Weekly Fantasy Fix Newsletter
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Welcome to the Weekly Fantasy Fix

Fantasy is a dream genre for writers like me who love world building. We can reshape what we already know of this world into something slightly different, or we can escape it completely and fashion a new and unique universe. However, once we’ve created our fantasy world, we still need to be able to get it down on the written page in a way that allows others to visualize what we see in our heads. That’s not always an easy task when we’re trying to balance action with description; juggling plot, characters, pacing, conflict, and everything else that goes into making an excellent story.

During Camp NaNoWriMo this month, I’ve been trying to finish my novella, Into the Shadow Wood, and I got the chance to enlist the help of a book coach. (It is a service I’ve never used before, but highly recommend!) One of the things my book coach pointed out to me was that she was having trouble visualizing the setting of my story. This really took me by surprise. I had already built the world—establishing the Shadow Wood as an untamed wilderness, steeped in ancient evil, with a history all its own. The rumors and mythology were all there, along with the corresponding sense of dread and fear in the hearts of my characters. Yet once I had actually placed them in the Wood, I had gotten so caught up in what they were doing, and feeling, that the experience of the journey was getting lost. I had unintentionally glossed over the setting. In doing so, I was losing an opportunity to add an extra layer of meaning, not to mention creepiness. 

The setting can sometimes say things to a reader that the characters or narrator can’t. It can affect mood, create or diminish conflict, or even serve as a metaphor for something far deeper than the visual it provides (ever read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad?). As I’ve gone through making revisions to my tale, I’ve made a point of giving my setting a greater voice, and the story has become more profound as a result.

If you’re a writer, what role does your setting have in the story you’re telling? Has it become a vague backdrop against which all the action takes place, or is it something more? If you’re a reader, can you think of a story where the setting stood out and intensified the experience of the book?

Allison D. Reid

My last Medieval Monday post took a look at some of the most horrible medieval jobs.  Here's one that didn't make the list, but should have: Church bell ringer.  

Why?  The height of church towers made them particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes. At the time, the Church believed that thunderstorms were caused by evil forces, or were a sign of God's displeasure.  

They also believed that ringing the church bells had protective power against storms.  Can you see where this is leading?  

Despite the frequent deaths of bell ringers, this belief and practice continued well into the 1700s!
Self Editing Tip

Do you ever have trouble remembering whether to place your punctuation inside or outside of the quotation marks?

Believe it or not, there are two different standards regarding the placement of quotation marks. And they have nothing to do with grammar!  

In the late 1800s when typesetters had to hand place each tiny lead character into the printing plates, commas and periods tended to drop off and get lost.  They successfully lobbied to change American punctuation rules, so that commas and periods were protected by moving them inside ending quotation marks.

Even though today we use computers, and "losing" commas and periods is no longer an issue, our punctuation rules have not changed back to match those of the rest of the English-speaking world--and probably won't. 
Enjoy my short story, “A Bard’s Tale,” in its first release outside the Dragon Tempest anthology. The story recounts one of the adventures of Broguean the Bard from my Wind Rider Chronicles series.  
Three women, their lives bound by a single horrifying event, replay madness, betayal, brutality, and loss until one of them finds a way to clear them all from the karmic suffering of The Stain. Find it on Goodreads.
Meet the Weekly Fantasy Fix Authors
Joshua Robertson is a dark fantasy author who enjoys challenging the concept of good and evil.

His bestselling novel, 
Melkorka, is one of three books currently available in the Thrice Nine Legends saga. 

Click to learn more about Joshua...
Renee Scattergood writes Dark fantasy and is currently publishing a serial called, Shadow Stalker. She is also working on the first novel in her series, Savior of the Serpent Isles, due out later this year.
Read more about Renee.
Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history.  Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes.  The first book, Journey to Aviad, is now free in ebook format everywhere.
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