Tag Archives: fantasy

Developing a Story Timeline


My story timeline is my most important tool and the key to any story I write, be it a romance suspense or a fantasy. Now while I’m not a plotter, I do have a general idea of where I want my story to be at when I hit a certain word count. This is nothing as ridged as the ‘3 act’ or ‘5 act’ plotter’s formula because besides the event I don’t have a clue what else will happen.

cover 2For All Things Scary, I’m using the 5 perils Maeko must face as my pivot points. The third one will be the mid-point. The final one will also include her confrontation with the witch, Eduvigos.

As I’ve said while I’m not a plotter, I do take TONS of notes while I write.  My timeline starts off bare but will be packed fill of detail by the time I end the story.

I generally keep two timelines – a general overview and a detailed one. Depending on the genre of my story I use different methods is keeping my timeline. Almost always I use a calendar for my romance suspense. For fantasy, I use the plain timeline method.

Here is an example of the working one for All Things Scary ~

INTRO (5k)

–          Maeko receives the sword of truth – starting her on her quest – this is meant with much opposition especially from Bamely – who sees herself superior to Maeko

–          The witch beheads her 3rd headless horsewoman – fulfilling that part of the prophesy of when she’ll rain darkness down on all of Crencher. Eduvigos fights with her sister revealing the strain of their relationship

–          De is appointed Maeko’s companion – confirming his purpose – romantic subplot

–          De and Maeko leave the Island of Purpose

1st Peril (15k)

–          Maeko and De enter the forbidden caves in Brooly seeking the 1st gem stone

– they encounter trolls – fight

– they hear the furies circling above while camping at night and realize they also seek to stop them.

–          Eduvigos sends her three headless horsewomen out to kidnap the queen of Lukti – another part of the prophesy

2nd Peril (25k)

3rd Peril (35k) – mid point

4th Peril (45k)

5th Peril (55k)

Conclusion – (65k)


This timeline is kept in a separate document that I have open while I write adding details as I discover them.  This isn’t my only source of reference, I also mark on my map where events happen and I have character documents that I update with arc info and GMC info.


Do any of you keep timelines for your stories? I’d love to hear about your method.





World Building ~ Week 4 – It’s a jungle out there or is it?


Now that we have the maps and basic feel for the land now it’s time for non-human details – remember I’m a pantser so your details could be much more vivid at this point.  I’m talking animals, plants, and creatures.

Now I can’t imagine even the most die-hard plotter cataloging every species of plant or animal in your world.  My suggestion is to focus on the ‘big’ stuff and add things as you go along.

Looking at your map and thinking about your storyline what types of plants/animals/creatures are you going to need?

Start with the very basic ~ now these do NOT have to be the same as ours. Remember you are BUILDING a world.

What plants are used for healing? For food? For baskets/ropes/ect? What plants are dangerous?

What animals are herded for food? For clothing? For burden beasts (aka donkeys)?

Now let’s add from your imagination ~

1)      Here are a few  ‘prompts’ for developing your flora and fauna…

Are their predatory plants? (the Venus Fly Trap on steroids) Where are they located? Are your characters going to have to fight their way through?

What is it called?

What color is it?

How big is it?

Where does it grow?

2)      What kind of ‘non’ Earth animals populate your world? This is where you can have fun! Dragons everyone knows so while you can have them this isn’t a thing you’ve created. In my series Night of the Gryphon and in my current WIP, I have at least ten creatures I’ve ‘created.’

What is it called?

Is it deadly?

What does it look like?

Where does it live?

If you need some ‘help’ in creating animals/creatures/plants for your world feel free to raid the world of extinct things. Here is a great site to start – http://animal.discovery.com/extinct-animals

While you’re developing these things of your world make sure you toss around plot hooks and ideas that will involve these elements. Remember the more of your world that you can incorporate into the actual storyline versus just using as detail will make it much more ‘real’ for your reader (a good thing!)

Here are a few pictures I used as ‘fodder’ in developing different creatures ~

Enchantedforest1-LRmonster #2salt plains beast


World Building Wednesday


World Building – Maps part 2

Last week we discussed the importance of making map making. Today let’s chat about what to put on your maps. Detail is good but be careful, it’s sort of like adding garlic to the bread. A little is okay, a little more is great, a little more and yuck! Too much detail and your map becomes a convoluted mess rendering them useless.

One thing I do suggest using are colored pencils – markers even the fine tip are too wide for my personal taste.
Like with the number of maps you make the details you include will be based a lot on personal needs BUT remember maps are quick glance references. Here are few suggestions on what I include…

(1) All terrain features (ie – rivers, lakes, forest, country boundaries, etc.) so you have them at a glance BUT NOT
 Detailed features (ie Blue River has three waterfalls. A troll lives in the cave under waterfall #2) these will be included in your location fact sheets (to be discussed next week)
 Scene locations – I know authors who have tried to keep mark on their maps where each scene of importance happened – this will clutter your map. It’s much better to do scene sheets if you need notes to reference to exactly where something happened.

(2) Where each MAIN character is from – This should be some form of a mark (*,@, – a different one for each character) with an legend of whose mark it is. If my hero is represented by a green * and he lived in different places as a child learning about his magic, I may use *a, *b, *c, ect to mark where each of these places are and the letter so I know the order at a quick glance.

(3) Modes of transportation. In the Night of the Gryphon series there were ‘portals’ the characters could use to move from one spot to another. I marked where these were on my main map with a blue ‘x’. I used blue and ‘x’ only for these.
 Does your world have trains? If so where are the tracks?
 Does your world have space shuttles? If so where do they land and take off from?

For my current young adult fantasy I needed a star map...

For my current young adult fantasy I needed a star map…

Decided our constellations didn't work for me...

Decided our constellations didn’t work for me…

Sooo I'm working on making my own :p

Sooo I’m working on making my own :p

These are the three things I general mark on my main map. I decided on my color and symbols before I start marking. I pick things that make sense to me… so while blue wiggle line as a river might work for you, I prefer to make all my terrain features in purple. Each MAIN character is assigned a color also so if I decide I want to mark his/her journey it makes for easier reference. And that is key to world building –easy reference. Glancing at your map should be easier then scouring chapters looking for the reference of where something is.

I’d love to hear what you put on your maps and how you mark them.

Next week is location fact sheets. I’ll have several different types for you to download.

Muse Monday


For this weeks Muse Monday, I’m going to do a fantasy. This picture just seemed be the ideal setting for elves. Also if you would like to join me please do!

For this week, write an intro using the pictures. Leave us at a cliff hanger so we’re begging you to continue to write 🙂 Remember the only two rules are it has to be 500 words or less and for a young adult audience (not fantasy just young adult).

The river is this color because of the all the iron in the ground.

The river is this color because of the all the iron in the ground.

It had been more than a decade since the last battle between the elf nations had been fought and yet the countryside still bore the scars. The winds carried the echoes of the war cries and the clang of swords.

The icy fingers of some lost spirit danced over Ekargon’s skin. The elf stopped and glanced around but saw nothing. He shook his head, telling himself that he was acting like a novice not a seasoned warrior. Without pausing again he continued on his lone march toward the river.
The afternoon sun had begun to sink below the tree line, when Ekargon finally arrived at his destination. Water stained red from the blood that soaked the ground during the centuries of war rushed over the rocks. Ekargon shook his head and wondered how long would it take for the earth to heal, to forgive the elves for their foolishness.

“Good afternoon, Warrior Prince,” a deep voice male called from the opposite bank.

“I no longer go by that title,” Ekargon said drawing a deep breath. The rift that separated the two men was wider than the raging river and deeper than any canyon but Ekargon hoped to build a bridge today. During the Elf Wars, the other’s nation had been relentless fighters. Several times during the saga, Ekargon’s father had thought they would fall to them.

“Why have you summoned me?” The elf leader demanded. “Our people have respected the peace agreement.”

Ekargon nodded. “True. You have been neighbors that I have no fault with. I asked you here today to become more than those who shares a border. ”
The background noise of the birds chirping, squirrels scrambling in the branches overhead, and the rushing water provided what Ekargon knew to be a false sense of ease.

“You become greedy? And wish for me to assist you?”

“No, Ramji. Our enemy will not be fellow elves but something much darker.” Sliding his hand inside his royal tunic, he pulled out a memory stone. “We have found three of these in the last month in the western cravens.”

Before Ramji could ask why Ekargon had elves in the abandoned dwarf caves, he activated the memory stone the one survivor out of an entire league had brought back to him. In the bright sun, the images flickered and he knew it would take Ramji a minute to locate the reason Ekargon had requested this meeting. Half-crouched against the rock wall it waited. Its body a black mass, the caped wings billowing out slightly behind it, its legs were crooked with feet ending in cruel-looking claws. The wicked ones hissing silenced the forest as it called out his men.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

It’s Here!!!!!!


The Prince of Light – the final book in the Night of the Gryphon series is being released today.  So here is a excerpt ~

It’s Here!!!

Never in her life had Taraly felt more alone. Not when her father, King Hichel, had died six months ago, nor when she’d left her kingdom in search for the fabled Scepter of Hope. She shifted the bag in which the crystal of ice fire rested to her other hand. The first of the two crystals needed for the scepter.

The only sounds echoing across the salt plains were those of her boots crunching the pelts. If she’d asked Taigo to come with her – to continue to be the prince of her dreams then she wouldn’t be alone. But the tunnel dwellers had revealed Taigo’s choice of his role in the quest was still to come. He hadn’t truly chosen the role Hollow King but had merely accepted it. During the hatching, the dragons would ignite his need for power. Without her there would he be strong enough resist the pull of the dark side of the mirror?

With a sinking heart, she hoped he would continue down the path with her. That he wouldn’t believe she had abandoned him.                       

Taraly approached the woman sitting on the stone. Her long black hair hung in clumps and her breathing labored. There was no doubt Taraly could kill her in this weaken state. The temptation was great and most wouldn’t have considered the murder a crime but a favor. 

“I’ve died once today,” Ovezara lifted her hand. “And I have no intentions of doing it twice.”

It’s available at http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok

Edits…day 3


True love or maybe not...Taraly isn't sure

Edits Day 3…


I’m done with the edits from the editor now to do a read through before sending it back. So I thought I’d share one of my favorite bites…

She asked separating herself from Taigo. To stay would only allow the feelings of safety and comfort to grow. She was unsure if Taigo warranted such emotions. Glancing over at him, she sighed. As a girl growing up her night dreams had been filled with a handsome king from a distant land who came and swept her away on adventurous flights filled with romance and excitement. The prince of the shadow lands standing beside her with his long black hair, starling royal blue eyes, and cleft in his chin walked out of her dreams. Looking down at her damp, mud-covered dress, she snorted. Their first adventure was far from wonderful.

 So when one of heroines met the man of her dreams, it hasn’t really worked out the way she wants J Is that true of most things? We dream and it’s prefect then well reality sets in.  My dream is to write ~ not edit.  I want it to be prefect the first time not after three or four redos.

But its still a dream I love… edits and all.  I wonder if Taraly will feel at the end of the series.  Did her prince charming make it to the finish line?

Now for today’s stress buster and the third item in the stress escape. Tea is one of my go tos when the day has been a bit overwhelming…okay so is wine but I can’t include a bottle in my give away. But the calming herbs and relaxing teas can take the edge off stress and offer you a bit of herbal anxiety relief. Here are a couple recipes a co-worker gave me.  No, I’m giving away homemade tea… I’ve never made any. So the stress escape will be fresh from the grocery store shelves.


1 tsp. dried peppermint leaves
1 tsp. dried lemon balm leaves

Add these to a tea pot and add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of boiling water. Steep for about 5 minutes, strain and add sugar or tea for a soothing herbal tea.


2 tablespoons fresh chamomile flowers
2 cups boiling water
2 thin slices of apple
honey to taste

Rinse the flowers with cool water. Warm your tea pot with boiling water. Add the apple slices to the pot and mash them with a wooden spoon. Add the chamomile flowers and pour in boiling water (2 cups). Cover and steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain the tea into two cups (or one if it’s just you!). Add honey to taste.