Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Realms of Faerie: Mountains

Let me get this here, up front: this post will cover more than mountains. Lots more.

Because, you see, mountains are made of stones--big chunks of solid minerals, hard and gritty or chalky and light. And these stones, indeed, compose the very foundation of any earth, fantasy or otherwise. So, clearly, mountains and the stones beneath them are pretty important in fashioning your fantasy world!

Let's begin with the Christian point of view. Psalm 18:2 says, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." {NIV}

That's pretty straightforward, right? When we think of rocks, in their firmness and solidity, we are to be reminded of God, who is our perfect shield and solid fortress. So when we create our own rocks and stones as the foundation of our fantasy world, we have a heavy task to shoulder and a weighty responsibility to carry in representing the full truth of God's nature.

Who would've thought that even the lowly pebble had a message of God's grace embedded in its atoms?

Now for writing rocks and mountains.

The main thing to keep in mind, as with all fantasy writing, is to be original. How to do that, though? Sometimes the mind just seems inadequate for imagination!

As usual, I've written a few launching pads for your thoughts on rock and stone. If you'd like some additional inspiration, I would highly recommend reading Shannon Hale's young adult novel, Princess Academy. An extremely key aspect of that book is the particular kind of stone, linder, harvested in a local quarry, which enables a rural mountain community to face and overcome dangers of many sorts. Very instructive to those interested in writing rocks.

1. Composition: smooth and shiny or rough and gritty? Light and full of air or heavy and dense? Knotted and eroded or in some pearl-like "perfect" state? Chalky and powdery or smooth and glass-like?

2. Color: ah, joy! I love color! Unusual colors give a huge zing of life and energy to any sagging fantasy world. For a hint of what I mean, take a look at the rocks of our own world--those gorgeous reddish canyon rocks of Colorado's Garden of the Gods, or the clear crystals buried in underground caverns beneath our feet, and even jemstones like turquoise, emerald, ruby. The color or colorless possibilities are, as always, limitless.

3. Unique features: This includes the mountain ranges in your realm, as well as any unusual peaks that have their own name and history. Also included are any strange rock features anywhere in your land--fabulous undersea caves filled with salt crystals or volcanic arches made of cooled lava and the like. Dream big, expand your world's history, and create! But be warned: this is no small task. Do not rush the geography of your world.

Well, that's it for now! Enjoy writing!

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Proverbs 15:1
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."