Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Close of Another Year

So we're winding down, here in 2009. I have to admit I am looking forward to 2010 simply because I never thought I would get this far. *Chuckles* I've had my two cute new kitties for a whole year; I've done National Novel Writing Month yet again and have re-written what I feel is my best story. So far. That is until people read about Black Rose. Then we'll see what they say about him. *Grins* He's very cool.

So I have been slacking in the blogging world. It happens. I tend to get so busy with other things (World of Warcraft) that I have to stop for a moment, catch up with myself and get back into a routine. (Writing, Evony, Age of Pirates) Hehe! Seriously. I had to take a really good break from my re-write to figure out exactly where I wanted to go. Near the end there, I got very repetitive and probably a little long winded just to hit that 50,000 word mark. I mean really, I didn't even use the word "Chapter" once.

Now, back to the writing I go. I have to finish this, then move forward once more to the editing aspect of the Black Rose story. I'm finding I've got quite a few people waiting in the wings to do some beta reading for me, to let me know where I can tweak this or that, fix this here and there. I got the best phone call on Christmas Eve from a friend who read my book. He and his brother loved it and he called to see if I had written any more. It made my day. :D

Hopefully soon I will post some more tidbits as I go. I'll just keep writing, you all will just keep reading. It's all good. ;)

Have a good holiday everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Behind the Characters

Recently, I took a step back to my "roots" so to speak. Several years ago, I had started to play an online RPG called "Legends of Cosrin". Yep,
It is a text based MUD and one that I feel played a pretty significant part in my writing. Character development is my absolute favorite part of writing. Getting inside the head of someone totally opposite of myself and the challenge of writing about them in a way that sticks to their personality....oh! It is so fun.

Anyway, Cosrin is pretty fun. I took a hiatus for a time and as I said, I just went back this last week. One of my old friends happened to be sitting there and we got to talking. When I logged in, it sparked something. In a good way. I had started writing again after getting involved the role-playing aspect of Cosrin. I wrote short stories for my characters on the forums. I had a blast but there is always a downside, so I stopped for awhile.

I started off writing with the idea of writing books set around the city in Cosrin and the characters. Thought it would be fun, then it just grew from there. My little map of the city ended up being a map of a kingdom, which then progressed to a continent. I got permission from my friends to use their characters, many of whom I had to change their names for obvious reasons.

So while talking to my friend, I thought, you know...I should post somewhere the characters I have used from Cosrin and the names I use for them in my writing. So, with that being said, here goes!

Kayta: From Cosrin, my character, name not changed, just race and storyline.

Nightshadow: From Cosrin, my character, name not changed, storyline unchanged.

Laria: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name not changed, storyline slightly changed to suit some purposes.

Farrehn: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Ariosh, story and background are similar.

Vendras: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Dahak, story slightly altered, will someday continue with storyline from Cosrin.

Alabassin: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Ninny, story altered.

Talaver: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Firesong, story altered.

Tyren: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Tyrus, story slightly altered, closer to the original.

Nikkolani: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Protean, story altered.

Geralmin: From Cosrin, a friend of mine, name changed from Goldenaxe, story altered.

Sorcha: My character from Society for Creative Anachronism, name changed from MacGregor to Lilanthroe.

Other characters I have based on Cosrin characters include Elendil, Bast, Kain and a few others that sort of escape me at the moment. I enjoy writing about others, especially ones that I have played with in games like Cosrin. However well I know them, I know my own creations just as well. I enjoy listening to them whisper their story in my ear, telling me how they would respond to something, how they would react. Lots of people seem to struggle with character development, I absolutely revel in it. Happy writing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Excerpt No. 2

So I am not completely heartless. I have decided to bestow upon you yet another excerpt. *Chuckles* I know, I am so full of myself. Well, full of something at least. I hope you enjoy it. I am not going to give you specifics or tell you anything leading up to it, I just want to share. So here you go! Oh, and just so you know, none of this is edited. This is merely a rough draft. We are talking about National Novel Writing Month here, I can't edit. So be nice!

Sorcha walked down the little path that led around the side of the building where, she knew from past experience, a little garden with benches had been placed for visitors.
As she rounded the corner, she heard someone crying and halted where she stood, not wishing to intrude.
“Please let him be all right,” a female voice drifted out of the night, broken with little hiccups as she cried. “Aeviar, Kaigowen, if you are listening to the pleas of a pitiful wretch like me, please let him be all right. Ioweth be praised,” the woman finished her prayer to the gods of healing and miracles. As she invoked the name of the creator, Ioweth, Sorcha narrowed her eyes.
“Nightshadow?” Sorcha whispered.
“Who's there?” the woman growled, her voice hard. Sorcha saw the woman stand up and turn towards her, a dagger glinting in the moonlight.
“Calm yourself, woman. It's me, Sorcha.” Sorcha stepped over to where Nightshadow stood, still holding her dagger.
“What in all hells are you doing here,” Nightshadow snapped.
“I could ask you the same question. I never figured you to be the praying type. Who did you almost kill?”
“That is none of your bloody business.” Nightshadow concealed her dagger and sat back down on the bench.
“Yes, the business is bloody. I'm here dropping someone off.” Sorcha turned in a circle, taking in the sequestered area. Seeing they were very much alone, she plopped down on the stone bench next to the infamous assassin. “I'm taking running in to you as a very good sign.” Sorcha smiled warmly, her mind working quickly as usual.
“I'm taking it as a very bad omen,” Nightshadow muttered.
“Now don't be silly. This could be a very prosperous coincidence. Are you game?”
“That all depends,” Nightshadow said. “How much will I be gaining from this venture?”
“Let us speak of coin later. First let me tell you what I have in mind. However, if your mind works like mine, I'm sure you will see the future gain.”
“I'm listening.” Nightshadow pulled out a small silver case and tapped the lid twice, then tapped the bottom once. The lid sprang open and she pulled out a slim cigarette. Placing it to her lips, she worked her flint and tinder, lit the stick and inhaled the smoke deeply, tucking the little silver contraption away.
“Cute,” Sorcha commented. She waved a hand in front of her face, the smell of the cloves and other herbs in the cigarette were too sweet for her taste. Nightshadow just blew the smoke in her face and remained silent. “I told you I came to drop someone off. Tell me, what news has reached Moordigan in the last few days?”
Nightshadow frowned slightly as she took another deep pull on her cigarette. “Let's see,” she mused and smoke blew out with her words. “The king and queen of Paridzule are dead. Apparently an accident on their way to a negotiation meeting in Relavia. Li'endrin has to be behind it.” Sorcha leaned forward, her elbows resting on her knees as she waited patiently for Nightshadow to finish. “The ship carrying their son Hedric and daughter Kayta was attacked by your good friend Toreg, no survivors.”
“That slimy dung heap is not my friend.” Sorcha huffed and shook her head. “What else?”
“And Senweis has renounced the Paridzule throne.”
“She what?” Sorcha asked, astounded. She sat up and turned to look at Nightshadow.
“I figured you were seeking specific news and all three of those are so closely related. The world is not going to be the same if Li'endrin waltzes in and takes over Paridzule. The only other news is petty compared to all of this. Some Noble dies, others declare war then kiss and make up. You know, the usual.”
Sorcha stood and paced back and forth in the little circular garden. One hand rested on her hip as she walked, the other tapped her lips.
“Oh, and Alabassin has gotten himself in to an arranged marriage. Apparently to Senweis.”
“That might prove to be a good solution.” Sorcha said.
“Do you think Li'endrin will allow it? He already has the majority of the family out of the way. Kienna and Aldhem are all that remain and he just has to wait for them to die of old age. He'll have Senweis snuffed in a heartbeat.”
“By your hand?” Sorcha paused to look at the woman sitting on the bench in her tight, black leather skirt and corset. Her red-gold hair hung loosely to her waist and shone in the moonlight.
“Not by my hand. I refuse to help that bastard with anything.”
“Seems the world of Eir du'Brusai at least has one thing in common.” Sorcha continued to walk slowly around the circle. As she passed by the bench, she paused and sat next to Nightshadow, her body turned to face her. “What if I told you Kayta is not dead?”
“I'd call you a liar. Oh, you are a liar.”
“Very funny. I have proof.” Sorcha pulled the insignia ring indicating Kayta's station as Guardian of the Realm from her pocket. She held it out for Nightshadow to see.
“Where in all hells did you get this?” Nightshadow hissed, grabbing the ring and quickly looking around to see if they were alone. She dropped the last of her cigarette to the ground and smashed the embers with the toe of her boot. She held the ring up to view it in the moonlight. The ring was a large, flat onyx shaped like a crescent moon. Silver flames cradled the moon before blending in to the rest of the band.
“I told you, Kayta is alive. I happened upon the aftermath of Toreg's attack. She looks to be the only survivor. I want you to take this ring to Nikkolani. She's got to get back to Paridzule, she will straighten things out and if not, she'll just hang her sister and take the throne.”
“We could only hope. I cannot believe that selfish little whelp renounced the throne.” Nightshadow turned the ring in the light before tucking it away.
“Will you do it? Will you bring her back?” Sorcha asked.
“I'll do it on one condition.”
“I don't have that much coin on me, Night. So whatever your price, go easy on my purse.”
“No, don't worry. This will only cost you Toreg's head. You kill him and we'll be square.”
“Done!” Sorcha clapped her hand into Nightshadow's and they shook on it. “What a strange world we live in when an assassin asks a Pyrate to kill someone for them.”
“Strange indeed when Pyrates pick up floating stragglers in the ocean.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

R.I.P. Matthew Alan Pierce

A fellow writer
hath lain down his pen.
A new chapter of life
sadly, has begun.

A fellow writer
hath writ his last word.
No longer will his
voice be heard.

A fellow writer
hath closed his book.
We will all mourn
the life that God took.

We'll miss you Matthew. I pray that you find peace and know that I will see you when my story is through.

Matthew Alan Pierce
June 2, 1969-October 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well, wouldn't you know. I began National Novel Writing Month with a set idea. I wanted to write out Nightshadow's story. I know, I know. I got stuck. I had no real plot, no idea where to go with it. I was rehashing her historical (not hysterical) past and the path she took to become of the most deadliest Assassins my world has ever known.


That was the sound of my idea fading off into the etherworld.

So. What did I do in the middle of NaNoWriMo? I started over. *Snorts* Actually it is going much better than I expected. Faster, actually. I am now sitting at 17,415 words out of 50,000.

Now, I know I have promised to put up and excerpt and I'm sure you all have been chomping at the bit to see what I have been working on. I promised you something from Nightshadow's story, but instead, you will get a peek at my new story.

Here's the thing, though. It is a major overhaul, a rewrite of gigantic proportions, an undeniable HUGE step for me. I plan on "losing" at NaNoWriMo this time specifically because I feel as if I am cheating. You'll understand once I let you in on my little secret.

*Peers around to make sure "They" aren't listening*

I'm re-writing my first book. You know, the one that got published with THEM. The bane of my existence, the Evil Empire, the lying sacks of.....

Yeah, them.

So, without further ado....Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:

As the coast of Paridzule dropped out of sight, Kayta let out a long sigh. It had been months since she had seen her home. She barely had a chance to rest before she had to board a ship and be on her way to Suleiel's Festival. Twice a year, Nobles from all the kingdoms would meet at the festivals. Kayta went in her father's stead during Suleiel's Festival and her father would go for Oeswen's Festival.

“Don't look so upset,” a voice spoke off to her left. Kayta turned to see her best friend and Captain of the Guard, Trinara. She walked over to the railing where Kayta stood and leaned her elbows on the railing. “Rumor has it that Lord Li'endrin will be attending the Festival instead of his father.” Kayta blushed a bright pink and looked away quickly.

“Why would that interest me in the slightest?” she asked. Trinara grinned.

“Well, correct me if I am wrong, but I do recall seeing the two of you off in a corner quite a bit at his last visit.”

“I think your memory must be muddied by all the beatings you take on the battlefield,” Kayta turned to look at her old friend. Her cheeks were still flushed and she tried her best to hide a grin. “Besides, it is apparent that father wishes to marry him off to Senweis.”

“Your sister hardly gave him the time of day.” Trinara stood so that the wind blew her long blonde hair out of her face. Kayta looked around, checking to see if they would be overheard. All she noticed were a few crewmen standing and staring at Trinara. Decked out in her usual garb of tight fitting or scant clothing, she drew the attention of any man in sight of her. She stood half a head taller than Kayta and her skin was darkly tanned.

“Senweis is shy,” Kayta stood up for her elder sister. Sometimes she wondered why, the two of them fought most of the time. Usually about petty little things like Kayta borrowing a gown because she didn't have one of her own or Senweis using one of Kayta's favorite daggers as a butter knife.

“Shy,” Trinara snorted. “That is just a polite way of saying she's a prude.”

“Trin!” Kayta gasped and then giggled. She smacked her friend on the arm lightly. “Be nice, now.”

“Are you excited to see him again?” Trinara asked after a moment.

“I would very much like to see Alabassin again,” Kayta mused out loud as she looked over the waves breaking against the ship.

“That is what I thought.”

“Don't be so smug, it doesn't suit you,” Kayta grinned at her friend. “You better get back to your quarters before you get the crew flogged for not working.” She nudged her friend and nodded in the direction of the group of men who stood gawking at her best friend. Several more had joined the first three in the last few minutes.

“I'd make it up to them,” Trinara grinned wickedly before turning on her heel and walking away.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My corner of heaven.

I know I was going to use this blog for writings and the like, but this seemed to good to pass up. I went for a walk outside today. The snow fell during the night leaving a pristine blanket of about two inches. If this isn't descriptive writing to capture a memory, then I don't know what is.

The clouds are high up and seem to move fast. The sun was filtering down through them over the bay as if I were looking at a heavenly post card. It would read, "Thinking of you, but do not wish you were here. At least not yet. Enjoy the beauty of it."
The water is slate gray, except where the light is caught in the waves. The water is calm and peaceful looking, I wish I had a ship, I could sail on forever.
The wind is blowing slightly and down the road a bit is a stand of pines. I watched them sway, the snow blowing off of them like powder. The sound of the wind through the trees reminded me that I was not alone out there.
As I walked back to the house, the sun glittered on the snow, playing tricks on my eyes. It seemed as if fairies were dancing at my feet as the snow kicked up around me.
This is my little corner of heaven and I am not about to give it up yet.

At the very least, it left me feeling as if I were in a meditative state. I need to remember feeling like this when I get tired of the snow, of winter dragging on and on. I get impatient to see the sun and grass.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

What in the world is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month, of course! As they say, 30 days and nights of literary abandon. 30 days and nights of fools like me who spend as much time as they can hammering out the details of a novel to reach the ultimate goal of 50,000 words.

Okay, we're not fools. Really. We're dedicated to our craft and enjoy the stress of the deadline.

My novel this year is entitled: "Tomes of Eir du'Brusai: Legend of Nightshadow"
Last year it was "Legend of Black Rose". Eir du'Brusai, of course, is my world. Ten years spent in the making from the Pantheon of gods and goddesses to the last blade of grass.

Black Rose is a great guy. You'll love him when you read about him.

Nightshadow is an awesome girl. She's my dark side, released upon countless, helpless victims. She's an assassin, one of the best and deadliest. She's ruthless, she's merciless. I love her to death. I can't tell you how she turns out, you'll have to read that too. I wouldn't want to give away any cool twists and turns in my plots. That would be no fun for anyone, least of all me.

I just can't wait. I'll have to post excerpts here so you can see the defining moments as I do. But it will have to wait til tomorrow.


Boy, I Ramble

It is what I do best, ramble. Usually on and on about nothing, but mostly I pull out a soap box every so often and perch on it.
Most people don't like what they hear spewing forth from my mouth. Wow, go figure.

Rambling is something I have issues curbing in my writing. I want every detail I see in my brain to be transmitted and communicated to your brain. Writing gives me that creative challenge. What a challenge it is!

Among the many things I know and understand about writing is that it is a way for me to work things out in my life. Every author does it to some degree. It is like dreaming. While you sleep, your dreams convey messages and solutions to problems you face either once in a while or on a daily basis. Writing is like that for me. I can write about things in my life, change them around to suit my character and then watch the solution unfold before me. It is kind of fun.

Then on the opposite spectrum of working through issues through writing is the dark, fun part. Placing people in real life that irritate the hell out of me and turning them in to a character I can torture and kill! *Coughs* Okay, maybe not kill. But I certainly do have my Main give them a piece of their mind that magically resembles what I would like to say to that person.

So, with the topic of this post in mind, I am going to shut up now. *Laughs*

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Keep track with me on FaceBook!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Readings: The Time Traveler's Wife

Okay, so I have joined a book club to sort of expand my horizons, reading-wise. The month of October, we chose to read "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm just starting it, so I will post my opinion here soon.

Next month, we'll be reading "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Again, I'll post my opinion here. Basically a loose review.

Want to read along with me? Great! Tell me what you think!

Revising: The Bane of My Existence

I don't know about you, but revising just drives me nuts. When I initially write something down, I tend to fall in love with aspects of it and am afraid of losing those pieces. I'm sure most writers feel the same way.
In my days of revising these past few years, I have tried to work with the first thing I wrote, tweaking it, twisting it, trying to get it into the shape I have in my mind's eye, only to throw my hands up in frustration and say forget it. (Only I use stronger language when I'm alone.) *Laughs*

At any rate, I remember when I first started writing, all the scraps of papers around me, crumpled and then smoothed out again as I search for a fragment I wanted to keep. As I got older and started writing on the computer more and more and using pencil and paper less frequently, I got into a new habit. Using the same file over and over, highlighting what I wanted to change and then saving the document repeatedly so as not to lose what I changed.

Well....that's where the frustration has come into play yet again. I can't tweak the same thing over and over, strengthening one area and making another completely weak. I'm currently swapping chapters with a fellow writer and "Beta Reading" their work while they read mine. Half the time I toss out a chapter that I think revised well only to have glaring mistakes pointed out over and over. Makes me ashamed sometimes.

Lately, I must admit, I haven't been wanting to send off chapters anymore. Then I decided to go back to my old way of doing things with paper and pencil, just adapting it for the computer. I have the old document open to follow, then I open a brand new fresh file, just like pulling out a clean, new notebook to start over again. The upside to this? I don't have to take out the trash every other hour or spend hundreds of dollars on new notebooks! Huzzah! Well, it makes me sad sometimes as I do like to write with pencil and paper. I still do on occasion.

The plus, plus side to this is I already have my story written out, now I can write it down differently, clean it up and strengthen every sentence rather than filtering through it all to catch the ones that are weak. I'm sure this is how other people revise and edit, maybe they've been doing it for much longer than I have. If so, kudos to them! For me, however, it is a step in a new/old direction. I'm growing and changing as a person all the time, so why not grow and change as a writer too? I haven't felt this confident writing in a very long time. I still make the same mistakes over and over, but am now learning to catch them faster when I edit and revise this way. That is how it was before I had a computer, it worked then and it works even better now!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Smash and Bash

I admit, reading my sister-in-law's post about how she's way too nice to her characters made me feel like blogging my own opinion about that. I know it seems like I already did in an earlier blog, but I sort of like putting my characters through some tough times. I'm even trying to decide how to kill one off.

Makes me feel like a bad girl.

Cheri mentioned something about why do we like to read about so much conflict? I just joined a book club and one of the ladies there didn't like the opening chapter of the book we had just read (Smoke Jumper) and asked if he had to do that for publication.

Well, my take on it is this...I'm sure others have had this opinion as well. We, as human beings, have so much going on in our daily lives, that even if we picked up a book that reminded us of our own life, we'd probably keep reading.


Because it is happening to someone else. We're morbid beings. See a car crash, you can't take your eyes off of it. Yet if you are in one yourself, you do everything possible to repress the memory, push it out of your mind. It does creep up and bite you in the rear every so often, but in odd ways. You brake where normally you would have passed the slow car in front of you or you sit for two full minutes looking in all directions before carefully pulling out where before you would just gun it.

So, if you are willing to sit back and follow the lives of others simply because you are grateful it isn't happening to you, why are some authors too easy on their characters?

Take "Smoke Jumper" for example. Don't know how many of you have read it, but one of the main characters gets the raw end of the deal most of his life. Yet the author created such a cushy life for him. He's from a rich family, he's well educated, a musician. If you have read the book, you know that in real life, it would never be that way.

Even J.K. Rowling gave Harry lots of money to make up for his hellish life. But that's different, it was an inheritance and it was only ever mentioned a few times.

If you are going to put your characters through hell and back, you might think about giving them some bright spots, some high points in their lives. People, in all reality, can't deal with stress and drama twenty four seven, so why would you ever think of doing that to your characters?

To answer my earlier question, authors are sometimes too easy on their characters because they are such an extension of themselves. Jane Austen never married, neither did her sister. Yet all of her characters found love and happiness ever after.

I've used bits and pieces of myself in all of my characters. Each one has a distinguishing quality of myself in one way or another. If you really, truly know me, you will recognize it as soon as you begin reading.

In my first book, Kayta loses her memory after a horrific episode in her life. Granted she's an all out, gutsy warrior and knows how to keep her cool in battle, but the tragedy she witnessed was the brutal murder of her family. Who wouldn't want to repress that? By doing this, I've placed into Kayta how I feel about having very little recollection of my childhood. What sort of thing could have happened to me that I would repress what was supposed to be one of the happiest periods of my life?

There's lots of theories. I blame the ozone layer.

But that is just one example. So, for the most part, I really like to smash and bash my characters, but I do try to give them hope. Even the darkest hours of our own lives have glimmers of hope.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's on your bookshelf?

You know, to be a good writer, you also need to be a good reader. It's fun to read books as well as write them. At least in my opinion. Everyone has their own writing style and their own stories to tell. So if you like to write, you must like to read. I read the Writer's Digest magazine and they have a section in there about famous authors and what is on their bookshelves. Well, I'm far from being a famous author...yet. But I will share what I have on my shelves!
When I moved from Arizona to Alaska, I had to give up a lot of my books and movies. We left a lot behind, so I am slowly building up my collection. I can tell ya, though, that the Salvation Army thrift store has helped me rebuild my bookshelves! I don't know what I would do without them. I find some really interesting stuff on those shelves! So here we go.

First, I'd like to start with my book of Shakespeare's Sonnets. I adore Shakespeare and also have "MacBeth" among my collection.

Confessions of a Werewolf Supermodel by Ronda Thompson
Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien (Several different copies of each book)
Complete Book of Dragons
The Cat Who Read Backwards by Lillian Jackson Braun (I have almost all of the "Cat Who" books)
Marked by P. C. and Kristin Cast (A House of Night Novel and I have the first four books of that series)
Night World by L. J. Smith Volumes one, two and three.
Wind in the Willows
Watership Down
The Belgariad and the Mallorean series by David Eddings
Polgara the Sorceress by David and Leigh Eddings
The Smoke Jumper
The Shack
Sis Boom Bah
(Bear with me, I'm trying to recall from memory what is on my shelves and don't have all the authors names)
A few books by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown
The Notebook
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series
Wishsong of Shanara by Terry Brooks
Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist (OMG I love this book, it is in tatters!)
Celtic Knotwork

Ok, so far that is what I can recall off the top of my head. I'll take a better inventory one of these days and actually be able to give you all an idea of what I read and who the authors are.

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Characters: Love 'em or Leave 'em

I belong to the writing community of I have an online portfolio there and I get to read, rate and review other writers in the community. I really love the place, as we call it WDC. You can also sign up for newsletters in different areas and genres, depending on what you'd like help with.

So today was newsletter day, you get them every week either in the middle of the week or the end. One of the fantasy newsletters was about characters and loving them too much. Is it good for the story if nothing bad ever happens to the main characters? Is it good for the story if everything happens to the main characters? What is a good balance?

Personally, the main character in the "Twilight" series, Bella, was loved too much by her creator. I felt pretty disappointed by the last book, "Breaking Dawn" simply because everyone lived happily ever after and even the big bad group of Elder Vampires walked away from a fight. Yes, Bella got attacked by rival vampires, she was in the hospital more times than I care to count throughout the series, yet in the end, she got her way. She went from being a normal 18 year old girl fresh out of high school and straight on to being a newlywed, then a mother and finally a vampire. She rocketed from an 18 year old mentality to a 30 year old mentality in the space of a couple years. While there was plenty of teenage angst and drama going on, what with the numerous boys having crushes and the insecurity that Bella was indeed a beautiful girl, it fell flat. Again, this is my opinion, but I am choosing this character as an example of one being loved too much. Nothing horrible ever happened to Bella. (I can hear the fans gasping.) Bear with me. There is a huge difference between drama and tragedy.

When writing about a beloved character, which Bella was, you can't be afraid to have irreversible damage happen. It seems to me as if not only Bella was loved, but all of her background characters were loved just as much. When an author loves their character so much they're afraid to put them directly in harm's way, it leaves the story lacking. Bella always seemed to get out of a jam, even if she was injured in the process. That isn't always enough for some readers.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a morbid, wicked person. Okay, maybe just a little bit. But when writing about my characters and putting them in a situation I have to stop and ask myself, "Would they really be able to escape this situation without some sort of physical or emotional scarring?" If you know human nature, the answer would be no. It is important to move on with a story, yes. But to have a character just let things go like water off a duck's back just doesn't seem to fly with me. It seemed as if Bella let a lot go and it didn't even sit in her subconscious.

On the other hand, there are characters that have much too much happen to them right off the bat and it affects them the rest of their lives. The example given in the newsletter was Star Wars. Luke Skywalker's family is wiped out and he's off like a shot to follow his destiny. I think just enough happened to Luke to shape him into the man he was meant to be. I don't think I have yet come across a storyline or book where the character just seems to have tragedy after tragedy thrown at them. Give me suggestions and I'll check them out.

I have no qualms about killing off a main character if that is where the path is leading them. I even have plans to kill off a main character eventually. I write like I play "Magic the Gathering"; be willing to sacrifice your own for the sake of destroying the many. (Yes, I'm a serious geek, tell me something I don't know.) If I had a character whose sole purpose of the story was to die in the end, I'd be right there holding the blade to kill them with. However, I would mourn that character in the end. I'd cry, I'd probably even hold a flippin' funeral for it. But in the end, if it stirred up the same grief in my reader, then I have done my job. If my readers mourn that character, if they saw that the only way for things to be right in my world was for that character to die, I've given them a gift. I've given them something they'll enjoy.

Harry Potter books do that to me. J. K. Rowling cannot be accused of loving her characters too much. There's no way. If you have read all of the books, you know what I mean. If you haven't read them all yet, well be prepared to cry. I won't be a spoiler, though. But the woman knows how to twist our hearts. She knows that the friends of Harry will do absolutely anything to protect him to reach their goal of destroying Voldemort. They would even die for him. What more do you need to tell you how important it is that Harry survive? You certainly don't see any of his friends backing off suddenly and saying, "You know...forget it. I've done enough and I want to live to see the end result. Harry, love ya man, but I'm outta here." Everyone knows that in war, which is exactly what was happening in Rowling's books, lives will be lost. Innocent and otherwise.

So all in all, don't be afraid to have something bad happen to your characters. It shapes them into the people they're meant to be. If it is important to the storyline, then let it happen. Don't fret and be over protective about it, let it happen. You'll be happy with the end result if you are willing to love them enough to let them go.

I'd also like to apologize for writing such long blogs. I can't help it, I have a lot to say. However, if you manage to read every single one to the end, then let me just say THANK YOU!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Character Creation

In case it isn't blatantly obvious, I am blogging about writing stuff. If you want to see my personal rants, mostly political, you'll have to look for my other blog. I certainly won't be putting a link to it here. I will, however, start with a link to my website. It is currently undergoing construction, so bear with me. There, now that is out of the way, I can move on to my blog topic.

Character Creation seems to be a daunting task for people. More than world creation if they write fantasy. I've browsed through post after post on other writing sites where people have begged for help with character creation. The only response or piece of advice I can give to you is to look around. Who are your friends, your family? If you aren't much of a "People Watcher" you will struggle with creating your characters. There is no real secret to coming up with a character full of personality and depth. You either know what makes people tick or you don't.

Personally, creating the characters is the best part for me. I love the challenge it offers and I love how diverse my characters become. I love to watch people where ever I go. I'll sit in a restaurant or I used to sit in the mall and just watch people walk by, listen to bits of their conversations (honestly, I don't purposely eavesdrop, sometimes people talk too loud!) watch how others react to information or surprises. It is really fun and I suggest trying it, just try not to look too much like a stalker. (By the way, you are out of milk.)

People fascinate me. I don't know why. I have never gone to school to study the human psyche, but I bet I would pass any class with flying colors in profiling.

Most of my characters are based off of people I know. And obviously, some are not. I don't know anyone like my Mandorak Li'endrin, ruling king of Relavia. If you have even read a small portion of my book(s) (crosses fingers) or short stories, you would know what I mean. Mandorak Li'endrin is only one ruling king in a long line of kings from Relavia who are just plain mean and nasty. His son, Alabassin, just breaks the mold. He's as sweet as he is honest and caring. I absolutely adore Alabassin. I've based Alabassin off of a good friend of mine I used to roleplay with in an online RPG called "Cosrin". If you know of this game, then you'll know the name Ninny. If not, then you'll just have to be in the dark.

Mandorak isn't the only mean, nasty person I write about. But I don't know anyone quite as spiteful and egotistical as these characters. I've just gone on what I know of people and how there are people out there like these figments of my imagination. Don't believe me? Watch Jerry Springer.
Alabassin is only one character I have based off of a friend. Others include Laria, her name is the same in the book as it is in Cosrin. To continue the list of Cosrin-based characters, there is Farrehn (Ariosh), Tyren (Tyrus), Nikkolani (Protean), Vendras (Korhal). There are more, but I won't bore you with details that may or may not mean anything to you. The point is, each one of these characters are pretty much spot on in my book. I know them as well as they know themselves. I can emulate them easily because I've spent weeks studying them, interacting with them and the like. Okay, maybe more than weeks. The point is, Laria is a sweet Elven Ranger, she's got a fiery temper and loves her family and friends with the same fiery passion. Farrehn is half ogre. He can talk the talk and walk the walk. Cross him and you'll be sorry, befriend him and he will defend you with every ounce of Honor he possesses. His best friend is Vendras and the two of them are constantly competing, but it is all in good fun and neither ever gets his feelings hurt. Tyren is an Elven Assassin who has more heart than he'll ever let on. Dangerous and dark, the man is just downright sexy and fun. Nikkolani, well, let's just say everything that man does is to make sure more coin is in his pocket and not yours.

When creating these characters, I tried to focus on their traits, good and bad. I've based other characters off of my friends and again I have tried to capture their nature, their quirks and sometimes, even their phobias. When my friends read my work, they all tell me how I've pretty much pegged their characters down to the last detail and that makes me happy, that was my intention. When I am writing about someone I don't know, I try to focus on those same qualities and come up with characters with depth. So I suppose my advice, if I were to give some on character creation, would be to base your characters off of those you know. My main characters are built around myself. I know what I would do in any situation, obviously. But I don't filter all of my strengths and weaknesses into one character. I take one and then build off of it. I'll give you examples.

Kayta, she's one of my oldest characters. I've had her since I was 19 and I won't tell you my age. Anyway, she's one of my most honorable characters. She's a warrior, she's compassionate, honorable, strong and stubborn. Ok, so I am almost all of those traits, I'm just not a warrior in the sense that she is. But I take that and run with it. What would someone do who is a warrior and has a strong sense of honor? Well, she certainly wouldn't fight a fight unless it was fair. She wouldn't walk away from a fight either, especially if her loved ones were involved somehow.
Nightshadow, she's the best. She's an assassin. I've taken my dark side (the one I keep hidden) and I've used it to my advantage. I simply allow her to to the things I would never, ever do as a morally, honorable human being. I also allow her to say things I wish I could say to people, but don't. She's everything I would want to be, if I wanted to be a crazy serial killer. She's strong, she isn't afraid of what people think of her and yet she loves with her whole being, not just a tiny part of it.
I've had other characters, like Nimareau. Nimareau is my spiritual healer. She's a blessing to those who know her. She's gentle, she's kind and the thought of harming any living thing is just deplorable. She'd rather die than to hurt anyone or anything. She only fights to protect herself and those she loves. She was my Elven Mage in Cosrin, she was an exceptionally good healer.

All three of those characters are as different as night and day, yet I portrayed them all. Each of them contains parts of me that I either want to express more or hide away and never let anyone know about. When I played those characters, created them in the game, people just never could figure out it was the same person. I took it as a high compliment when I shocked people and told them who I was. I was also happy when I could pinpoint a new character and guess who their others were. I just know people that well. I hope all of this gives you some insight on character creation. Perhaps it will help you, perhaps not. All I can say is look within yourself. Find those strengths and weaknesses you have and put them into your characters. You can create characters with depth if you just look around you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

World Creation

When writing fantasy, not everyone chooses to go into details of their world. Then there are those (like me) who delve into it to create everything, literally, from the ground up.
So if you write fantasy and are trying to decide how deep into the creation process you want to go, there are some things you might want to consider first.

One thing to think about is your Pantheon. Gods and Goddesses, demi-gods, lesser demons and deities. Are you going to talk about them all the time? Will they be prominent in your writings or will they sort of be assumed and lurk in the background? If you want your characters to use their name in vain as in swearing, you might want to give some thought as to what they're cursing. If they're just going to be mentioned as almost an afterthought, then you might just want general descriptions. If they'll be more prominent, you may want to come up with short descriptions, what they represent and how they came into being.

Next is kingdoms, villages and cities. Figure out borders, even if they are only going to be in your own mind as you write. If you are like most writers and have far too much information in your head to begin with, draw out a map. Not an artist? Not a problem. Anyone can draw a few squiggly lines in a circle or oval shape and go from there. Some things to remember are main roads used in transporting goods through the Trade Route. Don't put down every single line that might end up just being a footpath. Determine where you want lakes, rivers, mountains and even swamps. Not exactly sure how to figure this out? Try looking at a map for an area around you. Perhaps even a map from another country. Most people who write fantasy try to base their maps off of familiar surroundings.

Decide whether your kingdoms will be Matriarchal or Patriarchal. Matriarchal societies are ruled by women while Patriarchal is ruled by men. Your societies can be both with a dominating Matriarch or Patriarch. Also decide if the heirs to the thrones will be the eldest male, eldest female or just the eldest regardless of gender. This will also help you determine your armies. Ranks within the military are listed if you google it or you can create your own ranks. For example, one of my kingdoms has a position of Guardian of the Realm. Basically it is a fancy title for the Captain of the Guard, yet is a step above that rank and orders filter down from the king to the Guardian, then on to the Captain and so forth.

Money. Money rules all worlds, imagined or otherwise. However, if you don't want to get into monetary values, just go with a general rule of gold, silver and copper coins. You can also have a society based on bartering. That way everyone would be somewhat equal, rich wouldn't be a description as there is no money.

Creatures are just as important to imagined worlds as they are to real ones. Animals and plants play a large part in our ecology, so think about what you would like. Staying to the mainstream foliage and animals is fine. Don't feel that you have to come up with a Jackolope or something to that effect if that is not your strength. If you do want to include some strange and interesting creatures or plant-life, make sure you have good descriptions.

World creation can become tedious unless you are basing your writing works off of your world. Personally, I spent almost ten years creating my world so that I would know it almost as well as the real world I live in. It makes writing easier for me and I know every creature, god, demon and king. I know where every road leads, I know the secrets of the earth that have remained undiscovered and how the mythical beings were created. It can be a daunting task sometimes and I do have to take a break from it now and then, yet I am pleased that I put so much time into the creation for lots of different reasons. Everyone is different, though and world creation is not for everyone who writes fantasy. To each his own. Happy building!