Guess what? We've now finished the blog series on Realms of Faerie! Let's think back a moment on all the topics we've covered:
Now, what next? Well, since we've covered some basics to look for when writing fantasy, we're moving on to look at a much deeper, divisive topic: Fantasy and Faith. Lots of people oppose writing fantasy on moral grounds. Why do they think so? What does the Bible say? Is magic wrong? All this and more is coming right up!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
On to the next element of the natural world! Today, our focus will be on sky, and everything wrapped up in it--clouds, stars, sun, moon, air.
Faith & the Sky
Psalm 19:1 really sets the stage for our whole discussion: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork."
Truly, the sky and air is an example par excellence of the beauty of God's creation. Just looking at the light and warmth of the sun, feeling the breath of wind on my cheek, everything points to God's mastery as Creator.
Psalm 147:4 says, "He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names." What a stunning example of God's power! Also a great idea for writing, too; giving stars names and valuing each individually could come in handy in a story!
Stars and sky can also be signs of future events--for example, the great star that heralded Christ's birth. However, we've got to remember that, as beautiful and powerful as the sky, sun, and stars are, they are mere reflections of God's glory and power (and not very good reflections, at that).
Writing & the Sky
The sky gives writers an amazing freedom to create and specialize. You've only got to put your imagination to work, and--voila!--the sky in your world is created, unique and important. A few tips, as usual:
1. Constellations ~ in any culture, stars and signs of the sky are important. They can represent that culture's great legends, and symbolize light and hope. C. S. Lewis created the constellations the ship, the leopard, and the hammer. J. R. R. Tolkien created many different named stars--Earendil's Star (attached to a very long legend, too), Valacirca, and many others.
2. Beings in the Heavens ~ C. S. Lewis created star-beings, which were stars that could assume a humanoid form and even marry (for example, Prince/King Caspian's wife was a star-being). Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time contains beings that used to be stars, but sacrificed their star-form and became other creatures in an effort to vanquish the dark. The possibilities are vast and varied, so create!
3. Clouds ~ Got any special formations? Deer-shaped? Special colors? Perhaps blue clouds represent coming evil?
4. Moon & Sun ~ One? Multiple? None? Try changing it up from the normal and expected. It might give that vital dash of life to a dragging story!
That's all for now, but don't be shy--dream and create!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Fire is not technically a "realm," no. However, flames--as with the other elements--are essential ingredients to a well-crafted fantasy world. Thus, we'll be covering flames, both Biblically and technically, in our post today.
What is fire? Scientifically, fire is a rapid, persistent chemical change that releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame. In the simplest terms, fire is energy. Heat is a tangible form of that energy; light is a visible form of the energy. Fire. Energy.
Next, how does the Bible address and portray fire?
In various places, fire is a judgment from God. We see fire and sulfur raining down on unrepentant Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24), the plague of hail and fire on the Egyptians (Exodus 9:24), and the ultimate fiery destruction of this earth in Revelation 20. Fire is something to be feared.
Fire also signifies God's presence. God spoke to Moses out of a fiery bush. God accompanied the Israelites through the wilderness in the form of a pillar of smoke in the day and a pillar of fire at night. Hebrews 12:29 says, "Our God is a consuming fire." Fire is a symbol of God's power, glory, and light.
Therefore, fire is clearly holy, and we should treat it with utmost care in our writing, especially as a sign of God Himself.
What about writing fire and flames?
Well, writing fire may seem straightforward. Flames flickering around a cozy campfire, sparks scintillating in the air, the gentle scent of woodsmoke wafting on the breeze... But, please, let's not sacrifice originality and expression here! We have imaginations for a reason!
A few tips to get you started:
1. Color. Color. Color. Let's just get this straight--the first thing to change, the most obvious and easily changed, is color. Color is a fundamental building block of the world; shift it, and originality is born. So what color shall your fire be? Will it burn a mellow grass green at the edges, deepening into a heart of dark forest emerald? Or would you rather have hot pink flames and a white core? It's up to you!
2. Power and intensity: how damaging is fire in your world? Can it be controlled by anyone? Can it be controlled by everyone?
3. Sentience: interesting to play around with. Is your fire at all conscious? Does it have thoughts? Can it speak? If it could, what would it say? Can it act on its own? What if fire could communicate with a particular sect of human beings...then brakes out of control, leaving it up to the humans to conquer it--using both effective communication and physical weapons? Experiment, and you may be surprised at the result!
4. Shapes: fire is usually conceived as a flickering triangle/tongue of light. But it could be so much more! What about round flames? Individual scuttling flames? Flames that take on the appearance of people or things (as in the Chronicles of Narnia book/movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)? Explore and create!
5. Sounds: sure, flames can hiss and pop and crackle. But what if? What if? What if they...whispered? Sang? Chirped? Twittered? Whistled?
So, please, pick up your pencils and perform spectacular feats of imagination and flickering flames today!