7 Tips to Writing Factions in Fiction

Fairy Tail Guild

Many stories have a ‘faction’ part of their world.  It can be obvious with feuding guilds or opposing armies.  Other times, you can miss it because you’re only introduced to one of the groups and merely hear about the others.  You can even have factions turn up in a more modern setting in the form of cliques and other 21st century lingo.  So, what are some things to consider when creating factions?

  1. They don’t always have to be political or religious.  I know it’s tempting to go for that aspect of humanity, but it isn’t necessary.  In fact, one might say that avoiding such a touchy subject would get you more attention.  Other options are family, friends, school clubs, competing for jobs, or resource seeking.  You would be surprised how much more you can get out of avoiding the two most overused subjects.
  2. There has to be some kind of leadership for it to be a faction.  This can be a single leader or a council system, but we’re talking about an organization.  You don’t have to introduce these leaders if they aren’t going to be major factors of the story.  There simply has to be a sense that the group is structured.
  3. Your protagonist doesn’t have to be a member for them to be in the story.  Of course, this is needed if the plot revolves around joining the faction or rising up the ranks.  If they are only being used as a part of the world to give it more depth then that’s fine.  It can even be that your hero does jobs for them or that the villain gets his minions from their ranks.
  4. Try to be unique or fun with the faction name.  For that matter, they need a name because you can’t have people shouting ‘Those Guys!’ all the time.  It can be anything that fits the world.  You might need some explanation though.  For example, they can be called the ‘Ivory Panthers’ because they are a band of evil poachers that go specifically for ivory.  They’re opposed by the ‘Earth Hearts’ who are out to protect all of nature.
  5. While uniforms aren’t necessary, you do need a symbol or gesture that faction members use to identify each other.  The flash and obviousness of this requires a little thought.  You don’t want an Assassin Guild wearing large hats that are decorated with the skulls of their victims while in public.  Many factions may operate in secret, so kind that in mind.
  6. With warring factions, you need to give them a reason.  It can be as minor as competing for limit jobs or as major as revenge.  This is probably only really important if the hero’s story factors into them.  Factions that are background are able to survive without a lot of details.
  7. Never forget a base of operations.  I’ve read a few stories where the groups seem to be everywhere.  They have a clear leadership, but no central location for them to operate out of.  You can make it a yearly gathering too.  Just have something that locks in the idea that they are large organization.  Heck, you could probably get away with a newsletter that goes out every month and has the printer’s address on it.  As long as it helps build stability.
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Teaser Tuesday: Trouble on a Rainy Night #fantasy #shortstories

Cover Art by Circecorp

Here’s another one from The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks.  I’m finding it difficult to locate the older teasers, so they might all be new.  This is a part from Ichabod Brooks & the Orphan’s Shadow.  The adventure is him helping to escort some adopted children alongside a rather irritable guard captain.  As usual, things don’t got as planned for Mr. Brooks.  Enjoy and feel free to check out the rest of his adventures.

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Questions 3: Writing an Encyclopedia/Compendium

My parents used to have this set and it got me through so many school projects.  People don’t use physical encyclopedias these days thanks to Wikipedia.  Then again, I’m thinking of another type of encyclopedia.  We’ll get to the questions in a bit.  First, I’m going to clarity a bit.

Many authors might not consider this because it doesn’t really work for stand-alone authors or some genres.  You need to have a lot of material to make an encyclopedia that collects everything from your works.  I could probably do one for Legends of Windemere or all of my books.  In fact, I used to have a notebook that listed all of the people, places, and things from my books.  This was back in high school and I thought making a big compendium would be cool.  Now, it seems like a daunting task that I wouldn’t be able to tackle without giving up a year of my life.  Searching through every book to make sure I don’t miss a single character, monster, location, spell, and relic would take months if not longer.  So, this is really an idea that I’ve abandoned.  That doesn’t mean I’m not curious.

So, here are the questions:

  1. Do you own or have you ever read a compendium/encyclopedia from an author?
  2. Do you think they are worth creating when you or fans can make a wiki site?
  3. If you had to make a compendium about your life, what would be one thing that you could not forget?
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Check This Out: The Art of Breaking Things

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

With me on the blog today is my good friend, the awe-inspiring Laura Sibson, who is here to talk about her debut young adult novel, The Art of Breaking Things. Laura is the first of two awesome Secret Gardener classmates from VCFA on the blog this week.

         

Cover designer: DANA Li
Cover illustrator: AGATA WIERZBICKA

Laura is represented by Brianne Johnson. The Art of Breaking Things was published by Viking/Penguin on June 18. Click here to read the synopsis. After I talk with Laura, I’ll tell you about a giveaway of this very book.

El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Laura:
• When I was sorted as a Gryffindor on Pottermore, I was both surprised and slightly dismayed. I expected to be Hufflepuff, but also it seems to me that Gryffindor has fallen out of favor of late. When I asked my sons…

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Some Sunday Funnies Found Throughout the Week

The title says it all.  Got some Fowl Language and Red Green Show in there too.

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Not Sure I Can Say That I’m Still Standing

This might be short because nothing really happened beyond work and puzzles.  By the time I get home, I’m exhausted.  This week started the pool trips, but we had one rained out.  There was also a trip to an amusement park.  Geez, I’m having a lot of trouble being coherent and thinking clearly.  Good thing I’m not trying to write any stories this summer like I’d planned.  The puzzles are keeping my brain active and helping me relax from a busy day, but the heat and sun are brutal.

Okay, I think I’m ending this post fairly early.  On the trip yesterday, I was one of the people waiting with the kids who didn’t want to go on the rides.  Not much shade in some of the areas.  I didn’t bring my water jug either because it’s kind of clunky to carry around and I didn’t know if I’d be going on rides until I got to work.  So, I didn’t get much water and I realized that I’d reached a point where I couldn’t sweat.  Hydrated as best as I could, but I came home to find that the freezer wasn’t working right and we lost all of our ice.  My seltzers and the water bottles are kept in a room that gets really warm.  So, I tried my best to gradually hydrate myself, but I was also dead on my feet.  This morning I have a heavy head and my coordination is off.  You have no idea how many typos I’ve done here and I kept dropping puzzle pieces last night.  Looking at them now, my hands are still shaking a bit.  This is the father/son outing day too, but I should be able to relax tomorrow since my parents might take my son to the pool.

Speaking of my son, he had his first (and hopefully last) cavity filling this week.  He did great and he won a raffle at camp for an Icee gift certificate.  He was a trooper through the week since it was hot for him too.  I think there was more, but my head is starting to feel heavier.  Think I’m out.  Here’s the list:

  1. Hydrate!
  2. Puzzles!
  3. Sleep!
  4. Hydrate!
  5. Find shade!

P.S.-  There is no way for me to get any writing done at work or even at home now.  This is frustrating.  I’m either too busy or too exhausted.  Maybe I’ll do some notebook work tomorrow when I’m resting or next weekend.  One plus side here is that my brain is so frazzled that I can start editing War of Nytefall: Eradication once camp ends and it’ll be like I’ve never seen it before.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and be able to do a Christmas release?

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The Joy of Creating Words: Becoming a Shakespeare

I was going to talk about making words and phrases, but I realized that I haven’t done anything like that.  In fact, most people don’t or won’t notice until they are long gone because you need time to see what sticks.  Makes me wonder how many authors lived long enough to see some of their creations become permanent fixtures of the lexicon.  Of course, this makes me think of Shakespeare.

I’ve always been surprised by how many phrases and words came from this man.  I would have loved to be in the room when he came up with them.  What did people think?  We look at phrases like ‘green-eyed monster’ and ‘ break the ice’, but they are so common that they have no effect.  Imagine hearing them for the first time though.  It had to be confusing and require an explanation to some extent.  Probably even ignored or mocked at first, but then these determined phrases managed to wriggle into permanency.  Did Shakespeare ever expect this?

What do you think of this topic?  Have you ever wondered about the origin of common phrases?  Do you have a favorite?

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