On Writing A Fantasy Story
My latest novel Rayna the Dragonslayer is an exciting fantasy adventure story and the first book in my A Time of Dragons series. It's also the first time I've delved back into sword & sorcery fantasy in a long while.
The story follows Rayna, a young sellsword who has a change of heart when she learns the truth about her next target and how it relates to her tragic past. It's like The Mandalorian merging with Game of Thrones.
Here is a little bit more of a deep dive into the story and the series itself.
Author Questions Asked and Answered:
1) Why I wrote a certain character
There are a couple different POV characters in Rayna the Dragonslayer. But, since Rayna is the lead (it says so in the title!) I'm going to focus on her.
I wrote Rayna based on my love of fantasy and the strong, female warriors I've enjoyed reading about or watching on TV. As mentioned in one of my other posts Rayna was inspired by the likes of Valeria from Conan the Barbarian, my favorite movie of all time. I also sprinkled in the best attributes of other characters like Xena, Lagertha, Taarna from Heavy Metal and even Abby from The Last of Us.
What all these ladies have in common is that they are not only strong in body but also in mind and spirit. Having just come off my superhero series where the lead was a little naive and new to her powers, I wanted to write the exact opposite. This isn't a 'chosen one' type of story. Rayna is fully established when we meet her. She kicks her feet up on the table, smokes, and isn't afraid to push back against authority. I wanted her to be a bit of a rebel in that regard mainly to irk one of the other characters, Captain of the Guard Falkon.
2) Why I picked 'that' scene
Speaking of Rayna's introduction and getting under the Captain's skin, this was the first scene that came into my head before I ever flushed out the plot. I saw the brazen, buff woman with no regard for law talking straight up shit to a royal leader. The beauty of the dialogue is that it didn't come off too crass to the point of making Rayna unlikable. Even Captain Falkon is a bit enamored with her at their first meeting.
But before we ever even meet Rayna, I had the tavern dwellers spin tales about her legacy. It was a way to offer up some mystique about her character before Falkon faces her. From there comes the description including the covered eye that plays an integral role in the story.
To learn what I mean you can read that scene here: https://www.cynthiavespia.com/rayna-dragonslayer-sample-chapter
3) Why I picked that location
Since I had the map of my world created people have been asking me where I got the name. Someone even mentioned that it sounds Greek. It's not. Coming up with names is one of my favorite things in creating a new story. More often than not I will use variations on names to pay homage to something that I love.
An example of this would be the character Valerios. As I mentioned above I love the character Valeria from Conan. In the 1982 film she fights alongside Conan as the head off into adventure. Valerios fights alongside Rayna in my story and so, he was named after Valeria. The main city Sandhal was named after the actress who played Valeria, Sandhal Bergman. But the actual world of Atharia came from taking the name Eternia in the cartoon He-Man and twisting it into something new but similar.
4) Why I killed off your main character's family in the intro
Bit of a spoiler alert but not really. When we first meet Rayna she's a capable woman of the world but she's actually still very young. I killed off her parents as a catalyst to events that will take shape throughout Rayna the Dragonslayer and the rest of the A Time of Dragons series.
However, I don't actually kill the parents in book one. Their death comes in the prequel Rise of the Dragonslayer. The prequel also delves into Rayna's backstory when she is a child of around 14 trying to learn to be a warrior. You can read Rise of the Dragonslayer free just by signing up for my newsletter here: https://www.cynthiavespia.com/free-story
That's just a little taste of my new novel and what went into creating it. As of this writing I'm currently working on part 2 which is going to put Rayna in some harrowing predicaments and also introduces some new characters!
Do you have a question about writing you'd like to ask me? Let me know in the comments!
"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy, writer wellness, and my author journey.