Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Creating a fictional enchanted world


In my books about the magic game ‘The Tenth Gateway’, the game world was created hundreds of years ago. I therefore wanted the world to reflect aspects of the medieval period. 


So the fictional magical beings and nasty creatures in the books draw on traditional fairy tales and folklore but they live in a world that doesn’t have modern technology. There’s lots of magic and anything can happen but there are no cars, planes, big cities or computers.



Hansel & Gretal
The Brownies
‘An Encyclopedia of Fairies’ by Katherine Briggs was really helpful.  I also trawled through the internet and I remembered all the great fairy tales I have read. 
I love these images that I found in a volume of a very old encyclopedia – J. A Richards Publishing Co., Inc 1947!



Some Writing Challenges


One of the most difficult things to do in writing my stories was the come up with the various challenges and puzzles that the children have to solve to move through the game. Childhood memories also played a major role here.

I remember getting stuck for a couple of months when writing the first book because I couldn’t think how to move the children from one particular world to another. Thank goodness for Eda’s  ‘good magic’ which helps them to play the game. 



I needed to change the gateway worlds and challenges in Book Two – ‘The Spy’s Door’. The growing power of the evil magician Malefic means that he is increasingly able to modify the game to suit his purpose. He wants to escape from the game which keeps him a prisoner. Eda is determined to stop him.

I had lots of fun thinking about how the game would change as Malefic’s evil influence spread.

Book trailers

Alison Tait has a great book trailer for her children’s books ‘The Map Maker Chronicles’. I can recommend looking at the trailer and also reading the books – a great fantasy adventure story. It’s what motivated me to have my first book trailer on ‘The Tenth Gateway’ developed by Austin Macauley (publisher). I (with help of course) included the Youtube links in one of my recent blogs.



I’m not sure how people stumble/find things (like book trailers) on Youtube unless they know exactly what they’re looking for. 

I know about Google. Type in key words and it’s amazing what information you can find. However I’m not sure how people find things they don’t know exist; for example: terrific books or the web sites of other great authors.

I suppose utilising ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO) helps a bit.  Sounds like something mysterious to include in a children’s fantasy story! What do you think?



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Writing my book


Getting started 


As with a lot of people who write I scribbled lots of poems and stories as a child. And of course I was a ‘book worm’. I even wrote fantasy for young children in my twenties. The draft copy still sits here in my study and I’m determined to try and polish it up in the New Year.

My ‘real’ career beckoned.

Therefore it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided I would like to do something serious with my writing. But I didn’t want to do any more formal study.  So I completed two online short courses with the Australian Writers Centre – they were a great help. The first was in creative writing and the second in writing children’s books. I realised that it was ‘fantasy’ that I really loved. It enables my imagination to take flight.

During the two courses the idea for ‘The Tenth Gateway’ popped into my head. Obviously I was influenced by everything I have read over the years and I included all the sorts of magic, characters and nasty creatures I loved (and still love) reading about.

However the inspiration for creating the story of the magic game was the traditional game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’. Players have to try and avoid landing on something nasty (snakes) and being sent backwards. The aim of course is to land on a ladder and move forwards to the final square. The first one who gets there wins.

It was lots of fun.

I don’t have any ladders in my books so far – although there are some horrible serpents in the enchanted world of the second gateway in my second book ‘The Spy’s Door’. But there is the tension between good (Eda the good magician) and bad (Malefic the nasty magician).

Anyway I had to have different obstacles for the children in the stories to overcome –hence the challenges and puzzles that need to be solved before they can move forward in the game.


Blogging – good news


I’ve surprised myself. I’m actually enjoying writing these blogs. Maybe it’s just like everyone says – you’ve just got to sit down and write.

I still need help from my Social Media Expert Friend (SMEF) on posting blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc but I now feel a bit more confident that I’ll get there in the end.

Why is fantasy  a ‘good read’ for children?


Here is one of my favourite quotes from Dr. Seuss:



Do you have any good quotes about why stories drawing on the fantasy genre is important for children?


A Positive Distraction

 Short Stories A favourite story is 'The Drover's Wife' I have interrupted my next go at editing my third book...