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The Writer’s Halloween Tag

Kenzie tagged me for some spooky question-answering!  Thanks!

So let’s stab some pumpkins, carve out their faces, and sit back with a cup of hot apple cider.

The Questions

I: Are you a scaredy cat or a horror aficionado?

Meow.  Purrrrr…HISS!  *Scrambles away from the scary monster in a split-second*

II: Would you ever consider writing a horror novel?

Well, now that you suggest it, maybe. I want to play with some eerie themes eventually.  Maybe a gothic style?

III: What is the favorite bookish Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Ummmm…..I once took a white robe and a bunch of random scarves and accessories and made myself look like some mysterious fantasy person, and then I wrote a story with said fantasy person in it, who was a sorceress.   So, I dressed up as my own character.  It was for my second Nanowrimo.

IV: What is the best bookish costume you’ve seen someone else wear?

I have no idea.

V: What literary villain is your favorite?

I’ve talked about some villains in another tag post, so for a new literary one I would say…I have no idea.

Evil Emperor Zurg, even though he’s from a tv show, not a book.

I feel like there was some villain I ran across in a book who I liked, someone not generally known, maybe a villain in an Agatha Christie mystery?

VI: Will you be visiting a haunted house this year?

No.

VII: Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go Trick-or-Treating?

I’d probably prefer Trick-or-Treating in order to collect free candy and stock up for Nano (and have quiet time for last minute planning), but I’m a little too old for that.  I’ll have to go to the Nanowrimo kick-off party for my Halloween festivities (I’ve dressed up as my characters twice in previous years).

VIII: What’s the best Halloween song?

Ain’t got a clue, man.

IX: What scares you the most about the writing process?

Trying to find the balance between a harshly dark, realistic, but ultimately good story vs. a harshly dark and realistic story that makes everyone miserable.

X: Monster mash – if you had to say your antagonist was a mix of two traditional monsters what would those be?

Which antagonist?  Some of them are already monsters, and kinda a mix of monsters…buuuut the Void Lord is the only antagonist I’m willing to talk about right now, so…I would say he is…A ghost?  Because he can appear out of nowhere instantly (seemingly) and is hard to kill, and also a…a…

A dragon because he’s cool and powerful?

And I always stick dragons in.  To the point they feel unimaginative to me.  Drat.

Or maybe he’s a ghost and a headless huntsman.  That’s more fitting for his atmosphere and frankly I don’t know if I ever reveal his face.

XI: Would your MC be more scared of being left alone in a dark forest or an abandoned castle?

Hmm…I think Sheyla would be more scared of a dark forest.  It’s harder to guard herself in one, and she does have scary times in a dark forest.  There might be monsters around, waiting to devour her.

XII: Does anyone in your WIP believe in ghosts?

Well, there was that one time Robert and Sheyla had to talk to a ghost in a silly short story, so I would say canonically they haven’t heard of ghosts as a concept, but if they did, they would think ghosts are real and weird magic is to blame.

XIII: Which character would last the longest in a scary movie?

Probably the Void Lord, followed by Rob, then Sheyla, and finally Naomi.  (She is not genre savvy enough.)  Except Rob would sacrifice himself to save Sheyla, and the Void Lord would do the same for Naomi cuz he’s her dad.

XIV: Good witch or a bad witch – do you enjoy torturing the characters in your WIP or do you feel bad about it?

If it’s the main characters, I will throw everything I can at them and laugh.  Or sometimes tear up if it’s dramatically poignant, but I don’t feel bad about it.  I feel pretty sad for my side characters though, the world is pretty much stacked against them.  And a lot of them are going to die.

XV: Pick a love interest from your WIP; would they be most likely to scream like a little kid or punch someone in the face if they were scared abruptly?

More likely to punch someone.

Technically, Sheyla would be more likely to gasp than to punch someone, but she’s pretty good about volume control.  So no screaming.

Unnecessary Retagging

Cuz all the bloggers I know already got tagged.  😛

sci-fi · Stories

Beautiful Books 2017: The Desolation of Kaldoa

I decided to do Cait and Sky’s book tag in preparation for Nanowrimo, so time to learn the secrets of my story! *Hisses and pulls spoilers further into dark cave*

Just a quick note, my Nano novel this year is actually a script for a webcomic, but I suspect some prose will sneak in there (or completely take over) anyway, so close enough.  It’s all story words!

The Questions

One: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I think it’s been a couple of years now.  My two surface inspiration points were a webcomic called Not A Villain and The Hunger Games.  I read the Hunger Games first and was intrigued by the dystopian genre, but the ending felt so depressing to me I couldn’t stand it.  And often enough I heard about other dystopian stories, and felt intrigued and…bleh about them.  So, I had a jumble of vague ideas in the back of my head and once I read Not A Villain, I thought, “What if there was a mage who could control electronics or fry them to smithereens with a magical electro-magnetic pulse (EMP)?  And her high-tech society hates her guts?  And wants her dead?”

Mostly that clicked with me because I’ve wanted to play with EMPs in stories for a long time, since they are a real threat and can be made by nuclear bombs blowing up, and if blown up in atmosphere can have a devastating EMP area of effect that can destroy the energy grid of the country.  Or at least large swathes of it.  Rendering electronic devices inert and useless.

And then we would all die.

(Hey, it’s Halloween, that’s why we’re all scared, it’s not like there’s any lunatics in the world throwing rockets around and testing nuclear bombs and stuff…totally. *CoughNorthKoreaCough*)

The real backbone to all of this is survival stories, plain and simple.  I always wondered, “Would I be able to survive?” when I heard war or genocide survival stories from WWII and onwards.  Especially after learning more about communist regimes.

My stories get darker the more news and history I read.  Particular, real events have shaped my story.

Sorry characters, but you’re here to help real people figure out how to survive, not yourselves.

Well.  That was a heavy intro.

Two: Describe what your novel is about!

Death.  And the avoiding of it.  Also, true love…that is highly inconvenient politically and civically, and in a survival-related way, and yet isn’t wrong.

It’s about the nation of Kaldoa trying to free itself after a devastating war.

So, there’s lots of war.

It’s basically about Sheyla solving all her problems in life by crying and getting hugged by soldiers.

And MAGIC!

Three: What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

[Insert drab pictures of DOOM here]

I kinda  wanted to draw some stuff for this, but I never got around to it, and that tells me I shouldn’t delay my post any longer.  Maybe later.

Basically, imagine rainy, gray military camps, and prisons, and orphanages that feel like prisons, and everything is drab and bleak, but then it’s contrasted with glittery and dark high society, as well as space, which is also all dark and glittery.  Except sunny planets break up the darkness a bit more.  And there are spaceships hovering around the place.

Raindrops on barbed wire.  Scratched up helmets.

Shining champagne glasses.  Sparkly evening gowns with huge trains.

Silence of space with only the glimpses of spacecraft propulsion and safety lights in the distance.

Four: Introduce us to each of your characters!

Sheyla Klark: sad mage girl.  Who manages to get better at fighting in each draft.

Robert Darhurst: dude who can’t handle galactic politics.  Is good at shooting.

You may have met them during the Deathmatch Tournament.

Other Characters:

There are so many, how can I choose them???

The Void Lord

Naomi

Umm…Everyone else feels like spoilers at this point.

The Void Lord can void magic.  Sheyla has reason to fear him.

Naomi is the Void Lord’s daughter and she is the opposite of everyone in the entire galaxy personality-wise.  She’s kind of happy by default.  Which is weird.  Really weird.

Five: How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I have an outline that’s pretty thorough for the beginning towards middle, and then the dramatic pivot point happens and…

Everybody fights after that?

And eventually they fight enough that Sheyla gets a happy ending by saving Kaldoa?

Maybe?

I hope.

Also, perhaps the most important factor is that I listen to multiple hours of epic music and get action snippets from them and spend a lot of time imaging scenes.  I plan my story through mind movies I hone over days before I ever write anything.

Or sometimes I make a random doodle and instantly something clicks. (But not so much with this story.)

I don’t really research things, I just discover some random things here and there that I add in if they seem relevant enough.  Otherwise I would panic and turn in a paralyzed perfectionist wondering if there’s one more detail out in the world that would ruin my entire plot.  Agh.

I just work with my present knowledge base.  Which I think is pretty usual advice for first drafts.

I will be stocking up on some candies and snacks.  Absolutely.

Six: What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

GETTING ALL OF THIS STUFF OUT OF ME AND DEALING WITH ALL THESE HARD LIFE/DEATH THEMES AND AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!!

Also the characters’ banter.  Because there is absolutely going to be humor in this thing.  It may end up morbid, dark humor, but it will be funny!

Making a fabulously beautiful masterpiece that is also entirely horrific!  (I better add some more heroes or something. [I need to add more aliens too…cuz there’s more than just bad aliens.  Maybe some evil robots…])

Seven: List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

-Sad Kaldoa.  Muted colors.

-Robert’s fancy house that is kinda too empty.  Lonely.

-Provst, an unhappy, angry, vicious country of doom.  Except Provst was supposed to be a particular region, so I need a name for the country as a whole? Unless it’s completely morphed now.  Well, it’s a WIP, so it’s not a problem for now.

Eight: What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Survival.  Just plain survival when it all gets down to it.  Which means Sheyla had better free Kaldoa so her life is not jeopardized and lame.

Half the galaxy wants her dead.

Did I mention I have way too many villains?

I HAVE ALL OF THE VILLAINS IN THE UNIVERSE!!!

I’m surprised the Evil Spatula from Outer Space isn’t trying to kill her too.  But that would be a real genre paradox and the universe would explode, so bad idea.

Nine: How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Well, she gets tougher and is able to fight back and use her magic.  Or maybe she’s finally happy again?

Nah, she probably just ends up dead given how things are going.  (NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!)

Ten: What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I want them to feel like they’ve just been part of an epic piece of history and witnessed a hard-fought victory that was 100% worth the battle to get there.

Also, I want them to think my sci-fi stuff is cool, and that the art is cool. (But that comes later!)

That’s it for now!

Art · sci-fi · Stories

Sketch of a Dark Enemy

darkenemy

Huntress meets a scary magical robot dragon spirit with laser eyes.  Post-apocalypse.

I can imagine more refined art work for this, but right now I like making casual, composition sketches.  I think the mood has come across well enough without making it realistic.

Are you curious about the world of Huntress?  Should I work on her story more than Sheyla’s during this nanowrimo season?

Will I ever figure out a storyworld name for my sci-fi half of the galaxy and the various fantasy realms that sometimes interact with it?

Sigh…

I need cool names.

Art · Comics

The Desolation of Kaldoa Cover

So, Nanowrimo is coming up.  That means it’s time to make a Novel Project.  I decided to make a cover again.  I’m going to write a script for Sheyla’s story.

TDoKcover

It started off with some ships, and then it ended in clouds…I didn’t want to take too long with it.  Especially since it will be a webcomic and I will redraw everything snazzily once I’m ready to start it.

It’s going to be such a depressing story…

And cool.  Hopefully.

It’s a Dystopia.  That must have a happy ending somehow.  Or I will be unhappy.  But I don’t quite know the ending yet.