Friday, July 27, 2007

Romance Fantasy

A new sub-genre is growing in Fantasy. It is Romance Fantasy, which mixes elements from the two genres of Fantasy and Romance. This appeals to readers from both genres. Mixing elements from different genres can lead to new exciting and entertaining works. Publishers, recognizing this potential, are developing new imprints that focus on the crossed genres. Established and newer Fantasy authors are contributing new books to this new category.

Mercedes Lackey provides a book with The Fairy Godmother. This book uses the elements of fairy tales. There is a land of five hundred kingdoms where Tradition must be upheld. One girl does not want to be the Cinderella of her kingdom because of a bad experience. Her fairy godmother takes her on as an apprentice, which goes against the tradition. This leads to more problem for Elena Klovis as she encounters a bad mannered prince. Ms. Lackey puts her talent into providing a new book with entertaining characters in this new area.

Elphame’s Choice by P.C. Cast blends romance, fantasy and some Celtic myth in its story. It tells the story of a woman chosen by the goddess Epona. Elphame travels to a deserted castle to make a new home, following her destiny. She has trouble settling in because of dangerous survivors and victims of the previous war living in the forest nearby. The author provides an interesting books filled with vivid descriptions and strong characters.

Elaine Corvidae writes books that mixes the two genres neatly. Wolfkin is the beginning of a trilogy about shapeshifters, intrigue, war and love. Suchen is the steward of a stronghold. She is sent on a journey to meet the queen’s representative and stop the danger to the kingdom. Yozerf is a shapeshifter sent by the wizard Ax to help Suchen in her mission. They must fight demon’s and dark magic to succeed in their endeavor. Her other books have strong elements too and are entertaining reads.

In Camelot’s Shadow by Sarah Zettel has Arthurian elements. Risa does not want to become the sacrifice of an evil wizard. She meets Gawain and goes to Camelot with him to hide from her nemesis. An expert with the bow, Risa finds herself caught up in court intrigue as she comes under a powerful spell. She fights to save the kingdom and herself. Ms. Zettel provides an entertaining book to the romantic Arthurian sub-genre.

For those that prefer their romance with a darker edge, Sherrilyn Kenyon is an author of many books with these types of elements. Her most popular books are part of a series called Dark-Hunter. Dark Hunters are immortal warriors without souls that hunt and destroy daemons to protect humans. They are similar to vampires, but do not drink blood. The most recent book in the series is Seize the Night. It is the story of the Dark-Hunter Valerius. He faces prejudice from the others as he helps vampire hunter Tabitha fight a dangerous resurrected Daemon. Ms. Kenyon is a master at creating Dark Fantasy books with suspense and romance.

Author Rachel Lee recently contributed a book to this sub-genre with Shadows of Myth. In the story, a young woman named Tess Birdsong wakes up among bodies of a massacre without her memory. She becomes a part of a group of adventurers on a quest to save their world from a dangerous mage. He is using the Ildun Bane, assassin mages, in his schemes. Ms. Lee creates an entertaining story of vivid images and strong characters.

A recent publishing line of Romance Fantasy books is Luna books. They publish books by women authors that contain magic and love. The books vary in setting, with some possessing elements from different sub-genres such as Arthurian, Historical and Epic Fantasy. Information about the publisher can be found at the site: It contains information on the books, authors and informative articles about writing.

Romance Fantasy is a fast growing sub-genre of Fantasy that mixes elements of the two genres. This mixing attracts readers from both genres and creates new books that could also come under Epic, Arthurian, Historical, etc. type books. These books contain strong heroines that must struggle to accomplish tasks and maybe find love. Readers can find something entertaining and to their tastes.

Friday, July 13, 2007

On Writing Fantasy: Where Do You Get Ideas?

Many beginning and aspiring writers seek out information from professional authors about the craft of writing. The most common and persistent question they want to know is: Where do authors get their ideas? The answer is from everywhere and everything. Ideas are all around us most of the time. It is amazing where you can get ideas. Ways to obtain ideas can be relatively easy with the right tools, which I will share some of mine in this article.

First, two important things you should have with you as a writer. Always carry a notebook, minicassette recorder or something to write on with you. Ideas can be sneaky things. Write them down when you think of them. They can easily be lost in the daily business of our lives. Getting them down allows you to come back later and lets you continue with life until later. Don't be shy about people seeing you either. You are probably thought of as just someone writing notes down. With these things handy you can be ready for ideas most of the time.

One of the most important ways to get ideas is observation. A writer must learn to become a good observer. Watch people wherever you go. Observe the way they look, dress and how they act. Listen to different voices and mannerisms to know how people talk. This can help in writing dialogue. Look at the scenery surrounding you and describe it with active verbs and adjectives. Allow impressions to capture your thoughts and write them down, no matter how trivial you might think they are. You might not use all of these things, but it is helpful for visualizing scenes. Extending your observations to other things will be helpful too.

There are many things that can be sources of ideas for an author. Reading lots of different things and on different subjects can provide ideas. Clip articles that spark your interest. Put them away for future reference. Keeping a file box of index cards with ideas and information notes on each card can be helpful if you don't have the room for large file cabinets. Movies and television can spark some ideas too. You might think of different plot twists to spur your imagination or get totally different ideas. Conversations or discussions with friends, family and other people can generate ideas too. If something stands out, be sure to write it down when the conversation is done.

Dreams can be a valuable source of ideas, scenes or help. The subconscious part of our minds can bring forth interesting images while we sleep. Keeping a dream journal to record your dreams for ideas is important. I keep a tape recorder by my bed at night to record the dreams when I wake up. It's better to do this while the dream images are fresh in your memory. Waiting until morning risks forgetting them. I use another technique also. When I have trouble while working on a book or story, I attempt to put my dreams to work. I'll think about a particular scene before drifting off to sleep. This sometimes can trigger a dream about it that could provide you with ideas for your work. This technique can give you some interesting results. Be warned though, it doesn't always work every time.

Ideas are not hard for an author to find. They are abundant and can be found almost anywhere. Writers only need to be open minded to find ideas. Observation of people and surroundings can help with characterization and setting. Reading, dreams, movies, television, conversations and discussions are all sources for ideas. Keep a notebook or cassette recorder handy and let the ideas come. You might not use all of them, but there are always more to come.

Other sources for help:

The Writer’s Idea Book by Jim Heffron

The Writer’s Idea Workshop by Jim Heffron

Ideas in 90 Seconds by Ken Rand