Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two Things

And on to chapter 4, which is a short chapter, so this commentary will necessarily be likewise. Actually, in the original writing, it was longer as I was cramming for word count in NaNoWriMo. In addition to the “two things” Robin and Robert also attended a barn dance (where Robin found another young man to impress with her sword skills) and there were three or four more events that I can’t remember.

However, while editing, my mother pointed out that all of those other items didn’t actually do anything for the plot, so I chopped them out. I ended up with a very skinny chapter, but other than that, the book didn’t suffer.

The True Nature of Quests
Despite the fact that fantasy is my genre of choice, I’m not very good at the filler content that makes quests exciting. I hadn’t planned any adventures for them until they had met with Rosamond, and since they weren’t to meet Rosamond until they had been traveling for at least a week, I opted for the “quests are actually quite boring” approach. As I read over this opening, I have a feeling that, were I to rewrite this book, I could actually come up with some interesting adventures for them, but as it is, I’m content with what I have.

But I do mention that Robin does find enough young men willing to have their swords placed in unreachable places, so I suppose she did enjoy herself.

The Storyteller
In the original writing of this chapter, I only mentioned that his story had something to do with the fairies. It wasn’t until the rewrite that my mother pointed out that this was a perfect opportunity to plant some backstory and introduce the story of the Mountain Princess, who would also prove very important to the story. We also toyed with the idea of having it be Sleeping Beauty, but since that’s a much better known fairy tale, and I already had another character tell it later on, we went with the Mountain Princess.

I know I’ve mentioned frequently that the Mountain Princess is not original to me, but is actually my retelling of a lesser-known fairy tale called “Casperl and the Princess.” (Though some versions I’ve seen have it shortened to merely “Casperl”) It’s a very rare fairy tale that, to my knowledge, only exists it maybe three books, and the only place you can read it online is my blog here.

Of course, after the story is told, Robin and Robert are naturally going to ask the man if he has any idea where they might find a fairy (though I’m not sure they mentioned the reason they are looking for one), and unfortunately, the story teller has no idea. He just collects and tells stories, he doesn’t collect archaic knowledge like that.

The Change
One plot device that I enjoy in other books, and naturally included in my own book, is the capital C Change. Something, in a world’s past, happened, and because that something happened, everything is different. Differences so big, you have to have a capital C to properly convey them.

Bookania’s Change took place a hundred years before, an interesting number when you take into consideration that it’s about the same time as when the Mountain Princess lived according to the Storyteller. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding this, and if you didn’t live back then, or if you aren’t interested in that subject, it’s likely you don’t know about it.

Robin and Robert certainly don’t.

So I chose a random old woman to enlighten the twins. They tell her that they’re looking for a fairy, tell her why, and immediately, her mind goes back to that long-forgotten time. She doesn’t know why it happened, or everything that changed, but the name is thrown out there, and it’s obviously going to be important.

And then, just before the twins leave, disappointed because they didn’t find out anything particularly helpful, she adds one more word to their new vocabularies. Skewwood. Doesn’t really sound that important, but, who knows?

Favorite Lines

Robin and Robert discovered over the next week that adventuring mostly involved traveling through virtually unchanging countryside. Robin also discovered that there was a never ending supply of young men who were ever eager to have their swords lodged in trees or rafters or whatever else was handy.

We’re looking for one in particular,” explained Robin. “She’s our Fairy Godmother, and she messed up our gifts somewhat.”
It’s been a long time since I have seen anyone who had a Fairy Godmother,” the old woman said. “Not since I was a girl. And they were all princes and princesses whose birth preceded the Change.”
The Change?” said Robin. “I’ve never heard of that.”
About a hundred years ago,” the old woman said, “this land was very different, how, I don’t know, for I was but a wee lass toddling at my father’s knee. I know that then there were fairies and magical places in the land, but they all disappeared after the Change.”

On this one path, however, there are three challenges. For one to get to the top, and it is said that he must do it completely on his own, he would have to first get through the gate. This gate is so heavy, no man can lift it. Second, they would have to get past a trunk of a tree. This tree is magic, and it is impossible to get over, under, or around. It is also impossible to chop through it. At the very top, there is a dragon. He is solid black, with flaming eyes and breath.
It is said that only a true prince will be able to pass these challenges. Many such young men have tried, but none have succeeded. It is said that she is still as young of face as when the magician first placed her there, for the fairy’s magic keeps her so. I have not seen her myself, but I have spoken with princes and kings who have, in their youth, made the attempt, and they assure me that she is every bit as beautiful as the rumors give her credit. But none have succeeded.”

Discussion Questions
1. Do you like a lot of filler content in your fantasy, or do you prefer it to just get to the point and get the adventure over with?

2. What's the rarest fairy tale you know of?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

CE Garden - Riley

Via Pinterest
There's nothing like the smell of soil that sings of spring time. When you mix it with the rich smell of lavender, well, you can say I'm in herb heaven.

The actual feel of the soil on my fingers is only added bliss.

It's been a long day at work, and this is the perfect relaxation for the end of a long day. Just me and my herbs.

Suddenly one of the weeds that I was about to pull grows with unexpected vigor and wraps itself around my wrist. I almost cry out, but then narrow my eyes instead.

It's character encounter time, isn't it?

I tilt my head to the side as I regard the weed critically, as I consider which of them it may be. I have four characters (that I can remember off the top of my head) that are capable of manipulating plant-growth. Three are from my Rizkaland Legends - Joseph, Helen and the Leaf Princess - but this doesn't quite feel like their style of control.

"Riley - that's you behind me, isn't it?" I ask.

"How'd you know?" It's Riley.

"Because I would have heard a harp if it were Helen," I reply, ripping my arm free from the plant and swiveling as I rise to my feet.

"Ah, I forgot, you have psychic author powers. You can always tell if any of us are in the area."

"Not quite, but I won't prevent you from attributing superpowers to me if you'd like," I reply, brushing some of the dirt from my hands. "How's your sister?"

He shrugs and leans against my aunt's trailer. "Rox? Oh, she's fine. Been her regular, kinda grumpy self, you know."

A grin pulls at the corner of my mouth despite myself. "Yes, I do know. She's not happy about this whole go to school and become a villain thing. How are the two of you going to get into the mountain, anyways. She's being very stubborn about the whole affair."

"I think that the teachers will have to bring us in," says Riley. "She says she can't control that mountain, and she's usually pretty truthful about that sort of thing. Even if she doesn't want in."

"I know, I just need to get that scene finished. I've got the ending of your story all planned out - the question is getting there."

"Well, as long as the ending involves her being happier than she is now, I'm good with it."

"It mostly depends on her," I admit. "But if she cooperates, I'm sure she will. And I think she'll cooperate with me. It's the Academy she doesn't like, not me."

"True there. Well, since I'm here, would you like to help me with your garden."

I glance around me, then nod. "That'll be nice."

Together we kneel before the brake drum pots and while I plant the various seeds and seedlings, he hyperspeeds their growth. It's looks like I'll have a good crop this year - but alas, this is all in my imagination.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Was Bored Last Night

So I was bored last night, frustrated with my writer's block and the lack of sales on my KDP and CreateSpace report pages, and tired from a long day at work ...

So I just randomly went through my word documents and deleted several. Oh, and threw away several of my notebooks ....




Maybe I shouldn't have ...



All those words, gone forever. Sure, there were many that I completely regretted, but still ... they were my words.


Okay, I'm just kidding there. I learned my lesson on random deletion several years ago, so I don't plan to repeat it any time soon. I think you'll be much happier about what I DID do last night. You see, I've been talking about that short story collection coming out sometime this year.

Well, I noticed one of the collection was done, and as I've already run it through a few editors, and had done up a cover for it, I decided to go ahead and publish it.

Okay, I know I was telling you that it would be called "Sun Jewel Adventure," but when I did up the cover, it looked awkward to have "adventure" on there twice. So, anyways, head over to amazon and pick it up for the perfectfully unreasonable price of 99 dollars ...

Yeah, I forgot to add a period when I told KDP how much I wanted them to charge for the book. Hopefully this'll be fixed soon.

This is the story of Sir Erran's first contest against Sir Christofer. I tried very hard to give it the feel of the story games that my sister and I used to have as children. I watched both of the hobbit movies during the writing process, so quite a bit of Tolkien leaked in.

I let it. As I told V, who was nice enough to type it up out of the notebook for me, obviously Jenny had been reading the book.

Most of it was written during my break half-hours at work.

I hope ya'll enjoy it (once I get the price down to a more reasonable number, of course!)

(And to get you all interested in reading it .... Snippets!)

Two girls crouched behind a rock as sounds of battle rang around them. Neither dared look, knowing the sight to be too gruesome for maidens such as themselves to look upon.

Oh, Jenny,” whispered one, the girl with long blond hair and large blue eyes. “Do you think he’ll be all right?”

Jenny, the girl with frizzy brown hair, freckles, and glasses, put a reassuring arm around her friend. “Of course he will, Tisha.” She said, confidently. “Chris is the best knight in all the world. Of course he will.”


Jenny just smiled, “So, what you seek is a contest? You against Chris? Winner declared the official finest knight in the world?”

Chris and Tisha both gasped, but Sir Erran just smiled. “Are you really so eager to see your favorite knight humiliated?” he asked. “Well then, I accept the challenge. What sort of contest shall it be? Sword? Jousting?”

I was thinking more along the lines of a quest.”

A quest? And how does that work?”

Jenny folded her arms over her chest. “It’s simple you both look for the same thing, and the one who finds it will be, without a doubt, the bravest, cleverest, truest knight there ever was.”


I fear no foe,” said Chris resolutely, giving Tisha’s hand a reassuring squeeze. “If I fail, I do not deserve the title of Lady Jenifer’s finest knight.” With that, he started climbing, helping Tisha however possible.

I have no intentions of letting you fail.” said Jenny, over her shoulder. “Sir Erran is a pompous fool. I don’t want him for my finest knight.”

But he’s a grown-up – and has armor!” Tisha pointed out.

That does not give him right to lord over us,” said Jenny “Being a grown-up will make him slow and his armor is cumbersome. Besides, do you see him here to ask the dwarves questions?”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sleepover with Nadilynn

Via Pinterest
"Kendra, why in Dialcia did you pick Obsidia for the main character - I'm so much more fun, aren't I?"

I glanced up from my notebook to see a blonde girl in a fancy nightdress standing at the foot of my bed. I raised an eyebrow. "What are you doing here, Nadilynn?"

"I'm here to tell you that you chose the wrong main character for Worth of a King," she declared. "And I'm willing to sit here the whole night if it takes it."

I take a deep breath and set the notebook to the side and thrust my pencil into my hair. "And what makes you think that Obsidia's doing a bad job of it?"

"Sidi already has everything she wants - even marrying her true love," Nadilynn declared. "And that just doesn't make for a good story. Me, on the other hand, well, do you think I want to marry that Hololund Prince? I mean, it might be a different story if he were good looking ..."

"Some princesses are forced to marry old men who are twice as wide as any Hololunder," I point out.

"But not in good books. You want yours to be a good book, don't you?"

"Look, having you marry Gerald isn't set in stone - even from your perspective. In fact, we don't have much of anything set in stone."

"So ... I could marry someone else instead?"

"There's a possibility," I admitted. "There's also a possibility that you become a villain and kill everyone. As I said, it's very up in the air."

"Hey, I know, you can make me the main character, and it can be the story of how I fell in love with one of the escorts for the young ladies attending Obsidia - I know one looks quite available, the older brother escorting the first girl - Christa wasn't it?" She took a deep breath. "It'd be awesome. We could run away together and everything!"

"I'm not writing a sappy romance," I answered with a shake of my head. "And I don't think Jerolin would be very happy with that prospect."

"He did seem rather grumpy, didn't he? Well, I suppose he could get over it."

"The answer is still no. I chose Obsidia as the main character for a reason, and nothing you say or do will change it."

"Even if I hold my breath and turn blue?"

"You'd only be hurting yourself."

She frowned, and I shrugged and buried my attention back into the notebook. "Better luck next novel, Nadi."


Speaking of Jerolin, he posted over at Jack's blog Here today.

And I really meant to post this earlier, but we lost our electricity last night thanks to the ice storm. We still don't have it to my knowledge and I'm currently sitting in the lobby of the fast food where my dad works to post this. I'll be here until midnight. Yippee!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Character Encounters - March 2014

Look at me, on the ball this month!

Maybe it's the fact that I slept twelve hours Monday night, perhaps it's because I've been avoiding milk a lot more faithfully this week than I had in the last few weeks (one of the side effects of working in a place where your allergen is plentiful - I'm not as sensitive as I used to be, but still, I'd been overdoing it).

Anyways, I'm off today - my first Saturday off since I started working - because today's my birthday party and I wanted a working brain for my birthday party. Sure, I'm a people-driven extrovert, but combining people with high-speed food, well ... it taxes even my powers, and if I go to a party afterwards on a Saturday (which is my long day when I work with several coworkers I'm not used to and I'm not sure like me), I'm usually a blah for most of that party. So I requested today off and got it.

Sorry about not inviting ya'll to the party. I wanted to hold a sleepover last night with you, but I never got around to announcing it (my misfiring brain, you know), and while I stayed up late enough last night to hold one, I spent most of last night in the internet-scarce part of our house with my mom and the Kingdom notebook trying to get me unstuck on a scene. Except V had changed the page I had turned to, and Mom was reading chapter 4 and I'm stuck on chapter 7. And by the time I realized this, mom was so engrossed in the story that she refused to move. I don't blame her, though, four is a very funny chapter. You'll discover a lot of Robin and Eric's history there. I also spent much of last night reading library books, in particular The False Prince which I've brought home because of Jack's high recomendations. I'm not sure I like it. One of the not so nice characters has part of my name.

Anyways, you're not here to read about my work schedule or the party you're not attending. You want to hear where you're going to have a character encounter. So, since you've asked so nicely, I'll tell you..

The Garden

March is the first month of spring, and spring is the month of planting. Whether it be a vegetable, herb, or flower garden, this month you will encounter your character among your own personal garden. If you don't have a garden, you're allowed to borrow. Or use a potted plant. That works too.

And now I have Mrs. Craven's voice echoing in my head telling us she's in the garden.

Oh, and before we go, the character challenge. It is optional, of course, but if possible, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, your character should, in some way, be associated with the color green. It could be something as simple as their eye or hair color, or as complicated as the fact that they have the power of plants and and therefore must wear the color green at all times if at all possible. I don't care. Have fun. I haven't decided who I'm going to do. I have a lot of green-associated characters.

And if you missed it yesterday, I posted the third chapter of Sew's commentary yesterday. Go! over there and read it now!

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