Today I’m going to share my writing space with another writer. It is funny how things turn out. I went wandering through Amazon and found Charles’s book here, I follow Charles on facebook etc, always interested in another writer’s perspective on this mad world of writing and publishing.
I ordered Legends of Windemere and now waiting for my delivery. I love fantasy novels but am nowhere near finished my first draft of my first fantasy novel so instead I want to share Charles’s story with you enjoy. I believe we as writers should help each where ever possible and learn from each other. Wishing you every success with your novels Charles and I am looking forward to reading all about Luke and his journey.
First, thank you to Kath for giving me this opportunity to write a guest blog for her site. I’m the fantasy author behind Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero, which I self-published on Amazon. I’ve been interested in fantasy since childhood and I’ve been writing fantasy stories since high school. So, I’m going to talk about what inspired me to create a world of swords and sorcery and why I’m trying to make a career out of it.
Let me start by explaining a little more about my writing. I write epic fantasy with humor, action, and a focus on character development. I feel that my characters can pull the story more than a narrator and the ooh-aah factor of magical worlds. I try to have the reader explore and learn about the world as the characters progress. To that end, I spent most of my free time in college designing Windemere to its depth and making sure it was an immense playground for my characters and readers. That is one of my driving factors when I write and it has led me to take in influence from various areas, which I’ll explain later. I should probably start at the beginning and explain how I got into this genre.
Truthfully, I don’t really know what drew me to fantasy when I was younger. I’ve always had an interest in swords to the point where I made them out of Kinex, drew them in my notebook, and eventually took up fencing. So that might be part of it. The overall influence might be nothing more than the right combination of factors. I never considered writing my own stories until high school, but I always enjoyed playing games that involved an element of magic and medieval combat.
If I’m not being clear or exact then I apologize. I’m simply not sure what lit the fuse on my desire to be a fantasy author. I played Dungeons & Dragons in high school and college, which is where many of my characters and stories came from. For those that don’t know, D&D is a table-top role-playing game where you design a fictional character using a rule book and journey through adventures in a magical world with other players. The adventures revolve around various quests that can be bought at a store or made up by the person running the game. All actions are done through dice rolling, so there’s a touch of luck in there, which doesn’t translate too well to story writing.
Dungeons & Dragons is the big influence if I had to pick one. At first, I made a toss away character and went around slaying monsters with no real plot or character. When I hit college, I had to design characters with depth or I’d be nothing more than a worthless player who barley knew the rules. My first college game is where Luke Callindor and the Legends of Windemere came about. It’s been suggested that my writing style of present tense third person is also a result of me using these games as influences. In a game, there is a sense of immediacy and being in the action as opposed to being a bystander or reading a history book. So, I try to translate that sense into my writing to varying degrees of success. It’s not a common or popular writing style, which gives me an uphill battle. Still, it’s what I am and I plan on sticking to my guns . . . or is that swords? Maybe crossbows to keep the range weapon thing going.
While I do write in fantasy, I’ve let other fields and interests influence me. I became interested in astrology, so I designed zodiac signs for Windemere. I got into archaeology and used this information to create ruins around my fantasy world. Windemere evolved as I came in contact with geography, various mythologies, video games, books, movies, current events, and many other things. I learned earlier on that inspiration can come from anything, including something that has no real association with your genre. For example, I watched a Western when I worked at a video store and it gave me an idea for Windemere. Being a fantasy world, I didn’t have gunslingers running around, but I did have magic wands. This led to the creation of a group of magic-users called wand-slingers, who carry an array of magic wands while traveling for various reasons. So, I have a version of Hollywood cowboys in Windemere, patiently waiting for their time to shine.
That’s my convoluted and confusing story of influence. If you manage to take away anything coherent from it then you’re a lot smarter than me. Seriously though, I do have a parting suggestion to anyone attempting to be an artist and worried about finding inspiration. Remain calm and let your surroundings talk to you. It sounds crazy and new age-y, but artists are typically observant about details of the world. A simple birdsong or object out of the corner of one’s eye can lead to an idea. If you force inspiration then you will probably struggle and get more frustration than progress. It’s best to relax and let the initial ideas come to you. Yes, you might have to wrestle a few temperamental ideas, but those issues can be fixed by seeing if there is something in your notes or finished work that you missed. It also helps to discuss your ideas with outside minds like friends, significant others, and anyone willing to genuinely listen to your mad ramblings. You never know what they will pick up on that you missed because you’re focused so much on the big picture or another detail.
Again, thank you to Kath Unsworth for letting me litter her blog with the ramblings of a madman. If anyone cares to say hello, I’ve listed my various social media sites below along with my book’s Amazon page. I still feel awkward making a blatant sales pitch. I need an agent or a brave clone to do the PR stuff.
Amazon Page- http://tinyurl.com/c3bhykf
Please support Charles by leaving a comment or even better head over to his site and see what else he is up to.