Beautiful People: Parental Edition (with Aleria, Iris, and Garic)

PAPERFURYThis month’s Beautiful People interview is about parents! The character we shall be talking about today is Princess Aleria of Esclia, whose parents are Iris and Garic, so basically I’m just talking about Iris and Garic anyway. See how clever I am, talking about what I’m currently working on?

If you missed my excerpt with Iris and Garic, you can check it out here (Spotlight #5: Iris) and understand why I’m casually just fangirling over my own characters…

Beautiful People is a monthly character interview hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.


Now for the questions!

  • Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

Pretty good. Garic and Iris both try to be close to their daughter, but they also try to protect her from a lot of things, which causes some tension. They’re also gone a lot and it’s hard for Aleria to always communicate with them, but she does know that they care about her.

  • Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

Yes, she does.

  • How did their parents meet?

Well, this is the story that I’m writing currently, so I could give you the very in-depth version, but in short, Iris is famed to be “the prophetess of Eyspar” and Garic comes to her for help because he’s the prince and he’s afraid someone wants to kill him.

  • How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

Aleria would get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside because she admires her parents, especially her mother. She wants to become like them, and if she were told that she was, she’d be thrilled.

  • What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?

Well, Aleria’s story starts when she’s younger than Garic and Iris are in their story, so nothing extremely exciting. Garic was doing princely things, like preparing to come of age and being tutored in all sorts of things and trying to deal with his father’s remarriage. Iris was probably embroidering pillows and starting to look for suitors and being dragged on adventures with Rosie and Samuel.

  • Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

Garic and Iris trust their adviser, but Aleria does not, and in fact does not like him at all. She wants them to get rid of him, but they won’t, and she doesn’t understand why.

  • What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

Raising her to not thinking that she could have whatever she wanted…which they didn’t exactly succeed at. She’s the princess and the only child, and she did get what she wanted. But they did manage to raise her to be kind, which was a partial success.

  • What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

Aleria remembers more with Iris, I think, and there’s not specifically one that stands out more than the others. She loved to sit and watch her mother embroider in the night, by light of a candle, humming…

  • What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

Adorable but willful. She liked to get into things she wasn’t supposed to, but you know, with that innocent smile and chubby cheeks, how could one be angry with her?

  • Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Aleria is Garic’s mother’s name, and she was awesome. They wanted Aleria to grow up as strong and gentle and royal as she was.


Also!

Because I love you, when I was supposed to be writing yesterday, I made a Pinterest board about my story with Garic and Iris. There are adorable pictures & mysterious captions and little quotes from the story, so check it out and tell me what you think!


let us talk!

What are your thoughts? What would you ask Aleria, Iris, or Garic if you could ask them one question? What are the best kind of parents in books/in real life? If you did this Beautiful People interview, link me to your post!

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Beautiful People: March with Bennett

PAPERFURYBeautiful People is a monthly character interview hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It’s been ages since I’ve done a Beautiful People (let’s be honest, okay, I’ve only done two ever) but here’s to starting again! *clinks glasses of sparkling cider*

I wasn’t entirely sure who to do for this one, but after some talking, I decided that I would do it with Charles Bennett, a young politician and somehow both a minor and major character in the epic sci-fi. How does that work out? Who knows.

Anyway, he goes by Bennett (honestly, calling him Charles is the weirdest thing) and I introduced him in the most recent update of the Enhanced field guide: Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part Two (Characters). Now, for the questions!

Oh! Also I decided to follow the example of some bloggers and ask Bennett the questions directly instead of answering for him. My comments are in [italicized brackets].


  • What’s your favourite book/movie/play/etc.?

[Pride and Prejudice, obviously.]

Um, no. *says something in Latin* It’s a play (and a movie) about life and death, revenge, pain, unrequited love, and heroism.

[Way to answer without actually answering what it is. It’s basically warmed-over Shakespeare without the cool language.]

  • Is there anything you regret doing?

I regret my naive view on life when I was younger–my belief that, somehow, I could make a difference to these people when they have never wanted to change.

  • If you were sick or wounded, who would take care of you and how?

[*cough* That’s a spoiler.]

What?

[I mean, you haven’t met her yet, so…]

*ignores Lana* To actually answer the question…no one?

[Come on, there has to be someone who would help you if you were near death.]

*frowns* There isn’t anyone.

[That’s almost sad.]

  • Is there an object you can’t bear to part with and why?

Yes, lots of things. Old books, papers, letters, computer documents, journals…I keep them in a special place.

[You “forgot” to say why.]

I can’t stand to look at them…but I can’t leave them behind either. I need to know that I have something to remember them by.

  • What are 5 ways to win your heart (or friendship)?

1. Don’t fawn over me. [*raises eyebrows*] Okay, don’t be obsessed with me.

2. Be intriguing and interesting.

3. Be intelligent and able to carry on a knowledgeable conversation.

I can’t think of any more.

[You know, maybe you could put something like “kind” on there, because right now those three are sounding a whole lot like all of your politician “friends” and nothing real.]

Fine, I guess you’re right.

4. Believe in me.

5. Be willing to stick with me even when you disagree, even when times get rough, even when I tell you to leave. Just always be there for me.

  • Describe a typical outfit for you from top to bottom.

Nicely-styled hair, fashionable suit, polished shoes. Oh, and a smile, of course.

  • What’s your favorite type of weather?

Sunshine…when the world is warm and the trees are budding into spring, and there’s a tiny breeze [not enough to mess up your hair, of course], and everything just feels so alive and peaceful.

  • What’s the worst fight you’ve ever been in?

What if I don’t want to answer a question? *folds arms* People are allowed not to answer questions that reporters ask them.

[Just answer the question.]

Fine. It was when I was thirteen or fourteen…we were being stupid…and one of us walked off with a broken nose and the other walked off with a broken arm.

 

  • What names or nicknames have you been called throughout your life?

Bennett is obviously a sort of nickname. People began calling me that when I started attending political functions–lots of people are referred to by their last name. A couple of people call me Ben, but not many. When I was growing up, I went by Charles, and my family called me Charlie.

[Charlie Bennett…hehehe.]

Stop laughing.

  • What makes your heart feel alive?

Changing someone’s mind. Showing them what is the right way to think and view a problem, showing them the solution and convincing them that it is right. Disputing their opinions until they believe like me.

[Come on, Bennett, actually answer the question.]

…The time I’ve felt the most alive is the time I’ve spent making a difference in other people’s lives. That time I spent in the Outer Regions…those smiles I got in return…they were some of the happiest moments I’ve ever had.

[And you still came back.]

Of course I did.



How do you like Bennett? Very mysterious, is he not? Indeed, he tries to avoid all of the questions…or lie about them…he’s pretty good at that. (Oh, stop glaring at me, Charlie.) Thoughts on [my brackets]? Annoying or amusing? What do you want to know about Bennett? I can probably force him into answering in the comments…

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Character Studies: Kai’s Comforts

imageI’m finally doing the June Character Study! (I know, I know, I’m behind, but at least I’m doing it now!) This one is on comfort, or as Ereinne (one of Morgan’s characters) calls it, affection. This one will be interesting since Kai’s character has changed a lot since I wrote the first draft of Enhanced. He was my original main character, but I haven’t used him for the Character Studies yet because he was basically a sugar character…nothing nutritious or filling at all. (Yes, I did just make that term up.) However, I finally feel that he’s ready to be exposed out into the open. For a little background, his mom is sick and dying but he doesn’t want anyone to know that so just shhh. Don’t tell him I told you.

Character Studies is a monthly character interview hosted by Morgan Dusky from Studies in Character. You can find this month’s interview questions on her blog here and here.


  • Who’s your best friend?

I try to be friendly and make a lot of friends… I wouldn’t say I have a best friend. I know a lot of people, but no one really stands out as the “best” one.

  • You’re feeling miserable.  Who tries to cheer you up?  Does it work?  Do you appreciate it?

My mom usually is the one to try to cheer me up, or sometimes my friends if I’m with them. And it usually doesn’t work, but I pretend it does, and sometimes the pretending works. It definitely doesn’t work if she’s miserable too, though. Then we’re both miserable. I appreciate her trying, though.

  • What actually is the best way to cheer you up?

Probably just hanging out with my friends and talking–that usually works. Or being convinced to try something crazy–a little adrenaline rush really stops any miserable-ness.

  • What’s your favorite comfort food?  Or what do prefer to eat when you’re sick?

Sometimes Mother plants things in the garden that we’re not supposed to–things besides flowers–and then we eat them. That always makes me happy, even if I’m sick.

  • You’re being congratulated on/for something.  How do people congratulate you?

Congratulated for what? I haven’t done anything congratulatory…but if I ever did do something amazing we’d have a celebration with dancing and music and people would tell me “Congratulations.”

  • What’s your idea of a perfect date?

Walking with a pretty girl who is clever and is impressed by me and makes me laugh as we talk about anything and everything, and then maybe playing some games together or something. I know that sounds kind of childish, but I kinda think it would be nice.

  • What kind of relationship do you have with your parents?

My dad died when I was younger, and I only have a few memories of him. But my relationship with Mother is good. Sometimes we just talk and I tell her everything–from friends to girls to my dreams for the future. She always listens to everything.

  • If you could have anything at all, what would you want your parents to give you? (Not something tangible)

More time.

  • Hug or fist-bump?

Fist-bump. I don’t like all that touchy-feely stuff.

  • BONUS: Are you ticklish?

I’m not going to answer this question…

  • Which is your preferred fight—words or fists?

Fists, but it doesn’t happen much…well, not anymore. When I was younger I got in quite a few fights…

  • How difficult is it for you to apologize when you were wrong about something?

Pretty difficult…I’m not very good at apologizing…or even admitting that I’m wrong. I usually wait for the other person to apologize first.

  • You had a nightmare. Do you go to anybody for comfort? If so, who?

No, I don’t tell anyone. There’s no reason for me to bother them.

  • Someone is trying to ask you out. What could they do to really screw it up? What is, in your opinion, the ideal way to be asked out?

There is a multitude of ways they could screw it up…but to really screw it up? Someone I don’t like very much asking me when I’ve had a really bad day while expecting they’ll get exactly what they want. I prefer girls to be a little more hard to get, so the ideal way to be asked out would be for me to gradually and subtly convince them to ask me out. It’d be so much more rewarding that way.

  • What would you do for love? What would you do for hate?

I’d do a lot of things for love. If I really love someone, and I mean really love them, I will do anything to help them. For hate? Maybe get a little revenge and punch someone but not much more than that. Hate is strong, but not that strong.

  • What is your perfect happily ever after?

Being able to have everyone I love around me when I need them.

  • What would you do if someone hugged you so hard, they knocked you both to the floor?

Push them off and give them a look that says “Why on earth would you even do that?”

[*Lana enters interview* The funny thing is that I can totally see Brie doing that…]

Please don’t talk about Brie.

[Why not?]

She’s so…immature.

[Well, you’re not exactly the epitome of maturity either. I actually can’t believe how shallow you are about some things.]

Wow, thanks.

  • What’s your favorite thing about your favorite person? (If you don’t have a favorite person, just pick one awesome person.)

I guess my favorite person is my mom, but please don’t say that out loud, because it sounds really childish and immature. My favorite thing about her is that she isn’t always perfect and she doesn’t make me try to be perfect. Sometimes we break the rules and that’s okay.

  • Do you like to be touched by other people, or would you rather they kept their hands to themselves?

I’d rather not have anyone touching me. Unless they’re a certain pretty girl…I wouldn’t mind holding her hand or something.

  • BONUS: Do you like plants?

I like the plants in our garden. The plants that we grow as a region I’ve grown to hate because they remind me of long, sweaty days working in the sun without enough water and hardly any reward.


What do you think? Seriously, though, I didn’t realize he was so shallow about girls. If I actually had any control over him I’d teach him a lesson, but I’m afraid he won’t listen if I try. Which of your characters do you wish you could teach a lesson to and why? Would they actually listen? 😉

Beautiful People: May with Nathor

PAPERFURY

Beautiful People is a monthly character interview hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Since there are only 10 questions, I’ve decided to save the 20 question Character Studies interviews for my main characters, and use Beautiful People to introduce and develop some of my minor characters instead.

Nathor is a minor character from Cryonic who popped up randomly while I was writing and made me really want to learn more about him. In quick summary, he’s an extremely sincere, semi-introverted writer (well, poet) that lives in the fancy sci-fi-y city.


  • How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?

Nathor is kind of completely like me shy, especially when starting conversations and stuff, and he’s also really serious. He wouldn’t smile at a stranger, unless they smiled at him first, but he finds enjoyment in lots of little things that make him smile. Softly, like the budding of a flower…okay, nope, I’m not the poetic one here.

  • What is the cruelest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

“You only care about yourself.” His reaction was partly irritated and at the same time, kind of guilty and thinking they were right. He does care about other people, but he spends more time alone than with others, and he thinks that maybe he should fix that.

  • What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

“You’re the best person I know.” Nathor probably reacted with a “thank you” and a smile, part of him doubting it and the other part of him accepting the compliment and trying to internalize it. Or something, I don’t know. This is the question I had the most difficulties with, so it could be totally inaccurate.

  • What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

Let’s see…I’m thinking it probably has something to do with him having to take on more responsibility and maybe something to do with his parents. I think his parents might have been pretty strict about respect and stuff (though that doesn’t mean they love him any less!) and he probably remembers being punished for something he did wrong. It’s powerful and lasting because I think part of him still resents it, but also because it reminds him of what he’s been taught about respect and such.

  • What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

I have no idea…he’d probably enjoy reading poetry to see how some people did it, and also just because he likes poetry.

  • Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

I don’t think there was ever anything more than the typical broken bone or something. Nathor’s not exactly the type to try the most stupid of ideas, probably because he’s the oldest and has a lot of responsibility placed on him. If he was ever injured, I don’t know, he probably cried and it hurt and then he got better and didn’t want to get hurt again.

  • Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

I kind of doubt that Nathor talks to them at all. There’s probably some he doesn’t like and some he likes, but all from a distance. He’s not very outgoing unless he feels comfortable around people, and he’s okay with it being that way. He finds joy in nature and in his solitariness. (Is that a word?)

  • On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?

Meh, maybe a 4 or something? It takes a little while to get to know him and understand why he does some things, but he’s chill at the same time. I guess it really depends on the person who’s trying to get along with him…some would find it harder or easier.

  • If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

Hmm, I haven’t developed too much about the world, and I’m not sure how much he knows about it. I feel like he’d like to go somewhere peaceful and calm and beautiful, where he can just think.

  • Who was the last person they held hands with?

I’ve decided he has a little sister that he held hands with most recently, because boys who play with and love their little sisters are 105% more amazing.


Opinions/thoughts on Nathor? Does he sound like anyone you know (characters or otherwise)? What else would you like to learn about him? What are some of your favorite minor characters in the stories you’ve written and why? I’d love to hear about them!

Zel Update: Getting Unstuck

First of all, the Mini NaNo. Yeah. Heh. Well, I didn’t get to my goal on it, so I guess that kind of failed, but I still wrote 7,000 words in one week, which is more than I was writing before, so it sort of did accomplish my goal.

During the middle of the Mini NaNo, I had a bit of writer’s block. Or maybe something else–whatever you want to call it, I just couldn’t write the scene I was working on. I couldn’t really write anything.

I’ve been stuck before in my writing, and usually I just keep writing random stuff until I get to a point where I feel unstuck again, but this time I didn’t feel like that would work.  Either that, or I didn’t want to continue slogging through this sludgy writing.

So I became unstuck. It took a little over an hour of rambling to some friends, but it was really quite simple to fix. It followed this simple formula:

  1. Find out the problem or inconsistency.
  2. Understand how to make the problem or inconsistency correct again.
  3. Go back and begin writing where the problem began, this time using the correct way you developed in step 2.

So, it seems simple, but how does one go about doing this? Well, here’s how I began. As I was rambling to my friends, I started by listing some things that seemed to be off about my writing, even if I wasn’t so sure why they were off.

Take a wild guess at who happened to be off? Yup, it was Cren. *glares fondly* is glaring fondly possible? Okay, Zel was being problematic too, I guess, but I enjoy glaring at Cren. Actually, *glares at both of them*.

Right. So after I did some glaring at my characters, I decided to ramble a bit about what I felt was wrong with them at the moment. First I talked about Zel, and then I talked about Cren for a while, exploring what I knew about their personalities and how they were acting now.

The problem was that they were both acting way too nice to each other.

I’d already decided that Cren was judgmental, so he wouldn’t suddenly start being nice to Zel, who he’s only known as a murderer. And Zel is so determined to further her own purposes that the only reason she’d be nice to Cren is if she wanted something from him.

Next, I followed step 2: how to make the problem right again. Pretty much, the answer was to express their true views of each other better by having their words, thoughts, and actions be not quite so nice, since that’s what they’d normally do.

Most of step 2 I kind of skipped until I was actually writing again, but just getting into my characters’ skins and thinking about how they think and act helped me do this.

And step 3. That was problematic, because while the problem had worsened over the last 1000 words, this odd niceness had been going on for chapters. And this was a first draft–one of those things you’re supposed to write as quickly as you can to get the story out before even thinking about making it nice.

Going back several chapters and starting writing again from there was not going to work, not if I wanted to finish by April (which is hopefully still happening, but aahahhh I’m not sure on that).

Instead, I wrote a note to myself, explaining that when I revised those past few chapters I would need to use Cren and Zel’s correct personalities, and from now on I would be. And then I tried to write, pretending I’d fixed it.

That was kind of hard for me, since I write very chronologically, and a lot of what I write in later chapters is based on or has references to earlier chapters, so just pretending that I wrote an entire section seemed difficult when it hadn’t actually happened and I had no real material to draw from when I continued writing.

So I switched a few things, though only a few. I did decide to restart the chapter I was on instead of continuing with the horrible few hundred I’d already written, and I did change from Zel’s POV to Cren’s POV, since it seemed to fit better.

But once I started writing, it worked out really, really well. Zel and Cren’s conversation (or I should say “argument”) flowed together way better than they had before, and the chapter was overall much easier to write.

I think the hour that I spent following that formula was more productive than spending two hours or more continuing to write in false personalities for my characters. Taking the time to think about who my characters really were helped me write better, and I recommend the formula for anyone who is feeling stuck in writing. It really does help.

Oh, and one more Zel update for those of you who are more romantically-minded. I was writing on my google doc, and wrote a sentence that started with, “Walking over to Cren, Zel…”

“Cren, Zel” got underlined with red. When I clicked to see what the suggestion was, it gave me “Crenzel”, but when I looked to see if there was a definition for that, there wasn’t one.

It’s meant to be…even Google wants “Crenzel” to be their ship name. 😀

Ogres Are Like Onions, and so Are Our Characters

If there’s one scene I remember from Shrek, it’s the one where they’re walking through the onion patch and Shrek says that ogres are like onions. (I mostly remember that because I was amused by the donkey talking about parfaits right afterward.) Why, exactly, are ogres like onions? Well, because they have layers.

Recently, I’ve been trying to get some background info on my Zel novel before I start it, and over the past few days, I’ve been working on my character creation and development.

Now, I’m not one to fill out endless charts of character sheets before I write a novel. In fact, most of my characters’ personalities are exactly the same in each novel due to my lack of planning. Most of my novels also take place in white rooms where I make up the plot as I go along.

Okay, so I’m still making up the plot as I go along, but I have done a lot of world building, and some character development, though Cren refused to cooperate for a little while.

Zel was easy to figure out. She’s a criminal, but not only that, she knows how to lie and manipulate people, showing a different face to everyone she meets in order to gain what she wants. Trying to pinpoint her true personality was a little bit difficult, but after a little bit of backstory planning, I figured out that she’s actually introverted and loves learning. Who knew, right? Frying pans! Who knew, right?

Cren, my other MC, was much, much more stubborn. I couldn’t figure him out for a long time. (Actually, whether or not I’ve figured him out yet is a point left up to debate.) From the two scenes I’d written, as well as the ones I’d imagined in my mind, there were so many different qualities he could have, and I couldn’t figure out which ones he actually was. I wasn’t sure if he could be prejudiced and still be kind. Could he be prideful and still respect other people?

So instead of figuring out who on earth Cren really was, I decided to read my Brandon Sanderson book. (One day, I’m going to have to do a blog post on Sanderson. He’s awesome.) Cren was in the back of my mind while I was reading, and, don’t ask me how, but somehow Words of Radiance made me realize something: people have layers too.

Okay, also don’t ask me how I didn’t figure this out before, but I finally realized that Cren could be all of those things. After all, we’re different around different people. Human beings are so complex. Cren is jealous of others, but still has a good heart, and is honest. He’s confident, maybe overly so, and stubborn, but he will accept that he was wrong after some time to think about it.

I still had to do more thinking, and interview my characters some, before I really figured out who Cren was, but what came first was dispelling my strange belief that characters could only be one thing or the other, not both.

Of course, I still have a long ways to go in learning how to create realistic characters, but this was definitely a learning point for me. My characters don’t have to be onion clones of each other–or of other characters from other books! What a revelation, heh. Now I’m imagining the Clone Wars with onions…

From now on out, I’m going to do better with developing my characters and making them real, layered, and onion-y.