villainous links, and a fun text tool

Browsing the internet yesterday and today, I’ve found a few fun links that I thought to share.

But Seriously, Villainy, taken from Steve Malley’s blog. A pictoral list of villains, most in the style of despair.com, and a hilarious read.

Developing Villainous Characters, part 1, on Belinda’s blog (Worderella Writes). Only half of my villains fit in with the beginning stereotype on the links listed, but still link-worthy.

And then, I found wordle.net. Enter in a bunch of text, and it makes a pretty spiffy looking word cloud based on the most common words (excepting and, the, was, and the like). So far, I know for a fact that it can take at least 65 thousand words.

Here’s the word cloud for ‘Blue Crystal’:

🙂 Highly fun to play with.

villain: sorche du remerdii: introduction

Sorche du Remerdii
“Common sense really isn’t that common.”

Sorche du Remerdii

(Ideally read to the tune of Don’t Fear the Reaper, by Blue Oyster Cult.)

Sorche is my favorite villain in this story– I’ve touched on him before in my Kione excerpt, and have been working on him in the background since June began and I figured out what a smart-ass he was.

“Apologies, du Jadis.” One of the men in black bowed slightly. Rylan decided (for now) that he was the leader, and noted his unusually dark skin showing between his cap and scarf. “This is a rescue, despite appearances. We’d appreciate it if you would move quickly. We’re not to hurt anyone.”

Another man appeared with bandages while a third pulled out Rylan’s coat that he’d left in the other room, along with his hat, muffler, gloves, but not his swords. Rylan allowed them access to his wounded arm, and they bandaged it (sloppily– Rylan thought he could have done better, even with one hand). “Who do you serve?” Rylan asked.

“Now?” The leader glanced back to the men who were keeping the doors. No one had intruded on them yet. “Very well. On behalf of my lord, Rylan du Jadis, I commend you for your bravery, congratulate you for your victory, and condemn you for your idiocy.” He offered Rylan an exaggerated bow, and pulled back his left sleeve to show a golden bracer, celestite set into the ring on his middle finger instead of a sigil. “You can call me Sorche du Remerdii.”

Sorche is the adopted son of Remerdii, a landed gentleman who has managed to achieve great wealth, and foster brother to Kione Remerdii. Sorche was taken as a small child and given the name of the Remerdii’s dead son and brother. Sorche has always been considered a gentleman as long as he could remember, given good rooms and private tutors, encouraged to compete with his brother Kione. He’s better than Kione at the Mordache Art, fighting and other physical activities, but falls short at tact and diplomacy. Sorche just can’t help but take jabs when he sees the opportunity.

I’ve put another Sorche excerpt, longer this time, under the cut.
Continue reading

villain: tarren kanichende: if the hero

A quick note on Danache linguistics–

The most common letter combinations are ‘ch’ (sh), ‘rr’ (split r), and ‘ii’, which is the same as the short ‘i’ but reserved for the end of words, such as the names Arielii and Remerdii. The letter ‘y’ is one of the most common vowel and changes from a hard to soft pronunciation depending on surrounding letters. ‘Rylan’ is hard (Rye-lan), ‘Wyrren’ is far softer (Were-ren).

Tarren II Kanichende
(tahr-ren kahn-E-shen-day)
“The elevated place.”

I’m thinking through the novel again and imagining how I’d write this book if, without changing any of the events, I tried to make Tarren the hero. If Blue Crystal had been told from his perspective, what would it turn into?

Different, certainly. Tarren has the unfortunate habit of stereotyping the people around him, with the exception of his children (but not his wife). Moreso than them, his closest companions are a pair of pet tigers, Time and Fate.

Things I’ve come up with so far…
Continue reading

weekly goal (back to earth)

Last week’s goal: 52,000
Last week’s wordcount: 52,167
This week’s goal: 56,000

Last week’s goal: To spend the week examining Kione Remerdii for villain month. (Done!)
This week’s goal: The most difficult villain. King Tarren II Kanichende, the uncle of my protagonist.

… After doing some further research on the writer’s conference in Seattle, I’ve decided that it’s just too expensive. Never mind the drive there and back, room and food– I don’t think I can spend the five-hundred-dollar entry free. I mean, I’d rather fly across the country and visit a friend of mine who lives in Indiana, to be honest. So… not yet. I’ll keep it in mind for when I’ve got my book written and polished.

I have, however, gotten what I think is the best CD I’ve ever heard (The Silent Force, by Within Temptation), wherein all of the CD tracks remind me of my book. I’ve yet to discover if this is a help or hindrance, but either way it’s made me very happy. Cheers!

writer’s conference

I don’t usually talk about myself on this blog… it often makes me feel uncomfortable, and who really needs to hear another person ramble on about themselves? The constant story-thoughts for the story that no one else is reading is certainly bad enough, right? 😉

That said, I came across something interesting today: the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Writer’s Conference.

Friends and readers probably don’t know anything about me but my literary aspirations (and my age), so I’ll elaborate. My name is Eliza to anyone I’ve met beyond the age of fifteen, Beth to my family and people who knew me as a frizzy-haired child. I have a classic case of ADHD which has taken me most of my life to learn how to disguise, work at a video game testing company, and though I live in Spokane, Washington now, I grew up in various towns around Seattle. Most of my family lives there. My parents may again be living in Seattle within a few weeks, depending on how an interview for a really great job goes (feel free to pray for my dad, if any of you are so inclined– things have been a little tight).

I read about that writer’s conference… and I thought… I could go there. My book’s not ready for submission yet, but I could still network. I could learn how to navigate next year’s con, so that I know what’s going on when I go with a purpose. I could talk about craft (and learn not to grind my teeth down when people start touting what I consider ‘stupid’ rules). And, this is the most interesting note, I could go with a finished rewrite if I pushed myself to go a little faster. I’d have until July 17th. That’s a little over a month to write 40,000 words.

… I did it for NaNoWriMo. I can do it again.

If anyone planning to go reads this, I’ll see you in Seattle.

50%!

As of last night, I reached 47,533 words. 50% of my projected length. Woot!

That said, I had an idea that again deviates from my intended storyline, but sounded very good last night. This morning I remembered the idea, and promptly felt sick. Oh, it works. But it’s dark, even for me.

This has happened before. I lay down to sleep and my mind races. I see dialog, chapter layouts, characters dancing in my head as I lay there, and when I’ve been especially productive it can last for hours. But when I wake, I realize that these 2-a.m. thoughts are always rock-lodged-in-your-gut disturbing or melodramatic.

Anyone else think their judgment is skewed by early hours? Or is it just me?

weekly goal

Current Wordcount: 41,048 words
Last Week’s Goal: 41,000 words
Next Week’s Goal: 45,000 words

I made my word count! Even if I had to stay up till midnight last night to do it. Since my writing buddy is going to be gone, I increased my target goal slightly, and I should be able to beat it.

Villain Week begins the Sunday after tomorrow.

cover art preview!

Blue Crystal, proposed cover

This is the very rough sketch of the future cover, commissioned from the wonderful Nykolai. Go see her gallery. (Rough idea for) The back:

In a sunless ice-world where cities are built underground, Vastii is a corrupt, dirty metropolis ripe with gangs, mercenaries, rebellion, and scheming politicians. To suppress an uprising in the west, the king took his own niece, Lady Wyrren Jadis, as a political hostage. Officially, her presence will ensure her father’s loyalty to a king that he never cared for. The king never mentioned that he intends to use Wyrren to accuse her father of murder.

Forced into a strange city with only a few companions, the king’s niece is seen as an easy way to the king’s ear or a weapon against the monarchy. But Lady Wyrren loves freedom more than comfort, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to fight for it.

Anyone think this is noteworthy enough to pick up at a bookstore and flip through a few pages?

know your enemy (antagonists)

There comes a time when a writer has to stop their story, turn and look at their villain, and admit that they’re phoning it in on the antagonists’ performances. I simply have not given any of my (multiple) villains the treatment that I’ve given my two main heroes. I don’t know what they’re doing while I’m focusing on my heroes. I don’t know their subplots. I don’t know what problems they’ve been going through behind the scenes.

So far I have four villains to counter my two heroes: A king, a lord, a winged bully, and a high-ranking slave. I’ve managed so far, but I just invented the last on the list (Sorche du Remerdii, the man who gave that cheeky line I mentioned here), and in a high-tension scene he feels flat.

Lesson learned: know your villains. I’ve decided that June is going to be ‘Villain Month’. Each week will be dedicated to developing and writing side-stories about one of my villains. That way I’ll be ready for my second rewrite, and I’ll be posting up character exercises, collages, and notes on development. I’ll also be exploring the extent of their power, what they can and can not do to the heroes, and why.

No flat enemies allowed.