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Writing advice on YA fantasy

Writing Tip — Guest Blogger, Amy C. Blake

SONY DSCI’m so excited about May’s theme, creating characters, that I’m starting a day early! Here to discuss characters in her latest release is YA fantasy and suspense writer, Amy C. Blake. Welcome, Amy!

Which comes first when creating a story – characters, plot, or setting?

I usually have some idea of plot and setting, but I need to know my main character in great detail before I can do much with a story. Since what happens in the plot depends so heavily on my protagonist’s personality and background, I’d say character is the most important factor for me.

Do you use a different approach for villains and heroes?

My hero is a critical part of my story, so I get to know him/her completely before I start writing. While I also need to know my villain thoroughly, that character is somewhat dependent on my hero. In other words, I want my villain to be the best antagonist to fit my hero. For instance, in my Levi Prince series (my new release The Fay’s Apprentice is the third book in that series), Hunter is the perfect villain for Levi. Hunter is rich, self-confident, and insolent. Levi is poor, gawky, and self-conscious. In addition, the ancestors of the two boys shared a similar antagonism to theirs, a factor Levi is only beginning to understand by his third summer in Terracaelum.

Who was the easiest character you’ve created? Who was the most difficult?

The easiest character is a toss-up between Patience from Whitewashedand Levi from my Levi Prince series. Patience was easy because I tend to be impatient like she is. Levi was easy because he’s a homeschooled pastor’s kid like my own children. Christy from Colorblind was the most difficult because she’s super sweet but was also not a believer during much of the story.

What do you think is the key for creating main characters that readers can relate to?

I think it’s key that my main characters be real. They need to be basically likable people but with at least one flaw many readers share. As I mentioned earlier, Patience tends to be impatient. Many of us battle that tendency as well, so she’s relatable. However, Patience isn’t just impatient. She’s also kind to a young mother trying to pacify twin babies on an airplane, and I’m careful to show that side of her personality before I show her flaw(s).

What’s been your most unusual source of inspiration for a character?

My main characters are all homeschoolers, something I haven’t seen in the mainstream or Christian markets. As a homeschooling mom of four, I wanted to show that home educated kids are well-rounded, likable but flawed individuals, just like everybody else.

To follow Amy, visit her at the following sites:

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FaysApprentice_FlatOn Levi’s third summer at Camp Classic, he’s torn between two responsibilities. On the one hand, his parents expect him to watch over his little sister Abby, who has no clue their summer camp is a haven for mythical creatures. On the other hand, Mr. Dominic wants him to train at Fort Terra, a full day’s hike away from his sister, because of Levi’s previous encounters with the demon sorcerer Deceptor. Although he enjoys training with his friends, Levi finds life at Fort Terra difficult thanks to the ongoing tension between him and Hunter and the stress of having his former kidnapper Regin as his chaperone. When the woman Regin claims to be the evil sorceress Anna appears, Levi faces a whole new challenge. (Book 3 in the Levi Prince series)

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Award-winning author Amy C. Blake is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of four. She has an M.A. in English from Mississippi College and has written articles, devotionals, and short stories for a number of publications. She’s also writing two series for the Christian market, her Levi Prince YA fantasy series and her On the Brink Christian suspense trilogy.

WhitewashedColorblind, and Tie-Dyed, featuring three homeschooled girls on the brink of adulthood…and danger, are available in paperback and Kindle. The Trojan Horse TraitorThe Fall of Thor’s Hammer, and The Fay’s Apprentice, about homeschooled pastor’s kid Levi Prince and his adventures in Terracaelum, are also available in paperback and Kindle. She’d love for you to visit her website at amycblake.com.

 

Writing Tip — Guest Blogger, T.E. Bradford

36878543_125578318354679_4835224291496689664_nMy guest blogger for today is T.E. Bradford. The first book in her YA fantasy trilogy will be released in September, and she has already published a book on her battle with cancer. Welcome, Tracy!

Me: Which comes first when developing a story – characters, setting, or plot?

T.E.: My stories are very character driven, but it’s hard to separate the plot from the characters in my head—they sort of come as a package deal. I see stories and scenes in my head like a movie is playing. The trick is to write them well enough so readers can see them too.

 Me: What are some unique challenges to writing speculative fiction?

T.E.: Writing speculative, the story is by nature a bit unbelievable. Making it believable, while keeping that element of the fantastic, can be a delicate line to walk. Sometimes a choice of one adjective over another can make a huge difference.

 Me: What do you do to renew your inspiration when it is running low?

T.E.: Write more! LOL

Yeah, I’m kind of a geek. I also read a LOT. Like 3-4 books a week. And I’m one of those people who has crazy vivid dreams. They can provide a lot of good inspiration.

 Me: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write speculative fiction?

T.E.: Dream with all your senses! I coined that line as my first “brand” headline for my website, and I still love it. I think it captures the idea that you are dreaming, yet still bringing in all of the sensory information to make it as real as possible. Also, don’t let anyone poo-poo your idea. It’s yours. This is speculative fiction we’re talking about, after all. So what if no one else has done it? In fact, that’d be awesome if you could find something no one has ever done. So just go for it.

The first book in my Divide Series – Child of Prophecy, is set to release this September with Elk Lake Publishing. It’s so exciting, and I would not be doing it if I hadn’t just jumped out in faith and let God take my writing where He wanted it to go.

Here’s a quick blurb for Child of Prophecy:

Being different is bad, until you find out it’s the one thing that might save you.

Fifteen-year-old Nova would give anything to fit in. But there’s a reason she feels so out of place in this world—she’s from another one. And prophecy says she’s destined to destroy them both.

 Check out T.E.’s bio and links below.

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Tracy is a writer, singer-songwriter, cancer survivor and proud wife and mother. Born and raised in Central New York, she will tell you that her parents gave her the two best tools in her arsenal by reading to her and raising her in a Christian household. In spite of the long CNY winters she continues to live there with the husband that God created just for her, and the son who is her forever best story. In her heart, she feels that her gift of writing is a little piece of magic, and that it is both her privilege and grandest adventure to find new ways to stretch a hand out to touch the wonder of this vast universe God created.

LINKS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TEBradford

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/WorldOfThrea

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TE_Bradford

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/T.E.-Bradford/e/B01LYP25SS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Website: http://www.tebradford.com

 

 

 

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