Beautiful People March 2017

Hello, everyone! I am actually getting around to participating in Beautiful People this month, as you can see. I wanted to do it last month, but unfortunately ran out of time. So here I am this month!

What is Beautiful People, you ask? Well, it is a monthly link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Each month, they post ten questions for character development, and all those who want to participate can answer them for their characters on their blogs. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Aletra
Aletra Kiavar, age 16, mernevna apprentice.

This month, I have a new-ish character to develop. Aletra Kiavar is a mernevna (enchanter) apprentice in the Windsong storyworld. In her time, enchanters are still frowned upon and not able to use their powers openly, and she eventually gets involved in changing that.

  1. What’s their favorite book/movie/play/etc.?

Aletra loves books and learning in general, though at the beginning of her story, she has yet to see a real library. She especially loves reading about history and the healing arts

2. Is there anything they regret doing?

She is the youngest of fifteen girls and mostly regrets letting her oldest sisters boss her around for so long before she left home for her apprenticeship.

3. If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?

Her mentor would probably take care of her, since he’s the only person around. She’s also, as I mentioned earlier, interested in healing and takes care of him, and could probably take care of herself if needed.

4. Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?

Aletra’s journal is where she records all her thoughts and observations of the world and things that stick out to her in her learning. She would be horrified to lose it, pragmatically since it would set her intellectual career back quite a bit, and personally since she often puts her thoughts and opinions in as well.

5. What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?

  • Give her a book (or scroll).
  • Learn that she’s a changeling and not report her to the authorities.
  • Teach her about nature.
  • Be friends with her mentor.
  • Take her traveling to a city.

6. Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.

She usually keeps her hair up in a ponytail to keep it out of her face. Then, she wears a white or light brown dress with a sleeveless bodice laced up over the top. She also has a cloak for when it’s raining. More often than not, she goes barefoot; since she’s a changeling and regenerates fairly quickly, small cuts don’t bother her. She has ankle boots for traveling.

7. What’s their favorite type of weather?

She is fascinated by the unexplained: diseases, ocean tides, and thunderstorms. She often goes outside during thunderstorms and watches the lightning from under the eaves of her home.

8. What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?

Before her story, just various scraps with her sisters. The real fight comes later in her story (though I don’t know when or how yet).

9. What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?

Mostly just “Aletra,” but later on in her story, one of her friends starts calling her “Thunder Watcher.”

10. What makes their heart feel alive?

Learning, exploring, watching thunderstorms, climbing trees, solving mysteries, and making new friends. She loves activity and constantly wants to do new things.

So that’s Aletra! What did you think of her? Did you do a Beautiful People post this month? (If so, drop the link in the comments!) Are you planning to? Have you done it in the past? Tell me in the comments!

Beautiful People: Digging Through the Archives

Hi, folks! It’s October, and most everyone in the writing world (except me) is preparing for NaNoWriMo. (If you don’t know what that is, just Google it.) That means it’s Beautiful Books month instead of Beautiful People. So since I’m not quite ready to unveil Circle of Fire yet, I went digging through the Beautiful People archives for ten questions to ask another character. I found the questions from July 2015, which pretty well suited Chase.

ch_1
Chase Hawkins, Circle of Fire communications technician.

Chase is a secondary character from my new book (and as of right now I’m drafting it–yay!) Circle of Fire, which as I’ve said I’m not unveiling yet. But here’s a bit more about him anyway.

1. What’s their favorite ice cream flavor?

Cookies and cream, but vanilla is also good.

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?

He’s probably going to a burger-and-fries restaurant with a large friend group, wearing a button-down shirt and jeans (which is his standard dress anyway).

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. (There’s more detailed examples to this question, but I’m just going to go with that.)

Sneakers or well-worn cowboy boots, or just white socks with holes in them if he’s at home.

4. Do they have any birthmarks or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?

Not that I can think of. Wait, actually, he probably has one from falling off a bike and skinning his knee as a boy.

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent?

Chase loves country music, especially older country, and listens to it whenever he can.

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?

He is fond of saying that he has zero talent or he would’ve moved to Nashville and pursued a singing career long ago, but his singing voice isn’t actually that bad, just kind of average.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?

Either a Tom Clancy thriller or, to be honest, a kids’ sci-fi book. (Or the Bible.)

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?

Before he *ahem* got involved with the Circle of Fire (and no, I am not going to tell you what that entails), Chase used to work summers at a horse camp for kids. He enjoys being around animals, especially horses, and would really love to have a barn, but wound up with an information technology degree because there were more jobs in that.

9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details.

Before joining the Circle, Chase would be only just rolling out of bed, turning on country radio, and grabbing a bowl of cereal (most likely Cheerios, with lots of milk and not eaten until good and mushy). Now, he’d be at work already.

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?

Being in the Circle, he’d really like to be free of the threat of being attacked so he could go live in the back country somewhere, keep horses, and raise a family. He’d probably also like to be free of lack of money for aforesaid reasons.

Well, that’s Chase! Are you doing Beautiful Books this month, or just sneaking into Beautiful People archives like me? Whichever it is, do please post the link in the comments so I can read your post! What do you think of Chase? And out of curiosity, how many people are interested in learning more about his book? Share in the comments!

Story Starters #2: The Hobbit

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Image result for the hobbit coverImage result for the hobbit coverImage result for the hobbit cover

(Just to forewarn you, Mr. Tolkien is perhaps entirely responsible for my love of fantasy. I might gush a bit. And now that you’ve been warned, let’s all gush together. :P)

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of my “Story Starters” blog posts! On the first Saturday of each month, I analyze the beginning of a book, any book, and today, it happens to be a very good book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

Image result for bilbo baggins
Yes, that’s right: the hobbit.

So let’s jump right in and do a sentence-by-sentence analysis of the first paragraph!

  • In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. This one is pretty self-explanatory. As we’re reading the first sentence (unless we’ve seen the movie first, precious), we are sitting here wondering: what the heck is a hobbit? It’s a great hook; it poses a question that we, the readers, would really like answered. Tolkien gets to that by paragraph three, but he has to give us some hints first, which leads us to sentence two.
  • Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. The first thing that jumps out at me is how long this sentence is. Grammatically, it makes a great contrast with the first sentence; it’s long and meandering and draws us in by Tolkien’s vivid imagery. And it gives us some great hints about what hobbits are not, and by the end, something of what they are. The mention of comfort particularly strikes me as foreshadowing the main character and theme of the book in the very first paragraph. (My analytical writer brain is geeking out right now. I mean, isn’t that foreshadowing just awesome?!?)

And that’s it for this extraordinarily short post. I hope it had enough insights to make up for its brevity.

What do you think? Isn’t Tolkien a genius? Have you read The Hobbit? (If not . . . *shakes head* Just go read it, okay?) Do you have any further analysis that perhaps my tired brain didn’t pick up? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

Beautiful People September 2016

Hi, everyone! This month, I decided to be very on top of things and post a Beautiful People post before the last week of the month. What is Beautiful People, you ask? Well, it is a character development link-up run by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month, they release 10 questions which we blogging writers answer for one of our characters. The idea is to get to know your characters better. So, onward!

For the last couple months, I’ve been blogging about characters from my book Windsong, but despite their popularity, I’ve become so fed up with the project that I’m taking a little break and have decided to shift focus to a new project, which I’m keeping mostly under wraps for now, but which goes under the name Circle of Fire. And unlike Windsong, its setting is Earth (although with a fantasy twist, of course). So today, I am going to post about one of the characters from this project: Brandon Silverman.

Brandon?:
Brandon, age 29, Circle of Fire pilot and Air Force veteran.

 

  1. How did you come up with this character?–When I was working out the main group’s roles, I decided I needed a pilot and a veteran popped into my head. His name was originally Conor, but then I found I had too many guys with similar-sounding names, and he became Brandon.
  2. Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?–Hmm, tough one. I don’t believe he has. He may have been very hungry while on duty in Iraq, if a supply shipment was delayed, though. I’ll have to think about this one. . . .
  3. Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?–Flying. Brandon loves to fly; it’s his passion. He’s also quite smart and proud of his math skills (he has a degree in physics).
  4. List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.–Lists! I love lists. Let’s think. He gets upset when people try to manipulate him, so there’s one. Second would be antiwar protesters; he feels they don’t appreciate the sacrifices he and other veterans have made. And third, when someone snipes at him for no reason, he’s not likely to take it well.
  5. What is their favourite type of weather? Least favorite?–Favorite: sunny and calm; good weather for flying. Least favorite: thunderstorms. They cause turbulence and set him on edge.
  6. What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?–He is an INTJ and probably a Gryffindor.
  7. Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?–Present problems; he takes a “first things first” approach, although he also plans ahead.
  8. What is their favourite thing to drink?–Beer (very occasionally) or chocolate milk.
  9. What is their favourite color? Least favorite?–His favorite is probably orange; least favorite, probably hot pink.
  10. What is a book that changed their life?–Good question. Probably any Terylian book that he read, which made him realize there really was another world out there. (Although that seems like a bad answer, but I really haven’t thought about this one. . . .)

Well, that’s Brandon! Happy September, everyone!

Did you do Beautiful People this month? Are you going to? Put your link in the comments if you have! Are you working on a new project, or taking a break from an older one? Tell me in the comments!

Beautiful People August 2016

Hi, folks! It’s August already, which means it’s time for another Beautiful People post. What is Beautiful People, you ask? It’s a link-up put out by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. They make up ten questions once a month, and we writers answer them for our characters. The whole point is to get to know our characters better.

This month’s Beautiful People is the appearance edition. My most distinctive character in Windsong (which you can read more about here if you want) is the protagonist, Crow. I already did Beautiful People for him once, but he’s my favorite, so he was bound to come up again anyway. I have also found a new photo for him (see below).

Crow:
Being a medieval fantasy character, he is not this modern-looking. There is also a major feature missing here, which I’ll get to in a minute.

 

1. Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

(See above photo and read on!) Crow has black hair, dark gray eyes, and tanned skin from several years outside. He also has a number of scars from his traumatic past as a slave. The most prominent is a reddish one that extends from his right temple down his cheek, neck, and the right side of his chest, a permanent reminder of the wound that nearly killed him.

2. Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

“What happened here?” she [Krina] whispered.

“I don’t know.”

She looked up. A young man stepped out of the river. His black hair was slicked to his forehead, and his soaked clothes stuck to his wiry body. He carried a sword; its point dragged on the ground behind him. He lifted it and held it in front of him, staring at her with dark gray eyes.

“Who are you?” he asked.

(Sorry about the font difference; it doesn’t seem to have merged when I copied it from Scrivener.)

3. What is the first thing people might notice about them?

The scar. Also the perpetual intense look in his eyes.

4. What are their unique features? (Ex.: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)

Well, in addition to the scar mentioned quite a lot above, he, er . . . has other scars. There are scars all down his back, arms, and shoulders from where he’s been whipped. Basically, I’ve tortured him a lot.

5. How tall are they? What is their build? (Ex.: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)

He’s about 5’6″ at the start of the book, at age sixteen. Apparently above, I described him as wiry, but that’s really not right. Crow is more of a stocky, muscular type.

6. What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?

I’ve never really thought about this, but I’ve always pictured him standing up straight. He likes to look down at as many people as he can.

7. Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?

Well, he looks rumpled, because he’s sleeping or just woke up from sleeping (usual routine is hunting in the forest by himself), but he’s wearing the same thing as ever: dirty, worn-out shirt and pants, things he’s snuck in and taken from the nearby seacoast village.

8. Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark?

Not really. During the story, he picks up a sword, and he also carries a small knife and a bow.

9. Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!

Not so much because of his looks, but the slavedrivers certainly bullied him anyway, and younger slaves were sometimes a little nervous around him because of his scar.

10. Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?

He’s not particularly happy about being scarred (once he starts thinking about it, he decides it makes him ugly), but he feels it’s a part of him. (Of course, though, he would love to go back and never be a slave in the first place, and change his looks that way.)

That’s it for today! Come back next month for another Beautiful People post!

Did you do Beautiful People this month? (Post your link in the comments if you have!) If you haven’t done it before, do you think you’ll try it now? Tell me in the comments!

Beautiful People July 2016

Good morning, folks! It’s a new month (sort of–is it the 20th already?), which means it must be time for a new Beautiful People.

So what is Beautiful People? It is a link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Each month, they post ten questions to help us writers get to know our characters better. If you want to get involved, just click on one of their links and find their latest Beautiful People post!

Now it’s on to the questions! This month’s character is Kela from my book Windsong. You can learn more about Windsong here if you’d like.

Kela (when he gets a little older)--face, hair color, hair length:
Kela: runaway fisherman’s apprentice, age 15. (So this is him when he gets a bit older. . . .)

1. Do they want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?

Kela would like to get married and have children someday. He loves children, and having gone through several crushes, he really desires the love of a woman. (He has a few self-esteem problems, though, and doesn’t quite believe any woman would love him at this point.)

2. What is their weapon of choice? (It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical weapon.)

Kela wouldn’t really fight in battle with anything, physical or not. He’s more the type to hide around a corner and cringe every time he hears clashing swords. He does have a major weapon for annoying people, though: talking. He will yammer on forever if you let him, and when he’s not talking, he’s humming random tunes, which really gets on some people’s nerves.

3. What’s the nicest thing they’ve ever done for someone else, and why did they do it?

Hmm. Well, he once took some fish from his own dinner to feed a little boy who was begging at the door, because the boy was starving and Kela felt sorry for him (knowing a bit about what it’s like to starve).

4. Have they ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?

Kela cannot remember any time he was ever violent with someone. He gets beaten by his master sometimes, so he really doesn’t like violence.

5. Are they a rule-follower or a rebel?

This is a difficult one. Kela is a bit of both. He tries to follow the rules as much as possible most of the time (for fear of being punished), but when he finally gets sick enough of being beaten randomly, he breaks all the rules by running away from his master.

6. Are they organized or messy?

Kela doesn’t own many things to be organized or messy with, but if he did own stuff, he would definitely just throw it all over the floor and not clean up after himself.

7. What makes them feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

His love language is probably physical touch, though he also likes receiving gifts. Probably, the last people to make him feel this way were his parents, before he was kidnapped at the age of three.

8. What do they eat for breakfast?

You know, I was researching medieval breakfast one day and found out that there was no such thing. Hence, no one in Raianor really eats breakfast, including Kela.

9. Have they ever lost someone close to them? What happened?

In a sense, he has, since he was kidnapped from his parents when he was three. (He does not know this; all he knows is that he has no parents and doesn’t know why.)

10. What’s their treat of choice? (Or, if not food, how else do they reward themselves?)

Kela loves to play the fiddle for dances at festivals. Music is his release, and later his passion. He likes to go off by himself and sing as loud as he can, somewhere where he knows he won’t get caught. Apart from that, he also likes swimming in the sea near his village. He does these things whenever he gets a chance.

So that’s Kela! What did you think of him? Did you do Beautiful People this month, or if not yet, are you planning to? (If so, put your link in the comments–I’d love to read it!) Do you have a music-loving character, too? Tell me in the comments!

Beautiful People June 2016 (Childhood Edition!)

Hello, all! Because I’m currently in the planning stages of a new story and need to get to know my main character, I’m going to take a brief hiatus from doing Beautiful People for my Windsong characters. Don’t worry, I’ll continue introducing them to you next month, unless another new-story character decides to take over. . . .

First, a brief blurb about Beautiful People: This is a link-up run by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. The idea is that writers’ characters are all beautiful people and we should get to know them, so every month Cait and Sky put out ten character-development questions for other bloggers to answer. Anyone can join in, so if you’re interested, click the link for one of their blogs and join the fun! (Also, check out their blogs in general while you’re at it, because they’re both really good bloggers.)

Now, everyone, I would like you to meet Rahāra Vāl.

Rahara?:
I don’t know her very well, so I shall invent on the fly today.

1. What is her first childhood memory?

A large gray dog standing in front of her. (Grey? She is British.)

2. What were her best and worst childhood experiences?

Best experience: Getting applauded for her great performance in a school play. Worst experience: Getting applauded for a terrible performance in a school play because she tripped and fell over and people felt sorry for her. That, and getting yelled at by her mother for locking her younger brother in the bathroom.

3. What was her childhood home like?

Just a middle-class house in the suburbs of London. (Now I should really look up what this is like.)

4. What’s something that scared her as a child?

Dark places, because her older brothers locked her in a closet once for a couple hours, and cats, because she was warned early on that she was allergic to them and not to go near them at all (which I, personally, find very sad, especially considering that she didn’t turn out to be allergic after all).

5. Who did she look up to the most?

Probably Emma Watson (who plays Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies). Watson was one of Rahāra’s inspirations to pursue acting.

6. Favorite and least favorite childhood foods?

Favorite: Ice cream. Least favorite: Carrots.

7. If she had her childhood again, would she change anything?

Yes: all the embarrassing moments (such as the aforementioned tripping and falling onstage). She’s a bit of a perfectionist.

8. What kind of child was she? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?

Quiet at first, but she soon became defiant, particularly toward her two older brothers.

9. What was her relationship to her parents and siblings like?

As she grew up, she became more and more distant from her parents and siblings (three brothers). She became very ambitious in wanting to pursue her own path once she was a teenager.

10. What did she want to be when she grew up, and what did she actually become?

She wanted to be an actress, and at the start of her book, she is a secretary looking for work as an actress and model.

That’s it for today! Thanks for stopping by to meet Rahāra!

Tell me, are you doing Beautiful People this month? If so, put your link in the comments so I can read it! What did you think of Rahāra? Have you ever used Beautiful People questions to help you learn about a new character? Share in the comments!

Beautiful People: May 2016

Hello, all! It’s time for another round of Beautiful People, a link-up run by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Beautiful People is all about getting to know one’s characters. I did this in March for my character Mirage (you can read more about her book here). This month’s featured character is her brother Crow.

Crow--face, intense look. Hair needs to be flatter and darker. :):
Crow is the protagonist of my fantasy series, Windsong. (Image neither mine nor completely accurate)

So, on to the questions!

1. How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?

Not very often. Crow has a tragic backstory (more on that below), so he doesn’t often have reason to smile. And he certainly wouldn’t smile at a stranger, because he is very suspicious of other people.

2. What is the cruelest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

He was a slave when he was a child, and has been told by various slave drivers that he’s worthless and so on. His outward reaction is defiance, but inwardly, he struggles with trying not to believe them.

3. What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

Crow has only had one friend (sad, I know; how I torment him), who once told him that he was brave for standing up to the slave drivers. This has basically given him the guts to escape from slavery and be a survivor.

4. What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

See number 6.

5. What book do you think your character would benefit from reading?

This is a good question. He could definitely benefit from reading the Bible, but besides that, he could start with Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis. It could teach him a bit about selflessness.

6. Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

So this question was tailor-made for Crow, and the answer also answers number 4. When he was ten, he suffered a very severe injury (one that should have killed him), leaving a reddish, welt-like scar on his face and upper body. The memory still gives him nightmares. It’s basically his worst memory and one of his defining experiences.

7. Do they like and get along with their neighbors?

Hmm . . . well, Crow lives in the forest, so his neighbors are animals. Apart from hunting them for food when necessary, yes, he gets along pretty well with them.

8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?

Probably 9. He doesn’t like having to interact with people.

9. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

Any dense forest far away from civilization where he could be self-sustaining. See number 8.

10. Who was the last person they held hands with?

He doesn’t remember, but most likely either his mother or Mirage, both of whom he hasn’t seen since he was four (and he’s sixteen now).

That’s it for this month! Hopefully, I will have another Beautiful People character profile for you next month.

Did you enjoy reading about Crow? Have you done Beautiful People this month? (If so, put your link in the comments!) Do you write fantasy? Do you have any antisocial characters? Tell me in the comments!

Welcome to My World

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.

The Story

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.

The Characters

Crow--face, intense look. Hair needs to be flatter and darker. :): Mirage--hair, eyebrows, facial structure to some extent:

Krina: Kela (when he gets a little older)--face, hair color, hair length:

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.

The Setting

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.

Writing Progress

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!

 

An “Extra” Post: Beautiful People

Herein one of my characters enters the public sphere for the first time. Here we go!

Beautiful People is a link-up run by the blogs Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In. The premise is that writers’ characters are beautiful people and we should get to know them. If you want to participate, check it out at either of their links above!

The first character who will be the subject of this link-up is Mirage Windsong. She is not the protagonist, but she is his twin, and much the bossier of the set, so she demanded priority. She is also a huge driver of the plot of the first book, so although her brother is protagonist for the whole series, she is very important. But I digress. . . .

Somewhat like Mirage:
This is the closest I’ve found to what Mirage looks like. (Picture not mine)

 

On to the questions!

1. What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?

A very long time ago, I invented a young woman who could change into a unicorn and back. I’m not sure what inspired her. Mirage developed quite a lot from there; she is now a changeling who can turn into various kinds of animals, not just unicorns, and she has other powers. More on that below.

2. Describe their daily routine.

Mirage lives in a small house in the woods far from the nearest town (this is a medieval fantasy world, by the way), alone except for her elderly mentor, Selvren. He has raised her and taught her everything she knows about using her “mernevna” (enchanter) gifts. Lately, his health has declined, so Mirage has started taking care of him more.

3. If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?

She loves learning and would definitely be a nerd. She’s pretty much a genius.

4. Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex.: certain foods, people, circumstances in their lives. . . .

Because Mirage knows so much, she often gets annoyed by ignorant people, especially those who think changelings are evil or a myth. She also gets annoyed with people who have bad manners, a result of Selvren’s emphasis on good etiquette. Lastly, although she loves Selvren, she can only tolerate his care regimen and the limitations living with him places on her.

5. How do they react in awkward silences?

If there is an awkward silence, Mirage will give penetrating looks to all involved and insert her own opinion, probably using several long words.

6. Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?

She has never had to swim, but she could if she morphed into an aquatic animal.

7. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?

When she was a small child, she was kidnapped from her parents and eventually ended up with Selvren. Although she does not remember this event, it has shaped her entire life so far, and will continue to do so throughout her book.

8. What things do they value most in life?

Selvren, since he is Mirage’s dear mentor and only friend. She also values knowledge (and books) and her gifts.

9. Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have trust issues?

Mirage is a perfectionist. She doesn’t quite understand how Selvren can be so forgiving. She doesn’t have a trust issue, exactly; she just needs to lighten up.

10. Your character is having a rough day . . . what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?

She hones her skills or theorizes about a concept; anything she’s really good at. Eventually, Selvren will come and talk to her.

So there it is! My first character goes public. What do you think? Tell me in the comments!