Guest post: Building Your Extreme Pantheon Characters by TJ Perkins

TJ PerkinsTonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of mythic characters, is brought to you by Y.A. fantasy, mystery novelist and interviewee TJ Perkins.

Building Your Extreme Pantheon Characters

Okay, so you’ve got this great fantasy with great Gods and Goddesses ruling, or maybe they’re hidden entities throughout your story slightly affecting the lives of your characters, but…what about them?  You can’t just say there’s this ocean God that sinks ships; you need to build on that entity’s powers, background, etc.  So, let’s break this down:

Celtic Gods & Goddesses:

Flidhais – Irish Goddess of wild things and she was a shape-shifter

Brigit – A Triple Goddess – a Fire Goddess, a Battle Goddess and a Goddess of Water.  Any body of water is a connection to Her.  Does she have a special sword?  Special Armor?  What other attributes does she have?

Morrighen – Goddess of War, battle and fury. She will appear in Her Battle Crow aspect so She does shape-shifting, too.

Manannan Mac Lir – Patron of sailor and merchants.  His famed possessions include the yellow shaft, the red javelin and horse called Splendid Mane, and three swards name Retaliator, Great Fury and Little Fury.  He had a suit of armor that made him invisible and has the gift of immortality.

Norse Gods & Goddesses:

Freya – Ruler of the Valkyries.  Has a cloak of falcon feathers and is pulled in her chariot by two large blue cats.

Aegir – God of the seashore and ocean.  Similar to Neptune and has power over sea serpents and water monsters of all kinds.

Hel – Goddess of the dead and underworld.

Loki – God of mischief, trickery and cunning.  A master magician and conjurer as well as a shape-shifter.

Odin – the prime deity who gave his right eye for all knowledge.  He possesses vast strength and will power.  He is followed by a pair of ravens or wolves, (do you know their names?) and rides upon an eight-legged horse name Slepnir who represents time itself.

Thor – God of thunder, possesses a mighty hammer named Mjolnir.  He is the working-man’s god and rewards hard work.

This is just a few I have named and I encourage all of you to do research and find out more about the Gods and Goddesses.  If you want a Goddess, Elemental or Sprite of a tree, body of water, mountain, etc. Google it – you’ll be surprised of what you find.  Or create your own pantheon and borrow bits and pieces of powers and abilities from other deities.

The point is to expand on what the seen and unseen deities in your story are all about, what do they do, what is their background, how do they feel about things, do the items they posses also represent something even deeper, etc.

That’s all for now, so get those creative juices flowing and happy writing.

Thank you, TJ. Great to have you back!

TJ will be back in January talking about villains. 🙂

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front cover smallAward-winning author TJ Perkins is a well-respected author in the mystery / suspense genre. Her writing style has been compared to that of Mildred Wirt Benson A.K.A. Carolyn Keen (Nancy Drew).  Mystery books for ages 8-14 are Mystery of the Attic, On Forbidden Ground, Wound Too Tight and the first 5 books in the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series.

TJ has recently expanded into the world of fantasy for teens. Publisher Silver Leaf Books has contracted to release Shadow Legacy, a 5-book series of fantasy.  The first installment of this new exciting series, Art of the Ninja: Earth, is an award-winner and has been classified by readers and reviewers as a cross-genre of fantasy / manga. TJ lives in Baltimore, MD with her 2 cats and an imagination that’s bursting at the seams.

You can read sample pages of TJ’s writing (www.authorsden.com/tjperkins), see the book trailer (www.silverleafbooks.com), check out TJ’s blog, follower her on Twitter, friend / like her on Facebook and find her books at GoodReads (all her books are available on Kindle, Nook, iPad – just look them up by TJ Perkins).

Wikipedia’s articles on Anime and Manga are also worth a visit (after TJ’s sites of course :)).

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with poet, short story author, scriptwriter and lyricist Ken Temple – the five hundred and seventy-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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Guest post: ‘Writing manga’ by fantasy / manga author TJ Perkins

I’m delighted to bring you this guest blog post, today on the topic of animé / manga, by TJ Perkins.

‘Writing manga’

I’ve always loved anime and manga and when I created the Shadow Legacy series I had no idea that, within the folds of the fantasy I wrote, I incorporated a story that reads much like a manga.  So, what is manga?

Manga is a Japanese style of comic book that is presented in a smaller format and with distinct styles of drawing. It is typically distinguished by long, lean characters with large eyes and dramatic hair and other exaggerated features.  Manga is a form of comic all its own, with different conventions and rules than regular American comics.  If you’ve ever browsed the anima section you’ve most likely noticed those thick books, with comics inside, and most are read from back to front.

How should you start a manga?  Like any good story you have to develop your characters, the protagonist and antagonist, their world, and figure out what makes them tick.  What is the plot?  What is the crisis?  Is there a quest? And so on.  This must come first.  Once you’ve developed this important step it’s then time to surge ahead.

Writing manga is more like setting up a comic book.  Once you have your story outlined you’ll have to break it up into sections.  These sections should be broken down in a page-by-page status and go with your dialogue.  Write out the general plot and dialogue for each section.  Keep it simple.  Manga is much more streamlined than prose, and boxes are much smaller than traditional comics.  Brevity is key.  Dialogue should be natural but simple, and the action and expression of the characters should carry the weight of the story.  If you’re an excellent artists and a great storyteller then you won’t have to share your work with an artist.  But if you can only tell a good story you’ll have to find an artist.

Manga is more difficult to write than a novel or short story.  You have to get your idea, thoughts, feelings, emotions and action across within a matter of a few cells – just like a comic book.  How do you do that?  Stay in the moment, one page at a time.  Writing manga is a lot like writing a play or film script because you’re writing according to images.  You’re exploring the characters with their dialogue and using that dialogue to move the story along.  You are writing for pictures so take care not to make your story ‘too talky.’  You’re words have to actually make your pictures come alive.

To tell you how to write would be like someone trying to tell you how to walk.  You can do it – one step at a time.  Let that story flow and match it to your artwork.

Good luck and get your manga on!

Morgen: I love that, thank you TJ.

Award-winning author TJ Perkins is a gifted and well-respected author in the mystery/suspense genre. Her writing style has been compared to that of Mildred Wirt Benson A.K.A. Carolyn Keen (Nancy Drew).  Mystery books for ages 8-14 are Mystery of the Attic, On Forbidden Ground, Wound Too Tight and the first 5 books in the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series. TJ has recently expanded into the world of fantasy for teens. Publisher Silver Leaf Books has contracted to release Shadow Legacy, a 5-book series of fantasy.  The first installment of this new exciting series, Art of the Ninja: Earth, is an award-winner and has been classified by readers and reviewers as a cross-genre of fantasy/manga. TJ lives in Baltimore, MD with her 2 cats and an imagination that’s bursting at the seams.

You can read sample pages of TJ’s writing (www.authorsden.com/tjperkins), see the book trailer (www.silverleafbooks.com), check out TJ’s blog, follower her on Twitter, friend / like her on Facebook and find her books at GoodReads (all her books are available on Kindle, Nook, iPad – just look them up by TJ Perkins).

Wikipedia’s articles on Anime and Manga are also worth a visit (after TJ’s sites of course :)).

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

Podcast: Bailey’s Writing Tips – Episode 037 (15th August 2011)

Episode 37 (length 15m 53s) is now available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).. In the last episode I covered the crime genre; this podcast had a focus on graphic novels and comics which wasn’t a topic I’d covered before in these podcasts so I thought it was about time, and the episode culminated in a flash fiction freebie.

Websites mentioned in this episode were: http://graphicnovelscomics.suite101.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga, http://graphicnovelscomics.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_a_graphic_novel, http://manga.suite101.com/article.cfm/more_manga_for_grownupshttp://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/markets/japan/article4660145.ecehttp://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3908515.ecehttp://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article4134092.ece, http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article2272516.ece, http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3209943.ece, http://www.suite101.com/reference/comic_books, http://gregsphotodump.blogspot.com, http://foxxynell.blogspot.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Scanner_Darkly_(film), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotoscope, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Hewlett, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Foreman_(author_/_illustrator), www.newkadia.com/?gclid=COa40rHi95UCFQWR1QodvTSA4Ahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_comics_awardshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Awards, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Comics_Awards, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Cartoonists%27_Choice_Awards, http://middlehighschool.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_teach_graphic_novelshttp://www.scottmccloud.com/1-webcomics/index.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_years_in_comics.

This episode then culminated in ‘news and feedback’ the first story (a piece of flash fiction I wrote for http://storyaday.org using a prompt ‘And they said it couldn’t be done’.

Thank you for listening and/or stopping by here. If you have any feedback or areas you’d like covered in the hints & tips podcasts, you can email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com.

This blog also contains the weekly author spotlights and daily author interviews that I’ve posted to-date (96 when this episode came out). Although I currently have some in hand, I’m always looking for more so if you write, regardless of genre (please note my blog and podcast have a ‘clean’ rating) or whether you’ve been published or not, do email me (morgen@morgenbailey.com) if you’re interested in taking part in these and / or a ‘red pen critique session’ of which the podcast episode next Monday will feature.