Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bio Of Princess Celeise I Of Tresinta

Hello! Today I am here to continue (finally) the long-abandoned feature that maybe one or two audience members may remember - character interviews. As we stood with the last interview, the vote for this next one fell to Celeise from Alomina. So here is her bio. Put any questions for her in the comments, and I will ask her them in the next character interview post. :)
Name: Crown Princess Celeise Anatria De-Vistrina Ellette I of Tresinta (what a mouthful!). Age: 18. Nationality: Tresintan. Height: Roughly five seven. Hair Color: Goldeny blond. Eye Color: Bright blue. Title(s): Princess; Crown Princess. Family: Her father, King Edarian; her mother, Queen Constantia; four younger siblings.
Princess Celeise was born crown heir to Tresinta, being the firstborn to King Edarian. She has been mentored by her father all her life, and is deeply devoted to him and what he's taught her. She has been prepared even more than most royalty, though, because not only will she be queen one day, but has been betrothed to the younger prince of Vellethia, Lothaire, for two years at the beginning of the story. Two years before the story, the older prince of Vellethia, Lucellus, was finally crowned king, and immediately upon gaining the throne expressed a desire to Edarian to have an alliance with Tresinta. Thus, because Lucellus's younger brother, Lothaire, was unmarried and Celeise was similarly so, the alliance was decided to be a marital one.
Celeise has nothing against her training or this arrangement - she has always been so devoted to her father that she never even thought a second time about the decision except to desire that she carried it out as well as her father wished. And Edarian - lest any dumb readers eager to hate mentoring parent characters come along - has never ordered Celeise to do anything. Anything she does on his advice is completely by her own choice - Edarian even asked her when he first made the betrothal arrangement. Really, King Edarian is the only real friend Celeise has ever had - she's never desired any other. She had gained however, before the beginning of the story, a reputation in the court for being cold and haughty, because this was her way of' shooing away' gentlemen who sought her already-taken hand. This is one behavior of hers that her father does not approve of, but he has never said anything very large on the matter to Celeise. So she has gone along treating any man who tries to get close to her this way. Perhaps it is because of this reputation that no one has ever really sought out her friendship to any great degree. So at the beginning of the story, Celeise is just fine being left alone to do her duties, until a ball one night...
Anyways, that about covers Celeise. Her bio isn't incredibly interesting, but her life before the story is really very easily summed up, so that's why this is so short. She's had a very calm, peaceful life (well.. that it, until I came along to take over her life upon paper. Mwahahahaha!). ;) Anyways, though, just leave any and all questions you can think of for her in the comments, and she'll answer every one of them when I post her interview.
What do you think of her? I know she may seem boring, but there's more to her than meets the eye, though she herself doesn't know it. Also, I have a surprise after her interview! :D This time, instead of characters strictly from Alomina in the voting polls for the next interview subject, I am going to put three different characters up for vote in a completely different story, just to shake things up (plus, I don't know about you guys, but I'm terribly bored of the characters in this story taking the spotlight!). :P Anways, though, for now, just ask plenty of questions! I look forward to seeing all the lovely questions you guys always dream up. :) Also, sometimes this month, my regular blogging will return, including the comeback of Catholicism Explained, more regular character interviews, possibly book/movie/show reviews, Beautiful People, and Meet The Books!.

Friday, August 25, 2017

An Ode To The Unsung Characters

You know, sometimes it frustrates me how much I want everybody to love the same characters I love, when they can't. Why not? Because a great deal of my beloved story characters are in that land between lands, the Realm Of Unpublished Stories. So many friends, cohorts, and other fellow writers write the most loveable characters, and yet all I can do is give a minimal praise of them because nobody else knows them as I and a few other readers do. So, today, I'm going to change that. I'm going to praise some very memorable characters (and their writers, of course), relentless of whether anybody else understands me. I need to sing of these unknown miracle-people! It is a crime that any ink-and-paper person should ever be unknown if they are of worth, and so I shall attempt to amend that so often-occurring crime. Let's hop to it! :)
Dar Beauregard, of The Prince's Pendant, or Mercury's Wings by Lucy Agnes.
He's the Space Fox. He's a Shakespearian actor (uh, kind-of) who is secretly a rebellion fighter. He's the most daring thief, rebel, pilot, and anything else you can think of in the galaxy. Not to mention, he's incredibly handsome and unspoken for currently. ;) Frankly, if he wasn't a good three-thousand years in the future, I'd have my eye on him. Who doesn't want a guy who can shoot any target, rob any ship, fly any flier, accomplish any mission, and act any play that is humanly possible. I mean, really? Why am I not seeing this guy's name everywhere in big lights?! Now that's an unsung character. Not to mention his bravery and (eventually) virtue. After all, once his head's in the right place, he is one of the sweetest, most loveable young gents in the intergalactic ink-and-paper world. And even before then, he's definitely the most charming man in the story.
Looks: Hazel eyes; lovely brown hair; a face that could soften any heart.
Trademarks: a pistol holster at his side; a blue pilot suit; a cocked stance.
Some particular qualities: His amazing daring and skill; his dashing grin; those eyes (oh, those eyes!); his tendency to consider the odds very minimally and jump right into something super dangerous, coming out perfectly successful.
Something I loved about him: The way he thinks and speaks. Once his head's straight, his thoughts go from slightly-off but amazingly charming to sweet and amazingly charming. Really, with Dar's POV around, I'm surprised that girl characters haven't flocked to the story. And almost everything he says sounds like a hotshot movie line, or else it's heart-meltingly sweet/deep.

Chase Williams, of Dreaming Reality by Anna Deubell.
There are three words I can say about Chase that will all describe him. Sweet. Amazing. Dork. I love, love, love those guys that are so intelligent, but so sweet and occasionally funny or dorky, and they just capture your heart. Such is the type that Chase is. He is that book character that seems unassuming for the first two sentences of meeting him, and then he captures your heart. Piece by piece. Line by line. Paragraph by paragraph. Until, after maybe two chapters of knowing him at the most, you being to wonder what anyone in the whole story's world does without Chase. It's such a beautifully thought-out book, with thrilling action, and practically flawless writing, and Chase is that extra touch that just makes you explode with excitement at the mere thought of the story. Except that he's definitely not extra. Seriously, I super loved the story before I met Chase, but once Chase entered... HEART ATTACK ALERT!!! How did I ever live without him?! He saved my life, along with others... ;) Everything about him was just something that added to my ever-growing love of him. Every time he spoke, I either laughed or cried, or bent on the edge of my seat to see if he spoke again soon (and no, that's seriously not an exaggeration). And my favorite parts in the entire book, I'd guarantee that at least 9 out of 10 of them had Chase or something to do with him. And if I had more time to praise this book, I definitely would. But, as of now, I will have to give all its praise to Mr. Chase Williams.
According to Anna's blog, this is what Chase looks like.
Looks: Blue eyes; brown hair; fairly young.
Trademarks: His devotion to his best friend, Carmen; his wonderful taste in meals (haha, that was a reference to certain scene with brownies, btw, if Anna happens to be reading this and needs a laugh).
Some particular qualities: His tendency to do the right thing without a second thought; his courage; his humility; his sweet dorky side which made me love him from day 1.
Something I loved about him: His way of saying something completely ordinary or expectable, but somehow making me laugh by saying it. Even just saying something like "That hurt", I laughed and laughed and laughed (and also cried, due to the occasion for it). Seriously. Best character in the already brilliant story, people. Why hasn't this been published yet?!
Matthew Hart, of The Orb Of Unlimited Power, by Hope Macpherson.
With Space-thieves and life-savers, you'd think I'd have some kind of ninja-assassin or something of the like next. Well, not exactly. Someone better. Who? Matthew Hart, that's who. Who? Okay, I'll elaborate. A sweet boy, and one of the best friends a girl could ask for, not to mention a very funny and pleasant personage. Another type where you hang on everything he says, even if it's just a remark on the weather. Even just him being surprised and almost spitting his drink out near the beginning of the story was enough to make me like him. ;) *sighs* Some people, once they come into the story, you just sit on the edge of your seat bouncing in glee until their next scene. I think that Mr. Matthew is one of these. :) I haven't even finished reading his story yet, but I know that - if it's anything like what's already come - then readers like me (along with the publishing world) are in for a delight.
Looks: Brown hair; an amazing smile (uh, sorry to Hope if that was an inaccurate description, but he smiles a lot, and I always imagined him really vividly doing so); brown eyes.
Trademarks: His friendship with Alaine Turner (the MC of the story); his brilliant reactions (haha, maybe I'm getting a little too reference-y to story here with character trademarks. Okay, I'll try to behave more). ;)
Some particular qualities: His good humor; his easiness in character.
Something I loved about him: Um, how about like every scene he's been in so far...? Haha, I guess that won't work. :) Okay, then his friendship with Alaine. It's so cute and banter-y, and it reminds me of a friendlier version of the song Anything You Can Do from Annie Get Your Gun. ;)
And these are only a select few of the many, many, many that I would love to mention! It's truly a crime that any characters of such a caliber of genius and lovability should go unpublished!

Oh, let it not be e'er said,
Lest with sayer I take strife,
That a character unpublished is dead,
Til a press brings it to life

And if one among you should doubt
The value of these ones,
Then I say 'I could not live without
These people and their fun!'

Oh, let the skeptics have their say
To prove I am but off,
And at their silly, clos-ed way,
I'll shake my head and scoff.

Those poor souls, they never knew
All readers' greatest lark -
The characters, characters who
would for our joy embark.

And what does make a person penned
Lesser than one sold?
'Naught!', I say and say again,
'Such claims are false and old!'

For no published one gives me pleasure
As those just struggling through
And if you read them, I am sure
That you will love them too.
Thus is my little bit of verse in honor of all those ink-and-paper people out there with only a few to praise their names. Let us drink a toast to them - and to the day when they be published for all skeptic readers to see! :D Votre toast! - to Dar, Chase, Matthew, and all the other unpublished characters just waiting to hear the well-deserved applause of the world! :D
What did you think? Do you agree? Are there any honorable unpublished characters you would like to add to the list? Any to recommend to me? Did you enjoy the little poem for them? Perhaps hast thou now been converted, thou skeptic readers? Have I inspired anybody else to a love of these particular three? Talk to me! :D (Also, can I have a vote perhaps on a subject? See, I'm rather in debate with myself of whether to next introduce my sci-fi contemporary book, In Greater Hands, on the next Meet The Books! post or not. It's been spoken of on this blog before, but that was a long time ago, and to a different audience, so my present audience is still mostly unacquainted with it. What do you think?)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Meet The Books! - The Second Brother

Wow, has it been a while! And man, oh, man, is it great to be back with Meet The Books!. Anyways, today, the featured book is an unusual one for me. However, before I continue, for those who are not familiar with Meet The Books!, I shall explain. I invented Meet The Books! as a way to introduce my own writing on my blog - as I am terrible with technology and cannot for the life of me figure out how to display it naturally - but it is meant ideally as a way for anyone to do so on their own blog. Anyone can join up! Just answer the questions and ramble on a bit about your work in progress - I mean, how hard can that be? ;) The only rule is to link your post back here so I can see it if you do join! :D Anyways. Now that that's said and done, I'll continue.

What is the genre?
Well, though I consider myself a fantasy writer, ironically enough, this is my only Fantasy. Yep. Only one. I started another prospective one about a week ago, but I'm not keeping it (it was going to be based off of The Laidly Worm, an old English fairy tale). This, however, though I despise it among my works with all my being, I am keeping. But only due to popular demand and the fact that a really awesome character I don't want to delete is laced into it. Plus it's a series, and who deletes a whole series?!
What is the title? Time period?
The title is The Second Brother, after the main character, who I will speak of shortly. The time period - as is my specialty - is medieval.
How is it written (point of view, MC, etc.)?
It's written in my favorite POV: third person (limited), except - again, unusual for me - with only one POV character. That character is the MC, Captain Owain Lontrey.

Who are the characters?
Captain Owain Lontrey is a rather irritable knight (if you're wondering why he's not 'Sir' rather than 'Captain', it's because he's the captain of a King's Century, which is a band of a hundred fighting men for times of especial need). He is he person whom the title is after, being the second brother after Rheovan the eldest (see below) and before their half-siblings, Feotheire and Claria. Owain likes to mind his own business and let others mind theirs, but often this is not how it ends up. See, he has a bit of a problem with a very troublesome half-brother named
Sir Feotheire Lontrey, or Feo to some of his siblings (and yes, Owain sometimes calls him this, but it is not a title of endearment in that case). You see, Feo has - due to his own temperament - been not only disowned by their father, but unofficially exiled from their home, and become a self-made wanderer. Owain often wonders if Feo even cares about anything - and the only particularly apparent answer to that question is Feo's sister - Owain's half sister - Maid Claria. Feo, being her only full sibling, is deeply devoted to her, and often she seems to be the only thing Feo even cares a fig about. Don't ask how he got his title. Owain has asked before several times, but isn't really sure himself how or where on earth Feo could have possibly gotten knighted. Though he was originally based off of neither of these characters, one could explain him as an approximate mix of Faramir and Loki (to make a very odd combo).
Okay, while I never intended him to be anything like Faramir, I had always thought of him as looking like Faramir.
Rheovan Lontrey, called the MirrorGazer for his magical mirror of his own invention, which allows him to look upon anything - anything he has connection to in his mind, that is. He cannot see anything that he has not already known or has no relevant connection to. However, it is useful for looking upon things he did not see before (for instance, when he was present, but did not pay attention to the things going on around him). It's a little like a mix of those memory-mirror things in Harry Potter - what are they called again? - and the famous mirror in Snow White. See, Rheovan is a wizard. Not in the sense that he practices any sort of conjuring or witchcraft, but in the sense that he comes by great mental powers naturally. See, his magic is controlled by his mind - if he went insane, as would his magic. Rheovan inherited it somehow... Owain assumes by their long-deceased mother (Rheovan is Owain's older brother), as their father has absolutely no trace of it, but no one is sure. However, the puzzling factor of that is that Owain himself has absolutely no powers to speak of, despite being a full sibling to Rheovan.
Maid Claria Lontrey is the half-sister of Owain, and the older sister of Feotheire. She was half-crippled from birth, and unfortunately needs constant care to even be able to walk at all, so did not go with Feo (as he offered) when he left the family estate after being disowned. She has been the only link holding Feotheire to his family ever since he left, and she is the only reason he ever comes back. Even had she not needed care, she would not have gone with Feo, though, because she has long wished that her brothers stop being a broken family. Rheovan and Owain do love Claria, though not as much as Feo does, and treat her well, even though their father does not. She has always been the support of the family - in every way except physically, since she cannot be that. She has long harbored hopes to bring her family back together, though it is only just barely keeping from shattering - due to Feotheire's disowning and their father's prejudice.
General Fredich Lontrey is the father of Rheovan, Owain, Feotheire, and Claria (he and Claria aren't actually super huge characters, but I decided to introduce the whole Lontrey family all in one swipe so it's not confusing). He has always been very prejudiced against Feo and Claria, however, for being from a different mother than his favorites, Rheovan and Owain (especially Rheovan). See, he was married once - to Rheovan and Owain's mother - but she died when Owain was a toddler. Her death grieved him so much that he became despondent and stopped working. He became in debt, and to clear himself out of it he was forced to marry a rich knight's daughter, who was Feotheire and Claria's mother. Unfortunately, at the time of the story, she too is deceased. Gen. Lontrey has always fought with Feotheire, and even disowned him. And, though he gives her servants to provide her necessary care, Gen. Lontrey has always scorned Claria as a great disappointment - even more than Feo because she was born semi-crippled. However, also because of this, he cannot send her away or marry her off.
Finn, Ferdie, and Fabian Trillione are a set of dark-haired triplets who - ahem - intercept Owain and Feotheire on their quest (see plot below). Unfortunately for Owain - who took an immediate irritation with them -he and Feo were in need of their assistance in navigation. So they came along. And I believe Owain is now seriously regretting it... ;)
Lady Lucyth is an exiled fairy, forced to have the appearance of a human and now only able to do magic with the aid of others. She has a deep dislike - more than Owain - for the triplets, as frequently they are purposefully trespassing on what she deems her land. She is also called the Lady of the Woods, because her abode is a small forest where many unusual things happen due to mostly uncontrollable spurts of her no longer intact magic. Don't ask what she got exiled for - she doesn't like to talk about it and might even try to make a magic plant eat you if you ask (as Owain full well knows from experience). She's kind-of an antagonist, but - with payment, of course - has helped Owain and the questers.
Gwendolyn Trillione  actually isn't a very big character either in the first book, but she'll be comin' around a lot in the second, so be ready! ;) She is the triplets' younger sister, and for fear of spoilers I'm not going to say another word about her. :) (the triplets have another sibling, but and older brother, but he won't come in a whole lot.)
Ursan the Distant is my personal favorite character in the story. Named 'The Distant', and 'The Wanderer' by people of the small villages around the moors, he is a mysterious figure to be sure. He is a traveling bard whose songs are chilling and beautiful, but no one knows what they mean. He wanders from village to village around the moors, playing for you if you pay him. He will do most things if you offer him money, but he never spends it... Owain's guess is merely that Ursan is a deserting soldier who went mercenary. He speaks very little if at all, and if you ask too many questions about him then he remains silent and is gone the next morning. He never leaves villages by day, but only by night, and never stays in the same village too long. He knows the moors better than any other man alive perhaps, and no one's really sure if he lives there - or really if he lives anywhere at all. He always keeps a lyre and a tiny satchel with him everywhere - surely not enough to carry many belongings, but they must be his only ones, Owain supposes. Ursan will play in villages, but - though his skill and mystery exceeds any other minstrel  - he will not play anywhere near the great cities or courts. He avoids anybody from cities or courts as well, and often is gone a long time before returning to the same village again. neither Owain or Feo are quite sure what to think of him, but as they need his help when as certain rather catastrophic event happens to the triplets, he agrees to help them for pay.
Mr. Buhler of Il Divo... This isn't the pic I wanted to use, but it's the only one that doesn't make it obvious that he isn't wearing historical clothes. :P
Lady Dulcilla is not in the first book at all... but will be in the second. She is a court lady - or was once, so she's told. She has for some odd reason no memory at all of her past life any past a dream she's been having for five years now - which is about the point when she can't remember anything. She can only remember the past five years, and any before that - not a thing. She has been living in a castle that she's told was once hers and a one of her friend's. Her friend, Ambrose, is the only person she can remember from before the last five years. He remembers much of her past and tells her but has no idea himself why she can't remember.  She has relayed the dream to him, but he knows it's only a dream and can't make much out of it.
Lord Ambrose is Lady Dulcilla's friend who has been taking care of her for the last five years when he found her faint on the ground outside his castle without a single memory of why. He - recognizing her - took her in of course, but cannot restore her memory...
And I think that sums everybody up! :)
What does the plot consist of?
Alright, here goes my attempt at a pitch.... :P
Captain Owain just wants to mind his own business... unless that entails running after his troublesome half-brother, Feotheire. So when Feotheire is accused of treason, and Owain has to go on a hopeless-seeming quest to prove Feo innocent, he's not happy. But, as the quest goes on, there seems to be more than meets the eye, and from the example of others, Owain and Feotheire soon begin to embrace their breaking brotherhood...
See, the theme of the story is brotherhood, and so thus the constant conflicting between Owain and Feotheire is the main storyline, but the main action going on is the quest to prove Feo innocent, which is going on at the same time as Owain and Feo's reconciling.
What is the setting?
The setting is a medieval fantasy world (actually, it's the same world I write all my stories in - I could show you on a map if I had the picture of it with me - only it has magic and fantastical creatures). The main country in it is Owain's homeland, Elliar, but during the course of the quest, they travel all over the map (the country in which they find the triplets is Uriett, I think, and the country in which is Ursan is Morgania, the country that they were questing to).
Who are the favorite characters in it?
Well... actually it's matter of debate between readers currently whether to be on Owain's side or Feo's, and it levels out to about half and half in the favorite of the two. See, I have two readers who - though one only on brief explanation - favor Feo's side in the arguments, and then I have one reader and myself (as Owain's the MC, I have to be on his side, because you're supposed to be) for Cap. Owain.
Lady Lucyth.
What is the favorite scene?
Only one of my readers has even mentioned favoring a particular scene, and I myself loathe the entire work, so it appears it is the favorite. It is a scene where Owain and Rheovan sneak Feotheire into their house, and then within it they run into their father (and shortly after that Claria). It wasn't pretty, I can tell you. The General was furious. I still haven't finished it though, yet, so I can't really say much about it... :P
Any themes of music for this work?
Um... kind-of. I generally listen to the opera Carmen when writing it, but that's not its theme. Unofficially (not official because I don't actually know what the lyrics mean, as they are in another language, so do not know if they fit him or not) the song Adagio (best version by Il Divo) is Ursan's theme. And The Last Words You Said by Sarah Brightman is currently being considered as a theme for Claria.
Any drawings?
Um... Not really. I think I drew Lady Lucyth at one point, but I'm not quite sure where the drawing is right now. Seeing as most of the characters are guys, and I'm not so good at drawing guys, I don't think it's likely I'll have any drawings anytime soon. :P Plus I always have trouble deciding what Owain even looks like.
Strong point in story?
Um, I would say the action. The action keeps up at a pretty fast pace, actually... which is one of the many reasons I hate the story - see, I can't stand intense stuff (unless it's just emotionally intense, which I actually love - it's intense action that bugs me). but, according to most writers, that's a strong point.
Weak point in story?
Well, for one thing, its own writer deplores it among all her works. But, an even bigger problem, in the actual writing, description is almost nonexistent. Because it was begun in an age of my writing where I had realized that I had too much description - so did forego every description period. And... that's another reason I hate the thing. :P

What are your plans for it?
Well, I'm going to finish the first book, The Second Brother, and then continue on to the rest of the series, The Distant Wanderer; The Ever-Three; The Mirror Gazer; and The Sylvan Lady. As you may notice, each one of the books is named for an important character: first for Owain, second for Ursan, third for the triplets (I guess that's technically three important characters), the fourth for Rheovan (or is it...?*mysterious smile*), and the last for Lucyth.
Any particular writing habits for it?
I listen to Carmen a lot writing it, I suppose. And I also like to eat pretzels while writing it, but that's something I kinda tend to do with all my stories. I also generally display it as soon as a new part's finished (I'm still not sure why, 'cuz it's terrible!).
If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast for it?
Um, any old Joe who had rusty auburn-ish hair and looked okay in medieval clothes could play Owain. I really don't know much of what he looks like besides being tall and having rusty auburn-colored hair. As for Feotheire, I have always imagined him looking a lot like Faramir, so the guy who played Faramir in LotR could do him. As for Claria, I can see Lily James playing her(?). And Rheovan... uh, get Basil Rathbone for him (except with black hair). I can see whoever played Eowyn doing Gwendolyn, and Urs Buhler  - yes, I know he's not a movie star! - being Ursan (haha, their names even match!). ;D I can see a black-haired Vivian Leigh as Lucyth, and an also black-haired no-mustache Errol Flynn as the triplets. Perhaps Sebastian Stan as Ambrose, and Anne Hathaway as Dulcilla. I don't know for the General.
Anyways, though, that's the end of this session of Meet The Books!. Remember, if you want to join up, just answer the questions in your own post and link back here! I love reading it when other people participate, so don't hesitate if you want to! :) And feel free to take the pic with you!
What did you think? Would you read it? Who would be your favorite character? Would you be with Feotheire's side, or Owain? Are you agreeing with my own sentiments on the horrid work? (Trust me, if you had read it, you would!) By the way, Alomina is currently having its 3rd anniversary! I've been working on it for three years now... and still not finished it, haha. :P Is anybody else here a Fantasy writer who only has like one Fantasy story...? (Nope... probably just me...) :P Does anybody else think Mr. Buhler is incredibly handsome?

Monday, August 14, 2017

10 Tips On How To Make Your Main Character NOT Boring

So, you're sitting there at your computer, staring at the screen. On the screen is your newly typed-up little project, and you like it, yes, but... there's something wrong. All you can think is 'Man, my main character is boring...' Well, friend, I'm here to help. Mainly because I realize that I have cheaped out, so to speak, on giving writing tips on this blog (which is suppose to be a writing blog anyways), and never really done a writing tips post of any kind. So I went and researched carefully, looked at what was a stronger point in my own writing, and then looked at what subjects in writing aren't as often covered by other people. So, by process of elimination by one or more of those three factors, I ended up choosing the topic of MCS (Main Character Studies). ;) But, I do find that the main character being boring or predictable is highly becoming a problem in the fiction world today. And while I generally don't stick my nose into the ridiculous issues of the fiction world, today I'll make an exception. So let's dig right in. ;) (P.S. Right about now I should be doing Beautiful People, but I am on unofficial hiatus, and so only publish selectively in my current state. And, as this BP centers around talking about you - why on earth would I want to do something so boring for a whole post, haha?! This is one of the many reasons why I don't write in In Greater Hands, btw, because the heroine is self-based, which is just boring to write, I mean.)

Tip #1: Have more than one POV
Now, I find that when my MC is the only point of view, that MC tends to be boring, typical, predictable, and even bores me so that I don't want to write the story. While you may only have one big MC, you can still have more than one POV, and it really refreshes the scene. For instance, when I compare writing In Greater Hands to writing Alomina, I almost always will want to write the latter first, because the MC does not bore me. Why is this? Because, unlike with Leta (my sole MC) from In Greater Hands, I take a break from Alomina (my MC in the so-titled novel) every so often, that's why! With other POVs, you can really get more perspective on your MC, making them better thought-out, and helping to get an idea of what other characters in the story think of him/her. Not only this, but your other characters get better coverage too this way. When you're stuck in one head constantly, you just kind-of tend to naturally go over the same sentiments and thoughts in that head over and over again - unless there is new perspective. And then readers will get bored if the one head you're staying in is unrefreshed. Having one POV is not a bad thing, but it makes it harder to avoid making the person a) just like yourself, or b) the same exact MC you've been writing in every project. So a creative MC deserves a bigger chance - give them some POV friends. :)
Tip #2: Don't just give them fears - give them hopes!
Another thing I've noticed about popular MCs today in fiction is that all they think about is what bad thing could happen, or what shouldn't happen, and they never have any considerable amount of hope. The most hope you get out of them is 'I hope this bad thing doesn't happen'! And it's unrealistic, unpoetic, and inhuman. Every person has fears, yes, but every person also has hopes! Even the most Negative Nancy character has some hopes, and I'm finding a lot of so-called 'cheery' characters that don't even have any! There are far too many gray characters in fiction, and I think a majority of them are MCs. The fiction world needs hopeful, bright, beautiful characters who will find hope in there somewhere, and actually trust both themselves and their comrades. They need to have some kind of optimism within them, or else readers will just pass them up boredly as an Eeyore character.
Tip #3: Know what they look like
Seriously, if you can't even pinpoint what rough hair color your MC has, then I think you need to sit down and think. If you only see them with no face, no hair, no eyes, and no particular look at all, then that's how the readers will see them. It bugs me SO MUCH in books when the main character isn't described even once. Even if somebody else than the MC does it, just pleeeeeeeeeeeease describe them. And I always love it when the MC does get described. Ani from The Goose Girl is a prime example, as her looks are even relevant to the story (very much!). Percy Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel is also a very good example. Whereas Taran from The Prydain Chronicles, I am rather ashamed to say, was not even described in detail until the third-to-last book (however, nonetheless, just from the sheer brilliance of the character himself, I still loved him). Just note some characteristic features. No need to be a verbal DaVinci. ;) For example (and please don't be offended if it seems like I'm trying to one-up anyone with this example or just talk about my own writing), in my own book, In Greater Hands, my character Vic Vance is almost always described with three (debatably four) characteristic features:

Leta expected to see the face of one of the secret sergeants pop into view, or the commanding countenance of Lady Lecta, but instead she saw the recently-familiar lime-green eyes and swept-back dark-brown hair of someone else entirely.
"Come on, please!" Leta let loose a desperate sigh. "He's really tall - like six foot seven or something - his hair looks like he stood behind a wind-jet, he's got lime-ish green eyes - have you seen him?!"
Suddenly Katanya's eye caught upon something in the mirror. A very tall, dark-haired figure, getting slowly closer and closer. He had a pistol.
"No!", Katanya shouted. She kicked the girl down and pointed her gun at the doorway. The man did not cower, and his bright green eyes seemed to be scrutinizing her. Who in the world was he?
"Where are you?!", Tsonja shouted. "Gospodin Vance, I cannot help you unless I know where you are!"
Then Bertie gestured to Tsonja silently.
"What... what is it...?", asked Tsonja almost fearfully.
Bertie lifted some debris. A scratched up face was revealed, with coffee-colored hair almost violently swept back in its messy fashion. One lime-green eye was slightly open, the other closed. It was Vance.
Vance smiled a bit. "Thanks...", he murmured, both eyes closing now.
Bertie frantically dug the rock away, and Tsonja joined him, trying to uncover the tall form from the crushing debris.
You see? I always note
-Vance's eyes; they are specifically lime-green, but depending on the POV, they may be interpreted as other shades of green.
-Vance's height; Vance is exactly six foot six and three quarters, making height a particularly noticeable trait of his.
-Vance's hair; it's very messily swept back. To put it in Leta's words, it looks like he stood behind a wind jet. It's also very dark-brown, almost (uncreamed) coffee-colored.
And the reason why I gave examples of my own work was because I don't know if I'd be infringing on copyrights by posting a published book's excerpts. I admit that the third one is a bit on the cheesy side, but hey, it's still first draft. :P So just remember their main traits look-wise. Get creative with it! It doesn't have to be their hair or their eyes, it could be a scar, something they always wear, or a certain expression they make often (for instance, were I to describe Rhett Butler after this fashion, I would note that sarcastically-amused face he always does at Scarlett, his dark eyes, and his firm profile). Always describe your character to some extent in the actual story, and know what they look like even more exactly and beyond that.
Tip #4: Background, background, background
Background. Give them as much background as is needed, and preferably a lot (except in the case where they are supposed to be a very commonplace/simple/inexperienced character, in which case a little less background is totally fine). Know where they're from. Know what they've done. Know their grandmother's first name, just to be really thorough (fyi, you do not have to put the information of their grandmother's first name in the book, though, lol). Know what they're proud of and what they regret. Know what has been on their mind and what they've forgotten by now. Know what's important to them and what's not. What was the last thing they worried about? What were they doing right before the story began? Who was the last person they were with? What kind of a mood were they in?
You need to know both the immediate background (that happening right before the story, or directly relevant to the story), and the hidden background (things which happened a long time before, or will only become relevant to the story). You need to research your characters.
Tip #5: Physical reactions
Okay, if you're taking all the physical reactions for your MC from a website or dictionary of some sort, then something's slightly wrong here. While I am all for website and dictionary aid, as well as variety in reactions, I believe that a character should have a sort-of consistency in how they react to different emotions/moods/messages/people/etc. For instance, blushing when they feel as though they are getting too much attention (if your character is an introvert). Or laughing when they succeed at something (if your character is a more playful sort). Generally, this shouldn't be a problem, because the writer himself/herself will have their own 'programmed' physical responses to things, which will leak into their characters (whether directly or indirectly). However, with the rise of the writing sites and emotion dictionaries, it's getting harder and harder to find a consistent character in a MC when it comes to physical reactions.
Tip #6 Give them a theme song
What? No, I'm not joking! I'm serious! Give them a theme song! If they have a romance, it could be a romantic theme for them - for instance, Percy and Celeise from Alomina have as a romantic theme the song Remember When It Rained by Josh Groban. Or, if the character has some kind-of a serious past conflict, then it could be off of that - for instance, the usage of the song Solitaire by Andy Williams for my character Lan from The Pain Of A Memory, or the instrumental use of The Stag by Patrick Doyle for Montefore from Alomina (again, I apologize if it seems like I'm trying to one-up anyone at all by using examples from my own works, but not only do I have very little a notion of copyright violations, but I don't really know many authors who give their characters theme-songs and publicize it). Any theme song works. Just let it incorporate their character. I always wanted to use Unexpected Song by Sarah Brightman for my title heroine in Alomina, but the style didn't quite fit her. The words - almost perfectly fitting. But the style didn't match her character, so I moved on (now she has two themes, one of which was a different Sarah Brightman song). Or the song My Way by Il Divo or Frank Sinatra (both versions are okay) for Alagna from her self-titled story. I wanted to use it, but the words didn't fit. So, again, give your character a theme, but one that matched their character well. I personally suggest the genres of 30's/40's pop and classical crossover, as they have the most applicable and varying settings, but whatever genre fits your character is the one you should choose.
Tip #7 Make up phrases
Okay, so what sticks in a reader's memory better than that one thing that the character is always saying. Mammy from Gone With The Wind is constantly saying "It ain't fittin'" about various things (I apologize if I am infringing on copyright or anything, but I couldn't resist referencing that, especially Mammy). My own character Vic Vance has a habit of calling Leta, the MC, 'Miss Leta'. And everybody's heard good old Sherlock Holmes' infamous "Elementary, my dear Watson". So make up a phrase or two. Take one from your own personal dialogue habits if you need to. Just examine the things you say, and think if there's a particular characteristic term or phrase you use often. Or - with permission - use one from someone else. Or just make one up out of the blue! You never realize how often people actually have characteristic phrases until you write and you start looking for them.
Tip #8 Try writing them in different scenarios
So in your story, you have an MC who is boring. Try developing them by putting them into totally different situations from what's in the story. So it's an Action/Adventure story. Put them in a café, eating brownies and chatting with a friend. So it's a Sci-Fi. Put them in a romantic date. So it's a Comedy. Put them in a dramatic climax, where their best friend just died, and they have to fight for their life and those of their loved ones. Just shake things up! You don't have to put the scene you write in the actual story, but it helps you to know and develop your own character better. It really does help! A writer friend of mine has been writing a space-setting Action/Adventure for about a year now, and has had to re-start the story twice due to plot issues. But what kept her - and her characters - going was the fact that she kept writing these random scenes with them that developed them wonderfully (frankly, her characters are stunningly memorable, and better than most published books I've read... perhaps it is because she does this?). When she got stuck in the plot, she picked out one of the MCs and wrote his proposal scene. Just out of the blue. And for another guy, a scene where he was just messing around and singing opera goofily (I loved both of those scenes, fyi, but they're not an actual part of the story so much as development exercises). Just write your MC in a totally abnormal situation for them. How would they react when watching Gone With The Wind for the first time? How about if they were suddenly transported to Narnia? What if they had just lived through an earthquake? (And yes, watching Gone With The Wind for the first time is about equal emotional impact as being suddenly transported to another world or living through an earthquake.) ;)

Tip #9 Dress them up
I know this is a bit similar to Tip #3, but I had to include it. What does your MC generally wear? Does he/she dress normally for their time? Or are they rather old-fashioned - or just plain-out weirdly dressed? Or, are they a mix of a lot of things, like hippy- 40's and 50's retro-Victorian-gangster-couture style? (And no, I suppose that's not a thing unless you're me, haha...) :P For example - and if my dear friend Anna would prefer that I didn't use this example, then please let her say so and I will use another one - Carmen Moore from Miss Anna Deubell's novel, Dreaming Reality, is always described as wearing a beanie-cap. I describe Echo Torriven in The Pain Of A Memory as wearing two rings (both of which are actually pretty relevant to the plot). And Robin Hood is always described as wearing a tunic of lincoln green. Really, describing what they wear can help a lot in giving them character. Everybody remembers Sherlock Holmes for his deerstalker hat and cape-coat (even though - bit of trivia for you - he was never actually directly described wearing either of them in the original books. It was only ever implied that he even had a deerstalker hat specifically). Just like Hercule Poirot and his bowties. And my beloved Jim Stevens from The Top-Hat Gang and his tilted fedora.  So give your MC something to wear! Making them wear something can tell us a lot about their character - like how much they care about dressing and making themselves up, and how much regard they have for wherever they're going or whatever they're doing at that time.
Tip #10 Call them names
How would your MC react if given a nickname? What about if they were insulted? What if they had to change their name? Not only do you need to think about the character's real name, but also what other people call them too. Often, there's a lot of power in a name (to quote Cinderella), and writers don't use it to their advantage. Names - and what your MC thinks of theirs - can show a lot about their character. What other people call them can show a lot of what other people think of them. Even when the character is insulted, the insult itself, its basis, and their reaction to it can tell much more than you think. One of my all-time favorite insults is a part in the Oscar-winning African Queen when Humphrey Bogart's character calls the lady a "crazy, song-singin', skinny old maid". And it does say a lot. At that moment, Bogart is drunk, and you can see what's been turning about in his head now that he is openly saying it. He thinks her idea is crazy. He has no idea what to make of her other than what he saw - a singing, frail, middle-aged woman who is unmarried. And her reaction speaks volumes too. She takes it very calmly lying down (the only part that even ruffles her a slight is the "old maid" part, and she doesn't get upset about it, but is only surprised ever-so-slightly). In fact, the only thing she does in reaction is to - come morning - dump all the alcohol off the boat so he doesn't get drunk again. Her calm attitude towards it speaks very much of how steady and hard to ruffle she is, and how determined - no matter what opposition or question - she is to complete her mission. And then there's nicknames. In the movie It Happened One Night (another award winner), Peter half-insultingly, half-affectionate calls Ellie "brat". Why? Because she is a brat. She's been spoiled all her life, and is used to getting her way. Even Peter is doing what she says, though reluctantly. It reveals what he so very openly thinks of her - that she's just plain spoiled. And soon enough, she realizes it too. And eventually, she stops being a brat. See, that's how much a name can tell you! It really does help. Not to mention their real name, which can tell a lot about what whoever named them was like and what they might've hoped or feared for the MC.
Uh... this lady looks almost disturbingly like a friend of mine...
Anyways, that about sums it up. I hope my first real writing tip post wasn't too bad... And reading it over, it's super filled with my boring ramblings... :P Sowwy! Also, I told myself I wouldn't reference too many things, but I think I broke my word to myself. :P
What did you think? Was this helpful at all? Is it too obvious that this is an amateur's post? Is anyone scorning my advice because I am unpublished? (Psst! I do not blame them!) ;) Is anyone thinking that I better just mind my own business and worry about my own MCs? :D Is anyone else now in the mood to write? I totally am! In fact, I'm ending this post now to, you know... ;)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beautiful People - Alejandro Lorenz

Hello! Yes, I'm finally going to do my Beautiful People. I love this tag soooooo much, but it always seems to slip from me very easily. However, only because it's one of my favorite posts to write will it be one of my rare during-hiatus posts. It's a lovely link-up for characters (YAY - LONG LIVE OUR INK-AND-PAPER PEOPLE!!!) by Ladies Cait and Sky. So thanks very much to both amazing girls for this fun! And this time, I tried sooooo hard to make myself behave and choose a character that I'd already introduced, but... I couldn't help it!!! I had to choose one of newest characters, my beloved Alejandro. So... I suppose I'll get right to it. :)

1. What's their favorite place they've ever visited?
Probably Madrid, Spain. He went there once for his academy, The Brooklyn Academy of Professional Dance, and it was the home of his ancestors, so he liked it a good bit. :) He also likes Brazil, where the rest of his ancestors were from (if you have not guessed at this point, Alejandro is a Hispanic American). His favorite places, though, are the very old cities, because he enjoys seeing history in front of him.
2. What's one mistake they've made that they learned from?
Well, there are several concerning dancing, which is Alejandro's profession, but he would say that his most learned-from mistake was when he was younger and would try not to meet people. But then he met his best friend/girl, Amy, by accident when he was four and then he regretted the mistake.
3. What was their favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?
His favorite subject in school was always music - due to his immense love of it, and his extremely early-on talent for dancing. As for more academic school subjects, he always enjoyed history.
4. What's their favorite flower/growing thing?
He likes Spanish roses the best, especially wild ones. However, he does also love a red carnation - a flower frequently seen on his jacket.
5. Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?
He has never purposefully made anyone cry, but it did happen once. Amy thought that he was going away (for certain plot reasons), and she was very upset about it (for other certain plot reasons), but then he turned up right behind her, because he didn't leave or even intend to. But when he saw that she'd been crying, he comforted her as best as he could... which resulted in her crying again - but with joy in seeing him not gone.
6. Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?
Alejandro is pretty unprejudiced in any category, so I would consider him a very reliable narrator.
7. What do they dream about at night?
Well, if you're talking about what he wishes for, all he wants is to let Amy know how much he cares. Their courtship has always been so unofficial, and they have always behaved much more like friends, but Alejandro is the one that is ready to actually begin the courtship, whereas Amy's mind is kind-of stuck in their current position as only teasingly romantic friends. They've been dance partners for years, but never once has Amy really noticed Alejandro's sentiments on the matter. But, because she isn't ready, Alejandro is a gentleman, and only expresses himself in whatever way he can, and never steps out of their so mild and unserious romantic pattern. He often dreams too of his dancing, that one day he will dance with Amy as the only people on the stage, so to speak. But this wish has long become far more passive.
8. They've gone out for a 'special meal'. What would they eat?
Well, he'd probably pick up Amy, and go out for Italian food (which he so very much likes, though - unlike Amy - he prefers the Spanish food nostalgically). Or, they'd eat in, and he would cook some delicious chicken or rice-ish Spanish meal that makes me hungry just writing about it.
9. What's at least one thing they want to do before they die?
Well, frankly, he'd like to have his day on the stage, dancing. He'd be content with even the shortest of big careers, just so long as he and Amy made it to the big stage together at least once. He also harbors other wishes, concerning him and Amy's future, but is very content nonetheless.
10. Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?
Oh, yes! He a dancer of the most proficient type - the likes of whom has not been seen since the days of Fred Astaire, Ricardo Montelban (whom he looks rather like), and Gene Kelly. His dancing mostly consists of the Hispanic dances (as that's what he started out with), but he is also amazing at ballet, waltzing/ballroom dancing, acrobatic dancing, and a tiny bit of tap dancing.
Anyways, that's my Mr. Lorenz! Do you like him? Is anybody else here now really wanting to watch a Ricardo Montelban movie? Or a dancing movie of some kind? I don't know about you guys, but I am off to go and watch something with dancing in it! Partiro! :D

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blog Announcement

I'm sorry to inform my lovely audience here at Worlds Of Ink And Paper that I will be going on an unofficial hiatus for June and July.
I may still blog occasionally, but it will not be regular or very often unfortunately. You see, as Miss Lucy Agnes made me realize, the summer really is too short and goes by too fast to spend a lot of time on the computer typing (even if it is for the loveliest crowd), so I'm going to just enjoy it while it lasts. Sorry! I hope you can forgive me, and meanwhile read other lovely blogs until I return (if such other equals exist, haha). ;) Partiro!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Meet The Books! - All's Fair

Hello! It's time for another Meet The Books!... finally, haha. :P Anyways, though, this one's an interesting one, because this is no ordinary novel (I mean, obviously none of my novels are, but you know what I mean). ;) This project of mine, started only two weeks exactly after the last book I introduced was, is a musical. That's right, like Broadway, dancing, singing, super funny ridiculous scenarios musical, by the name of All's Fair.
What is the genre?
Well, as I said, it's a (wanna-be) Broadway musical. However, were it an ordinary novel, it would fit into the category of Romantic Comedy.
What is the title? Time period?
The title is All's Fair, after something one of the characters says, and after that one Shakespeare quote - "All's fair in love and war". And, speaking of love and war, that brings us to the time period, which is World War II. Aren't wartime musicals the best???!!! :D Which is exactly why I wanted to write one. ;)
How is it written (Point of view, MC, etc.)?
Well, it's written in play format, but it was written in novel format first, so it does have a POV sort-of. When it was in novel format, it was in third person (limited). The main character is a rather irate American pilot named Cap. Mont Williams.
Who are the characters?
Well... :)
Mont Williams is a 22 year-old pilot who is rather easily made irritated, and can be a bit easily distracted at times. He is an American, and - just so you know - he is what I call an AF/A, in other words, an Air Force/ Army (you see, up to a certain point in WWII, the Air Force didn't even exist, but was only a part of the other two branches at that time, so Mont is currently in the Army technically, but I like to say he's in the Air Force, as that is my favored, inherited branch of the military). He has brown hair, hazel eyes, and is about six foot or so - maybe more, maybe less.
Ned Norster  is Mont's sometimes bumbling best friend. Ned is a very jokey sort, and imagines himself to be extremely well-off with the ladies, but is in reality quite laughable in his flirting attempts. He is also a pilot, and an American. He's peanut-butter-blond, and has bright blue-ish eyes. He is fit, but rather short, being only 5'9 (and believe me, he gets teased about it plenty by Mont and Irv).
Haha, this is how Ned would love to think that he is. ;)
Irv Baines is, unlike his friends, Mont and Ned, not a pilot. He is an ensign (a minor officer) in the Navy. And he rather likes to rub it in, too (because, even though his rank is technically lower than Mont and Ned's, he persists in saying that the Navy is better than the Air Force/Army). He can be rather a bit of a jerk at times, as Ned is always telling him (but I think that Ned's just jealous, because Irv actually is quite a proud proficient with the women). ;) Irv is very tall, strong of build, and fairly handsome (which he also loves to rub in), being about six foot two. He has hair that's in between black and dark brown, and has dark blue-gray eyes.
And.... yep. That's Irv all right. :P

Doctor Lucie Lavet is a French/American doctor at Mont and Ned's base who is eventually at the front. She is rather unimpressed with any of the soldiers, who - since she is one of the few women on the front - all pay plenty of attention to her. She is uninterested in romance, and uninterested in anyone seemingly, though quite willing to give a rude or sarcastic comment to any soldier who dares to try and gain her favor. She is almost as tall as Ned, being five foot seven and a half, but is very slender. She has bright red hair and silvery-blue eyes.
This could very well be Lavet and Miss No-Name, though it's unusual for Lavet to be so silly, even in a picture.
Miss Girl Without A Name is a sweet girl, who - as indicated previously - does not yet have a name. :P I'm pretty sure she's a performer for the troops, but originally she was a nurse. Truly, I can't say much about her without giving spoilers, but I can at least tell you that there's a little more to her than meets the eye. She has golden-blond hair, and has aqua-blue eyes.
And then there will be various soldiers and a couple other nurses who will appear, but none of them have set-in-stone names yet.
What does the plot consist of?
Well, hmm... How's about I show the Broadway poster I made for it to explain this? :)

The inscription reads:
All's Fair! - It's the Air Force versus the Navy in a wartime musical like you've never seen before! When two pilots meet an old naval pal on the front, the three become engaged in a hilarious three-way for a hard-to-catch Army nurse. As it goes on, the gimmicks and songs become greater and greater all in the name of the rivalry's slogan - "All's fair in love and war"!
So, perhaps you can figure out what the plot is just from that purposefully over-dramatized summary, but if not, I'll lay it out. So, due to a certain chain of events, Irv, Ned, and (due to the other two's cajoling) Mont challenge each other to try and gain the impossible Dr. Lavet's favor in a certain amount of time. Because it is for a friendly bet, none of them is afraid to use any amount of gimmick or trick to get ahead of the other, resulting in quite a comedy. However, bind this plot in with Mont and Ned's immense wish to help on the front, and then the war hitting them, and all that going on, and then the nameless girl's whole sub-plot, and this is what All's Fair consists of.
What is the setting?
Why, WWII, of course! It starts out in a random base in Haiti, but then *spoilers* Mont and Ned's wish of going to the front is fulfilled *spoilers end* and it takes place on the front in Italy from there.
Don't ask about the quote... it is indeed fitting for a certain character in the story, but I won't say who... :)
Who are the favorite characters in it?
So far, everybody (meaning the only two readers I have for it and myself) has favored Ned. He has risen rather to levels that he was not meant to go to in people's favor. So much so, that I may or may not kill him off. Just kidding.... maybe. ;)
What is the favorite scene?
Um, so far there's only one written scene that's really been noted above the others. A scene in which Mont converses rather briefly and irately with Lavet, and ends by running off (because he was late for something very important, due to Ned, which was also why he was irritated).
Any themes of music for this work?
Well, originally, back when it was just a novel, it was inspired by the old song I Left My Hat In Haiti, from the movie Royal Wedding. And I had also considered as a romantic theme once the song I Won't Dance by Frank Sinatra. However, now, it has the songs I have written for it. I would put a pic of the music, but I am a bit paranoid about random people finding it and taking it. :P The songs I've written for it so far are (the temporarily-named) A Piece Of Advice, sung by Irv, and contributed to a little by Ned; Even Now, a duet between Mont and Lavet; The Almost Bride, another Irv song, but this one a solo, and then a vague idea for one of Ned's songs, which I have also temporarily named I Guess So.
Any drawings?
Besides that Broadway poster, only one unfinished one of Irv and a girl (whom I will not name in case there are spoiler-seeking readers in the crowd). I will not share it, only because the girl's looks are very much a giveaway to the keen reader, not to mention the pose that the two are depicted in.
Strong point in story?
Probably the characters. I feel like - especially in writing songs for them - their voices are coming through very well, especially Irv.
Weak point in story?
Well, probably the slow beginning. I mean, if it were a normal novel, nobody among modern readers would really probably take a second look, because the beginning is fairly quiet and very much non action-packed.
What are you plans for it?
Well, to finish composing the music, finish putting it into play form, and then give it to the world! I know it's rather ambitious, but I want to try and actually get it out there and performed. I know... in my dreams... :P :)
Any particular writing habits for it?
Well, when I'm writing the music, I always sit and do it at my piano, and I generally take a pretty long time tweaking it. When I'm writing the actual story, I often listen to Oldies music (particularly songs from old movies), and also like to eat mini-pretzels while doing so.
If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast for it?
Well, I'm sure I do envision it as a movie someday, and is definitely intended to be performed in some manner or other. I think I would take Gene Kelly as Mont Williams, just with brown hair instead of black. And for Ned, I can see either Santino Fontana or Nelson Eddy playing him, though I suppose a young Frank Sinatra would also act the part well. And Irv, I can see being played by a dark-haired Howard Keel (though Thomas Hampson playing him would be most amusing indeed). I would have Esther Williams as Dr. Lavet, and either Laura Osnes or a blond Katherine Grayson as the nameless sweet girl.
Anyways, though, that's about all there is for the story of All's Fair. Now to go and write more songs for it! :D
What did you think? Would you read it? Would you go and see it if it were being performed? Is anyone a little nervous about Belle attempting to be a composer? Was anybody not bored out of their skull reading this? ;)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Top 10 Best Opera Characters Of All Time

You know, I have been listening to a ton of opera lately. Of course, this is not abnormal (for me), but it did make me want to write a post on it. So, for all you people who were going to hang yourselves, shoot your date, or jump into a volcano if you didn't know (wink, wink to any and all opera nerds in here), I'm going to show you the best of the best characters in this amazing art. ;)
#10 - Don Alfonso from Cosi Fan Tutte (Women Are Like That)
Well, I'm not exactly sure how this guy got his way onto the list, but he's one charismatic, slippery fellow. He has a rather low opinion of the faithfulness of women, as implied by the statement of his which makes up the title for this opera. He is so charismatic, in fact, that he convinced two friends to aid each other in proving their own fiancées fickleness and infidelity. Don Alfonso sent Ferrando after Giuliarmo's girl, and Giuliarmo after Ferrando's girl, convincing them to prove which girl was most faithful, and ending up only proving exactly what Don Alfonso had been saying the whole time - women are like that. But, despite his cheapskate ways and his low opinion of female faithfulness, Don Alfonso somehow wormed his way into this list and my heart. :) I don't remember who played the really good Don Alfonso, but I just remember that it was in the 2006 version of Cosi Fan Tutte.  Don Alfonso's best aria is the one beginning the opera's first act, a trio song with Ferrando and Giuliarmo (sorry, but I cannot remember the name of it). I think that Don Alfonso is a baritone part, but I'm not sure.
Haha, yes, Don Alfonso is eating a banana. Not exactly sure why... :P
#9 - Adina from L'Elisir D'Amore (The Love Potion)
Oh my goodness, is this girl stubborn or what?! She is determined never to settle down with anyone, especially not faithful, unwavering, humble Nemerino, who has been seeking her hand for years. I mean, where is her sense?! But, somehow, you gotta like her (which is extremely frustrating). And nothing is more fun than seeing her finally fall from her throne in the end, walking out a chapel hand-in-hand with Nemerino after all, even despite all those obstacles she threw in the way herself. ;) The best version of Adina is done by Angela Gheorghiu. Adina's best aria is either Della Crudele Isotta (The Tale of Cruel Isolde), or Quanto Amore! (Such Love!). She is a soprano part.
#8 - Susannah from Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro)
Susannah is much sought-after by men, surely, but she only wants her fiancée, Figaro. And the clever girl is ready to think up just about any scheme to get other men off her trail so she can marry him. This lovely, cunning lady is also responsible for making one of her suitors, The Conte Di Almaviva, willingly return to his poor wife by the end of the opera (as well as herself FINALLY getting to marry Figaro). Her best aria is a duet with the Contess Di Almaviva, called Sull'aria (the meaning of the title is debatable,  but the first line which it is a part of is supposed to mean A New Breeze Blows Through The Pines). Um, I might say the best playing of Susannah is by Cecelia Bartoli. Susannah often switches between being a soprano and mezzo-soprano part, but is intended to be a soprano.
#7 - Graf Danilo from Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow)
I love this guy! Especially when he's played by either Thomas Hampson or Thomas Weinhappel (whom I call Thomas Pineapple, and whose Graf Danilo you absolutely must look up on Youtube!). I guess he's kind-of a cheat on this list, though, because he's actually from an operetta, not an opera. But, hey, we'll just turn a blind eye to that fact, right? ;) He's so funny. Even though his commanding officer, his fellows, and the lady herself are all trying to get him to woo a rich widow, he  doesn't want to. He does it at first only because of them. But then, bit by bit, he has his everything in it - all due to this particular widow's playful strategy against him. And, of course, he ends up with her (and no more mind-changes). ;) His best aria.... Oh man, that's hard. I might say it's Da Geh Ich Zu Maxim (not sure what it translates to, as I have never seen the translation, and do not know very much German). He is supposed to be a tenor part, but is often nowadays cast as a baritone instead.
#6 - Alfredo Germont from La Traviata (The Fallen Woman)
Oh, poor, pitiable Alfredo! He's got a bit of a temper, yes, but I still was very tempted to weep for him during the two final acts of the opera. And I had to include him here, I just had to. After all, he's the male lead in this opera, which just happens to be my all-time favorite tragic opera ever (and one of my favorite operas period). However, even he was not my favorite character (as you'll see later on in this post). He is one of the most tragic male opera figures there is (that you can actually pity - most of them are tragic, but they mostly bring it upon themselves, so you cannot really pity them). Poor guy spent sooooo long loving Violetta Valery - even through her refusals - and then, he had her... for a short period of time. And the rest is just the way the opera goes, friends (unfortunately). The best playing of Alfredo is by David Miller. Alfredo is very much a tenor role, and his best aria is the Brindisi from this opera (it has a name, but is just called The Brindisi often - much like how Carmen's Act One aria in the opera Carmen is always called The Habenera rather than its actual name). 
The Miller couple, David and Sarah Joy, as Alfredo and Violetta of La Traviata.

#5 - Papageno from Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute)
Okay, so he's not quite up to the same respectable level of Alfredo or Susannah. So he's a very obviously comic opera character. Well, he's one of the best - despite his tendency in the beginning to tell fibs, brag, or be melodramatic (hey - melodrama is allowed in the opera!). The main funny thing about Papageno was that he was very desperate to have a girl. And, unlike most opera men, not even a particular one. Just a girl - any girl - who was willing to be faithful to him and let him be faithful to her. In fact, he was so desperate to have a girl that he used a variety of methods to try and get one (from using the title's magic flute to try and call one, to summoning fairies to help him, to comically failing at hanging himself). But, he gets his wish in the end... ;) Also, something a bit bizarre about him is - well, you get the impression that he thinks he's a bird. At least, he talks about himself like he does. Who knows why? *shrugs* :P The best version of him is done by Thomas Weinhappel. Papageno is a baritone role, and his best aria to be sure is a duet (with a certain long-desired somebody he wanted) called Pa Pa Pa (And, no, there is no translation to that because it's not a word, it's a bird noise, haha). ;) :P
Haha, don't ask. :P ;) If you look up Papageno pictures, I would be willing to bet that you'd find far more ludicrous ones than this. Normally nowadays, he has rather unusual costumes. This is when he's trying to use the flute to summon a girl.

#4 - Escamillo the Toreador from Carmen
It's not altogether surprising that only one character from the opera Carmen made it here, haha. I mean, Carmen herself is a bit questionable (so why on earth did they name it after her...?). And then Don Jose goes insane by the end of it, so... :P However. Escamillo is absolutely hilarious/really cool. He is incredibly arrogant at times, but it's that funny sort-of arrogant that you can't really take seriously. Problem is, you do have to take it at least semi-seriously, because he really can do and has done everything he says. So... he's just as cool as he claims, the character. *shakes head* The best representation of him is either Thomas Hampson, Samuel Ramey, or Thomas Weinhappel. Escamillo is a Bass/Baritone role, and his best aria is certainly Votre Toast! (I Speak A Toast!), also called The Toreador Song after him.
#3 - Figaro from Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (The Barber Of Seville) and Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro)
Figaro is one of the only opera characters I know of who has a sequel. You see him first as that busybody, bossed-around barber, and then next thing you know - well, he hasn't really changed in character much actually, but now he's getting married to Susannah. Figaro, as I said, is a busybody to be sure. However, it seems that he gave up busybody-ing (at least for the moment) to marry Susanna, because in the latter of his two operas, it's Susannah that's doing most of the busybody-ing. However, he is still a bossed-around barber. I'd be willing to bet that anybody in this crowd has heard his very famous aria complaining about how he gets bossed around so much, Largo Al Factotum. It's his best aria! :D And Thomas Hampson is the best Figaro I've ever seen, especially at that aria (no others are even worth comparing). Figaro is a baritone role in the first opera, but can be switched from tenor or baritone in the second (it is written for a tenor).
#2 - Nemerino from L'Elisir D'Amore (The Love Potion)
I am beyond proud that Nemerino made it all the way to second place. I was worried that I'd just have a list of mostly anti-heroes or comically flawed characters on here like Alfredo, Adina, or Escamillo. But, no! Here is possibly the most virtuous character in the opera that I know. Granted he's ever-so-slightly naïve, but you kind-of have to expect that from a simple tramp, as Nemerino is (yeah, who knew that the most virtuous character in the opera was a common tramp?). *starts singing He's A Tramp* However, he's not a roamer. He has stayed in one town for almost his whole life, being faithful to one girl who doesn't even care about him (yet!). For years, the humble Nemerino has quietly sought Adina's favor. And you know what Adina does? She teases him, makes fun of him, and laughs at him (and even hits him with the wrong end of a horsewhip at one point). Is anybody else wondering about now why I put Adina on this list too...? :P But, you know, it all turns out. And along the way, Nemerino spends his last cent trying to get Adina, and even enlists himself in a regiment all for her hand. And you know what? It all pays off! The opera ends with Adina and Nemerino's wedding party (don't ask me how that happened because it's a very long story). Nemerino is a tenor role, and his best aria is Una Furtiva Lagrima (A Single Silent Tear). The best representation of him is by Roberto Alagna.
Lovely ole dreamer Nemerino... :)

#1 - Violetta Valery from La Traviata (The Fallen Woman)
Ha! I bet all of you were super surprised not to see a guy opera character's name here on numero uno. Well, I can tell you, so was I. When I compiled the list, and somehow found Violetta's name on top, I nearly had a heart attack right there. But, if any opera character deserves it, she does. I can tell you, no opera character ever made me cry like Violetta. Read the plot to the opera and you'll know half the reason, but not the whole. Read the translation... then you'll know. You can never know the full sadness of Violetta until you read the translation of her songs... especially the very last one. No one can ever put into words the character of Violetta! Poor girl... She was in a bad business for so very long in the beginning (read the opera's plot and you'll know what I mean), and then gave it up to be with faithful Alfredo. But then, something happened. Something which caused her to choose - most sorrowfully - to separate from Alfredo. And it was all because of her past, which she has been endlessly regretting for so long. But she chooses to give up her own life of happiness - even to have her greatest love, Alfredo, hate her - just so that another can have joy and a steady life. I can't spoil too much of the details, but I can tell you that the ending is super sad. Oh, if only I could pen the words of that last aria she sang... Asking for forgiveness for her past, always only praying that Alfredo would come back, and that they could somehow reunite. And Alfredo does come back... Just in time to relieve Violetta's so long-endured suffering... and just in time to see her die of the terrible illness that had been long-consuming her. I know, right! TERRIBLE ENDING!!! But, I suppose that's the opera for you. :'( Go and see Angela Gheorghiu's famous acting of Violetta. Watch it with the translation. I guarantee that you will cry. Violetta is a soprano part, and her best aria is Sempre Libera.

Well, that's all of them. The ten best characters in the greatest musical art existent. Whether comic like Papageno, or tragic like Violetta, or kind-of in the middle like Escamillo, I have enjoyed (and been in agony over) every single performance of them. And I highly suggest looking them up - whether it's on Youtube, or whether you're taking a bold move and just buying a dvd of one of these operas (P.S. look up plot and details of opera always before you buy a disc of it - even some of the ones I have mentioned here can be made distasteful by certain years or casts, and I do realize that there is a skip button on a remote for a reason sometimes).
So what did you think? Which character sounded most appealing to you? Which opera sounded the best? Do you think you'd prefer comic, tragic, or comique (tragic, ironic comedy) operas? (an example of each would be L'Elisir D'Amore, La Traviata, and Romeo And Juliet or Carmen.) Are you banging your fists against the keyboard to comment because you're bored out of your mind after reading this post? ;)