Frank's Monster Blog

A general fooling around...

otherwise known as a blog...

 



September 17, 2017

New fantasy novel

I'm pleased to inform those who are interested in my writing that I have completed the first major revision of a new fantasy novel. From hereon in it will require just a bit more polishing. Unlike The Three Powers it doesn't involve crossover between Earth and the fantasy world. It is based entirely in a fantasy setting. Could be the start of a new series . . .

Update: August 27th . . . Now closing the first full polishing read. Just a final polishing read, which shouldn't take long, and a new fantasy should be completed. A heartwarming feeling . . .

Update: September 17 . . . Polishing read complete . . . Hooray! I shall put it to one side to let it settle, as it were, and then a final read-through before sending it in.

 

May 14, 2017

Where did the strange beings in my epic fantasy series come from?

Where did the dwarf warriors known as the Fir Bolg, the metamorphosing female warriors, the Shee, the ruling class known as the De Danaan, and the terrible female triple goddess, the Trédedana, in my books come from?

Did you think I merely invented them? You're certainly right in thinking I might have. I invented many of the others in the books.

In essence I am asking more deeply as to where the inspiration, the background, of my four book epic fantasy novel series come from. If I can sufficiently interest you, my readers, I might be able to inspire you to discover sources that much fewer people are aware of, sources that might well inspire novel ideas, and novel writing.

Roman and Greek myths and legends are simply wonderful, including the Iliad, with its huge list of characters, historical wars, events and magical beings. It has influenced literary, artistic and musical creativity for centuries. The same would apply to the Odyssey, or Ovid's Metamorphosis. To a lesser extent, Nordic myth has influenced literature and, most particularly, sword and sorcery style fantasy. But there is another rich source that you can readily get a hold of, and indeed be inspired by. This is the Irish Myths and Legends, which date back thousands of years, are rich and complex, involving wars, beautiful maidens, wrathful kings, sorcerors and sorcoresses, magic, mayhem, beings that live for ever. But perhaps even more than the Greeks and Romans, more direct human passions of jealousy, love, hate, covetousness, and lust.

I have certainly found literary inspiration there. That does not mean that I copy their stories. I most definitely do not. But I find an occasional golden nugget of inspiration there and I take it on a new journey of my own. And here is the book that will provide the inspiration:

Irish Myths and Legends, by Lady Gregory, with a preface by W. B. Yeats and introduced by Colm Tóibín. Published by the Folio Society, London 2011.

 

February 20, 2017 

What we share with birdsong

The ability to communicate with one another through language is a key attribute of what it is to be human. In this we are not alone. Birds, for example, communicate with one another through song. In the 1950s a scientist called Thorpe discovered that young chaffinches must learn how to sing from adults. He also discovered that there was a short window of time, during the rearing of the juveniles, when the chicks needed to learn from the trills of the adults. If that window was missed, the birds never learnt how to sing properly.

The peculiar and interesting thing is that human language is similar. During the rearing of the human child there is also a window of time -here it is the years up to eight or nine years old - in which the child needs to learn language from fluent speakers. If that window is missed, the language area of the brain fails to develop properly and the developing child will never subsequently be capable of acquiring the complex skills of speech. This has been confirmed with the study of so-called feral children.

It gives an insight into the intensity with which mothers and fathers prompt babies to produce that first "mama" or "papa", and the delight that goes both ways when that first connection through language is achieved.

 

To download the whole of Frank's earlier monster blog for the last six years as a pdf document, click here.