Research & Editing

For this semester’s project, my first instinct was to develop an existing series of novels called Realms of Magic. Not only did this have a lot of content already, but it was also something that I started writing when I was a young adult, which is my target audience’s age.  My aim was to gradually mature the novel and add darker elements as the reader moves through the series. As I grew, so did the story, in the words, the detail and the way it is delivered and I hope to develop it more, not only in the course of the semester but in the future. Throughout the process of writing this novel extract, I have been learning how to keep a balance between new improvements and original ideas. I hope to combine the fantasy elements with drama, betrayal and romance. 

My main challenge has been editing the novel so that it becomes a more polished piece of fiction. In the time I have been creating the worlds in Realms of Magic, I have found out more about the worlds and characters so I weave in extra material, while trimming the fat elsewhere. Consequently, I  sacrificed some parts of the novel that I initially really enjoyed writing but I knew these were sacrifices that were needed for the progression of the novel series. 

I developed a plan that would ensure my extract would be enticing. The first week’s plan for me was to go through the writing I had already, breaking them down to the core elements that I wanted to include such as the family life, the encounter with the stranger, the fight in the field and finally the introduction to the Archangel Academy. The second week was for me to put all the pieces together and fill in any gaps in the extract. I discovered that I wanted to include more of the emotions that my protagonist felt after witnessing the fight of mythical creatures. The third week was to develop the piece to get feedback before I moved on with finalising the extract. I feel confident in saying that I stuck to this plan and it really helped me to stay focused.

Researching the creative writing process, I read Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French and Ned Stuckey-French’s book Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft and the book stated that with patience and experimentation, we as writers could carefully craft our work so the story slowly reveals itself to the reader with more finesse. I just needed or need to trust my instincts when it comes to showcasing my creative flair.

Some of the novels that I drew inspiration from were the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The novels have a similar target audience to my book and wonderful fantasy themes, including magic and exciting lands. I looked to these books to ensure that Realms of Magic was appropriate for young adults. One idea that I wanted to incorporate, described in Leone Ross’ chapter in The Art of the Novel, was dramatic, sudden events that catch the reader by surprise. My idea was to have Nancy going about her normal life, dreaming about the world in her fantasy book. Then in the blink of an eye, the reader is transported into the magical world.

I know that I need to research locations in more detail; to me, locations are one of the key elements in the fantasy genre. Although it’s about building worlds out of the ordinary as well, it is important to research normal locations which you can base it off. I tried to research and include contemporary settings to show the juxtaposition between the world and the magical realm. I think I have done this well, but I most definitely need more research to make the realms more unique.     

I wanted to ensure that all of my characters were developed and multi-dimensional to influence the reader to consider these characters to have their stories outside what is told in my Realms of Magic books. Stephanie Kay Bendel enforced this idea of developing the finer details of a character and their back story, in her chapter in the book The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing. Bendel expresses that a great story adds depth to characters, displaying different parts of their personality and behaviour. I hope that by creating detailed characters my novel will improve.

To ensure the story is believable and it holds up, I need to pay close attention to the relationship between characters, forming the rift between Nancy and her parents and emphasising my protagonist’s loneliness both physically and emotionally. If I create such a rift, it will make her more likely reflect on her wishes and self-esteem enough to go on the key journeys.

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