Thursday, January 28, 2010

Character Profile #1 (Caution: Long!)

I don't know why, exactly, but I have an inclination to share my characters here in a little more depth. I follow my instincts, not to mention I absolutely love my characters. Not enough to keep them alive for very long, however. I do know they are mortal and one day, they too will die. If you write, you'll understand.

So I thought since I posted a little excerpt last night about Alabassin that perhaps I might as well start with him.

Name: Alabassin Li'endrin (Pronounced Al a bass inn Lee end rin)
Location: Currently in the rival kingdom of Paridzule, native of Relavia, heir to the Relavian throne.
Father: Mandorak Li'endrin (Man door ack)
Mother: Liriel, cousin to Nive Ni'adzul, Queen of Paridzule. (Deceased) (Liriel - Leer e el) (Nive - Nee vay, Ni'adzul - Nee add zool)

Alabassin is an only child. After he was born, his father wanted no contention for the throne and made sure no other children were born.
The Li'endrin bloodline is said to be cursed, as each ruler has gotten worse in their ways of warmongering, deceit and temper. From all of this, Alabassin has emerged unlike his father in every aspect and bears no characteristic resemblance to any of his ancestors. While his father, Mandorak, feels that Alabassin is unsuitable to rule, he has left himself with no other alternative.

Alabassin is currently 23 years old. He has blonde hair and green eyes. He keeps his hair long, neatly tied back from his face and he's clean shaven. People say he resembles his mother the most. The people of Relavia have been looking forward to his ascending the throne, as they feel he would be most likely to end the war between Relavia and Paridzule. While Nobles from all around have tried unsuccessfully to arrange relations with Relavia through marriage, Alabassin has managed to turn them all down. Unlike his father, he has the idea in his head to marry for love, not politics.

Up until Alabassin turned 20, he felt he would be successful in his notion of finding true love. By 21, his hopes were tarnished ever so slightly. By 23, however, one man had managed to persuade him into an arrangement. Beroun Ni'adzul, King of Paridzule, invited Alabassin to visit. Mandorak was told by his naive son that he would be traveling about, visiting several neighboring kingdoms upon request. Mandorak knew full well where his only son and heir was going, but never let on.

The day Alabassin arrived in Ferrigore, the capital city of Paridzule, people were quiet and withdrawn. News of his visit spread quickly as Ferrigore was a small island. While Alabassin's reputation was a good one, he was still a Li'endrin and a possible threat. The people of Paridzule were still unsure of the arrangement their king desired to make. Alabassin let none of this phase him. He remained the personable, pleasant man he always was. When introduced to Senweis Ni'adzul, Beroun's eldest daughter, he was ashamed to feel nothing for the woman. While Senweis was a beautiful woman, he felt cold around her. It unsettled him, yet he remained firm in his promise of talks with Beroun about the arrangement. He kept his promises and people respected him for that.

Needless to say, when Alabassin first met Kayta, Senweis' younger sister, he felt a connection with her. Just as he began to lose hope of feeling something like this, she stepped into his life. What bothered him most was the fact that Kayta was the sister of the woman he may be marrying. He didn't know if his heart was strong enough to marry one and feel for the other what he was supposed to feel for his wife. Where Senweis was closer to him in age, Kayta was younger by five years. Most felt that a difference in age such as this would be unacceptable. If Alabassin were to make a choice, which would he follow? His kingdom or his heart?
*Other pronunciations:
Relavia - Reh la vee uh
Paridzule - Pare id zool
Ferrigore - Fare eh gore
Senweis - Sen ways
Kayta - Kay tah
Beroun - Bare oon

Excerpt No. 3

Okay, so I am going to be unusually cruel here. Okay, maybe not unusually. I've got this little snippet here and I can't wait to share it.

Are you ready?

The routine Alabassin had fallen into helped him immensely. While he still felt restless at times, he knew that things would happen on a daily basis to help keep him from dwelling on things he had no control over at the moment. A knock at his door usually meant someone would be entering soon and they were trying to give him a moment to make himself presentable. After the first few days of hearing a knock at his door, he stopped opening it.
The knock came and he shifted in his chair, holding open a book he had pilfered from the huge library two stories below him. The light coming in from the window he sat next to bathed him as well as the small print of the old book. When the knock sounded again, he looked away from the page he had been reading and tilted his head. Another knock came and still no one entered, so he closed the book after marking where he left off and opened the door. His annoyance at having to actually open the door dissipated so quickly it left him slightly light headed as he stared at first Hedric, standing before him, then to Kayta.
“Kayta?” he croaked, his voice betraying him as he spoke her name.

Now wasn't that fun?

I love Alabassin. My friend (We'll call him Ninny) that I played Cosrin with was gracious enough to let me use his character. Our characters were married anyway, in the game that is. However, Ninny just wouldn't do as a name for this book. Alabassin is not a Ninny, nor is Ninny a ninny. Hmm.. confusing.

Anyway! I think I have caught the essence of Ninny very well. At least I hope I have. I think the relationship that he and Kayta have is one legends are made of. Move over, Lancelot. My Alabassin is going to put you to shame. :D

Monday, January 25, 2010

Too Descriptive?

So recently, I had a nice chat with some of my daughter's friends. (I love her friends, they're like my own kids.) One of them was telling me of a book she read where the descriptions gave her nightmares and it got me to thinking of yet another conversation with my sister-in-law and fellow author.

Horror is a big descriptive genre as is most of romance. However, I guess I am old fashioned when I say that I'd like them to leave SOMETHING to the imagination. It's like why go for the full frontal nudity? Imagination is what triggers lots of the senses, stop taking all the fun out of it!

Yeah, not that I see a lot of full frontal nudity. But see, you get the picture don't you? You used your imagination. What did we learn?

So take this into serious consideration when you write. How much detail do you want to give away, how much work do you want to do for the reader? Or would you rather the reader actually use those brain functions and work for it themselves? Personally, I love the author who goes to the trouble to give me just enough so that I can paint the picture in my own mind. I've said it before and I will say it again: No one will ever see, feel or imagine the same exact thing as anyone else in the world ever. People are complicated creatures with different varying levels of thought processes and emotions. While you might actually get similar ideas, they'll never be exactly the same down to the smallest detail.

For example, have you and a group of friends or co-workers ever got together on a project where you all had "the same idea"? Once the project was finished, almost everyone had different levels of disappointment. Why? Because they all "Imagined it turning out differently". Don't believe me? Take notes next time.

We would be very arrogant in our thinking if we feel that everyone feels the same way as others in their lives. We can not possibly know or deal with situations exactly the same way, even if said situations were exact. People deal with stress and sadness differently. Love, fear and all those other emotions and factors induce reactions in different ways. The possibilities are infinite in the fact that it is practically impossible for two people to ever be on the same emotional/intelligent plateau at the same time. If that makes sense, you're doing all right.

This is also why some authors are so descriptive and others let you use that thing holding your ears apart. When authors do give descriptive images for you to see in your mind's eye, they tend to get monotonous. They have to be sure that everyone gets the same idea they are trying to project. It is difficult for a writer to even comprehend how people will interpret what they're reading; which makes writing all the more difficult. Then you have to follow a certain standard with your writing, make sure you've got the proper grammar and punctuation. You cannot write like you speak, even though it might help. People just don't speak as clearly as when they write.

So again, take a lot of this into consideration as you write. Try to find the happy medium for yourself of what you think is too little or too much description. If you are trying to make your readers have a bucket next to their bed to hold the vomit while they read your slasher, then job well done. But if you want them to sleep with the lights on, lock their doors and study people to find out who the killer is, well then you have your mission. Write on!

Friday, January 22, 2010

More Musings...

You know, I have never been one for poetry. I mean, I don't know how to write prose as well as some people do. I know what I like to read, I know what makes me enjoy it. Then there are those that I just don't understand for whatever reason. So, I simply stay away from poetry writing personally. I love how some of it flows and is beautiful. It caresses the imagination like silk, pouring music into your head as you read it. Those are the poems that I love.
Personally, I have tried to write it. Some of it comes off all right, but gets worse the more I fuss with it or think about it. I am not that kind of writer, I can't plan ahead. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer and sometimes, you just can't do that with poetry. It has been done, though, I am not saying it is impossible.

So when I start with a story idea, I tend to just let the characters I create come up with what they want to "tell" me. I don't ever try to force the story unless their voice goes quiet in my mind, as if telling me, "Look, I'm exhausted, I'm hungry. I'm going to get something to eat and go to sleep. You be a good lass and figure it out from here, okay?"

However, I start writing things out and suddenly they're awake saying, "Whoa! Are you kidding me? Back the thought truck up..."

If you are on FaceBook, I have an account there. I have my special little Jolly Roger flag as my picture. Don't ask me when I am going to get out of this "Pirate Phase", it just isn't going to happen any time soon. I also have a little blurby (is that a word?) poem that I wrote off the top of my head:

"The sea owns me, I do not own the sea.
Her bidding is my breath; her call is in my blood.
She has taken my heart, the better part of me.
There is nothing better I have to offer; even if I could."

That pretty much sums up how I feel about the ocean. It has captivated and mystified me. I use that in my pyrate character, Sorcha Lilanthroe, who incidentally shares her name with my SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) character. Sorcha MacGregor. Sorcha is that part of me that I wish could sail the seas and live life in a much different way.

Kayta is that part of me that is noble and honorable and will fight for her friends and her family. She truly is not afraid to stick up for what is right.

Nightshadow is the part of me that wishes she could just kill annoying people and be done with it. (But I wouldn't even if I had the opportunity, it goes against my nature.)

Take all that with a grain of salt. People are complex beings, there are just as many facets of themselves as there are in every character you can dream up. While Sorcha loves the sea, she still follows a personal code of conduct. Kayta has her moments of quiet shyness or fear, but doesn't let it show and Nightshadow really does loathe killing people for the sake of killing people. They are sarcastic, witty and charming. I'm all but charming...hehe. Intelligent, strong women.

So when you write, try not to force it so much. Listen to the voices in your head, they really do exist and they have something important to tell you. You can always change and tweak things later on. Happy Writing!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, that wasn't fun....

So I had spent the better part of two weeks or more completely cut off from everything. Mind you, I don't subscribe to cable or satellite television simply because I don't watch that much TV. I get my news from the internet, papers, that sort of thing. However, when I didn't have my phone or internet for those weeks, add to it no television, I felt completely isolated and stretched my imagination to keep from going insane!
I read books, colored on my posters, played other video games I have neglected and watched movies. You would think with a collection of DVD's that totals somewhere in the 100's that I would have something to watch.
Writing worked only for a little while. I didn't have people to call to bounce ideas off of and I was unable to email others for my writing support. I know I will never be cut off like that again, but while I was, it was not fun!
Just goes to show how much people rely on these simple basics of communication. I even went so far as to buy the local paper rather than read it online like I normally do. I suppose I could have sat down and wrote some letters, but how Dark Ages did I want to get? Yes, I am spoiled. I like my instant gratification, thank you very much.
Oh well, I'm back and that Dark Age of my month is over! Hooray!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Routine, Routine, Routine...

I think the hardest thing for me is to get back into the routine of writing more than anything. I mean, I made the decision a couple of months ago to stop drinking so much soda and have not gone back to that old habit. In two months I may have had a total of 6 sodas. During National Novel Writing Month, I got into the routine of writing something every day, but that honestly burns me out. If I have to work under a deadline, I know I can do it. However, I need to take some time to work things through with my story, listen to the voices in my head (my characters) and let them tell me what to do next or how to solve a particular problem.
It works. I did take some time off and now am getting back into the routine of writing once more. I started out the other night telling myself, "Just write like 500 words and go to bed." So I did. I told myself the next night, "Just 500 words, easy-peasy." I ended up writing over 1,500 words instead.
My husband is such a great listener! He has helped me to create this world as well as some of the characters in it. So I will read to him the latest developments and ask him if what I have written is staying in tune with the character's personality. So far, so good.
I am reaching the end and will be looking for Beta Readers soon. Beta Readers are people who give me feedback, to tell me I am staying on course, the story either does or doesn't flow well in certain areas and help to find mistakes in spelling or grammar that I haven't caught. I have a couple of Beta Readers for my Black Rose story, which I will have to finish editing first before I move back to this one. In the meantime, I am working on getting this story finished before I continue my editing processes.
Gotta love having a routine!