Nov 26, 2013

Dear Characters (NaNo '13) - Part 3

I passed 50k about six days early, but I still have so much left to write! Just now getting to the last arc of the story which will prepare everyone for the end, but "the end" is still a distant dream...

Dear Drake (the Spellbinder),
Ah, so that's what happens when you get your magic back: you ignore every good thing you've learned over the past few weeks and trigger the most unintentionally vindictive party split ever. I'd be impressed if I wasn't wondering how I'm going to fix this mess! You know who isn't impressed? Everyone else. I mean, Blythe drew a weapon on you while Etri is just as angry (I don't know what he was planning on doing with that torch, but I have a feeling you wouldn't like it), and good luck repairing your relationship with Sol after, ya know, you kidnapped his siblings by mind controlling them. You truly are the king of bad decisions. All this aside, major kudos for making this whole thing a lot more interesting and fun to write!

Dear Etri (the Shadowwalker),
Yeah, what were you planning on doing with that torch? I'm still not entirely sure how your magic works. When you become a shadow, can you see into a different world? Does dark become light? Does your magic bring you half into the invisible world that's turned the mime crazy? Oh, speaking of, could you find that mime for me? He's supposed to have joined the story by now and he's off somewhere silently flailing in fear.

Dear Blythe (the Bladeshielder),
Chill. Adair is capable of taking care of himself. Sort of. He would be if the consequences of Drake's earlier actions hadn't set off a separate chain of events, anyway. Trust me, you've got enough to worry about considering that your group is going to come into contact with the baddie and without the missing three teammates, you have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. You're leading your trio, so it's up to you to keep it together until your ringmaster finds you again.


Dear Adair (the Forcepainter),
On the positive side, at least your group's mini-boss isn't going to be the big baddie. On the negative side, you three are probably only going to get away by the skin of your teeth thanks to Drake taking everyone with weapons with him. (Sheesh, who needs to throw bosses at you guys when Drake's doing a darn good job of being an antagonist himself?) But hey, I need to prepare you guys for the endgame. Here's a hint: you three are the creative ones. Use that to your advantage.

Dear Chantrell (the Songshifter),
Say 'hi' to your brother for me. You should have known after seeing all those missing person posters that he's going to find you and track you down. I'm still trying to figure out your magic, too, by the way. What's your focus if it usually comes through as sound? Have you had a tiny instrument tucked away all this time?

Dear Sol (the Lightbringer),
You're taking all this surprisingly well, but then again, you're literally a ball of sunshine. Too bad you lost that extra power because you're going to be wanting that in your upcoming scenes. Keep that brightness; the other two will need your positivity and your light. You could always put that dumb hat back on the cat if it'll distract Adair, but I have a feeling you can do better than that. After all, you are my comic relief!

~Meri, your author who is beginning to panic because there's only five days left of NaNo and you guys are still chapters and chapters away from meeting up again. (Would someone please tie Drake up or something so he doesn't spawn another plot line or twelve?)

Nov 19, 2013

Dear Characters (NaNo '13) - Part 2

I'm at about 35,000 words with my current NaNo story and the plot's just over half finished, so it's time for another "Dear Character" post.

Dear Adair (the Forcepainter),
Watching you fumble through love is amusing, but don't you have, you know, a quest? And don't tell me you're still waiting on the next call so you don't know where to go. You have those magical maps, right? ...Oh, what the heck. I'm making you deal with this bunch of goofballs carnival performers (and you haven't even reached the delusional mime yet...), so I guess I can't begrudge you those little cartoon hearts you have floating above your head. ... or was that you testing out your magic again? Have you figured out yet that you can draw 3d things in the air?

Dear Blythe (the Bladeshielder),
Okay, at this point everyone knows that you're a girl. Everyone. I'm honestly surprised that none of them have let this fact slip yet. (And by "none of them" I mean "Sol". Hate to say it, Blythe, but your friend is kind of an idiot.) And Adair keeps not being able to breathe whenever you get in close proximity to him; if he turns purple, will you catch on that he knows your secret? (Wait, I already have a purple character. Scratch that.)

Dear Drake (the Spellbinder),
What exactly is going to happen to you when you get your magic back? Right now you're so very not Drake and the others like this version of you. So what happens when you go back to getting everything you want and making people do whatever you want because of your mind-control? When the rest see the real you? This could be a problem. By the way, I still don't have any hobbies or secondary skills for you. You better find some quickly or you'll end up expendable.

Dear Sol (the Lightbringer),
While Drake ended up with the "most unlucky character in the story" award, apparently you drew the short straw for the role of "adorable idiot" this time around. (I'd recommend breaking the fourth wall and asking Raff for pointers if you get stuck.) This may end up with you turning into the comic relief, but since you're all circus folk, that's a title you may have to share. And would you quit putting that silly hat on the cat? Where do you people keep finding these things??

Dear Etri (the Shadowwalker),
Please stop getting yourself lost in the background. I keep losing track of you! I know that's rather the point to who you are, mister not only hides in shadow but is a shadow, but you seem to be the brains of the group. Adair needs your opinions because he's not yet the ringmaster your brother jokingly calls him.

Dear Chantrell (the Songshifter),
I'll be introducing you within the next day, so I suppose I should say hi and welcome you to the insanity. Just to let you know, that tiger is just Adair's cat. You'll figure this out when she goes "Mrrrt?" and tries to rub against your leg. You'll get used to Addy's illusions.

~Meri, the writer who is trying to figure out how she's going to juggle six characters with another one coming later. (At least two of you are jugglers. A little help here?)

Nov 10, 2013

Dear Characters (NaNo '13)

I haven't done any of these "Dear Character" or "Dear Writer" posts for this year's NaNo yet, so it's time to remedy that! These are the key players at the moment.

Dear Adair (the Forcepainter),
Would you please please please stop thinking about food for five minutes? I know you're a teenaged boy, but geez, who thinks a pie will get them into a guarded location? You're cute, kid, even if you are kind of silly. I'm giving you an assignment that you'll love, by the way: find a new cat. I need this for a group writing prompt and I know you'll be sad about having to leave your three behind once you realize you're not coming back.

Dear Blythe (the would-be Bladeshielder/blade-dancer),
Are you finally beginning to catch on that magic is real? If Adair's sketchbook of moving drawings wasn't enough to prove this, I'm sure you can ask Etri how his magic works. Then again, he's a performer; he might not actually want you to know his secrets. But you know him better than I do since he's your closest friend and I just met him this week. What do you think? (And would you please let on to Adair sometime soon that you're a girl? I keep writing the wrong pronoun for you EVERY TIME. By the time I get used to calling you "boy" and "him", Adair will have figured it out and then I'm going to have to get myself re-accustomed to the correct terms.)

Dear Drake (the Spellbinder/fire-dancer),
I'll get to you eventually, I promise. Maybe by Tuesday? While you're waiting, please think of some secondary skills and hobbies that you can fall back on when your magic is taken. Your life seems to revolve far too much around getting what you want because of your mind-control! Heck, even Adair likes to cook and Blythe knows something about healing and technically their lives are busier than yours. Not everything has to do with your magic, ya know. (And I don't think seducing people really counts as a hobby.)

Dear Sol (the Lightbringer/fire-breather),
Umm... sorry for making you my baddie's next victim? You were one of the first drained, so assuming you don't try to light any more fires magically for a few days, you'll be fine. Please tell Adair this so he stops freaking out that he's the cause of all these innocent people getting hurt. Oh, and don't try fire-breathing for a few days, either; without your power, that would be very very painful.

Dear Etri (the Shadowwalker/fire-eater),
I really love you and your brother even if you aren't main characters. I'm going to be giving you guys a quest of your own so don't think I'll forget about you when the MCs leave. Until then, I think you're going to be dragged into a search by Blythe because you're a little better at sneaking into places in the dark than she is. (Speaking of, do you know that she's a girl? One minute I think you do and are just keeping this a secret, the next I think you're as clueless as everyone else.)

~Meri, your writer who is having way too much fun with this artist and carnival performer theme but who also wonders why you guys all seem to like fire so much

Nov 6, 2013

NaNoWriMo '13 outline and character ramblings

NaNoWriMo '13 is off to a pretty good start! Assuming I can get some words written tonight, I'll be on par to pass 10k. I have a pretty good idea for my NaNo since I spent part of this week working on an outline, but right now I'm procrastinating because I'm about to start the action. Now that my protagonist has his quest, I'm not really sure what the next step is. He seems to be pretty good at bumbling into plot where I least expect it, so he should lead me through. I hope. Go, Adair, go! Find the two who will help you! And find the plot which is hiding around here somewhere, while you're at it. ;)

I'm really happy with how I'm doing my outline this year because, knock on wood, it seems to be keeping me on track. I think that was my problem with last year's NaNo and why, a year later, I was still fumbling my way through the first draft: I didn't have a good outline. I'm using color-coded sticky notes in my writing notebook:

-Blue: my plot
-Yellow: missing parts of the story I still need to work out
-Purple: quick references to my characters and their tasks and basic info (Adair's my main character, Blythe is the secondary main, and Drake is pretty much on par with Blythe, but comes in later. I still need a name for my baddie...)
-Orange: assorted minor characters and their type of magic
-Pink: tasks/plot points that I'm looking to add at some point; either I don't know where they go, they span the story, or they relate to more than one character.
It's arranged so the top blue line is the start of the story (about 9000 words so far), the middle two rows are middle, and the bottom row is the end of the story. I know Scrivener can do something like this, but I'm a really visual person so I work best with something physical I can hold.

I've already removed two of the question mark ones and replaced them with blue plot stickies, so this seems to be working! It's also helpful that they're on sticky notes because that means it's easy to replace them when I decide to change something up. :)

And while I was procrastinating today, I played around with that avatar generator again to try to get a feel for the main(ish) character I don't know well yet. Drake won't be showing up in my writing for probably another week (a few days at least), but I'm very much itching to write about him! Right now all I know is that he's Blythe's former teacher- and soon to be current teacher since he has similar magic to what she's just now discovering- so he's a little older than Adair and Blythe. He used to go by "Drake Dualdagger" when Blythe knew him a few years ago, but I'm getting the suspicion that he's now calling himself "Firedrake" because of his current draconic and fire theme. I also know his magic is mind-control, he's cheerful, kind of mischievous and a little morally ambiguous, and while Blythe prefers swords and the occasional dagger, his style of dance/magic is more likely long daggers and lit torches.

(I also have a version with swords instead of torches.)

This avatar isn't quite what I had in mind, but it's close; he has a very theatrical appearance for his stage presence, so this isn't even as over the top as he'd look. (He has red dragon scale tattoos covering his arms and his hair is partly dyed, but the color on his face is just paint.)

Okay, I've procrastinated long enough. Time to get back to work!