- Vanilla Icecream. General preference is for Walls. The Queen sees ice cream as a classy but simple pudding. She likes to think of herself as classy but ignores Eileen's comments about being simple. That is just Eileen being a pain again.
- Roast chicken. Considered a truly heavenly dish and is enjoyed by all species and groups.
- Dodo Oh No. A classic Kingdom dish - the latter is the cry sent up by all cooks on discovering they've overdone the Dodo again. (Not that it is any comfort to the poor Dodo).
- Jam Tarts. Specialist recipe bequeathed to the Kingdom via the royals given they had close connections with the Queen of Hearts.
- Moist chocolate cake. A favourite of Hanastrew's who often cooks it in the privacy of her quarters. She usually eats it in the privacy of her quarters too.
I use enough details to bring my Fairy Kingdom to life. I've given a rough sketch of geography, only going into more specific details where these are likely to be relevant to the story as a whole.
I have given more details of Kingdom history as that feeds into the current fairy government's attitudes and actions. It feeds even more into Eileen's! Also worries about Queen Gwendolyn's attitudes and behaviour does make Roxannadrell's concerns about Eileen much more understandable but here it has been a question of showing enough so readers can jump this to this conclusion themselves.
I've only sketched magical schools and colleges lightly (as other novels, not by me!, feature these in more detail, but they are not directly relevant to Eileen and Jenny specially). Jenny may well enrol in one of these schools/colleges later as she seeks to improve her skills. I can see Eileen wanting to interfere and Jenny not wanting her to... hmm...there's an idea to flesh out!
But am really happy at today's news. Glad the blogging on Chandlers Ford Today website is going well but it is a nice boost to writing morale to have good news on the fiction front as well.
I use the weather as:-
(a) a way of showing up the rivalry between Roherum and the weatherman
(b) a way of showing the misuse of magic (when Brankaresh changes the weather artificially)
(c) That there is always a price to pay for misusing magic (not only is Brankaresh punished, eventually, but he is left very weak and tired after performing this particular spell).
The weather forecasts are based on the format we use. I don't exaggerate the forecasts either. So far I can't justify going into a lot of detail on them as it would only slow the story down but may put up here what I think would be good posts here.
One of the great joys of writing is the appreciation it gives you for the works of others. It adds depth to your reading pleasure for one thing. No real surprises here but my favourite fantasy worlds (other than my own of course!) are as follows. They're not in any particular order.
Generally this is not good. The Kingdom has either been defending itself against hostile foreign powers coveting the magical energy the realm has in abundance or has been invading other worlds to obtain things it would find useful. In this respect it is like Earth and our warlike attitude to one another. It also means the realm's attitude towards warlike humanity is somewhat hypocritical given they really haven't done better.
The realm only tolerates Earth due to its divine commission to keep an eye on us. It copes with having to do this by ensuring most on Earth have no idea of its existence so can't possibly threaten it in any way. It nicks our good ideas to save its own magical energy (though the Kingdom likes to think of this as recycling ideas).
Eileen is one of the few magical beings who does actually care for Earth and its inhabitants. It is one reason why she is thought to be somewhat odd by her former compatriots!
I hope at some point to write some stories about the interactions with other worlds. But the Kingdom definitely is not the innocent party at times. I would like to look at some point as to how the realm developed that attitude, whether anyone other than Eileen tried to go against this and if so what happened to them and why didn't they succeed?
One of the great joys of being a writer is having to read well, inside and outside your own genre. (I'd also recommend reading history as a good non-fiction choice. You come across all kinds of characters who can inspire your own).
Another great joy is really appreciating great worlds created by other authors when you read them. With the recent sad death of Sir Terry Pratchett, there have been a spew of articles looking at his works, Discworld especially.
The range of his characters was amazing and the only other humorist writer I can think of who also invented several funny characters (and sold well with them all) was P.G. Wodehouse. His writing was under-estimated too. One of my big beefs has always been that funny writing is somehow seen as not quite "proper". That it is a kind of embarrassment to "proper literature".
Well if attitudes won't change, I fervently hope funny writing continues to be an embarrassment.
I listen to a lot of audio when cooking and so on. I listen to a lot of BBC comedy (Just a Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue in particular) but I also indulge in audio book adaptations. My better half also likes these when driving. My top ten audio books are below and it is no coincidence they are all by Terry Pratchett.
One great thing about inventing your own world(s) is the way that can open up so many stories to write and even blog posts like this one.
If you know your world's history, you can base stories on that. If you know your world has the kind of "exciting" geography that leads to disasters, well there's lots of stories in that.
But another type of story is being able to compare your world with the one we actually live on (unless you're based on the International Space Station where you have an unique perspective to write your comparisons about!).
The obvious difference beween my Fairy Kingdom and Earth is the use of magic in the first. I treat it as a form of energy and, as with life on Earth, the use of energy can be a political topic with all the controversies that can cause. Also there are always others who have more energy/magic than others which inevitably will lead to resentment by those who are less gifted. Do those characters do everything they can to improve their magical gifts? Do they do so honestly or do they cheat? Is there a system of education in place where people can improve their talents or is this limited to those who can afford to pay for it (politics creeping in again!)?
I use areas I know locally to me to help start me off when having to describe areas in the Fairy Kingdom. A local lake is a major inspiration for when I have to show bodies of water in all sizes in my stories. I then add details I would like to see regardless of the size of the natural world I'm trying to put into my tales. Sometimes these details are things that are lacking in my local spot and which I would like to see added here!
I don't go into too much detail (on the grounds sending readers to sleep is generally not a good idea or a reflection on the writer!) but I give enough so people can form their own mental pictures. I often see very nice picture images on Facebook and write down a description loosely based on it and set it in an area in my creation that does not marry up directly with a suitable area.
Conveying smells can be difficult in fiction. I tend to compare a spell with something else. Again my idea here is to conjure up and then flesh out. Taste is probably the easiest sense to convey in writing. There is always something you can think of and if it makes you go "yum" it should have the same effect in the readers.
I think for any fictional world to work there has to be areas of it with which we can identify. I can't picture an entirely artless world, for one example.
In my Fairy Kingdom, portrait painting is highly prized (especially by the Queen, no surprises there really!). Photography, an idea the magical realm happily nicked from Earth to save on their powers, is taking off in my world and is seen as equally valid an art form as traditional painting and sculptures.
The main difference I suppose is that yes, there are sculptors but everyone knows that an awful lot of porcelain figures did not start off life that way. The originals crossed the Queen or Eileen or some other high ranking magical being and were turned into a statue for their pains.
Music is appreciated - classical rather than classic rock. Jenny likes both much to her mother's bemusement who thinks the latter is just a rather nasty noise. None of my magical beings would disagree with Eileen on that.
Humans who appreciate art and, better still, take part in it are generally considered to be our kind's finest specimens. This basically means artists of all kinds are despised a little less than those who have no art or art appreciation in their souls.
Art is a wonderful thing and I like it when it can come into fiction to add depth to the world created. It should never get in the way of the story or the characters but be a natural part of it/them.
Especially in fantasy, these are servants of the Dark Lord, sent out to work out who the boss has to eliminate or are long lost kings. The stranger in fiction is generally someone to be wary of and it won't be until you're well into the book that you will know for certain whether that character is up to no good or not. (I must admit I was pleased Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series turned out the way he did in the end - for me, it would have been a disappointment had it it been otherwise. The clues were there - and it is usually nice to be right!).
Strangers popping up in fiction immediately alert me to the fact that this stranger has a crucial role to play or will reveal more about the hero/heroine at some point (if only because they're about to try and kill them. There will be clues as to why).
Strangers can also be used to introduce new species into fiction where this is an appropriate thing to do. Different species are always strange to the "main standard" one(s) and so strangers can be used as a contrast. They can also show up attitudes to racism, sexism and so on that are held by the main species being written about.
It isn't just in Doctor Who that companions/assistants play an important role. They do in the fairy tales as well. Assistants are either going along with you as they do need to go on at least part of the same journey as you, or they have some scheme of their own which necessitates getting rid of you the moment they think you have taken your eyes off the ball and so won't fight them back again. (These tend to want to possess the troublesome ring you are trying to get rid off and have a really powerful longing for raw fish).
It would pay you to test your assistant(s), without their knowledge, early on in their journey with you so you can work out whether they're trustworthy or not. It will have to be a test that doesn't appear to be one because they are not daft and will suss what you're up to otherwise. And if you spot some stranger in a pub staring at you (and they are usually hooded so you can't see their face), be wary. Not everyone is a strider...
This covers a lot of what I don't like to see in any fictional writing, including my own.
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.