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The Bookworm's Fancy
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Book Reviews from a Bibliophile
Book Reviews from a Bibliophile

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Worldingbuilding from a reader’s perspective – Religion

Previously, I posted on naming geography while worldbuilding, in which, I shared how I created the geographical names in the setting that I was building.
This process included self made rules which I imposed in order to ensure that everything fit and didn’t seem so random.

After laying down some basic geography, it was time to tackle religion.
Once again, I stepped back and tried to evaluate what I liked about the religion (if any) in some of my favorite fantasy setting.  Personally as a reader, when immersed in book which dealt even remotely with religion, I found myself enjoying more the polytheistic settings that only focused on a handful of the deities but hinted at more.  Maybe it is the student of ancient history in me that always draws me to diverse pantheons in the style of the Greeks (and through plagiarism, Romans), Egyptians, and Sumerians.

I had in my mind the idea for one particular deity and even though I didn’t know how involved any of the other gods were going to be, I knew there had to be some meat there.

But first, I had build the deity that the main plot would revolve around.  The idea I had for the deity was a goddess of fortune, whom I initially visualized as a variation of the Roman goddess Fortuna.  The phrase “fortes foruna adiuvat” or “fortune favors the bold” had attached itself in my mind.  It also had me wasting time on Youtube watching clips from Elton John’s “Aida”.

I had some ideas on how to flesh her out and the nebulous of a story.  I also had to keep in account previous decisions about the theme of the setting.  So going into to giving her life, this is what I knew/wanted:

I needed to keep to the Indian/Sanskrit naming theme
She was going to be the patron deity of sailors
She was going to be a twin deity in the vein of Apollo and Artemis.
I wanted to portray religion as very personal.  Author Brian Rush wrote an in-depth post on this that every fantasy author should read.  Also, frequent guest contributor, Richard Abbot wrote an amazing post concerning this idea.  (Writing About Religion)

Even though she was going to be patron deity of sailors, I didn’t just want to make her goddess of the oceans or something like that.  I felt like it had been done a million times before.  Since I wanted her to be a luck goddess, it seemed to make sense that her domains would be:  luck, fortune, chance, moon, stars. I decided on the moon and stars because sailors in the setting will navigate by celestial objects.

Now, I had to name her. Keeping the naming scheme in mind, I began to search through Hindi words.  I looked up the Hindi word for “star” and was rewarded with the elegant sounding/looking “sitara”.  It clicked immediately in my brain.  Sitara was going to be my goddess of fortune and patron deity of sailors.
To further flesh both the setting and Sitara out, I set about creating her twin brother.  He was also gonna be a luck deity but his domains were going to be: luck, divine retribution, moon, stars.  So I went back to the handy-dandy internet dictionary and typed in “retribution in Hindi”.  VOILA! “Pratikara” is the Hindi word for retribution.  I dropped the final “a” and Pratikar was born.
Now, what setting is completely without deities for life and death?!  So I added Baltu and Mitu, the twin gods of life and death, both names being derived from the Hindi language.  I knew that I would add more deities later but at least this was a start.

So if you are a writer, how do you build your pantheon?  Do you even use deities?

Also, check out our rafflecopter giveaway for a print copy of Simon Hay’s “The Disciple”. http://buff.ly/18cl4uD

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The problem with the portrayal of women in the fantasy genre

Lately, I’ve noticed a couple of posts commenting on the state of women in fantasy genre. One of the biggest gripe is that the women are all either damsels in distress or a superwoman type with brains, beauty, and brawn. As a woman, mother, nerd, and former athlete, I decided to toss my sixpence into the pot. Keep in mind that this is simply my own sixpence. (Some spoilers lurking)

First, a little backstory.

I was a late bloomer, relatively speaking, when it came to reading for fun. I was one of those weird kids who read the encyclopedia for fun. It wasn’t until the eight grade when my school librarian decided that it was going to be her mission to find something that I would enjoy reading.

After a couple of failed attempts, she recommended “The Giver.” While the tale immediately enchanted me, it didn’t quite ignite my passion for reading. Something was missing.

Then I came across Terry Brook’s “First King of Shannara“. Here was a tale of magic and adventure. It also had what was missing from “The Giver”: strong, prominent females in the forefront of the action.

Preia Starle was confident, beautiful woman, and an accomplished Elven tracker. She was more than just eye candy. She was an integral part of the quest for the black elfstone and would become a strong queen, the prefect compliment to the newly crowned king. She had it all: beauty, brains, weapon mastery.

Brooks also had the character of Mareth (who was obviously the archetypical precursor to Grianne Ohmsford). She was a powerful druid initiate with a dark past on a quest to discover the truth about her father. She saves the party numerous times including at Paranor, the village of the Stors, and Hadeshorn. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Sword of Shannara. At the end of the book, she walks away from potential greatness for a quiet life with the borderman.

Here in one book, we have examples of two powerful women (one martial and one magic), both of whom, by the end of the book, make choices of note that have consequences on every book in the series.

Had Preia not convinced Jerle to take up the mantle of king and take up the sword, how would the Warlock Lord have been defeated? Alternatively, if she had not participated in the final battle, would Jerle still have faltered?

If Mareth had chosen to embrace druidic life and the mentorship of Bremen, how would that have affected young Allanon?

Both these women were the complete package. Did that offend me as a female reader?

Not in the least bit.

Why?

Because frumpy housewives are boring. The genre is called fantasy and that is exactly what I want to read. I don’t want ordinary. I deal with ordinary everyday.

You have the occasional author who will try to overcompensate and create a completely ordinary female main character in an extraordinary setting. The reader is given an unfeasible main character who annoys the reader or is unlikeable.

In short, you get Bella Swan.

So what is wrong with the portrayal of women in the fantasy genre? In my opinion: NOTHING.

So I’m interested to know what’s your take on this?

http://buff.ly/18ckzRb

RT Simon Hay: Enjoy #HighFantasy? Check out fello #Aussie Ciara Ballintyne's #ConfrontingThe Demon http://buff.ly/1hUnYIr #paranormal

RT Mike Gullickson: Erin Eymard Hey! The Northern Star: The Beginning is #free on #kindle this week. http://buff.ly/1hUnMsH

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Douglas Adams meets Star Wars style book, about a girl, a frog and some giant Amazonian Women. Color me intrigued!

Just from the write up, Penn's characters seem like they could fit seamlessly into Douglas Adam's zany setting!

http://buff.ly/1hRK9Px

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Free comic book download from Charles H Penn http://buff.ly/1hRKj9o

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Great advice on "What To Do If Your Phone Is Lost Or Stolen" http://buff.ly/18HaPJ2

Post has attachment
The problem with the portrayal of women in the fantasy genre

Lately, I've noticed a couple of posts commenting on the state of women in fantasy genre. One of the biggest gripe is that the women are all either damsels in distress or a superwoman type with brains, beauty, and brawn. As a woman, mother, nerd, and former athlete, I decided to toss my sixpence into the pot. Keep in mind that this is simply my own sixpence. (Some spoilers lurking)

First, a little backstory.

I was a late bloomer, relatively speaking, when it came to reading for fun. I was one of those weird kids who read the encyclopedia for fun. It wasn't until the eight grade when my school librarian decided that it was going to be her mission to find something that I would enjoy reading.

After a couple of failed attempts, she recommended "The Giver." While the tale immediately enchanted me, it didn't quite ignite my passion for reading. Something was missing.

Then I came across Terry Brook's "First King of Shannara". Here was a tale of magic and adventure. It also had what was missing from "The Giver": strong, prominent females in the forefront of the action.

Preia Starle was confident, beautiful woman, and an accomplished Elven tracker. She was more than just eye candy. She was an integral part of the quest for the black elfstone and would become a strong queen, the prefect compliment to the newly crowned king. She had it all: beauty, brains, weapon mastery.

Brooks also had the character of Mareth (who was obviously the archetypical precursor to Grianne Ohmsford). She was a powerful druid initiate with a dark past on a quest to discover the truth about her father. She saves the party numerous times including at Paranor, the village of the Stors, and Hadeshorn. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Sword of Shannara. At the end of the book, she walks away from potential greatness for a quiet life with the borderman.

Here in one book, we have examples of two powerful women (one martial and one magic), both of whom, by the end of the book, make choices of note that have consequences on every book in the series.

Had Preia not convinced Jerle to take up the mantle of king and take up the sword, how would the Warlock Lord have been defeated? Alternatively, if she had not participated in the final battle, would Jerle still have faltered?

If Mareth had chosen to embrace druidic life and the mentorship of Bremen, how would that have affected young Allanon?

Both these women were the complete package. Did that offend me as a female reader?

Not in the least bit.

Why?

Because frumpy housewives are boring. The genre is called fantasy and that is exactly what I want to read. I don't want ordinary. I deal with ordinary everyday.

You have the occasional author who will try to overcompensate and create a completely ordinary female main character in an extraordinary setting. The reader is given an unfeasible main character who annoys the reader or is unlikeable.

In short, you get Bella Swan.

So what is wrong with the portrayal of women in the fantasy genre? In my opinion: NOTHING.

So I'm interested to know what's your take on this?
http://buff.ly/18Gh6oo

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Worldbuilding from a reader’s perspective #1

What's in a name? Everything! It is important to keep some sort of cohesion in your setting.

#Giveaway

http://buff.ly/18G8tu1

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Worldingbuilding from a reader’s perspective – Religion - #Giveaway http://buff.ly/1hPym45
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