Saturday, 26 March 2011

What is Magic? - Tessa & Laura's Blogfest

Hello everyone and welcome to the Dark Side's first ever Blogfest entry.

Tessa and Laura have asked what the Nature of Magic is to us and/or our characters. Is it abracadabra or bah, humbug? A ritual or fairy dust?

I've decided to have a go at answering. A short answer, but there you go.

(NB. Tay is a prince who's kingdom has been 'stolen', Doyle is the King who's court he's currently at - something between prisoner and ward)


Tay watched the king run his fingers along the spines of the old books. Golden lines glowed in the wake of his touch, forming titles and symbols on their backs. Alethaien shivered when he recognized one of them. The Arts had been outlawed for centuries in Dorenika, but the Kings of the Alliance had always been avid students of the mysteries. He swallowed hard when Doyle pulled one of them from the shelf, leaving a dark, dusty gap that none of the other books dared enchroach upon.

“This is it,” the king said, stroking the gleaming leather as if expecting it to purr any moment. Tay had to fight the urge to shrink back in his chair when Doyle approached with his prize. “I want you to read it, prince, and take these words to heart.”

The heavy tome landed in Tay’s lap. He stared at it. It looked fairly innocent, if one discounted the glowing lines scrolling all over it just moments ago.

“Your majesty...Sire...”

Doyle bent down, one hand on each of the chair’s arms, to put his face right in front of Tay’s. “No. This is not optional, young prince. You will read this, or you will be assigned a tutor to make sure you learn its content.” He leaned in closer to whisper into the younger man’s ear. “You should not be afraid of words, my friend. It’s the people who speak them that do the bad things.”


Thank you for reading my first ever blogfest entry. I shall be off soon to investigate everyone else's contributions... (linky list on T's blog)

Leave me a note to tell me what you think, and thank you again for stopping by the Dark Side of the Woods, hope you liked it.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What's in a Name

I spend an inordinate amount of time naming my characters. I'd say it's almost like giving birth, but then I have no clue what that is like so I'll just say it's both wonderful and painful.

Sometimes I go for the sound of a name, sometimes I research meanings and search for a name that expresses what that character means, either to me or the plot. Very, very rarely does a character come to me pre-named.

Case to point, the two MCs in my current WIP are called Tay, Rho and Doyle - or, to forgo nicknames, Aletheian, Minoro and Feardorcha. The first two are adaptations of "truth" in different languages. Feardorcha means something along the lines of 'the dark-haired man' (Doyle means 'dark stranger' or some such, in case you were wondering).

How do you name your characters? Do you name them once and leave it at that? Does the name sometimes change as your plot evolves? Do you take the first name that occurs to you, the first one that sounds good?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Whilst we're talking

I have a love-hate relationship with all my characters. They come along, introduce themselves more or less thoroughly, poke at me, invite me out to dinner. The more persistent, shameless ones have been known to show up next to me when I'm in the shower, in bed.

They come and go as they please, leaving me behind each time bereft and relieved all at once. It's hard, sometimes, to have all these people clamouring for attention, and even harder when they aren't there to lend their support, their very lives to my writing.

Of course, they have this annoying tendency to disappear just when I need them most.

Maybe this is the reason why I try to make the most of their appearances, to wring the last drop of creative spirit from them, soak it up and spew it out as ink on paper. I talk to them, you see. On paper, mostly, but sometimes in my head, too. It's difficult to take notes when you're driving.

Like most people, my characters can be reluctant at times, unwilling to share their lives with me, to show me just how they tick. But I'm persistent, too. I ask questions, I invite other characters to join the conversation, watch their body language, listen to the tone of their voice. I record their mannerisms and their idiosyncracies. All of this is important, all of this makes them people, real to me and, more importantly, to that fabled creature we all aspire to please, The Reader.

I particularly like interviewing my characters, putting them on the spot, so to speak. I plunk them down in a setting unfamiliar to them and see what happens. Maybe I'll post an interview at some point, we'll see.

To sum it up, though, to me my charactrs are definite people in their own rights, alive enough to surprise me (and to mess up my plotting in the process). They say things I do not expect, they do things they are not supposed to, but I really could not do without them.

How about you other writers in the ether out there? What do you do to give your characters life? Do you talk to them? Do you build them up at the start of the story, so you always know what they're doing? Or do they surprise you, like mine?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Welcome to the Dark Side

To blog or not to blog, that is the question here.

I blame Tessa. She's infected me with this bug, this curious addiction to baring one's soul (and make no mistake, my writing is very much a reflection of my soul) to the world. So here I am, a convert, a zealot (ok maybe not - it's hard to be zealous in or about anything in these busy times).

I will write, and I will post, and I will - Gods help me - join in blogfests and other onliney endeavours. I might even host one, who knows. Maybe you'll listen to me, maybe you won't, but my I'll be here as often as I can, as often as I can cope with.

Here I am, then, a blogger at last. No more mere fooling around with Tessa on our joint bloggy adventures (not that anyone reads those - ahem!). I'm ready to go out on my own, take off the training wheels.

I'm ready for the Dark Side.

Are you?