Saturday, August 25, 2012

Aieeeeeeee! Says the Specter

At least that’s as close as I can get to her wailing. She does it a bit, especially in those situations where the systems she’d help set up 950 or so years ago have fallen into corruption and ruin. But before I say any more let me introduce her to you.

Tabitha S Era (S is her last name, Era is equivalent to saying Ms.) was born around 1,000 years before Unearthing Magic begins. Her history is a complicated one, and suffice it to say that she was the catalyst for the Separatist Revolution that broke the single Magi kingdom into four, and founding the country in which non-magi live without being enslaved by the magi. However during that revolution Tabitha was encased in crystal to ensure Trabia remained under its own rule. Set free by accident, she’s not really happy with what the Non-magi have done, but after 1,000 years of crystallization, she’s not really in the right mind to fix it.

Much like in her own life, she’ll be acting as a somewhat antagonistic catalyst for my main characters, specifically the farm girl, Lori, who is a direct descendant. Here are my answers for her to the 20 Beautiful People questions I picked out of the archive.

Easy Questions
  1. Does his or her name have a special meaning? – Tabi was likely named for a tabby cat, given her hair is bright orange. Other than that, Tabitha was not chosen for its meaning, but apparently (according to the book I have) it means gazelle in Greek and Aramaic.
  2. Right, or left handed? - left, well, once she was taught how to write
  3. Favorite color? - Sky Blue, the kind you find on days when the sky is dotted with fluffy clouds
  4. Do they like hugs? - Definitely, especially those rare ones from Sabareil... Who isn't even a character in this book *Glares and character who bubbles with laughter and sticks her tongue out at her author* - she's also very mature for a 1,000 year old *eyeroll*
  5. Favorite season of the year? - Spring, she loves the colors that spring up everywhere
  6. Favorite kind of weather? - warm and gentle summer rains
  7. Does he/she have a good sense of humor? If so what kind? - Yes, probably more so than the cast she's supporting would like. She's a practical joker and a bit loopy; not that I blame her.
  8. Is he/she naturally curious? - Yes, in fact it was her curiosity and desire to know how things worked that made her one of the greatest magi of her time, unfortunately she never managed to be in a position to truly be a magical scientist, magisist?
  9. Does he/she see the big picture or live in the moment? - She used to live in the moment, but once freed from her crystal prison she's beginning to see the big picture (and she's not liking it one bit) *Tabitha wails in agreement*
  10. What do others expect from them? - Not a lot as Lori is the only one who can see her. But when Tabitha appears Lori’s sure it’s because she needs Lori to do something for her or she's causing mischief.
  11. What does their average day look like? - Tabitha spends her time flitting about Trabia, checking on this and that, sometimes she even goes back to her prison to ponder the crystaline structure she had made. Other times she studies the spells that flow around it, trying to figure out how to undo the damage that was done 1,000 years ago
  12. What does he/she do with his/her spare time? - See above, all of Tabitha's time is spare now.

Thought Provoking Questions
  1. What would they do if they discovered they were dying? – Tabitha would try to do something to bring good into the world. Which is why she's a bit pissed at Trabia, since she already sacrificed herself to save them and they are NOT running the country nicely. *More agreement wails from Tabitha*
  2. If they could change one thing in their world, what would it be? - Make the whole world see that neither separation, nor suppression is the answer and that magi and non-magi can live together in peace – Yes, folks she just went for the World Peace answer.
  3. What do they think about when nothing else is going on? - When she's not worrying about how to fix what went wrong with the Trabian government, she's probably pondering how things work.
  4. If they had to amputate one body part, which one would they choose? - Her source (of magical power), preferably before she discovered she had it, thus choosing the life of the non-magi, which she felt was simpler and less 'out to get you' than the magi life she ended up with.
  5. If your character crashed on an island with a bunch of other people, how would your character help the group survive? - She'd help them keep their spirits up with humor, while guiding them on how to build a boat, without them realizing it.

Relationship Questions
  1. Describe their relationship as a whole in 3 words or less.- With Lori:  Annoying Mentor
    - With Travis: Inspiring Historical Figure
    - With Andrew: Puzzling Presence

Questions out of their world
  1. If they could drive any kind of car they wanted, what would it be? - Tabitha would totally have a red sports car, and she'd probably modify it to be faster than it was off the showroom floor.
  2. What would their favorite be at the local coffee shop? - Iced Mocha Frappachino

So there you have it. Tabitha S Era, the forgotten protector of Trabia.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Friday, August 17, 2012

Let the Plotting Complete!

Yesterday, I did an unthinkable thing – I completed the plotting of Unearthing Magic.
But this didn’t happen without hiccups along the way.

The first thing I encountered was trying to think in terms of scenes. After all Save the Cat is about screenplays, so of course it’s looking at scenes. This meant, if I used Snyder’s method, that I would include on my post-its:
  • Setting (interior, exterior, one per scene)
  • What happens (short sentence)
  • +/- (The emotional change)
  • >< (the conflict, every scene has one)

My initial introduction of the characters, Snyder's way
I got about fifteen post-its in, laboring on each one for fifteen minutes or more over the course of two or three days. It wasn’t working for me, so I took a step back because one of my life’s lessons has been; people think in different ways, even if they are good at the same things.
~You see in college, I had a friend who was a Chemist, like me. We took the same classes, studied in the same group, and got the same grades, until we hit the mandatory programming class. The language doesn’t matter (Fortran77 is you must know), what does was the fact that I breezed though (creating programs on the side), while she struggled. Turns out my brain can think like a computer, but hers couldn’t.~
So instead of continually bashing my brain against Snyder’s method until I plotted the whole thing, I looked at the result that was desired – a series of steps that could be followed to be expanded into chapters of a book that moved through a plot progression – and tried to come up with my own method for getting there. Then *BAMN!* I remembered something I did during NaNo 2011:
-  To ensure I didn’t lose the flow of the story when I had to stop, I tries to always write a sentence or two, summing up my thoughts on where things were going. For Example:
"<In which Rachael and Michael deliver Transium to Terra Firma 2 and Rachael is waylaid by a couple of UCPA authorities, who quickly realize they are in over their heads.>"
Okay so it worked as a word count booster, but more importantly it helped with the flow because I ended with 82k words (compared to my 53K of NaNo2010). It was time to see if it’d work for pre-plotting.

The character introductions, my way
Clearing my board of plot (keeping title and log line), I started fresh, using sentences beginning with “In Which”. I had to do a little rewriting at one point because I picked the wrong colors to do Point of View in, but then it started to flow. I mean really flow – suddenly in two or three sittings I’d reached the mid-point. And then in two or three more I’d cascaded to the finish line.

Now, my work isn’t done. I’ve already spotted some potential weak points and are thinking about rearranging the view point order (Blue and Green are the two foreign Princes, and Purple is the farm girl). Plus who knows what the story will do once I actually start writing it. But maybe, this time, there might be more of a plot than Rachael and company in the Nueri gave me for NaNo2011.

The next step – to do a little more characterization on my main characters. So who would you like to see answer some Beautiful People questions first:
  • Lori – the farm girl who finds out she a magi, from the country that suppresses magic use
  • Travis – heir to the throne of the neighboring kingdom and an average magi
  • Andrew – the older brother of Travis, who lives in Lori’s country and isn’t a Magi
  • A random supporting character, protagonist or antagonist.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Friday, August 10, 2012

Toujou-ing through the ... Jungle?

So I got double duped into winning the Toujou Blog Award. As in, two people nominated me for it and as I consider them bestest friends, despite the generation gap and lack of physical connection, I shall concede to participate. And besides, when they lavish such praises on me (see below), how can I not participate? :}

From Charley: “Both on an off-line, she's one of my bestest friends-I-haven't-met-yet. We talk about everything, we laugh about everything, and even the figments of our imagination have started uniting in order to dispose of us when we're not looking. She's awesome.”
From Miriam: “She completely shredded my novel and prompted me to rewrite the whole thing, she’s always there with helpful comments when I’m going through a bunch of emotional poo, and she’s a not-at-all-calming influence on mine and Charley’s madness.”

The Rules:

1. If tagged you must tag five others, giving each a quick sentence as to why you ALWAYS read their posts, and tell them that you've tagged them.

2. If tagged you must post your five favorite words. I know, I know, most people do facts, but facts are hard to think of so...

3. If and only if you want to/can be bothered to/have time to you can put up five questions for the people you've tagged. If and only if you want to/can be bothered to/have time to you can ANSWER the five questions your tagger set. If you want to answer questions but your tagger left none, answer your own questions :)

The Famous Five
Okay, so I’m modifying this bit, since the people I’m going to make famous (wouldn’t that be a nice power to have?) are ones who mean so much to me that I don't want to bother them with this silly award. *grins*

Charley Robson – Ditto – basically what she said about me I can say about her. Someday we’ll meet, and I half expect our heads to explode and our characters to emerge from them to join forces and battle the evils that will come out after them. If this happens, I’m sorry world, because it’s likely to start Armageddon.

Miriam Joy – She talks about my shredding of her novel like a good thing, all the time. It boggles my mind, but I thank her for it. And though we don’t talk as much to each other as we talk to charley separately, when Charley goes on radio silence, we know we can talk to each other.

My Mom – She is my best friend, even when I was growing up (when she wasn’t having to be my mother, which wasn’t often because I was the best kid ever! *giggles*). When the rest of the real world doesn’t seem to be listening without judgment, I know she will.

My Hubby – He keeps me grounded in the real world, when my mind would much rather be flying free in imagination land. Yet, despite that, he’s been very supportive of my writing and helping me ‘gain space’, even if I have yet to figure out how to take a writing vacation.

Anne R. Allen – Not only are her posts extremely informative, especially for a newbie to publishing like me, but she’s the first real, published, author I’ve actually had contact with. She’s even commented on my Blogs, particularly the ones in which I’ve reviewed her books. She connected me with my first job in the publishing industry (more on that at another time). And is just all around funny, awesome, and stuff. *grins*

Quiz Me!
The questions from Charley’s nomination – too fun to pass up.

1.  Which fictional character do you think you're most like?
 - I used to think I was like Menolly from DragonSong, by Anne McCaffrey, but that was wishful thinking. The fictional character that is most like me, as I am now, is Kaylee from Firefly (and Serinity). I know it’s a TV series that didn’t last long (and movie), but she’s fictional, but her seeming spaciness yet competience when it comes to keeping the ship running, is like me, trying to manage my writing family and day job.

2.  What is your guilty pleasure?
- Writing pure teenage romance... and eating sweets. I do more of the sweet eating than I should. It’s probably the one reason I’m stuck at the weight I’m at.

3.  Name your three utter essentials.
- food, air and water. I know it’s a copy from Miriam, but no one can live without them, whether they want to or not. Once I have those, then I'll take my hubby, um... a well stocked Kindle, and some way to charge them both. *grins*

4.  Which famous person would you most want to kiss?
- My hubby, because he is famous in some circles (seriously I saw it happen – random dude from his company comes up to him and starts lavishing the praises, while my hubby has no idea who the guy is). Oh, you probably mean real celebrities, that anyone might recognize... well I’m sorry, but I’m a one guy girl and very happily taken. :}

5.  What would be the best ever present?
- Ohhh... tough question. I think a writer’s cruise with Miriam and Charley for fourteen days would be super cool – or winning enough money from the lottery to make that happen. I’m not picky.
Bonus Question (Courtesy a comment on Charley’s blog):
6.  If stuck on a desert island, and given a choice of a pointy stick, an automatic rifle with only one bullet, and a talking goldfish, which of these would you choose to help you get off?
- The pointy stick because it needs no refills and I prefer the quite solitude of my own monologue. Besides, the pointy stick has multiple uses and much easier to fix or replace than the other two. :}

Now what about you? Which would you chose? *grins* 

:} Cathryn Leigh