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Posts Tagged ‘characters’

Taking a break–meaning stepping away and not even staring at the words or the page–for a  couple of days was the right decision. That little bit of distance allowed me to see just what (tiny) element was really holding me up. A very minor change in the least important of the characters involved in this scene let me move forward–and actually is making the scene much better.

I find that very often, that kind of lack of progress is an indicator that something–often something minor–just isn’t working. A little change, or, sometimes, a big change, will fix and unstick things.

I wouldn’t say I’m roaring along just yet, but I am getting words down, which is a vast improvement. MAGE STORM is back up on four wheels and starting to roll.

Mage Storm

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I’m having trouble getting traction with MAGE STORM. Not really sure why. I know the story. I have an entire previous version to use as an outline, after all. I know what should happen in this chapter. I’ve done the character backstory. But . . . it’s just not flowing at the moment.

Probably time to drop back and do something else for a bit until whatever’s stuck comes loose. Maybe the cover art. And, of course, studying up on keywords.

Meanwhile, here’s the backstory of the character in question, Katria:

Sixteen. From Sawyers Oaks. Three brothers, two older (Darin and Ferd), one a year younger (Natan). One younger sister, Rosella.

Her family does not have deep roots in Sawyers Oaks. Her father had been a young child there, but his family had moved to Marketown after the Great Mage War. Before that, they had owned the sawmill in Sawyers Oaks. After the recent death of his mother, Katria’s father has brought his family—and his elderly father—back to Sawyers Oaks. His older brother is now managing the carpentry shop his father started in Marketown.

Katria’s first magic is fear-based, trying to save family members from the mage storm. After this, Katria’s family is attacked by villagers afraid of the return of magic. The father of the young man (Jeld) Katria had begun to have feelings for leads the attack and Jeld joins him. Her father and Ferd are injured. Angry, Katria uses magic to drive off the attackers—which only makes matters worse. Knowing that she could only cause more trouble for her family and guilty about what she’d done, Katria slips out in the middle of the night and starts west, drawn by Mastan’s Calling. She and Rell meet on the way.

She is best at fighting, reasonably good at healing (when in the right mood), only okay at Calling.

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I’m still doing some research to help me with my keywords problem. I did make a couple of changes to the keywords. I haven’t seen any impact so far, but then I only made the changes yesterday. My chronic impatience aside, it probably is too soon to tell. Wait and see. More on that when I’ve had a little time to assess it–and, hopefully some data to assess.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten restarted on the rewrite of MAGE STORM–a chapter from the point of view of another character. One I finally have enough of a feel for to write from her perspective after doing the character backstories. It’s not that I didn’t know who this character was in the earlier version of the story. But she never had point-of-view chapters and so she was mostly seen from the point of view of the only character who did. The original version of MAGE STORM had only one point-of-view character.

Usually, when I write from multiple points of view, I start out that way from the beginning. Coming at it from the other direction, I needed that dive into the other characters’ backstories in order to do them justice. It will be a much better story now.

 

 

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I decided to start with character profiles/backstories for the principal characters in MAGE STORM. This isn’t something I usually do, but I thought it would be useful in this case since I’m trying to get a new start on a story I wrote some time ago. Also because I’ve changed the roles of a couple of characters–actually switched the competencies of the two principal allies. I needed to give them better and more extensive backstories to support their skills.

I’ve almost finished that. I need to do a very little more research into a certain personality type for my antagonist/villain. So far, I’ve got a much better feeling about those two characters in particular and–unlike the last attempt–I actually feel ready to write in their points of view.

I’ve also decided to go ahead and create a map for this series. I’ve had a really basic hand-drawn . . . thing . . . that I used as a writer’s aid for the first version. Believe me, this is even less ready for prime time than my usual hand-drawn maps. But, it’s been a while since I last worked on a map with this software, so I’m having to go back through the tutorials.

Then, when that’s done, I should be ready to start writing/re-writing this story. I still haven’t decided on the sword and sorcery vs. epic fantasy question. This story sort of lives in the grey area in between. But, that doesn’t have to stop me from writing the first book. The question will only come up in how I build–or fail to build–the greater arc in the later books.

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Woo Hoo!

I just finished the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM!

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Well, not completely finished. I still need to do another read-through to make sure I didn’t mess anything up with cut and paste, etc. Probably best if I wait a few days to start that, though. And then it’ll be ready to go to my critique partners–always assuming I don’t find anything else in that read-through, of course.

There was one minor plot thing that I decided to change at the end of the story and a few places where I needed to get deeper into the characters’ emotions. One revision of an unnecessarily complex sentence into two. And a couple of additions that just mirrored something earlier in the story.

But the revision I saved for last was neither of those. In his first POV chapter (Chapter 3), I had deliberately left one of the characters  from the first book anonymous in his first POV chapter. Deliberately because he’s been “lost” so long he doesn’t even remember who he was. In the next chapter in which he appears (Chapter 7), he’s asked who he is and dredges up a name that’s almost–but not quite–right. Then the question emerged: which name should be used in narration until he finally recovers his right name? Especially in his POV chapters. There was a difference of opinion among my critique partners and I had to decide how I wanted to handle it. In his POV chapters keep using the wrong name, or use the right one?

Using the wrong name in his POV chapters felt like highlighting his confusion, but also like it might be overly confusing for readers who might have picked up Book 2 first or just not remember Book 1 all that clearly.

Then I took a look at the chapters. Well, the first time this character gets called by his right name to his face is Chapter 17–and he’s very confused by it. And the first time he actually accepts that that is his real name is Chapter 31. That skates way too close to withholding for my tastes. Withholding is one of my big pet peeves that makes me (as a reader) feel that the author isn’t being honest with me. And that ruins the willing suspension of disbelief. And so, now he’s called, in narration at least, by his right name right from Chapter 3.

I think that’s much better.

 

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I’m working through the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Usually, I more or less go through the manuscript in order, picking off revisions as I come to them. Unless, of course, a revision requires a little more thought. Then I might skip over it the first time and come back to it in a later pass.

This time, though, I find myself skipping around, working on whatever revision seems to appeal at the moment. It’s interesting, but I found myself reading through a sequence yesterday, just to make sure I hadn’t messed it up with a bit of cut and paste surgery I’d performed. I’ll have to read the whole thing through again, of course, when I finish the revisions and before I hand it off to my critique partners.

One of the side effects of this, however, is that I’ve knocked off most of the easy ones and now find myself wrestling with one of the revisions which requires generating more emotional response for one of the characters.

Those are sometimes the most difficult revisions. This one, I’ve decided, can’t be dealt with in a single revision. This is something this character has been avoiding dealing with for a long time. And it’s going to take several scenes, over the course of the whole book to build the pressure on this character and then release it–right at the climax.

This is going to be so much better.

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Let’s see, last post I had started Chapter 39 in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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I have now started Chapter 41, which is still well ahead of schedule. (The goal was two chapters a week and I post twice a week. So, really, I’d be on schedule if I’d only written one chapter in that time frame.)

I’ve actually written a little more than that. Chapter 40 ended up being split when I realized the scene I’d just written more properly belonged a little later in the narrative. So, I cut and pasted and moved it to a new chapter to a new Chapter 46, where it sits by itself until I get to that chapter.

But the real fun is the chapter I’m writing now. The POV character is Mariel, who was an important character in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING and is more of a side character in the sequel.

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She is one of the more patient and mild-mannered characters–normally. But she’s just hit the end of her tether and is about to unleash her–considerable–wrath over a wide swath of people she doesn’t think have come up to snuff in the current situation. People who mostly aren’t used to be talked to that way.

This is going to be fun!

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