Saturday, May 31, 2014

Here Come the Bunnies!

Scribblings
 
     Greetings, fellow writers and readers!  I am joining an event this month, hosted over at Anne-girl's blog .  I have never done a plot bunny challenge before and am curious to try it.
     At first, I thought that focusing on plot bunnies might be a distraction from my current projects, but then I realized what an amazing exercise this is.  Coming up with new ideas is not hard, but this event requires that you write back-cover blurbs and the 1st scene of the story.  Making those two things interesting enough to grab the attention of the reader is not something I have put a lot of time into yet.  So this will be an awesome opportunity to practice.
     The requirements for this event are as follows:
1. Put her button on my blog (done! -- see the cute bunny picture above?)
2. Leave the link to my blog in Anne-girl's comments (so she can list me on her blog as one of the joinees)
2. Begin 8 plot bunnies in June
     2a. Must post back cover blurb on my blog
     2b. Must post 1st scene of story on my blog
     2c. Optional activities:
          - brainstorming sessions
          - Beautiful People event for characters in my plot bunny
          - plot treatments
          - be interviewed on Anne-girl's blog
               -- being interviewed means you email Annegirl,
                   she sends you questions which you answer, 
                   and then she posts your answers on her blog.
 
     Anne-girl and her friend Wilbur will pick a winning plot bunny each week, and the winner gets a free "for fun" book cover.  Look to the right of your screen.  Do you see the "for fun" book covers for Dungeon and for Ariana's Island?  Those were done by Anne-girl.  Pretty cool, huh?
 
     For more information, go to Anne-girl's post titled Bunnies, Delays, and Other Things Good and Bad

Friday, May 30, 2014

BB Villain: The First Rat

Vineyard at night
via Pinterest

    The piping of the tree frogs was the only sound to be heard.  It was dark -- very dark; the tiny sliver of moon was not enough to guide Newel's steps.  The servants were asleep, and the castle was a quiet as a tomb.  Newel walked with cat-like steps into the still, night air, seeking a refuge from his trouble dreams.
     His path wound through the gardens, his feet tracing the familiar pattern of stones beneath his feet.  Then on he crept, to the arbor and the vineyard beyond.
     Hark!  What was that sound?  Newel froze, his ears straining to catch any noise.  But all was silent over the piping frogs.  Newel drew in a long breath and let it out slowly before resuming his journey.
     But what was that?  The sound again!  Newel spun, his eyes searching the darkness.  The hair on the back of his neck stood up, and, in his mind, he heard a voice whisper, "First your mother...now you."  Newel's blood ran cold at the thought.
     "Who's there!" Newel shouted, with a show of bravado.  "Show yourself or by ---, I will..."
      A cracking twig and the rustle of young leaves prefaced the appearance of a dark form.  Newel strained his eyes into the darkness, barely perceiving the cloaked figure.
     "Hei!  Stop there!  State your purpose," Newel demanded, gathering his feet under him for a sudden flight.
     "A thousand pardons, your Grace," croaked a low voice that proved to be as tremulous as Newel's.  "I wish to speak to you."
     The sudden release of his fears soured Newel's mood.  He drew his own cloak around him and glared at the newcomer.  "You should be hung for this," Newel blustered.  "And trespassing!  Your punishment will increase ten-fold for your insolence."
      The newcomer held out pleading hands.  "Pardon, your Grace!  Oh, pardon!  But I have one wish before I die...and it has to do with your mother," the man said.
     Newel started as though a loud noise had awakened him.  "My mother," he exclaimed.  "You?  How dare you speak of her?"
     The man dropped the hood of his cloak, revealing a middle-aged man with an unkempt beard, a red nose, and baggy eyes.  Newel drew back from him in disgust. 
     "My name is Gosif.  Believe you that your mother's death was an accident?" the man queried, with a meaningful look.
     Newel froze again, eyeing the man.  "No," he said, finally.  His tone was suspicious and his eyes were wide as he tried to read the face of the man called Gosif.
     "Neither do I," said the man, his voice in a hoarse whisper.  "I suspect her father."
     "Her father?" Newel exclaimed.  "What proof have you?"
     "Rumor has it that relations have never been good between them," Gosif began.
      It was true.  Newel had seen his mother meet privately with her father and leave that meeting with pursed lips and an angry face.  But he had never suspected any real danger from it.
     "And he was seen to leave the palace only the day before her death," Gosif added.  "By me."
     Newel's lips curled back into a smirk.  "How would one such as you recognize my grandfather," he scoffed.
     The change that came over the man's face was terrible.  There was a burning anger -- a terrible hatred such as Newel had never seen before.  It was the face of a desperate man and it fascinated Newel.
     "Never will I forget that face," the man whispered, his eyes fixed on a distant spot as though he saw his enemy before him.  "I see it day and night.  Even in my dreams.  Because of him, my family is gone.  Wife.  Two sons.  Starved.  Now I have nothing left to lose.  Nothing but revenge.  That man will suffer for what he has done."
     For a moment both men were silent.  Gosif relived his past and dreamed of vengence, his eyes clearly showing that his mind was no longer in the present.  Newel was silently calculating.  Gosif only needed leadership, and Newel suspected the man could be moved to do nearly anything.  It was a novel idea, to have a man devoted to him, and Newel's hunger for power suddenly filled his mouth with a pleasant taste.  It would be interesting to see how far Gosif would go.  And there was absolutely no danger in it -- Gosif was easy enough to get rid of.
      Had his grandfather killed his mother?  Newel did not know.  Gosif's word alone was not sufficient proof but Newel did not care.  He wanted his mother avenged, and his grandfather seemed a likely culprit.  Perhaps his nightmares, such as the one that drove him to the vineyards this very night, would relinquish their hold on him if Mara's death were avenged.
     "Why do you come to me?" Newel asked at last.
     Gosif bowed his head for a moment, as if asking pardon from his dead family.  Then he raised his eyes to Newel's face.  "I am enslaved to a man in the city.  I have already risked my life by sneaking here.  But I have nothing to lose.  I must have revenge and, after your mother's death, I thought perhaps..."
     "You thought I would help you," Newel finished, a scheming look in his eye.  For a moment, he watched the man, enjoying the looks of hope and despair that flickered across his face.  Those looks were entirely dependent on Newel, and Newel enjoyed the feeling of power as the man waiting breathlessly for Newel to continue.  Then, slowly, Newel pulled a bag of coins from his waist.
     "I will buy you," Newel announced.  "With this money, I redeem you for myself."  Newel paused again, studying the man's face.  "You shall have your revenge," Newel informed him, watching as the hungry look in the man's eye's grew even hungrier.  "If..."
     The "if" sent worry to the man's soul and he looked sharply into Newel's face.  "I will return and serve you with all that I am," Gosif promised, quickly.
      "Are you willing to do anything?" Newel asked with a shrewd look.
      Somehow divining Newel's meaning, a shrewd look was mirrored in Gosif's face.  "Your enemies will tremble because of me," he promised.  "I will do your bidding with the skill of a rat, and I will answer only to you, Master."
      Satisfied, Newel dropped the bag of coins into Gosif's hands.  "Your first assignment is to kill the murderer," he told the man, as the coins clinked together in the bag.
      "I will snap his neck," promised Gosif, the Rat.
      "No," Newel said firmly, his eyes narrowing.  Gosif stared wonderingly at his new master.
     Newel looked back in the direction of the castle and clenched his teeth.  "You will throw him from a balcony," Newel finished, softly but fiercely.
     A grin spread across Gosif's face and he nodded his agreement.
     And thus Newel engaged his first Rat...the first of many.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

BB Villain: Lost Without You

Winter Moon  http://www.etsy.com/listing/66918850/winter-moon-dreamy-blue-surreal-trees?ref=sr_gallery_3_search_submit=_search_query=moon_noautofacet=1_page=4_search_type=handmade_facet=handmade%2Fart%2Fphotography
via Pinterest
"Pale as a winter moon"
      "If your Grace would be so good as to come with me," a nervous voice intruded on Newel's private thoughts.  Newel looked up into the face of one of the palace servants.  The servant looked as pale as a winter moon, and his eyes were as frightened as if he had seen an invading army of untold numbers.
      "This is a strange business, thought Newel.  "On the first night of my dukedom."  He fingered the crest of his new office.  His brother made him "Duke of Northumber" that very morning.  Newel had laughed up his sleeve during the ceremony.  He did not know how his mother intended to put him on Alton's throne, but he knew that very soon the new "duke of Northumber" would be known as King Newel instead.
      Newel rose to his feet and followed his summons.  "Slow down, you side-winding crab!" Newel growled, irritated with the speed of servant's steps.  Something had obviously upset the servant's usual demeanor, and Newel found it rather aggravating.
     Through the dark halls and winding staircases, the servant led the Duke of Northumber until they stepped out into a small courtyard garden underneath his mother's rooms.  Newel's heart sped up pleasantly, as he imagined a bower such as his mother might have prepared for him.  It was like her -- to have a private celebration of his dukedom with a promise of her plan to raise him higher.  She had been quite obsessed with her plans of late.
     Newel glanced up at her balcony, half expecting to see her there, looking down to greet him.  But the wind billowed through empty curtains and there was not a soul on the balcony.
     "Here, your Grace," implored the nervous servant.  Newel followed him around the shrubbery and nearly ran into him as the servant stopped abruptly.
     "Fool!" Newel spat, but suddenly he felt his heart stop and all thoughts of the servant fled his mind.
      There was a form of a woman on the ground.  Her queenly gown lay motionless around her still form.  Newel stood as if he were a statue, staring wide-eyed at the tiny gloved hands splayed out to one side.
      "It's the queen mother, your Grace," another servant informed him.  For the first time, Newel became aware that there were a collection of servants standing around the lifeless form.  But still, Newel did not move.
      "She's dead, your Grace," the servant continued.  "We thought you should be the first to know."
       Newel's lips moved before the words came out.  "How did this happen?" he demanded.
      "It would seem she fell from her balcony.  No one saw it happen.  We heard a noise and found her here," the servant said.
      "Get out," Newel said, quietly but forcefully.  He trusted no one, and with the same fury that his mother had guarded him as a baby he wished to guard her.
     The servants stared at the wild-eyed duke incredulously.  Newel moved then, swinging his fists like a crazed man.  "Get out!  Get out!" he shouted, shaking with anger.
     The servants fled the scene, tripping over one another in their hurry to escape.  Newel watched them until they disappeared.  He paced around the courtyard, finding an outlet for his emotions in the brisk, rhythmic march.  For several minutes, he refused to look at the body on the ground.
      When he finally returned to the lifeless form, he could not bring himself to touch it.  He grabbed a garden rod and used it to turn the head so he could see the face.  It was his mother.
     "Nooo!" he screamed, dropping the rod.  Then he bent down and scooped the rod up and flung it as far and as hard as he could.  "Noooo!" he screamed again.  He grabbed another rod and began to beat the columns under the balcony as though they had committed the crime.  He flogged them until he had no more strength left.  Then he sank to the ground with his back against the column, put his head in his hands, and cried.
      "What do I do now, mother?  What do I do?" he sobbed.  "I don't know what to do."
     He thought of everything she wanted.  She wanted him to be king.  The uncomfortable thought arose that Newel owed it to her to become king now.  But where would he started on such a plan?  The very thought of facing Alton without his mother by his side filled Newel with an overwhelming fear.  Ever since Alton had caught Newel beating the mangy dog, there had been no love lost between the brothers.  Newel knew that Alton despised him.
     "I can't do it, mother," Newel moaned, depairingly.  His eyes fixed once more on her tiny gloved hands, remembering the promise she made at Alton's coronation.  "I'm lost without you," he murmured.
      And for many minutes, there was no sound heard in the garden other than the heartbroken cries of the Duke of Northumber, crying over the only person he had ever loved.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dungeon Update

     With all the work I have been doing for BB background (and not just the villain posts you see here), Dungeon lapsed into silence.  At least, it did until this week.  Suddenly, the story is reviving itself in my head, and the editing needs that swirled loosely through my brain are becoming concrete corrections (at least, some of them are).  I am rather excited to pick it up again and see where the editing takes me.
     Today, I took a scene that I have tried to fix multiple times and simply deleted it.  I discovered it is not necessary to the story.  So why wrestle with it?  Dump it and move on!
     Of course, "dumping" for me involves saving it somewhere else in a pile of discarded scenes.  I haven't quite brought myself to letting it all the way go.  It is out of my book and that is what counts.  And, if I need it again -- for this book or another -- it can be recycled and reused.
     I also made a list of things that I specifically remembered needed fixing: The ending needs more power.  Abram was left to rot unnoticed in the dungeon while the others did exciting things.  The red-faced cook was a bit more lame than I wanted her to be.  And I repeated myself to the extent of likely annoying my readers with the implied insult that they would so soon forget the contents of the previous page.  These are things I knew needed work and, with these specifics in hand, it will be easier to dive back into editing.
     I knew that it was best to let a draft sit for a little while before you begin editing.  I assumed a week would be enough, and it was not...not for me, anyway.  But now I am ready.

Monday, May 26, 2014

BB Villain: Coronation

How to Make a Fancy King Crown
via Pinterest

    Newel rubbed his sweaty palms against each other.  He could feel the beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead.  Several servants waited on him, adorning him with robes and jewels.  Newel grasped the edge of a robe, crushing it in his fist.  He could hardly have been more nervous if it were his own coronation that he was attending.
     It had been a nightmare of a week for Newel.  His father, King Reymound, had died.  Preparations for Prince Alton's coronation were immediately begun, placing Newel in constant turmoil for the next seven days.
     He knew his mother had always dreamed of him as king -- she expected it of him.  Now that his father was dead, was this his chance?  Should he storm the throne now?  He should.  He shouldn't.  He must.  He can't.  Every day the suspense grew worse.  Now that the coronation day was here, Newel couldn't think anymore.
      He had hardly spoken to his mother since his father's death.  She had the appearance of deep mourning and was constantly surrounded by comforters.  Was she expecting him to take the initiative?
     Newel glanced in the mirror as his princely seal was secured to the front of his robe.  The worry had eaten away at him.  His face was thinner, and the dark rims around his bloodshot eyes spoke of his sleepless nights.  All in all, the prince in the mirror looked miserable.
     "At least, I will look as though I have been mourning," Newel thought to himself.  His lip curled disdainfully at his reflection.  "But I don't look much like a king."
     The servants bowed and backed away from him.  His preparation was complete.  With a boom that sent a dart of fear into Newel's core, the doors were unlatched and swung wide open.  There was no chance to delay any longer.  It was time to go.
     Newel held his head high as he strode from the room and down the long halls.  But each step took him closer to the Great Court and the moment he had been dreading.
     He dreaded Alton becoming king.  He dreaded his own upcoming action as he tried to stop Alton's coronation.  He dreaded the thought that, when the time came, he might be paralyzed by fear.  He dreaded the surprised and disappointed look in his mother's eyes as she watched him do nothing.  He dreaded all these things, each thought stabbing at him cruelly.
     He paused before the doors of the Great Court, waited as the doorkeepers swung them open, and then made his entrance, taking his place on the right side.  The sweat trickled down his arms.  There were so many people there!  Only last week, his greatest ambition had been to sneak enough poison into the chicken yard to watch all the birds die of agony.  Now he was immersed in his own form of poison - terrified of himself and of everyone around him.
      All the key persons were present, and Prince Alton made his appearance.  He looked older and wiser somehow.  His eyes were sad but he held his head high and walked with purpose.
     "Curse Alton for his kingliness," Newel thought.
     Alton ascended the steps and the priest began the first prayer.  Newel licked his lips.  Now?  Should he speak now?  What if Alton called the guard on him and had him thrown out?  Would anyone stand with Newel?  Newel felt his arms trembling.  If he had been alone in his rooms, he would have screamed and beat his fists against his bed.  If he did not act soon, would it be too late?
     A gentle touch at his elbow startled Newel and he looked down to see his mother.  Somehow she had contrived to move closer to him.  She held the black scarf of mourning across her face.
     "Not yet, my son," she whispered.  Newel looked down into her eyes, reading there a look of patience, confidence, and a touch of triumph.  "Soon," she promised, softly.  "But not yet.  Wait patiently, and I will make you king."
      As her words washed over him, the worries of the week melted away, dissipating like steam in the wind.  Newel felt himself nearly crumple from the sudden relief, and his breath came in a ragged gasp, almost like a sob.  He wished the crowds of people would go away so he could buried his head in his mother's arms and let her rock him as she used to.
      She was not waiting on him or expecting him to force Alton out.  She had a plan, and she would do it.  Newel stared down admiringly at his mother's small gloved hands and enjoyed the feeling of release from his self-torture.  All Newel had to do was wait and do her bidding.  He had full confidence in her ability to work everything out.  Had she not done so in every previous instance? 
      Newel turned his attention back to Alton.  The priest was reading the laws of the kingdom, and Alton recited his vows.  With his feeling of dread gone, Newel watched Alton with a cunning look.  Never mind that the cunning was his mother's.  Every step of the coronation only brought Alton closer to his demise, and Newel could not repress as tiny, smug smile as the ceremony concluded and his brother was crowned king.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

BB Villain: Attack the Weak

     It is a strange twisted lie that makes a weak person attack someone weaker than himself.  Newel fell into this trap.  Feeling insecure, he wanted to be conqueror like his father and brother but was too cowardly to challenge someone equal to himself.  He turned to attacking those who could not defend themselves.  Soon after the embarrassing public appearance, Newel trapped some insects and took a cruel delight in removing wings and legs and watching the insects' struggles.  In some twisted way, this made him feel stronger.  But it fed his fear, as well, making him sneakier and more cowardly.
     The story below takes place when Alton was nearly a man and Newel was around 12 years old.  As I have said before, all his life, Alton fell naturally into the things expected of him, and, the older he grew, the stronger he became.  He had a talent for leading men and an ability to make swift decisions.  He never understoon his little brother’s shyness.  At 12 years of age, the younger boy seemed sullen and resentful, at odds with the world.  All of Alton’s attempts at befriending his little brother were repulsed, and eventually, Alton let him be. 
via Pinterest
 
     On the day of this story, Alton was getting ready to join his father on a trip through their country.  As he strode down to the barns, he heard a piteous yelp.  Turning off the path in search of the cry, he stumbled on a scene that filled him with anger.

     A dog was tied on a short rope.  It was a mangy-looking mutt.  Over and over, the poor dog threw itself against the end of its rope, trying each direction, in its attempt to escape.  And, perched in a tree out of reach of the dog, sat Newel, throwing rocks at the tethered dog and grinning at every yelp of pain and fear.

     “What are you doing?” roared Alton.  He stormed across the grass and pulled his younger brother from the tree with a yank.

     The boy looked at him defiantly.  “Target-practice,” he said, sticking his chin out.

     Alton stared at his brother in disbelief.  This was cruelty and cowardice – to torture a defenseless animal – and he would not tolerate it in anyone, let alone his own brother.  For a moment, he glared into his brother’s eyes.  Then he leapt into action.  With a decisiveness fitting for a prince, he grabbed Newel by the collar and dragged him toward the dog.

     “What are you doing?  Let me go!” Newel protested vehemently.  He had seen that look in his brother’s eye and it filled him with fear.

     “I’m going to change the tables,” Alton said, grimly, never slacking from his purpose.

     Newel’s mouth went dry as he realized Alton’s plan.  “No, no, don’t do it!  He’ll kill me!  Alton, no!” he cried.

     Alton did not slow his walk until they reached the dog.  Then he threw Newel down within the dog’s easy reach, pinning his blubbering brother defenseless on the ground.

     At first, the dog jumped away from them in fear.  But then, slowly, the dog realized that it was safe.  Cautiously the dog moved closer to the two boys.  Alton watched the dog in wonder as the poor beast sniffed the crying boy on the ground.  The retaliation that both Alton and Newel expected did not come.

     Slowly, Alton let Newel up from the ground.  “Don’t let me EVER catch you torturing a defenseless creature again,” he said, hoarsely, awed by the reaction of the dog.  Newel scrambled to his feet and ran toward the barns.  Alton let him go.  He knelt in front of the mangy dog and untied its rope.  From that day on, Alton could not look at his brother without remembering the cruel and cowardly behavior but also the heart of the poor dog. 
     Newel only remembered it as one more way his brother had shamed him.

via Pinterest

     I wish that I could say that Newel learned his lesson and started becoming the man he was meant to be.  But instead he only became sneakier in his attacks.
 
 

Friday, May 23, 2014

World-Traveler Observations

     I recently got a new journal.  It is a special journal and I want it to be filled with important stuff.

     Do you ever have that feeling that you want to write something beautiful and vital to history?  That you want to be on the front lines of something, recording it for posterity?  Something like Thomas Jefferson's diary?  Or Abigail Adams' letters?
     This new journal that I got is the sort that you fill with calligraphy and draw descriptive sketches in the margins.  If I were an explorer with Lewis and Clark, I might fill it with descriptions of the changing scenery and sketches of the plants and animals indigenous to an area.  If I were a young man apprenticing to a country doctor in the untamed prairie parishes, I might write about cases and draw pictures of the herbs and medicines that were used.  If I were traveling to other countries, I might make observations (both written and sketched) of the new customs, cultures, fashions, architecture, and other things of note on my journeys.
     But what can I write of in my life?  I am not on the front lines of history nor am I a world-traveler.  And, when it comes to my studies, I am rather in a hurry and I don't have time to turn each lesson into a work of art -- computer typing keeps up with the pace much better.
     My journal is rather a hodge-podge of daily events -- some big and some small.  And, though I am sure there is value in that, I did not want to simply start another journal.  After all, I already have one of those.
     Today I read a post (on a blog I first found today) that listed 8 things to look for when you are visiting an area and want to use that location in a book someday.  They were simple things, mostly based off of the 5 senses and the culture and landscape.  It struck my fancy, and I decided that I would make my "world-traveler" journal, starting with a description of my home, my hometown, my workplace, the two cities that I sometimes visit, and my state.  We'll see where it goes from there.  Maybe it will be a collection of scenes that I may someday use in my books.  I know some other authors have similar journals.
    

     Do you have a "writer's collection" journal?

 

     Do you think you might start one?  Why or why not?

 

     If you arrived at your home and viewed it carefully as an observant stranger might (looking in wonder at all of the things that you usually pass by without a second glance), what would you see?  Hear?  Smell?  Feel?  Taste?  Sense/understand?  What sort of plants, animals, buildings are there?  Who are the people?  What are the fashions? 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beautiful People to Return Soon

     So, once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a couple young bloggers who wrote questions for characters.  They called the assignment "Beautiful People."  Aspiring authors loved these questions as it gave them another way to get to know their own characters. 
     Then came "The Time of Silence" in which the two young bloggers were too busy to feed questions to the authors. 
     But now the whispered rumor is passed from lip to lip and from blog to blog.  Beautiful people returns in June!  The news signals a time of rejoicing in the land, and aspiring authors eagerly await their first assignment.
     The website and the blog on the above picture will take you to the two current hosts of Beautiful People.  They are looking for submissions so if you have any questions you think that characters should answer please email them or leave a comment at one of the addresses. 
     And check back in June for answers to Beautiful People!

Monday, May 19, 2014

BB Villan: The Forgotten Prince

via Pinterest
"I hate public appearances"

Newel peered through the crack in the lattice at the gathered crowd of people.  They waited eagerly for the expected royal appearance.  Newel dreaded it.

“I hate public appearances,” Newel grumbled, loud enough for his mother to hear.  “I hate having everyone staring at me.”

Mara repositioned her crown on her head.  Then she crossed the room to Newel’s side, her silken gown rustling, and grasped her son’s shoulders, turning him to face her.

“What have you to fear from them, my son?” she scoffed.  Her eyes searched his face, reading there the reluctance in his eyes.  She turned to the window, gesturing through the lattice at the populace.  “What are they?” she queried, her tone reeking of haughty boredom.  “Peasants, mostly.  Nobodies.  Bugs…insects, my son, in comparison to your greatness.  You have the blood of kings.  Bah!  Let them stare if they will.  They cannot hurt you.”

Newel clinched his jaw and nodded.  Mara stood in front of him, fussing with his shirt and vest.  She fairly oozed confidence.  “You are to be king someday, Newel,” she told him.  “Do not fail me in this simple appearance.”

It was time then.  Newel went to join Alton in the dark room that opened onto the balcony.  His heart pounded in his chest.

Alton looked calm.  Newel hated him for his calmness.

The strong voice of the forerunner was heard bellowing from outside.  “The royal sons of Lerata!  Prince Alton and Prince Newel!”

The doors creaked and groaned as the guards swung them open.  Light streamed in through the open door in blinding brightness.  Alton stepped forward boldly toward the open balcony.  Newel blinked at the light and followed him.  His eyes quickly adjusted and he stared out over the swarm of people.  There were so many of them!

As soon as the boys stepped into view, the crowd began cheering at the top of their lungs.  The men quickly picked up a chant and the women’s voices joined in.  It took a moment for Newel to decipher the words. 

Prince Alton!  Prince Alton!  Prince Alton! They chanted.

Newel was as good as invisible to the crowd.  The whole swarm cheered for his brother and ignored him.  Likely it was not even an intentional oversight; Newel was the forgotten prince, the one who stayed at home.

But the more Newel thought about it, the more he decided it was no accident.  His older brother must have bribed the crowd to ignore Newel.  All of Alton’s willingness to have Newel join him was merely part of Alton’s plan to publicly shame him.

Newel wanted to step forward to the edge of the balcony and shout to the people.  “See me!” he would have shouted. “ I am Prince Newel.  I am the one who will be king.  Cheer for me, you insects!”  But he could not bring himself to do it.  Slowly he backed away.  No one seemed to notice him at all.  Newel turned and fled into the safety of the palace.
His mother met him there.  He turned his face away from her in shame.  But she reached out to him, pulling him to her bosom.  “There, there, my son,” she crooned.  “They are all against us.  But we will conquer -- never fear.  We will make them recognize us when the time is right.  Hush, my son."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Composer: Writing for Multiple Instruments


     It struck me today that writing a story with multiple characters is like writing a concert piece for multiple instruments.      
     The song itself is like the plot.  It has its own feel and purpose and sound.  It has its own beginning, middle, and end.  The average listener can listen to the song as a whole (without focusing on individual characters) and thoroughly enjoy it.
     Even though the song seems to be its own entity, it's sound is almost entirely influenced by the instruments.  You could take the same song and get an entirely different sound depending on which instruments you chose to play it.  Imagine Moonlight Sonata being played by a cello...or by a banjo...or by a xylophone.  Obviously the three would sound different.  So it is that your characters influence your plot.  Their reactions are unique to themselves.
     Your characters each have their own story to tell -- just as each instrument in the concert has its own piece to play.  As the composer, you must make sure you give each instrument the assignment they need to add their voice to the music -- enough to add interest to the song but not so much that they drown out the music you want the audience to hear overall.

A song
with multiple instruments
each carefully chosen
each given their own part to play
to create the music that you wish the audience to hear.

via Pinterest

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BB Villain: Confession Letters

     Mara closed the door, listening to the lock click into place, and leaned her head against the doorframe.  Her head ached from the swirl of the party, and memories of home swarmed her vision, making it impossible to enjoy the attentions of Lerata's nobility.
     Pushing away from the doorframe, the young  queen paced restlessly around the room.  Peace, however, was not to be found and, at last, she dropped to her desk and took up her pen.
     "My darling Newel," she began, her pen scratching across her paper and leaving an elegant train of ink in its wake.  "I try to be strong, but tonight is one of those nights when I feel that I do not belong.  I was not born to be queen, and tonight I cannot repress the feeling of shame that whispers 'Imposter' in my ear.  I have done everything in my power to keep you from ever suspecting.  I never want you to feel as if greatness is not your right by birth, as I sometimes do.  You, at least, will carry your head high with no doubts of your royal blood.  And, together, we will achieve all I ever dreamed of - never fear!"
    A sudden knock at her door sent Mara's heart leaping into her throat.  Such admissions as she made on paper in her darkest times were never meant to be read.  She crumpled the paper in her hand and hurried to the fire on her hearth.
     "Mama," whimpered a timid voice at her door.
      With a weary sigh, Mara glanced down at the crumpled paper in her hand.  For a moment, all of her misgivings and doubts were present in every feature of her face.  Then she tightened her jaw and tossed the crumpled letter into the flames, watching as the fire turned it to ash as it had to all of Mara's previous confession letters.  As the last bit of paper wilted and blackened, the weary look on Mara's face faded away, and it was replaced with a smile of haughty confidence.
     "Yes, my son," Mara called.
     The knob twisted and the great door opened a few inches, revealing a little boy's frightened face.
      "What is it, Newel?" Mara asked gently.
      Newel's fist rubbed against his face and he dragged a blanket across the floor with his other fist.  "I had a bad dream," he whimpered.
     "Come give me a hug," Mara invited him, kneeling down and opening her arms.  The little boy ran to her and snuggled into her embrace.  Mara buried her nose in his hair.  "Even our dreams conspire against us," she murmured.  She shifted her head and rested her chin on Newel's head.  "But your mama knows how to get rid of your bad dream.  I will have your Nanny take you back to your bed, and she will sit with you and sing to you.  Will that suit my prince?"
     Newel nodded reluctantly as his Nanny was summoned and instructed.  He threw one last look back at his mama as Nanny led him away.
     Mara watched them go.  Then she strode across the room to her mirror.  She pinched her cheeks and settled her dress.  There was several more hours of the party awaiting her downstairs and, whether her conscience liked it or not, she alone was queen of Lerata.

via Pinterest
Mara always believed she was born to be queen, but had she?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Choosing a Title for Your Book

 


     Lately I have heard much about the importance of your book cover.  Is your cover professional and appealing?  Would someone pick it up?  But the same care should go into your title.
     Titling is not yet one of my strong points.  Perhaps you noticed that I have a project with a title of "Dungeon" and another one that is simply called "BB" at the moment.  Obviously, my titles will need revision before publication.
     I recently read a post by Jenny the Penslayer called The Title at the End of the Reader's Patience.  Some of her tastes vary from mine, but, by the end of her post, I was laughing so hard I nearly cried.
     After reading her post, here are 6 guidelines:
1. Pay attention to the cadence.  How does the title sound?  How do the words roll off your tongue?
2. Your title should have a balance of enough information without telling the whole story.
3. Some words (like "shadow") have been overused in titles.  It is a rare title that manages to use these words in a way to grasp the browser's attention.  Make your title unique.  Make it intriguing (the reader should see the title and want to know more).
4. Your title should make sense.  Otherwise it will become the laughingstock of Jenny's blog...
5. Some title sound like they were written by a young fan instead of a experienced author.  I haven't quite pinned down the rules dividing the two (likely they are a combination of the other things I have mentioned), but I trust that you, like me, have an intuitive sense of what a title should be.
6. This last point should be a given, but, based on some titles, I suppose it must be mentioned here: please pay attention to your grammar and spelling when creating your title.  If you need more information on this topic, find yourself an old schoolbook from English class.
     I hope these were helpful to you.  I also recommend Jenny's post -- I felt like the list of titles (with her commentary) functioned as a personal exercise in title-judging.  Try it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

BB Villain: A Little Boy

via Pinterest

      Alton was a bold, straight-forward little boy.  For him, the world was "black and white," so to speak, with no "gray areas."  Decision-making and action both came easily to him.  It was not so with Newel.
     Newel was a timid child.  He fretted over things that his brother would have scoffed at.  He fretted over the fact that he fretted over things that his brother would have scoffed at. 
      Newel liked to sit by himself and think.  Alton's play involved action.  The servants would see him standing on a wall making a speech to an imaginary legion of soldiers preparing for battle.  They would see him swinging a stick at a pretend foe.  By the time Newel was a little boy, Alton had traded his imaginary play for practice with various weapons and enjoyed it even more.  But Newel would curl up in a corner, out of the way, and pretend that he did all of the exploits that his older brother performed (only better).
      Newel's mother was his refuge from troubles.  She shielded him as much as possible from other influences.  And on a daily basis, she told him of his greatness and his right to be king someday.  He knew she had ambitious plans for him. 
      Newel's fondest dream was that his father would love him and take him with him.  He nearly went crazy over longing for this.  As it was, he clammed up every time his father spoke to him.  He was so afraid that he would do something wrong and ruin his chances of his father's love that he was nearly terrified at every interaction.  The result was that his father, not understanding the boy's reticence, assumed the little lad was happier at home with his mother.
      It was not only his father that misunderstood the boy.  No one seemed to understand Newel -- especially not Newel himself.  On a daily basis, Alton was idolized as a standard of princely behavior and no matter how he tried Newel could not make himself exactly like his brother.  He could only be ashamed of himself.

(this picture doesn't exactly fit the scene.  What I really wanted to find was an indoor scene, a boy in his early teens dueling against a middle-aged or somewhat older man, and a little boy crouched in a corner).

     "On guard!" shouted the swordsmaster, his blade flashing as he charged against Prince Alton.  His blows were parried neatly, and, for a full minute, the only sound in the arena was of scuffle of feet against the stone and the ring of the metal blades.
     "Very good," called the swordsmaster, lowering his sword and retreating several paces.  "But you are slow on your left side, my Prince.  Shall we try again?"
     Alton dragged his forearm across his forehead, wiping the sweat from his brow.  As he turned his head, he caught sight of Newel crouched in the shadows of the arena, behind a rack of swords.  The hungry look in the little boy's eyes caught Alton's attention.
     "Yes," Alton answered the swordsmaster, although his eyes remained on Newel's face for a few more seconds.  Then he turned to face his opponent and nodded.  "Again," he agreed.
     The onslaught repeated itself, and again the arena rang with the clashing of swords.  Alton's face was serious and focused but he was clearly enjoying his game.  After a moment, the swordsmaster retreated again.
     "Excellent, my Prince," he praised.  "Your father shall be proud of you.  What shall we try next?"
     Alton's eyes were once again on the half-hidden figure of his younger brother.  There was something in his face that reminded Alton of his own dreams of becoming a swordsman.  Hadn't Alton followed his father to the training arena at Newel's age?  Why shouldn't Newel, if he wanted to?
     "Come give it a try, Newel," Alton called to his brother.  He held out a sword with an encouraging smile.
     Newel stared at the sword.  How often had he longed for lesson such as Alton had?  How often had he wished to earn that proud look that his brother often received from their father the king?  His little heart beat faster at the thought.
     But his heart was beating with fear, too.  He did not know how to use a sword.  And the sword in Alton's extended hand looked frightfully heavy.  Newel clinched his little jaw.  He knew exactly what would happen.  He would try to swing the sword, and he would make a fool of himself.  Everyone would laugh at him.  And that would be worse than the way everyone constantly ignored him.  Newel hated to be laughed at.
     Alton still stood there, holding out the sword.  "It won't bite you, Newel," he promised.  His brow contracted, trying to understand the little boy's hesitance.
     Tears rushed to Newel's eyes, stinging him.  It wouldn't work.  He wanted to try the sword, but he couldn't.  He hated himself for it, telling himself that he would never grow up to be a man.  Newel's chin worked against his jaw as he forced his legs to stand and take two steps forward.  But it was no use!  With a sob as emotional as a girl's, Newel turned and fled the arena.
     He hated his older brother for making him cry in front of everybody.  His little heart churned with wrath as he told himself how everyone had laughed as soon as he was out of earshot.  Newel's small legs pounded up the stairs as he sought a hiding place.  He didn't want to see anyone, not even his mother.
     But his mother found him.  With gentle hands, she drew him from his cowered position, her eyes taking in the tear-stained face.  "Alton?" she queried.
     Newel nodded his head, his lip trembling.  There was no use trying to explain further.
     For a moment, his mother gazed into his face, reading there the story that couldn't be spoken.  Then she gathered her small son into her lap.  "People say Prince Alton is great," she began.  The droop in Newel's face let her know that she had discovered the source of his troubles.  "Alton has stolen your throne, Newel -- your rightful throne."  She lifted his chin in her fingers and looked into his eyes.  "Are you not the son of a king?  Are you not the son of Mara?" she demanded, gently. 
     Her touch was soft, but Newel felt the power in her words.  It made him feel stronger.
     "It is your prerogative to place your foot on the neck of a nation," his mother told him as she tapped her foot against the floor.  Newel stared at the floor as if inspired.
     Mara slid one finger under his chin, lifting it to her own again.  When she spoke, her tone was deadly serious - the tone of a leader imparting vital information for a secret mission.  "Your father will give the kingdom to his oldest son, but you, my son, will take it back by whatever means necessary.  You will reign.  You will be the great one."
       Newel stared into her face, awed by her passion for his greatness.
       "Your brother?  Bahh," she scoffed, snuggling him closer.  "He is not so great as they say."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

BB Villain: Gossip After His Birth

via Pinterest

A week later, two of the women who were assisting at the birth of the new prince were talking with one of their fellow servants.

"It's not natural, that's what," Hilde announced with a furtive glance over her shoulder. "I knew there would be something odd from the moment he was taken away from his first baptism. No royal baby has ever missed his first baptism."

"I hear some of the village folk don't wash their babies at birth. They believe as strongly against it as we do for it," offered a compassionate woman named Mauna.

"That's just it," Hilde affirmed, jumping on Mauna's words as though they held the secrets of the kingdom. "Where does the daughter of a lord pick up such outlandish behavior? It ain't fitting for a prince, that's what."

"You might very well ask that question, Hilde," interjected the third woman with a knowing look. She lowered her voice to the tone of a conspirator. "Do we truly know where our young queen comes from?"

"She is the daughter of one of the northern lords," Mauna informed them, incredulous that her two companions should seem ignorant of the story of the queen's arrival.

The third woman, whose name was Reita, raised her eyebrows and nodded wisely. "But do we know that for certain," she queried. "A daughter that no one had ever heard of before?"

"But she had only just come of age," Mauna said, defending her queen. "Is it any surprise that we had not heard of her? And her father was from one of the distant northern districts. It is possible, isn't it?"

Reita smirked. "Perhaps," she said.

Hilde shook her head ominously. "I still say there is something unnatural about the pair of them. First it took her so long to produce an heir...and now this! Most peculiar!"
 
 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How to "Follow" My Blog

If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of this blog, you will see my "followers." There is a blue button that says "Join this site." If you click it, it will walk you through the steps to follow my blog. Once you become a follower, you will be listed under "Members" with your profile picture (a generic silouette in my case).

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BB Villain: The World He Was Born Into

I made a post earlier this month about the fact that my villain was trying to take over my story and make it all about him.  So I will be writing about him on this blog so that you, at least, will know some of his story. 
Today's post describes the world of his birth.

Miramare Castle, Italy
via Pinterest
My story is not set in Italy but I thought this view might be seen from one of the King's castles in Lerata.

     The queen of Lerata died, leaving behind her husband, King Reymound, and a son, Prince Alton.  Mourning the loss of his beloved wife, Reymound was not inclined to remarry.  But a king cannot consult his own needs without also considering the needs of an entire country.  His counselmen urged him to secure a queen for Lerata.
     One of the lords of Lerata presented his daughter, Mara, a young woman who had been introduced to the royal courts only a few months before.  The lord soon convinced the king that Mara was the most suitable candidate, and the king married her.
     King Reymound was a good man as well as a great king.  His heart still grieved for his first wife, but he tried to be good to the beautiful young Mara.  She soon sensed, however, that her position as queen made her little more than a pawn for the kingdom...and a dispensable pawn, at that. 
     In those days, children were considered a blessing and barrenness considered a curse.  As the years went by with no prince from Mara, the people began to wonder whether she was a suitable queen after all.  Mara grew increasingly bitter and unhappy.
     Prince Alton quickly became his father's chief pride and joy.  The boy showed an amazing aptitude for kingship.  Even at a young age, he was a leader of men, loved by the people.  King Reymound soon discovered that he could take his son with him anywhere.  Alton excelled at his lessons, both in school and in life.
     Reymound's love for Alton only deepened Mara's bitterness, but relief came to her at the fifth anniversary of her marriage.  She was with child.  Mara exulted in the knowledge that this event would crush the naysayers who whispered of her inability to bear children, and she longed to see her son rise as his father's new favorite prince.  Here, at last, was her chance to get what she wanted.
     At the appointed time, a son was born.  King Reymound and Prince Alton were away, meeting with an ambassador from a neighboring country where there had been some unrest.

via Pinterest

     "It is a son," announced the doctor.  He carried the newborn, upside down, by his ankles across the room and handed him to a woman.
     Mara took a deep breath, trying to calm the postpartum trembling in her body, and stared up at the rich burgundy canopy over her bed.  A faint smile spread over her face.  "A prince," she murmured.  "Prince of Lerata.  My son."
     The wail of the newborn suddenly cut through the silence like a knife aimed at her heart. 
     "What are you doing to him?" she demanded.  Suspicion clouded her vision.  She did not like this doctor.
     The doctor raised an eyebrow.  "He must be cleansed from the birth, my queen," he stated.
     "Leave him alone!  All of you!  He doesn't like it!" Mara hissed.  She shoved her arms against the bed, struggling to sit up.
     "You must not sit up yet," said one of the attendees, rushing to her side.  "You are too weak.  You will faint. See how you are shaking!"
     "Bring me my son," Mara insisted.  Her eyes were wide and wild.
     The doctor raised his eyebrow again; and the woman,  suspending the newborn over the basin of water, pursed her lips and shook her head over this breach of tradition. 
     "But my queen," the woman began, wavering between her fear of the queen and her fear of what might happen to a baby who was not properly bathed.
     "I care not for your superstitions," Mara snapped.  "Bring him to me at once."
     Reluctantly, the woman carried the babe to new mother.
     With her son safely in her arms, Mara breathed a sigh of relief.  She suddenly felt happier and more contented than she had ever felt in her life.  Her baby was beautiful.
     "Newel," she whispered.  "His name shall be Newel."
     The doctor looked at her sharply.  "It is customary, I believe," he said stiffly, "to let the king name his own son.  Perhaps we should await his return?"
     Mara's eyes flashed angrily.  "He is MY son, is he not?" she demanded.  "If my husband wished to name him, he should have been here."  Her eyes settled once again on the babe in her arms and took on a softer hue.  Then, in a tone that was half lullaby and half triumph, she repeated, "Newel...son of Mara...prince of Lerata!"


via Pinterest



Monday, May 5, 2014

Flexible but not Compressible

This post also was written for Rachel Heffington's Chatterbox event.  Enjoy!

Azalea
via Pinterest

     "Do you think you will be alright?" Mae asked with a worried look.
     "I'll be fine," Rachel assured her.  She snapped her suitcase closed with a confident air and dragged it off the bed, leaving a smooth track across the colorful quilt.
     "But Ms. Gertrude is so difficult.  I can't imagine going to live with her," Mae breathed.  "She frightens most people.  She even frightens me, and I have known her for five years."
     "She doesn't scare me," Rachel boasted, dropping her suitcase on the floor with a bang.  She lifted her handbag and shawl from the back of a wicker chair and draped them over her arm.
     "I don't see how you are going to do it, Rachel," Mae persisted.  She picked up Rachel's suitcase and followed her from the bedroom and down the carpeted stairs of the boarding house.  "She clashes horribly with strong personalities; and she crushes weak personalities.  There is no way to get along with her."
     Rachel paused on the bottom step and grinned up at her roommate.  "I," she began, taking the suitcase from Mae's hands, "am water."
     "Water?!?" Mae exclaimed with a confused look.  When Rachel didn't answer, Mae asked again "Water?"
     Rachel nodded.  She stepped down on the linoleum flooring of the foyer and crossed the checkered floor, being careful to trod only on the white squares. "Water is completely flexible," she said.
     Mae hopped across the floor behind Rachel, being careful to only step on the black squares.
     "It can take any shape that it needs to," Rachel continued.  She grasped the brass knob of the front door and swung the door open wide, letting sunlight and the smell of spring filter into the foyer.  "It can be poured into any container and fit it perfectly."
     Mae followed Rachel outside and down the brick steps.  She watched as Rachel stopped to bury her face in the azalea bush.
     Rachel lifted her head and looked at Mae.  "Completely flexible...but not compressible," she announced.  Her eyes danced with fun as she waited for Mae to interpret her allegory.  "At least, not compressible by the likes of Ms. Gertrude," she stipulated.
     Slowly understanding dawned over Mae's face.  "Flexible but not compressible," she murmured.  She looked at Rachel with new admiration in her eyes.  It was so like her.
     "There will be no clashing and no crushing," Rachel stated.
      For a moment, hope shined in Mae's eyes as she saw Rachel's determination.  But then the hope faded, and she shook her head.  "You can't put fire and water together, Rachel," Mae said.  "Either you will extinguish her or she will flash you into steam.  It won't work."
     But Rachel was not to be discouraged.  She shifted her suitcase to her other hand and gave her friend a farewell embrace.  "I'll make it work.  You'll see," she whispered.
    Stepping back, Rachel looked into Mae's eyes.  "Water," she said, saying the word as though it were a promise.
     Mae returned the look with a wobbly smile that was meant to be encouraging despite her overwhelming misgivings.  "Flexible but not compressible," she whispered.  "I hope it works."

Grimm's Flood


Rachel Heffington at The Inkpen Authoress is hosting her monthly Chatterbox event.  This month's Chatterbox topic is water.  For it, I created a scene where Grimm's room in the Rottly Mansion gets flooded during a storm.  It is not a scene in the book (although I may or may not include it).  Instead I took the characters from my book and imagined how they would react in this situation.  The idea of flooding may or may not have been inspired by a recent event in my own life. ;-/   Here it goes:
 
    Lightning flashed across the sky, and thunder boomed its warning.  Rain pelted against the dilapidated mansion as if determined to finalize its demise.  Grimm stalked through the halls to his assigned bedroom and opened the door, hoping for a temporary retreat from his deplorable situation.

     For a moment Grimm paused at the door, his hand lingering on the knob.  The scene before him bombarded his senses with signs of the disaster.  The sound of rushing water, shooting into his room at an alarming rate, competed with the sounds of the storm.  The dim light from the window reflected on the broken glass and on the streams winding their way across his floor.  As if to confirm it, lightning flashed again, burning the scene into his retina so that he could see it even if he shut his eyes.

     His room was flooding with water.

     Somehow his window had been broken during the storm, and a primitive construction, intended to divert water along the roofline, was channeling a great deal of water directly in his bedroom. 

     Grimm stared as a pair of his best socks began slowly moving across the floor, carried by a strengthening stream.  So this was his promotion?  He remembered the day a well-dressed messenger approached him with the offer that was certain to further his career.

     “In honor of your long and faithful service to the ruling class of Lerata, you have been selected for an advanced position, by order of our great king…should you choose to accept,” the servant told him.

     Grimm expected to be assigned to some nobleman or nobleman’s son in Leratova, and the fact that his position would attract the notice of the king was a thought that gave him pleasure.  This…this situation he now found himself in rather drowned all of his hopes.  Grimm was not happy about it.

     “Oh, dear,” exclaimed Mrs. Hinn’s voice.

     Grimm turned to see her and Chauncey close behind him.  Mrs. Hinn’s hand covered her mouth and her eyebrows puckered in concern as she stared at the scene.

     “It will ruin the floors,” Mrs. Hinn murmured.  Long service as a housekeeper made this one of her first worries.

     “They were ruined before any of us were born,” Grimm retorted.  His eyes were fixed and staring at his escaping socks as though he were watching his dearest dreams float away.  “The entire mansion is disintegrating…and it is taking us with it.”

     Chauncey squeezed past Grimm into the room and looked around.  “It’s not that bad, old chap,” he said cheerily.  He waded into the room and starting pulling Grimm’s suitcase to higher ground.  “We’ll lay these things to dry somewhere and everything will be well.”

     “Swimmingly,” Grimm answered bitterly.

     “Yes, that’s it,” encouraged Chauncey, rescuing the floating socks.  He beamed at Grimm and nodded.  “Swimmingly well!  That’s the spirit!”

     “If you will leave your things by the stairs, I will wash them for you,” Mrs. Hinn offered with a kind, motherly look.

     “What’s left of them,” Grimm responded with a clinched jaw.

     “Mrs. Hinn!” Annie’s voice called from downstairs.  “Hurry!”  Her voice sounded highly alarmed.  “There’s water running down through the ceiling!  It’s going to get our stuff wet!”

     “I’ll fasten a board across your window to block the incoming water,” Chauncey offered, darting out of the room.

     Grimm stalked into his room and pulled the blanket from his bed.  It was damp from the rain spraying in through the window.  Grimm glared at offending storm, and it answered with another flash of lightning.  The boom of thunder that followed matched the growl that rose in Grimm’s throat.

     What had he done to deserve such a "promotion?"

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Villain Takes Over

 
    How did my villain become who he is?  I felt like I needed to know.  I followed his story back to the beginning, which was, I found, a few years before his birth.
    Pretty soon, I became fascinated with him.  He has qualities that I absolutely love about him, and many of his flaws I can relate to.  It is just that both his qualities and his flaws have been twisted to a point of creating evil.  As I have said in an earlier post, time and again he has been given opportunities to turn to good things, and he instead chose the wrong.  By the time the story of BB starts, he is a very bad man with little to like about him.
     With my fingers flying across my keyboard, I traced the story of how his mother became queen.  I followed my villain as a little boy, watching scenes from his life.  This was all very interesting and the flashbacks began to be incorporated into my current tale.
     And suddenly I realized...my villain was taking over my story.  There was too much of him and too little of anybody else.  He is NOT my main character, and if I want to talk about him this much I simply need to write him his own story.  But he is not allowed to take over this one.

     "Bad villain!" (author scolding her character)
 
Well, yeah, duh...

Time-Traveller Letters

     Have you ever written a time-traveller letter to yourself?  I started this when I was 11 years old.  It was a school assignment.

Write a letter to yourself and seal it to open in 5 years.
 
     I thought it was a silly idea.  And I was sure that I would remember every word through the five years.  However, it had to be done.
     Five years later, I opened the sealed envelope with no memory of what I had written, and the contents made me laugh.  At 11 years of age, I had my life plotted out before me with startling clarity -- from jobs and accomplishments to the year I would meet my future husband and the order of children I would have.  To my 16-year-old mind, it was incredibly childish and unrealistic.
     Now I see there was some truth in that early prediction, although the timing was off.  And I have continued to write letters to myself every year to be opened 5 years later, usually on my birthday.  Sometimes the letter is only a page long.  Sometimes it resembles a small book.  And it is always fun.

Can it be done in a blog?

     Earlier this month, Anne-girl (see post here ) posted a time-traveler letter for her blog.  Since I have enjoyed my personal letters so much, I am going to try this, too.
     Here is what I am going to do: I am going to write and publish a time-traveler post but it will be scheduled for 1 year from today.  We'll see how it looks then!

via Pinterest