Creating Fictional Monsters

I’ve just finished the fifth draft of my 125,000+ word urban fantasy. I began right after retirement on June 1st and many things needed to be changed along the way. I don’t edit eight hours, or even four hours a day, but prefer to work in the mornings, leaving the rest of the day for exercise, gardening, promo stuff, other writing-related tasks and online workshops. There’s also those much beloved visits with my granddaughter Ellie.

This is the quickest draft I’ve worked through with this book, but once the weather turns cold and rainy, I hope to spend more hours on actual writing. Also, there are many more things I want to learn.

To that end, I recently bought a couple of books, which I’ll soon I dig into. One is The Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester and the other is Writing Monsters by Philip Athans. This second book really intrigues me as supernatural monsters aren’t something I’m used to creating.

I’ve been reading a lot of authors’ fantasies and although there’s quite a variey, most of them are a little too familiar. Trolls, werewolves, vampires, goblins, golems, etc. just aren’t scary anymore, so I wanted to come up with something different than this:

So, what makes a really chilling monster in fiction? There are probably a range of answers depending on perspective and experience. After all, some people are more frightened by certain creatures than others. For me, one of the most horrifying creatures are Orcs. The first time I saw them in the Lord of the Rings movies, I could feel my heart speed up a little. I don’t think I ever got used to watching them, especially on the big screen.

So, kind of monster would scare you the most? What would make your heart race just a little, and keep you up late at night, praying nothing like that could exist in real life? I’m curious. 😊

#amblogging: You Want To Be A What?

I was raised in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Back then Surrey was both rural and a rapidly growing urban area for young families. In those days, one salary could support a family in a modest, detached house.

Fifty years later, Vancouver is now one of the most expensive cities in the country. The average Canadian is nearly $22,000 in debt, which doesn’t include a mortgage. The living wage in Vancouver is now set at $20.64 an hour. It’s barely enough for one person to survive on, let alone a family. dollar-signs-money-clip-art-thumb2184272[1]

You can therefore imagine how difficult it is for a writer to survive financially. Truth is, (and this shouldn’t surprise you) that the overwhelming majority of Canadian fiction authors earn far below a poverty wage.

So I gasped when my husband ran into an associate who told him that his 22-year-old child is at university studying to become a writer. His impression was that he wanted to write books for a living, although my husband wasn’t entirely sure about it.

While I’m happy that the younger generation is interested in writing, to think that one can earn a living from fiction at that age is wildly improbable. If I had a chance to talk with this young person, I’d say, “Go ahead and pursue your dream, but get a steady job while doing so..at least until you’ve attended useful writing conferences, networked with authors in the biz, and have some publication credits under your belt.”

I hope he’s doing these things. But I worry. You see, when I’m selling my books at craft fairs, a disturbingly large number of customers assume that I’m making piles of money. Unpublished writers seem shocked that my former publisher only granted me ten free copies of each newly released title, as per our contract. If I wanted more, I had to pay for them, albeit at a discount.

I’ve also encountered writers on forums who appear to be counting on writing income to support meager pensions. Yikes! To all fiction writers out there, have a Plan  B and a Plan C!. Life is stressful enough without putting that kind of financial pressure on yourself.