The Forgotten Tale

Guest Post on Katie Hamstead’s Blog

Guest Post on Katie Hamstead’s Blog

I wrote a post over on Katie Hamstead’s blog about finishing a novel series!

Click here to head on over and give it a read.

Excerpt:

It takes a lot out of a gal to write a trilogy. What a lot of people don’t realize is that writers aren’t only just writing while they’ve got the pen in their hands, or their fingers on their keys. They are thinking about their stories constantly, playing mental Jenga with scenes as they do the dishes, and composing the perfect opening line in a boring office meeting, and brainstorming how on Earth they’re going to get themselves out of that corner they wrote a character into while doing the bedtime routine with the kiddos. They are making notes everywhere – scrap paper, receipts, notebooks in purses, on whiteboards and chalk walls, and sticky notes bristling from the edge of their computer screens like a lion’s mane. And the moment when you hand that final manuscript in, that moment when it stops being your burden is… wonderful. And Scary.

 

 

JM FreyGuest Post on Katie Hamstead’s Blog
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“ARRIVALS” is out!

Today’s the day!

ARRIVALS, the second Accidental Turn Series novella, is now out!

You can pick it up on AMAZON or SMASHWORDS.

About the novella:

After seventeen years of adventuring, Bevel Dom and Kintyre Turn are finally returning home.

Forsyth Turn—brother to Bevel’s long-time questing partner and newly Paired lover—has left both Hain and a hell of a lot of responsibility behind. He’s bequeathed the Shadow’s Mask and position of the king’s spymaster to Bevel, and the seat of Lysse Chipping to Kintyre. It’s a lot to take on, and it will mean an end to questing forever if they do.

But it might also mean a chance for Bevel and Kintyre to find a Happily Ever After of their own.

Unfortunately, Turn Hall seems to be infested with eligible young maidens out to snatch away the freshly returned Lord of Lysse, determined to destroy the fragile happiness that Bevel has built. Faced with more decisions than he was prepared for, Bevel battles with foes unfamiliar, making him wonder if life on the road really wasn’t all that bad.

But if there’s one thing Bevel Dom isn’t afraid to do, it’s fight for the man he loves.

An Accidental Turn novella set between The Untold Tale and The Forgotten Tale, Arrivals follows Kintyre Turn and Bevel Dom as they step into Forsyth’s vacated life and face the surprising responsibilities he’s left in his wake.

Not sure you’re all caught up on the series? Check out the suggested reading order here, and don’t forget you can still grab your FREE copy of the first book in the series, THE UNTOLD TALE, by signing up for my newsletter.

JM Frey“ARRIVALS” is out!
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Words for Writers: Characters and Tropes

I opened my Askbox today and received this question from Chris Player:

What gave you the idea to write these characters [in The Accidental Turn Series]? A modern day character in feudal-esc world? Brilliant! Makes me wonder how a modern person would do in Salvator, Tolkien or even Pratchett’s worlds. About half way done the book and loving it!

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(art by @anotherwellkeptsecret​)

Heya! Thanks for the question, and I hope you are still loving the book when you get to the end of it!

This novel really came out of my study of Mary Sues, and my own fantasies about what it would be like walking fully-informed and well-read into worlds like Tolkien and Prachett’s. I wanted to write a story where something like that happens, but I knew that I would get my pants sued off if I tried to use their worlds. So, I had to come up with one of my own.

To do that, I spent a lot of time compiling what I knew about fantasy worlds and their staples – what kinds of environments and landscapes they usually encompassed, what kinds of civilizations and the level of their technology, and what sorts of characters inhabit them and/or star in these tales.

And so lot of my characters started as amalgamations of tropes. And, in this case, because you need to start characters in a place that gives them room to grow, sometimes negative or harmful tropes.

Kintyre Turn, as the hero of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, is stereotypically masculine – big, buff, and brawny, he only sees value in strength, virility, and power. He is cocky and arrogant, the typical sword-swinging Conan-the-Barbarian male-power fantasy that is meant to stand in for the nebbish white cismale heterosexual reader. Women throw themselves at his feet, and he has perfect teeth in a medieval-era world void of dentistry.

Bevel Dom is the stereotypical sidekick – feisty, sassy, short and spunky. He’s clever, but the hero always seems more clever (even when he’s not). He worships the hero, even though he does most of the work. He has no concept of how valuable he is because the hero doesn’t value him as much as he should. He is the wife-stand-in (in more ways than one, in this story), and the brother-stand-in.

Forsyth is what J.K. Rowling has recently called “The Hufflepuff Hero”, and it takes him a long time to find value in his own compassion, kindness and thoughtfulness. He considers those negatives, when we first meet him, because his brother Kintyre is the ideal and he is nothing like Kintyre. This translates in Forsyth into a severe lack of self-esteem and a dismissal of the soft and virtuous.

But even Pip, my “real person”, is still a collection of Mary Sue tropes. Pip is the feminine-rejecting online acafan feminist. She is so sure of her own right-ness that she offends and blunders without realizing it. She insults without meaning to. But she also finds joy and virtue in things that others don’t, because she over thinks and over analyses. Pip herself is not meant to be a paragon of womanly virtue, nor the “perfect feminist”; she’s flawed, she has a lot to learn, and she thinks she is so much more clever than the writer Elgar Reed, and so falls into her own traps sometimes.

Elgar Reed, the author of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, is an amalgam of stereotypes, as well. He’s white, male, has a beard and a belly, and doesn’t understanding women. He is the proverbial socially awkward geek who makes good and has never had to develop social skills because his fame and money makes him friends instead.

With the tropes established and stitched together to create Creatures, then I got to work turning them into Characters.

It wasn’t until I needed them to start walking or talking that they became “real people” – I had to decide on their wants, their verbal tics, their backgrounds and upbringings. And of course, the more I wrote about them, and the more time I spent with them, then the more they needed fleshing out and became less like walking avatars and more like people with their own personalities.

And the best part about that is once I’d established their tropes, I had the flip-side of the tropes to play with. This helped the characters grow. They don’t completely change to the mirror-verse of themselves, but, though the use of both sets of tropes, I was able to give the characters challenges, moments of growth, and help them find a balance in the middle.

Forsyth finds his self worth, and some of his own internal flint; he finds value in himself through what he gives to others. His failings become his strengths, like his disdain for violence transforming into an ability to defeat a villain with Words rather than Swords. Kintyre finds humility, and struggles to find worth in things that are not traditionally “masculine”, like being a good Lord and admitting that he loves to draw. Bevel learns to speak up for what he wants, and accepts the part of him that desperately wants to be a father and part of a loving family, to see himself and carve out a position for himself as Kintyre’s equal and partner. Pip is still struggling with her own narrow-minded feminism and academic narcissism, but is learning to listen more. Elgar is trying to deconstruct his own ingrained misogyny and racism, to value his fans more and fear that people are trying to use him or tear him down less.

I hope this answers your question!

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For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

You can find out more about The Accidental Turn series here.

JM FreyWords for Writers: Characters and Tropes
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The Forgotten Tale – Sneak Peek on Wattpad

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To celebrate the imminent release of THE FORGOTTEN TALE, I’m putting up the first six parts online FOR FREE.

Forsyth Turn has finally become a hero—however reluctantly. But now that Lucy Piper has married him and they’ve started a family in her world, his adventuring days are behind him. Yet not all is as it should be. Beloved novels are disappearing at an alarming rate, not just from the minds of readers like Pip, but from bookshelves as well. Almost as if they had never been. Almost like magic.

Forsyth fears that it is his fault—that Pip’s childhood tales are vanishing because he, a book character, has escaped his pages. But when he and Pip are sucked back into The Tales of Kintyre Turn against their will, they realize that something much more deadly and dire is happening. The stories are vanishing from Forsyth’s world too. So Forsyth sets out on a desperate journey across Hain to discover how, and why, the stories are disappearing… before their own world vanishes forever.

In this clever follow-up to The Untold Tale, The Forgotten Tale questions what it means to create a legacy, and what we owe to those who come after us.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five (Coming Nov 29)
Part Six (Coming Dec 6)

While you’re waiting, you can preorder / shelve the book here:

SMASHWORDS | AMAZON | KOBO | GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE

JM FreyThe Forgotten Tale – Sneak Peek on Wattpad
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