Two years ago, a little app overtook the world. This app was Pokémon Go, a mobile game based on the popular video game franchise that used GPS and augmented reality technology to bring the cartoon creatures to the real world.
People everywhere grabbed their smartphones and left to explore their towns and neighborhoods. Even today, the game still brings people together regularly. I’ve made some great friends at my school through the game, and there were dozens of people at a local park for the most recent Community Day.
In Pokémon Go there are three teams: Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Once players reach a certain level, they join one of these teams and then compete against the others.
The choice of team is arbitrary, but each one embodies a certain set of characteristics. Knowing this, it got me thinking – if fictional characters played Pokémon Go, what teams would they be on? I’ve decided to “sort” a handful of them and give a few reasons why. Plus, if you’ve always wanted to know what team you should be on, I have just the quiz for you!
Father’s Day is a day meant to celebrate our dads, grandfathers, and other male role models in our lives. I’ve been blessed to have a great relationship with my own dad, but unfortunately, fathers in fiction tend to get a bad rap. They’re usually portrayed in a negative way, if they’re present in the story at all.
Despite this, I still believe there are a lot of good fathers and father figures in stories, you just have to look closely for them. Since I did something similar for Mother’s Day, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite fathers, grandfathers, and father figures in fiction.