Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Highlights Fantasy Reunion Day 4

Today was the fourth day of our Fantasy Reunion Workshop--which means it's time to panic since the week is half over!  Everyone is in agreement that what started as "I have all the time in the world" has now turned into, "I still have so much I want to do before I leave!"  At least we have a few more days to buckle down and get some work done.

Alas, it was rainy again today, so I couldn't go for a walk or take any farmstead pictures.  But the weather is looking up for tomorrow, so perhaps I can enjoy the woods then.  (I would like to go on at least one walk before I leave!)

Our workshop today centered around world building using our assigned reading material, Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede.  The book's subtitle, "Frontier Magic: Book 1" actually tells you a lot about this story.  In short, it's a fantasy set in a pioneer world.  (Sounds cool, huh?)  The type of world this book uses is called an "Analog World," which is one readers can understand because it closely parallels the real world. 

In Thirteenth Child, the main character, Eff, experiences the settlement of a fantasy-version of America's frontier.  Only, instead of guns and boring buffalo, the characters use magic and face mammoths and swarming weasels, and the Founding Fathers include a magic-wielding Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin.  Even with the fantasy elements, though, the world conveys a strong sense of Americana.  As such, it was a unique, yet familiar, world which everyone in our group could relate to.  It's an interesting concept to think about when designing your own world.

We took our lesson of world building one step further into the connection between setting and story.  In Thirteenth Child, Wrede creates a world that matches both the character AND overarching themes of growth, fate versus free will, and finding truths.  Character, theme, and world are all beautifully intertwined with each other. 

To do this in our own books, our mentors asked us to consider these thoughts: How does your world help ask questions the character is asking?  How does your world help ask questions the theme is asking?  Choosing the correct setting can certainly enhance your story, and in some instances, even make or break it.  They also said not to worry too much about this in first drafts, though, and that it's something to think about once you know your characters and where your story is going.  But moving your desert world to an ice land might just make your story shine in unexpected ways...

Green sauce looks yucky, tastes gooood.....

Boy, this workshop left us with a lot to think about!  Luckily, we could chew over these thoughts with some more delicious food!  Today's breakfast was homemade blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, sausage, and honeydew.  Lunch was grilled chicken with Greek salads, watermelon, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert.  Our workshop appetizers included a bunch of cheeses I can't spell (or pronounce), piggies in blankets, and smoked paprika deviled eggs.  (Let me tell you--YUM!)  And dinner was prime rib with loaded baked potatoes, beet salad, and carrot-zucchini pancakes with a HUGE hunk of carrot cake for dessert.

I do believe I will be packing the Highlights chef in my suitcase to take home with me.

Well, the clock is ticking!  Must go write!  :)

Note: The cover art from Thirteenth Child is from       

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