We are delighted to welcome author Donna Migliaccio on our website today, she has kindly written a fascinating guest post titled, Keeping Track of a Gantasy World, as part of a blog tour for her latest novel StoneKing which is book three in her fantasty series The Gemeta Stone.
Keeping Track of a Fantasy World by Donna Migliaccio
I am often asked how, in a multi-book series like The Gemeta Stone (3 Book Series), I keep track of the details of my fantasy world, the characteristics of the hundreds of people who populate it, their names and the various place-names, and so on. Those who ask usually assume that I’ll answer with a description of some fabulous method of outlining or spread-sheeting or map creation or character profiling.
I’m always a little embarrassed to answer that I don’t do any of those things.
I’m a textbook example of what those in the book trade call a “pantser.” That means I will sit down in front of the computer with a clear idea of where I want to start and where I want to end up, but with only a vague idea of what the actual journey will be. And I just start writing. Writing this way is like a voyage of discovery: I’m constantly surprised by the characters who show up and the things they do and the places they go.
At one time I actually started a character profile binder, because I’d been told it was something I needed to do – that I was somehow not doing my job if I didn’t create some sort of tracking system for my novels. I love to organize so I thought it would be right up my alley. I created a blank form to fill out for each character – a sheet that included their age and height and coloring and country of origin and personality traits. And I started dutifully filling out those forms, starting at the beginning of the saga and creating a page for each character as they were introduced.
And I found it didn’t help. There was something so dull, so constricting about filling out those forms. Every time I finished one, I felt as if I’d flattened the characters out, pinned them down like butterflies in a collection. They were no longer free to move, to grow, to surprise me. They barely felt alive. It was as if my imagination had been boxed in by all those forms. Trying to keep up with this bookkeeping system ate into my writing time, too. So I gave it up, and went back to trusting the filing systems in my own head.
This doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally back up in my writing to double-check whether I gave a character blue eyes or green, or if the name I’m thinking about giving a new character isn’t too similar to one I’ve already created (one character in the series changed names three times before I found one that “fit”). I’m meticulous about this kind of minutiae, but I don’t need a binder full of forms to help me keep them sorted. Everything I need to know is already there in the pages of my novels.
I will also, on occasion, scrawl out a map just so I can estimate how far a journey would be from this place to that one. During a particularly difficult plotting session, I wrote the active characters’ names on individual sticky notes and put them on the wall of my study, just so I could track who was where at a particular point in the story. But none of these are “methods” – the way I “always” do things. They’re simply a means to an end and when I’m done with them, the scribbled maps and the sticky notes go into the trash, and I’m free to see with my mind’s eye once more.
We hope you have enjoyed Donna’s insightful guest post Keeping Track of a Gantasy World. We are delighted that we were able to host her today and her latest book sounds fantastic.
StoneKing (The Gemeta Stone Book 3)
Title: StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio
Publication date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.
And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.
About the author
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.
StoneKing is available to purchase at:
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