Friday, April 15, 2011

My protagonist's muse has a mind of its own

Thanks for your patience, dear followers--I find it can take longer at the outset of a blot to get into the swing of posting regularly (or what constitutes regular for me). I still want to write some posts introducing my major characters, but first I have a random thought / experience that seemed blogworthy.

Both my main characters write songs, so I'd like to share something odd that happened in a verse my male protagonist, Lorcan, was writing the other day (it might sound strange to say he was writing it when I was actually writing the song, but in the story he writes them, so...well it's complicated).

You know how oftentimes a character or plot arc will have a mind of their own? Sometimes my songs are the same way, and they're often better for it. My initial impulse in writing the first line of this stanza was to end with the word "springtime." However, not one but two other lines had to rhyme both with "spring" and "time," and I usually shy away from using words that are really difficult to rhyme well.

However, Lorcan was quite firm that we were going to use that word, springtime, as the rhyming word. He really deserved the smug little gleam in his eye as he told me so, because he  (/inspiration /my muse) came up with a couple other lines I'm quite proud of. Their ending rhymes were "wings climb" and "wind bells with the strings chime."

So the moral of the story--or thematic significance, if you will--is: Listen to your characters. They know what they're doing. Usually.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

They slumber in the briar-cage of dreams...

Do you know, according to this tool (<===click!) that analyzes one's writing for similarity to published authors, I write like Anne Rice and / or Neil Gaiman (that last name expecially got a squee of glee when it came up). At least, I did when I checked poetry. Depending on the poem, the tool also gave me Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ursula K. Leguin. And Shakespeare, but sadly I think that was merely because of the words "alas!" and "mem'ry." Well, I'm in good company. (But where was Edgar Allen Poe?) Which writers will have written like you, I wonder?

Speaking of good company, thanks to my new and very first followers! I much appreciate having an audience to regale with the escapades of my spookily inclined dreamers.

First-drafting books Three and Four has petered out for the moment, but luckily ideas for the first book's second draft (ack, too many numbers) have been flowing in rather encouragingly. More about this in the character introduction posts which are to come, but so you won't be lost, Book 1's premise is: Goth girl Taralyn moves from California to Tokyo with her family. She feels a bit lost until meeting some fellow black-clad types, which include Lorcan, an Irish student at the nearby University. All this plus faeries and vampires and oracular visions.

On that note, Taralyn is a seer and doesn't know it. She has a dream at the beginning where she visits an otherworldly "midnight ballroom" (hence the name of my other blog, if you were curious), where mysterious dancers waltz in their brocade and silk and velvet. She dances with a strange person she comes to think of as the "shadow-prince," because the impression she gets of him is that of a silhouette--even his face is obscured by shadows.

This dream prophecies Taralyn's meeting of Lorcan, who is secretly a prince in Faerie. Recently I learned from Taralyn (you know how it is,  when your characters surprise you) that she continues meeting the shadow-prince in subsequent dream-visions, and part of her quest, if you will, is deciding whether to believe that he's real (she wants him to be) or a figment of her very vivid imagination. Lorcan can't confirm one way or the other, despite being the person she's meeting, because he doesn't remember the dreams.

This feels rather confusing to explain, but I won't worry because I know my readers are a smart bunch. ("Never assume your readers won't get it" is a rule I try to live by.) Anyway. A big theme in my writing is not only "becoming one's true self," but accepting all the different sides of one's personality/self, if that makes sense. The Shadow-prince, known henceforth by his/Lorcan's fae name, Starsilk, is who Lorcan is meant to be, or who he is in Faerie, or who he would be without the issues he's carrying (that's right, let's keep it vague) that weigh him down. Lost yet? Good.

Lorcan doesn't remember the dreams because his subconscious/fae nature is buried much deeper than Taralyn's (yes, Taralyn has a fae nature--only she doesn't know it).  I already have references to the Sleeping Beauty fairytale for both Lorcan and Taralyn in different ways, and now here's another one in which the kiss of a princess must wake the prince who slumbers beyond the rose-briar hedge.

So that's my recent plot breakthrough. What sorts of breakthroughs have you had?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Plotting for a faerie princess (no, not me--a different one)

I didn't get any writing done today, but I worked quite seriously on plot. I'm currently plotting book 3 (and nibbling at book 4, the final one in this series), so that I can tell where I'm going. I've mostly written the first draft of book one, but before revising it or writing book 2, the series' second half needs a bit of plotting.

One of these days I'll introduce various characters properly to you, but for now, hmm, think of this as a teaser I suppose. Taralyn (Protagonist 1A, in this book) has the most plot holes in her story, I think. She's turning or should I say awakening into--spoilers are inevitable, so I won't worry about it--her true self, a faerie princess.

Being the protag, at the climax she needs a task only she can complete, and I think her fae parents are somehow involved. But I have no idea how. And the antihero is following her around, I just learned today. I know what he wants with Lorcan (Protagonist 1B), but not what he wants with Taralyn, just yet. Joldyan (Antihero 1A--okay, I'll stop now) doesn't make a habit of telling me these things. Still, I'm continuing to uncover such beautiful deep themes and story elements that well, that really grab hold of me on a profound level, as I hope they will the reader.

I'm discovering that I'm not the only writer for whom multiple POVs and plotlines are commonplace. Like many other fantasy writers (it would seem we're a genre where this is common), I'm learning to decide what and whom I need onscreen, and how to best present the various storylines and characters. I've started working on my project notebook, an idea suggested in this wonderful post by author Kay Kenyon, in which she offers advice on writing works that involve a huge cast of characters.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Through the hedge of briar-roses, welcome

Well now, I've been told that writers should have blogs. I already have a gothic-and-lolita fashion blog, so please feel free to visit me at The Midnight Ballroom. But I need a place to ramble and wax poetic about my worldbuilding escapades and the eccentric characters that embark on soul-searching quests, throw midnight dance parties in Faerie, and frequently stampede through the fourth wall to accompany me into scary real life situations and generally keep me company with their witty banter.

My WIP (Work In Progress) takes place in connection with a world I've been building since Jr High. I've read a useful way to describe one's novel is a "x meets y" oneliner, so here's what I came up with: Urban fantasy plus Tolkien meets a gothic tea party with the faerie folk and some Asian spirits. It centers on Lorcan and Taralyn, a pair of goth dreamers who go on said quest to fix a problem that arose when the sun went mad several millenia ago, and in the process find their true places in Faerie. It's hard to explain. But I'll do my best in future posts.

Who am I, then? As previously implied, I'm a goth and a gothic lolita. Speaking of the latter, my love for Japanese street fashion extends to almost all elements of the culture. I'm pursuing a major in the Japanese language.

I'd like translation or interpreting to be my future day job (at least for a while), but I also intend to seriously pursue music, art, alternative clothing design, and of course writing. For those of you asking what kind of music, I most gravitate toward the symphonic metal and Visual Kei genres, both in listening and composing.

If I've piqued your interest so far, do stick around. I'm positively thrilled to have a (potential) audience. I can't promise when the next post will be--hopefully soon, but I'll either post less because of the major stress going on in real life right now, or post more because of it. All right, where's my "break the fourth wall" support group...?