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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fantasy + Cats = ?

Update - I expect posts to be erratic because of the issues I explained previously, but hopefully I can stick to the general Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule.

For the last three weeks when I go off to work, I have seen a cat either on the way there or on the way back when walking down my street. It's getting really weird and creepy that this has happened every time. They casually watch me as I walk past.

I've been trying to ignore this idea because it's distracting me from my novel. But it's getting a little hard now because my mind really wants to run away with the idea of magic-wielding cats. Or cats possessed by magical beings. Or cats as familiars to those caught in the midst of magic, aiding either the Good Guys or the Dark Side. I DON'T KNOW. I have no clue what I want to do with this idea, and if I'm not going to give it proper attention, I'd rather lay it aside. And yet... perhaps this is going to inspire that standalone fantasy novel I always wanted to write (non-series fantasy can be hard to find)...

Image: psd Fan - there's also a step-by-step guide on creating this image!

What Gets Me About Cats

1. Superiority. The thing that gets me about cats is how haughty they are. My sister's cat is so rude. He ignores you if you don't bring food, and if he's hungry and irritable, he'll bite your foot as you walk past. Sometimes he'll just ignore you if you call his name, though you know he heard because his ear swivels and the tip of his tail twitches. He also likes to sit in the middle of busy forcing us humans to notice him. If we accidentally step on his body or tail, he'll hiss the house down. If we trip over him though, that's our problem. You don't really own cats, they own you.

2. Mysticism. The behaviour and "expressions" of cats, at least the ones humans attribute to them, make them seem incredibly intelligent. Black cats hold such a stigma that the superstitious regard them as bad luck. Other associate them with witches and regard them as evil. Cats were worshipped as Gods in ancient Egypt. Those who own a pet cat has probably found their cat doing something uncanny, like staring out of the window, casting spells with their tail (joke) or sighing irritably.

3. They're everywhere - even in my dreams. I had a dream that a cat wouldn't stop following me. It was black and white and somehow I already knew she was called Sophia. She was follow me everywhere and mew all the while, until finally I sighed and picked her up, saying, "Fine, fine. I'll look after you."

Image: The Meeting by Stanley Morrison -

The Cats And The Keys

TCATK is the codename for a brand new novel. Yeah - that one I couldn't stop thinking about for the last two months? I'm writing it now. I couldn't quite help it. I was worried if I shoved this idea away, the inspiration would never come back. So once again, OOTD is on hold.

To begin with, I brought in a protagonist I created long ago in one of my Idea books. I didn't know what for at the time. She fits right in. I wasn't sure at the start, because this was the first protagonist I've created that had little or no personality. Her job is to tell the story and then buzz off, which makes her a bit hollow. She doesn't initiate anything - just react. My initial idea was that the protagonist herself would be used as a device to emphasize the fantasy elements, an idea I'm sure has been done countless times before. That was why I worried about whether I'd be able to do it well, or if potential readers would scream "MARY SUE!". But when the cast around he started comcoming life, I was starting to think I made the right call. Juxtaposed with her upbeat best friend Shandi, it seems just right.

London. I did NOT want to set this in London. It doesn't feel right. And set, when visualisation that's the setting that naturally appears. I'm leaving that bit chalky, as I still might set TCATK somewhere else. However, I feel as though it should probably be in England, because Birmingham has to A. exist and B. not be too far away.

Trees. When I think of trees, I usually think about those huge ones that have been around forever, probably before my grandparents were born. No doubt, it all started with the Great Deku Tree (from The Legend Of Zelda, one of my biggest writer inspirations - see the Bio). I think - vast. Great. Ancient. Life. Those great trees don't have eyes, but imagine if they did. Imagine all the things they would've seen, all the knowledge they would have. I toyed with this idea a bit. In the past, trees spirits or dryads have been male or female, depending on this story. For this one, I see male entities that are not just trapped within the tree, or part of the tree. They are the tree.

Heaven. In the sense of - our perception of 'heaven', not purely the religious sense. The thought of the concept 'heaven' sets my mind racing, because most people have an idea of heaven in their mind, even if they don't believe in heaven. It made me wonder about of beliefs and whether at the end of the day, they actually matter at all. This is something else I decided to include in this particular tale.

Image: google

What makes me feel most uneasy about this story is how many random supernatural aspects I've stitched together. I only gave a few example above, but I feel as though this might get crazy. Usually, I focus on one fantasy element that really intrigues me and run wild with that. But this time, I've taken several that have mildly interested me, then my mind has consciously and subconsciously (I've had a crazy number of dreams about this one story - some were even narratives I could write into the current scene when I woke up) worked over it until it obsessed me. I have tried and tried not to think about this (like DragonsANP, that steampunk fantasy idea that was ticking away) but now I'm going to give it my full attention.

I can't help it. I do get excited about new ideas. It's kind of the one reason I haven't actually finished any story I've ever written.I really think I can make this... bizarre fantasy tale.

Image: Google

... I love cats.

Ashana Lian .


  1. Ashana,

    I stopped by to see if you were still going strong and I'm happy to see that you are! I like to think that cats and children are the only beings that can detect magic in our world. Great post!

    1. Hi Troy, good to hear from you! *GASP* I was thinking about that! But if I take out the magic-wielding adults out of the current development of this idea, I'm taking out half my soldiers. So I'll think on it. =P Thanks for your comment!

  2. As you've probably seen from the amount of kitten pictures I've posted lately, I recently acquired a new kitten. I also already have one cat, she's called Persephone and she definitely acts far superior to us lowly humans. I find cats fascinating, I am neither a dog nor cat person. I kind of love all cute, fluffy animals. But I just love how intelligent cats seem. I know a lot of people think dogs are smart because they can learn tricks, but so could my cat if really wanted to.

    Good luck with your novel idea!!!! :)

    1. Yep, I saw! She's adooorable. Ooo, and I love the name Persephone.
      I know exactly what you mean. Fingers crossed I can keep up with all this plotting. It's so easy to get carried away!

  3. Oh, I have to be the minority here, but...but I don't really like cats! I HAVE A REASON THOUGH. It's excusable, almost, because I'm allergic so I don't like cats by default. But they really are elite little creatures, aren't they? And I'm convinced they're very intelligent. When I was little and slept over at a friends' house, she had this cat that would jump on ME in the middle of the night. Gosh, I suggested drowning the thing in the pool...but, you know, I was only a guest. But I'm SURE that cat terrorised me on purpose. *nods*
    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

    1. Aw, it's okay! I'm about to join a minority too, because I seem to be the only person who dislikes throne Of Glass. But I'll blog about THAT next week.

      HAHAHA "ELITE!" That's hilarious. And very accurate. I have a friend who doesn't really like cats, and she's also allergic to them. Despite this, she has a cat. *shrug* Thank YOU for commenting!


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