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Showing posts from June, 2020

Day 11 - Packing for summer Camp (NaNo)! Now, where's that house-elf?

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Hello again!As we approach the month of July, I will be using the next five days to prepare for one of my favourite writing challenges of the year: Camp NaNoWriMo. Although this means that I won’t be focusing on my Becoming a Fantasy ‘Expert’ journey via research and reading, etc., I will be working on my writing which favours fantasy and speculative genres. My progress on becoming an expert will continue in August.If you are unfamiliar with Camp NaNoWriMo - or its parent, NaNoWriMo - you can find out more here: https://nanowrimo.org/ In short, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a virtual yearly challenge set in November that asks writers to write 50,000 words (the minimum word count for a novel) within the month. The Camps, set in April and July (also virtual), last a month as well, but they allow participating writers to choose their own word count goal to achieve during the challenge. As well as a writing challenge, the NaNoWriMo website also acts as an online…

Days 7 to 10 - Fantasy: Greatest Hits!

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Hello!I have spent the past few days looking into which books the fantasy community considers the most influential and inspiring throughout time to find out who/what our classics, our greats, are. My research resulted in an extensive list that was far too big to reveal on this post. You can, however, find the full list as it stands at the top of this blog. I wanted to include a summary and subgenre categories for each one but it was too big a list for the page as well so I have had to cut those features out. I have plans to read several of these books though and will therefore explore them in much further detail for you in future posts.While compiling this ‘Greatest Hits’ list I also noticed some elements I found intriguing. For example: some eras seem to have produced more 'classics' than others and there are some authors who have more than one mention. These are just two observations (out of many) that I would like to explore. Therefore, my future plans will include doing ju…

Day 6 - Fantasy: History 101!

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Hey, there!
Following on from my previous posts, I knew my next direction was to research into the history of the fantasy genre. It is in learning about the past of our craft that we can appreciate it and mould it into our own. Fantasy is one of the longest standing genres of story-telling to exist in human history; going as far back as mythical creatures in ancient cave drawings. 
The genre has always been a way for us to explain things that, at the time, seem inexplicable. Like associating the weather and seasons with gods and goddesses, blaming unseen monsters for noises or uncertainties that occur in the dark, and believing in miracles when seemingly impossible circumstances or accidents happen. It fuels our dreams and forges our imagination almost collectively, and there have been several examples of cultures spanning many countries apart, sharing fantastical ideologies and beliefs. For example: fairy tales across the world share the same format and purpose (good vs. evil, focused …

Day 5 - So many books on my shelves ... but how many are fantasy?!

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Howdy!My next step was to see just how many fantasy books I own as of this moment. I wanted to do this because I was curious to see what percentage of my book cases comprised fantasy books - though I was certain it was a high number - but it was also helpful so that when I buy more books, I won’t end up with duplicates. It was necessary research and very nostalgic of my childhood.I thought I would share with you my current fantasy collection, which I definitely will expand! Compare my list with your own if you wish, perhaps you will see a title which grabs your attention, maybe you’ll notice that we have the same books as each other, or laugh about the fact that yours is a much larger compilation than mine, haha. Either way, here it is for you to see. Bear in mind, that it consists of books from different fantasy sub-genres and intended audiences and that I have not yet read all the books listed. My Current Fantasy Collection The Best British Fantasy 2014 - ed. Steve HaynesTerry pratche…

Day 4 - The birth of the journal ... let's hope it's beautiful!

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Hello, today!So in this post I just wanted to talk a little more about this journal/blog itself. I knew that I wanted to follow the advice I had from my research to do a journal/blog about this journey, but I didn’t fully create it until the fourth day into all of this. I realised that in my introductory post, although I explained what this project is and why I am doing it, I didn’t discuss what this journal was all about.This journal documents my ‘Becoming an Expert’ in fantasy journey. It will be a career-long, and therefore lifelong, endeavour since there are, and always will be, ways that everyone can improve in any aspect of their life. I hope that you will join me in this goal of mine by following this blog and reading these posts as I pursue my two dreams: become a published, full time (or even part time given this economy) novelist and to become an expert in the fantasy (book) genre.Not only will I be discussing my progress and my process here but I will also talk about other …

Day 3 - Goals? This isn't Fantasy Football!

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Hi!
So, I decided to follow the advice from my research to create milestones, goals and tasks for myself to complete along my journey to become an expert in fantasy. As mentioned before, I could not find any help specifically for becoming a fantasy expert and therefore had to base my milestones, goals and tasks on the elements within my ‘Becoming an Expert’ to-do list (found at the top of this blog). 
So, with my to-do list as a guideline for what I should aim to do and the other information I had gained from my research, I create these milestones, goals and tasks for myself:
Goal #1 - Getting started
Task 1 - Research how to become an expert Task 2 - Make to-do list following research Task 3 - Create goals, tasks, and milestones 
Goal #2 - Refresh background fantasy knowledge
Task 1 - Research all fantasy genres Task 2 - Research history of genre Task 3 - Research classic and modern ‘greats’
Goal #3 - Refresh academic fantasy knowledge
Task 1 - (Buy more and) Read how-to-write fantasy etc. books …

Day 2 - Fantasy genres and subgenres ... wait, there's how many?!

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Hello again!
Hindsight, retrospective sight, and childhood naïvety can be really interesting aspects of our lives and minds. In terms of this project, it was definitely eye-opening to research fantasy genres and subgenres of today. There were so many! It was shocking to me because when I was younger I had thought that Fantasy was the only genre that all fantastical stories fell under. Although this is in some ways true, what I mean is that I was unaware that subgenres even existed.
That was until I started my English Literature classes in secondary school and at A-level. These classes introduced me to the world of genres and themes etc. which was fundamental to my education as both a reader and a writer. It is one of the few academic subjects that I hold close to my heart - the others include: English Language, History, Art, Archeology, Criminology, and Forensics (though, sadly, I’ve never had the opportunity to study those last three myself).
So, looking back - even though I was unaware…

Day 1 - What is an Expert? What to do and how to do it!

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Hello, there!Continuing on from my last post, I began my journey by researching - typing into Google - what becoming an expert actually meant and how I would need to go about becoming one. I have attached the links I used at the bottom of this post in case you would like to read the full articles for yourself. Unfortunately, searches for ‘how to become an expert in fantasy’ didn’t really yield any results so I had to use more generic information on how to become an expert in ‘anything’, etc. There ended up being a variety of ‘definitions’ for what an expert is:‘The hallmark of expertise is figuring out what information is important’‘True mastery is not about doing difficult things, but about mastering the basics’‘Being an expert starts with a belief in yourself, not information or accreditation’‘Being an expert in something is usually the result of a deliberate effort over a more or less prolonged period of time to improve certain skills in a particular field’‘An expert is someone who…

Nice to meet you! Welcome to my Journey ....

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Hey, there!Welcome to my blog ‘Becoming an ‘Expert’: A Fantasy Writer’s Journey’ in which I will be journaling my progress in doing just that.First of all, introductions for those that don’t know me from my website - asford.co.uk - my name is A.S.Ford and I am a 26-year-old writer currently residing in a little town in Wiltshire. I have a variety of short publications - for information please refer to my website - and have been writing since I was 5 years old. In 2016, I graduated from university with a first class (with Honours) Undergraduate degree in Creative Writing in 2016 and with a 2:1 class (with Honours) MA degree in Creative and Critical Writing in 2017. In my spare time, away from writing and the current day-job I have to pay the bills, I also like to create art, bake in the kitchen, read a lot of books, learn about new things (or refresh my knowledge on old topics), go on walks, and spend time with my fiancé and our two crazy cocker spaniels. Now that’s out of the way, I c…