Writing 201 Questions

In Writing 201: What’s Your Angle?, WordPress asks the following questions:

What’s your story? It’s all in the telling.
— Rebecca Solnit

2) What original details do you see in your story?

I wasn’t interested in writing about all the typical fantasy creatures, so I didn’t include a whole lot of races in my world.  When you think about it, on Earth a lot of people consider only humans to be able to think and act on the levels that we do.  For Tolkien and C.S. Lewis to have the number of races that they have in their world is pretty amazing.  Middle Earth has a few types of elves, humans, orcs, trolls, hobbits, and dwarves (that’s at least 6), and Narnia has humans, fauns, centaurs, and a whole slew of talking animals.

I chose just four races.  I mean that word in the Dungeons and Dragons sense, so it’s really more like species.  In the sense of skin color and body type, the elves do have different races among themselves.  I left out humans altogether, and created a world where it was the elves who rose to an advanced state of thought and intelligence.  The dragons come in next, and they also have a couple different varieties, even wingless ones who are more wild and less communicative.  The faeries are more a magical race than anything.

The fourth race or species is the Starr.  I would argue that they are my original race, but at the same time I do not want to claim to much, because they are essentially angels.  Still, rather than being what they are typically thought of in the Christian sense, they are more a being of astronomy.  Yes, they have the angelic wings and an amazing purity of heart and goodwill, but I have always seen them as more aetherial than anything.  But does ‘celestial’ not have many connotations? I have said in my book that they are the children of Aamh, the goddess of music, the arts, and the starry skies.  Actually, some of the things about them are a mystery, which I will reveal further into the series.

On one hand, I came up with my own magic system, drew the continents, and designed the cultures,  but so many other authors have does something similar (created systems, drawn maps, etc.).  I will say, in the end, that originality lies in one’s combination of possibilities.  The elves have a long history of strife with the dragons, and then there is their relationship with the gods.  There are the things the Z’Lé does out of his need to be able to love Arialla.  There is Zarrek’s struggle to grow up and ascend the throne; there is his difficulty in dealing with the Starr girl whom he meets.

Anyone can create a world, draw a map, use elves and dragons, and include magic.  But are you also raising the questions, blurring the lines, and pulling at the heart?  What will happen to you when you fly with my dragons, walk in my magic forests, and travel the great wide ocean between my continents?  You won’t know until you read my stories.

4) Once you’ve got detail, look even closer — a new angle may be waiting to surprise you.

I talk a lot about good and evil when I write.  My elves from Onsira get pretty worried when they think that the god of evil, Métius, is afoot.  It’s not just that typical battle, though.  It’s not, “get the ring to Mordor.”  There is a huge question about love, and this isn’t a romance novel.  It’s about what’s in your heart.

You’ll read in book one that Loracaz II is in alignment with everything that his kingdom stands for: benevolence, wisdom, the elemental goddess, being a positive ruler who helps the kingdom prosper.  According to his brother, however, he is unfit to take the throne.  There is simply more to it than that.  Things are never as simple as they seem–and wow, does book two ever have complications! Really, you can love, and try to do good things, but there is opposition all around us, and how we deal with it– how Zarrek deals with his– may be just as important as staying peaceful to begin with.

5) Consider using an object as a way “in” to the story.

I think this is more for people who need help getting started.  I don’t need an ‘in’– I need time.  Book one is written and being edited.  Book two– I know what I need to say, if only I had the time to get it all down.  I have a ton more to write for the third one, and there’s more in my head than on paper, but I will get there.

One object important to my characters is the nodachi, a sword similar to a samurai sword, but much, much longer.  It’s because spears are so important in Onsira, due to their legends, and a nodachi is more or less spear length.  It’s a weapon important to both Loracaz II and Loracaz III, though I cannot say much without giving certain plotlines away.

Keep an eye out for future posts on “The Princess of th Kingdom of Legend” (my legends and history for Lorata), and “No Distance Greate than the STars” (my NaNoWriMo science-fiction), plus my intentions for this year’s NanNo writing event.

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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