- People stay well away from the wizard's residence, which is usually a grandiose tower. (One good thing about that is you can't miss it and so it is easy to avoid!).
- There are usually signs of magic having taken place in the area around where the wizard lives. He has to have a target area and well there is no place like home, is there? Common signs of magic is land that has become barren, scorched or where the trees are not normal (they're a strange colour, they walk, they talk, often to moan about what happened to them and so on).
- The advantage to the wizard about 2 above is that this usually affects his neighbours most. He is shielded in his tower and signs of his magic can and does cow the locals. This means no interference in what he is up to, which all treacherous wizards welcome. They crave some peace so they can get on with their latest villainy.
- The wizard gets very few visitors. Even other magical practitioners keep well away. Rivals don't tend to leave the wizard's tower alive. Word of this kind of thing does leak out.
- The wizard makes a point of collecting spell books, usually ancient magic that has not been used for centuries, and all sorts of smoke, noises, screams emanate from the wizard's tower as a result. Well I guess it beats having a burglar alarm...
The obvious example of this is, of course, Eileen for (a) changing her name to a human one and (b) defecting to Earth to marry a mere human, leaving her magical life behind her. (Or so she hoped).
There are less obvious examples of defying convention in the Fairy Kingdom. L'Evallier, Chief Elf and later Council Leader, and his wife, Melanbury, do so in a quieter way. While both aristocratic and wealthy and having an arranged marriage (which ticks all the right boxes for the traditionalists), the pair of them commit the unthinkable sin of actually falling for one another and not being afraid to show it within their own circles!
The sprites, Wes and Stan prior to their exile, snigger at this, which L'Evallier and Melanbury ignore though their noble colleagues point out they should not be doing anything to trigger any kind of mockery. Eileen makes a few comments (mainly to get L'Evallier to develop his relationship with Melanbury properly in the first place) though these did not go down well (though he did follow Eileen's advice eventually).
Melanbury has gone on to work for the Queen directly, which a daughter of the aristocracy in the Fairy Kingdom is not supposed to do. Work is for peasants regardless of who the employer is but Melanbury ignores all that and her husband has come around to the idea. (That triggers disapproval amongst his fellow male nobles but he ignores that!).
Eileen is quite proud of how L'Evallier and Melanbury have developed here though they point out that they did this for themselves and others' opinions are irrevelant. In that, at least, the pair of them still have the old arrogant attitude of the nobility. Some conventions are too strong to defy after all!
Aside from the narrow escapes from death which make up a fairly high proportion of Hanastrew's day job, the fairy squad leader likes to get away from it all for a few days every so often to recharge her magical abilities. Like all fairies, she drinks regularly from the Fountain of Youth in the Palace grounds to rejuvenate her natural powers but she enjoys getting away from the Palace and its pollitics. Unlike her heroine, Eileen, a temporary break is enough for Hanastrew.
Hanastrew likes the coasts and forests but is also fond of finding a lake and just sitting on its banks, contemplating nature for hours at a time.
A lot depends, of course, on why you're watching out for witches. If it is to ensure you stay out of the way of the evil ones, some useful pointers are:-
This is not magic that has gone wrong as such (though that has a wildness all of its own) but that which is found "raw" and which wizards, witches and fairies exploit to top up their own powers and skills.
In my Fairy Kingdom, all fairies have to top up their innate born-with powers by drinking deeply from the Fountain of Youth in the Palace grounds on a regular basis.
Eileen and Hanastrew want the Queen to put in a second Fountain in a more accessible place for the more remote based fairies but the monarch has refused. She keeps a record of all who use her Fountain and expects all fairies to visit her Palace grounds at least twice a year. She does not see this as a hardship given all fairies can fly, most can use the instant transport charm successfully and there are always the public transport trees for those who like to travel at a slower, more secure rate. (The big problem with the instant transportation charm is there is no guarantee all your bits and pieces will reappear in the order and places they're meant to do so).
There is magic in the air throughout the realm so everyone does breath it in and that is as vital to existence as oxygen is to us but only fairies need the special water as well. Witches rightly feel this gives their chief rivals an unfair advantage but, unsurprisingly, the Queen sees no reason to change this.
Eileen experienced the call of the wild a lot when she was living in the Fairy Kingdom. It generally meant she was desperate to get away from the Palace and its (at times) poisonous politics and get back to nature. Eileen had more time for a dragon that was merely trying to kill her (basically doing what came naturally to it) than trying to negotiate with the Council, each member of which had its own agenda. It would have helped if Eileen had more patience in dealing with people but...
Fresdian experience nothing but the call of the wild given her love of the great outdoors and total passion for all forms of fauna and flora. Fresdian was fascinated by dragons but, happily for her, this came to an end not in the usual way of a brief burst of very intense flame but when she went to Earth to begin a new life there.
Fresdian still loves being in the great outdoors, adores the New Forest (though queries the word "New" given forests in the Fairy Kingdom can show any dimension anywhere what ancient really means) and spends as much time as possible walking the coasts (but out of the main holiday season. She visits Scotland sometimes and loves their glorious sandy beaches and is happy to visit them most of the year given the amount of space they give visitors. Totally unlike the beaches at Bournemouth where you can do well to find somewhere to sit on the sand). Mind, Fresdian has always liked being alongside water so would love the area below...
I try to mix up settings in my depictions of the Fairy Kingdom. Landscapes vary in life, so they should vary in fiction too. Of course from that you can get differing peoples depending on what type of landscape they live on and what they have had to do to be able to live on that landscape.
I also have barren areas in the Kingdom, made that way by too much magic hitting the land. So anyone hoping to get out of trouble in an area like this using whatever magical skills they have is likely to find themselves shaking hands with the Grim Reaper instead of getting to live a long, prosperous and peaceful life elsewhere. And all magical species know this so they tend to avoid being in these areas at all. Naturally there are stories to be had in how these species avoid these areas (which is not as easy as it sounds given the whole magical realm has experienced war so damage has been done almost everywhere. It's a question of degree).
Naturally there are settings like the Palace and the Queen's coastal resort which are as close to perfect landscapes as anywhere is likely to be. Most of the villages and towns have avoided a lot of the war damage but the areas just outside them are not always that lucky (which is why avoiding these barren places is not always straightforward). Naturally residents are keen to keep their villages and towns as beautiful as possible which is why the sprites with all their trouble making and fighting are the most loathed of all magical species. (Even a wicked witch, as long as she says keeps a nice garden, has a better record than them).
The Fountain of Youth is within the Palace grounds and is fed by a huge lake (which in turn is fed by a series of smaller bodies of water). All fairies have to drink from the fountain regularly to top up their natural magical energy supplies. Get rid of the Fountain and fairies would die. It would take a while (just as the loss of bees for us would take a while to hit us badly) but the results would be the same.
The Queen monitors who uses the Fountain and has a list of those who should use it and a list of those who should not. (She doesn't want the Witch enhancing her powers by drinking from it to name one example). Roxannadrell drinks from the Fountain too but she, and Eileen, as fairy royals need to top up from the Fountain far less frequently than the average fairy. Hanastrew and Eileen would like the Queen to install a second Fountain elsewhere as it is not always convenient and/or easy for fairies to get to the Palace to use it but so far Roxannadrell has refused this.
Regardless of your species or what planet you live on, everyone needs to get away from it all every now and again. Sure signs your magical being of choice is getting to that point include:-
Firstly, Eileen makes a point of visiting the restricted books section, some of which she wrote. This is not to annoy the Librarian but to send a message to the Queen and her Council as Eileen knows her movements in the Library will be reported back to them. (The Librarian is under obligation to report anyone doing this).
Secondly, when in the rest of the Library, and having had a good read of whatever takes her fancy, Eileen then indulges in what we would call people watching. This does not go down well. Eileen never has been subtle. If someone catches her interest, they will know it soon enough as their sense her gimlet gaze on them. This has been a hangover from Eileen's catch the magically criminal days as this gaze had often caused the more nervous criminal type to give themselves up and confess all. Eileen found it saved a lot of time but finds it difficult to switch the gaze off again.
Thirdly, Eileen will often use the Library as a meeting place to talk with Hanastrew and other members of the fairy squad. This does annoy the Librarian. There are some people you just don't say "Shush" to!
The Queen spends three months on her coastal holiday resort. It is considered a great honour if you are invited to join her there.
Most in the Kingdom don't take holidays as we know them. The settlements have a "summer season" where they hold Fayres (it's always spelt with the "y" in the magical world, even they consider it makes it look more traditional), Sports Days and for those lucky ones living close to the coastal regions, there are specific days allocated to beach and sea activities.
Those living outside these regions can go but it is expected they are invited to join in by relatives and friends who do live near these places. Complete strangers turning up are not going to be made welcome. They won't come to any harm but the collective cold shoulder is not a pleasant experience. Nobody trangresses these unspoken rules. Even Eileen obeyed them. (Mind she got around the problem by making it clear throughout the year that, for her, there was no such thing as a non-go area. Most in the Kingdom like living so didn't argue the point. Eileen is very talented at getting her own way. I kind of admire her for it).
When creating my magical realm, I started by thinking how it was governed, before looking at how villages and towns were formed and how rivalries between them started. All of this led on to thinking about transportation.
I didn't want to use magic to solve everything here (it becomes boring for one thing) so settled on several transportation options. These are:-
The Fairy News Network's weatherman, Roherum's arch rival, dreads the thought of the goblin presenter having any time off at all. There's no telling what he'll do with it.
Having said that, Roherum has developed his own hobbies. He reads a lot (mainly in the Palace Library) and he does this for research purposes, as well as for pleasure. He reads fiction and non-fiction, but prefers the latter as he can make more use of it.
He likes visiting the Queen's art gallery and loves relishing the pictures there. He sometimes practices spells that are not in the standard handbook and can occasionally be useful for this. But it is fair to say FNN is his life, he spends a lot of time answering viewer questions, he judges the annual sandcastle competition, and opens various fetes around the realm.
He is aware of his shortcomings but doesn't like being teased about them. He doesn't take part in sport (far too undignified is his view) and he likes to use all of his spare time up productively.
Everyone needs a break from the day job from time to time and the same applies in the magical realm.
All species here have different hobbies they indulge in when not, say, actively pursuing and destroying the latest dragon threatening villages etc. Eileen's favourite hobby was to indulge in a hot bath, full of wonderfully scented bubbles, and to lie back and have a good soak, whilst reading a book and having a cup of tea (or a glass of champagne depending on her mood) to enjoy at the same time.
The Queen loves to read light fiction (she keeps this quiet knowing Eileen would mock her for it). Hanastrew enjoys riding horses (one of the perks of her job as fairy squad leader, and as a thank you from the monarch for all the girl does here, is to ride any of the Queen's horses. Nobody other than the Queen rides her stable of unicorns though).
Fresdian sees her role as natural world fan as indistinguishable from having a hobby so her walking, painting/drawing wildlife etc, continues even when she is not doing these things officiallly. L'Evallier and his wife, Melanbury, like to collect fine art (and to enjoy time admiring their collection at home and those of others when invited to dinner, as they often are).
One of the great joys of writig fiction is the chance it gives you to escape reality for a while.
Being engrossed in your created world and what happens on it and because of it makes for a wonderful distraction from the ever grim news bulllletins etc.
However, your created world should not be perfect. No world is (well not in this dimension). There should be characters who dislike the situation they are in and are looking to escape it. Can they do so? What are the drawbacks of your world? Can one aspect of it appeal to certain characters yet seem like a burden to others?
How does your world deal with the awkward ones (like my Eileen)?
Answering questions like this will help you flesh out your created world nore.
The Queen, sensibly given her schedule, builds some spare time into her daily routine and insists on having at least an hour a day to herself. She also finishes her day with a long, luxurious bubble bath and heaven help anyone disturbing that (unless there really is an emergency).
The Queen keeps her own small garden within the Palace grounds which she plants and weeds herself. She also has a taste for light fiction from her own world and others. (She'd read P.G. Wodehouse but would see his works as a kind of documentary rather than wonderful works of comic fiction!).
Like Hanastrew, the Queen believes chocolate to be one of the better imports from Earth she's allowed into the realm. The Queen also has a soft spot for alcohol (favourite drink is Pimms with lemonade).
The Queen watches the Fairy News Network but does not do so for relaxation. She sees it as her duty to keep up with what the broadcasters are coming up with and loathes This Week's Royal Gossip Show which is hosted by Roherum. She is wise enough not to ban it though as she rightly believes that would only increase its popularity. She would far rather the programme died a natural death. No sign of it so far though...
Ignoring the fact most witches make this easy for you by insisting on wearing the big, black pointed hat, other clues as to the magical powerful are listed below.
I really can't say what my favourite form of writing is as they all have their merits.
These capture moments in time, are easy to read (especially when pushed for time, though it doesn't make them easier or quicker to write), and good ones stay with you long after you've read them. They're a good way of testing out whether you like a writer's style or not. They cover all genres and tastes. They can be a great way of coaxing a reluctant reader to read at all (and hopefully go on to read more, perhaps going on to novels etc).
These give the space to develop characters much further. I loved being able to reveal more of my main characters in The Trouble With Mother. It made the characters more real for me - and hopefully will for readers. I'm hoping to bring TTWM out in some format and will post more on this later. Novels can show an entire universe (think The Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter or the Discworld series just to name some examples). You can also have sub-plots which add depth to the overall story. As a reader, I love coming back to where I'd left off from my last read and continuing the journey...
These capture specific moments and can appeal directly to the emotions. I always feel goosebumps when hearing anything by the war poets. (I recommend Radio 4's Poetry Please with Roger McGough if you want to expand your knowledge of poetry. It's certainly expanded my knowledge and given me a greater feel for what I like). Sometimes a poem can say something that wouldn't come across as well in any other form.
I've always had soft spot for these. They're also good for an instant laugh, a kind of literary pick-me-up. I don't know why some look down on limericks. A good limerick will need as much crafting as a good poem. (Just because something is shorter in length doesn't mean you take less time to get it right).
Can deal with fiction or non-fiction. I'm glad to write both, here on my websites and on Chandlers Ford Today. Can bring in good feedback and help you connect with readers, which is never a bad thing (unless you're the hero of Stephen King's Misery but that's another story!).
One of the great joys of the last 12 months has been to discover creating worlds doesn't just apply to fiction.
I'm thoroughly enjoying researching and writing for Chandlers Ford Today and the thought occurred today that each of the articles on this site is its own little world.
My most recent piece has been a combination of a historical story (Slapton Beach and its role in World War 2) and an interview with a writer friend of mine (Felicity Fair Thompson) who has written her book, The Kid on Slapton Beach, around this incident. In researching further into Slapton Beach, I felt as if I was going back into time and entering a world I had not known existed until Felicity mentioned a little about it when I was interviewing her earlier this year. It was an eye-opening experience for me.
I have also written an appreciation of Jane Austen and it makes me appreciate her achievements in the face of a society that was not female friendly and where her technological allies would have been a decent pen and plenty of paper. It's perhaps a reminder to not take my computer (and the ability to cut and paste without literally doing that as I used to have to do in my early secretarial career) for granted.
I also wrote a review of the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay (without giving certain things away. Anyone who has been and read my item will know what these are and why I left them out). It was fun to immerse myself totally in the world of Doctor Who for this item.
So I wonder what world will I immerse myself in next? What world will you go to, even if it is only for a short while?
Hanastrew, doyenne of the fairy squad and scourge of as many evildoers as she can tackle at any one time, makes the most of her breaks from work. She keeps fit by walking but also loves reading in quiet spots. She adores chocolate, considering it one of the Kingdom's better imports from Earth. She has no sympathy with her elf friend, Melanbury, who likes a good salad.
Hanastrew loves a wide range of scenery. She has not been to Earth (and despises humanity for its warlike qualities and pollution) but has seen documentaries and admires our varied landscapes and wildlife. She wishes we'd take better care of our planet and applauds those who do. There are certain places on Earth she wouldn't mind visiting when time allows but in the meantime some of her favourite getaways are shown below.
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.