*April Fools* New Cover Art for Memory’s Wake Released!

Originally posted on the 1st of April, so no need to take anything below seriously 😉 

In my usual indecisive way, I’ve decided that I didn’t like the cover art for Memory’s Wake. I’ve been working on the new cover and come up with something I’m pleased with, that I think will sell a stack more books, too. I wanted to surprise you all with a brand new cover design! Here it is!

Memory's Wake- Young Adult Fantasy Novel with Abs

What do you think? Better, right? It will be uploading to Amazon and other publishers shortly so you can get it on your ebooks and paperbacks. Paperbacks, of course, are the best option, so everyone can see what you’re reading and go, “Hey, who is that sexy looking fellow? I want to read that too!”. Ebooks are the better option for women over 30 who prefer to hide the fact they drool over teenagers in stories *coughNotMecoughNever*.

In related news, I’ve decided I’m not going to continue the trilogy. One book is enough. The others are too hard. I give up. For those who wanted to know what happened to the characters and how it was going to end, here it is-

Memory was really an alien, and ends up marrying the dragon. Sorry to those who didn’t want spoilers.

Writing – From Planning Plot to Drafting

I wanted to share a little of my writing process as I work on this short story that fits into my Empath Chronicles series. Writing a short story is a bit different to working on a full novel, and each is it’s own different art form, but there is some overlap in the way I write.

Every story starts out with an idea. The idea may be simple and need lots of work, or come with a lot of details already in place (those are the ones I like!). For this short story, I knew I wanted to explore the character Emma, and where she came from, so people know her better when she returns in the next longer instalment of the Empath Chronicles.

This short story has been a really fun challenge for myself. I haven’t written short stories since high school, and as I said, they are a different form of art to a novel. You have to condense so much into such a short space, but still make it compelling. Tough stuff! Even more challenging was the subject matter. Bullying, self worth, and the fact that as it played out in my mind, I knew this story was going to be a tragedy. I’m used to reading and writing “the hero story”, with big showdowns and victories for the main character. But Emma’s story won’t be so fortunate. So there was my challenge- to write a short story that was moving, dealt morally with the issue of bullying, dealt with a character who makes a bad decision instead of a good one leading to a non-heroic ending, and could be read by someone who hadn’t yet read Emotionally Charged. Yikes. Well, I’m going to try anyway.

As the idea forms in my mind I jot down notes. On paper, on my phone, in Word, where ever is handy. I then gather all those ideas in Word, and start getting them into order. I start breaking them down into Acts (I like to follow the three act structure), and then break them down even further into scenes, and fill out the details as I go.

Here’s an example, of the first scene of Emotionally Scarred, in it’s planning stages-


Emma walks through halls of her new school, first day. Everyone stares and she hates it. This was meant to be a new beginning. She’d convinced her parents to let her have the surgery, to change schools (and by convinced, she means got kicked out of her last school because she got in a fight with a girl who teased her and ended up breaking the other girl’s arm). It was going to be like in the books where she’d make new friends and the hottest guy there would fall for her.
She felt unattractive with a large mole on her face. Teased terribly about it, called a witch because of the mole and felt like it with her freak ability to know how people were feeling.
If I really were a witch I would make myself beautiful but my powers are different.
She could tell the way she revolted people because of her empath ability so of course never dared tell anyone about it. She finally convinced her parents to have the mole surgically removed. They couldn’t afford a good plastic surgeon and it left a scar bigger than the mole.
It was supposed to be better. I was going to be a new me. But the hack doctor botched it.
She made an effort to still be positive about the new school, dressed up, held her chin up, but she could still feel how people looked at her and her scar, and knew she was going to be just as bullied.
She turns to stare at a notice board to hide that she’s close to tears. The hottest guy in her year (with looks of a 50’s movie star, he knew it too, playing it up by calling girls Doll) comes up and talks to her, shows interest in her for some reason. She’s suspicious, but there is some hope as well. He asks to meet her after school at the abandoned set of a pirate movie (like Popeye’s town) so he can get to know her some more.

This story will only be three scenes long, but book two of Memory’s Wake, for example, has seventy-six scenes, varying in length, each written out in about the same level of detail. I also jot down what I call “Fragments”. Snippets of prose that have come to mind that I might like to write into the story later. I drop those into the scene outlines in a different font- like the bits in bold, above.

I like writing in Word because I use their Heading styles to keep my outline in order. Acts are set to heading level 2 and scenes (I give them all a short descriptive title) are set to heading level 3, so that when I turn on the Document map, I can glance over my entire plan easily, and use the document map to jump to whatever scene I need to work on.

As I’m planning, I’ll often pass by details that I’ll have to come back and decide later. I set these to red, so I know I have to come back to them. This outline originally read-

He asks her to meet him after school WHERE to get to know her some more.

After I have the flow of the story right, I go back through and fill in the details like that. Once I have the complete plan, I write into that outline. I normally write in order, start to finish. Even with a plan I prefer to go in order. I write following the outline, deleting the outline as I’ve written each part of the scene to replace it with.

And very quickly I have a first draft. Want to read how that scene plays out? Here’s the first draft, fresh and un-revised! I haven’t even run a spell check over this, that all comes much later.

Emotionally Scarred – Scene One – First Draft


If I really was a witch, I’d enchant myself to be beautiful, but the powers I have are different. I might not be a witch, but I’m not a good guy either. I wasn’t born to be a hero. Heroes aren’t ugly.

If only I could use my powers to stop people staring at me. The corridors of my new school were a shade of lime green that set my teeth on edge. Everyone watched me, the new girl with a target right on her face. My sneakers squeaked as I walked and I felt so completely conspicuous. Damn laminate flooring. The other students stared openly and gossiped as they pretended to poke through their lockers. A tide of emotion followed their stares, the usual mix of sympathy and disgust I was used to feeling. That was my superpower – to sense how people were feeling, so strong I felt it myself. I hated it. I hugged my laptop bag and pile of new books close to my chest

Chin up, Emma. Don’t let them get to you. You’re beautiful on the inside.

That’s what I was meant to believe, that my outer appearance wasn’t important, and that real friends would like the real me no matter how I looked. But I didn’t feel beautiful on the inside. It was as though my face had poisoned everything about me. I tried to ignore it, act like everyone else, be cheerful, friendly, dress right, talk right, do all the right things. Maybe I tried too hard.

This year was supposed to be better. I was going to be a new me. A fresh start, a new school, a new face. But the hack doctor botched it. It took so long to convince my parents to have the mole removed. This was no cute beauty mark (how I wish it were just a cute beauty mark), but a brown blob of ugly flesh larger than a quarter that covered the side of my chin. That’s why I was the witch of my last school. Marked by the devil, dribbling sewage, just plain gross; I heard it all.

Brother, if they knew I was reading their emotions like some kind of freak…

I’d finally convinced my parents to let me change schools. By convinced, I mean I got expelled from my old school by getting into a fight with this chick who wouldn’t leave me alone and breaking her arm. I guess I was stronger than I realised.

So I was off to a new school, and in between, I’d have the mole removed. Then it was meant to be like in books, where a group of great friends would adopt me and the hottest guy in the school would fall for me. I’d be happy. Really, I’d be happy to just not be bullied.

I was so dumb. I didn’t realize I needed a proper plastic surgeon for the work, to actually make my face look like the mole was never there. The mole was gone, but the doctor left a great pink grub of a scar in its place.

I often wonder if it weren’t for that mark, would I be comfortable with how I look? I was tall, like a supermodel (yeah, right) but that just made me easier to spot. I should have loved my bright red hair but I hated that it just made me more visible.

I came to this new school determined to be positive anyway. I dressed up, smiled, and waited for people to ask, wow, where did you get that scar? And I would tell them crazy cool tales of my heroism, saving a small child from a pitbull attack, only to have a chunk of flesh bitten off my face. I’d say it was nothing. I did what I had to do.

But everyone judged on first sight. They didn’t even talk to me. And the thickness of their hateful emotion smothered me. I knew I hadn’t escaped. It would be the same here as it was before.

My eyes stung suddenly. No way, if I cried now in the middle of the school corridors, it was all over.

I turned to face the wall and made it lucky. There was a notice board right there, covered in fluoro fliers for me to pretend to read while I got myself under control.

Just breathe.

The corridor stunk of bleach from a recent cleaning. If anyone saw my eyes damp, and asked if I was OK I’d say my eyes were sensitive to the chemicals. I had an answer for everything. If only anyone would ask.

“Since you’re new, I’ll give you some advice.” A voice, deeper than most teen boys, spoke in my ear, closer than I’m used to anyone getting. I shivered. “Don’t join the Chess Club.”

I turn around to find Rafael, who I’d already determined to be the most handsome guy ever, leaning on the wall next to me. He had one elbow against the wall and his hand played with his own sun-bleached hair. I don’t blame him; my hands would love to do that, too.

He had the looks of a 1950’s movie star and he knew it. He played it up, wearing a leather jacket with turned up collar like he was James Dean, and said things like doll, daddy-o and swell. Yeah, I’d been eavesdropping, just a bit.

He was looking at me, talking to me. What was going on?

I let what must be a dumbfounded expression stay on my face and spoke slowly. “But… the checkered boards are so pretty, and I like the little horsies.”

Rafael had the worn look of having to explain something to a poor dumb girl and I worried I’d missed my shot. I raised an eyebrow dramatically, hoping he got the point.

A moment passed, then he chuckled and I let out a massive sigh. Internally. Externally, I kept my cool and gave a flirty-yet-coy grin. I was stupidly proud of myself. Maybe I could do this. I would beautiful on the inside, and he would be the first person to see.

“I’m Raf; that’s the other important thing you need to know, new girl.”

“Emma,” I said. I extended a hand to shake his, leaving just one to hold up my books. They shifted, and I rebalanced them in a way I hoped look cute, and squish my boobs up into prominence at the same time.

“Woops!” I giggled, as though I hadn’t meant to do the whole thing. His smile in return was hungry, almost predatory. There was warmth and excitement to the emotion flowing from him, but also something dark. It gave me chills.

“Careful, you’ll need those, for, you know, learning.” He stared at the books, or maybe at me. I tried to believe it was me.

“No problem. I can shake hands and balance books. Get me a job in the circus, I have the skills.” I rolled my eyes, with just enough eyelash flutter to be cute, I hoped.

The bell rang. Too soon, I wanted this to go on forever.

I shrugged and smiled anyway. “Time to go, and you know, learn.”

“Better move. I don’t want to get you in trouble on your first day.”

Right. I’d been here a week. Well, he’s noticed me now, at least. I had to give him a reason to remember me. Dare I?

“I don’t mind getting into trouble sometimes, if it’s for a good enough reason.”

Raf bumped his shoulder into mine. “You’re a firecracker, aren’t you? Say, you want to meet up after class? Just hang out?”

Something was wrong. This was too good to be true. I hated that I doubted this. I was about to split apart, torn between hope and suspicion. I did a quick check for hidden cameras.

My lips trembled. “Sure.”

“Come to Siren’s Haven. You know it?”

The abandoned set of a failed pirate movie, still standing down by the harbor. I knew kids went there, but I’d never been game. I nodded, casually, like I went all the time.

“See you there at six, the main pirate ship. It’ll be a gas.”

He headed off down the corridor. I skipped class, went to the girl’s bathroom and did the snoopy dance.

And that’s scene one!


Once I’ve finished the whole first draft, and start revisions, I’ll share the revised version of the scene to show what changes I make. You’ll notice I also notice that some things change between the outline and draft, like it being her first day (or not). No matter how thorough the plan, things still always change.

What do you think of the story so far? Feel free to be critical, first drafts need criticism! My thoughts are telling me to possibly cut a little back story (or save it for later), add more description of the setting, and maybe a little bit more about Emma herself, who she is and what she likes, beyond her feelings about her appearance. But that’s all for the revisions stage. For now, back to drafting!

An Admission about Emotionally Charged

I have something I have to come clean about with my young adult paranormal romance, Emotionally Charged.

The inspiration for it came from two sources.

The first was a vivid dream. I often have awesome dreams where I’m quite lucid. Many play out entire storylines like watching a movie, but only sometimes do I remember the whole thing, and rarer again are they actually a storyline that’s still cool when I’m awake*. This particular dream gave me the ideas for the empaths and their powers, although they worked a bit differently in the dream. The empaths absorbed the emotions of others to fuel their powers, but they could also teleport. When there was a natural disaster, the high level of emotions would sort of suck empaths through a wormhole to the location (in the dream they called it Torrenting, heh). I decided that was a bit beyond the level of “supernatural” that I wanted for the story, but the rest of the dream was cool and I got a lot of the storyline, and even some quotes, from it.

The second source of inspiration for my story was based on me being sick of seeing the same thing happen in young adult novels over and over.

I had just read so many stories where the following happens-

  • There’s an average high school girl
  • She meets OMIGODSOSMEXY guy who likes her right away
  • OMIGODSOSMEXY guy lives in super rich mansion-like luxury
  • OMIGODSOSMEXY guy has a whole group of OMIGODSOSMEXY friends who “adopt” little Miss average high school girl.
  • Guy and Friends often have some kind of supernatural secret or power which is all “ooh, dark and dangerous and our only possible flaw because we’re perfect in every other way.”
Sound familiar at all? Just off the top of my head, here are a few books where this, or very similar happens-
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare
  • Switched (The Trylle trilogy) by Amanda Hocking
  • Die for Me by Amy Plum
  • Deception by Lee Nichols

I bet you can probably name others, too. For the record, I still really enjoyed some of those books. And I can see why this trope is appealing, as a variation of the “rags to riches” story.** But after a while the feminist in me started getting grouchy. Why always with the rich guys saving a girl who really was living pretty comfortably anyway?

My admission here is that Emotionally Charged is pretty much a blatant attack against that storyline.

WARNING: Mild Spoiler Rating

My main character, Livvy, starts out in a very similar situation as above. Without giving too much away, the situation rears up and smacks her in the face for being a naive, selfish little twit and swanning off with a bunch of people she didn’t really know. The story is about her having to become the hero herself, and realising the outward appearances and riches of others don’t count for much. I tried not to make it too much of a heavy handed after school special, but it was fun to have a go at switching around that slightly overused storyline.

There it is. I’m glad I got that off my chest! Have you read Emotionally Charged yet? What did you think, was my attack on that sort of story obvious?

Emotionally Charged- paranormal romance by Selina Fenech
When emotions give superpowers, what does love mean?

* A whole total of TWO dreams I’ve remembered have been complete, awesome storylines that I plan to turn into books. This one (Emotionally Charged), and another that I plan too write in the future, about dream magic, Lovecraftian horror, and soul mates.

**Disclaimer- ok, so Memory’s Wake has a lot of attractive people and a variation of a rags to riches storyline, you got me.

Emotionally Charged- Imaginary Cast

While Memory’s Wake is illustrated with my ideas of how the characters might look*, my paranormal romance novella Emotionally Charged doesn’t have any illustrations of the characters. I’ve seen readers and authors around the web sometimes make up imaginary movie casts with actors they think fit the characters, and it seemed like fun!

When emotions give people superpowers, what does love mean?
Read more about Emotionally Charged at https://selinafenech.com/writing/emotionally-charged-paranormal-romance/ 

So I’ve decided to “cast” Emotionally Charged. Here are my picks, in order of appearance…

Livvy – Demi Harman

Demi plays Sasha on Home and Away. Since my husband does some post production work for Home and Away I’ve been seeing a lot of it, and think Demi has just the right look for the role of Livvy. A little spoilt, a little vulnerable, but also with enough spunk to take a stand when needed. Sometimes she reminds me of a young Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth).

Jake – Luke Mitchell

I’m picking cast from Home and Away again! Luke Mitchell plays “Romeo” on Home and Away, and I thought he’d make a great actor for Livvy to crush on. He’s certainly got the face, hair, body… Seriously, there are barely any photos of him available WITH a shirt on.

Emma – Deborah Ann Woll

OK, I’ll admit I’ve got a serious girl crush on Deborah Ann Woll. She’s amazing in True Blood, and is able to play anything from sweet girl-next-door to fiery sex bomb to savage monster. She’s also got that brilliant red hair. Perfect.

Donnie – Michael B Jordan

He’s got the right look for the mysterious, quiet one of the group, with just a little hint of aloof.

Jamie – Jeremy Sumpter

Jeremy Sumpter has that wicked mischievous smile that he put to good use when playing Peter Pan. He’s a bit grown up now, and makes a good fit to play Jake’s younger brother, with a similar look to Luke Mitchell.

Dean – Thomas Decker

He played the tormented role so well in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and he’s got the right colouring and build for Dean.

What do you think? Did I pick well? Or do you have other suggestions?

*The characters from Memory’s Wake don’t have to look exactly like the illustrations though. I like readers to still imagine the characters for themselves.

Swearing in Young Adult Novels

“Young Adult” is my favourite genre to read, as well as what I like to write. I think of it not so much a genre as a style- normally fast paced, a bit angsty, with characters of a teenage range who are dealing with changing from a child to an adult. Young Adult spans many sub-genres, like fantasy, chick-lit, romance, sci-fi, mystery, etc, and is generally considered to be written for the ages of 12-18 (but myself and many others a lot older love reading it anyway!).

In terms of content, YA books vary greatly. Some are good, clean, wholesome, whimsical fun. Some are as dark as can be, dealing with drug use, abuse, torture, suicide, politics, sex, death, incest, you name it. While book descriptions sometimes will note “For older teens”, I’ve never seen any real content warnings. Personally, I like it this way. You can generally tell from a book cover and blurb if a book is going to be light or dark, and believe both ends of the spectrum and all greys in between have their place. I’ve never been one for censorship, nor did I grow up being censored (Thanks Mum and Dad!). I didn’t grow up desensitised to violence. I don’t swear. I didn’t have an accidental teenage pregnancy or eating disorder and I’ve never done drugs. Yet these are all the things that those who want to censor YA books say will happen if children and teens are exposed to these darker issues in their reading. Just look at THIS Wall Street Journal article, an article which sparked off a massive campaign on twitter by readers and writers of YA books defending the darkness in them (Look up #YASaves), where people shared stories of how reading about the darker parts of life in YA books helped them survive the dark moments in their own lives. I watched YASaves happen on twitter. It was so moving I spent most of the day crying and still tear up thinking about it. YA does save, and for that, I don’t think it should be censored.

YA can be dark and depraved, but I’ve never seen it be so gratuitously. It’s probably why I read it compared to Adult books, which are happy to be gratuitous with swearing, violence and sex. All have their place, but should be there for a reason, not just for shock value. In YA, good YA, nothing happens without a reason, and characters learn, grow and lessons are taught by these sometimes horrible elements.

I also believe children and teenagers will read what they want. If a parent tries to stop them, it will no doubt only make them want to read it more. Lots of teenagers admit to sneakily reading things their parents don’t want them to. Some people argue that it’s a wonderful thing that teenagers WANT to read so badly, does it matter what they are reading? Others argue that it should be a parent’s choice in how their child is raised.

All that being said, this rant is about me censoring Memory’s Wake.

You see, Memory’s Wake contained the F-word. Even up to and after it’s release. My character Memory is the type of teenager who would swear, a lot. I kept it out of the story mostly, because it wasn’t necessary, there was no reason to be spelling it out beyond saying that “Memory swore”. But at a couple of extreme moments, the words came out in Memory’s dialogue. They were there because it was true to what Memory would have said in those high emotions.

I’ve read a lot of books from major publishers in the YA genre which contain the F-word. While I was looking for traditional publishing, I figured an editor or publisher would have final say in whether the word got through, based on their own companies policies. Then I self published and just left it in. But I started thinking about it more and more. Even to the extent of almost feeling guilty about this one single four letter word amongst 80,000 other words.

The reason why? I might not care about swearing, but other people do. A word is a word to me, but to some people, the F-word is to be avoided at all costs. I don’t want to make those people angry, or dislike my book, just for one single word. If I felt the word was absolutely crucial to my story I would have left it in, but I don’t think it suffers from it’s removal. It’s not like I have Memory running around saying “Oh my goodness”, or “Gosh!” or “Leaping lizards batman!”. She still speaks and reacts true to her character, which is the most important part for me.

So, I went through and edited out the F-word from my novel. Those who bought the novel during release, well, you’ve got a collectors item now, the first, short edition which contains the controversial few letters. Some paperback stock I’m selling still has it since it was all printed before the change, and I’m working on changing the hardcover, but ebook versions are now F-word free.

It was a decision that gave me a little peace of mind, but what was right for my novel isn’t right for every novel. I still don’t believe in censorship.

What do you think?  Should books for Young Adults be censored? Should they at least have content warnings, like there are on computer games, so that parents can decide what their kids see in books? If you’re between the 12-18 age range, what’s your opinion?

The resources that taught me how to write

I’ve been interested in writing for almost as long as I’ve been into drawing and visual art. As a kid I used to staple up wads of paper and write and illustrate my own stories in them. Exciting tales, such as Putrid Puffin (who ate peas and muffins, and wore a very fine hat), and tales of Rainbow Wings, a winged unicorn, and her sisters Sunset and Moonshine. As I got older, I started many longer stories, such as Kara and the Message Stone which made it to a full 86 pages.

Between ages 6-12 I devoured books, both Middle Grade and Adult genres, almost always fantasy though and mainly seeking out stories with strong female leads. When I hit high school, the other kids taught me that reading wasn’t cool. This is one of the saddest things that ever happened to my childhood (yes, I had an otherwise awesome upbringing). So, I almost entirely stopped reading, and writing. Thankfully, drawing didn’t have as much stigma attached, so I kept at that, and found a new love in comic books which were also deemed not-TOO-geeky. I was actually a little obsessed. I wanted to be a comic author and artist, and during this time my skills as an artist increased dramatically from the effort I put in toward that goal. I authored and illustrated five or six single issue comics of different stories, from superhero to fantasy to symbolic.

One of those comic books concepts was Memory’s Wake.

I played with character designs and page layouts, wrote and re-wrote scripts, but before I could start the actual work I hit university and ran out of time, and being close to adulthood, had to start thinking about adult things, like a career that might actually pay me. I decided I didn’t have time to illustrate it, so I took the script I created and fleshed it out into a fairly poor Novella. It then got put away while I went about being an adult. But the story never left me.

So cut to about 2009. Me and my (now) husband, David, are keen movie-goers. We love “story” in all it’s forms and we spend ages discussing the finer aspects of storytelling in the movies we’ve seen. I start reading again, after almost ten years, and Memory’s Wake starts haunting me.  I dig it up and read it and am horrified. It was full of the same sort of plot holes and lame character motivations that I love to pick apart in some other works. I almost put it away forever again, when David put me on the first step to learning how to write for reals when he pointed me to “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert Mckee.

“Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert Mckee.
http://www.amazon.com/Story-Substance-Structure-Principles-Screenwriting/dp/0060391685

While this is a screen writing book rather than about novel format writing, at it’s heart what it is all about is “Story”. What is a story, what makes a great story, how a story can be told, what are the important parts of a story, etc. I learned about inciting incidents, darkest moments, handling exposition and creating conflict. It got me excited about storytelling, and with what I learned from it I was able to strip my story down to bare essentials and build back up a working plot line. Some characters got cut entirely, others became real people rather than background cut outs. Exciting new twists were tied together with realistic character motivations and a well developed back-story. It took me almost a year. And when in doubt, I went back to “Story”, to remind myself of how to use conflict, how to structure action in my scenes and keep the story moving. “Story” opened my eyes. I no longer just wanted to write something, I wanted to be a good writer, and I’d already taken my first learning step down that path. I then started looking for where else I could learn.

The Online Writers Workshop
http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/

 

Once I had my plotline structured in detail, I started writing again from scratch. The last time I’d written prose was in high school. Yikes. I started seeking articles online to help me out, and many suggested critique groups. A quick search later and I found OWW. It’s a paid group but has a free one month trial. I think I bought my yearly membership after just a week into the trail. I loved it. I posted a chapter, and learned so much within the first few critiques from peer reviewers I knew it would be worth it. There are other critique groups out there, and they all work differently (eg, www.bookcountry.com or www.critters.org). I personally prefer the way OWW works. Firstly it’s private, unlike Book Country, so only members can read your work. Critters works on a mailing list, and you have to review and review and review and wait for your turn to pop up on the list and be reviewed. OWW lets you post up to three submissions at once (normally a chapter each). You need four review points to post a submission, and you earn those points by reviewing other peoples submissions, so it encourages people to keep reviewing work. It’s an older style site, but works nicely and the people are lovely.

Online articles
The Interwebz via google

Whenever I’m stuck on a particular writing issue (how do I write good dialogue? What’s the difference between Alright and All right?), of course I turn to google. The internet is FULL of amazing articles on writing, particularly on author’s blogs. Go and check out your favourite author’s website and see if they don’t have some tips or links for writers. There are so many articles out there, and normally I don’t bookmark most as I go because I’m looking for a solution and then move on. So this is not so much a source, as a reminder that when you get stuck, just ask Google “How do I do X?” and you’ll find help. But if I must share a link, here’s a collection of about a million decent writing articles- http://socialpolitan.org/d6/articles/category/Writing

Edit Minion
http://editminion.com/

Who doesn’t love minions? Still in Beta (in development), Edit Minion is a simple site where you paste in some text, and it will highlight any errors it can pick up. It’s a great way to suddenly see quite clearly a weakness in your work (So much green? Gah, I’m over-describing dialogue too much!). I also just learned about a piece of editing software available to buy called Editor at http://www.serenity-software.com/ which sounds way more advanced, which I will be adding to my toolkit soon.

More books!
Some to read, some to avoid.

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. This is an older text which covers basics of punctuation, grammar and sentence structure. A handy reference for authors (although, the internet and people like Grammar Girl http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ can be just as good). I did find this an interesting read, sometimes laughing out loud at the dry humour, but I’m not sure how much sunk in. I’m still no grammar guru, that’s for sure.

“On Writing” by Stephen King is a book I won’t recommend, unless you’re just really keen to read a whole lot about King’s life. He opens by telling you how he’ll keep it concise (which he seems to repeat a lot) and on topic, and then the rest of the book reads like an autobiography. There is a point to him doing this. The book is mostly a “how a writer was formed” exploration, with him as the subject. Lots of other authors recommend this book, and lots of people, obviously, read his stories, but I didn’t find anything valuable in this about actually writing.

Apart from actual instructional books, authors of course learn from reading in general, both books with the same genre and market as your own, and books as different as possible. And the bad books you read can teach you just as much as the good books.

And that’s how I learned how to write.

I can’t say I’m now a brilliant writer. Heck, I still forget how to punctuate most of the time and am not the best speller. I’ve only been teaching myself and working to better my skills for about two years now. But I’m still learning and improving, and already made a massive leap from where I started. These resources have helped me out along the way so I wanted to share them. Hopefully I’ll find some more great resources as I keep learning. Do you have any resources that have taken your knowledge and writing to a new level?

My Understanding of King Lear

A high school english assignment, in which we had to give a speech outlining our understanding of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. I decided to give mine in a pseudo-Shakespearean rhyme. I hope those who also have some understanding of King Lear find this at least a little bit amusing 🙂

King Lear

The tale of King Lear is one of tragedy and suffering,

Of 14 who lives write the pages of this play,

But seven do remain, for even the king

Doth lose his life in this calamitous display.

And in a count of these seven,

Whose hearts have ceased to thud,

But three were as noble of spirit, as they were of blood.

The ill fortune accounting for their demise

Allow the remaining good souls a reflective reprise.

Both solemn and woeful they mourn the actions

That lead to the death of these pitiful factions.

The king himself, more sinned against than sinning,

By misdeeds he himself committed, has set the wheel spinning.

Taunted by the foolish fiend that caused his one true daughter fled,

Though in the end his wisdom is gained, both he, and her, are dead.

And caught in the torturous pull of the parallel plot,

Gloucester as well must join this wretched lot.

His fatal flaws reflecting those of Lear’s,

He no longer has eyes to hold off hot tears.

Insight through blindness, wisdom is gained once the cruelty is done,

His foolishness had hidden that the son, who spoke of evils in his ear,

Was indeed the sole evil one.

Yet for this account to remain true, it must be said,

Of those lives held within the cover of this book, truthfully, eight are dead.

A humble servant proves his noble soul in Gloucester’s defence,

Proving yet again that what something appears to be is often pretence.

But what of those four whose lives were less than angelic?

Through wounds of their own sins their blood doth run thick.

Each miscreant’s deeds are repaid in full, which proves it is true,

That thou should only do unto others as they would do unto you.

It may have been Lear’s foolishness that gave his daughters the liberty

To cause him harms without conscience, in their cruelty.

But his foolishness was embodied in the image of love and generosity,

As he sought in his old age to divide his kingdom among the younger three.

His flaw was the need of some proof of their love,

And a belief that among mortal men, he stood above.

His inability to distinguish what was true and what false

Brought his enemies to his side, whilst his allies where lost.

His rejection of Cordelia and Kent was a reflex of his love,

Her humble and unflattering speech proved not enough.

Lear’s blindness did not allow his heart to see fidelity

And verbal proof his daughter refused to give as flattery.

The one sin he committed by shunning his friends

Is not deserving of such saddening ends.

Through the malicious actions of Goneril and Regan, to death, many where lead,

But the true tragedy lies in the good souls that are dead.

Each metaphorical fly lay in a web of betrayal

With each trusting gesture, in their coffin went a nail.

The ones they loved and trusted stripped them of all dignity

Until their final glimpse of hope that was shadowed by a deadly finality.

We judge Lear as a fool for his actions in the start

Yet the tragedy of his plight holds resonance in the heart.

My understanding of King Lear is as such,

If it is love and worship you crave, don’t beg for it… too much,

The reward you offer will attract false friends,

Whose vicious actions have vicious ends.

Also, do not outcast your comrades for you may not find another,

For no matter what things appear to be, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

High Fantasy Illustration- Its history, evolution, and place in society

Introduction

“The fantasy illustrator takes the pictorial conventions of realistic portrayal and then manipulates and inverts them to create marvellous worlds for which there can be no earthly analogy.”[1]

Fantasy art has been a part of all human societies throughout history. It is found in abundant forms, fairytales, folklore, mythology, science fiction and religion. High fantasy though is a genre that has evolved and come into its own in the past century, different from general fantasy, and yet intertwined as will be explored.

As fantasy has existed throughout time, so has fantasy art and illustration. All the ideas and stories of fantasy have found their place in art, illustrated into reality. Indeed fantasy art and fantasy literature have always been, and still are, inextricably linked. With the recent rise of “new age” themes, and a vast range of new mediums and areas to explore, fantasy illustration is now one of the most profitable areas in art, and yet still estranged from other artistic genres. Great modern fantasy artists enjoy huge fame in their field, yet are often unknown outside it.

Yet fantasy art may well be one of the most challenging genres to depict successfully. To create fantasy, untrue elements, and yet convince the viewer of their reality, to mix fantasy and reality in a way to give plausibility to one, and enchantment to the other, is no easy task. And often fantasy illustrators are restricted more by their commerciality, to achieve all this within the confines of a paperback cover.

The way in which fantasy illustrators accomplish these feats will be investigated, as well as the artists who have surpassed simply reaching these goals to creating truly spectacular work.

What high fantasy is defined as, and how the genre came into existence are the first issues in need of exploration.

The High Fantasy Genre Defined

“I mean by a picture a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be- in a light better than any light that ever shone- in a land no one can define or remember, only desire.”[2]

The Importance of Secondary Worlds to Fantasy Art,

and Defining High Fantasy

Defining what is fantasy is a difficult and broad task, indeed, “Fantasy may be almost all things to all men.”[3] But for high fantasy, the definition becomes more refined. Generally high fantasy, in terms of illustration and literature, is one of other worlds and other worldly creatures.

Tolkien, both a great fantasy writer and expert, defined the difference in terms of primary and secondary worlds, primary being our own world, secondary being any other imagined world. “High fantasy is, in fact, distinguished from low fantasy largely on the basis of setting. Low fantasy (low is a descriptive, not evaluative, term here) is set…in our primary world.”[4]

Hence low fantasy includes all mythology, fairytales, and fiction that includes fanciful and non-rational phenomena, but exists within our world, offering no explanation to their existence in our otherwise rational world. High fantasy on the other hand includes all these fantastic elements, but they occur in a world different to ours, secondary worlds. They gain more credibility in that these other worlds don’t need to adhere to the science and rules of the primary world. Fantastic events and creatures may be every day occurrence.

Realism and Fantasy

This use of secondary worlds is just one element of high fantasy for it to achieve the effect of creating something which is both completely fantastic in theme, but credible enough to not only not be dismissed, but to be embraced by it’s audience.

“Realism and naturalism, for example, are defined by those elements of the real world they retain; fantasy, on the other hand, is defined by those aspects of reality it denies, by representations that are not merely improbable or untrue… but patently false.”[5]

For fantasy illustration, depicting subjects that are completely unreal is only half of the effect, the full effect is achieved by depicting these unreal subjects in a way in which they appear to be in fact real. There must be some elements of reality in fantasy, so that the viewer can relate to the image on common grounds, that they may, without denial, be completely immersed in a reality that is obviously false.

“The base line of reality, therefore, is always implicit in even the most errant fantasy, and in the tension between these solid, familiar unalterable givens of experience and the particular denials of the that constitute the fiction is generates the special delight that fantasy affords us.”[6]

Illustrators take on this task in a variety of ways, but the most common tie in to reality is the depiction of humans. It is rare to find a fantasy artwork which does not contain at least one recognisably human form. While this human form is often altered to create creatures of high fantasy realms, fairies, mermaids, centaurs, anamorphic beings, there is always enough human within these creatures to relate to from our experience.

The relatively new occurance of the “secondary worlds” has given artists vast freedom to create within the theme of fantasy. Elements from their imagination, from myth, from stereotypical fantasy merge and grow to create vivid new worlds on canvas, on paper, and now digitally. If all artists had to create within but one world, whether it be the primary, or but one secondary world, then they would, in part, have to conform always to the rules of that world. For example, if all fantasy existed only within Tolkiens secondary world, and probably most famous secondary world, Middle Earth, then an artist could never create a being that did not conform to it’s vivid and strict descriptions. All hobbits painted must have hairy feet, all elves are tall with slightly pointed ears. Because of the limitless supply of secondary worlds, and imagination, an artist may create freely. In their worlds, hobbits may still be small, but their feet may be hairless. Elves might still have pointed ears, but might be smaller than even the hobbits. Secondary worlds, thus, are enormously important to fantasy art. It enables an artist to justify their creations, and while they still must adhere enough to reality to be credible, all false elements can be explained simple by the statement “In that world, that is the way they are.”

The Evolution and Origins of High Fantasy Art

“The concepts and turns of mind inherent in “religion”, “myth”, “romance”, “chronicle”, “epic”, and “mysticism”, among so many other systems, have frequently been rationalisations for the impossible, facades behind which fantasy has brooded unnoticed and unexplored.”[7]

Mythology as the Origin of Fantasy

In the past, the ability to create within secondary worlds was not always permitted. Fantasy art did not evolve through the creation of secondary worlds, but through the depiction of low fantasy, those fantasies that exist in our primary world. Fairy tales, mythology, folklore and legend have always been, and still are, popular themes of fantasy art, and have now been adopted in the new worlds of high fantasy.

In past European art, the only themes deemed worthy of art were portraiture, Christian mythology or classical mythology. Artistic imagination was not as free. When depicting these myths and tales, they had to hold true to the story. Myth, while now defined as fiction, was at one time fact to some people. Art had to be created in context with the beliefs that were looked up to. If not believed in by society at large, the myths were at least respected and revered.

The history of mythology in fantasy art goes right back to cave drawings of imagined beasts, gods and mythical creatures. Mythology arose from a need to explain the unexplainable in the world around us, and the use of art gave the myths a permanence and credence that often only a visual aid can.

The need to explain, explore and somehow capture the unknown is seen well in medieval art and tapestry, and the apparent popularity of dragon and unicorn images of the time.

A lack of knowledge may have meant that stories of large lizards are taken to be dragons. Tales of horses with horns (a popular headdress for horses of the ancient nomadic warrior tribes of the Altai region, among others) become unicorns. Thus linking the unknown with knowledge from mythology to explain the phenomena, to tie it in to their reality and give it firmness through the use of art.

The fearful unknown is captured and subdued through the use of art.

“Such was the pride and ferocity of unicorns that they could not be taken alive. Yet mortals- more prideful still- liked to think they might hold the beautiful beast captive, and so they wove tapestry prisons to contain the unicorns image.”[8]

Mythological characters, creatures and themes have been depicted in art throughout history, and even now, the creatures of myth, the harpies, Cyclops, sirens and nymphs, the gods of the pantheon, the Asgard, the Tuatha de Dannan, of all mythology, have been taken from their original contexts and cultural homes, and given a new home under the broad umbrella of the fantasy genre. Because of this adoption of myth into fantasy, it is almost impossible to define where myth ends and fantasy begins.

It is not the link to only mythology that is important to recognise, but the link to all stories. Fantasy art has evolved all over the world through the depiction of stories, whether they were at the time believed to be real, or simply were fairy tales. Even now, fantasy art and fantasy literature are inextricably tied together. The fact though that so much of mythology still exists in high fantasy is only testament to the fact that this is where what is now high fantasy has evolved from.

Hieronymous Bosch- (c 1450-1516).

For some, though, the depiction of myth and stories governed strictly by their given descriptions was not enough. The turning point in which elements from myth and stories were taken, but rethought and changed to suit an artists own imagination is often characterized by the work of Hieronymous Bosch.

Bosch is often seen as the earliest of modern fantasy artists. His artwork juxtaposed strange scenes and hellish images. Often, as with his “Garden of Earthly delights” the themes were linked with religion and myth, while his interpretation was both unique at the time and the precision and detail of the hallucinatory images noteworthy. While his work does not contain the stereotypical images and creatures of modern fantasy, it is his imagination and will to adopt, yet convert stories to his own design that marks his work as a turning point in fantasy art.

Victorian Fairyland Phenomenon

While fairytales and folklore were popular throughout Europe throughout the middle ages, they experienced a huge vogue in the 19th century. Previously, in Britain particularly, the strict Puritan society made depiction of folk or fairy tale themes unacceptable.

“Folk tales were deemed to be crude, perverse, frivolous, and uncomfortably pagan.”[9]

Fantasy, but most of all fairy art, had become the focus of a new trend. Its popularity is often seen as a rebellion against the social values of the time.

“The acceptance and rapid growth of fairyland as a fit subject matter for literature, painting, and the stage from the 1820s to the 1840s and its survival until at least the First World War is one of the most remarkable phenomena of 19th-century culture.”[10]

Where fantasy beings had once only been a part of already existing stories, fairies, and fairyland had broken out and become a genre unto it’s own. The illustrations still often were linked to literature, with the work of Shakespeare and other authors being a major influence of the time, but artists also created new worlds for fairies entirely of their own imagination.

Richard Dadd, Richard Doyle, Frances Danby, Joseph Noël Paton, John Anster Fitzgerald, Daniel Maclise, Thomas Heatherly, and Eleanor Fortesque-Brickdale were just a few of the numerous artists who created an entire genre of “Victorian Fairy Art”, a genre which was not marginalized, as fantasy art tends to be today, but found in prestigious galleries and at the Royal Academy exhibitions.

While fairies were enjoying a boom in popularity, the boom in technology was countering the magical era with its blight of factories and buildings on the English countryside. Artist of fantasy themes painted works rich in nostalgia, in particular, the art of the pre-raphaelites. Their work was based in romance, legend and myth, with a beautiful and dreamy aesthetic and fine craftsmanship to counter the ugly side of the industrial age.

“For every locomotive they build,” vowed Edward Burne-Jones, “I shall paint another angel.”[11]

The more functional side of the Art Nouveau style embraced folklore to such a degree that by the end of the 19th century, fairies and popular fairy tales scenes were commonly found in middle class homes in every form of decorative arts: wallpaper, draperies, ceramics, stained glass, metalwork, etc. Lavish new fairy tale volumes were produced that turned illustration into a fine art by the likes of Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Jessie M. King, Warwick Goble, Eleanor Vera Boyle, and the Robinson brothers.

One of the most notable occurrences of the Victorian fairy phenomena was the most publicised event of the Cottingley fairy photographs.  In 1917, Elsie Wright, and Frances Griffith, contrived to take photographs of fairies in their garden at Cottingley. These photos, crude and unconvincing by todays standards, caused an absolute sensation at the time when promoted and championed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Even before being proven to be no more than the talented artwork of the two girls, cut out fairies held in place with hatpins, the photos are actually pin pointed as the factors that marked the end of the fairy art era. Despite briefly reviving interest in fairies, the photos, the ostensible proof of the actual existence of the fairies, deprived them of the grandeur and magic.

Tolkien’s World

The fairy vogue soon died down, but the mark it left on the fantasy world is considerable.

Fantasy in literature and art continued to make it’s own niche as a new genre in it’s own right, breaking it’s ties from mythology and folklore. The rise in new technologies saw the advent of science fiction, technically another form of high fantasy, depiction other worlds and times. At the same time that science fiction was gaining ground, there was a movement back to medieval legends.

The work of Tolkien is one of the most notable events in fantasy evolution. His stories inspired a whole generation of fantasy artists who illustrated for literature. He created a whole fantasy world including fantasy races, mythologies, religions, languages and landscapes, that now are often taken as the standard descriptions for fantasy elements.

Tolkien did a great deal more for fantasy than just provide inspiration for artists. In the literary field, his work was consided worthy of the title of literature, and being so closely linked, the new found regard of fantasy literature was also enjoyed by fantasy art.

“A great many, indeed, appear to owe little or nothing directly to Tolkien, and some writers may be said to surpass him in imaginative power or philosophical conception. The point is, rather, that Tolkien made fantasy “respectable”.[12]

Tolkien had an enormous impact on fantasy art by inspiring others, not only by his own secondary world, but to also create their own realms of fantasy.

Fantasy Art Now

“Because it skirts between high art and pulp fiction, because it emerged and flourishes without the significant benefits of academic commentary, and because its efflorescence has been so wild and gorgeous”[13]

Fantasy Illustration in a Commercial Age

Throughout history Fantasy art emerged from depictions of myth and stories, and now, modern fantasy art takes its place on the book covers of modern fantasy authors. It seems that fantasy in words and fantasy in image are impossible to separate.

Fantasy art is a popular force in modern commercial society. It is still not seen hanging in fine art galleries, but instead it permeates all aspects of modern commercial culture. Found all over the internet, with huge fantasy galleries such as Elfwood (now with more than 10 000 artists)[14], it fills travelling fantasy and science fiction conventions, it is found in commercial art as calendars, pin ups and greeting cards. Fine art prints of fantasy images are sold, not in galleries, but on websites. With the advent of “New Age” products, a boom in the Wiccan Faith, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter motion pictures, comics, computer games, role playing games, collectable trading card games and more, fantasy art is found in more mediums, under more themes and in more places of society than ever before.

The same themes of Fantasy that made it popular throughout history are still evident today, with artists still “Combining romantic adventure, innocent eroticism, and a sense of wonder.”[15]

Because of its links to literature, because it is often commercial, because it is often created with no more intention than to please the eye, fantasy art is still seen as a form of illustration rather than art. Fantasy artists, like fine artists, create what they enjoy and what they are interested in. It is the popularity of the genre among the general public, which fine art often detaches itself from, that makes the art so commercial. Indeed, great modern fantasy artists work, even when not of a fantasy theme, are often classified fantasy as it is seen as being more saleable to the general public.

“The artist must walk a fine line between commercial necessities and aesthetic responsibilities.”[16]

Almost all modern fantasy artists, even those whose majority of work is from their own imagination, still work commercially illustrating the ideas and stories of fantasy authors. It is not so much their desire to create another persons ideas, but the other persons desire for their ideas to be created by the artist.

This desire could well be seen to mirror the need in the past to define myth through image, as modern authors create their own myths, they wish to see them defined by modern artists.

“If fantasy is powerfully presented or realised, it can produce an imprint on our imaginations deep enough to give it a measure of truth or reality.”[17]

With new mediums being explored and new styles and trends in art emerging, the Fantasy genre is one which an artists imagination has never been more free to create.

Unlike fine art, modern fantasy artists benefit from huge success and fame, with infatuated fans and rich earnings.

Modern Artists and their influences

When the term fantasy art is used now, often a clear image appears in the mind. A handful of modern artists have been so fundamentally important to the genre, so remarkable in their style, vision and success in the depiction of fantasy, that fantasy art and illustration is now defined in terms of their work. Below, a number of these artists will be examined in terms of their style, their influences and their effect on the world of fantasy art and illustration.

Boris and Julie

Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, the husband and wife team with a style so similar, and so amazing that the pair have become synonymous both with each other and with the fantasy genre.

In style, their work is dramatic in its imagination and stark in its photorealism. They can depict a woman in all blue metallic flesh, in an alien landscape with bizarre creatures, and have it appear to be reality. Where most fantasy art often incorporates human figures, for them it is the main focus. The perfect, sensual human form displays in all their work.

One of the main criticisms of modern fantasy is its tendency towards the depiction of scantily clad women, often in compromising positions. Fantasy art has been branded as exploitative, sexist and cheap. The rise in fame of artist Julie Bell has been a great blow for these stereotypes, as now these sumptuous female forms are being depicted not by men, but by a woman. This somewhat trivial fact of the sex of the artist has allowed the art to be seen for it’s worth in celebrating the beauty and strength of the female form.

The realism of their images is stark and shocking. Strong colours, strong women, sharp details and sharp weapons, their subjects aren’t those of fanciful myth or folklore, but the gritty, yet gorgeous heroines and heroes of a new and radiant era in fantasy illustration.

Their style and technical skill can be compared to that of the great masters, who were inspirations for them both. “Vermeer, Rembrandt, Leonardo — during my early years I used to study the works of such masters again and again.”[18] Their art has the same realism, the same rich, smooth quality, the same attention to detail, but unlike those styles, the work of Boris and Julie has an austere strength unlike any throughout history.

Brian Froud

In terms of creating secondary worlds that have left a mark in the fantasy genre, few have been as successful as Tolkien. The modern master for creating mystical realms though has to be Froud. His style and vision has set him apart amongst artists and designers, and set a new standard of imagination and creativity. His work is so distinctive, so in depth, that his worlds have been as influential to modern fantasy as Tolkien was to its evolution. His work on designing worlds for the feature films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth is celebrated throughout the fantasy art and design areas.

Frouds work, like that of Boris and Julie, has become synonymous with fantasy as we now know it.

While he also deals in high fantasy, his other worlds are differ starkly to those of Boris and Julies. His style is not one of photorealism. His art contains a sense of vagueness and mystery. It has a style decorative and whimsical like that of Arthur Rackham’s work, who indeed was the artist who triggered Frouds interest in folklore and fantasy.

Fantasy Arts Place in Society

“Some critics and academics condemn the whole genre with a passion which seems to have its roots in emotion rather than objective critical standards.”[20]

Fantasy Arts Importance and Its Perceived Value

The fantasy genre, including all forms of its expression, has often been undervalued for its role in society. The worlds of fantasy are one of the oldest genres in human society, yet even now are dismissed by almost all of their thematic and stylistic counterparts who to often “relegate contrary modes to escapism and rebellion.”[21]

However, fantasy is essential to human life, its imagination and creativity. It gives the human mind a place to explore and grow. Using elements of our real world, combined with pure fantasy gives humans a place where they can create and examine aspects of life in general.

“The human mind, that is, in its ability to imagine an existence other than the one which it experiences, is permitted to perceive, as if from the outside, the existence in which it is actually immersed.”[22]

So fantasy as a theme isn’t simply pure escapism, although it is a definite factor, but also a tool for analysing our real world. In depictions of other worlds and other worldly beings, whether utopian or dystopian, it gives humans an opportunity to compare our existence to another, to see both its flaws and value.

“Fantasy… always exists in a symbiotic relationship with reality and its conventionalised representation, depending on it for its existence and at the same time commenting upon it, criticizing it, and illumination it.”[23]

There have been many great reviewers on the importance of myth and fantasy, among which Joseph Campbell stands out. He also notes the importance of artists calling them the “shamans and myth-makers”[24] of our modern world. The modern artists of fantasy now have a great task to bear, they must keep alive the themes and magic inherent in the old myths that helped form society as we know it.

Conclusion

Fantasy art is only now starting to be seen as an area worth analysis, debate and academic value. Courses in fantasy literature are now found in many colleges and universities, and while fantasy art is still often seen as purely commercial, in this way it enjoys great success. It is more widespread and has a larger fan base than other forms of art. The very fact that modern fine art purposefully detaches itself from the general public, whereas the general public embrace, and are embraced by fantasy art, is evident of its history and close ties to civilisation, and hopefully, it’s continued importance and growth as an artistic genre to society.

Bibliography

(Images once included in this essay no longer available)

The Faeryland Companion, Beatrice Phillpotts, 1999 Random House, Australia PTY LTD

Yesterday’s Lily, Jeffrey Jones, Dragons Dream LTD, Netherlands, 1980

The Enchanted World, Magical Beasts, The editors of Time Life Books, Amsterdam

The Enchanted World, Wizards and Witches, The editors of Time Life Books, Amsterdam

The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

Beyond Time and Place, Non-Realist Painting in the Nineteenth Century, Philippe Roberts-Jones, Oxford University Press, 1978

Wonderworks- science fiction and fantasy art, Michael Whelan, Starblaze editions, USA, 1979

Where Mythological Art ends and Fantasy Art begins… http://members.tripod.com/~nettski/info.html

“Victorian Fantasies” by Terri Windling http://www.endicott-studio.com/forvctf.html

The Elfwood Project http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/elfwood.html

In Defence of Fantasy, Ann Swinfen, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1984

Boris Vallejo www.suicide.couk.com/gallery/boris/borisbio.htm

Brom www.bromart.com


[1] The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[2] Beyond Time and Place, Non-Realist Painting in the Nineteenth Century, Philippe Roberts-Jones, Oxford University Press, 1978 Page 85

[3] On the Nature of Fantasy, C.N. Manlove, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[4] The Secondary Worlds of High Fantasy, Kenneth J. Zahorski and Robert H. Boyer, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[5] Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[6] Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[7] The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[8] The Enchanted World, Magical Beasts, The editors of Time Life Books, Amsterdam

[9] “Victorian Fantasies” by Terri Windling http://www.endicott-studio.com/forvctf.html

[10] “Victorian Fantasies” by Terri Windling http://www.endicott-studio.com/forvctf.html

[11] Beyond Time and Place, Non-Realist Painting in the Nineteenth Century, Philippe Roberts-Jones, Oxford University Press, 1978

[12] In Defence of Fantasy, Ann Swinfen, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1984

[13] Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[14] Elfwood Amatuer Fantasy Art Gallery elfwood.lysator.liu.se

[15] Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[16] Wonderworks- science fiction and fantasy art, Michael Whelan, Starblaze editions, USA, 1979

[17] On the Nature of Fantasy, C.N. Manlove, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[18] www.suicide.couk.com/gallery/boris/borisbio.htm

[19] www.bromart.com

[20] The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[21] The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[22] Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[23] Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger, The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, University of Notre Dame Press and The Harvester Press, Indiana, 1982

[24] www.endicott-studio.com/intbftw.html

Under the Influence

Not the type to have ever taken recreational drugs, I’ve always been quite satisfied with what my imagination comes up with on it’s own. Here is one exception- After dental surgery (to have all four highly compacted wisdom teeth removed at once, eek!), I was on some heavy duty painkillers. As I drifted in and out of conciousness, this poem simply came to me. I felt for a moment how Colleridge must have felt some of the time.

I have no idea what the poem means, but I like the random surreality of it.

The nosepegs stood across the frozen sky,
By and by,
Dry from stolen fear.
A mist. The sound went round and round the inner spinning sphere.
Alas the bath stood mighty tall
And looked for all it’s worth like rain.
It held the foot like butter nooks
To dry the slowing drifts of pain.
And yet, and soft, and long, and light,
The needle longed it’s way to lie.