Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part Two (Characters)

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I fully expect this to be the longest of the three parts of the Enhanced Field Guide (places, characters, and plots). If you missed the first part–Places in Enhanced, you can find that here: Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part One (Places).

Why will this be the longest one? Because I have a whole bunch of characters, both major and minor, and I fully expect that the more I write, the more characters will come up. So when this field guide is officially posted on its own page, I’ll update it with new characters when I start 105_0189-editedtalking about them. For right now, though, all of the characters in this post should appear or be mentioned somewhere in the first book, Enhanced.

Oh, and Kellyn Roth @ Reveries was the first one to guess which character this hairstyle belonged to: Meryn. Despite the fact that the hairstyle does indeed look like a boy’s, it is her hair. (Of course, Kell did just list all of the main female characters after I said it was a girl, so I don’t know how much effort it took.) You’ll get a full sketch of Meryn later on in the post–yay!–and she’ll look much less like a boy then.



POV CHARACTERS

BRIE ELLINGS

I just made up her last name right now. So it’s subject to change…but I kind of like it, so who knows?

Brie is my smol, emotional cinnamon roll who is thrown into this world with no experience and wants nothing more than to save her brother, Seth (see Plots–Rescue Seth and Characters–Seth). She has way too much hair and loves music and singing. She loves deeply and is extremely empathetic.

And because I know you want it, here’s my little chibi drawing of her:

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Isn’t she so adorable? I love her and so should you.

WILL ASHA

Will is extremely computer-savvy, and therefore the Reapers’ hacker. It might be weird to say that he feels some sort of emotional connection with computers, but he does–when he was part of the Delorem Program (see Places–The Delorem Program), computers were really the only thing that he could hold on to.

He also makes horrible jokes and puns that no one laughs at, and he likes cats. Going deeper than that, though, he feels responsible for his cousin, Taira (see Characters–Taira) and worries about her (and other people) a lot.

Fun Fact: In the original draft, Will and Brie were going to be a ship. Now, they’re not, but they do develop a sort of sibling-like relationship throughout the first book because Will likes to take care of people and Brie needs taking care of.

LILIAN SHAZI (also referred to as LIL)

Lil is the only POV character who is an adult, and she is definitely a mother figure to lots of people, but especially Will (see Characters–Will). Because of some time spent in the Enhancement Facility (see Places–The Enhancement Facility), she can’t feel physical pain. However, she has a very sad backstory (which I may someday write a novella about…) and her life is filled with emotional pain that just grows worse as the book goes on.

She always cares about people deeply and grows very attached to them. She notices the lonely soul and gives cookies to those with hurting hearts. And she’s so friendly and warm and inviting that you can’t help but be friends with her and want her love.

Fun Fact: She wears ribbons in her braids in her hair. I seriously use this for every fun fact I’ve done with her. But hey, if you have a good one, do you have to find a new one?

KAI WHITLOW

Kai is the hero. Not necessarily the hero of the story but just a hero in that he sticks to what he believes in, which is awesome. I adore characters like that. Despite being heroic, he’s also a little confused and a little lost about everything. He’s trying to grow up and figure everything out, and without a father, that’s especially hard. (His father died when he was young.)

He also has this desire to be strong and to show that he’s just like everyone else or better…which leads to lots of flirting with girls. (I don’t know whether to facepalm or headdesk.) But he just struggles and it’s awesome.

Fun Fact: In the first draft, Kai was totally honest. Like, he could only remember telling one lie in his life. *claps for Kai* So that’s part of what inspired me to have him be the hero, but yeah, no, he fails as much as the rest of us, don’t worry. He makes mistakes, too, but it’s just that in the end, good triumphs over evil.

MERYN …

Meryn who also doesn’t have a last name, oops. She’s the hairstyle up above, remember? She’s lived in the city (see Places–The City) her entire life, and she is a little spoiled (read: very spoiled). She goes on dates and flirts with guys and loves fashion designing. She fights with her sister Aislynn and also has some loving conversations with her at times as well.

And because I have nothing else to say at the moment, here is a full picture of her:

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She’s actually a little shorter than in that picture, but yeah, that’s a pretty good representation. And yes, she puts pockets in all of her dress designs because she understands the painnn.


MAJOR CHARACTERS (NON-POV)

TAIRA …

She actually has a last name, but I can’t remember it…I’d have to look at the first draft to find it. Anyway, Taira is very blunt and generally rude to everyone except for Will, her cousin (see Characters–Will). She’s rude to him, too, just not as much. And she glares at everyone because other people should not exist she has bad headaches the more she’s around people.

Mainly, she just chooses to stay away from people as much as possible. And she has some good reasons for it, but some would say that they aren’t really excuses. So yeah, she has problems and is very enjoyable to think about.

Fun Fact: Taira was one of the main characters in the first draft. Then, she was just going to be one of the POV characters in Enhanced, and then Brie decided she was more important and took over her spot. But she’s definitely going to show up as a POV in the second book, Cryonic, where you’ll get to see some of her internal thoughts, which will be fun.

SETH ELLINGS

As you may have figured out by now, Seth is Brie’s (see Characters–Brie) older brother. He’s adventurous and always looking for some new thing to do. He might possibly be an adrenaline junkie if he lived in our day. And he loves other people, but he kind of loves nature more. He loves to be outside and exploring the great outdoors, and that’s where he gets the most joy.

Fun Fact: He also has curly hair like Brie’s, but his is a bit more under control. Actually, he’s *coughs* kind of good-looking. I mean, according to the pinterest picture I found.

AISLYNN …

Aislynn is Meryn’s (see Characters–Meryn) younger sister. She’s very analytical and ordered and structured about things, which kind of clashes with Meryn’s very creative way of thinking. Hence fights. Also, Aislynn steals Meryn’s stuff, especially her holographic computer (she doesn’t really care about stealing clothes), and basically they fight a lot but also love each other deeper. Aislynn isn’t very good at showing that love, though. She’s also into science and psychology and loves learning.

Fun Fact: Hawaiian pizza is her choice of pizza. Because you need to know that for the story to make sense.

CHARLES BENNETT

He goes by Bennett (possibly because his name sounds like it’s from a Jane Austen novel–but if it actually is, then tell me, because I could use that) and he’s a politician. Or, I should say politician-in-training  or attempting-politician because he’s only in his early twenties and hasn’t done much yet.

But yes, Bennett has an oversized opinion of himself (which could be because he really is handsome and popular and all the girls flock around him) and he and Taira clash dynamically in the second book which is quite fun! He doesn’t do much in the first book, though, but, you know, he’s there.

Fun Fact: Bennett kind of spawned into the story by accident? I was writing the first part of Cryonic and Taira ended up meeting him, and they clashed so much that I developed him more, and he’s actually really important. For spoilerous reasons.

JETHRO CAVRILLO

Jethro is–do I dare to say?–the villian…ish. I need to develop his role in the story better because he’s kind of not at the moment and he needs to be. (Even though he has a heartwrenching reason for what he’s doing…*sobs in a corner because no one knows my pain because spoilers*)

Anyway, he’s the Lead Enhancer and founder of the Enhancement Facility (see Places–The Enhancement Facility), and he does lots of cruel things. Enough said. Possibly because his personality isn’t developed super well…shhh.

Fun Fact: His name used to be Javier until I realized that a) that was basically like Javert from Les Mis, and b) that Javier was pronounced with an ‘H’ sound rather than being pronounced like Javert from Les Mis. So I needed a new name, and I was reading the Bible…and yeah, even though Jethro is a great guy, I decided his name was awesome and would be used.

JULIUS …

I still don’t know how I feel about the name Julius. Like, part of me says yes, and the other part of me says no, and then the other part of me says yum, orange julius. So I may need to change his name, but I need suggestions. Anyone?

Julius is the leader of the Reapers (and they may be explained in the Other section of the Field Guide, if I do decide to post it?) and he makes elaborate plans but doesn’t share them with people. And then gets upset with people when they tell him something that conflicts with his plans even though that’s because he didn’t tell anyone.

He has a lot of annoying faults like this, and probably the most so is that whenever people try to tell him this, he won’t listen to them. So yeah, he annoys me sometimes, too, but he’s also really cool. He really does have a brilliant and strategic mind, and he does love people, but it’s even harder for him to show it than for Aislynn.

Fun Fact: He does, indeed, like orange julius. He’ll never admit it, though, because, let’s admit it, you can’t ever live that down.

RICK & RUBEN

I figured I should put them together to save times. They’re brothers and look very similar…but their personalities are fairly different. Rick acts stupid on purpose, and he pulls it off well, so he ends up being fun. He also has an obsession with old stories and fables. And he has a ponytail and a gold tooth.

Ruben, on the other hand, is more practical and refuses to laugh at Rick (that’s okay, Rick knows that he thinks he’s funny) and he likes to cook food and make lists and be ready for anything (while Rick takes things impromptu for the fun of it). Basically, he could be a butler?

Fun Fact: Rick and Ruben once broke into a chocolate factory…don’t ask.



Sometimes I forget about how much I love this novel until I think about how much I love all of my characters…seriously, all of them. *hugs them all* Anyway, be sure to watch out for the third part of The Field Guide–Plots! And if you didn’t see it the first part, here’s the link again: Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part One (Places).



Do you, too, ever have the problem of not choosing a last name for your characters? It happens to me all the time obviously. Which was your favorite character? Which do you want to learn more about? I need to choose one to use for Beautiful People this month, so opinions are obviously needed! Oh, and tell me about your characters! What are they like?

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Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part One (Places)

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I’m beginning a field guide to help you identify characters, places, and plots in my current novel, Enhanced (and in the entire series), including fun facts and more info than you ever wanted to know! It’ll be great, just trust me.

Plus, once I’m done posting all three parts (Places, Characters, and Plots (and maybe Other?)), I’m going to compile them into one huge field guide that can be found under the “Epic Sci-Fi” menu. That way, if you ever have no idea what I’m referencing in one of my posts, you can check out the field guide! Am I too excited about this? …Probably.



PLACES

THE CITY

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Here’s some of the designs I was considering for the layout of the city…I chose the big one in the middle, but I can’t show you the finished, larger one because I’ve lost my big sketchbook at the moment… *sighs*

The city that as of yet is still nameless is the central location of the novel. In the city, it’s like our life–but cooler, with interesting technology like 3-D computers and airtrains and awesomeness like that. It’s full of rich people who are busy and wrapped up in their own lives. It also rains all the time, but that happens in the Outer Regions (see Places–The Outer Regions) as well.

Fun fact: the city was inspired by my trip to NYC, so if you’ve ever been there, that’s kind of what it’s like. But cooler.

THE ENHANCEMENT FACILITY (also referred to as THE FACILITY)

This is a government-owned facility where genetic modifications (“Enhancements”) are done on people in the name of science and healing. If you were clever, you probably noticed the correlation between “Enhancement Facility” and the title of “Enhanced.” If you didn’t notice, that’s okay too. That’s because the main characters believe it’s a horrible place and want to break in and rescue some people (see Plots–Rescue Seth). Namely, a guy named Seth (see Characters–Seth).

Fun Fact: Throughout the book, six of the major characters spend some time in the Facility. By the end of Cryonic, all of the major characters except for two will have gone there. (And, trust me, there’s a lot of major characters.)

THE DELOREM PROGRAM (also referred to as THE DELOREMS or THE REMS)

The Delorem Program is another government-owned…thing. *headdesk* There, people are paid to experience pain. It’s basically a last resort for those who are poor in the Outer Regions (see Places–The Outer Regions) to support their families. Because of the desensitization to pain, it’s rumored that the people in the program (the “Delorems”) can’t feel any emotions.

Fun Fact: “Delorem,” in Latin, means pain. So, “The Delorem Program” literally means “The Pain Program.” Sounds happy, right?

THE SAFEHOUSE

The safehouse is where the Reapers (see Characters–The Reapers) hang out and basically do their criminal stuff without being caught by the authorities. Because there’s so little ground space in the city, the house itself is small, but the basement is large and stocked full of all sorts of stuff.

THE OUTER REGIONS (also referred to as THE REGIONS)

The Outer Regions is the area that surrounds the city (see Places–The City) and is full of lots of poor people (extremely third world conditions) under governmental control. However, because they don’t know any better, most of them love the government (see Characters–The Pinnacles). And, of course, the people in the city think that the people in the Outer Regions are savages. There are eight regions and each has a specific purpose in supplying and supporting the city.

Fun Fact: The Outer Regions actually have their own religion, called Cajinism. It comes to play in Cryonic, the second book in the series, with Kai and Brie. (see Characters–Kai and Characters–Brie).

REGIONS ONE AND SIX

Region One and Region Six are both variable regions, which basically means they are well-rounded and end up doing whatever the pinnacles tell them to (see Characters–The Pinnacles). *nods*

REGIONS TWO, THREE, FOUR, AND FIVE

Regions Two through Five are all related to farming stuff. Because, hey, somebody’s got to feed everyone, right? Region Two specializes in herbs and plants grown in greenhouses, Region Three does livestock, Region Four grows orchards, and Region Five is centered around farming (as in growing plants and harvesting them).

Brie and Seth are from Region Four, and Kai is from Region Five (see Characters–Brie, Characters–Seth, and Characters–Kai).

REGIONS SEVEN AND EIGHT

Region Seven and Region Eight both use metal-work. Because of this, they have to use more complicated machines are are less of a third-world place and a little more suspicious of the city and the pinnacles. Region Seven does the large metal work and Region Eight does the fine metal work.

Taira and Will are from Region Eight (see Characters–Taira and Characters–Will).



And…yeah, I think that’s it for this section. Yup, Places is definitely the shortest (and possibly the most boring) of all of them. However, the places in the city are rather essential in order understand the other ones.

How did you like the post? Are you excited or not for the other sections? Are all of the “see this” parentheses annoying? They were meant as a joke, and then I think they just got tedious by the end, so should I take them out of the other two sections? Any tips for how to make the next section better or improve this one? Are you excited about this novel?

And ju105_0189-editedst because you are awesome for reading this all, have a sneak peek at one of the characters’ hairstyles. For bonus points, be the first to guess which character it is!

Spotlight #2: From Discarded Character to Possible Plot Bunny

HELLO I AM BACKKK.

Yes, for all of you who didn’t realize, I disappeared from my blog again for about two weeks this time. Why? Well, I was procrastinating a lot on the Internet and I also didn’t feel like I was spending enough time with my family, so I chose to basically not go on the Internet for a week, and it was actually really nice. I did spend more time with my family but most of my time was actually spent at band camp for marching band.

HOWEVER I am back now and here to share my second Spotlight with you! Earlier today I was reading the first 40K I’d written of Cryonic during April for Camp NaNo (and it is surprisingly better written than I had thought) and there was one chapter that really stuck out to me.

Some of you may know that at one point I decided to have 6 POV characters in Enhanced, so I added in a character who hadn’t been in the first draft, but then I took him out again about a month later. His name is Zen, and he’s an awesome character but he didn’t really fit with any part of the plot, so I decided that maybe he’d just be a minor character in one of the later books or something.

But reading over this chapter that I wrote, I had the idea that I could give Zen his own novel, and I think I would enjoy it. But I shall stop rambling now and actually share the chapter with you so you can see what it’s like and decide if you would want to read more. (If not, that’s totally fine, haha. It’s a) a rough draft, and b) my style is definitely not everyone else’s style. I like honest feedback.)



Disclaimers: The chapter takes place during a war, a very bloody war. So there is a lot of death and dying and killing and blood. It’s not necessarily gory since I didn’t really go into description of gory things, but it is war, and it’s meant to be kind of horrific and emotional and dark. It’s fine for most people, I think. Also, it’s almost 3000 words, so it’s…really long. I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all. 😉



“Get under cover!” Zen yelled to his team, ducking behind one of the makeshift walls as bullets whizzed past him, soundless to the silencers in his ear that simultaneously allowed him to communicate with those in his team.

The answers came back through the silencers and around him, he saw the members of his team. Adrenaline pumped through him, mixed with determination. “We’ll stay here for another minute, and then charge forward. I’ve just received word that they’ve damaged the outer wall of the city enough for some people to get in just to the north of here. We’ll charge past the other line of men and jump through the walls, take cover, and wait for more orders.”

The others nodded, and in that moment, he knew how exhausted they all were. They’d been assaulting the city for days now, and in the blazing heat they were all getting tired and dehydrated. He took the water bottle out of his suit and drank some of the warm liquid, the rest of his team following suit.

“Ready…” They stood at attention. “Go!” Moving together, they clambered up over the wall, Zen in the front, firing their guns at the enemy line, just waiting for a bullet to puncture into them. They had been given bulletproof armor, but it didn’t cover everything in order to allow mobility, and there was always the chance that one would die, especially the more battles one went through.

And Zen had been through quite a lot.

The enemy fired back and he ran as fast as he could, relying on his strengthened muscles and days of long training to increase his speed enough to run past, enemies falling, spraying red blood. Zen felt a few bullets hit with a slight pressure on his bulletproof suit, and each one made him wonder if this would be the last run he made, the last breath he took.

Some part of him just wanted to stop, to let the screaming bullets take him, but he never did. He kept fighting not because he believed it was right, but because he couldn’t let his friends around him down.

Especially not Lian. This was his first battle, and he was under Zen’s command. That was enough to make him run like the wind.

They reached the wall, a gaping gash of a hole bombed through it, like an open sore, rubble surrounding it like blood. Zen covered for the rest of his team as they climbed through the hole, jumping from pieces of rock in order to make their way through it. He counted them off as they came through, all of them there. After they were all in, Zen followed, bullets pounding against the bulletproof vest. How long would it be until the vest fell to pieces from the battering? He knew they could last for a long time…but how long?

The sight that met him inside the city walls caught him off guard, even as his body continued the motion and ducked behind the side of a house with the rest of his team. No military met them, no one fired back. Bloody, wounded bodies were left on the ground from the bombing of the wall, but as he peered out at them, he noted that they wore no uniform.

Civilian bodies.

The twisting in his gut began, the same horrific feeling that had come over him at the last battle, when he’d seen a similar sight. Surely they would have evacuated the people closer to the inside of the city? But…they hadn’t. Why?

“What next, Zen?” Barro asked, and Zen turned to face him, swallowing slightly. He had orders…but those orders were for a military base, not a civilian compound.

Was it time to disobey? No, not yet, he couldn’t let them know yet that the disapproved, but he couldn’t kill innocents either. This conversation was probably being recorded…they might be able to find out what he said next. He searched for a solution, one finally coming from his mind. “They must have bombed the wrong part of the wall…we’re supposed to be in a military base, but those are civilians. For now, we wait here for further orders. Everyone alright?”

Zen took a glance over his men, and found Lian a little ways away, trembling, his whole body shaking like a leaf as he stared with wide eyes at the bodies.

Walking forward, Zen moved toward him and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. He seemed to calm slightly at the touch, but the terror was still in his eyes. “Lian,” he whispered, “I know it’s hard to look at. I know that sick feeling you get when you look at them. But there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

Lian coughed and sniffled, the sound clearly audible with the silencers stopping every other sound. “We should have been able to do something.” His voice was shaky and weak, and Zen wondered again how Lian had managed to convince the military leaders he was trained and fit for apprenticeship into the war.

He squeezed his shoulder, opened his mouth, and then closed it again. He couldn’t say much with them listening in to him, couldn’t give the kind of comfort that he wanted to. He didn’t really know what to say, then. War was all he remembered, the killing was all he knew. And civilians…they’d been nothing to him before. But after Lian had been assigned to him, he’d started to feel again. Not to remember, but to feel.

Sickening, that’s what every battle felt like after the adrenaline was gone and the stark reality was there, staring up at you with empty, dead eyes.

“Come back here, Lian,” he said quietly. “It’s better if you don’t look.”

The boy let him lead him away without any argument, and as he turned, Zen caught a glimpse of movement in the empty space left of the hole.

Reflexes took over. Zen pushed Lian away and whipped out his gun, firing at the movement.

Silence.

“Zen?” Araena’s voice was quiet, worried, tense.

“It might have been nothing,” he said, relaxing slightly. “I thought I saw something, but it was probably just my imagination.” I’m seeing things… It was hard to tell if it was real or not. There could be enemy soldiers out there trying to get a shot at them…or it could be something else. His memories? He’d thought he’d seen flickers of it, like visions appearing in his mind before, melding themselves with his surroundings. Had he seen that flash of motion once before?

Or, of course, he could just be going crazy.

“We’d better keep an eye on that opening. Teika, Vessen, Elko, stay here and watch. The rest of us are going to scout around just a little bit, in case there’s any soldiers here.”

The idea had come to his mind after the motion there, as gruesome as it was. Could the enemy really have placed civilians in the place they knew the bomb would hit in order to distract invaders afterward enough to ambush them? That was even more sickening, but it somehow fit. No civilian would stray near city walls knowing that they were being attacked.

Zen made sure to take Lian in his group when they split around buildings, wanting to keep an eye on him. He didn’t remember his first battle, and the blank spot frustrated him to no end, but he was sure it must have been as horrible as this.

What would it be like to be like Lian had been before he’d come here? Not knowing about death, not understanding that life could be so easily taken. The boy valued life so much more than Zen did, and part of him envied that, wanted to feel an ache at every life he took away, to make sure he really knew what he was doing, but the other part of him was grateful that he didn’t understand it fully, that he didn’t remember what life was like before.

He jerked back into the moment, looking through the scope of his gun. In the distance, he could see movement. Pointing toward it, they headed that way, and as they came closer, he saw it was a woman, holding onto the lifeless form of a body, head bowed over him, hair covering her face.

Quietly, they moved toward her. The others followed him around a house — he didn’t want to frighten her into running — but when they came back out again, she was gone. There wasn’t even a body there, just…nothing.

He was definitely seeing things, and it made his head hurt. Was he going crazy? Or, were they, as Lian had suggested, visions of memories that were now slipping into his mind when it related to the situation?

It was true; there was something familiar about the things he saw, unless he was just imagining that part, but whenever he tried to actually remember anything, he wasn’t able to reach past his memories of a few years ago, except for the occasional whisper of something tickling in the back of his mind.

“This way,” said Zen, leading them through the buildings and trying to focus on what was at hand. The past was a long ways away, and the present was now. He couldn’t afford to spend his time looking backward. “You seeing anything?”

His team answered with negatives, and he nodded, weaving through the buildings. Maybe he shouldn’t have taken Lian with him — there was a body in nearly any direction you looked, and many of them had been shredded by scrapnel. This wasn’t any place for a boy…and yet something in him said that’s what a war was, to turn a boy into a man.

But was a man someone who saw death and felt nothing or saw it and wanted to weep for the life that had been lost?

Focus. He was having trouble with that today, and it wasn’t a good mindset to be in when they were in the middle of a war.

A war with what? Civilians, innocents?

His spinning thoughts were focused a second later, when he heard a voice crackling through the silencers. Teika’s voice, worried and fast. “Zen, we’ve got a problem.” Silence for a few seconds, as Zen turned and started running toward them. Then, “They’re swarming through, like rats. Can’t keep them away for long.”

“Hold on as long as you can. We’re coming for you. Keep me updated.”

As he ran, all the worst scenarios that could happen ran through his head as he imagined what had happened. The flash of movement, then, had been real, and he hadn’t been seeing things that time. They’d been lying in wait, and he’d misjudged. He’d taken most of the group, and then the ambush had happened from the wrong side.

Zen cursed over and over again, making sure none if it was going through the silencers to his men. If they knew how worried he was, they would be too; it was the simple rule of battle psychology. Act confident, be confident, and your men will accept it as truth.

Teika’s voice came through the line again, this time strained. “Been shot…in the leg…hurry.”

Zen affirmed that they were coming and then cursed again. This wasn’t supposed to be going like this.

And then another thought came into his mind: if Teika had been shot and she was still the only one who had contacted them, what was happening to Vessen and Elko?

Zen wanted to comfort the others on his team, to tell them fake assurances, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. So there was silence as they ran, settling over them, deep and heavy, like a thick cloud of smoke.

When they came across the gaping hole in the wall, his mouth went dry. The enemy soldiers were pouring in still, covering the hole, as Teika had said, like rats. Zen fired a spray of bullets at them, and a few went down, but not enough.

He found the three of his soldiers holed up in an alleyway — at least they’d retreated to a semi-defensible system, rather than staying out in the open. That gave him some hope, but it was quickly discouraged as they charged over to them. Teika was barely standing, leaning against the wall for support, and Elko was barely able to fire his gun from where he sat near the wall, clutching at a wound on his side, maybe at one of the straps where the bulletproof suits came together. Vessen was unconscious behind them, not even moving.

Zen was filled with such a rage that he’d never felt before. If he hadn’t been able to feel sorrow before, he’d never felt this either. It rose up in him like a raging fire, unable to be stopped, like lightning being flung across a stormy sky.

And for the first time since he’d started to feel, he wanted to kill.

The shots from his gun blazed into their men, pushing them down where they fell. He felt returning bullets slamming against him, but he ignored it, focusing solely on making them bleed as much as possible.

How dare they touch his men, how dare they shoot them, how dare they attack them defenseless when they knew their leader was gone?

They were monsters, and each one he killed seemed like a mercy.

But no matter how many of them he shot, they just kept coming, swarming toward them, filling up the area before the alleyway, as if they were waiting for their chance to die. As if they were sacrificing in order to try to get at least one good shot in.

And they did. Zen watched as his men started to get shot, one by one, thankfully not in the most vital of places it seemed, but they left and the enemy kept coming.

Each one made him shoot more. When he ran out of bullets, he tossed his gun back to Teika, who refilled it as he grabbed the gun Vessen had dropped, exploding more of the others, killing them, pushing them away as best that he could.

The fight seemed to last ages as they came and came, pooling around them like blood. No, like carnivores, ready to consume their prey. It seemed that everyone was wounded except for him when others on their side finally came, enough of them to make a difference, enough of them to make a rescue.

Zen watched all of it with glazed eyes, as they took the gun from his hands and the rage kept on inside of him but his body was so tired his arms simply held limply at his sides, waiting.

He finally came to his senses when one of them started taking the pulses of his wounded men. “What are you doing?” he asked, stepping over to him, feeling weak on his feet.

“Making sure they’re alive,” the man snapped back, his words sharp and abrupt, pounding into Zen’s skull. Had he really talked like that before he’d met Lian?

Zen swallowed as he moved to each of them, his heart sinking as he moved toward Teika, Vessen, and Elko, the three that had first been here. He wanted, with all his heart, to believe that they were alive, but the stark reality was that they’d been wounded for longer than anyone else.

When the man checked Vessen’s pulse, his fingers came away with bloodstains.

“Dead.”

Zen’s stomach plummeted, and his whole body seemed to cry out in pain. Not Vessen, not the strong and noble man who would have given anything for the rest of them, hiding it behind grumbles that any person could see through.

In war, though, there could only be acceptance, not denial. It didn’t change anything. Vessen was dead no matter what he did.

Lian came to stand next to him, putting his hand on his arm. When Zen turned to look at him, there were tears in the boy’s eyes, but he was the one who did the comforting. “You did everything you could. You’re not responsible.”

Zen wanted to pretend to be strong, to say, “What makes you think I’m sorry?” but he couldn’t. He only shook his head.

Lian kept talking. “This is war. People…people die. That’s what they say. I calculated the statistics of someone dying today and the chances were high that one of us would suffer a fatality, so I tried to expect it.” His voice choked up. “Vessen isn’t just a number, though.”

“Wasn’t,” Zen whispered. He didn’t know what to say, what to think. “I haven’t lost a man since…since Fyn.”

Lian tensed beside him; Fyn had been closer in age to him than any other. Zen half expected him to start spouting some sort of statistics, since he seemed to do that when he tried to comfort, but he didn’t speak.

Neither of them did, standing there in the alleyway as it was slowly emptied of their wounded friends. Finally Zen just started walking, and Lian followed, the two of them moving out of the city.

It was hard not to step on any of the bodies.



If you managed to read through all of that, what did you think? Did you like or not like? Are you curious about Zen? I am. I haven’t figured out half his secrets yet. Did it make you feel emotion in any way? And, most important of all, are you excited to see me back in the blogosphere again? 😀

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!

The Finish Line

Well, it’s the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo, and I have met my goal of 40,000 words! I’m am now officially a 2016 Camp Winner!

camp winner.jpg

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To everyone who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, good job! No matter what your final word count was, you made the effort to write something this month, and to me, that makes it a success whether or not you met your goal. So pat yourself on the back and eat some ice cream.

Now, back to me because you know you all want to read about me instead of anyone else. So, after Camp, I have 40,518 words under my belt (well, 40,396 according to the validated count) but Cryonic isn’t anywhere near being done. Since it’s supposed to be of epic size when it is done, I’m thinking I’ll have a goal of 200,000 words, by far the longest novel I’ll have ever written. That means I’m only about 20% of the way there.

I’ve learned while writing Cryonic though, about what exactly is going to happen to my characters. A whole bunch of new minor characters popped up (and out of those, I may have killed about a fourth of them? okay not that many, but still) and I’m getting more in depth with the plot.

However, I’m kind of putting the draft of Cryonic away for a little while, ish. I’ll still be working on it occasionally, but I want to work on revising (well, rewriting) the first book in the series, Enhanced. (Cryonic is the second book in the epic sci-fi series.)

I finished Enhanced last October, and ever since then I’ve been thinking about revising/rewriting it, so I think that’s what I’m going to be doing next. There’s a lot that has to be done before I start though, including research, and, best of all, WORLD BUILDING.

Okay, maybe I’m really weird and crazy, but I love world building. Both for my own novels, and hearing other people’s world building ideas and how their societies work. I just find it all super fascinating for some reason, especially the religions. So I’m super excited for this next little bit in the process!

So what kind of posts will I be giving to you during the next few months? World building, character/plot development, revisions once I get to it, a special research project, and maybe a post about writing realistic prophecies. (I know, that has nothing to do with anything I’m working on, but still. I think it sounds awesome.) And of course, random ramblings about stuff.

So yeah, there’s your mostly meaningless post and update on stuffs. 😀


How did Camp NaNoWriMo go for all of you who did it? Did you meet your goal? Did you finish your novel/project, or do you still need more time? What is everyone planning on doing in May and the coming months (either writing-wise or otherwise)? Are you excited for summer? (I am–school will be out!)

And So it Begins…

CNW_Participant.jpgYes, Camp NaNoWriMo has started! The excitement will wear off in a week or two, I know, but right now I’m excited about Camp and life and everything. Plus, I get Spring Break off of school next week, and it is fantastic how it coincides with the first week of Camp. That way I’ll have time to write while I actually want to.

Yesterday, for my first day, I wrote 1563 words, and I’m fairly pleased with that. It would’ve been nice to write a bit more, but I’m satisfied with how much I wrote.

I’m also kind of satisfied with the content I wrote. Obviously, it’s a first draft, and first draft + NaNoWriMo = blehhkghh, but not counting that, it’s actually okay, and my writing is ever so slowly improving.

One thing that was particularly fun to write about was about the airtrains, which is a public transportation system with railroad tracks that are about ten stories high. It was kind of inspired from my trip to New York City this year, where I rode the subway everywhere, but I altered it a little bit to be more sci-fi-y.

So it was fun to add a few of the setting details in that I’ve been thinking about, and I liked having a conversation between Will and Taira, and seeing the dynamic between them (they’re cousins, but their relationship is a little more like a brother and sister).

Other than that, I haven’t really written much that I can report on, or give advice-y things about, so I think I shall wrap up this post soon. I’m super excited to continue writing and see the plot take shape, and I’ll keep you updated on how my writing goes throughout the month.

For those of you who are doing Camp, how are all of your novels coming along?

 

Reformatting and the Epic Sci-Fi

As you can see (or maybe you can’t, if you’re on the Reader or your email), The Music of Words has undergone a marvelous transformation. Okay, it’s not really that amazing, but I think this design has a more professional and clean-cut feel to it than my previous one.

So, there’s that. And I’m also finally going to tell you about the Epic Sci-Fi! I’ve had this idea for a couple of weeks, but I haven’t gotten around to telling you about it until now. Here’s the story.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Lana had an idea for a story. (Well, it may have slightly been stolen from some sort of adopt-a-prompt thing where someone actually took it before she could, but she altered it anyway, so that was okay.) And the idea for the story fascinated her so much that she wrote the first scene during her choir class, which was rather difficult, since in choir, one is supposed to be singing, not writing.

She wrote anyway.

It was about a guy named Kai (the name suggested by one of Lana’s friends) and how he had to go through something painful without showing any pain, or else he would die. And yes, there may have been a girl watching him.

When Lana came home from school, she typed up what she’d written, adding in a dying mother, and continued to write. The girl became Taira. Kai stayed Kai, because Lana didn’t have any ideas for a better name.

And, slowly, the story evolved. She wrote in it between NaNoWriMos, scenes here and there, and in just shy of a year, she’d finally finished the 98,000 word draft. Lana loved that story so much that she decided she would come back to revise it.

Throughout the next months, it stayed on her mind. Ideas for its revision started to pop up, as well as ideas for a second book. Though she wrote other things, it was the thing she kept having new ideas for.

And then the idea hit her, just a few weeks before Camp NaNoWriMo was supposed to start and she was supposed to write the second book: this could be an epic sci-fi. (Which was like an epic fantasy, only in a sci-fi setting.)

This idea intrigued Lana, so she started to work on it. More POV characters than just Kai and Taira rose to the surface (there became six total), and new plots were added in. The setting became slightly more developed, and she just ended up loving the idea even more.

Lana never expected to be a sci-fi writer. She always thought that she’d be a writer of fantasy, since that’s what she loved to read, but these books became the ones that she’d always wanted to write. They were awesome, with a plot and characters and a villain and battles and run on sentences (the grammar could be fixed later).

The novel that was once called KT (based off the names Kai and Taira) became Enhanced, and its sequel, Cryonic. (Remember that post where I told you what I was doing for Camp NaNo? Yeah, that’s the same Cryonic as here.) Lana was totally ready for Camp (note the sarcasm) and she was ready to take on any challenges that her new series, her Epic Sci-Fi, would give her.

-TO BE CONTINUED-

I know, that was a cliffhanger. You can hang on to your cliffs for a little while longer, though, because we don’t know how this story will end yet. We have come to that blank page that is called “the present”.

Camp NaNoWriMo starts in two days. (Or maybe three, I never know how to count these things.) And while I certainly don’t feel ready for it, I am excited for the story to continue and to work on Cryonic. It’s going to be so much fun, and I am definitely going to enjoy myself.


You can find summaries of the first two books with the “Epic Sci-Fi” link-y thing at the menu bar at the very top of the page. Enjoy!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Cryonic

Well, guess what email I received in my inbox on Tuesday?

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Yep, Camp NaNo is in a month.

I haven’t even been thinking about it recently, let alone started planning for it. I knew that I’m writing the sequel to KT, a novel I finished last October, I just had no idea what the plot should be about. Plus, I wanted to finish the first draft of my Zel novel before April. Yeahhh…I don’t think that’s going to happen. But I’m still going to try, because apparently I like to put myself through lots of stress by pushing necessary goals and deadlines on myself.

Like Camp NaNaNoWriMo.

For those of you who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is like the normal National Novel Writing Month, only it’s not in November, you can choose your word count goal, and you don’t have to write a novel. (I’m thinking of maybe writing a screenplay this July…)

April Camp NaNo was actually where I finished my very first novel, so it has a little bit of a special place in my heart. It also means that this is my anniversary of doing NaNoWriMos for 3 years. This is also going to be my 10th NaNoWriMo experience. So…it’ll be fun.

What’s even more fun, though, is that I had an idea for the actual plot of my novel the day after I got this email. I was researching stuff for history class, and I somehow ended up reading articles on cryonically freezing people.

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Here’s the little google search definition for you. I’m wondering if there’s bodies inside those tanks in the picture…

I’d never heard of it before, and it was really fascinating to read about. (If you haven’t heard of it either, the link to the Wikipedia page is here.) And just by reading about it, I decided that I really wanted to write a book with it. The plot bunny specifically that came to me was that the villian-ish person of the novel had been cryonically frozen about a hundred years ago, and science had finally gotten good enough to revive him and bring him back to life.

KT and its sequel are set in a sci-fi setting, and thinking about it, I realized I could use this plot bunny for the sequel I’ll be writing this April. There were actually a lot of ways it could relate to the first book, and I already have a reason for why he would be revived.

Now, his name, personality, and why exactly he’s “evil” are yet to be discovered, but I’m really excited about writing this. I think it’ll be especially interesting to explore how someone would react to waking up a hundred years later (or maybe even more, depending on how long I decide he’s been frozen for), and seeing how the world has changed. And what about the people he knew? They’d all be dead. It would be like falling asleep and waking up to find yourself in a completely alien world.

I’m also excited to explore a lot of the side characters in this second book, because I introduced some interesting ones at the end of the first book, and I really want to see their personalities and how they interact and stuff like that. I think it’ll be lots of fun.

And since I decided I needed a title for the novel while I was creating it on the Camp NaNoWriMo website, I have given it the working title of Cryonic. It’s fairly simple, but I think I like it, at least right now. Maybe I’ll come up with something later, but I like the symbolism this one could reflect. In the story, people’s hearts could be “frozen” and things like that.

So I’m finding myself very excited for this April, and I can’t wait to get back to Kai and Taira and all of my other characters from the first book. It’s going to be lots of fun!