Saturday, 16 September 2017

Why You Should Beta-Read

    I've had the pleasure of beta-reading or critiquing various novels, or parts of them, as well as short stories. And you know what? It's amazing. With every single new piece I read my admiration for the writing community grows. It takes so much courage to share your work with someone, let alone be open to comments and critique.

    Though beta-reading can take up some time, it's thrilling to be able to read fresh and original work from your writing friends. While the writer benefits massively from beta-readers, beta-readers gain a lot too!

    Today I'll be outlining five reasons why you might consider helping a writer out by beta-reading!

1) Free book(s)!!!

    This one is fairly self-explanatory. If you're like the stereotypical bookworm/bookdragon and always complain about never having enough money to buy books, then here's your answer: beta-reading. It can be a toss-up sometimes on whether you'll get a more polished or a rougher draft, but the only thing you have to pay with is time and energy. Your wallet will thank you!

2) See Strengths and Weaknesses in Your Own Writing

   Have you ever heard someone say that in order to write, you must read? This is great wisdom, and I think it applies beyond polished, published books. When you beta-read, you're exposed to stories in a raw state. You get to see both their flaws and strengths, and in doing so, see them in your own writing.

   Maybe the story you're beta-reading has excellent characters with so much depth it's awe-worthy. Or maybe it's lacking a little bit in tension that carries the plot along. Or maybe the world-building is fantastic, and sprinkled with little details that make the world come alive. Either way, seeing these strengths and weaknesses when I beta-read always makes me reflect back on my own writing. Do my characters have this much depth? Do I have enough tension? How is my world-building?

3) Understand a Writer's Voice

    I used to think I didn't have a voice, or it was so subtle I couldn't find it in my own work. Upon reading the stories by writers also at similar places on their writing journey, I was awe-struck. I saw how different every writer's voice is; how it permeates every sentence, every word choice, every choice of punctuation. 

    Don't believe you have a voice? Beta-read, and see that yes, you do.

4) Be a Part of Someone's Journey

    This is one of my favourite aspects of beta-reading and critiquing. You are there to help a writer strengthen their story, talk about it from a fresh point-of-view, and offer assistance in any way you can. How awesome is it that you get to be part of a story that will (most likely!) become a published novel some day? Ultimately the writer is in charge of making decisions and writing, but you can take satisfaction in knowing you were there to offer a hand when they needed it.

5) Show Some Love!

    As much as feedback and critique is vital, a little encouragement can go a long way. You never know when a writer might flip through your comments on a rough day and see some positivity that will lift their spirits. Writing is a hard gig, and as writers we always crave positive feedback. Beta-reading enables you to encourage a writer on their hard journey, and help them make their story the best it can be.

Have you ever beta-read? If yes, do you think it's helped you improve as a writer? If not, I hope you'll consider beta-reading for a writer in need some time! Have you ever had beta-readers before, and are they a great encouragement to you?
Have a beautiful day, and good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sometimes There Are No Words

    Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes you stare at your screen or notebook, and they refuse to come. Your mind is a wasteland of ideas. Only lonely letters and half formed syllables whisper across on the wind, picking up dust as they go. 

    I admit, the words aren't coming to me right now. I have stories, blog posts to work on but...I stare at the blinking cursor and wonder what I'm doing wrong. Life is tiring me out right now; maybe that's the cause. I am dry, parched. I think I burned too hard, too fast, and now my inferno has become the slightest flicker.

    I am empty.

    Maybe you feel this way now too, or have in the past. You feel hollowed out; you know something is missing inside you, but you can't figure out what.

    My problem is I throw everything into a project, task, or story. I do it to my absolute best, as quickly as I can. But when you keep saying "yes" to all the offers people make you, or tasks they ask you to do... It can be very, very overwhelming. And when I think I can just keep pushing through until I get to the end of my responsibilities, I freeze.

    My words freeze.

    I spend so much time focusing on what I have to do, that I neglect what I need to do. Expressing myself creatively falls in the need section, life and other responsibilities in the have to do section.

   That's not to say that I hate everything that I have to do. But when my mind is full to the brim with to-do lists and deadlines, my burning desire to create stays the same, but my mind has no room to think outside of lists.

   So where am I going with this?

  You are not alone.

   You're not alone. You're not alone if you have periods when you feel like you can't write, when your thoughts are consumed by a tornado of to-dos and have-tos. We all go through phases of burn-outs. It's, to be honest, natural. It would be impossible to keep going and going and going and going without a rest, wouldn't it?

   At times we need to stop. We might feel dry as the Sahara Desert, but consider this stopping time an opportunity to recharge yourself. Among the busyness spend time with family, with friends, doing things that relax you THAT ARE NOT WRITING. I cannot stress that enough.

   You can take a break.

   I don't expect you to operate at one hundred percent all the time. So don't expect yourself to. Your creative muse needs holidays, time to soak in the world around it and experience life. After all, you can't write if you don't have any means to gather inspiration, right?

   The words don't have to come straight away. Smash out that to-do list as much as you can, then come back to your creations and ease back into it. Maybe do a little drawing, or some singing. Read a few books. Slowly submerge yourself back into the world of creativity, and there, waiting for you, will be your words.

   They won't leave you forever.

Are words coming to you right now? Have you ever gone through burn-out phases? What do you do to get out of them? How busy are you at the moment? (I apologize for my half-coherent post. I'm a bit of a busy mess, really.)
Have a lovely day, and good luck with your words! <3

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Am Currently... #10

     Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Am Currently post! It's been awhile since I've done one of these, isn't it? In case you didn't exist back in the dinosaur period when I posted my last Am Currently (joking...maybe), this is where I share my latest reads, writing projects, beloved music, etc.!

    We've got a lot of ground to cover today, so let's get on with it!

    I am horrible at keeping record of which books I read when, but I believe I've read the following since the last post: The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill (an intriguing read!), Captives by Jill Williamson (amazing series!), and a couple others I'm honestly too lazy to name.

    As for my current read, that would be a bit of an unusual one! When I went to UTS's (University of Technology Sydney) Open Day to scout out their Creative Writing degree, I was given a free anthology! It's titled The Evening Lands, and all the work is by their students. I'm really enjoying it! It makes a nice change to be exposed to all kinds of writing styles and voices, and get a bit of variety from my novel-heavy diet.

    In addition to that, I'm about halfway through Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Though it is a bit slow paced for me, the premise is enticing me to read through to the end.

      Here's where we get to the longest part! Soooo many crazy things have happened writing wise, from becoming part of the Rebellious Writing team (I'll be posting over there later this month!), to sending out lots of chapters of Golden Revenge to my amazingly talented critique partner, to world-building for my NaNo novel, Of Traitors and Tricksters. I also started developing a fantasy language for a plot bunny that has been tugging at my attention recently. (Sssh no, I won't tell you what it is. It's a secret for now.)

     There's also some exciting news regarding Project Canvas! If you're a writer, they are now open to submissions for articles on their new blog. Since you lot are so skilled at writing, I'm sure you'd have no trouble whipping up a tips or writing inspiration article, if you so choose! 

     Anyway, back to Golden Revenge. This YA fantasy and partial gender-bent retelling of King Midas truly is my darling at the moment. I believe in a few months it will have its second birthday! The last few months I've been intensely editing it, tweaking, adding and subtracting name it, I've probably done it. 

     The reason I mention this? I'd like to put out a tentative question: would you be interested in being a beta-reader? I'm hoping to send it out sometime in December and allow around two months for reading it. So if you'd be interested or want to know more? Let me know in the comments, and we can chat!

     Just for you, here's a super brief snippet from Golden Revenge:

"I don’t train people to kill. I train people to become fighters. To stand up for the truth, for the light, for themselves."

     I've been listening to a mix of songs recently, some with haunting melodies such as "Far Across the Land" by Eurielle and Ryan Louder, as per Anna's suggestion, and others like my old-time favourite, NF. NF has recently announced he is releasing a new album soon! I'm soooo excited! If you haven't checked out any of his songs, I suggest "Can You Hold Me", "Real", "Mansion" and "How Could You Leave Us".

    Tired, in all honesty. It's a few weeks until the end of my school year, so of course that means yearlies (final exams for all you lovely Americans). For every, single, subject. *sigh* Apart from that, I'm excited by my progress on Golden Revenge and the other WIPs! Hopefully in my upcoming holidays I'll be able to do a crazy amount of reading and writing!

Let's chat about you! What are you reading? How is your writing going? Any song suggestions for me? (Would you be potentially interested in being a beta-reader?)
Good luck with your writing, and have a fantastic day! <3

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Questions to Ask When Creating Fictional Histories

    History. Some people love it, others stare at the textbooks thicker than their necks and whimper. Me? I fall in the middle. While I certainly wouldn't spend hours pouring over said textbook, I do think having an understanding of history, if not the world's, then your story's, is super important!

    Which brings us to today's post! This is the latest installment in my "Questions to Ask When..." blog series, and you can check out my previous posts on religions, magic, and cities, if you so please.

    Today the theme of my questions revolves around developing a particular country's history, from the beginning to its current year. While they apply more to fantasy works, don't shy away completely! My aim is to give you questions to guide you or inspire you throughout the phase of your world-building, no matter what genre you write in.

    Now, onto the questions!

1) What was the first people group to claim the land? Why did they migrate to the area; for new farming ground, exploration, resources, etc.? Are they still in control?

    In my WIP, Splintered Crown, a group of several hundred slaves fled from the country that had kept them captive, into the land now known as Cynnica. They climbed over a range of mountains into what was deemed "unreachable" land, desperation for freedom driving their steps, and then they forged a country from the soil they stepped on.

2) What is the country's geography like? Has this limited communication with other people groups, or encouraged trade and exchange of ideas? Has this led to the primary culture staying the same or adapting?

3) What was the first settlement? Is that the current capital, or does it no longer exist?

4) What kinds of governments have reigned over the land; monarchies, democracies, republics, etc.? Is is the same or different from the current one? If different, what led to this shift? Was there dissatisfaction within the people, or another cause?

5) What are its founding principles or values? Were these grounded in religious theology, or something else?

6) Who are the legends that exist in the land's history? Are they famous warriors, kings and queens, criminals, etc.? Were they once living figures, or is it all fiction?

    The largest legend in Cynnica is King Nikias and Queen Zenias, of whom were the leaders of the fleeing group of slaves. They became the first king and queen, and though much of their legend is true, there is a lot of speculation about whether or not Zenais was a slave at all.

7) How many wars has this land been engaged in? Were they the instigators of these wars, or were they defending themselves from other powers? What were the outcome of these wars; did they win, lose, or declare a truce?

8) Have there been any civil wars? Who was the winner, and how has this affected the people on both sides?

9) Has the land's borders ever shifted? Is this a result of conflict, conquest, or both?

10) What was considered the country's "peak" period? Is it called this because of an economic boom, visionary leader, great architectural feats, military conquests, or something else? 

11) Has the country been welcoming to foreigners, do they bar them from entering, or do they isolate them within their communities? How has this affected their economy, exposure to cultures, and religious beliefs?

12) How is history passed on; is it written down in documents, or is it passed on orally? What are the problems with passing on their history this way?

13) Are there any other countries that have been long time enemies or allies with this one? What is the reason for this relationship? 

     Cynnica's relationship with the Mistan Empire, where their ancestors were held captive, is also fraught with tension. This is because the Mistan Empire still uses slave labour, and for Cynnicans this is deplorable. Some tense trade negotiations have been made, but inhabitants of both countries are constantly in fear of being in a war with each other.

14) What are children taught about the country's history? Are they taught everything, an altered version, or only its glorious moments? How does this affect the child's perspective of their country?

15) What is the age of this country? Is it divided into eras; if so, what are they?

16) Are there any ruins? Were they destroyed, or abandoned, and why?

17) Has the country been hit by any epidemics or plagues? How much life was lost as a result?

18) Are there any festivals that celebrate its history, or victorious moments? Are there are times of silences or periods of remembrance to honour less victorious times?

19) Do any statues or memorials exist to honour historical figures or those killed in particular battles? How are these viewed by the community; are they cared for with respect, or neglected?

    Within Cynnica's capital palace's gardens, a maze of yellow roses with a memorial in its center, honours those who lost their lives in the recent civil war. Once a year, on the day the war was won, citizens make the trip through the maze to lay a rose down beside the memorial.

20) If you could pinpoint one particular event that shaped the country the most, what would it be, and why?

    And that wraps up this post! I really hope that these questions can be of help to you in your world-building process!
Are you a big fan of history, or do you shy away from it? What's one key event of your world's history? Did any real world historical moment inspire it?
Best of luck with your writing, and have a great day! <3

Saturday, 19 August 2017

100th Post! // My Writing Journey

     Can you believe the post you're reading right now is my hundredth one? I'm finding it a bit hard to believe. But wow, we made it! I thought it was a pretty big deal when I reached my fiftieth post, but now I've officially doubled that!

     So in celebration of having made it this far, I launched a poll on Twitter asking what I should do for this very post. The options were as below:

    As you can see, "My writing journey" won by a mile, and though I may do the others some time, that's what I'm going to be sharing about today. I've broken it down into my key steps/moments, otherwise known as milestones. It's a long post, so buckle up!

A Little Clay World

   I was bored. It was one of those typical afternoons, when I was still in that blissful period of not getting much homework from school, and I had lots of spare time. So I decided to rummage through my house's craft cupboard. Within it was bits and pieces of scrapbook materials, paints, paddle pop sticks, and to my delight, a big hunk of brown clay and a fake sapphire.

   Always the fan of fantastical worlds, I began crafting a palace from the clay, homes, walls, and a tiny city. Then I pressed the fake sapphire into its center and made it a lake. In winter, I claimed, the waters froze into a massive sapphire that would only thaw when spring came.

   It was the real kick-starter for my love of world-building. My world expanded in every colour of clay I could find, and for each building and forest there was a story. My sister and I crafted documents and lists of residents for the cities. We created maps, schools, businesses, everything.

   Even now that the clay world is gone, I still have world-building deep in my veins.

Sorry for the blurry/bad lighting of these photos, everyone! My phone decided to rebel against me...
Anyway, these are some of earliest journals ever that I wrote in!
"Sharissa's Story"

    Original name for a story, I know. This was my first novel, even though it is to date unfinished. To sum it up and spare you from cringe-worthy details, Sharissa was the world's best girl thief. The story started in my aged red notebook, then moved into the family computer. As I wrote it, I shared what happened in the story with my friends. A friend (*hugs if you're reading this*) even named one of her water-bottles after my love interest!

    Please note I use the term "love interest" loosely. 

    Sharing about my story with others, and having them respond positively, sparked a fire inside me. I loved it; I loved sharing stories. I wanted to keep going, to keep continuing to share the people and worlds inside me.

Shadow and Sun

    I was blessed with the most amazing group of friends when I was growing up. They weren't afraid of playing imaginary games even in Year 6/6th Grade, and we created kingdoms! (Or shall I say, queendoms?) We crafted a world that was vibrant and unique, and of course, we were all queens. Not only did this time of my life make us closer as friends, it also inspired me to write the first novel I did finish.

    The Royal Academy came to a magical total of over 75,000 words. Guess I was always doomed to write long novels, huh?

A map of the Shadow land, where I was Queen Shelissa
First NaNoWriMo

    After hearing about the crazy thing that is NaNoWriMo on the internet, I decided to take the plunge. Did I world-build for my story? Nope! Plan characters and plot? 

    Hahahaha. No. 

    Nevertheless, I finished The Heiring and reached the 50,000 words and another 20,000 in the following months! It was rip-off of practically every dystopian ever, but it featured Australia under a dictatorship, so I guess it was original...? (Barely.) Still, achieving such a huge goal in a month pushed me on to keep writing. And keep writing. And keep writing!

"Draped in Deception"

    Ah yes, my old frenemy. I have been on a crazzzyyy ride with this story. Though it and its trilogy is still listed on 'My Writing' page, I'm currently no longer working on it. Yet for a good solid year and a half or so, this project was my darling. I was extremely passionate about it, dedicated months for drafting and revision but...

    The story wasn't there. It still isn't there. After revisions and receiving critique from a few people, I knew that it was time to move on. Though I felt frustrated and angry with myself and my writing for weeks after that, Draped in Deception was a huge stepping stone in my journey. It provided invaluable lessons on editing, and how to handle critiques.

     Who knows, I might return to it at some stage...

A language from Draped in Deception...
Quill Pen Writer

     Then we get to this blog! Over a year ago, I published my first (and horrible) post. I can't explain how much Quill Pen Writer means to me, and more importantly, all of you! You're an amazing, super talented bunch of writers and readers, and I've found the most wonderful writing community with all of you. 

    Thank you so much!

     Not only have I found my fabulous critique partner through my blog (*hugs*), but I became part of the team at Rebellious Writing, and so much more! I don't think I would have been the same writer I am today without this little blog.

"Golden Revenge" and Today...

    I'll keep this brief, as I could ramble about this book forever. All you have to know is that I think this story will take me far. It's even older than my blog, but I've put it here because it's one I'm working so hard at editing at the moment. I have other projects going on as well but Golden Revenge... I love it. This story has a piece of my soul inside it.

    And that's where I am today. I've learnt from every single word I've written, whether it be rubbish or gold, and it's shaped me into the writer I am. I know I'll keep changing, keep growing, but for now I want to celebrate the trials and joys that have brought me here. 

    Finally, thank you for being here, for reading this mammoth post. You're all so incredibly special to me, and I love watching where your journeys take you!

Let's chat about your journey! What have you learned about yourself and writing over the years, months, weeks? What are some of your milestones or key steps?
Thank you once again, and have a beautiful day! <3

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Beautiful People - August Edition

     Wow, has this month been a crazy one or what? And we're not even half-way through August! If yours was anything like mine, it was crammed full of various writing projects, reading, and time-consuming life commitments.

     One of the writing projects I'm working on at present is Of Traitors and Tricksters. For this month's Beautiful People, I'll be using one of the main POVs, Bakari, to answer the questions. If you're not sure what Beautiful People is, it's a monthly link-up/blog meme hosted by the amazing Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It never fails to help me get to know my characters better!

     Here's a quick blurb about Of Traitors and Tricksters, my latest YA Fantasy, in case you missed its introductory post:

Bakari is a traitor. Promised to be healed of a condition that makes even walking difficult, he kills the prince, his master. When he's betrayed and caught with a bloody knife, the royal family sentences him to execution by magic at dawn. Yet as the sun rises, the magicians discover he may be harder to kill than they thought. 

Ebonee is an entertainer. Having fled from a rogue magician gang with her younger sister, she now dances for their food in the palace. But old friends and enemies are not finished with her yet, and want one last favour... A favour that could free her from their clutches forever. All she has to do is perform one tiny trick. 

How harmful could it be?

    Onto the questions!

1) What are they addicted to/can’t live without?

    Bakari couldn't live without his thyme, poppy, and coriander (cilantro for all you Americans) oil. It comes in a vial, and when his muscles seize, rubbing the oil on them makes moving the affected muscle more bearable.

2) Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

Positives: He will do anything to protect his father, he knows how to give people space when they need it, and he can crack jokes so randomly in awkward situations you can't help but laugh.

Negatives: He will do anything to protect his father (that's right, I'm using it in both sections), he tends not to speak up for himself, he's often too trusting.

3) Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?

    His old life and self, before he killed the prince. He keeps trying to be the old Bakari without realizing they're not the same anymore. He's changed.

4) If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?

    A ten. He's a very organised person.

5) What most frustrates them about the world they live in?

    There is no current cure for his condition, which makes his muscles seize in repetitive motions at random times, as well as making his mouth repeat syllables over and over again with no warning. It's often a source of great embarrassment and frustration for him, so he prefers to be alone and silent most of the time to avoid explaining.

6) How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?

    It would be the same, in or out. Bakari might put on a light extra layer if it were late at night, but it's always fairly warm in his country.

7) How many shoes do they own, and what kind?

    Only one pair, like most of his people. Sandals are a sign of great wealth, and most people are barefoot for the majority of the time. Bakari has purchased a pair of used, almost broken sandals for long travels though.

This is a pair of Ancient Egyptian sandals made from reeds and other fibers, so it's similar to what Bakari owns!
8) Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?

    Nope, he has none, and is fine like that. He's afraid that the animals will hate him too, like everyone else.

9) Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?

    Well, hello there spoilers!

10) What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?

    Bakari's meals come from the palace kitchen, and most of the food he and the other servants eat is lots of bread and fish, occasionally poultry, lentils, figs, onions, radishes, beans, and dates. Very rarely do they eat meat, but Bakari would fill a pantry with it for himself if he could!

Did you participate in Beautiful People? Link me to your post in the comments! What are your thoughts on Bakari or Of Traitors and Tricksters? How's your writing going this month?
Good luck with your writing, and have a lovely day! <3

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Rebellious Writing Website is UP!

    Today is a very special day for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I'm posting on a Wednesday. (Now that doesn't happen too often!) Secondly, because the Rebellious Writing website is UP and LIVE!

    You can go check it out here!

    Here's what we're all about:

We believe
In light 
In truth
In goodness
We believe in tomorrow's generation
In creating a better world
Through words
Through books
We believe in fighting for what we believe
We believe in high expectations
That we are capable of anything we set our minds to
We the youth...
Believe in Rebellion
Rebellion for Righteousness
For light
For verity in a world of lies
For beauty in a world of darkness

    I can't tell you how hard our team has been working behind the scenes setting up social media accounts, designing, creating graphics, coding, writing, organising, everything! The passion held by my team-mates is simply incredible. Speaking of them, here they are below:

    We would love it if you also have a look at our social media accounts:

    Thank you to all who have supported the movement. You're all amazing! We have a lot of big things planned for Rebellious Writing, and are so excited to see it growing. Please head on over to the website if you haven't already; it would mean so much to us!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Why You Should Record Your Writing Progress

     A few months ago, I probably wouldn't have even considered writing this post. But I've discovered lately that trying new writing strategies and techniques, is not a bad thing at all! It's incredibly important to stretch yourself to find what you excel at, and what you can work on.

    So what's the latest trick I've picked up? Recording my writing progress!

    Maybe some of you do this already, or maybe you don't. Almost four months ago, when I found myself in a shop's stationery aisle (admit it, your feet take you there without your knowledge; it's a writer's curse), I had to, of course, buy a journal. In my collection of journals, each has a purpose. Some are for drawing and world-building, others for random ideas, etc. So of course, this journal had to have one!

    I decided to take a wild leap into the unknown and start recording my writing progress each day. And to cut out the rest of the boring details, I'm loving it! So here are a few reasons you might want to record your progress as well:

1) It Motivates You

    I make an entry in my journal every night before I go to sleep, about any writing/blogging things I've done that day. (Occasionally I add bits about reading or life too, but shush, that's not what this post is about.) Knowing that I'm going to write something down--if I wrote/edited or not--pushes me to do at least something. Even if I can't write "wrote 3,000 words", I can at least write "started working on the fire scene". 

    I like to think about it as a kind of accountability. Some people have friends that check up on them to make sure they've done a task, and this journal is like that friend for me. It pushes me to write as much as I can, no matter how insignificant it seems at first. Some words are always better than no words!

Admit it; we all know we're going to have this many journals one day...
2) You Can See How Far You've Come

    As I date every entry, it makes it easy to flip back a month or two, and see what I was working on then. Sometimes I'm disappointed that I haven't moved as far along as I would have liked, but other times my eyes go wide. It's incredible how much you can do in a short period of time!

    Whenever I'm feeling a bit down about my writing, I'll flip back to the beginning pages of my journal, and tell myself: "You see how far you've come? You can do this! You've done it before, and you can do it again."

3) Dates Can Come in Handy

    I can't tell you how many times I've wondered how old my story ideas are. Very intelligently (not) I decided not to date entries in my past idea journals. As my current journal sometimes doubles up as a place to scribble down plot bunnies, I now have dates for when I came up with my latest WIPs. Of Traitors and Tricksters, for example, was thought up on the 4th of July. (That makes it a month old when I'm writing this!)

   Knowing when you finished editing a draft can also be great if you're like me. I have a strict rule where I don't touch a first draft for at least six weeks after completion, and if I forget to write it down...I have a general idea when, but I've never been good at keeping track of time. Writing down the exact finishing date has really helped me structure out when I'm able to take those next steps with my WIPs!

What about you, do you record your writing progress? If you do, how? If not, do you think you'll start soon? Do you ever find yourself in a stationery aisle with no memory of walking over there???
Best of luck with your writing, and have a lovely day! <3

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Dual Character Inquisition Tag

    It's time again for another tag! The wonderful Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me for the Dual Character Inquisition Tag, which I'm so excited to do! Thanks so much Victoria!

    I originally started answering the tag questions about Taylan and Mida from my Camp NaNo novel Golden Revenge, but a quarter of the way through, I felt like I had answered similar questions for them before, so! You, dear reader, get an exclusive sneak peek of my latest WIP, Of Traitors and Tricksters. I'll be sharing about the story's two main POVs today, Bakari and Ebonee.

    Here's a short blurb about it!:

Bakari is a traitor. Promised to be healed of a disease that makes even walking difficult, he kills the prince, his master. When he's betrayed and caught with a bloody knife, the royal family sentences him to execution by magic at dawn. Yet as the sun rises, the magicians discover he may be harder to kill than they thought. 

Ebonee is an entertainer. Having fled from a rogue magician gang with her younger sister, she now dances for their food in the palace. But old friends and enemies are not finished with her yet, and want one last favour... A favour that could free her from their clutches forever. All she has to do is perform one tiny trick. 

How harmful could it be?

   Right, now to the tag!

1) Who inspired this character?

Bakari -- He sprung from one word: traitor. From there I had to ask myself who this traitor was, why he was a traitor, etc., until I got to the core of who he was.

Ebonee -- She too came from a word: trickster. I was trying to think of a title for this WIP, and "tricksters" sounded good with "traitor" so... 

2) What is their weapon of choice?

Bakari -- He'd prefer not to be violent. At all. But if absolutely necessary, he'd take a curved knife.

Ebonee -- Magic. She'll use her mind-reading talents to peel apart the layers of your brain to render you basically useless. (But only if you try to harm someone she loves. The rest of the time she's quite kind to others' brains.)

3) Have they ever been physically violent with someone else? What instigated it?

Bakari -- Well, there was that one time with the prince, you know. *nods to blurb* I can't tell you the details because, well, spoilers. 

Ebonee -- She prefers sparring mentally with magic, but in the past she's had to fight her way out of situations where others have wanted her dead. Also spoilers, sorry!

I'm using elements of Ancient Egyptian and Hebrew cultures in this WIP, so finding an image of Bakari or Ebonee is a little tricky! This is a pretty accurate representation of what Ebonee would look like preparing for a performance, though!
4) Are they more of a rule-follower or a rebel?

Bakari -- He was a rule-follower growing up, but now he's been pushed into a place where he has to be a rebel to survive.

Ebonee -- Sort of in the middle. 

5) What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?

Bakari -- He was quiet and timid; the kind of child who would hide behind their parent's legs and peek out.

Ebonee -- Loud. Very, very loud. She could not stop moving, dancing, or running. And she loved to tell everyone and their sheep about her opinions on matters of "great importance."

6) Where would they go to relax and think?

Bakari -- Outside on a balcony at night, with the stars splashed across the sky. It's a quiet, peaceful time where for once burning gazes aren't fixed upon him.

Ebonee -- Before her apartment's fireplace. She would pull a stool up before its crackling depths with a cup of hot tea and watch the flames dance. It's comforting, to be surrounded by nature's rhythm.

This is similar to where Ebonee used to live
7) Do they have a temper?

Bakari -- No. He's more likely to cower and think it's his fault than blow up.

Ebonee -- A slight one. If you say something to insult her choices, or what she's doing to keep her little sister safe, you'll probably be yelled at.

8) Would they be more likely to face their fears or run from them?

Bakari -- Run. Run far, far away.

Ebonee -- She'd face them with some trembling but face them nonetheless.

9) When they are upset, do they turn to other people or isolate themselves?

Bakari -- He turns to his father for guidance. No matter what bad decisions he makes, his father always loves him and is there for him.

Ebonee -- Isolate. She wants to protect her little sister from her fears, so she pretends that nothing is wrong.

10) Say 3 things about where your character lives (as broad or specific as you like).

Bakari -- In a palace made of polished limestone and layered with vibrant murals. He once had a servant's room, but now he lives in a larger, but heavily guarded, room near the Magicians' Quarters. The room's furniture is hard and stiff, yet the scent of blossoming jasmine wafts through the narrow window. (I think that's more than three, but oh well!)

Ebonee -- An apartment within the Dancers of the Moon Compound. There are two bedrooms and a warm, cosy living space decorated in firelight and patterned wall hangings. Her dance partner and friend, Lapis, lives next door.

    So there you have it, a glimpse into the lives of Bakari and Ebonee! I officially tag the following bloggers so I can read more about their lovely characters:

And of course, anyone else who wants to do this, consider yourself tagged!
What WIP are you working on at the moment? Tell me about it! What are your thoughts on Of Traitors and Tricksters? Who would you prefer to have tea with; Bakari or Ebonee?
Good luck with your writing, and have a phenomenal day! <3