Good morning! I bring to you today a rather enigmatically titled post, which turns out to be about a major part of my life: my current work-in-progress. I say that it’s a major part of my life because I have been working on it in various forms for roughly seven and a half years, and because its characters quite simply will not leave me alone. They are always in my head, and I love them a great deal.
But I digress.
Since I have been working on this thing so long, there is a lot to talk about. Lots of room for rambling.
Bear with me here.
I digress . . . again. I suppose I should begin with what the story is about. Then we can get to characters and storyworld and other fun things like that.
Sixteen-year-old Crow has lived alone in the forest ever since he escaped from slavery. When, while evading capture, he runs into a strange girl named Mirage Windsong and she turns out to be his long-lost twin sister, his control over his life suddenly vanishes. He is swept into a quest for the family he never knew he had, and he and Mirage must find them before war breaks out or their mysterious enemy hunts them down. And Crow must decide what freedom and family mean to him.
This is a YA fantasy novel (something between epic and sword-and-sorcery), just to give you an idea of the genre. It is set in another world, which we’ll get to under “setting” below.
These are my four point-of-view characters. The Windsong twins, Mirage and Crow, are on top. They meet Krina and Kelastër (Kela for short), who are below (left to right). (By the way, I really need to find better pictures for Crow and Kela. The ones I put in are really not even close, and it’s driving me nuts. Just realize those are rough images.)
Crow is the main character and my favorite. He and Mirage were separated at the age of four (I will say no more here–that would be giving away spoilers), and he ended up as a slave. When he was ten, he suffered an injury that left an ugly red scar down his right cheek and onto his torso. At sixteen, he still has nightmares and doesn’t like to talk about it. He is an introvert who gets along best by himself, so it’s a bit of a shock to his system when other people come along.
Physically, Crow is around five and a half feet tall (he grows later on), with black hair (flatter than the picture!) and gray eyes. He’s very tough and strong from having to survive on his own. And I could probably ramble much longer about him, but for the sake of keeping this post from becoming a behemoth, I will stop here.
You may recognize Mirage from her Beautiful People post last month. For those who don’t know, she is a changeling and mërnevna (enchanter) and basically a genius. She lives in a hut in the woods with her elderly mentor, and while she loves him, she longs to go out and see the world and its many libraries. She prizes intelligence and knowledge, and tends to roll her eyes at people who think changelings were exterminated 400 years ago.
Mirage looks much like her brother, but her hair is curly and she has blue eyes instead of gray. She is initially slightly taller than him, but this changes with time. She also has various powers that he does not, such as shooting lighting out the tips of her fingers and shapeshifting into different animals. Another fun fact about the twins is that they are telepathic with each other, which makes it really interesting to watch them talk.
Krina is a farmer’s daughter from a country village. She was the fifth girl in a family with six children, so when she was young, her father sent her to be “adopted” into a smaller family that needed a woman. She has missed her real family all her life, though she doesn’t remember them well, and she secretly dreads an arranged marriage to her master’s son. She doesn’t really have friends, so she talks to God a lot. Her private dream is to be a healer or a midwife; she is very caring and loves helping people.
Krina is a little shorter than five and a half feet. As in the picture, she has wavy blonde hair and blue eyes. She attracts the attentions of a lot of boys in the village and might (or might not. . . .) end up being a love interest in the book.
Kela is . . . where do I begin? To flip my character descriptions up to now in reverse, he has bright red hair and blue eyes, and is in fact a member of a red-haired race. He is a fisherman’s apprentice in a coastal village, but having been abused by his master, he runs away at the beginning of the book. He loves to play the fiddle and sing at festivals, and he’s afraid of heights, which is fitting, since he’s barely more than five feet tall. He also talks a lot (a lot), and spouts witty comments left and right, both of which drive his companions insane. I can always count on him for comic relief. (Can you tell I love him, too?)
These are the four principal characters for the first book. There are many and various others, but the ones described above are the most important, and, I think, the only ones I need to post about for now.
I wish I had a decent map to show you all. Unfortunately, the current version is covered in numbers because of the lack of space for writing the names of duchies and lordships. (If a bunch of people comment wanting to see the map, I shall try to put it up in this post.)
As I mentioned earlier, my book is set in a fantasy world. The continent is called Terylia. (The whole world used to be called Terylia, but I changed that when I realized that the characters in my country hadn’t explored their whole world, or even their whole continent. The southeast part of the continent is the world to them.) The country in which the first book takes place (did I mention this is a four-book series? Probably not. It’s a four-book series) is called Rāianor, and it is based loosely off medieval Europe. It has five borders, four with other countries and one, the longest, with the sea to the south. Some of the significant landmarks for my story are the D’ormien River, the Sālāki Kevenār (a large and largely unexplored forest), the Riāsan (a smaller, more tropical forest to the north), and the Selfir River (which runs within the Riāsan). Some important cities are Selfir, which sits on the hot springs near the headwaters of the Selfir River, and Ryneli, the capital and seat of government.
That was a very long paragraph. Hopefully you didn’t find it too abstract. (As I said, I can try to post the map if people want, but it has no labels, so it probably wouldn’t be too helpful.)
There are also a number of important and interesting countries that surround Rāianor. Fyliārn (or Falarnkh in its own language), to the north, is the most important for the first book because its people are the ones invading Rāianor. Jezmia (Jezamh), to the east, is the country where Crow was enslaved for much of his life. Dāiamir, to the west, used to rule the entire area before its empire broke up. Due in part to its large size, it still suffers copious amounts of civil unrest. It is populated entirely by red-haired people (this is the red-haired race I was talking about earlier). And I think I will leave everywhere else for another time.
This is my longest- and steadiest-running writing project. I pick up other books, drop them, and come back to this one. I’ve been working on it since I was eleven, in one form or another. I have ripped it apart and stitched it back together with a new plot so many times I can’t even count.
Fortunately, I have finally reached the point where I am working on the second draft with the same plot lines (though I am still very much a character-driven writer and have numerous issues with the current plot which still need to be resolved). I am trying to edit it into a sort of polished form by next January. So, yeah, that’s my progress.
Well, I guess that wraps up this very long-winded post! Whew. Tell me, did you enjoy reading about my work-in-progress? Would you like to see a map? What is your current work-in-progress? Have you ever worked on one project for seven years or longer, or are you better at finishing quickly than I am?
Thanks for reading!