Older women in fantasy novels

I’m planning a sequel to my current fantasy novel, and its going to have a more diverse cast. Older women will definitely feature. Here are some of the things I’m thinking and worrying about.

You might think from the title of this post that I’m about to take you on an intellectual exploration of the roles and representation of older women in the fantasy genre. Or you might know me and expect nothing of the sort.

I don’t study literature, but I read, look, and think, and occasionally I have enough thoughts about a topic that I want to share them.

Or I realise it’s 5:30pm and I’m supposed to write a blog post tonight, and I have no idea what I’m going to write about.

Let’s agree I have no good reason to write about this topic, but that I’m going to do it anyway.

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Lessons from my trunk novels

I’ve written trunk novels that should be kept from the world for its own good. Doesn’t mean I can’t read them, laugh, and maybe learn something.

I expect most people who write long enough end up with a collection of novels (or pieces of novels) that will never see the light of day. I have.

I love my trunk novels. I love how cringeworthy the earlier ones are, full of purple prose, plotless plots, nonsensical worlds, and blatant plagiarism from my favourite authors.

I love the progression of goals: save the village, save the kingdom, save the world. Because what else could the goals possibly be?

And there are so many Mary Sues.

Golden Horse Summer

It’s a fantasy novel so there has to be a magic sword. I know! I’ll have them find one lying by the side of the road, because that makes sense. And the sword’s purple. Come to think of it, the main character’s eyes are purple too.

Purple is the best colour.

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Living and editing in the time of Covid-19

I wanted to write a blog post that entertained or meant something, but it feels wrong to be funny when the world is so grim, and currently my insights are as scattered as my concentration. So you get a stream of consciousness about my current editing strife instead. Sorry about that.

Recently I looked back at my record of word counts, and discovered I started writing my WIP in December 2015. I finished the first draft in March 2016, and I’ve been editing ever since. During that time I’ve changed the story substantially, learned a lot, and written enough scenes for five books.

Okay, probably not five. But I have scrapped and replaced a lot.

I even sent the story to beta readers once. The feedback? Parts were good, but what the main character was doing for most of the book had nothing to do with the main quest.

Problem.

I’ve pulled the whole book apart and put it back together again. I’ve solved some problems and introduced others.

And along the way I’ve discovered some truths. In case they’re helpful for you, or you enjoy laughing at my pain, here they are.

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The kind of book I love to read and want to write

I describe my ideal book–a high fantasy novel that takes me on an emotional journey–and offer to beta read for you if you wrote it. Or if you’re nice.

When friends in real life ask me what kind of books I write, I tell them “fantasy with dragons”. This has the benefit of being a) true and b) uninformative.

What? Not all books have dragons?

The short answer is that I write the kinds of books I most like to read. (Doesn’t everyone?)

Here’s the long answer about what I love to read and try to write.

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The physical inspiration for my WIP

Mushrooms, wrestling, and a few glimpses into my work in progress.

I don’t write about my life as such, but that doesn’t stop little bits of it sneaking into my novels.

When I was ten and started writing my first novel it was autumn and field mushrooms were popping up everywhere in the garden. I don’t like eating mushrooms, but I love the idea of finding food in the corner of the lawn.

For a whole book my characters ate nothing but mushrooms.

They probably didn’t have much choice because they were seven years old and lived in the middle of nowhere with no parents or other means of support.

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