Monday, August 30, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #30

30. Final ques­tion! Tag some­one! And tell us what you like about that per­son as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

I'll do the actual tagging in the livejournal version of this blog.  Here I'd just like to say...I am so glad this meme is over. It got really grating and repetitive...and holy crap am I glad to get back to REGULAR SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #29

29. How often do you think about writ­ing? Ever come across some­thing IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I live and breathe writing, pretty much.  That said, EVERYTHING REMINDS ME OF IT, it's annoying.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #28

28. Have you ever writ­ten a char­ac­ter with phys­i­cal or men­tal dis­abil­i­ties? 

No, simply because my characters are usually charged with saving the world, and they have to be petty fit and able. Of course a handicapped world-saver would be interesting, but it's not something I feel would "work" in either universe (since they tackle other issues) and not something I feel up to doing the necessary research for.

The biggest "disabilities" my characters have is maybe bad eyesight or the occasional disease. Big whoop, right?

Friday, August 27, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #27

27. Along sim­i­lar lines, do appear­ances play a big role in your sto­ries? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about design­ing your char­ac­ters.

I really don't have a set way of "designing" my characters.  They just kinda manifest themselves in the split second they're created. Sometimes I have a "stock" in my head of a type of character I want to to have, and if the opportunity is presented I put them in.  And some characters are redone from previous characters of other stories from when I was a child.  I've noticed though that I really love non-brown eyes and blonde hair...even on non-fair skinned characters, haha. (What can I say, I love "color" outside brown and black.)

It's pretty safe to say though that I make main characters that are attractive to me, simply because I want my creations to be aesthetically pleasing to me.  That said, what I find attractive obviously doesn't match everyone else's, so I really don't give a crap about such related Mary-Sue allegations, ha.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #26

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your char­ac­ters? Do oth­ers draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite pic­ture of him!


This meme seriously sucks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #25

25. Do any of your char­ac­ters have pets? Tell us about them.

Pets are like ghosts in my novels.  They're supposed to be there, until I forget to PUT THEM THERE. Because, usually, they have nothing to do with the plot,and just kinda sit pretty in the background for characters to pet.

For instance, there is supposed to be a black cat named Sadie somewhere in CROSS//, but anyone who has read anything from it will notice that THERE IS NO CAT. D: I kept forgetting. And then just gave up.

The cat was a lie. I suck.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #24

24. How will­ing are you to kill your char­ac­ters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most inter­est­ing way you’ve killed some­one?

Heck yeah I'll kill characters if the plot demands it.  Sometimes, it happens yo.  Technically I've been killing some of the same characters over and over and ooooveeer again! (Violently, indeed.)  There is one primary death slated to happen in series for one of my novels.  Can't say much though, obviously.  All I know is that I'll pull a JK Rowling when it happens, and I'll come wandering out of my office crying because omg I love that character so much WHY DID THEY HAVE TO DIE?!

That said...most interesting death?  Death by dragon. That's how I want to go.

Wait, is that more badass, or getting a mercy kill from your lover? You tell me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #23

23. How long does it usu­ally take you to com­plete an entire story—from plan­ning to writ­ing to post­ing (if you post your work)?

Oh goodness, I'm still working on most of them.  When I was younger and wrote shorter, more succinct novels, it only took me about five months of working for about 1-2 hours after school every day to finish a novel.   The first draft of Nixey probably took about three years of work to complete.  Its successor took only two.  Thus far the final draft of Nixey is on its fourth or fifth year.  Life happens.

Meanwhile CROSS// is probably my longest set yet, and the first novel is taking three years this November.  Odds are I'll finish it by the end of this year.  Sweet.

I would love to finish everything sooner, but you know, as I said before, life happens because it's a snotty little bitch.  I just finished college, which took up a huge amount of my time.  Now I am trying to work full time.  Why do I do this to myself...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #22

22. Tell us about one scene between your char­ac­ters that you’ve never writ­ten or told any­one about before! Seri­ous or not.

I can't do that...that would be a spoiler...and I would have to kill you.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #21

21. Do any of your char­ac­ters have chil­dren? How well do you write them?

Not usually, most of my characters are not interested in having children, much like myself.  Obviously in multi-generation series like Nagnomei, characters breed, but I pretty much skip over their childhoods and go straight to teenage and up.  And if characters raise children, they're usually adopted because of some circumstance or another.

I could write them just fine, but quite frankly I don't want to.  I'm not interested in writing for children or about children - with all the sex in my novels, that's just fine, yo!

Friday, August 20, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #20

(thank goodness, 2/3 done)

20. What are your favorite char­ac­ter inter­ac­tions to write?

The easiest way to answer this would be by giving specific examples, but for once I think I'll be a little more ~generic~.  My favorite type of character interactions to write are usually between two characters:  one character likes the other but the "like" is not reciprocated.  It amuses me because it lets me work with wto different emotions at once on a constant basis. I like to keep things interesting for myself, after all.

The only other kind of interaction I look forward to writing are torture and sex. yeah. YEAH.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

30 Days of Wriing: #19

Get it?  GET IT?
19. Favorite minor that decided to shove her/him­self into the spot­light and why!

Fixed the sexism okay and thank you. /bitter today.

I don't have an answer for this question in terms of Nagnomei, because I write that one with the idea that every character I introduce is a "potential", as in it's possible they could be used again later in a more prominent role if necessary.  However, I don't take the same idea in CROSS// because one is a huge epic fantasy with a contienent full of players and the other is a smaller urban fantasy with only a few prominent characters.  But like any long-term story that I start on, within a few chapters I've got characters that I realize are going to keep popping up whether relevant or not. 

People who read CROSS// the first time through would probably be surprised to learn that, originally, Miranda was supposed to be a minor character.  The idea was that she was gonig to be the lewd and lecherous commander that kinda flirted, showed leg, and unapologetically slinked around the background for my own amusement (and to annoy the crap out of Danielle).  The running joke was going to be that she was always trying to get some with Danielle, the blonde didn't want none of that, hardy har hurr hurr even lesbians sexually harrass each other.   But within the first few chapters of the first book, Miranda went from minor character to antagonist with a huge background. Oops! And now she's one of three main characters. Oops again!

Lesson:  never underestimate your minor characters! They'll come for you. =(

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #18

18. Favorite antag­o­nist and why!

Woo I'm psychic! After yesterday's "favorite protagonist", this was only kinda painfully obvious.  Just kinda.

I'm pretty sure I've already gone on about how much Yumiko amuses me, so I will try to come up with someone else...

...nope, all my other antagonists either just aren't as cool or are too protagonisty. Here's a great idea, Mr. Meme, come up with some less repetitive questions. Jeez.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #17

17. Favorite pro­tag­o­nist and why!

Sooooo how  is this not like the "favorite character!" question?

Meh, I have so many protagonists, it's hard to pick a favorite.  Especially since some of my faves cross over into antagonist category more than once - actually, if I think about it, most of my characters cross between "good" and "evil" so much that sometimes it feels weird to call them protagonist or antagonist.  The bad guys are doing their bad things in the name of good, and the good guys do some bad things to save their worlds.  IT'S LIKE A CIRCLE.

But I guess if I spin it in terms of ~best character that does protagonisty things~ I'll give props to my man Jack, because he was my first (as if) and, even though he's in a total crap situation throughout his entire series, he doesn't whine too much and just kinda takes it like a man.  He's lawful good without the armor, because guys who go out with just a sword in their hand are a-ok with me. And he's a red-head, I mean come on.

I have a horrible feeling I know what tomorrow's is going to be...

Monday, August 16, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #16

16. Do you write roman­tic rela­tion­ships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you will­ing to go in your writ­ing? ;)

Whatevz, romance is one of the most interesting things to write about - adds character development and advances plot. 

And anyone who's read anything I've written? They go all the way. In great detail. Usually with mental commentary!

And that's all I'm saying about that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #15

This is not an accurate rendering...
15. Mid­way ques­tion! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether pro­fes­sional or not!

Oh God, I don't even know.  Just to say I admire a writer does not necessarily mean I LIKE them or even READ them, right?  Well, believe it or not, there are definitely more writers I admire than necessarily like.  Writers, of course, like the classics in Greek and Rome, whoever the lucky snot who wrote Beowulf was (and I curse him), Lady Murasaki for being both an educated woman in medieval Japan AND wriiting the oldest (or one of)  novels in Japan, or even the world (may I reiterate that she was a woman?)  and virtually anyone else who is way more awesome than I will ever be. If it weren't for writers to idolize, there would be nothing to aspire to.

As for more...recent...writers I admire, that's a harder one.  I admire writers who broke into markets and made something for themselves. But I doubt this is about the business aspect of admiration.  So, in terms of writing style, content, and general badassery, one of the first 1900s+ authors that come to mind for me is Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials.  It's one of the few (fantasy) series from my childhood that I still thoroughly enjoy and look to for inspiration, probably because it's fantasy with religious know, like Nagnomei...which explains why I was attracted to it in the first place.  Pullman is able to make twists and turns that make me jealous.  He's succinct (something I need to work on) and yet gets all the (fantastical) information across.  He's also really pissing some organizations off that I would love to piss off as well.  The only thing I'm not jealous of is the movie...

Tell me, fanciful readers, who do you admire? And most importantly...are they dead?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #14

14. How do you map out loca­tions, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

(is it just me or are these questions getting stale)

I've mapped out, officially, the landscapes of Nagnomei and, more succinctly, that of its capital region the Royal North.  There isn't anything dramatically awesome about these maps.  They were mostly just done by my hand for my  own political reference - hopefully, if the are published, they will have been redone by somebody more "in the know" of such things.

I also map out certain buildings.  I bought a graphing notebook from my student store and sat down to trace out exactly the scales and arrangements of character houses/apartments/etc. that I want, since lots of scenes take place in such areas.  It's really helped me out, especially since some places were not exactly clear in their layout in my head and this helped force me to write out exactly how they should be - I always enjoyed doing that kind of thing anyway, haha.

You can see the maps for Nagnomei in its official download page.  I'm way too lazy to upload them here again. =P

Friday, August 13, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #13

13. What’s your favorite cul­ture to write, fic­tional or not?

That's kind of an odd question.  And it may seem like an easy one for me to answer, but it really isn't.  I do a lot of writing based on Japanese culture (or even parts of stories set in Japan) but I wouldn't necessarily say it's my favorite.  I guess I don't really have one.  Although I would be lying if I didn't find my fictional Fairy-Amazonian culture quite fascinating to preach about.

I failed at this question.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #12

I can't draw maps like this.  At all.
12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of world­build­ing? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

I'm pretty sure this has already kinda been asked before...and my answer is more or less the same. Nagnomei is by far my favorite world, probably because I built it from "scratch". including geography, culture, and religion. I've managed to work out almost all the kinks by now, and that's a huge thing for me.

Probably the way it's changed the most since I first imagined it is the size - the continent used to take up both northern and southern hemispheres of the planet. As I got older I realized how dumb this was and scaled it back so it's now a northern continent only. The far north is the southern arctic area, and instead of a "south pole" the southern most parts are just coastal (although ironically not tropical). I also had to do this because parts of the series includes traveling the entire continent on horseback, and this needs to be done within at least 3-months-time. This also forced me to perfect the inter-kingdom highway system - gotta make sure all those major villages are easily accessible, right? Right.

The best part about working with a whole continent that includes almost every major geographic feature - plains, desert, jungle, mountains, foggy coast, valleys - is that I can just keep expanding parts of it as I need/want. And for someone who has an imagination as cray-cray as mine, that's a plus beyond measure.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #11

omg. GET IT?
11. Who is your favorite char­ac­ter to write? Least favorite?

It was inevitable that this question should arise eventually, so I was pretty prepared for it. Being asked who your favorite character is is like the previous entry I wrote about being asked which novel is your favorite - after a while you start thinking of your original characters as "children", and being asked to pick a favorite feels like parental heresy. But since this question is more about asking which is my favorite to WRITE (or not write) it doesn't feel so bad, because there are pretty simple reasons for this.

All but one of my favorite characters to write is female. (Why is this not a surprise?) And to just get him out of the way right now, my favorite male character to write is good ol' Zachoran. I can't say no to writing about an academic in power with tons of money and a perchance for general debauchery. He's also my male outlet for fun times with romance. (I've gotta have at least one.)

For the sake of simplicity, I will for now only mention one favorite female character to write, who just happens to be in my other series. Before her "creation", I could've easily picked another character, but the fact of the matter is that Yumiko is one of my most fascinating characters to write - if only because I almost never know what she's going to do. Like how she just SHOWED UP one day in a scene and was suddenly a main character. Thee problem with her though is that she tends to do very immoral things, which, at times, can upset me. So in this instance, I suppose she's also my least favorite.

All right, I lied. There's actually one last character I want to talk about, and, quite possibly, she IS my favorite character to write at all. My only regret is that she does not show up in her series until about three books in, so all of my real experience in writing her comes from side projects. But Charletta just kinda fascinates me: she's from a completely different culture, with different values, and just isn't bothered by much of anything. It's kinda become a game of mine to see if I can piss her off somehow. Clearly I need to write her more.

There are other characters in the past that pissed me off to write, but after so many years I've grown accustomed to most of them and have learned their traits and morals to the point that conducting any scene with any character more or less goes smoothly - character development rarely holds me up. In fact, if anything blocks me, it's sentence structures, but that's a totally different topic for another day. Oye.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #10

10. What are some really weird sit­u­a­tions your char­ac­ters have been in? Every­thing from seri­ous canon scenes to meme ques­tions counts!

Oh my God, I think I am in love with this question.

Ironically though I'm sitting here trying to think up an appropriate answer.

But when you just kinda let your scenes go wherever they want (like I do), then your characters end up in some serious whacky hijinks that make Hanna Barbara look tame.  One of my favorite things to do is mess around with gender norms.  In one series I have a male character that at some point has to go undercover as a female to get information out of another woman.  In another series a male character gets physically transformed into a female for about half the book.  Should be noted that one of these men handles their role a lot better than the other...which is part of the fun in itself.

Otherwise the "weird" situations are mostly small in nature, or at least in the scopes of the plots.  Of course I could argue that, since I write fantasy, nearly every major situation a character is put into is a "weird" one:  case in point, being told that you're a reincarnated soldier sent to stop the Earth from being destroyed - and you've died 99 times before. Or finding out that you have to go pick up a piece of paper, but only after passing seven ridiculous trials first - and even though you've got some immortals with you, everyone is still a pussy and won't go in first. The definition of "weird" has to be pretty wide in my stories' cases.

But then if you made it too wide, I suppose, suddenly my stories get very boring. Hm.

Monday, August 9, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #9

9. How do you get ideas for your char­ac­ters? Describe the process of cre­at­ing them.

 Is this a legit question? I guess there are writers who literally sit down to draw out every detail of ever character, but for me I just bust them out.  When I know a new character is coming in, I don't think about them, I just let them come in and do their thing.  Sometimes the appearance is inspired by a real life person or rendering I see, and sometimes I freely admit I make a character that I just find attractive. (These are usually minor, fluff characters though.)  The only characters I may sit and plan out extensively ahead of time are antagonists, as I usually need them to be a very specific type of entity - plus, let's face it, antagonists are a lot harder to make original and not so cliche.

As for their personalities, I literally discover things about characters as I write them.  I found out that one of my characters apparently really loves black because it's most of her wardrobe (and no, she's not emo or goth, it's just how it worked out/it looks best on her), another character hates cherries, and of course, another character wasn't supposed to exist at all, but she showed up in a scene one day and basically told me, "Biyatch, I'm one of your main antagonists now.  Have fun."

So there is no "process" to writing my characters.  They just kinda exist and I work from there.  That's how it goes, yo.  I'm sorry it's not more fascinating than that...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #8

8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

I think it's pretty safe to say that I need a huge heaping help of fantasy in any story I write.  This goes hand in hand with my favorite genre to read, which is obviously fantasy. My problem though is that I am so fickle when it comes to reading fantasy - it's easy for me to get disenchanted or even more critical of stories in the fantasy realm than I would in any other classic genre.  Such crazyness can probably be attributed to the fact that I've read so much epic/high/adventure/urban fantasy in my youth that I've hit burnout these days, and thus, only the super awesome fantasy stories can actually get by my eyes.

I was always the kind of little girl that enjoyed the ideas of going to a different place than where I lived, partly because I lived in rural Oregon and it was boring as snuff, and partly because I loved anything that activated my crazy-ass imagination..  Fantasy required an openness to things that simply did not exist in the world, like magic, mythos, and general other-worldly debauchery.  It was also incredibly romantic which fit my equally incredibly romantic personality, even at tender elementary school ages. Books are not the only fantasy realms I enjoy - no big secret that I love fantasy video games and movies as well.

There's something about playing around with fantasy, whether it's entirely creating your own world or working within the boundaries of our own.  Both of my series parlay one or the other, and this is another reason why I go back and forth on working on them - sometimes I want to work with familiarity, and other times I just want total free reign to say what the rules are and who's in charge. 

Of course fantasy is not the only thing I write (or read).  Sometimes, especially for short works, plain fiction is best.  I also am a huge fan of writing romance as well, but that's one of the easy genres that mixes with just about all the others. 

So on that note, even though this is a meme anyone can pick up, I want to ask the readers out there how they see themselves in this:  do you often write the same genres that you read?  If so, does that make you an even pickier reader of those genres?  I want to know how cray-cray I am.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #7

I think this may be physically impossible.
7. Do you lis­ten to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your char­ac­ters?

If writing is my favorite thing in the world (debatable anyway), then music is the "other thing".  Ironically, used to be that I couldn't write to any sort of noise in the background, music included.  Slowly I worked my way up to ~new age~ white noise/elevator music, and now I can slam out a love scene set to Dethklok if that's what it's all come down to. (I wonder how I would write such a scene...perhaps I will try one day?)

I do keep my background music pretty separated when I am writing, however.  If I'm working on Nagnomei, odds are I'm listening to Euro-metal.  If I am working on CROSS//, I am probably listening to anything that's not Euro-metal.  Atmospheres and moods and all that snazzy stuff.

Theme wise, I have picked out songs that I could see being the themes for each book I've written, and I do put together make-shift soundtrack for them.  The really odd thing here, though, is that I rarely listen to them while I'm writing.  It's more like what songs I imagine being ina movie/series adaptation of each novel.  There are certain songs that have inspired certain scenes that I will put onto repeat while I am writing them, but otherwise, I'm not quite that limited.  In instances of writing, music is only background white noise for me to be amused with. 

For fun, here are the songs I consider to be the themes for the two drafts I am working on now:

Nagnomei:  The Key of Nixey


Friday, August 6, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #6

If only my workspace was this clean.
6. Where are you most com­fort­able writ­ing? At what time of day? Com­puter or good ol’ pen and paper?

First question is quite easy.  I can write anywhere.  Growing up riding the school bus for two hours every day has trained me to tune out outside distractions, even if it's as simple as turning on my ipod.   But the most common place I write is spliced between any of my desks and lying in bed.  Writing in bed for about a half hour to an hour is how I unwind and get ready for sleepy-times.  It usually also causes me to have really whacky dreams.

Mentally I can concentrate better at writing in the late afternoon/evening, but my creative peak is at the midnight hour or later.  There's something about the quiet darkness that just opens my imagination and lets me get right to work.  It's probably why I like to write before going to sleep.

And the last part of this question is also incredibly easy.  Computer! I can't write long hand anymore.  I type at 120wpm and get hand cramps after writing out two sentences.  I type as fast as I can formulate the words in my head and that helps me get crap done.  I grew up typing on computers, so that's how my brain has associated the writing process for me.  My stories just look weird in my handwriting - it has to be neutral Times New Roman.

I do, however, write out notes in special notebooks I keep in my office space.  This is mostly so I can do this stuff outside.  And I don't do it very often.  I actually kinda fail at it.  Damnit!

Well, it's nearing the midnight hour, that must mean it's time to go work on a novel. Yaaay!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #5

I found old people!
5. By age, who is your youngest char­ac­ter? Old­est? How about “youngest” and “old­est” in terms of when you cre­ated them?

This is so beyond arbitrary.  I've got characters across every age range...of course, the majority of them, including major characters, fall into the teenager/adult trap, but I have my reasons for preferring those age groups.

For the sake of this, however, I'll keep the answers limited to major and higher-minor characters.

The oldest character is obviously one of the Gods in Nagnomei. They're each over 4000 years old, which right there makes them older than any of the sorcerers from CROSS// who cap out at around 2000 years.  (And that's the ~older~ ones.)  For non-immortal characters, the oldest semi-prominent character is probably Regina from CROSS//, who, according to my notes, is 66 at the start of the series.  I enjoy writing older people, or at least people who have lived for a long-ass time, because they have that certain cynical edge to life that I relate to. A lot.

The youngest character, who is not a cameo as a child, would be Jessie at her debut in Nagnomei (15), or, if you want a supporting character, Kana (14) mid-way through the series.  The important thing to keep track in this series  is that, although many of the main characters are in their mid-late teens, they are almost adults in their society and are treated as such.  (Seventeen is the legal adult age.)  This can account for why some of them may act more like 20-year-olds as opposed to 15-year-olds.  It is not uncommon in the kingdoms for children to be treated as young adults the moment they reach puberty, as mortality rates dictate that efficient families need more adults than children.  This is not that much different than from how our own Western societies treated teenagers not even a hundred years ago.  I actually enjoy writing characters in this world at this age because it's interesting to play with the notion of being an adult while still trying to hang on to the comforts of childhood...

...Says the 22-year-old.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #4

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

I wrote my first "novel" when I was six years old. Yes, this insanity goes back that far.

This is back when I literally cut pieces of paper in half and handwrote on them so I could make them into a legit "book".  I would then either staple the pages together or, later on, holepunch them (NOT. FUN. EVER. First draft of Nagnomei is whole punched. ALL 400 PAGES.)  and put the little page binder things in them.  Thus, my first "novel" was like this.  And yes, I really was six years old.  I'll tell you of why I am certain about this later on.

My ~debut novel~ was a story about my grandmother.  I know, right?  But this was about when my grandmother was a teenager!!! I think I just wanted a reason to make the main character's name be Hildred, meh.  And  in this story, my grandmother had a friend...that was a PEGASUS omg.

I don't really remember the plot, but it had to do with my grandmother being visited in the night by a pegasus that informed her they had to go on an ~adventure~.  I think I only got a couple chapters in before I forgot about it all.  The biggest atroticity, however, is that this book was illustrated.  I really wish I could find it just so I could show you all the horrible, horrible kindergarten drawings of my grandmother riding a pegasus.

I vaguely remember that the reason why I started writing this story was to cheer my grandmother up after the death of my grandfather.  He died when I was five. I officially learned how to read in kindergarten (age 6).  My grandmother got very sick herself when I was around 7 and died when I was 8-9.  Since she was still mobile and able to respond to what I was doing, I am pretty confident this all occurred when I was 6 or so.  An author.  I've been one for 16 years. My dear Jeebus.

It's destiny!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #3

I'm always tempted to write "Tumadre"
3. How do you come up with names for char­ac­ters (and for places if you’re writ­ing about fic­tional places)?

(Hey, can I toot my own horn for a moment? Really? Thanks.)  If there's one thing I'm apparently good at, it's naming crap.  This makes me day considering I write high fantasy fiction and the cliche is that you have to give your people and places the most ridiculous names possible.  I don't know how many adventures about Q'saratyipi Hyk'ghola-fernz going gallivanting across the land of Unpronounceable I've read about, but there you go. 

For the high fantasy setting, I follow a simple rule when I'm making up names for characters not based off a real name:  two syllables, three at the most.  In Nagnomei, most of the names were made up when I was in my early teens, so they were truly, truly of my brain's creation.  (This was mostly before my family had the internet, anyway.)  That's why later I was surprised to find out that Roku's name was actually the number 6 in Japanese, or that Charletta is a totally legit name used in our society. (I've met one. Actually, two.)   The first was to be expected, I suppose, but the second blew my mind because I actually fashioned that name from the common name "Charlotte", thinking that "Charlotte" would not be a realistic name for my world.  And, well, she needed a name that ended in "A", anyway.

With the vowel thing  I did kind of pigeon-hole myself.  In my world's social hierarchy, only women whose names end in "a" and men whose names end in "n" can be considered for high society, let alone royalty.  Therefore, I had to keep my own rules in mind whenever I wanted to name a King, Queen, Princess, Prince, Lord, Lady, Duke, probably most knights, etc.  This also leads to a sort of "name cult" in Nagnomei surrounding what parents choose to name their children:  those trying to climb the social ladder will name their children accordingly to make sure that said children are good potential marriage material.  Families of very low status don't worry too much about this and call their children whatever the want.  Likewise, it's considered odd to name one's child with the "wrong" ending letter, such as "n" for girls and "a" for boys.  And indeed, there are quite a few women in Nagnomei that pop up with such "masculine" names, Malivion (both incarnations) and Makilon probably being the most prominent.   What's more fun is that the naming systems become quite the drama-mongrels later on in the series, because names should cause drama.

There are a few other funny stories about names, particularly in Nagnomei. As mentioned in the previous entry, the gods are largely based off seven of the most practiced religions here in our world, and, aside from "Shiloh" and "Kami", the other gods' names are quite accidents!  They were named (and once I pick a name that I think fits a character, I am very stubborn against changing it) before I had the entire religious system worked out.  Probably the most interesting "accident" is that of Monir, the god that is based heavily on Islam.  The other night I was wasting  time googling my characters' names to see what I got, and, as it turns out, "Monir" is a popular Persian name.  I was pleasantly surprised at this, but the best surprise was yet to come - Monir is a girl's name!  I found this really entertaining as Monir, the character, is quite forward about his masculinity and even I wonder if he knows the origins of his name...he probably keeps it secret.

As for places, my general rule is to keep them pronounceable and relevant.  Regardless of people or places, I go about naming in the same general fashion.  Usually I pick a letter to begin with that I feel represents the person best, ie, I say "I think this character would have an 'A' name" and building from there.  After that I usually decide on number of syllables and maybe what letter it should end with (easy if it's a noble character).  It usually doesn't take me long, but I have been stuck on a name more than once in my life. 

And that's just for names I make up.  I will not even touch characters with "real" names, like a majority of those in CROSS// at this time, ha.

Monday, August 2, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #2

2. How many char­ac­ters do you have? Do you pre­fer males or females?
 Well, gee, I really couldn't say.  Between two vast series, it is safe to say that I have at least a couple dozen prominent characters.  And by "prominent" I mean have extensive roles and backgrounds.  When you write as lengthy as series that encompass entire universes like I do, you're going to have a crapton of characters.  One series currently has about 8 characters to primarily focus on, and the other has about 5.  This all fluctuates from book to book, of  course!

I have a pretty even split on male vs. female characters, but I definitely prefer writing the ladies.  This can be seen from the two most obvious reasons, ie. that I am female and feel more comfortable with it, and that well hell love women.  But even when I was younger I liked writing female characters, because they were easier for me to relate to and I felt more confident in my portrayals of them.  Plus, I find women just more fascinating to write and read about.  You can cross a lot of boundaries with female characters.  There's also the fact that you can usually just go to town on their appearances. See:  Sims 3.

I've gotten better at adding more variety to male characters in the past few years, however.  It probably helps that most of my friends in real life tend to  be guys, so I've had quite the ride analyzing the male psyche from my perspective.  Not to say I know everything about men, but I've been told, and am kinda starting to believe it myself, that I tend to think in and view the world in a "masculine" way.  So, my characters end up being an extension of that themselves, whether they are male or female.

Yay day 2! 28 to go!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #1

These things cure writer's block. Trufax.
This meme is going around again, and I thought it would be cool to add to my writing journal! :D Yay. Beginning with today, the first, and going on through Aug 31st. (I'll make my own at the end.)

1. Tell us about your favorite writ­ing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

Oh yeah, sure, the hardest one right off the bat.

I only have two main projects/universes, those of Nangomei and CROSS//, and as I've stated before in another post before, I'm obsessed with both fairly equally.  However, my initial world building bias is definitely handed towards Nagnomei, because that is one I have built from scratch since its inception when I was barely in middle school.

Nagnomei takes place on the continent/planet of Nagnomei, whereas CROSS// takes place in a slightly parallel Earth.  (Parallel only so I can get away with a couple things that differ from Earth's actual reality.)  While there are other worlds I've created, sketched, and even molded other races out of for CROSS//, it still follows a very Western Earth kind of motif as it's suggested these other worlds were what founded our Earth culture(s).  However, the culture(s) of Nagnomei has had 4000 years of evolution at its back and calls for modification.  It's not a secret that I draw heavily from current Earth cultures for many of the kingdoms:  Alanjepsta is heavily inspired by Japan-in-the-Desert and the Royal North is a throwback to medieval, Catholic Europe. There is a reason for these huge parallels, but I'm not at liberty to discuss them right now, hehe.

Probably the greatest part about building that particular world, however, is constructing the religion.  I've always been a huge nerd for studying religions, (I even minored in it in college), and I definitely went to town for Nagnomei's collective religion.  Each major God/Goddess represents a major Earth religion with some liberal differences allotted.  I originally worried that readers may take this as meaning that Gylara, the Queen Goddess of all and the one that obviously represents Christianity/Catholicism, was the "correct" religion since she's ultimately in charge.  However, I later stopped worrying about it, as I know that that is not my intent, and ,well, readers will read into something whatever they want.  They can argue with me all they want, but, um, no, I'm right, thank you! :D

And thus I conclude day one of the this 30-day meme.  If I keep rambling, I will inevitably answer the other questions before I even get to them, and nobody wants to see me repeat myself wants to see me repeat myself.