This post was written by Chandanie Hiralal, a mentee-alum and a participant in this month’s Fantasy Writing Workshops
Hi there! It’s Chandanie coming at you with the inside scoop from the Fantasy Workshop on August 21st! I had the lovely Chana all to myself to discuss spirituality, rituals of death, rituals of weddings, and, of course, fantasy! I was interested in participating in the Fantasy workshop in the first place because I have a fantasy novel of my own I wish to publish soon. I thought perhaps attending the workshop would broaden my fantasy writing horizons, and it certainly did! Chana asked me certain questions and asked me to write about the inner workings of my novel as we did writing exercises which challenged me to flesh out certain areas of life I hadn’t thought about. It was inspiring because it made me want to take another gander at my manuscript which I had left to chill for some time.
Currently, I am going through it again, and ladies, the work is never done! There’s always something that can be written better or some little detail that can be included to enrich the characters to help readers understand them the way I do. In fact, I’ve been working on my book (Moonrise in the Darkness) for about three to four years by myself, and every time I comb through it I find some tangles I can smooth out or silkiness I can just be in awe of. I don’t really share the manuscript for fear someone will take it from me and publish it under their name, but I was able to trust Chana enough to allow her a copy of it. I look forward to the feedback. Positive and constructive criticism always bolsters my confidence in my work, so it’s truly helpful and a blessing all at the same time!
Thanks for reading, and write on!
During this week’s workshop, Chana Porter, the instructor for the series, asked the participants to go deeper in their work during a silent free writing exercise. Here are a few she asked Chandanie about Moonrise in Darkness:
It’s time for you to get off the train and move around inside the world of your story. As you wander, try to answer these questions. Don’t think about them too much, just write what first comes to your mind.
Q: What do people eat in the morning? What do they drink?
A: There is no such thing as morning in the world I am thinking of (the Metal Realm of Wraith World). It is not so simple as wraiths do not need to eat every day; however, there is a special day where all the wraiths of the realm eat the soulless body of some creature from another dimension or time. The blood of the deceased being is what the wraiths quench their thirst with.
Q: How do people send messages to each other?
A: The wraiths use their intuition, their natural sensitivity to the Universe and morphogenetic fields, to know what is going on anywhere at any given time. So, in a sense, telepathy.
Q: What do children do during the day?
A: Children live beneath the earth where whole communities thrive. They learn and play and are only given a formal education if they show the promise of great power.
Q: What does a family do when a baby is born?
A: Wraiths are not born in the traditional sense of a female giving birth to them; however, that does happen, but it is extremely rare. Once the soul of anything passes on it can be guided to the wraith realms by a reaper wraith develops a wraith body when it touches the ground there. Older wraiths may take the newly born wraith into their band of wraiths, or a child may choose it’s destiny.
Q: Are there seasons in this world?
A: There is only one season, and that is early autumn, and its reign is eternal in the Metal Realm. Other seasons reign supreme in other realms.
Q: What’s the weather like?
A: The weather is mild and fairly beautiful. It can be warm, but nothing extensive. Same for it’s level of coolness. It does not rain or snow here; it’s just calm and peaceful. Other realms do experience varying weather patterns, though.
Q: Does the weather change? If so, how do people mark or celebrate the changing of the weather?
A: In the Metal Realm, no, the weather does not change, but there is a certain clearing of dead trees that has a slightly overcast sky with the crescent moon shining brightly. Since the weather remains constant, there is no need for celebration.
Check back next week for our final post about this month’s workshop series!
Chandanie Hiralal is a young, fantasy writer that hopes to make it big one day so she can use the money she makes to help fuel organizations against animal cruelty (and adopt a fully vegan diet) as well as movements for women’s equality, environmental conservation, and LGBTQ rights. Chandanie has published a book of poems and short stories when she was 14 and was again published in the 2013 Girls Write Now Anthology. Currently she is working on another book of poems to publish before the end of 2014, and will look to publish her first novel entitled Moonrise in the Darkness some time in 2015. She’s a sophomore at CUNY Queens College with a major in English and minor in Business in Liberal Arts. Chandanie has a wide range of interests, but in her spare time she enjoys playing video games, going out with her boyfriend on magical adventures, and attuning herself with the Universe; recognizing and becoming one with the stream of meaningful coincidences found in everyday life.