Writing fantasy novels takes a lot of things, effort, diligence, and for me a lot of planning and structure. But I also noticed after pushing myself to write on a regular schedule and produce a lot of words each day that I need to take in a lot of words. This can be reading or listening to other novels, or reading about the myths and folklore I am using as inspiration for my stories.
Song of the Wild
I had to read so much to keep the fuel going for this book, and so much of it goes back to playing Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. But here are a few of the ones that kept me writing. The Story Grid was insanely helpful in figuring out what needing fixing and where once I had gotten through draft five. I think I still ended up re-writing it 10 or so times before I was happy. You can find the rest here.
What’s Inspiring Me Now?
My current project, Dread Persephone, was trickier to research than you might think. Much of what we know of Greek mythology focuses on the Olympian gods, and only tangentially mentions Persephone, mostly in relation to her kidnapping by Hades or when heroes descend to the Underworld on their own adventures. The other denizens of the Underworld are even more cryptic.
I was looking for details on things that the Ancient Greeks kept has guarded secrets. Thankfully I’m not the only one looking for these things.
The Path of Shadows had many insights about the Underworld gods, including Hades, Persephone and Dionysus, as well as the forms of divination associated with those gods. Despite some of the essays being a little repetitive (she protests quite a bit about Hades being nothing like the Christian Satan, though I had never associated the two) I learned a lot and used some of the details to flavor the characters in Dread Persephone.
Melpomene I purchased more to get the dread or creepy feeling that I wanted to convey through the story. It’s a collection of Gothic and dreary poetry from a variety of authors. When I felt that my prose was getting stale or plain, I read a few poems from this book and was inspired by the Muse of Tragedy.
I just ordered several books for my future projects, some scholarly research about Egyptian mythology and the folklore of northeastern China or southeastern Russia. I’m always thinking three or four projects out. After Persephone, I’m hoping to write about another queen of the underworld, Isis. I’m also planning a standalone novel, Peace Child, set around the Amur River (aka the Black Dragon River, how are there not books about this place already?) inspired by the folklore of the region. Here’s the book haul for that.