Holiday Weekend — Creating Fantasy Holidays

IMG_20181122_163331It’s been a wonderful holiday weekend for me and mine, and I’m a bit sad that’s it’s over and the real world intrudes again tomorrow.

I’ll admit I’m a bit tired, though. Two days of cooking followed by two days of decorating was a bit much, but the turkey had his day, and now the tree twinkles.

Holidays are a time to be with family and friends and are a vital part of creating any fictional world. Or at least in making it complete. In the world of Grevared, holidays occur throughout the year. Most of them take place around the same time across the countries, but they differ by country and culture. For example, the demons mourn the loss of their own world around Yuletide, while the humans celebrate the season with gifts and decorations. The elves continue to honor the solstices and equinoxes even though the void has no visible celestial bodies. The celebrations of each country and culture differ slightly as well, and this helps to add depth to the holidays.

The same is true of the autumn holidays. Those who follow the Arcana Maximus celebrate the ritual of Akatha Mabikym, which is a ritual that returns the spirits of the dead to the chaos of the void. Those who don’t follow the Arcana tend to focus more on the harvest and the plenty that comes with it, even those in the larger cities like Ymla and Sangeron.

IMG_20181124_105130Tips for Creating Holidays

  1. Consider what we already celebrate. Many of our current celebrations are world-wide in many respects, for humans tend to celebrate the same milestones of life regardless of individual culture.
  2. Think about the world you’ve created. What are the important times of year for its inhabitants? Are there things that are important to one group that aren’t to another? (e.g. Those who don’t follow the Arcana Maximus are less likely to celebrate the ritual of Akatha Mabikym, and many outright disagree with it.)
  3. Add in elements of the fantasy world to the holiday. In Corleon, for example, horses play a major role in the economy of the country. Therefore, horses come into play during their Yuletide celebrations, and hay is commonly used to decorate.
  4. Don’t be afraid to mix and match celebrations that are already in existence or do some research into older celebrations and pull elements that we no longer use in our modern time.
  5. Have fun with it.

Creating holidays for your world can be one of the most rewarding parts of world-building and can help you get to know the characters and cultures you created all the better. Even if you never write a scene including one of the holidays, simply indicating that they exist can bring your world to life in the minds of your readers.

Best wishes and Happy Holidays!!!!!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

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Random Thought – Folklore

2017052295133200_2 (2)I had a strange dream the other night that got me thinking about the story of “Hansel and Gretel”. Nothing serious, mind you, just the prevalence of these tales in our culture, in all cultures, really.

One of the things that’s always fascinated me about folklore and religion is the similarities between cultures that weren’t supposed to be in contact with each other. It’s always made me wonder how so many different people in so many different places could come up with the same thing at around the same time period. Don’t get me wrong, I understand Jung’s idea of archetypes and the collective unconscious and the universality of human experience. After all, we are all born, live, and die. We have to come to terms with ourselves and learn to live in the world on our own. I get that.

What’s always fascinated me is the amount of similarity and the desire of humans to pass on lessons through stories and analogy. I mean, when I’m trying to get my kids to understand something, I don’t couch it in metaphor and euphemism. I say it plainly. We do the same thing when talking about our day at work or teaching history, in some respects at least.

Why then the need for these tales? We know they serve a purpose outside of entertainment. Many of these tales allow children a glimpse into the adult world long before they experience it themselves. They allow us to meet fear in a form that isn’t as frightening, and children who are read fairy tales generally have an easier time with reading and comprehension. There’s something basic about them that speaks across time and culture to that place within us that makes us all human beings.

But who first thought them? Who crafted these marvelous glimpses into long ago that are so powerful we’re still rewriting them today? Was it an ancient family seated around a fire after a day of hunting? Was it a mother desperate to give hope to a sick child? Was it a sibling offering comfort to the younger ones in times of trouble?

I would love to create a time machine and travel back to that distant time just to watch this phenomena unfold, to meet the richness of culture and experience the connection that allowed the same thoughts, and plots, to arise on opposite sides of the world.

I suppose these are odd thoughts, and they definitely ramble, but I’ve spent the day making snow to decorate with, and I’ve had plenty of time for wandering thoughts.

I hope all have a wonderful holiday week and season.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

Whew! That’s Over. Now What?

Business Card FrontThings have been a bit hectic lately, so writing has been on the back burner. Now that the holidays are upon us, I’m not so sure things will slow down, but I have hope.

Now that the weather’s cooling down and the leaves are changing, I find myself more motivated and more creative. The problem comes with deciding where to focus my time and energy. Do I want to continue with Grevared? I have a ton of stories in the works and more ideas in my noggin’. Do I want to get started on the YA modern fantasy that’s whirling around in my head? Right now, there are two stories, mostly fully formed, written in a notebook. Do I want to work on the horror stories that come unbidden into my dreams? And, boy, did I have a doozy last night. Or do I want to focus on building my proofreading business? I can do this for others, but making sure my own stuff is free of typos is another thing all together. Or do I want to abandon all of that and return to researching folklore and mythology? It’s not like we’ve figured it all out yet.

Business Card1Mostly, it’s a matter of time management and organization, but I think it would be easier to petition the Universe for a few more hours in the day. But would that help? I’m not sure. I have no doubt I’ll figure it out when my mind has had a little time to slow down and consider a bit. Until then, I’ll keep on keeping on and do what I can when I can and hope the results are something others want to read.

At the end of the day, it’s the joy that comes from doing it, the journey rather than the destination, that matters.

Best wishes,

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

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