Transforming Seattle into a Fantasy Setting

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My first two novels took place in cities I have never visited or resided. And I read articles about becoming familiar with the places where stories are set, even if that meant looking up places in guidebooks.

Then slowly, I set my short fiction in the Pacific Northwest and then my fourth and fifth novels take place mainly in Washington State. And recently, I took a class on world-building for mainly speculative fiction even though authors build worlds for all genres.

This morning I woke up with the idea of presenting my version of Seattle in 2020 where I had set my fifth novel, Enter 5-D featuring Greek gods and other metaphysical characters. Using Seattle as a setting was perfect since I had lived there for 21 years from 1986 through 2007. This gave me inspiration to transform iconic locations into the landscape of my slightly dystopian fantasy based on the Greek story of Orpheus and his bride, Eurydice. And then I added the comical element.

Here are three of my transformational makeovers for Seattle:

The Public Market (aka Pike’s Place Market)

I used this location as an actual farmers market but also this is where I locate my grotto with the oracle stellar jay who is both the animal version of the Oracle of Delphi and the storyteller narrator (Greek chorus).

The story launches with Eurydice visiting the grotto and learning about her fate.

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The Gate to the River of the Dead (and to the Underworld where the musicians hang out), is located in Pioneer Square. And this is the location where Orpheus nearly connects with Eurydice to take her to the 5th Dimension but then his body is drawn back into the higher realm leaving Eurydice gaping. This is the conclusion of a dramatic set of scenes.

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And at any point in the novel, you will find angels and ascended masters driving their electric cars or zooming by on their silver-indigo bicycles on the downtown streets. It’s similar to the movie Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders where the angels were also hovering above or traveling through a major city (Berlin, Germany).

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And I will leave you with photos of Fremont even though Eurydice stayed with her friend Persephone in nearby Wallingford. And some dramatic scenes take place in the University District (I don’t have any photos).

 

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So How is this for world building from an existing city?

 

Photos and text by Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved

Write it–Inspiration for Tackling Rewrites

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Hardly any author enjoys rewriting their novels. A few authors enjoy returning to their story several drafts later. But each time you return to the manuscript and you make improvements, you build more confidence in your abilities as an author while possibly gaining new writing and editing skills.

Having said that, it’s still easy to get lost in procrastination or to set the novel in a file that gathers dust over the years leaving you with “what if” scenarios dancing in your thoughts. Rewrites are not as daunting as many think. And if you find the right copy editors and writer friends to help with the process, you can actually slap some new life into your work.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the rewriting process that I gained writing five novels (several times over).

  • Start with a smaller project such as a rewrite of a short story
  • Check out writing craft books from the library (or buy them)
  • Take writing workshops focusing on character and plot development
  • Attend a writer’s conference and get tips from other authors
  • Attend a critiquing group or work with a writing buddy
  • Read articles in writers magazines on story development
  • Workshop your later drafts (it’s too self-defeating to workshop a first or second draft)
  • Discover your own writing process (some authors rewrite as they go along)
  • Work with storyboards or vision boards
  • Get to know your characters deeply and ask them about their motivations
  • Read and critique novels (of several genres)

Like many authors, when I wrote my first novel, I thought that was it. Little did I know at that time, that it would take me several years to redevelop the novel through rewrites. And that novel is sitting in an electronic file waiting for another rewrite.

But then the question becomes, “When is my novel completed?” Does this happen when the agent reads it and offers a contract? Probably not. The agent will most likely ask for some rewrites or at least have a professional copy editor go through it. And then the editors at the publishing company will ask for more rewrites, especially with newer authors. And some authors as they improve their craft over several decades, might return and rewrite their first few novels to get them back into print. So, possibly it never ends. As humans we are in constant expansion.

And one last tip, you might find that as you continue to write your novel, chapter by chapter, your momentum picks up. You redefinine your characters as you spend more time with them and you develop plot twists that take you to a conclusion you had not first envisioned. So, going back and rewriting the beginning launches a rewriting process. that puts more zing in the step of your novel.

I know for myself that my novels tend to pick up momentum by the third chapter. And agents often only want to see the first two chapters or first 30 pages. So, this is an area I’m currently working on–strengthening the introduction chapters of my novels.

So, don’t fear the rewrite. And if you would like a metaphysical coach to keep you on track, sign up for a session with me. And good luck on your journey as a published author. I look forward to reading your novels.

 

Write it–From Writer’s Block to Inspiration

writer-1421099_1920I was once a prolific writer. I wrote posts for several blogs, music reviews, book reviews, articles, interviews, essays, a non-fiction book, a memoir, several novels, short fiction, and screenplays and then life happened…

First, I struggled with finding permanent housing which wore me out. Then I began suffering from arthritis to both of my hands along with tendonitis. Meanwhile,  the urge to write never left me even as time seemed to grow shorter and the demands on my time expanded. And I developed sympathy for other blocked writers or authors with good intentions who found themselves bogged down by their life concerns.

Good news. We aren’t stuck. And by taking a few steps forward we reignite our relationship with our muse and turn into writing machines once again.

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Dealing with life demands:

 

  • Set appropriate boundaries with others (say no)
  • Carve out 30 to 60 minutes each day to write (and stick to it)
  • If the household is too chaotic write at a public library
  • Meditate and ground your mind
  • Organize your time efficiently with a day planner
  • Exercise before writing (it opens up the flow and you prioritize yourself)
  • Carve out space in your home to write

 

Get inspired:

  • Start with a short piece to get into the swing
  • Edit an older piece
  • Read one of two blog posts (yours or another’s)
  • Read a book on the writing craft (and do an assignment)
  • Free write longhand
  • Daydream and see if any characters show up
  • Interview existing characters
  • Revisit your short fiction and chapters in novels
  • Research topics related to your characters
  • Get curious
  • Describe your character’s bedroom in detail
  • Describe your character’s morning routine in detail
  • Hold a conversation with your characters
  • Referee an argument with your characters
  • Take a writing class
  • Attend a writer’s workshop
  • Attend an open mic for writers
Or do like I’m doing and write a blog post to inspire other writers. And if you would like to work with a creative coach steeped in metaphysics, contact me for a session through Whole Astrology.