How I Became Inspired to Write a Visionary Fantasy Series – Stella Brians

New England Inspiration

I grew up in Norwich, which is a little town in Connecticut rich in beauty and in history. Old buildings lined most streets, and are still used as existing businesses. The Norwich Post Office was built in 1905, in the Classical Revival design. I attended Norwich Free Academy, a high school mainly composed of very old and beautiful buildings. Perhaps the most notable is the Slater Museum. The museum has always kept a variety of different art pieces, but what always stuck out to me was the plaster cast collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Italian-Renaissance sculptures. I lived down the street from my school, which was very close to the Yantic Cemetery, and the Indian Leap Falls. The Yantic Cemetery was special, because it was built in the Victorian era, back when they used to design graveyards like gardens. Pathways, trees, and aesthetically pleasing graves were only a few of the lovely features. I would often come to the graveyard, to walk and have some time alone to think. Sometimes, I felt as though the tall trees could hear my thoughts. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to, and there is something about it that does not make one fear death nearly as much.

Norwich CT Main Street, New England     Slater Museum      Continue reading

Story versus Message by Randy Davila

Shortly after the launch of the Visionary Fiction Alliance in 2012, Randy Davila, president of Hierophant Publishing and Hampton Roads Publishing Company, wrote a post for visionary fiction writers that remains relevant today. Therefore, I’m resubmitting it as our first post for 2017.

Randy Davila The Gnostic MysteryFirst purpose of fiction

Visionary fiction authors have one of the hardest jobs as writers—to both entertain their readers and to introduce them to new metaphysical topics, which the readers may have never been exposed to before. The most successful authors, of any type of fiction, understand that the first purpose of their book must always be to entertain.

Unfortunately, many times we see visionary fiction authors who feel so powerfully about their message that they let it become the central focus of the story, and drown the reader in metaphors, exercises, theories and unnatural dialogue all in the name of conveying their message. They have forgotten that their readers came to the fiction section of the bookstore to be entertained first and foremost. This is where the fiction author can run into the most difficulty in trying to reconcile their love of the story for the love of the message.

We, as fiction authors, have been told time and time again to “show, don’t tell”—and your metaphysical or spiritual message is no exception to this rule. To keep the reader engaged, you must show them how your character’s negative thinking is drawing negative circumstances into his life; or leave room for the reader to intuit how the character’s dreams about the Divine Feminine correlate to her real-life experiences. Showing the reader how these theories work instead of simply telling them that will help … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website—Step 11: Theme Installation

In Build Your Own Author Website–Step 5Book-Snapper Author Theme Installation, I showed you how to check the WordPress Theme Directory for free author themes via your Administration Panel  Dashboard>Appearance>Themes.

In Build Your Own Author Website–Step 9 and Build Your Own Author Website–Step 10, I introduced you to the Book-Snapper author theme.

Now, it’s time to execute the theme installation of your choice.

Did the word “execute” get your attention? Good, because with this step, you start claiming your website as your own.

For demonstration purposes, I’ll assume that you purchased the Book-Snapper author theme (at half price for $18.95). If you purchased a different WordPress theme, the setup steps will differ from what I’ll be sharing with you here, so feel free to skip this post and head on to another or follow along to see what parts may apply to you.

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Esme Ellis – In Memoriam

In Memoriam

October 2016

Esme Ellis

esme

We are sad to announce that one of our members, Esme Ellis, has passed away. Esme has been with us since the start of the VFA.  She has written four books; Pathway Into Sunrise, Clea and the Fifth DimensionThis Strange and Precious Thing, and Dreaming Worlds Awake.

Esme Ellis started out life as a visual artist.  At age 11, she earned scholarships to the junior art department of the Sheffield College of Art and the senior art college at 14. At 17,  sculpture and ceramics became her preferred focus of study. She won another scholarship to The Royal College of Art in London. She spent a year in Rome working on her studies and visiting many museums and galleries.

After having moved to Bath in 1975, she headed spiritual and meditation awareness meetings in her home.  She also expressed herself with painting and writing. Her journey to becoming a writer was an organic process and almost reads like a visionary fiction story:

“After virtually forty years of training and practising the art of sculpture, my life took a surprising new course. It is said that a Shaman must endure some physical calamity – a fall from a high rock face, breaking every bone in their body – be taken apart and reassembled again – before discovering their true power. The same could be said of a writer. From the most earthy, hands-on, three dimensional form of creative expression, sculpture, I was led through a devastating illness … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website – Step 10: Book-Snapper Author Theme

Book-Snapper Author WebsiteIt seems with each post I write in the Build Your Own Author Website series, the road parts like Robert Frost’s two roads diverging in a yellow wood. And, believe me, when it comes to the selecting the theme for your author website, the road you choose will make all the difference.

There are many excellent author themes available. Maybe you’ve already picked one you like. I happened to select the Book-Snapper theme for my author website and will, therefore, use it to demonstrate the next steps in the series.

In addition to what I shared in Step Nine about the Book-Snapper, here are some of the reasons its creators suggest you consider their theme.

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Self-Publishing: Print, E-book or Both? (Part 1)

Modern technology thrives by improving upon itself, and nowhere is the blizzard of innovation more overwhelming than in the publishing industry. The self-publishing author must be on constant alert for change.
Self-publishing and using the services of a self-publishing company can be vastly different in cost, time, and skill required. The goal is to deliver the book to the reader in a pleasing format at a reasonable price that adequately compensates the writer. Continue reading

The Hero’s Journey and its Connection to Visionary Fiction

HERO’S JOURNEY

What is the Hero’s Journey, and why do so many visionary writers like George Lucas use it to craft their stories? To answer that question, we need to understand where the Hero’s Journey comes from.

Joseph  Campbell recognized that myths around the world follow a similar template. He referred to this as monomyth. The hero’s path consists of 17 stages.

campbells-17-stage-model-web

As it would be too lengthy to explain all the stages in one post, let’s read how Campbell explains the journey in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. 

The hero returns from the journey transformed from the rigorous challenges he faced along the way. George Lucas used the Hero’s Journey as a template when writing “Star Wars.” If you would like to learn more about the mythology behind the movie, watch George Lucas’s interview with Bill Moyers.

APOTHEOSIS 

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The Hero’s Journey structure has qualities that can make a story visionary. In the Apotheosis stage, the hero faces death and slays the enemy. The ordeal leads to an expansion of consciousness. Sound familiar? … Continue reading

Build Your Author Website – Step 9: Your WordPress Theme

WordPress ThemeChanging the WordPress theme once you’ve invested valuable time and energy into building and customizing your author website is not advisable. I know because, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I learn things the hard way.

When I set up my original author website, I used the Twenty-Eleven WordPress default theme, only to discover later that there were themes available built especially for authors.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of author themes to choose from, and, for the technologically disadvantaged like me, a lot of choice is not always a good thing. I threw up my arms and called it a day after viewing only a fraction of them.

Also, not all themes are created equal. Some, if uploaded from outside the official WordPress Theme Directory, are actually unsafe.

Add to that, the fact that website themes involve customizations that aren’t easily transferable if you decide to switch to another theme later.

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