You all probably know by now Beautiful People is like my favorite blogging thing ever. I get to answer a list of questions about my characters, which happens to be my favorite thing to talk about. Um, yes please! Well, the beautiful Beautiful People (yes, I just said that) hosts Sky and Cait decided to do something awesome for the next three months.
Yes, Beautiful BOOKS. In honor of NaNoWriMo (which happens in less than a week? WHAAAT???) they’re doing a linkup revolving around our NaNo books (or any current WIP if you’re not doing NaNo). For this month they’re asking questions about plotting. In November it’ll focus on writing. And then questions centered around editing in December. Brilliant, right? I thought so. To the point of squealing when they announced it. In a dignified manner, of course. Ahem.
. . .Except I’m joining in the first one right at the tail end of it. Whoops. BUT I couldn’t really answer questions about my NaNo novel when I hadn’t, ya know, figured it out yet myself. Thankfully I’ve officially finished up all NaNo prepping and my novel is completely plot-ified. *cue applause*
I suppose this first edition will be ending soon (being as how October decided to take it upon itself to speed into hyperdrive, it really should get a ticket for that), but there are still a few days yet to join in! So if you want to dive deeper into your NaNo novel before November gets here or just beautify your current WIP get yourself on over to Sky's post and/or Cait's, snag those questions, and linkup! You know you want to. *wriggles eyebrows*
Alrighty, heeere we go!
1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Well, I’m writing the fifth book of a series I started on my first NaNo. I write each book for each NaNo. And the first spark of this series came from a picture of an elf girl I randomly found on the internet. There was so much story in that one picture, and I knew I wanted to write that girl’s tale. From there more characters cropped up, and some dragons, and next thing I knew I had a series. But the characters definitely came first. They usually do. Characters rule my life. >.>
Plotter or pantser? Heheheh. This is kind of a tricky question. See, I’m a pantser, always have been. I love it! Sitting down in front of a blank document and letting the words flow, discovering the story as I go along, it’s thrilling! But. . .not so thrilling when the Great Wall of Writer’s Block pops up and your creativity smacks right dab into it, leaving you befuddled and tired. Pantsing is a fantastic ride, but it comes with a lot of writer’s block since I don’t actually ever know what is going to happen next and I have to figure it out. Writing that way is slow going. And you can’t have slow writing in NaNoWriMo, that defeats the purpose. So, pantser though I am, I actually go to excessive plotting for all my NaNo novels. I literally have a full 10k chapter by chapter outline for this year’s. And character bios and a map of the world and yeah. I’m pretty prepared. There shall be no writer’s block in November! *shakes fist*
2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?
More White than Stars is its title. Stars play a big part in it and there’s. . .a lot of white stuff everywhere. White hair, white snow, white. . .stars. Yeeeah.
Iavin is not much thought of by his parents. Or himself, really. So he expected to be happy when he is chosen by a dragon, a white dragon at that, the rarest and most sacred of the species. Now he can prove himself, make his parents proud. Right? In reality, he's scared out of his wits.
Iavin's partner, Sayleth, is a mystery, to put it lightly. Her white hair, pale eyes, and even paler complexion raise questions enough, but the fact that she's a mute and never even attempts to explain where she came from adds to the mysterious shroud surrounding her. Iavin doesn't know how he's going to be a dragon rider partner to this curious, beautiful girl when his tongue ties in knots every time he's in her presence.
It doesn't help matters that less than twenty-four hours after he's initiated as a dragon rider Princess Iraila is captured, forcing the King to send out these new dragon riders across Aerigethel in search for her. Not exactly how Iavin wished to start out his already terrifying new life.
Iavin, Sayleth, and their two white dragons, Nemayn and Daeomin, are sent northwest to the region of Silhendait where the temperatures are cold and so are the people. Confusion clouds Iavin's mind when they discover the land is being held together by a young man with hair equally as white as Sayleth's. This boy, Cael, is believed to have fallen from the sky to protect Silhendait with his strange powers. Iavin doesn't know what to think, but he almost wants to believe it. There's something alluring about the white headed boy. But when Iavin, Sayleth, and their dragons are forced to the frigid mountains in the north, Iavin is plunged into a part of his world he never even knew existed. In freezing lands with strange people and dark plots, Iavin learns the mysteries of his partner and Cael are deeper than he ever imagined, and the peaceful times of Aerigethel will all too soon be tainted with blood, death, and war. Can frail Iavin, who can hardly hold up a sword, be able to put aside his insecurities before the world he knows and loves is gone forever?
I know, it’s so long. o.O I wrote it three different times and each time it refused to get any shorter. I’m seriously the worst at synopses. Me and summarizing things in a quick manner just. . .no.
3. What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
These books always end up being long. Like LONG, long. The first one ended at over 200k words. What? o.o See why I can’t make synopses? I am getting a little better at compacting stories but they still end up far longer than I mean for them to. I guess for this one, anywhere from 80k to 100k would be good. But it’ll probably end up longer. >.>
4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
*blinks* Did I not just SAY I can’t do short summaries?? *siiigh* Okay. . .
Insecure boy and mysterious mute girl get chosen as dragon riders.
Princess gets captured.
I know. Your mind is blown.
Okay, I just made it sound like the most cliché medieval fantasy story in the history of ever. . . I’m not good at summaries, okay???
5. Sum up your characters in one word each.
Oh, first three sentences and now only three words? I can do this, I can do this.
6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!
Oooh man. I’m really excited about ALL my characters. I’ve got quite an interesting cast ahead of me. But. . .but. . .to be perfectly truthful the character I’m most excited about is Cael, which sorta kinda happens to be the villain-ish person for this particular novel. *COUGH* Is that wrong? It might be wrong. Also, the next question asks about the villain, so I guess for this question I’m going to go with my main POV character, Iavin. Because, really, I’m kind of itching to get inside his head and settle there for a month. He’s going to be a delight to write about, I can already tell.
Although there are occasional other POVs throughout the novel, Iavin takes the main spotlight. It’s really his story, even if it focuses on other people. (I think I just contradicted myself. Oh, I don’t know!) I actually just did a post all about Iavin, Sayleth, and Cael if you want a more in depth look on my motley cast. But I’ll try to do a quick summary (ha ha) of Iavin here.
Iavin is, as mentioned multiple times already, insecure. His parents expect much out of him but he can’t really deliver. Then he’s thrust into all sorts of peril and is as lost and confuzzled as a bee in a twister. But he’s kind of adorable for it. Maybe his one word above should have been adorable instead of insecure, because he is. His shy and awkward self just makes my heart swell.
But I think what I love most about Iavin is the fact that he’s just all around nice. I LOVE antihero type characters, those gray characters that are sometimes good and sometimes bad, usually snarky, full of sarcastic comments. So much fun. But, sometimes, I want my protagonist to just be nice. Sometimes it gets tiresome having our heroes always dipping into the gray areas. Characters need to be human, yes, and, like I said, those are my favorite types. But every now and again it’s a breath of fresh air to just have an all around nice person as our hero. So yes, I think it’s going to be great spending a month with sweet, little Iavin and his adorkable self.
7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
So after that big speech let me totally contradict myself (because I seem to do that a lot) and tell you about the character I’m REALLY excited about.
While Iavin and Sayleth have vaguely been roaming through my brain for years, Cael literally popped out just a couple weeks ago when I was outlining, and demanded to not only be a humongous part of this one book but the entire series. He singlehandedly changed the overall plot of the series I’ve been working on for four years in mere seconds. >.> That alone probably tells you something about him.
Cael fits the bill for the gray characters I was talking about earlier, snark and sarcastic comebacks included. And yes, I like him. A lot. *cough* I guess calling him an antihero is a little generous. Being as how he’s the villain and all. But unlike the main main villain of the series, he’s not just going to go around murdering whoever gets in his way. There’s actually a shred of decency inside that pompous head of his. In fact, sometimes he’s just nice, even while tearing apart the entire world. It’s pretty confusing for poor Iavin and Sayleth.
His goal? Well, that’s a bit spoiler-y, don’t you think? Let’s just say he’s trying to build a better world for himself and a certain group of people. Even though that means, you know, destroying the peaceful world. Details, details.
8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
The original goal for Iavin and Sayleth was to search for their captured princess and if they find her bring her back home. Easy peasy. But then, you know, a certain white headed boy appeared and the simple rescue mission turned into a save-the-world kind of thing. It happens.
But as far as personal goals. . . Iavin just wants to survive his new life as a dragon rider without making a complete blundering job of it. The problem: A bunch of guys with weapons and desire for world domination. Like Iavin was going to get to live in his world’s peaceful years during his service as a dragon rider. Pffft.
And for Sayleth. She just wants to keep her world safe. I think you can guess what stands in her way by now.
9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
Iavin is initiated as an official dragon rider after many months of rigorous training, and then bam, the princess gets captured that very night. So the king is forced to send out these brand new dragon riders in search for her. Nice way to start out his already scary life as a dragon rider, right? I thought so.
10. Where is your novel set?
A medieval fantasy world I made up called Aerigethel. The majority of the novel takes place in the snowy mountains of the north. But a good chunk of it is inside the hilly green land of Sivral where Iavin and most of the other characters are from.
11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
Princess is captured and the dragon riders are sent to search for her.
Iavin and Sayleth meet strange white headed boy in the neighboring kingdom.
Oops, strange white headed boy is imprisoning Sayleth. Now why would he do that?
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?
I’ll stick with Iavin for this question since he really is my main protagonist. The one he’s closest to is actually his dragon, Nemayn (who I realize I haven’t even mentioned yet, shameful!). Dragons and riders have a mental link that connect them at an extremely deep level. Since Iavin is too shy and awkward to make friends, feels pretty uncomfortable around his parents, and has no siblings, Nemayn is really the only one he’s gotten close to. She has a knack for pulling him out of his comfort zone, which isn’t always a good thing in his eyes, but what can you do? She’s mischievous, adventurous, and flighty. And though she rather be out chasing butterflies while Iavin reads, they’re always there for a supporting ear and a nudge of encouragement.
With Sayleth, well, let’s just say Iavin admires her, a lot. But being as how she can’t speak and he’s too awkward to hold a one sided conversation, their relationship is a little iffy. Sayleth, though, is a very kind, gracious, gentle person. She never hesitates to offer a smile. Iavin wants to get close to her, but he’s so uncomfortable around her he can’t do much but babble incoherently in her presence. But, you know, when two people are thrown into life-threatening circumstances they tend to put aside fears and learn to trust in one another. Iavin and Sayleth’s relationship grows into a sweet one through the course of the novel. I look forward to watching it blossom.
And then there’s Cael. Cael actually becomes one of the first people in Iavin’s life that actually acts like he genuinely wants to be Iavin’s friend. Iavin learns to really enjoy Cael’s company. Until, you know, bad stuff happens. But Cael being the conflicting person he is still almost holds a tiny strand of friendship with Iavin. Ish. It gets pretty confusing for Iavin.
13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
I think Iavin will always be the awkward introvert he is, but after such circumstances I inflict on him, he can’t help but discover he’s far more adept and confident than he would have ever otherwise believed.
14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
Like I said, I went a little overboard with a chapter by chapter outline. So yep, I’ve got the ending all planned out. It ends on a satisfying note, but more of a calm before the storm thing. The next two books are the big finales, so this ends kind of leading up to that. The characters are happy, but they know the suffering has just begun.
15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself? (This is your mission statement, one you can look back on when the road gets tough.)
That it won’t kill me before the end of November. Okay, okay. Really, right now this series is just for fun. I mean, I would LOVE to see it published someday, but it’s so huge and disastrous that may never happen. And if it does, that’s maaany years in the future, and it probably won’t even look like the same series after rewrites occur. But I do love it, so much. I can’t even express what a special place it holds in my heart. I’ve spent all my years of NaNoing in this world of Aerigethel and have a couple left with it. I really would love to see it maybe, someday on bookstore shelves.
And for an impression, I want the reader walking away from it with the realization that no matter how small or insecure you may feel, you have SO much worth. It doesn’t matter what others may think of you. God loves you and created you into a beautiful human being. He put you here for a reason. As long as you cling to Him, hold on to hope and faith, you can find the strength to do what you never thought you had the courage for. The smallest of people can make the hugest impact.
. . .
Whoo, if you made it through all that I applaud you! I apologize for my long answers. I may be a teeny tiny bit excited for this book. NaNoWriMo is almost heeeere!
So do you have a novel in the plotting stage? TELL ME ABOUT IT.