Friday, October 24, 2014

In Which I Talk About Robin

I don't think I've written another character who has raised as many mixed feelings as Robin has. Some  readers love her. Others just don't get her. Almost everyone agrees that her brother is a better character.

Personally, she's one of my favorite characters in the series. I connect well with her. She has my sense of logic, my love for adventure yet reluctance to step out on her own, my tenacity for losing lists.

I think part of the problem is that I failed to fully establish her character in book one, and in book two, she was so emotionally off-balance, I couldn't do any real development. She gets a lot of development in book three, as seen through Eric's favorable perspective, but you guys don't have that book yet.

Some of the biggest complaints against her are the fact that she always seems to be bragging about her swordskill, and her habit of rolling her eyes every time anyone says anything.

Robin is an ENFP, like me. She craves the acceptance of people, but doesn't want to dance to their drumbeat. She learned early that her drumbeat is not one that people readily accepted, but instead of abandoning it, as she could so easily do (maybe she couldn't take up sewing or dancing, but she could abandon her sword and become just as vapid and silly as her peers), she began telling herself that they were wrong, and that she didn't need their approval.

More than anything, she craved her mother's love, which due to reasons disclosed in book two, Queen Charlotte hesitated to give her. Again, she coped by telling herself that her mother was wrong, had horrid nerves, and that she didn't need her approval.

Someone said that bragging is a sign that there isn't really any talent. But Robin does have talent. She is the best swordsman in the world. It's an undeniable fact. But she sees it as her only talent (not that it is, but she doesn't know that at the beginning of the book), and it's a talent that has ostracized her. She's insecure about it. And so, naturally, she's going to become louder about it. She's going to start challenging every sword-wearing person she meets, or at least goad them into challenging her.

And that's why she and Eric are one of my favorite couples. It's not that she needed him to be her dashing hero to save her, but she needed someone who would accept her, and not be intimidated by her skill. Not only is he not intimidated, it's why he fell in love with her in the first place. He accepts her, which gives her the balance she so desperately needed in her life. As much of a pair as they had been, Robert had been equally insecure - though in a quieter way - and he didn't quite trust her sword. He couldn't provide it, her mother was reluctant, and though her father tried, he was also very busy ruling a kingdom.

So, in a way, you're going to see a very different Robin in book 3. She'll have the same strange logic, the same temper, the same sense of adventure, but she's finally comfortable with herself. She's not as loud about her sword-skill - though she'll still let you know about it and won't turn down a fight - and more open to the people around her.

I think fans are going to enjoy seeing how she matures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chatterbox - The Colors of Klarand

Okay, first of all, I have a shiny new gadget on my sidebar - a word counter for Water Princess, Fire Prince. Currently, it's blue, because I'm writing part one - The Water, when I move on to part two - The Fire, I'll turn it red, and so on. So, keep an eye on it and you can get an idea of my progress. I'll try to update it every day.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the book so far. There's some discrepancies I'll need to clean up later, but for the most part, it's flowing well, and I just entered one of my favorite chapters. After it, I'll have passed where I was in the last computer draft. 

Anyways, onto my chatterbox. The theme this month is Maples. As in the tree. This did throw me for a loop, as I had intended to use my Rizkaland cast and - gasp! - they don't have maples in Rizkaland.

But I did some thinking and have come up with something plausible with Andrew and Karlos. Enjoy!

Via Pinterest
"What is your world like, Fire Prince?" asked Karlos, sitting down on the log next to Andrew. "You keep saying how different it is from our world, but what is it like? How is it different?"

Andrew glanced at the kid and automatically ruffled his hair. "Well, for one thing, snow isn't ... pink."

"It isn't always pink here, either," said Karlos, "Just near the Firefall."

"Also," said Andrew, "Leaves are green. Not ... whatever color they feel like being."

"All year round?" asked Karlos, his eyes widening.

"What do you mean?" asked Andrew. "Do leaves turn green here?"

The boy nodded. "In autumn, and then they fall from the trees. It's lots of fun to play in them."

Andrew nodded, seeing some sort of semblance to logic in that. "Well, they aren't green all year," he admitted. "In fact, in autumn, they do turn other colors. And then they fall from the trees."

"You have a funny world, Fire Prince."

"Except they don't turn strange colors like purple and blue," Andrew continued. "Usually, they're brown, orange, red, or yellow."

"That doesn't sound very exciting."

"But it is, for our world at least," continued Andrew. "My favorites are the maples?"

"Maples?" Karlos repeated.

"Their leaves turn a rich red, with is very pretty," Andrew explained. "And in late winter, you can harvest the sap and turn it into maple syrup, which is really good."

Karlos was silent for several long seconds. "Cool!" he announced, then ran off to pester one of the other men. Andrew sighed and shook his head.

There. I got maples to work in there. I did my best, I really did! Anyways.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beautiful Books: Planning Edition




Today, I'm participating in a linkup that kinda spawned off of Beautiful People, but it's about planning your NaNo Novel. (Ever think how weird NaNo Novel is? It's basically National Novel Novel ... but, oh well, I hear there's a bunch of NaNoers who refer to themselves as Wrimos, basically Writing Months, and that's weird too. Ah, life with acronyms ... moving on.)

Now, since I'm going rebel this year and continuing a book that I've already started, I considered skipping out on this linkup/using a book that I haven't started and have no idea when I'm going to get around to. (Now that I think about it, book 4 might be a good option ...)

But, no. I'm going to do Water Princess, Fire Prince. Yes, I'm on the second draft, but the second draft has changed a lot from the first. And I'm not that far into it, just 9,000 words. (Though, compared to some of my early works that were lucky to hit 20,000 words all total ...) I'm only on day two of Clara's stay in Klarand, haven't even touched Andrew's half of the story, and there's tons more story left to go.

So, I'm doing WP,FP. I may be bending the rules a bit, but I honestly don't really care,

1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

This is a tough call, because this book has been in my head for over five years, and if I remember right, plot and characters came together, molding each other and all that. It began with the concept of a girl stepping into a shower, then suddenly being under a waterfall and being hailed the Waterfall Princess. But the girl I had pictured was me, and completely different from the Clara she became. It wasn't until I had a plot - the fight against Amber - that the Clara I know and love today came to be. So ... I'll go with event. It was inspired by an event.

And I'm not a plotter by any means. I hate writing down things prior to writing, 'cause to me, it just kinda drains me of my creativity. However, I don't just sit down at my computer and write whatever comes to me. I plan - extensively - just not on paper. And I don't always hold myself to those plans. If Derek wants to barge in and play hero in a scene that I had planned for only Jen to be in, I honestly consider that option. So ... yeah. 2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”? 

Water Princess, Fire Prince, as I believe I've already told you. And I sat down and wrote a blurb on NaNo on Sunday. (A tentative blurb. I like it, but don't love it, if you know what I mean. Hey - that reminds me - I still need to write one for Kingdom and send it to my cousin so she can do a back cover ..)

Anyways, it's on my NaNo profile - I'm Kendra E. Ardnek, by the way, if you want to buddy me. And while I'd love to copy paste it here, I have that old problem of NaNo being blocked on my wifi. Yeah. I'll give you the prophecy though. (Which I am very proud of.)

When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold Fast, do not fear, do not run.
Your Water Princess shall fight.
Fire Prince shall set all to right.
Each shall come from a Fall.
Their union shall save you all.

3. What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

I'd like somewhere over 100,000 words, and I honestly believe that this story has that sort of wordage in it. If my estimate is right, the notebook version got at least 75,000, and since I've been seriously expanding the first part of the story, yeah. This book has it in it. I'm not so certain that its sequels can live up to its wordcount, but we'll see.

4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

Clara doesn't like working with people. Andrew just wants to go home. They must win a war against a Dragon together.

Ehhhh ... that'll do.

5. Sum up your characters in one word each.

Clara: ... Cat.
Andrew: Oldest
Jasmine: Chatterbox
Karlos: Inquisitive
Jakob: Dutiful
Jill Anna: Proper
Abraham: Commanding
Amber: Power-crazy

Those are a few of the characters ... this book has a HUGE cast.

6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them! 

At the moment, I think I'm going to go with Karlos. I really haven't worked with his character, even though he had a few important scenes in draft 1. But in this draft, because I had made Andrew the oldest of his brothers, rather than the youngest, I realized that introducing Karlos earlier in the story than I had last time could help him accept Rizkaland and his role as Fire Prince easier.

Karlos is Lord Abraham's only son, though not his heir. This is because Karlos' mother died before Abraham became the Lord of Lower Klarand, and ascendancy laws in this world are ... different than in our own. His younger half-sister, whose name I've forgotten, even though I have one picked out, is the heir, currently at least. (It's complicated, I'll explain in the book though!) He's eleven years old, and doesn't yet know about politics though, so he really isn't aware of this. He's a bright, inquisitive child who sneaks away with his father when he goes on his yearly hunting trips, and he almost idolizes the prophesied Fire Prince. Andrew, of course, isn't what he expects - isn't what anyone expects - but he still kinda projects his expectations on him. And while Andrew resents this at first, it's this kid that kinda pushes him to be the best he can be. He's the one who never gives up on the Fire Prince, even when everyone else in the camp is thoroughly disappointed.

So I'm looking forward to writing his role in Andrew's journey.

7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?

Amber, the Lady Dragon. She's thousands of years old - though she only appears sixteen - and power hungry. She wants all of this world under her feet, and she'll do anything to get it that way.

8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

There are two protagonists: Clara and Andrew

I'm going to start with Andrew, since he actually knows what he wants. He wants to go back home. He's the oldest of four boys, they lost their mother in a car wreck when the youngest was still a toddler, and their dad is the absent-minded professor. Andrew is, for all practical purposes, the parent of his younger siblings, and he's suddenly been pulled out of that life, and he has no idea how his brothers are doing, so he feels very guilty for just abandoning them (even though he didn't really have a choice.) But he can't get back, since he's in another world.

Clara, on the other hand, is more complicated. She'd like to go back home, but it isn't with the desperation that Andrew does. I'm not sure she has a specific goal, beyond completely confusing everyone around her, and I'm not sure there's anyone (besides maybe Jakob) who's standing in her way. Right now, she's a loose cannon. Eventually, she'll personalize the goal of getting rid of Amber (as will Andrew) at which point Amber herself will be what stands in her way, but that's not until nearly the end of part one.

9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

With both Clara and Andrew, it's falling into another world.

10. Where is your novel set?

Klarand, the largest island in the world of Rizkaland. (Though please wipe out your preconceived image of an island, because it means something slightly different in this world.) The main settings are the Upper Castle, a forest in Lower Klarand, and the Kastle in the heart of Rizkaland. 

11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

1. Clara and Andrew meeting
2. Getting into the Kastle
3. Getting kidnapped by Amber. 

Not going to tell you any details about any of those, though. 

12.What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

The most dynamic relationship would be Clara and Andrew's. I mean, they're fire and water - there's bound to be some sizzle between them. They have wonderful banter, he's absolutely smitten with her, and she can't seem to decide if she likes him or not. Depends on how much people are reminding her that they're supposed to be together. She's not a huge fan of the whole prophesy thing.

Other important relationships the two of them develop:

Clara and Jasmine: Jasmine becomes something of the little sister Clara never had
Clara and Jill Anna: Their ideas about propriety are completely different, as are their stations in life, but Clara still somehow claims her as her best friend.
Clara and Jakob: He lost his twin sister the year before, who had a similar spirit to Clara, so he just kinda slides into the role of big brother to her. She resents this of course, and interprets it wrong as well, but they're still an interesting duo.
Clara and Leaf Princess: Again, a very interesting friendship but ... I can't tell much because it involves spoilers.

Andrew and Abraham: Abraham becomes Andrew's mentor - the father that his own dad failed to be.
Andrew and Karlos: Andrew's used to having younger brothers, so Karlos satisfies that need for him, but he's not used to a younger brother who idolizes him, which makes it interesting.
Andrew and Jakob: Once the two parties combine, these two develop a sort of comradeship, Jakob frequently interpreting when Clara is in her confusing moods. 

13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

They become more comfortable with themselves, and learn to work together. Will they fall in love? That remains to be seen. (cough, cough. They are in my top four for favorite couples, may I point out.)

14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens? 

I'm on the second draft. There will be a few changes that remain in the air, but for the most part, I know exactly where this train is headed.

15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?

Honestly, I'd love to see this book become a best seller and all that, even though I still plan to go indie with its publication. This series is my baby, especially these first two books. I know it's a bit big of a dream, but ... anything could happen, right?

As for impression, I want readers to walk away with a respect for both women and men, and their roles in society, because that's a lot of what this book is about. As for any other lessons this book may bring to me, we shall see. I'm only on the second draft. I'm more than willing to be surprised.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kingdom is Coming!

Yesterday, at 7:49 PM, I wrote the last words of My Kingdom for a Quest. 

*Cue fireworks.*

I've already contacted my cousin about the cover art, and I hope to do a reveal in December - haven't settled on a day, let me think on this.

I'm extremely satisfied with how the book came together. It's not as long as I had planned, but it's not because I ran out of story, but rather, when I rewrote it, the scenes stretched longer than they had the first time around (something that happens frequently with me) and I didn't want to write a book twice the length of Sew, so I took out Casperl's half of the story. Don't worry though, it'll be receiving it's own ... I'm not sure what to call it yet, but its title will be Quest for the Quince. It won't be an official book in the series, since I don't think it'll be that long, but rather book 3.5, or something like that.

The book amounted to about 40,000 words, just over the length of Sew, It's a Quest, though, interestingly enough, because it ended up with just twelve chapters (Averaging 3,000 to 4,000 words apiece, compared to the 1,000 to 2,000 word average of Sew), it's amounted to fewer pages. And yes, it's already formatted, (yay!) so I know.

Anyways, I intend to let it sit for the month of November, while I NaNo my heart out,and then I'll plunge into editing. And yes, I'm interested in beta readers, but to apply, you must have written a review somewhere for both of the two previous books. Doesn't matter where, or how long the review is, but I want proof that you read both ;). I'll send it out in December, after I give it a first combing.

For right now, the target release date (which I'm very confident about) is February 14th. Valentine's day. All's fair in Love and War, you know.

Bookania fans, this is a book you won't want to miss, especially if you're a fan of Robin and Eric. I know it was supposed to Arthur's book, but Robic kinda stole the spotlight for ... about half the book. (And yes, I use a shipping name for my own characters. I have several ... Sameleine ... Clarand ... Ruetra ... Arthira ...you get the idea ...) Robin has ... become comfortable with herself in this book, though she does have her moments, and I really enjoyed writing with her.

Now, onto NaNo plans.

Since I don't have editing to contend with, you'd better believe that I'm going to be participating in my favorite national holiday. This'll be my fifth year (scary thought, now that I think about it), and in celebration of that fact, this'll be my first year to go rebel. I'm not going to start a new novel. Instead, I'm going to keep plowing through on Water Princess, Fire Prince, which I've been writing for 100-4-100. So far, I'm rather pleased with the story. I'm telling it completely differently than I did the last few times I attempted writing it.

Instead of, like before, I would flop back and forth between the two of them at an almost dizzying speed, I'm separating their stories until they meet each other in part 3. First I'm telling Clara's story in part one, then I'll focus on Andrew in part two. This means that (1), I can't prop their stories on each other and (2) Clara and Andrew can actually stand on their own before they must rely on each other.

I'm currently sitting at 8,000 words, and I'm only on the morning of Clara's second day in Klarand. It's about to start skipping over time, but pleased with the wordcount, as the last time I reached this scene (on the computer) I was at roughly the same amount of words, and Andrew's scenes were scattered in there. In the notebook, I ... can't tell you the number off the top of my head, but it wasn't nearly as high.

So, there's my accomplishments and ambitions, now on to greater, grander things!

Friday, October 10, 2014

CE Narnia - Jakob

via Pinterest
One of the benefits of having a character that can control the doors between worlds is that she can take me to the worlds of many of my favorite books. Like right now, she says I'm in Narnia, though she didn't tell me exactly where or when.

I'm in the middle of a a busy market where people are bustling here and there ... well, I say people, but in truth, there are plenty of non-humans about, such as the mouse arguing with the faun over the price of some sort of cheese. Wait, there's a time marker - if I remember right, mice didn't talk in Narnia until after Aslan's death when they chewed though the ropes.

This also means that it's not during the Telmarine period. So ... that narrows it down the the last few hundred years of Narnian history.

"You know, I suddenly understand the confusion of the Water Princess when she found herself in our world."

Okay ... that's not a Narnian.

I turn to see a young man of about seventeen with brown hair and eyes, dressed in some sort of medievally camping gear.

"Jakob," I recognize him instantly, since I only just came from writing a scene with him in it."Did Laura bring you here, too?"

"It would appear so, Kendra," he accedes. "What is this strange place? I have never seen such a strange assortment of intelligent creatures - I doubt even the Isle of Talking Beasts can boast of such." He nodded to a faun.

"It's Narnia," I answer. "The world that inspired yours, actually, though Rizkaland has become very different."

"That's quite obvious," he agrees. "Now, come, we shouldn't just stand here in the corner gawking. Shall we go peruse the wares. Perhaps we can gather news."

"Sounds good."

Since the mouse and faun are still busy arguing, we approach a pair of dwarf brothers who are selling jewelry. I suck in a breath as I notice a necklace made out of purple stones, with a silver heart as a pendant.

One of the bothers notices my interest. "Ah, ye have fine taste indeed, miss. Genuine calkin amethysts from the North, these are."

"And a fair price, too," adds the other dwarf, naming it. His eyes fix on Jakob, who's standing just behind me. "Come now, sir, is that too high a price to spend on your lady?"

"She's not my ..." Jakob protests.

"Well, sister then. We all know how sisters are, don't we Ricatic?"

"She's ..." Jakob began, but our eyes meet and he apparently decides that the whole authorship concept is too complicated for him to explain. "It is a fair price, I suppose, and I do have the money."

Before I can protest, Jakob pulls out his money bag, and counts out a handful of coins for the brothers. How Klarandish money can turn into Narnian, I have no idea, but perhaps Laura had something to do with it. Satisfied, Ricatic hands him the necklace.

"Will you be wearing it at the coronation?" the other brother asks.

I blink. "Coronation? I'm sorry sir, but we've been traveling, so we haven't heard the news. When is it?"

"Haven't heard the news!" Ricatic repeats, shaking his head in surprise. "It's next week. And it's Aslan's miracle that there's to be a coronation at all. Seems he sent some children from the other world to find the lost prince for us - and just in time, too. How good a king Rilian will be having spent the last ten years under a spell, I can't tell you, but it's good to have a king at all, you know."

"Oh," I say, now knowing exactly when we are. "Well, I'll be sure to wear it then, if we go. I'm not sure how long Jakob and I will be here."

We say our farewells, and Jakob and I continue on.

"Your necklace?" Jakob points out, once we've taken a few steps.

"Oh yes," I remember. I hold my hair out of the way while he clasps it around my neck. "You do know you didn't have to do that. I would have survived without a new necklace."

"Perhaps so," he admits. "But Laura had given me the money and told me to buy you something, and you seemed so taken with it ..."

"I thought she had had something to do with it," I say with a shake of my head. "Well, thank-you. You're such the gentleman, Jakob. It's no wonder that ... a certain someone fell in love with you."

"A certain someone?" he repeats.

"Yes. You'll figure it out soon enough. But ... why did you never tell me about your twin sister?"

Jakob shrugged. "She never came up, I guess. And since she was frozen by Amber ..."

"Well, I'll see what I can do about that. Why don't we see if we can find something to eat - did Laura give you enough money for that?"

"Of course."

"Then come on."
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