Tag Archives: transportation

Your Enchantress Can Have a Cluttered Workroom

5 Essentials for Writing Fantasy Part 1: Goings-on

This is the first of a five-part series about fantasy writing craft. These posts explore five techniques for composing the story’s narrative passages. 

Events. Activities. Story happenings. Writing about the goings-on is the most basic technique for showing the plot. Most début stories fall victim to goings-on problems. Lita has good news. The goings-on problems are easy to fix.

Line Up the Goings-on and Present them One at a Time

Line Up the Goings-on and Present them One at a Time

All Together Now, Not

Lita covered stringing a story’s actions like beads in another post, but it’s worth mentioning again. In the mundane world, events happen at the same time. A car’s tires screech as it speeds around a sharp curve. An assassin crouches behind a bush as she waits for her target. A driver simultaneously operates a car, sends text messages, and imperils traffic all the way home.

In fantasy worlds, things happen one at a time. A car sped around the sharp curve.  The tires screeched.  An assassin ducked behind a bush, then settled to wait for her prey. The motorist-to-be turned off his cell phone, tucked it in a pocket, and opened the SUV’s door. Commuters cheered.

Your Enchantress Can Have a Cluttered Workroom

Your Enchantress Can Have a Cluttered Workroom, But Your Narrative Should be Orderly

De-clutter with Cause and Effect

Think like a physics whiz in your writing: first there is an action, then a reaction. Our mundane world has plenty to say about cause and effect. Play the field before you settle down. If you want to do well, you must first work hard. The night is darkest an hour before dawn.

Same holds true when writing about fantasy worlds. The knight poked the sleeping dragon with his sword. The dragon awoke, ate the knight, and belched. The princess kissed the frog, got warts on her lips, and went in for plastic surgery. That night, she dined on sautéed frog legs. Wizard Nob scratched the satiated dragon behind its ear. The dracon let out a sigh. Its breath set Nob’s robe on fire.

First the Drop of Water, Then the Ripples

First the Drop of Water, Then the Ripples

Show Everything

In the early drafts of your fantasy stories, include all the steps of events, even the unimportant ones.  Including these steps will help you to show, not tell the goings-on. You will trim away the trivial steps later during editing.

Consider: “Sir Bright poured a love potion for the customer. She loved it.” Not very interesting. We can tell a better story by showing everything.

Sir Bright turned and took a bottle of Number Nine off the top shelf. He fetched a sparkling crystal goblet from the counter-top display. Bright pulled the cork and splashed the amber liquid in the glass to make it fizz. He pushed the drink across the counter to the mousey woman.  She took a deep breath, cupped the goblet in her palms, raised it to her thin lips, and sipped.

“Is it to your satisfaction, Madam Seamstress?”

She Dashed the Goblet to the Floor

She Dashed the Goblet to the Floor

Emboldened, the woman tossed back the rest of potion, then dashed the goblet to the floor.  It shattered.  She licked her lips.

“It’s faulty, Sir Bright.”

“In what way?”

“It doesn’t enamor Tully to me.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” Bright said.  “He hasn’t laid eyes on you yet.”

“I am aware. The potion has a different effect.”


She scrambled up on the counter, grabbed his jacket lapels, and yanked him forward. He lost his balance and ended up nose-to-nose. Her breath smelled of liquorice and mint.  Oh, bother.  Wrong bottle.

In the Floating Lands, gravity is just a suggestion

All Aboard for the Floating Lands

In the Floating Lands, gravity is just a suggestion

In the Floating Lands, gravity is just a suggestion

Welcome aboard. This airship is now departing to the place where flying islands drink clouds, pigs soar, and lovely Harpies rule their rock-spire land. 

Find out more about the fantasy locales where islands float and we visit with a horse we all know. You will also learn the one thing that most wizards cannot resist.

Watch your step on the gangplank. The forward lounge has the best refreshments and views. Come now and visit Lita’s Floating Lands World.

A Resident of the Floating Lands

New: Lita’s Floating Lands Video

A Resident of the Floating Lands

A Resident of the Floating Lands

It’s time to roll out another of Lita’s fantasy worlds–Floating Lands.  This month is a look at lighter-than-air islands, levitating people, and soaring cows. Check out Lita’s just-released Floating Lands video.

Been There, Done That

We have all visited floating lands–do you dream you can fly? When asleep, we soar like a lark or hover like hummingbirds.

Sometimes when your legs feel so heavy during your morning run, or you’re at a standstill in commuter traffic, do you look to the sky and marvel at a bird’s effortless glide on the wind? If you parachute, then you have felt the breathless sensation of floating. Ditto if you’ve flown in a zero-G airplane or hovered in the blast of a wind tunnel.

Fantasy Fiction Loves to Fly

Fantasy fiction is airborne.  The King of Eagles plucks the imprisoned wizard from atop his enemy’s tower. Sparkly-faced vampires leap the distance of soccer fields from balconies to treetops. Any sorceress worth her pointy hat can levitate a feather or a boulder.

Come fly with Lita. Certain rock-lined airships, and entire islands, float effortlessly in the Forever Boy and Ephraim’s Curious Device stories.  Enchanters make dozens of flowers hover in the rafters in Tredan’s Bane.  Call Floating Lands magic surreal or bizarre, but be sure to have fun flying away in Lita’s new video.

Clockwork Automata Man

Copernicus, One of the Minor Demons

Cross section of an automata

Step inside the Pilot House. Meet Copernicus. He flies Wizard Kadmeion’s airship.

Copernicus is the most advanced metal homunculi (also called automata) on Kadmeion’s airship. Copernicus is a magical sentient creature with a metal body created by Bright, and animated by a minor demon summoned by Kadmeion.

Demons live on the nether plains until called by a magician in the Clockpunk Wizard world. There is a hierarchy of demons based on their mental sophistication and physical ability to animate magician-created bodies. The demons have established this caste system for themselves. I’ve simplified it here.

The lower classes of minor demons easily answer the calls of magicians that practice low magic, such as pellars and hedge-witches. These lower demons are jesters that favor crude humor, such as word puns and rude noises. They are indiscriminate with the bodies they will inhabit, so you will see them in mandrake roots and fresh corpses.

Copernicus is just out of camera view. This is the Pilot House.

The middle class of minor demons will be thick-witted, but are useful as bodyguards (the magical term is goons). While they will not animate corpses, they will inhabit vat-grown homunculi bodies. They don’t like residing in clockwork bodies because they lack the mental acuity to use the legs without tripping.

High class minor demons are smart, articulate, and well-behaved.  They respond only to a wizard’s high magic summons (this is a point of pride in the minor demon ranks). These minor demons will only inhabit clockworks bodies of a certain high quality. Copernicus is the epitome of fussiness about his metal body. I understand from talking with the Agatha University clockworks magicians that Kadmeion and Bright’s efforts with Copernicus are splendid.

Let’s not distract Copernicus while he’s guiding the airship through these tricky floating islands. Let’s go below decks and see Kadmeion and Bright’s current magical project. The Workrooms are next on our tour.

How the Airship Works

Kadmeion dribbled his coffee on the map. Sorry about the stains.

Welcome to the topside Map Room in Wizard Kadmeion’s airship. It adjoins the Pilot House.

Plate Geography

The magical world of Clockpunk Wizard  in Forever Boy is a spinning plate with a large mountainous land mass at the spindle called the South Pole. The rest of the platter is a vast ocean dotted with small sandy cays.

The strong magical field at the South Pole causes a certain volcanic rock to float. These rocks break away from the primary landmass and drift toward the Rim. These hundreds of floating islands are the habitable archipelago for the magicians and other inhabitants of the Clockpunk Wizard world.

The weather is calm near the South Pole. Storms are common toward the outer edge of the plate. At the Rim boundary, violent winds destroy everything. All the floating islands eventually drift to the Rim and disappear. Smaller islands move more quickly to their death. The largest floating islands can last for a century or longer.

Magical creatures flourish on the floating islands. Many island residents have need of a wizard’s skilled services. This is the basis of Kadmeion and Bright’s roving magician-for-hire business.

An “Ornithopter” personal flying machine by Da Vinci

Concerning Airships and Leonardo

The people and magical creatures of the Clockpunk Wizard  world lived only on the South Pole landmass until they mastered how to mine floating rock. They line the hulls of their airships with the buoyant rock, and use sails to maneuver the airships between floating islands. Clockworks are an integral part of airship operation. We’ll look at the metalwork a little later in one of the below decks Gear Rooms.

Recently, the brilliant inventor Da Vinci perfected a series of flying apparatuses that revolutionized personal mobility. His establishment, called Leonardo’s Airborne Contraptions, is doing a brisk business from his workshop at the South Pole. His clever designs appear everywhere on Kadmeion’s new airship.

On to the Pilot House now to meet the homunculi.

Forever Boy Book Launch Party Begins

Watch your step. Gang planks can wobble.

Welcome! You’re just in time. Please hold on to the handrail as you come aboard.

The Forever Boy book launch party will be on Wizard Kadmeion’s airship today. I’m to show you around.

Kadmeion, Bright, and the Go Fer dog will meet us later in the dining room for celebration cake. We have permission to talk with the pilot Copernicus and look at the automata. I have a key for all the rooms. Kadmeion says that he’s not working any spells today, so our explorations will be quite safe. Bright asks us not to touch the clockworks, but we can look all we want.

Over the next four hours, Lita will put up several blog posts during our airship tour and talk about the magical world in Clockpunk Wizard. Be sure to ask your questions along the way. If there’s anything Lita doesn’t know, she will ask the wizard or his clockworks assistant.

A small airship. Kadmeion’s is much larger.

About the Giveaway

(Please Note: the Giveaway has closed) During our tour of Kadmeion’s airship, the wizard has asked me to give away copies of Forever Boy. If you haven’t yet gotten your eBook from one of the dock-side merchants on your way here, just send Lita an email at: LitaBurkeWriter(at-thingy)gmail(dot)com. I will email you a coupon code for Smashwords. It’s that easy.There’s plenty to see on Kadmeion’s airship. Let’s get to it. Our first stop is the Map Room.