Friday, February 14, 2014

The End!!

            My friends, I am ecstatic to announce to you that I have finished the first draft of the first book in the Sandy series! Goal accomplished! It's so amazing to write the words "The End." :)

           Honestly what I want to do now is write book two and delve deeper into the characters. But I don't think I can do that.

           Oddball has been coming around more often. He appears in different places and asks, "Why are you here?" And usually I answer, "Well, I'm working Oddball. This is what normal people do. Unfortunately I can't get paid to transverse the earth's surface and escape danger by the hair on my head like you do." He sticks around for a while making smart comments about my co-workers or classmates, and just is his moody self. Asks again what I'm doing and why I'm here. And eventually leaves.

           Really, and don't tell him I said this, but he feels neglected. I haven't "bothered" him in a while. And I do miss them all. I'm really looking forward to continuing the Oddball trilogy.

           But while we're celebrating the completion of my most recent lunacy. How about a character post from the Sandy series?
          Seth is the main character of the Casprian side. Or the antagonist side. In the Sandy series.

           In ways I don't know Seth very well. I wondered for a long while why writing from Seth's point of view was so hard. Why one minute, he was thinking one thing and the next he was doing something completely different. Why what he said, what he believed, what he did, didn't always line up right.

           I thought it was just me, and I didn't know Seth's character enough.

           Then I realized, yes, I don't know him well. Because Seth doesn't know himself very well.

           Seth did surprise me in the beginning. I had planned him (note to self: never plan anything before consulting with the character), to be more sadistic, cruel, and a bully in ways. More like King Carlo and Lady Jade. But nope. Seth refused. He's a gentleman. Yet he's been taught to embrace the ideologies that make Carlo and Jade so unfeeling. He doesn't ignore these teachings. He's been taught that this is what is right. It's excellence; it's perfection. And he's one of those people who want to do what is right. So he tries to embrace it. He looks up to his instructors and admires both Carlo and Jade. But he doesn't quite understand the big picture. The catastrophic effects of their ideals. In a lot of ways these ideals require actions that are against his nature.

           So in this first book, Seth has a lot of internal conflict. Of who he is, what he stands for, who he wants to please.

           And in all honesty, he wants most to please Lady Jade, as she is allegedly his mother, the best spy and assassin in Caspar, and incredibly hard to impress.

          I know that sounds weird. Because normally you think of boys wanting to please their fathers. But his alleged father, Carlo, already approves of him and encourages him to do better. And Seth is one of those people who must have something to strive for. So he strives for Jade's approval. Because hers is the hardest to acquire since you would have to be the best of the best. Therefore it's worth acquiring, in his view.

           He's also betrothed to a lord's daughter. Lilac. She's rather sweet. She means a lot to him. Like I said, he's a gentleman and it shows the most when she's around. And she's always surprisingly strong when the situation calls for it. Clear headed. Never complaining or over emotional. He admires that. I really don't think Seth would give an over-emotional girl a "Good morning," if he didn't have to out of formal politeness.

           (Casprians are big on formalities. They're stuffy like that. :P But the Sierrans aren't. Most Sierrans used to throw formalities out the window. Probably why Casprians consider them as barbarians. . .)

           Seth is a squire, but he's not exactly in training for knighthood. More like secret ops and especially for tracking. He's an amazing tracker (one day I will find a better name for it). He's one of the most skilled they have. He's been in training for a while though, and he's itching to prove himself.

           He's also the best squire with a sword. Crowback, his good friend, is particularly formidable. Mostly because Crowback doesn't hesitate to hurt to someone when holding a sword. But Seth is more deft. Crowback is a bit more of the guns blazing type (you know, if they had guns). And Seth puts more thought into things. They make a good team.

            He's always excellent in his studies, both academic studies and combat studies. His instructors are very emphatic on you must know your enemy well in order to defeat your enemy. So all the squires are supposed to not only know their own country's history and language, but also other countries'. Especially Sierra's. This is the most slacked skill among the squires, for obvious reasons (can we say bordem city?). But Seth tries to apply himself here. He understands the reasoning behind it; even if it does tend to be dull.

           Seth is eighteen (ha! take that cliches!) and has sandy blonde hair (Sandy doesn't. . . I'm not sure how that happened). He's tallish. I've never stopped to measure him exact. But he'd be taller than me. Maybe six foot, six foot two? Something like that. But Crowback is taller. Seth's more wiry, built for speed and accuracy. Crowback is more like a rock, built for, uh. . . smashing things. (Crowback likes to pretend he's a monster of a bully, but he does have a rather soft side. He can fool anyone except Seth. And unless it matters, Seth always gives him away. Like I said, they make a great team.)

           I'm not really sure what else say. Even though he is the antagonist and Sandy's archenemy, he's probably more likable than her. Because he's the bad guy who does things right sometimes and she's the good guy who goes about it wrong sometimes. He does change a lot over the series. He deals with the same things Sandy does. At the beginning, he's just still green to things like bitterness and anger, unlike Sandy. He makes a great second main character though. Tons of knots to untangle over the series. I love it. 

           I apologize on the hold off on the Divergent faction posts. My photographer (aka: one of my brothers) was out of town. But he's back now so maybe we're have a Dauntless post up soon! Actually I apologize for the lack of posts in general. School and work have been trying to swallow my life whole. I'd like to tell them very much to stuff themselves in a dark lonely closet so they can see how despicable their own company is. But unfortunately, I have to be a responsible adult, and take it like it is. :P

           Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sandy, an attempt at a character post

           Sandy is the protagonist in the Sandy series (I'm honestly not try to insult your intelligence). Her name is under reconsideration. Sandy is a Sierran slave in Caspar. She's sixteen (sorry, I know the cliche is a little disappointing). She looks younger than she really is. As any slave, she's rather lean, and short,  (it is said most of the younger slaves are short due to malnutrition). She has a rat's nest of red hair. She's not much on caring about her appearance, or wearing fancies dresses. Or letting other people do all the work.

           She becomes a spy in the slave village. But most of the slaves spies are caught and hanged within days of their appointment. She's just starting out. So she has some successes, a lot of failures, but she manages to stay alive. As the series progresses, she does become an excellent spy. She gains a feared name among the enemy and a legend among her people.

           Sandy's one of those character's who existed before her series began. She was a very strong, independent person. And she had very few faults. Let's just say, she came to me when I was around fourteen, so I was very new to writing and creating characters. I didn't know that flaws were good, and actually helpful to the writing process (conflict = story, if the characters have flaws there's more opportunity for conflict to arise).

           I began her current story when I was eighteen. She had changed a lot then. Sandy had faults galore. Still does. But as the book progresses, she changes so much. Her view of people changes.

           I realize that many people may actually dislike Sandy even after she changes in the first book. Because she goes from having a restrained ferocity to being very humble, almost too humble. She will doubt herself often and get easily discouraged. She seems very determined to other people, but on the inside she needs encouragement. She goes from being insecure on the surface, to being insecure only on the inside. She really has no self-esteem to speak of, and she doesn't ever seem to find any.

           But I promise, that strong, independent person she originally was is still in her. She grows over the whole of the series. Dealing with the balancing act of humility and pride, when to give in and when to stand and fight, bitterness and forgiveness, hatred and love, loss, death, hope. This book is different from the Oddball's series, in that it can be very dark at times without many funny parts to lighten it. The whole mood can be more grave.

           Sandy is also intelligent and quick-thinking. She tends to be hard on herself too. When she doesn't figure things out before she needs to she always berates herself, even though most people wouldn't have figured out the answer at all.
           Before the slave raid that took her captive, Sandy was the daughter of a lord and lady. She had a twin sister, Sierra, named after their homeland. She has no idea what's become of her family. She's not sure she cares. Back home, she was the one who wanted to help the servants work, to be friends with the village children, and she didn't want to act with proper etiquette. She didn't see why people of authority and royalty should be treated different from other people (that idea was one of the ideologies at the heart of ancient Sierran tradition but has in recent decades been lost).

           When they were younger, her sister, Sierra, was her best friend. But then Sierra became more aware of what being a lady of the manor was, and the difference between social rank. Sandy understood it too, but Sierra embraced it and Sandy did not. They would argue about it. Sierra would chide her when Sandy insisted on acting below her social status. Considering all this, Sierra was a favorite with her parents, and Sandy was the hopeless one. Though her parents took little interest in the well being of either child, it was Sierra they would present to guests with pride and Sandy was always the other one. The scarlet thread, a Sierran saying that sprang from an old, true story. 

           I'm not sure what else I can say about her. I love Sandy.  She's a conflicted character with plenty of knots just like Seth (his post is coming soon!). The perfect kind of protagonist. Especially for a series. She's learning who she is, what is right and wrong, and where she chooses to stand. A nice muddled mess. Often I feel inadequate as a writer. Like the story is much better than my skill, and I don't do it justice. But I'll get there.

           Did I mention that Sandy is part of Seth's training? He trains to be a tracker (I've yet to find something better to call it). So his instructor lets loose some slaves in the woods that are enclosed in the castle walls. Sandy is always one of them. She must be careful not to make it too easy for Seth or impossibly difficult, or else she gets beat for it. What I like best about it, is that they both know each other well. They're arch-enemies even before the war begins.

("People don't have arch-enemies. Not in real life." It's okay this time, Watson. It's a fantasy book.)

           What do you think? Does Sandy seem unlikable? Do you have any suggestions for a better name?