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Archive for March, 2018

It’s Rose’s turn.

It was difficult to choose an introduction for Rose. She’s a brand new character BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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She’s also the youngest of the POV characters, which means she’ll likely be the one to change the most, in some ways. (Also, it’s quite possible that Rose’s name will change before this book makes it out into the public.)

So, I defaulted to her very first scene. Which also happens to be the first scene in the book–at least right now. All of this is still first draft, after all.

For the third night in a row, Rose dreamed of a very odd palace. It was nothing like the palace here in Versenna, which she’d walked by more times than she could count on her way to the Temple. This palace was all open courtyards and carved arches. Totally impractical. There’d be no way at all to keep the rain or the winter chill out. But . . . other things about this dream made her think that the palace might be somewhere on the other side of the mountains called The Spine of the World. They said it was drier, there.

As on the previous nights, her dream eye was drawn to a young man. The burnished gold of his hair was one of the things that made her think this dream location might be Khatar. At least, the traders that came over the mountain pass from Khatar were the only people she knew who generally had hair that color—well, and a few people whose parents or grandparents had come from Khatar.

This time, the young man rode up to the palace on a horse only a slightly darker shade of gold than his hair, with a creamy mane and tail. Rose had never seen a horse that color, but she had to admit they made a striking pair. Then again, she’d thought the young man was striking whatever he happened to be doing in her dream.

Suddenly she sat bolt upright. “Fatherless, Weather has grown strong and true, taught and guided by blood, protected by blood and Temple. Now the time arrives to seek his lost father and complete the prophecy.”

Her father squeezed her hand. “Wake up now, Rose.”

Her eyes fluttered open and her brows knit, momentarily disoriented. Why was Papa holding her hand? Oh, right. Because she’d had the same dream, or one very like it, for two nights running—three, now. Papa was a Dream Guide, as Rose would be too, someday, and he had to touch her as she dreamed in order to share the dream so he could determine if this was a true dream.

Papa released her hand and began scribbling something hurriedly on the paper on the little table by her bed.

Now, if you want to know what the reference to “Weather” means, well, you’ll just have to read the next blog post, which will introduce another character.

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This is Gaian, Kaleran’s father. Everyone thinks he’s dead–or, well, something like dead. The events at the end of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, left him with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he’s in the forest.

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He’s basically been boiled down to a single imperative–Protect those who are weaker. And, since his character is (loosely) based on Hercules, pretty much everybody is weaker. Up to now, he’s mostly done that by removing (permanently) any bandits or other nefarious people he’s found trying to take refuge in the forest.

This isn’t really his first POV appearance in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, but it’s a better introduction to who he is now.

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But, then, this isn’t really his introduction, either, since he’s the main character of the series. He’s just rescued Rose–who I expect will be introduced in my next blog post–and escorted her back out of the forest to her family. (Snow is a white raven that he rescued as a nestling, earlier.)

Gaian stood in the shadow of the trees and watched Rose’s reunion with her family. At some point, long ago, he was sure someone had greeted him like that. He had an impression of a woman with pale, pale blonde hair. He just couldn’t remember who she was. Or where.

How long ago was that? He couldn’t remember that, either. Though he knew he’d been in the forest a long time. Cat was getting old, at least. Just this last winter she’d welcomed a new cat who’d come into the forest from somewhere. Gaian had named the new cat Blue Eyes for the distinctive color of her eyes. It was Blue Eyes weaving around his legs right now, while Cat stayed in the shelter of their cave, sleeping.

He didn’t feel like he was getting old himself. Well, people lived longer than cats, he supposed.

Snow, now. Gaian watched the raven amusing himself with another stick. Snow and his mate had raised how many nestlings of their own in the tallest tree at the edge of his glade? He tried to count on his fingers. Hmm. More than fifteen nesting seasons. Probably not as many as twenty. That was as close as he could reckon it, not having paid that much attention to the passing of time.

And in all that time, the only other human voices he’d heard had been bandits and deserters in the few moments before their deaths. Not once, until today, had he heard his name—or even thought of it. In fact, it had taken him a moment to remember his own name. And he still wasn’t sure he’d remembered it exactly correctly. ‘Gan’ was close but . . . not quite right.

It made him a little sad to think that. Befitting his mood, a chilly drizzle started. Gaian shook himself and raised the lion’s-head hood of his cape to keep the rain off, though that likely would have frightened Rose.

Rose was a problem, living so close to the forest. As a descendant of the Goddess, she definitely had a claim on his protection. And the forest wasn’t safe. It certainly wouldn’t be safe for her to get in the habit of running into the forest. Well, the first thing he needed to do was dispose of a couple of bandits’ bodies. Then backtrack and try to ascertain if they were alone or if there was a larger band he needed to deal with.

And . . . and maybe he’d come check on Rose a little more frequently.

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Characters

So, I continue to work on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Rather than just keep updating my progress, I’m going to share the introductions of the various POV characters. Not necessarily in the order of their introduction in the narrative.

Here’s Kaleran, eldest son of the main character, last seen at the end of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING at the age of five when his father died (at least as far as anyone knows). He’s now twenty-three. (Yes, there’s an eighteen-year gap between books 1 and 2.)

The sanctuary garden was blessedly empty at this hour. Taking one more look around, just to be sure, he knelt before the Goddess’s statue. Mumbling one hurried devotion, he felt around the base for the little hollow, hidden by a miniature rose bush, and retrieved his treasure.

He was fairly sure, by now, that the priestesses knew about it and left it there, because it was important to him. But he never spoke of it, and neither did they. He . . . didn’t really want to talk about it. It was silly for a grown man to place so much importance in a child’s toy, but he couldn’t help it.

With the wooden sphere in his hand, he said a more sincere devotion and retreated to the bench, rolling the ball in his hand. The paint was fading, after all this time. In places it had peeled off entirely. Once, it had been bright red with blue and yellow stripes, the beautiful favorite toy of a five-year old boy. It was all he had left of that happy life before . . . before everything had come crashing down. The only thing that helped him remember when he had been truly loved—not cared for out of duty by a man too busy to spare him so much as an hour. Though, in truth, Uncle Benar had little more time for his own sons. Or, later . . . whatever you could call Uncle Cordan’s tutelage, it surely wasn’t love.

Kaleran wasn’t just sure what it was, actually. When he’d been sent to the tower at ten years old, Uncle Benar had said that he was to be trained and prepared to be High Priest for his father, someday. But if that was Uncle Cordan’s purpose, he had a very odd way of going about it. The only training Kaleran received was when he was allowed to go back across to the Palace and join the other young men for a tiny portion of their training. At least, the only training Uncle Cordan knew about. There were a couple of Temple Guards, here, who gave him personal training in the warrior’s circle—the training he was forbidden to get at the Palace. Of course, Uncle Cordan’s demands had forced him to miss even that outlet today.

If he was meant to be High Priest someday, shouldn’t he be learning about the running of the New Temple and the equinox festivals and . . . and theology, or something?

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I’m moving forward in the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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I’ve moved all my characters into position and now it’s time for things to start to get interesting.

Well, I hope it’s been interesting up to this point, too, of course. But now I mean more in the may-you-live-in-interesting-times sense. Unexpected complications confusing and separating allies while the antagonist attempts to strengthen his position. Although, the antagonist has got a few unexpected complications in store, too in just a few chapters. Some things that will make one character change sides.

In other words, the next few chapters are going to be fun to write.

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Earlier this week, I paused briefly in writing the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, because I had to figure something out.

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Discovery writer problems.

I knew I needed someone to help one particular POV character (let’s call him Kal). Someone who is not the person who is supposed to be responsible for his training, etc. But I hadn’t figured out who this other character would be. It needed to be someone with a prior association with the Kal’s parents. And then it hit me. In the very first chapter of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, I have someone who is rescued by Kal’s father. Someone who would probably have known Kal’s mother.  Someone who has a loyalty to Kal’s Grandmother (there’s a reason that’s capitalized). Someone who, in short, is perfect for the role of shadow guardian.

I didn’t name this other character in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, but that’s easily fixed, since the manuscript is out with my critique partners and there will certainly be another round of revisions when it comes back. I can even give this character a small additional part, easily enough.

I haven’t written this chapter that I needed to figure out yet because I ultimately decided that it will come a little later in the timeline. But now I know enough to write it when I get there.

Meantime, I have to move Kal’s brother into position for the next main event.

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For some reason, it always takes me a day or two–sometimes more–to change gears from one story to another. Even if the next story is the sequel to the last. That may be especially true with this story because several of the characters are new.

For BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, it took me a couple of days to find my way into the next chapter. But I’ve got a good start on it now.

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Now to see how much progress I can make before the critiques of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING start coming back.

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Moving On

So, while BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING is in the hands of beta readers,

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I’m going back to work on the sequel, BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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The first thing to do, naturally, was to read the ten chapters I’d already written just to refresh myself on where I’d left the story. Sometimes, that results in finding problems I hadn’t noticed earlier.

I found a couple of small things I needed to change and several things I need to consider in the next chapters. I don’t normally go back and make changes in the first draft–unless it’s something that will change the story going forward. One of those changes was like that. But it was small and I’ve already taken care of it.

BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM (Book 2) will be a little different than BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING (Book 1).

Book 1 centered tightly on the main character, although a few other characters got the occasional POV chapter–the love interest, the brother/sidekick, the antagonist. One other character got a single POV chapter.

Book 2 starts in a place where the main character can’t carry the action. He’s stuck in a situation where he can’t move forward until certain other things happen–which is one of the reasons I broke the story where I did. There’s a time lapse between books 1 and 2 before those conditions can be met. So, the action is carried mostly by other characters who are not yet, but will become sidekicks, of a sort. Plus POV chapters by two–at least two–other characters one of which is the antagonist. Five primary points of view.

And one of the things I kind of knew when I paused work on Book 2 to go back and make the revisions on Book1 is that I had set up one of those points of view and then was kind of letting it drop until it becomes important again. That won’t work. So I’m going to have to find something to keep this guy on the edges of the story until his moment comes. That will take a little bit of thought.

 

 

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