Theme Songs

griffin music

Sometimes I find songs that fit certain characters and scenes in my stories, as if for a soundtrack.

I listen to music while I write, though it has to be instrumental music or songs with lyrics that I’ve heard a billion times before. While writing Featherfolk, I went looking for songs to match my characters and found some really great ones. They were rock and pop, which added some nice variation to my mainly instrumental playlist.

But now, switching back to work on Gwen’s story, I find I can’t listen to those Featherfolk songs without getting derailed into thoughts about griffins.

Clearly I need some new music.

Anyone else like to find theme songs for your characters? Do you just listen to the radio and wait for things to pop out at you, or do you go on a dedicated search?

Happy Yarning!

Hallo aus Deutschland: Research

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“Research” is a great excuse to do things. I’ve never ridden a train, unless you count the one that runs around Disneyland. And I was five years old at the time.

I’ve read about trains and seen them in movies, but since this is something I can actually experience–as opposed to, say, flying on the back of a griffin–I figure I should go ride a train.

So I’m off to ride a train today. “Book research.” Yeeessssss, that’s what we’re going to call this.

Happy Yarning!

Oh, the above picture of Burg Stolpen has nothing to do with trains. Oh well.

Hallo aus Deutschland: International Hug-a-Griffin Day

Well, there should be a hug-a-griffin day. Unfortunately, finding griffins is rather hard, even here in Europe. This is a big change from hanging out with the Featherfolk. Every day with them is hug-your-griffin day.

But I found several very friendly griffins in Potsdam at Sanssoucci (which really should have been called “Sanskleidung” if the other statues were anything to go by).

Basically, all the above nonsense is so I can post this adorable picture.

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Have you hugged a griffin today?

Happy Yarning!

Considering Economics in a Fantasy Setting

griffin carrots

I don’t have to worry too much about getting food. I get it from the store. I cook it. I eat it. Maybe I’m super awesome and grow my own strawberries or tomatoes, or maybe I don’t.

How do your fantasy characters get food? What does the economy and infrastructure have to be like so your party can mosey on into a tavern at a crossroads in the middle of nowhere and get a meal along with all the other patrons there that night? And is your economic system consistent over a whole shire, state, country, or planet? Whatever your setting, it’s important to consider economics. Magic, especially teleportation abilities, will have a big impact.

My husband and I put together a story idea about a society made up of humans and griffins, at about a 1:1 ratio. For a while, we assumed our griffins were carnivores–you know, because they’re half lion and half eagle.

Then we considered the economics of the situation. What, and how much, did the griffins eat? We asked the internet how much meat a lion eats in a day and realized that with the scale we were considering, all the prey in the area would get eaten up pretty fast. And we didn’t want to make our griffins be nomadic while the humans were agrarian. Ok, so maybe the humans raise goats and the griffins eat those. Bam. Solved.

Until we calculated how many goats it would take to keep a family of griffins fed for a year. Something like 200 goats per family. That wasn’t going to work either.

So, obviously, the griffins were omnivores. If a creature can be both a bird and a mammal and have six limbs, it can darn well be an omnivore if we need it to be. Now we have griffins helping out with plowing and harvesting in the fields, hunting game in the woods, and eating the same meals as the humans.

Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions of your setting, or let others ask. In the end, your story will be healthier.

Happy Yarning!

Book Report: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

IMG_3396I picked this up on Saturday afternoon and finished it before dinner. It was a breath of fresh air for me from Inheritance. Well, perhaps not “fresh” air–more like a well-needed burp. This book would be great for boys  aged 7 to 12 (and girls too if they’re not above a bit of nose-picking).

The plot of the movie of the same name resembles the plot of this book in much the same way that an apple resembles an orange. Which is to say, not at all. The conflict was aged-up for the movie (hint: the addition of a love interest). However, both are clever and funny. I don’t know if I could pick my favorite.

One thing I liked better about the book was that the dragons had more personality. This is of particular interest to me because the next story I’m looking at writing involves (to put it simply) griffin familiars. Cowell’s dragons have different motives from the humans, which creates friction and conflict between them as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to figure out what makes his dragon, Toothless, tick.

I need to consider what kinds of conflicts would be inherent in a society made up of both humans and sentient griffins. It may be that because the griffins’ sentience stems from their bond with humans they operate on the same kinds of motives, but then again perhaps it is not so simple.