We are moving, you see, and I need to get all my bits and bobs together into one place so that I can find it all again once the chaos is over. As I have gathered all my notes (offering envelopes and all), I have been looking through them all. Some parts make me smile at my simplistic approaches, while others make me cringe at my obvious ignorance of the craft. I've come a long way, but that journey is not for this post. No, this is about one particular list I found in the middle of a spiral bound notebook that likely dates back to pre-Gutenberg times.
This particular entry was done fairly early on in the process. Now, I am not as versed in the rules of engagement as my friends, Heather and David, but I have always possessed the rudiments of the craft. I suspect that this was during my first serious attempt to get a grip on where I wanted my story to go and how to get there. Simply put, I asked myself this question: What do I like in a novel?
This is the list I came up with:
- Maps: Proper maps that are illustrated well (Many maps that are put in fantasy novels look as if they were drawn by my six year old.) and look ancient. I want the map to look as if it had just come from an ancient library or sealed within a clay jar for centuries.
- Secret Passages: Stone walls that swing open with the clank of rusty gears. Darkened stairways hidden at the back of alcoves or behind tapestries that spiral into the unknown.
- Cavalry Charges: Think the Riders of Rohan charging to the field or a small band charging in at just the right moment. Think here of the Lone Ranger or the Shadow.
- Ancient Lore: Having the character discover something that has been lost to time through disuse or persecution.
- Magic: I apparently was in a state of flux when I wrote this particular item as I seem to have scratched out several ideas associated with this notation. None of those ideas have survived to the current version, so clearly it was time well spent.