Tag Archive: Fantasy

NaNoWriMo Pre-Update

Because a pre-update is totally a thing. Psh. So, I am doing NaNoWriMo this year, and I’m going to talk a little bit about how I’ll be posting for November and then you’ll get summaries of my NaNoWriMo novel and its characters, so stay tuned for that.

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a month-long challenge in November to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Does that sound crazy? That’s… because it is. But thousands of people participate each year, and a lot of them accomplish it. And even if you don’t, you still have more words than you did before, so there’s that. Would you like to know something even crazier? This year I’m among that group of nutcase authors who are attempting to write 100k in a month. Cue the screaming.

Thanks Kermit.

Anyway, for the month of November my blog schedule is going to look very different from the way it usually is. I’ll still be posting character interviews on Wednesdays and weekly updates on Saturdays, but most of my Wednesday posts won’t be writing advice. I have a couple of poems planned, a list of my favorite writing quotes, and one worldbuilding post, and I’m thinking about posting weekly encouragement for those of you doing NaNoWriMo. However, you’ll be getting daily excerpts from my NaNoWriMo project. Meanwhile, I’ll be going like this:

The newsletter will continue as usual, and I think that’s it for an explanation of how the month is going to go. Now we can get into the fun part.

(I don’t know why I’m doing Kermit gifs, so don’t ask.)

The book I’ll be writing for NaNoWriMo is the second book in the Dark War Trilogy, and my favorite of the three. The synopsis up on the NaNo site is this:

Nissa Quail is a thief in the capital city of Roenor. After an accidental meeting with the prince, the two become unlikely friends and Nissa begins to spend quite a bit of time in the castle. After the king is assassinated, she offers her skills to the royal council, and her attempts to find the king’s killer dig her country deeper into a war. A war, it almost appears, that they cannot win.

Fun stuff. I’d share more, but pretty much everything is steeped in spoilers, so let’s move on to the characters.

(Couldn’t find a Kermit gif. Sorry.)

Nissa Quail is the main character. She’s a thief and a shapeshifter, and her alternate form is a raven; she tends to get teased for her name because of this. She’s bold and optimistic, she loves glitter and sparkles, and she adores the fancy dresses that nobles get to wear. She’s a sixteen-year-old ENTP, Slytherin, and Candor (ooh, Slytherin and Candor? That’s an interesting pairing). Despite the fact that she’s the main character and I love (and am terrified by) her arc, she’s only my second-favorite character. ;)

Meet Detren Everlind, my favorite character and the second main character. This is probably really weird, but I love his name. I just think it sounds super cool. Detren is the sweetest, most noble character I think I’ve ever written, and he provides a nice counterpart for Nissa (his best friend), who’s a bit less moral. He’s an avid reader, he loves history, he has a pet dog named Devonly, and he loves the scent of pines. He’s a lot like me in some ways (see the above, except for the dog), but he’s more a picture of what I’d like to be: Noble, merciful, compassionate, moral even when it’s hard…

He’s eighteen (all of my characters are so young and I feel so bad for what they have to go through. D:), an INFJ, Hufflepuff, and Amity (that right there tells you a lot about him. ^-^). And he plays piano, which I’d forgotten about until I looked over at my notes, lol.

Next up is Alleyn Everlind (I really like his name, too). He’s Detren’s father, king of Roenor. He’s a lot like Detren in many ways (he raised him, so of course Detren’s going to be like him): Noble, merciful, always sticking to his morals, and rather playful sometimes. He once let Detren believe for a bit that the squirrel Detren had taken in during the winter needed their help and couldn’t stay out in the cold.

He’s almost as studious as Detren, but he prefers literature to history. He, too, likes the smell of pines, and also the smell of cinnamon. The latter reminds him of his late wife’s cinnamon rolls, which used to be a Christmas tradition.

He’s an ESFJ, Gryffindor, and Abnegation.

Prynn Nemea is Detren’s cousin, who takes care of him like a sister. She’s actually younger than him, at sixteen, but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing everything in her power to keep him steady when he’s going through tough times. She’s compassionate, bold when she needs to be, and willing to occasionally bend the rules if she thinks it’s worth it and no one is going to get hurt. She also plays the piano, and she’s more into music and art than more academic things like history.

She’s an INFJ, Hufflepuff, Amity. (And honestly I think she’s got a bit of Slytherin in her, as well.)

Terlon Screll is Detren’s mentor, as well as high steward of Roenor. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a picture I had permission to use, so I’ll link to his pin instead.) He was the one who helped foster Detren’s love of history, and he was almost a historian (the most prestigious occupation in Roenor), but… Well, I’m thinking to write a short story or novella about his backstory, so I won’t give anything away. ;)

He’s the wisest person Detren knows, even including Alleyn, and Detren consults him a lot throughout the course of the book because… stuff. There’s a lot going on, and he needs that wise council.

He’s an ENTJ, Ravenclaw, and Amity.

So, these are the main characters of The Shadow Raven. I’m really looking forward to getting to writing them and seeing their relationships play out, and I can’t wait for NaNoWriMo because there are cool character arcs, awesome characters, my favorite setting of the trilogy… I’m just super excited to get to work. :D

If you’d like to add me as a buddy on the NaNoWriMo site, that link is here, and it’s very likely that I’ll buddy you back. Let’s tackle this thing. :)

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Character Interview: Tren Devlen

Tren is a secondary character in The Last Assassin, and the prince of Kaloris. He and Catessa become friends fairly early on in the book, and he introduces her to what turns out to be her favorite book. I hope you enjoy his interview.

 

Tren: *takes a seat across from the interviewer, looking rather tired* Hello.

Interviewer: Hello. How are you today?

Tren: I’m fine.

Interviewer: Well, let’s get started with this interview, shall we?

Tren: *nods*

Interviewer: What is your name?

Tren: Tren Devlen.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Tren: Nineteen.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Tren: A sister, Valea.

Interviewer: What is your job?

Tren: I’m the prince of Kaloris.

Interviewer: Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Tren: An introvert.

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Tren: I like apple pastries.

Interviewer: What is your favorite color and why?

Tren: Purple. It’s the color of the Kaloris national flag and my family crest.

Interviewer: What is your favorite book?

Tren: Paladins and Sages.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal and why?

Tren: I like horses. They’re powerful, useful, beautiful.

Interviewer: Is there a job you’d rather have than the one you have now?

Tren: I might like to be a historian.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Tren: Reading.

Interviewer: What traits do you look for in a potential wife?

Tren: Someone strong, loyal, patient, and a reader.

Interviewer: Which of these is most important to you: Kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Tren: Intelligence. The other two are useless if you don’t have intelligence to guide their use.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Tren: Honesty.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Tren: A book.

Interviewer: That’s the last question. Thank you very much for your time.

Tren: *nods and leaves*

Character Interview: Cor Claris

If Tiberius is my favorite character from The Last Assassin, Cor is a close second. He’s basically Catessa’s nephew, and he’s so sweet and wise. ^-^ I think my favorite line of his is:

We can’t just leave them! They’re our family, not some casual friends we can leave when the going gets tough. You should never leave just because the going gets tough. When you become friends with someone it’s a promise that you’ll stick by them through thick and thin. How much more so when you make yourselves family?

He’s extremely wise for his age and he’s adorable and I just want to hug him every time he comes into the story. But anyway, on to his interview.

 

Cor: *comes in and takes a seat across from the interviewer, his feet dangling above the floor* Hello. *smiles*

Interviewer: *returns the smile* Hello there. How are you?

Cor: I’m good. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing well. Should we start?

Cor: *nods*

Interviewer: What is your name?

Cor: Cor Maenon Claris.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Cor: Nine.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Cor: I have a little sister named Lily. She’s two. *grins*

Interviewer: Are you excited to have a little sister?

Cor: *nods, still grinning* Absolutely! I’ve always wanted a younger sibling.

Interviewer: *can’t help but grin* That’s cool. I don’t have any siblings.

Cor: That’s cool, too. It’s quieter that way.

Interviewer: *laughs* I”m sure it is. I’m going to ask you the next question, but I think I probably already know the answer. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Cor: Extrovert. I love people. *grins*

Interviewer: I have a feeling you’ll like this one. What is your favorite food?

Cor: Druan’s cinnamon rolls! I miss those.

Interviewer: Who’s Druan?

Cor: My grandfather, basically. He’s actually my great-uncle, but grandfather is easier and my real grandfather – my dad’s dad – died before my mom was born. I’ve never met my mom’s parents.

Interviewer: Mm. Do you know your real grandfather’s name?

Cor: I think it was Kane. And my mom’s parents are Maenon and Rielle. Lily and I were both named after them. My middle name and hers. We might be meeting them soon.

Interviewer: That would be nice.

Cor: *nods*

Interviewer: *after a pause* What’s your favorite color?

Cor: Blue. The color of the ocean.

Interviewer: Why the ocean?

Cor: My dad’s a merchant, so he sails a lot and I tend to go with him. I’m almost more comfortable on the sea than on land. *laughs*

Interviewer: Do you have a favorite book?

Cor: Soldiers of the East. My mom used to read it to me when I was little, and then I read it to myself once I could.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite animal?

Cor: I really like dogs. I wish I could convince Mom and Dad to let me get one. Or if you want a fake one, the Caeceus from Soldiers of the East. I’d love to be one of the soldiers of the Pastyna Regiment riding the Caeceus valiantly into battle. *grins*

Interviewer: That certainly sounds exciting. Do you have a favorite character?

Cor: Seeker Kassis. He’s good at helping people without getting caught by the Eilram.

Interviewer: *doesn’t have any more idea than you or me what Cor is talking about* *nods* He sounds like a pretty cool guy. Besides reading, do you have any hobbies?

Cor: Fishing, climbing things, scaring my mom, playing with Lily, stuff like that.

Interviewer: Which of these do you think is most important: Kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Cor: Kindness. But all of them are important.

Interviewer: What about these two: Honesty or selflessness?

Cor: Both.

Interviewer: Is there something you can’t leave the house – or ship – without?

Cor: *thinks for a minute, his green eyes focusing on the ceiling* Not really. I mean, clothes, but…

Interviewer: *laughs* Thank you, Cor. That’s the last question.

Cor: *grins and hops off the chair, heading out of the room*

 

Well that was the most fun character interview I’ve written yet. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)

Book of the Month Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I started this book sometime before August (or maybe during August) and finally finished it on September sixteenth. It was very, very good, and I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

My favorite thing about this book was the characters. They were all well-written, well fleshed out, deep, enjoyable characters, with the possible exceptions of Giddon and the Leinid crew. Giddon seemed rather shallow to me, but even at that he was still well-written for who he is, I think. Po was certainly my favorite character; he’s fun to read because he’s clever and witty and flirtatious and he’s a good guy. That’s basically my checklist for if you want to write a character I’ll love reading. Jest from Heartless, Po from Graceling, Celaena from Throne of Glass, Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles… Yeah, it’s a long list. So of course I like Po. Bitterblue was my second favorite character. I couldn’t tell you quite why. I think because she’s so intelligent and understands so much about the characters around her. Katsa, the main character, comes in third. Though she was deep and complex, her personality wasn’t a favorite of mine, personally. She’s rather distant under most circumstances and takes a while to open up to other characters, and I tend to prefer reading characters who connect easily with other people, for some reason. She did connect very well with some of the characters around her, but her general character is aloof and distant.

I judge the worldbuilding as about a four out of five. I could tell that the world was well thought-out and deep, but I thought in the book we really only get to see the tip of that iceberg and I really wanted to see more. Leinid was the most fleshed-out of the kingdoms, and also my favorite. I’m sure that the former contributed to the latter, but it doesn’t help any that the other two countries that were really mentioned weren’t really very likable for… reasons. The two of them fed into each other, I think. I tend to like reading a deep world, so maybe I’m just looking for more from the book than is normal because of that. I do see that it has a lot of depth, just not a lot that we get to see in this book. Maybe in the other books there’s more detail given.

The plot also gets a four out of five. I really love the idea of Graces. I found that fascinating. I love Po’s Grace in particular, but all of the three showcased were fascinating to read and fit their characters well and just blended to create a really interesting story. The main plot was really interesting, as well. I felt that the antagonist was well-developed, just like all of the others, and even though he isn’t really seen much, he was really interesting to read when he was “on screen,” and even when he wasn’t. I love villains who personally affect the good guys. The antagonist did that with Katsa and Bitterblue, and to some extent with Po as well, more through Katsa and Bitterblue than as directly. He played with Katsa’s mind, both intentionally and not so intentionally, and we get to see her confidence falter as she’s faced with something she’s never faced before.

Unfortunately I must include a warning that there are about two scenes and a sentence that are rather inappropriate. It really disappoints me that so many of the really good books I’ve read have scenes in them that have to be skimmed. Why can’t people write clean fantasy with the same depth of worldbuilding and characters?

Other than those couple of spots, though, this book was great. I don’t feel comfortable recommending it because of those few scenes, but I really enjoyed it.

Character Interview: Pellan Shyle

Pellan is from the first book of the Dark War Trilogy, The Last Assassin, and he likes to cause me issues in writing. But he’s still a really interesting character, and I find him to have one of the two coolest outlooks on life I’ve written. Enjoy. :)

 

Pellan: *comes in and takes a seat, shaking the interviewer’s hand* Good morning.

Interviewer: Good morning. How are you?

Pellan: I’m doing well. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing very well. Shall we get started?

Pellan: Let’s.

Interviewer: What is your name?

Pellan: Pellan Shyle.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Pellan: Twenty-two.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Pellan: No.

Interviewer: What is your job?

Pellan: I’m an Kaloran ambassador.

Interviewer: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Pellan: An extrovert, though many wouldn’t guess it.

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Pellan: Apricots.

Interviewer: What is your favorite color?

Pellan: Pale orange.

Interviewer: Why?

Pellan: It’s the color of apricots.

Interviewer: What is your favorite book?

Pellan: Xandolar’s Journals.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal?

Pellan: Limul.

Interviewer: I’m not sure I’ve heard of those. What are they?

Pellan: They’re like giant gold lizards with long, knobby limbs, long snouts, and leathery wings. I like them because most people don’t know much about them. *half-smirks*

Interviewer: Is there a job you’d rather have than the one you have now?

Pellan: Not particularly. I like what I do. *smiles*

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Pellan: Studying plants and reading.

Interviewer: What traits do you look for in a potential wife?

Pellan: Someone smart, beautiful, and attentive.

Interviewer: Which of these is the most important to you, kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Pellan: Intelligence.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Pellan: Honesty.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Pellan: My journal. I like to make note of things I notice through the day.

Interviewer: *nods* That’s the last question. Thank you for your time.

Pellan: You’re welcome. *shakes the interviewer’s hand before leaving*

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