Saturday, October 22, 2016

NaNo Novel Tag



I am here with a tag! Wendy over at Jumping Bean has made a fun tag where we get to quite literally squeal and fangirl about our NaNoWriMo novel. So thank you Wendy for tagging me! ^_^ Go check out her blog and the story she’ll be doing this year. It’s really adorable!

This is a freeform tag, really. You basically just get to talk about your novel. Just a blurb and introduce MCs? Absolutely. Blurb, characters, and an in-depth discussion of the themes? For sure. Plot shrouded in mystery where even you have no idea what’s going on? Perfect.

Get the idea? You talk about your novel. The sky’s the limit. Maybe even space. And beyond.

So yeah, you guys get to hear me squeal about my novel. B) If the linkup post wasn’t enough. ;)

However, there are a few rules. ;)

  1. Thank the person who tagged you!
  2. Explain a bit about the tag.
  3. Chat about your novel.
  4. Tag at least 5 friends to do it too! (and let them know they’ve been tagged)

My novel, The Lost Crown, is a high fantasy novel set in a desert kingdom. The king has lost several marbles, and the last marble rolls away when he puts his throne and the kingdom up for grabs through a competition when the best fighter wins. Tiryz is the son and apprentice of a swordsman, and when he’s sent to win the throne in the place of his dying father, he’s anything BUT enthusiastic. Tiryz would rather study the stars or the plantlife of the desert. When he meets Prince Farin, who has gone undercover to take back his birthright,Tiryz offers to help him get it back. While Tiryz knows little about fighting, they will have to face the toughest fighters of the kingdom, and a thief who has supernatural help that has an agenda of its own…

I’m really excited to write this, because instead of the POV being the hero’s, the POV is the sidekick, Tiryz. :3 I’ve never done a story from this angle, but as Tiryz is a precious fluffy squirrel, I’m eager to see how it goes. The relationship between Tiryz and Farin is going to be lovely, because they essentially become brothers-in-arms. Tiryz is helping Farin, but Farin also kind of helps Tiryz become a little braver.

Prince Farin.

A third character in this story is Jade, a thief with an eye for shiny baubles. On any normal day, Jade’s not much of a fighter (but she can be scrappy), but when she steals a genie in a ring, she enters the competition with three wishes to her name, and she doesn’t intend to lose.

However, the genie has his own plans. He’s sick of being a wish-slave, so he’s plotting his freedom and vengeance. He currently has no name, but he’s going to be deliciously malicious and fun to write. B)

Tiryz

I’ve gotten it all outlined at present. I used K.M. Weiland’s Three Act format, and that was really fun to work with. I’m most looking forward to the climax. A lot of feels will be going down there. B) Tiryz and Farin, while they get along, have their differences. Farin is a prince, and Tiryz is a peasant. Farin was trained with the sword, and Tiryz… was too, but he’s not very good at it. Farin is brave and gutsy, Tiryz is timid and a bit clutzy. He’ll get on Farin’s nerves sometimes, even if he means well, so it will be interesting to see how it shapes their relationship. :3

Jade

I don’t have much in the way of deep stuff about The Lost Crowns, so there you go. :3 I’m venturing into both the familiar and unfamiliar this year (as opposed to the totally unfamiliar with last year’s steampunk mystery). I’ll be writing fantasy, but my POV isn’t the protagonist. The sidekick gets the spotlight this time.

Now, I’m supposed to tag people, but… I’m not sure who all is doing NaNo. o.o So… let me know if you are, and I shall tag thee? ;) Sound fair?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fantasy Novel Title Reveal!

So the post title probably gives it away, but I wanna build up for dramatic effect. ;)


About four years ago, roughly, I began a high fantasy novel. It evolved in part from some old draft of a story that won’t see the light of day (partly because the worlds these stories are set in are the same), but I began a journey that would literally grow with me, and begin to grow on me. Characters changed, have come and gone, the world has changed and shifted. Drastic changes small changes only I would know were made. It’s brought me to tears and made me grin and wiggle.

Suffice to say I love this story. I love the characters in it, and everything about it. It’s currently in its 4-5 draft, but as a total rewrite due to plot and character issues. It’s going really well so far, and while it feels awkward as any first draft would, it feels right.

And I haven’t had that feeling in a very long time.

However, this undertaking has gone nameless since day one. Way back, I slipped in late to some writerly workshop at a homeschool conference, and I heard the speaker say to not title a story until it’s done. I may have been following that advice with this novel, and/or I just didn’t know what the title would be.

Until now.

Recently I’ve been trying to find a title for this novel. There have been a few options I liked, but nothing seemed very unique. But a week ago one came, and while it sounded a bit dark, it sounded right.

My novel’s title is………



I honestly really love it. X3 It’s a little dark, but that’s kind of how it is. It's not doom and gloom 24/7 in the story (there are rays of hope!), but the MCs aren’t facing off against evil teddy bears. They’re facing an emperor who has spilled blood to get where he is, and an elf who will do anything to get what he wants, especially if it means dragging the son of his enemy into the shadows first. The heroes are caught up in a rebellion in a new world, one that their own parents believed in. This time it’s their turn, with a few other issues along the way.

Yes, I’m inwardly flailing and geeking out over the connections of the title with my novel. But I really think this is it, guys. This current draft, this title. It’s all going well.* I’m excited to see how the draft goes this time. :D

*Now watch as I lose control of it all again and resume square one.

To accompany the title reveal, here’s a blurb about the novel. ;) Keeping in mind that this is as rough draft blurb and subject to change. The title is too, for that matter, but I’m more confident about the stability of the title than I am the blurb. XD

Lilly and Gabriel learn in the blink of an eye that the supposedly crazy stories their father would try to tell them are true. They’re real. They weren’t born in Chicago, but in another world entirely. And after fifteen years, someone is looking for their dad, and something he stole, and has finally track him down.
Lilly is separated from her older brother and her father and meets a band of eight brothers who are off to restart the rebellion their parents tried to fight. Armed with an amulet from her father that supposedly has magical capabilities, Lilly sets out to make it whole and use it to help Gabriel and her friends, and get home.
Gabriel, reeling from the death of his father, is taken under the wing of his dad’s old friend and associate, who takes a great interest in Gabriel for reasons that aren’t quite clear, but that it involves dark magic.
Both siblings believe the other to be in danger, and they’re determined to do whatever it takes to rescue each other. Even if it’s at the cost of another’s life, or at the cost of their own.

So there you have it. :3 Like I said, it’s a rough draft blurb, but it gives the gist of the novel. :3 Thanks for reading this far! :D Let me know what you think in the comments! About the title or EOBAS’s blurb. :3

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Imperfect Heroes

So I watched Captain America: Civil War a couple weeks ago. I’d been looking forward to that day for months. I’m Team Cap, but I wanted to see how the rift between Steve and Tony would be handled. I wanted to see what sparked it and how it would end.

Boy, did I get slammed by the emotionally-charged explosion I witnessed.


But I honestly loved it. I loved seeing the interactions, the conflict. I liked seeing Steve’s loyalty, and I appreciated that Tony’s PTSD showed, and how it influenced his decisions. I liked that both characters stayed true to their personalities, and how that made the situation so raw with emotion.

I’m not here to argue which side is 100% in the right in that situation. After watching Civil War, I think both sides made mistakes. Steve was incredibly loyal to Bucky and disagreed over the Sokovia Accords because of a government council essentially becoming their handlers, but because of Bucky his judgment may have been clouded, and he was unwilling to meet halfway with the Accords (at first he was, but then he shut down and refused any negotiations). Tony may have had the right idea about the Sokovia Accords, in that the Avengers needed some form of accountability. But giving over the authority to a council may just cause more divides during a time of conflict with outside forces. However, a few boundaries or rules would be good for the Avengers. It couldn’t hurt to make a rule that they try to draw the threat away from populated areas, or at the very least stick around at the end of a fight and help clean up or look for survivors.

While these thoughts fascinate me, it was the thought of how much damage that was done that inspired this post. Captain America and Iron Man are the icons of the Avengers. They’re probably the chiefs of the operation. But even these huge heroes are flawed. They’re just as human as anybody else. They both made mistakes, and those mistakes cost them their friendship. They tore apart the Avengers just as it was getting started. Steve probably stirred up the fight, but Tony had his part in it too. They butted heads and it sparked a war, and at the end, I don’t think anybody truly won. Not really.

This post kind of comes in two parts, because I think they’re connected, but the connection is in two different areas. Part one focuses on the mistakes heroes can’t come back from, and part two focuses on the forgiveness offered for those mistakes.

Every hero has their shortcomings. Heroes shouldn’t be perfect. They need flaws, weaknesses. Little chinks in their superhero armor that makes them vulnerable and allows for mistakes. And, sometimes, heroes should make mistakes they can’t fix.

Steve and Tony’s conflict took them over the line, very possibly to a point of no return. At the end, I didn’t see how things could be patched between them. Maybe it can’t. Tony is a broken man, having seen things – experienced things – no man should and wants to make a move toward making things right. Steve is desperate to hold on to what he loves – freedom (from the Accords) and Bucky – as people threaten to rip it all away. They caused a lot of damage in their wake, and that much hurt and betrayal can’t be fixed easily. And sometimes that’s okay. It makes their hero role deeper, perhaps a little more thought-provoking. Maybe it teaches them a lesson. It probably did with Steve and Tony. Flaws like this make heroes even more human and real.

But what makes this complexity even better is when you throw in a dash of forgiveness. Shifting the focus to Bucky Barnes, who is essentially the focus of the conflict in Civil War, we see a character who made a ton of mistakes. He’s done things that’s hurt people and killed many others. While he didn’t have a choice, he remembers it all. There’s a line in the film where Steve tries to reassure Bucky that he (Bucky) wasn’t himself when he did those things. And Bucky responds with “I know. But I did it.”

I found those four words unexpected when I first heard them. I hadn’t quite expected that response. “But I did it.” He – as Bucky – feels the guilt strongly. Bucky was very aware of what the Winter Soldier mind was doing. He’s not sure if he’s even worth saving after all the damage he’s caused, even if he had little choice or say in the matter


But he’s offered forgiveness. Bucky’s made mistakes he can’t undo, same as Steve and Tony have done. Bucky’s character role isn’t necessarily a hero role, but it’s the same concept. His character is one that is very flawed, that crossed the line so far he’s not sure he can be helped. But the forgiveness is offered anyway. Someone thinks he is worth saving.

That kind of character arc is kind of amazing. Heroes who make mistakes and are offered forgiveness, even when they can’t fix what they’ve done, is a powerful character. When they’re offered redemption, it adds another layer to the complexity with their flaws. It’s human to make mistakes, and it’s human to forgive. Adding that kind of complexity into a character kind of makes them come alive. They can prompt readers (or viewers) to think.

I hope this all makes sense. I’ve wanted to share my thoughts on this, and it’s been kind of evolving slowly with more facets until now. XD But I think I’ve reached what I wanted to share, so there you go. :3

What are your thoughts? :D What do you like in heroes (or other characters) like this?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Beautiful Books Linkup: The Lost Crown



It’s that time again. The month of madness and chaos is nearly here. The month where 50,000 words are in a mad rush to get on paper.

National Novel Writing Month.

This is my second year participating in November’s crazy writing event, and I’ll be tackling a new story for it. Last year I did a steampunk mystery, and this year I’ll be writing high fantasy. But instead of the hero that gets the limelight, the sidekick will the point of view. B)

This month, Cait and Sky are switching up their Beautiful People linkups and doing Beautiful Book Linkups, focusing around NaNoWriMo and the projects that we mad writers will be undertaking in a month. So today I’ll be introducing my project next month.


What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I think the early version came from a commercial for a movie. Two men were battling/training with each other, and something about the scene was interesting to me. After that, my mind wandered and eventually came to “what if I wrote a story where the POV didn’t come from the hero?” The early ideas and notes for the story have been around since June. I just didn’t plan for it to be a NaNo project until September. XD

Describe what your novel is about!
A mad king has put his throne up for grabs through a tournament. Anybody can enter, and the best fighter is crowned. However, this denies the king’s son and heir his birthright, so Prince Farin goes undercover in the tournament to win back the crown.

Among the fighters is our protagonist Tiryz, the son and apprentice of a swordsmith, and who really doesn’t want to be there, but whose father sent him in his place. After running into trouble in the big city capital, Tiryz meets Farin, and offers to help him win back the crown. They just have to fight their way into the final brackets, but they’ll have to deal with strong fighters, including one who seems to have supernatural help with a vengeful streak of its own…

Oh, and to top that, Tiryz sucks at swordfighting.

So yeah, I’m kind of really excited. :3

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
Sand. Lots of sand.

Fighting. Lots of fighting.

Brotherly friendship. A bitter genie. A bold thief.

Also pictures. :3





Pretty cool, yes? B)


Introduce us to each of your characters!
Farin

Prince Farin is a royal young man. He knows his place, and while he doesn’t stick his nose up at the peasantry, he’s not shy about making sure they know theirs if they cross the line. He’s extremely bitter toward his father for denying him the throne and offering it up to anybody and everybody, but he’s determined to win it back. Even if help is coming from a fairly useless boy who can’t hold a sword right.

Tiryz

A boy who would much rather map the stars or study plant life than make swords, or fight with them. But when his father, a swordsman, becomes sick and dying, sends Tiryz off to take his place in the tournament, Tiryz has no choice but to use a sword. He prefers to avoid conflict, but since he’s here, he may as well help the one person who needs to win the most.

He also hates being called Ryz.

Jade

A girl with a penchant for climbing through windows and stealing anything shiny and expensive. She thought it would be funny to steal from the city’s most superstitious man. Steal something from his collection of trinkets that supposedly has magical properties.

But when the seemingly simple ring’s genie appears at her service, suddenly a throne doesn’t sound so outlandish. Especially when Jade is sick of the current royals.

Genie

Currently without a name. A genie in a ring who has many years of stored up bitterness. Jade is his new mistress, but behind her plans, he’s furthering his…

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
I usually try to outline just enough so that I know where I’m going. For this project, I tried using K.M. Weiland’s Three-Act structure, and marked out the particular points through the story. I don’t like outlining his huge detail (I like to leave some stuff to mystery and see where it goes), but I do like to have an idea of what’s going to happen.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Ooh… the climax. :3 I’m really looking forward to seeing how that goes. There’s gonna be a lot of feels, guys. o.o

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Sand, sand, and more sand.

Or sand, cactus, and stars? :3

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Tiryz’s goal is to help Farin win the tournament. Everyone stands in his way. Even, to a certain degree, himself.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Tiryz will become braver, and perhaps a little more confident in his abilities, even if they don’t include swordplay.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I’m not sure yet… I’ve not thought about this aspect yet. The theme that bitter revenge won’t make you happy might be something, because Farin and the genie could struggle with the same issue. But other than that, I’m not sure yet what it will be.


So that’s what I’ll be working on this November. :D I’m looking forward to it, and seeing where it will all go. B)

Are you doing NaNo this year? If so, what story will you tackle? If not, what project will you be working on this November? :D