Brother of Ice and Stone (The Magistry of Dreams, #1)51.2%
I’m working on Book One of my fantasy adventure trilogy (and the next 2 books are outlined). NaNoWriMo really helped. I wrote 50,000 words in one month… phew!
There’s a New Moon in Aquarius on February 8th, 2106. The best way to describe this is the Dr. Who effect. Why Dr. Who? Because Aquarius deals with the future, outer space, and all things “out there”. But it also deals with humanitarian goals, and how one individual can benefit others.
Aquarians care about humanity, as does Dr. Who. He’s always trying to save the earth from total destruction by the Daleks, or whoever else happens to be targeting us for extermination at the time.
What makes Dr. Who Aquarian, as opposed to a more caring sign like Cancer? It’s because he sees humanity as a whole, as an abstract concept, and shies away from getting too close to any one particular human. Dr. Who is not the type to settle down and get comfortable in his armchair. He doesn’t even stay on the planet for any length of time, always flitting off to another time or space at the drop of a hat.
So on February 8th, ask yourself how your own quirky, unconventional self can benefit humanity in some way. Just like Dr. Who!
It seems to me that there are two general categories of fantasy fiction–those that sweep the reader into a heart-pounding adventure tale, and those that explore and describe a fantasy world in extreme, sometimes excruciating, sometimes enthralling detail.
Two novels that illustrate the latter are Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” and Katherine Addison’s “The Goblin Emperor”. These two novels both won awards, yet also received criticism from some readers who were disappointed by their lack of action.
Both of these novels include either massive amounts of historical detail about their fictional world, or they indulge in a microscopic focus upon social mannerisms, names, and political relationships (in the tradition of Gormenghast). While these details add interest, they also slow the story trajectory.
What’s missing for the readers who are left unsatisfied?
I believe it is immersion. The focus on detail, language, names, asides, footnotes, etc., while interesting to some readers, can alienate others.
No one will ever call these books “action packed adventures”. They both offer an intense intellectual challenge to the reader, often sacrificing forward action and emotional momentum to (often unnecessary) detail.
So is there a point of commonality between these intellectual fantasy novels and their action/adventure cousins? There is no doubt that good books in both categories can have fully developed fantasy worlds. There is also no doubt that they can both explore their characters’ emotions in great detail.
The reason “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” and “The Goblin Emperor” won their awards is because they offered us, not only extreme mental machinations, but intimate emotional heart as well.
It’s only a matter of the reader being willing to sit still long enough to fully explore the delightful contents of these (rather large) treasure troves.
As the Moon moves into Cancer this morning, the energy calms down. Aspects between Juno, Neptune and Venus show us how our own sense of beauty can be all the direction we need. It’s a day for pantsing, writing raw material as inspiration flows, with no forethought involved. Don’t try to tackle that outline or do research today. Write more from the heart. Ideas will arise from nowhere as long as you are there, available, with your fingers poised over the keyboard. All you have to do is get out of your own way today and WRITE!
The Moon moves through Gemini making for a communicative day on many levels. Mercury trine the North Node in Libra puts our thoughts on the future of relationships. It’s an innovative day, with new ideas popping up, but don’t try to get too deep or intimate. This is a day for lots of surface business. It’s a practical day as well. With Saturn trining Mars and Juno, we could see our passions and commitments taking form, especially where it comes to friends and groups. Vesta in Aquarius sextiles Uranus in Aries. It’s the perfect day to plan a writing event!
Today is a balancing act between being honest or being nice, following the crowd or being true to yourself. You may have to use some strong and transformational words today that may step on some toes. You will go back and forth wondering whether you should say something or not. Ultimately, the truth will out. Your only decision will be how gentle your words are, in communicating that difficult truth.
Writers of complex interpersonal, psychological material have the stars on their side right now. First, there is a focus on self-love, and being brutally honest about who supports us and who doesn’t. Second, we have a yod pointing to the North Node in Libra, giving a focus on the future of relationships. Sun conjunct Neptune in Pisces is exposing hidden complexes, dysfunctions, and delusions to the harsh light of day. Big changes can occur between your characters that seem upsetting, but are ultimately healthy. If your writing makes you feel uncomfortable today, you’re probably on the right track.