Monday, January 15, 2018

Suffer Your Characters To Suffer

What would you say your favorite story is? If you're like me, you probably can't pin down just one, but a list. And what do the stories on this list have in common? I can guess at least one thing - for my favorites all have it in common as well. Suffering. The characters and suffering.
It makes a better book out of a bad one
Physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, all good books have suffering. Does this make a good book? Not necessarily, but it will make a better book. Even if your plot is as holey as Swiss cheese and your setting as overused as the word cliché and your characters as bland as angel food cake without frosting, suffering can at least help. Making your characters suffer will bring more attachment to them from the reader, at least out of empathy, and making high, difficult situations makes a plot more intense and a more enthralling read. Making your characters suffer can even help a boring setting, because it invokes urgency in the reader's mind, making them think that this is a dangerous or very undesirable place and situation (and all of us, the odd creatures we are, enjoy reading about other people being in trouble). Making your characters suffer will add interest in their wellbeing, because any sympathetic human being will at least be mildly interested in their solution to this suffering.
It polishes an already good book
Even if you have a nice, creative setting, good characters, and an intricate plot, you should still incorporate difficulties and strife. If your amazing characters are uncomfortable, it will have twice the empathetic effect as characters who are not amazing. If the reader loves your characters, their heart will ache all the more seeing them suffer, and be all the more invested in it. If your plot is already good, this  - even if it doesn't increase the stakes themselves - makes the stakes seem higher for losing it all. Same with the setting - suffering increases the human element in a story's setting because it is an essential part of humanity and earthly life.
It will increase your creativity
Thinking of new ways to make trouble for your characters that nobody else has used is one of the best exercises an author can do for creativity. A bajillion authors let somebody get shot in the shoulder with an arrow. What about in the middle of Central Park? A bajillion authors let people die in the last stretch of the book. What about early on? Even if the idea isn't necessarily a good one to actually use, your span of new ability for ideas is broadened by having it.
It develops your characters more
What makes each of your characters suffer? In trying to figure out even just this tiny question, you are delving right into your ink-and-paper person's heart. A tiny bit of heartache for a character can mean pages worth of development on them.
But isn't it a bit psychotic?
I've heard a few authors concerned before that making characters suffer can decrease the author's empathy, or make an author become rather obsessed with, or even a bit psychotic and inhuman in their normal life. However, let me dispel these fears. Actually, at least in my case, making my characters suffer has made me far more empathetic. Submerging myself in the darks and lights of other fictional people allowed me to see into the different viewpoints of other real people. In fact, I believe writing has done wonders for my relationships with my siblings and close friends especially, because I can imagine things from their point of view. And even random people, I start to analyze their viewpoints in my mind - it helps to know them better and to respect their actions more. As for being inhuman, many authors tend to give off that vibe, but most of the time it's not because they're authors. It's because a lot of authors are introverts, who also seem to give off that vibe, but in truth are merely people in their own little world. If authors don't pay attention to other people, or seem too quiet, it's merely because they think more about what those other people are saying or doing, not less. And being obsessed with making your characters suffer is a problem I have never come across in all my days of being an author or meeting other authors. A few may celebrate it, but that few are the people who like to pretend they're psychopaths anyways, and so writing was just one of many ways they found to channel that usually comically-meant persona. As far as I've observed, none of us are really, truly obsessed with seeing other people suffer.
Why do we write suffering?
Yes, you may agree with my arguments at this point, but there is the creeping question that I haven't answered yet. Why? Why do we as readers love books with suffering? Why do we as writers tend to write suffering? Why? I think the first reason has to do with what I've mentioned above - suffering is such an integral part of humanity, that it gives us a revelation of our own lives and world to see suffering. We realize how much it reflects our humanity and it plays upon our hearts' attachment to our fellows. To see another suffer reflects our own suffering, and we wish for both to end, but we are interested because it tells us what we bear in this life.
Another reason is the reason for real-life suffering - it is a cross we must bear, but it touches us. In suffering, we grow within ourselves, and in sticking with others through their suffering, the same effect is accomplished through our human empathy. We are perhaps sobered by the fact of suffering, but we also take joy in the fact that it is not all there is to existence. So reading it makes us feel the presence of both joy and sorrow, so deeply written in our being.
The final reason is perhaps the most profound. We, as humans, imitate what we love or admire. In our real suffering we imitate Christ on the cross. In writing suffering, we wish our characters to imitate that same scene. We love to see them as sacrificial, and beautiful, and a profound insight into the greatest things of life. In writing their suffering, we are expressing our desire to be like Christ even in our works. And in having our works imitate Him, we give him glory - and is that not the ultimate goal of any art?
 If you are writing a book, let your characters suffer. There is nothing better you can do for your book - and it can even be spiritually aiding for you in addition. And, perhaps, it can lead your reader also to an image of what they most want to be - a true human, who suffers with us all.
So there's my light writing-tip post turned all meditational and profound. This happens every time I write posts without pre-decided guidelines... :P But, despite the inconsistent change of mood mid-post, what did you think? Do you agree? Do you have anything to add? Are there any of the aforementioned mock-psychopath writers in my audience? And is anyone else frustrated with how incongruous the aesthetic of this post is???

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Pain of a Memory - Part VI

Hi! I know that you guys are probably wanting some variety from Meet the Books! and story snippets at this point, and I'm sorry it's been so predictable around here. But, here's another piece of The Pain of a Memory, and I promise the next post won't be Meet the Books! or this. Sowwy! The last part may be found below.
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Hope you enjoy! :)
Echo limped through the streets into the town square. There it was - the scene that had called him from his home. A king's messenger, a trumpeter, and a company of the summoned knights were gathering there.

They were about to announce something. They wouldn't summon the knights and have a messenger sound the trumpet if they weren't. Echo hoped that - whatever it was that they were announcing - it wasn't another quest. He wanted to be home... But if they proclaimed a dire enough need, he knew he would volunteer. Maybe if he tried not to hear...? No good, he was already curious. No, no, no. Echo prayed only that it was nothing of too much consequence. He listened closer, though, relentless of the urge inside him to cover his ear.

The trumpeter blew his horn again. Echo held his breath. The messenger rolled out a scroll. "Hear, all knights of our king!", he cried. "There has been a decree of trouble in our fair kingdom of Belestine!"

Echo pressed his fingertips to his head in worry. So far this wasn't turning out so well. But he listened all the same as the messenger continued.

"There have been various raids on the forest border in our fair kingdom. The mountains seem to shadow a band of thieves. These bandits grow ever and ever more troublesome. Attempts of minor law-aids to catch or corner the rogues have been fruitless. So far they have mostly intercepted trading-carts to Nistria, but there is rumor that a slightly larger, foreign host was moving through our land and now is gone. The king suspects that if this small party ever really existed, they were overtaken by the vagabonds. We think that, with a small host our own, we may be able to track and apprehend these vagabonds to finally free our forest border. And so, we need a knight willing to aid our mother-country, Belestine. We need a knight to lead the host to the border and take the rogues - lest Nistria hold us responsible for their losses in trade. Who among you shall volunteer?", the messenger finished and looked about for emphasis. "If such a knight returns victorious, he will gain great reward. It will not be a thankless task, so who among you shall volunteer?"

Echo listened desperately for someone else to say something. He was already having to hold himself back from volunteering, and he wouldn't be able to refrain much longer if no one else offered. But a moment of silence defiantly reigned. The messenger glanced around at the knights, who in turn glanced at one another expectantly. It needs done... They need my help... No...! Please let someone else volunteer...

Still no one spoke. Perhaps the other knights were - like Echo - weary from the last journey. Perhaps they knew the peril of the forest border and its thieves. But, for whatever reason, still no one spoke.

Echo had to restrain himself harder and harder not to give in. He looked around hopefully at the other knights. Echo just couldn't do it. He was only a lesser knight, he had just gotten back from a journey, and he had two children to stay home with and take care of. He couldn't just leave them again so soon. Who knew if he'd come back this time? He just couldn't let them down like that. Why wouldn't someone else volunteer? Echo couldn't let Ariff and Orlania down... But, then, he couldn't let this country and its innocent people down either. They needed someone's aid, and who was Echo to refuse a need for aid? Echo set his jaw firm.

"I will go", Echo spoke up determinedly.

Everyone now turned to look at him. The messenger raised a brow.

"Are you a knight of the king?", the messenger asked suspiciously, perhaps doubtful of Echo's knighthood due to his very roughened garb.

"Yes" Echo stepped forward. "I am a lesser knight of the knights of King Ohelm", he said, showing a ring on his finger - the ring of Belestinian knights with common or foreign blood.

The messenger raised now both brows, perhaps disappointed that the only volunteer was a lesser knight. But, no one else spoke, so the messenger finally bade Echo come forth, seeming a bit reluctant.

"The leader of our host shall be the knight, ah...." The messenger turned to Echo questioningly.

"Ah, Echo...", Echo said absently.

"Echo? I know of no Sir Echo...", the messenger trailed off confusedly.

"Oh, ah, Torriven, Sir Torriven", Echo corrected himself.

"By the good knight Sir Torriven!", finished the messenger.

Echo stepped down afterwards, and started to head back towards the hut. A feeling of relief in conscience was in him, but it was accompanied by a sinking weight. He would have to leave the children again.

Echo just didn't know what to do with himself sometimes. He couldn't help doing these things - it was merely out of an overpowering conscience and a sense of duty. He would have to leave Orlania and Ariff again. He would have to go back and see their smiling faces and then tell them. He would have to tell them and watch Lania's face shade with worry and Ariff's smile fade with disappointment. They wouldn't say anything, but he knew they'd be devastated.

They hated it when he left, and Echo hated having to leave them. Why did things have to be like this? Poor kids...  Echo set his jaw firm. Whatever would be, would be, he supposed. With some prayers, it might turn out well in the end. But all the same, he hated to leave them again so soon...
Perhaps now my readers may guess at the connection of Sir Echo with Anwynne? I told you he would be relevant! ;) And soon enough, our Echo will meet with the troubles of Anwynne... But, for now, you can look forward to a post of something other than The Pain of a Memory! So, tell me, did you enjoy it? Have any critique? Comments? Suggestions? I love any and all input, providing it's civilly done, so chat with me!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The 10 Most Loveable Cartoon Characters of All Time

Hi! So I've been watching a lot of cartoon shows I used to watch - mainly for fun. But, in discovering some old beloved shows, I uncovered something else. Some of the most loveable, endearing, just plain 'Awww!'-invoking characters - you know, those ones you couldn't get enough of once upon a time, and somehow somehow(!) forgot with time. Today, I'm reminiscing a bit about those old loves... I'll always hold a place in my heart for all of them.
#1 - Arthur from Babar, King of the Elephants
I've been watching (and loving) Babar since I was three years old, and it's never gotten boring. When recently, for the first time in two years, I saw it again, I fell in love even more than I had before. And my old love was still just as great - Arthur. Arthur is the rambunctious, adventurous, tall-tale-telling explorer brother of Babar's wife, Celeste, and he really is the best character in the show. With his characteristic white beret that has its red pom-pom on top, he was a sight received most delightedly by my memories. Always adventuring off onto nigh-impossible endeavors, always getting swept up in large-scale plans and plots, and yet always coming home to tell the stories afterwards (usually somewhat exaggeratedly) to his fascinated nieces and nephews. My favorite character in my favorite cartoon, Arthur always will be a pleasing sight to me - and I hope that children of this day won't ever lack for the sight of his silly beret either. :)
#2 - Jay Gordon/Walker from Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu
Jay is the most recent rediscovery of my old cartoon loves, though he's not quite so old as the rest (I actually started watching Ninjago only about a year or two ago - and the series, NOT the messed-up movie!). He's the court jester of the ninjas, perhaps, but he's ever-endearing with his common panicking, his constant joking, and his adorable bashfulness. Not to mention his cute, though often failed romance. Rare a laugh come from watching Ninjago has not come from Jay. And at first, all he seems to be is the loveable clown of the group. It's in his season, season #7, that you really get development on him. He's a gentleman at heart, always striving to help others, and be chivalrous even in his modern age. And he endures more than most cartoon characters I've seen just for the sake of others (in fact, in one particular episode, he gets beaten/tortured by pirates repeatedly to the point of temporarily losing his ability to walk, use his powers, and see in one eye, yet keeps his composure amazingly). And if there's one thing that's endearing, it's a character with an unassuming appearance who shows themselves a rock of fortitude in hard times. Now that's a loveable character.
#3 - Scooby Doo from What's New, Scooby Doo?
Really, Scooby should be first, but he's so well-known, I think that he can afford a little less mention. In fact, I don't think any introduction to him is necessary. How often does one come across a talking, constantly hungry, mostly cowardly, mystery-solving great dane?
#4 - Starscream from Transformers
How on earth did a villain get on this list? Don't ask me, it's just Starscream! Somehow, even for being the cowardly, treacherous, villainous right-hand man of Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, Starscream was always my favorite of all the transformers (with only maybe Optimus Prime as competition). Constantly a mutineer vying for alpha position among the Decepticons, somehow the shady, bojo-esque character of Starscream always made him strangely enjoyable. And that high-pitchedly tense voice was always so familiar and smile-enticing. (And no, people, I'm not talking about the popular Transformers Starscream - not the new moves, but the old 1980's series. They're way better, you know!)
#5 - Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: The Real American Hero
By this point, you can probably tell that I love old 80's cartoons (some of them, at least). And G.I. Joe is no exception! The best of the Joes, though, is a mute martial arts expert who constantly wears a blind mask and has a pet timber wolf. Who? Snake Eyes! Perhaps the name is a bit cheesy, but cheesy's fine by me. And, being the only G.I. Joe that isn't constantly making painfully punny jokes all the time (he couldn't make one even if he wanted to), Snake Eyes already had one thing going for him. He doesn't speak, but nonetheless his character shines through vibrantly. And no other character exhibits the same amount of common sense, I assure you. Or cool ninja moves. ;)
#6 - King Babar and Basil from Babar, King of the Elephants
Though I love Arthur better, Babar has always held a special place in my heart (despite my sister's avid hatred of him and his show). And Basil the rhino has always been a great source of laughter in the show. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so they're tied as it is. They're so different! - Babar, in his steadfast, humble, kingly character, and Basil with his cheapskate tricks but unerring loyalty to King Retaxes of Rhino Land. Though often at odds, both Babar and Basil are characters deserving of praise amongst cartoons.
Unfortunately couldn't find one with Basil in it, but there's Babar, Celeste, and Retaxes.
#7 - Kai Smith from Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu
I know, I know, another Ninjago one. But, seriously, guys, this show is pretty awesome! I mean, Legos, ninjas, amazing characters, and intriguing plot arcs - how could it not be? And Kai is the main ninja it centers around. Hot-headed though he is, sometimes Kai's hotheadedness is endearing... and sometimes it's very frustrating. Either way, though, he never fails to amuse. And being the main one, you get to see a lot of him. Perhaps not quite so loveable or dependable as Jay, but still one of the best characters in the show.
#8 - Basil the Hare from Redwall
This show is another I love but my sister unfortunately loathes. Most of all she loathes the tall, gangly white hare in a red feathered cap always striding about the place saying "What, what" - however, as we usually do, we differ greatly on this character. Basil the hare is undoubtedly Redwall's best character (I actually didn't like him much when I first read the books, but the show softened my heart somehow). An adventurer of sterling loyalties, though perhaps rather haphazard habits, Basil is quite the loveable character (what is it with loveable characters being called Basil...?).
#9 - Peter Parker/Spiderman from Spiderman
I couldn't tell you the specific name of which cartoon Spiderman he's in (as it's been a few years now), but whichever one it was, it was good. This Peter Parker was not the awkward punk we see in the Marvel franchise, but a Peter Parker of troubles and conscience, and actual background. A Peter Parker really striving to be his best in a world that loves him one day, hates him the next. A Peter Parker having to carry his cross everyday of working for his worst enemy. He had virtue beyond most cartoon characters I've seen, and he had troubles equal to it. A chivalrous protector of the alleyways of New York, lover of simple things, vilified by everyone, but doing his duty anyways. That's the Spiderman I know and love. :)
#10 - Tigger from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Best version of Winnie the Pooh ever. And Tigger, as he has in almost every representation of the series, remained my favorite above all in this version. Bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! Who knows what the most wonderful thing about Tigger is? Who could pinpoint just one single thing? All I know is, for the total, Tigger is the most wonderful (and nostalgic) thing about Winnie the Pooh to me.
And that wraps things up. What did you think? Are you familiar with any of these characters? Perhaps they bring nostalgia to you as well? Do you have any favorite cartoon characters? Any favorite cartoons? Chat with me! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tag Juggling - Look At Me, Three At Once!

Hallo! I would write you a captivating introduction to this post, but as it is, I am very busy. Busy doing what, you may ask? Well, juggling. Juggling tags, to be precise. I think every tag in the blogging world (total exaggeration) has hit me and I have procrastinated long enough to have more tags than I do Il Divo albums now (not an exaggeration, unfortunately). So! I need to start juggling!

The Versatile Blogger Award

I technically didn't get tagged for this one, per se, but I said I would do it... *shrugs* And so I shall.
The Rules (because, to quote a movie I really hate but am always quoting, "What's fun without the rules?"):
  • Thank the person who nominated you (no one, in this case, but I'll thank Lucy Agnes anyways, as it was her doing that it even got on my radar. Thanks, Lucy!)
  • Share 7 facts about yourself (ugh - boring!)
  • Nominate 10(?!) other bloggers of your choice
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination
Alrighty, concerning Belle -
Fact #1

I am a student of music, studying voice and piano presently, and in the midst of writing with said musical learning two operas and a wanna-be Broadway musical.
Fact #2
I am so in love with fictional characters sometimes, I wrote a waltz for a book character once, as well as extensive poetry.
Fact #3
I am a baptized, confirmed Roman Catholic, very traditional, very orthodox, and I don't enjoy it when people make fun of religion or religious people. STOP MAKING FUN OF CATHOLICS!!!
Fact #4
My five favorite actors are Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, Charlton Heston, and Jimmy Stewart (in that order), and all of them are dead at this point in time. :P
Fact #5
I am so introverted, the one time I experienced any kind of male attention that was obviously romantically inclined, I was weirded out and initially avoided the guy because of it (and am still weirded out!)
Fact #6
I have listening to and/or watched the opera Carmen so many times, that hearing any piece from it, I could tell you exactly what act it was in, exactly who sang it, and almost exactly what part it's at in the opera (working on that presently).
Fact #7
Despite being very awkward and caught off-guard in any such personal experience, as in Fact #5, I am quite the romantic for other people and fictional characters.
And that sums that part up. Now, I don't even know 10 bloggers, I don't think, so I'll just tag a bunch of people for all three tags at the bottom of this pots.

The Cookie Book Tag

Okay, so is the name of this tag not just delicious in itself??? I don't know about you, but if there was an award for tags with the best title, this one would get it. :) The rules are to match a book to each cookie listed, and then to spread the tag via awarding other bloggers. Which I shall now do.
This has to be one of my favorite pictures ever. So yummy... :D
Chocolate Chip - a book that never gets old
Blue, the lovely lady who tagged me (and thanks, btw, Blue!) already said the Bible, so let me think... The Hobbit, duh! Best book to re-read ever!
Dutch Snowballs - a book that gave you an unexpected surprise
The Chronicles of Prydain, to be sure. I love the old The Black Cauldron cartoon, but I had always despised Gurgi in it with all my being. If there was one single thought I had about the story, it was that Gurgi was soooooo dumb. But then I read the book. I don't understand it. He wasn't even that difference in the book, but somehow, I adored him. Gurgi - whose prime fact of his existence was that I hated him - became one of my favorites. Boy was that a surprise.
Molasses - a book with a character that gets in a sticky situation
The Scarlet Pimpernel. Marguerite digs herself in such a deep hole in parts of it, it's just ridiculous. *facepalm* She just gets into so much trouble. It's very frustrating.
Oreo - a book dealing with the light and the darkness
I'd say Crusader King (my most recent book-love experience). It shows the virtue and growing goodness of Baldwin himself, and his friend Theo very well, but the villains - wow. They were just painted so vividly, they were just despicable. And yet... you could see the way the wheels in their heads turned. Just like Baldwin and Theo, sorta. Except they were twisted. But it showed both sides in intimate ways, making it an exceedingly pleasurable read.
Sugar - a book with a sugary sweet villain
Pride and Prejudice - Wickham definitely fits that billing. And he's just as sickeningly sweet as a sugar cookie is too. *nods head decisively*
Monster - a book that confused your emotions
Princess Academy definitely did. The romance was so vague, and yet present, that it was soooooo hard to figure out (while at the same time being incredibly simple). It drove me into an inner hysterical state sometimes, truly. I loved the prince (even though he wasn't present for most of the book), and I also loved the original romantic interest, Peder, but I was so torn. Because there wasn't a real love triangle, except maybe in the protagonist's head. The prince only seemed to mildly enjoy her company, and Peder was too hard to figure for all his simplicity of emotion. But in her head it was such a frustrating ultimatum of definitely marrying one or the other - Ahhhhhh!!!!
Snickerdoodle - a book that made you laugh
Again, Crusader King would fit well, but I'll try and pick a different one. Hmm... man, I really haven't been reading many comic books lately... How about  Little Women? Laurie always makes me laugh in that (despite the fact that I may or may not have already read it seven times...).
Peanut Butter - a book with a nutty character
Oh, definitely King Solomon's Mines. It wasn't lacking in eccentric characters, let's just say... :P
Now, thank you for the tag, Blue! And I shall tag people at the bottom of this post.

Daily Quote Challenge

This one I got from Anna Deubell. Thank, Anna! So the rules are as follows:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you (check!)
  2. Nominate three new bloggers everyday (at the bottom of the post)
  3. Post a new quote each day for three consecutive days
And... I'm going to do it like Anna did it, and just do all three quotes all at once right now. And also like Anna, I'm going to make this fun and do quotes having to do with stories (then, also like Anna, display quotes from the stories themselves). I'm going to use my newest novel - My Land, My Heart.
"Someday, someone will hug you so tight that all your broken pieces fit back together"
This quote fits perfectly to the story (which... will someday be introduced on here, no doubt). And here is a quote from My Land, My Heart:
"It doesn't matter if I am loved. I love, and that is what matters, isn't it?"
- Selina (although Veren also says something similar) -
All the remaining pictures are taken from the My Land, My Heart Pinterest board, here.
"True soldiers fight not because they hate what is in front of them, but because they love what is behind them"
- G. K. Chesterton -
Another perfect one. This basically summarizes the idea behind the title and the whole story. Love doesn't cause fights, but love doesn't run from them. It's a display of Mr. Chesterton's pure brilliance at its best certainly.
"War is inevitable at this point, but I have reconciled myself to it in the face of the reason why it is inevitable"
- Veren -
"How do you move on? You move on when your heart finally understands that there is no going back"
- J. R. R. Tolkien -
Can anyone state it more artistically? This quote is a story within itself. No novelist has since failed to reciprocate in some form or other the many ideas of Tolkien, and this especially is one no one can help copying... not even me.
"Perhaps the reason I do not mourn is because I know that it is not the time - there is more reason to mourn yet coming, there are other people who need me more than my mourning, and there are people who will mourn more than I before this is over"
- Ronan -
So! That ends the quotes, and I'll end the tag by thanking Anna. Thanks, Anna, for the tag, and for allowing me to be the copycat that I have been! :P
And the bloggers I shall nominate for all three of these tags are as follows:
  • Hope
  • Catherine Hawthorn
  • Lucy Agnes (excepting the Versatile Blogger Award)
  • Blue (except for the Cookie Book Tag, which she has already done)
  • Kate
  • Fellow Rebel (please let me know if you read this, Fellow Rebel, because even though I have seen your icon here before, I do not know where to find your blog and so have no other way of telling you of your tagging)
  • Kat N Lia (same situation as Fellow Rebel - please let me know if you see this)
  • Anna Deubell (excepting the Daily Quote Challenge)
  • Anyone else who feels like doing any of these
Don't ask me what this picture has to do with tags... It looked kinda cool. :P

And that ends this post. Thanks to all the people who tagged me (for those who don't see their tag here, I will be doing more tags soon, don't worry!), and thanks to all the people who made the tags - they were a blast! :D Happy New Year to all of you, and to those whom it may be of interest to, a late happy Solemnity of Mary as well. I hope you enjoyed the post, and with this post is ended my hiatus, so I shall be back again soon. :) 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Pain of a Memory - Part V

I promised that Anwynne would be back soon, so here she is, folks, and I hope you can forgive me for the POV changes and such. Trust me - they will be important! :) I will be on a hiatus for the next week (or possibly two weeks), as I will be out of town, so no more posts for a little while.
Anyways, though, the first four parts of Anwynne are below:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
I hope you enjoy this next part!
Anwynne looked around her in the cave. Errius was looking down at the ground, not quite so dejectedly as though he had given up, but not quite so hopefully as before. Elystra was now awake, but she was merely looking out blankly, her miniscule hands pale as any snowfall and her frame shaking as though she would collapse again in fear. Most of the soldiers were awake now as well.
It had now been roughly a day and a night since their company had been imprisoned, and the horizon was looking bleak. in all hopes, the Nistrians at the palace would realize that she should have arrived and would send out someone to see. But, they could not have noticed her absence yet, because it would have yet been days - had Anwynne remained unhindered - before she got to the palace. She would not have yet reached the palace, so it would not seem to them that anything was wrong. Where was their hope, then? The bandits would have the ransom letter sent before the Nistrians got suspicious of anything, and so Anwynne could not hope to be rescued without the ransom.

Anwynne clenched her fist in frustration. Such evil, vile beings these bandits were! Every one of them was a larcenous scum, led by a braggart and rapscallion, a roguish vagabond of the highest degree! How could human beings even sink so low?!

Speaking of Rogan, he himself was not even in the main room, though a select few of the other bandits were. He and his head-man, the tall, black-haired one, were in one of the dark chambers off of the main cavern. The black, dungeon-like room stood out, as it strangely had a black, dungeon-like door to go with it, unlike the other caves.

Suddenly, unanticipated by Anwynne to be sure, there came the sound of a muffled yell. Anwynne looked about. No one else seemed to pay attention to it. Elystra had, in the last few minutes, fallen into a worried sleep again, and Errius seemed to be conversing deeply with one of his guards who was conscious. So Anwynne listened closer, determined to discover the source herself.

The sound seemed to have had come from the dark room where Rogan and the tall man had gone. Anwynne looked around cautiously. The bandits were now almost asleep for how inattentive they were. So Anwynne carefully moved a little closer to the door and listened closely. The first sound she could make out was talking. It was muffled, and, for how far she was from it, she could not make out the words exactly, though it was not for lack of trying. One of the voices went off again, sounding angry. Then a softer voice seemed to weakly reply. A quiet laugh sounded from the room. Then the smaller voice spoke once more. The first voice shouted again, very muffled because of the door, but still distinguishable as a furious yell.

Anwynne shuddered. What was going on? She moved as close as would allow without making noise. Down the cavernous corridor, more talking came from behind the door. Then, the loudest of the shouts yet sounded, and the door opened ever-so-slightly. A pale, thin hand grasped the door for a moment with feeble, but almost desperate force. Anwynne gasped painfully at the strange sight. The hand had a long deep scar down it, and it was shaking. Then another voice spoke, and the hand drew back into the room forcefully... almost as if it was pulled back...

Anwynne was now shaking in her terror. This situation had been hard to riddle at first, but now she thought she understood. Anwynne had despised Rogan from the moment she had first laid eyes on his despicable feline figure, but this put his inhumanity into a new light. This meant that she and her company... Well, they weren't the first prisoners there... nor the only. Someone else was here.

For a moment, Anwynne didn't quite know what to think. Then the thoughts hit her one by one like arrows. How long had whoever this was been here? Why did Rogan keep him here? And was this how all captives that weren't collected ended up? Was this how she would end up if the Nistrians weren't willing to pay the ransom? And, even if she was collected, and maybe Elystra with her, surely nobody would be willing to ransom her guard. Would they have to stay here, and waste away like whatever poor soul was rotting away in there?

Surely no! But then... how could it be any other way? Would someday Errius be in that dark room, barely alive, with little to exist for? With no company but cruel, torturous thieves who only profited from kidnapping and stealing? No! That could not happen! They would somehow all get away... and somehow the being in that room would be found and helped. But how?

Errius. She had to speak to Errius. If anyone would have the wit, determination, or the fortitude that could get them out, then he would. Only Errius would ever remain so determined that escape could be accomplished and truly be able to accomplish it.

But how could Anwynne get to him? He was on the other side of the room, and the guards weren't asleep quite yet. She could not get Errius' attention without attracting theirs also. She would have to try though, if anything was to be done.

So Anwynne braced herself to try. Then the door of the dreaded room opened. The tall, black-haired bandit stepped out. Anwynne froze in her tracks. His glinting blue eyes looked strangely at her. Anwynne looked down at herself. She was now quite a good bit from where she had been, which explained his suspicion on seeing her.

Anwynne looked up at the bandit again, anxiously anticipating his reaction. At first, all he did was move closer to her. But then he abruptly stopped. Anwynne looked about for his incentive to do so. And there it is, she thought coldly. Rogan had just walked out of the door, with slightly less than his usual cat-like swagger, looking almost frustrated for a second, but then regaining himself somewhat. There was still a glint behind his brown eyes, though, that still somehow shone in an irked disarray.

"Captain, the princess...", the black-haired man said to Rogan quietly, gesturing towards Anwynne.
Rogan looked at her for a moment, but in a distant way, almost as though he was  not really seeing anything. His mind seemed to be elsewhere.

 "You take care of it right now, Captain", he said rather falteringly, and Anwynne fancied she saw fury in his eyes, perhaps concerning those thoughts which seemed to take all his concentration.

So the tall man simply carried her back to where she had been, and set her down without a word. He looked at Rogan, and back at the door almost pityingly.

Anwynne watched him walk back to Rogan. Rogan only looked away from the man unfeelingly. Anwynne glared at Rogan loathingly. He was a monster...

Once Rogan had  left, she continued looking, but instead with horror, at the dark door at the end of the corridor.
There you go. What did you think? Did you like returning to Anwynne? Or do you prefer Echo? Or Lan? Or still the yet-to-come POV? What do you think Anwynne's present situation? Chat with me! I would love to hear any thoughts - comments, critiques, or suggestions. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meet the Books! - The Treasure of the Twin Temples

Hey! I'm back with - guess what? - another...
Anyone excited? I am! :D Ahem. Anyways, Meet the Books! is a link-up started by moi, to the purpose of introducing your novels on your blog for anyone who's new to this. Anyone with a blog and a story can join, and the only rules are to answer the questions and put a link back here in the comments so I can see (you're welcome to take the picture as well). And have fun, of course! ;) That being said now allows me to continue with aforementioned questions. :)
What is the genre?
The genre of the book I'm talking about today is Fantasy (in fact, it's my only Fantasy besides The Second Brother). It could also be rather accurately phrased, though, as Action/Adventure or Historical Fiction. I'm thinking about it being a Children's Fiction, but I'm going to have to consult my co-author on that one, because it just so happens I'm co-writing this with my best friend for fun.
What is the title? Time period?
The title is The Treasure of the Twin Temples (it was the original title from four or five years ago). And the time period is the 1600's, back in pirate-y times, you know.
How is it written (POV, MC, etc.)?
It's written - like all my stories - in third person limited, but - as I said before - being co-authored with my writing confidante (which is exceedingly convenient). ;) There are two main characters, Cap. Westly and Cap. Morales, whom I will introduce in un momento.
What gave you the idea?
Me and my best friend used to act out games of sorts - I know, we're so mature and grown-up - which were stories, and the very last one we acted out (started about four or five years ago but never finished) was this pirate story starring a couple of very unlikely friends sailing to save the civilized world. We each had our set of characters and each had one of the main characters, but we would sometimes switch. It was pretty fun, but we never finished playing it out (still don't know how it ends), and so it fell back into the past for a while. But then, one day, I said it would be a good idea to write some of the adventures those characters went on. next thing I knew, I was going after my best friend, questioningly her pesteringly about co-authoring the original story. And I finally said yes. ;) Haha... in the same way Flynn Rider did, too. :P
Who are the characters?
Baron/Captain Dominique Jaun Ferdinand Morales II is a Spanish nobleman-pirate of a very vivacious and charismatic character. He was my best friend's character - meaning the one she played, but he was the life of both our performances (and is still the life of the story). He's a bit like an odd mix of Flynn Rider, Errol Flynn, Prince Naveen, and maybe a tiny bit of a less crazy and cheating Captain Jack Sparrow. Needless to say, he's a pretty lovable pirate. His ship is the Evela La Belle (don't ask about the French name... long story). Dominique is mainly a pirate for the kicks, as he's already rich and rarely pillages or plunders and never really kills anybody (but... he does get into fights and duels more habitually than any other character I can think of...). :P And, through a very strange turn of events, he becomes the unlikely friend of
Captain Peter Westly, a quiet and rather closed-up personage. Westly is a sailor of undetermined type, but often identified (whether falsely or truthfully) as a pirate because of his rare dockings and powerful ship (his ship, however, as Dominique loves to gloat, is smaller than the Evela La Belle). Westly's ship is called the Cygnus (Westly was my own character, by the by). He is very quiet, but somehow becomes close friends with talkative Dominique. Often he keeps to himself, but what he does say is worth listening to.
Captain DeClouve is a French pirate who has been known to get in duels with Dominique a lot (he really hates Dominique, but Dominique finds him only slightly irritating). He's definitely a bit of a scumbag (okay, more than a bit), which is exactly why he is one of the antagonists - no secret about that (I mean, the book begins with Dominique fighting him, how could I keep his villainous nature secret?). Anyways, though, DeClouve is a scum that, at least up until a certain point in the story, wasn't any particular danger...
Princess Suzannah Margeurite Renee is the tight-laced daughter of the fictional French colony's king (it is called a French colony, but I think we're changing it to just be French-based). She is of a girlish character within, perhaps, but without she is always either affectionate or cold   no in-between. I suppose it is from being spoiled as a child, but such is her character.
Pierre Dumont is Dominique's first mate and best friend besides/before Westly. And, though Dominique has a decided dislike for the French-based colony and its people (especially DeClouve), Pierre is an exception. Pierre is an optimistic but more following sort, but is a splendid first-mate.
Lorice Selvyn is the quiet and thoughtful favored friend of Suzannah's, a nobly born young lady who was disinherited years ago due to a false claim which dishonored her name and broke her engagement. Due to this, she has been little more than a peasant for years, but when with Suzannah is cared for and disguised in full. She has been through a lot herself (unlike spoiled Suzannah), but she would be willing to go through even more for Suzannah - which she does have to do...
Darien Altmoor is Westly's first mate, a fairly easily excited fellow (who, despite this easy excitement, thankfully knows when to keep his mouth shut, due to years sailing with Westly). He's in it a lot, but other than being a first mate, he's not a super big character.
King Blaise Renee is the little-shown king of the French-based colony and Suzannah's currently absent father.
And I think that's everyone (excepting a barmaid in a tavern who only appears in two scenes). :)
What does the plot consist of?
Pirates meet under strange circumstances, discovering an alleged curse and sailing to save the world from an apocalypse of undead rising from the hexed treasures of two different identical pagan temples before time runs out. Cheesy, yes, but that's what the original plot was. We're currently working on the new one. :) Although, in defense of cheesiness, it was originally intended as a game for just our enjoyment and not as a novel. So, stand by plot-wise. ;)
What is the setting?
The setting is a fictional set of 17th century countries (two of them French and Spanish-based respectively). Also, pirates. Pirates and sailors and ships and ports and princesses and such things.
Who is the favorite character so far?
Well, no one has read or even been told much of it aside from us the authors. However, I think both me and my co-author pal are in sync that Dominique is the best character (as cool as Peter is).
What is the favorite scene so far?
Um... Well, there's only one scene that has been released and read by anybody other than the writer of it, but I'd say it was pretty well-received. It's the beginning scene, where Westly pulls into port (right before he runs into the raging duel of Dominique and DeClouve).
Any themes of music for this work?
Well, Derek and Brandon Fiechter's youtube 'Hour of pirate music' is splendid for the setting, but ther are no official themes yet, no.
Any drawings?
Yes - there is my own drawing of Dominique and Westly, though faceless they both remain in said picture. Due to current lack of time and plentiful to-do's, I won't post it here.
Any snippets?
Not this time, as only one scene has been officially released to the public - actually, why don't I show you that one scene? It's pretty short, after all...
The sky stormed and shook. A fire shone in the eyes of the man facing Peter. Peter stood his ground, looking straight at the fire fearlessly. The man scowled and turned away. "Captain?", spoke a voice, breaking the ominous scene.
The sky became clear, the sun bright, and the evil-eyed man was now merely Darien, Peter's first mate. Peter stood at the helm of his ship, the Cygnus. Peter mentally shook himself into reality. "Yes, Darien?"

"We are but a couple hours now from port", Darien said. "With luck, Sir, we can be there in only one"

"Good", Peter replied, and he stepped down from the helm. "Take the wheel, Darien, I am going down below"

"Aye, Sir", Darien replied faithfully, and he took the helm.

Peter stepped down below into his cabin. He paced there for a moment, but then sat down at his desk. He picked up the letter upon it, and began to read once more the strange message:
My dear Captain Westly,

I urge you to come immediately to Port Luera on behalf of Chalera. Do not expect any less than the worst, but come with all good hopes. Chalera wants her closest friends before her, ere she goes. She may be gone by time you arrive, but still, I urge you, come. I will await you by word or presence. There is another factor I cannot now explain. Your servant,
Luiz Tamarca.
Peter put down the letter. He had been repeatedly puzzled by it. What was this factor Luiz could not explain? Luiz had been taking care of Chalera, an old native of Port Luera, for many long years. Peter had known her for many long years as well. What factor could be too much for Luiz to tell him? Chalera had been sick for a long time, but Luiz had anticipated it getting worse, so surely nothing could be too surprising? Perhaps.... perhaps it was not the illness that he spoke of? These questions would hopefully be answered soon, when they pulled into port.

From above there came a call. Peter knew what it meant. He calmly grabbed his coat and strode above to the deck. They had just pulled into port.
I know it's a bit on the odd side, but it is the first scene of a first draft in a story that started out as a game of pretend, so give me a break, please. :P
Strong point in story?
The attachment. Because it's been around for so long, me and my co-author both already have a great attachment to it, and are eager to write it (eager in my case, mildly interested in my co-author's case).
Weak point in story?
The ending. See, since we never finished the game, we don't actually know how the story ends. However, we will be figuring that one out soon enough... :P
What are your plans for it?
Firstly, coordinating it with my co-author. Then finishing it. Then maybe publishing would be advisable, but maybe not.
Any particular writing habits for it?
As to my co-author, I don't know. But I could give a very close guess. She probably listens to Pirates of the Caribbean, eats Esther Price chocolate, and takes all day to write the one scene, while thinking to herself what a wonderfully horrible cliffhanger of a stopping-point she left me. I, on the other hand, write violently and avidly and take but fifteen minutes to write a lot (though I also indulge on chocolate, in my case Cadbury).
If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast?
I think the guy who plays Wesley in Princess Bride would make a good Dominique (with black hair, of course), and the guy who plays Norrington in PotC a good Westly, while Natalie Portman as Suzannah, Lily James as Lorice, and Johnny Depp as DeClouve. Darien doesn't really matter, but Tom Hiddleston would be a good Pierre.
And that about wraps this feature up. What did you think? Would you read this book? Who do you think would be your favorite character? Did you like my beginning? Trust me, my co-author's writing is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better. ;) If you would like a look at its aesthetic or a better glimpse, here is the Pinterest board for it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Day We Saw the Blue Angels Fly - A Poem

A poem about the amazing Naval air-stunt team, the Blue Angels, who I saw fly twice, but who captured me both times.
Dedicated to my cousin, Andrew, for whom I originally wrote this, and to the hero that we saw fly that day.

My cousins, my uncle, my grandpa, and I
With my aunt to the museum went;
There we saw the Blue Angels fly,
And in awe our time was spent.

Over us all they flew above,
Unafraid of the heights they explored.
It gives me chills just thinking of
the way that each speeding jet soared.

Through the sky they fleetingly flew,
Like rocketing birds of the clouds -
Each was just a flash of blue,
To amazement of all in the crowds.

Loudly rioted air against wing
As they spiraling spaceward blazed,
Trailing a white, billowing string
When to the stars their focus was raised.

Hours passed in a moment's glance,
While from excitement we were chained
With each turn, and swerve, and dance
Of the blue, brilliant planes.

And though brief was our visit there,
Remember always will I
The day we went to the museum of air,
And saw the Blue Angels fly.

What did you think? Did you ever see the Blue Angels? Were you as riveted as I? I was so excited - little did I know, though, that day, that I had gotten the autograph of a hero upon my Blue Angels picture; Angel #5. Only a month or so after I saw them perform in Florida he died, crashing his plane with him in it instead of ejecting, so as to save the building of people that was in the course of his stunt plane. I had intended this as a light-hearted poem originally, just written for my cousin's poetry recital contest at school, but that hard piece of news a month later gave the poem a new meaning to me. I'm glad I wrote it, and I'm keeping it. I only hope that it does just honor to the pilot who gave his life as a Blue Angel. I'm putting it on here as a memorial not just for him, but for all military members who serve at a cost... even the ones in stunt planes save lives.