Monday, August 04, 2014

Travel in Fantasy

So, with Seasons' Beginnings in the hands of the beta readers and cover artist, and with the book about 98% formatted (I still have to add some back matter, in addition to making final revisions once all the beta readers get back to me with their comments), I'm currently editing Scattered Seasons, Book Two of the Season Avatars series. The plot for this book revolves around the next leader of the Season Avatars. She must travel around the country of Challen to find the other three Season Avatars born in the same year as she was. The question I'm pondering now is how much detail I need to go into about the travel and what kind of incidents need to happen along the way. I don't want to write travelogs because they're expected by readers or to pad out the story; each event should have meaning. Based on the ending of Seasons' Beginnings, I've added a plot twist that affects how Gwen, the protagonist of Scattered Seasons, deals with the people she meets. This in turn may change how she evolves over this book. Other things I want to accomplish with the travel is to show readers different parts of the country so they can become familiar with it and the culture. Of course, there will be obstacles along the way and different modes of travel. Before I go and edit each scene, I should probably step back, reread the entire draft, and think about the overall arc for this book. Then each of the mini-journeys Gwen makes will work together, not separately.

As a reader, how much do you enjoy reading about journeys? Do you expect it? Do you find such scenes tedious and wish the characters could instantly transport themselves wherever they need to go so they can get on with the action? What do you like or dislike about travel scenes?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As long as it's not an overload of description, I like travel scenes.

Sandra Almazan said...

That's good to know, Alex. I think readers in general have less tolerance for description than they used to.

Andrew Leon said...

I don't want to read about travel for the sake of travel. For instance, Tad Williams, in his fantasy series, goes through each day of travelling with his characters of virtually nothing happening other than them trying to figure out what they were going to eat. It was SO boring and superfluous. If you're going to include the travel, there needs to be a reason.

Maria Zannini said...

I'm with Andrew. Something pivotal has to happen on the journey that drives it to the next scene (or act).

If you can incorporate details about the culture and landscape into the plot it's a win-win situation. It paints the landscape without interfering with the storyline.

Sandra Almazan said...

Andrew and Maria, that's how I feel about travel scenes too.

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