Thursday, March 1, 2018

Today's writing notes:

Working on: Revising "Worth Searching For" for FFN

I really enjoyed writing Captain Tuan. I like to imagine that when he's not dealing with crewmates pushing each other overboard, he's a jolly old soul.

One major edit in this portion of the story was to  alter Terra's and Isengrim's initial conversation, to make Terra's motivations and actions fall in line better with how I've established her character, and better convey the character arc I was trying to get across the first time around. Looking back, I could have done a better job with it, but I know my writing skills have grown a lot in four years.

I also think that when I first wrote this thing, I was just happy to have figured out Isengrim's character--I'd actually stalled on writing the first draft for a month or so, because I was having real difficulty figuring him out, and trying to determine his motivations and how to properly transition him from a one-off villain to a multidimensional character who would undergo a redemption arc.

Considering that, and how complex the rest of the story is, I suppose I should cut myself some slack for being a bit lax with Terra's character development. However, now that I have the opportunity, I am definitely going to tighten up that element of the story--I think it will help her relationship with Isengrim make more sense and also help her better come across as the strong person I intended her to be.

Also, I want to point out that vinegared rice sounds nasty and awful, but actually it's sushi rice, which was originally developed to keep for a long time and keep fish from spoiling. It's exactly the kind of thing Shenkuuvian sky-sailors would pack in their ships, so sky-pirates would have it on hand to feed to prisoners.

Annnnddd now I'm craving sushi. Of course.

Pharazon probably could actually do things with his magic breath if he tried. Of course, the problem here is that he's not really trying. Terra is usually an extremely patient person, but one of the few things that can really exasperate her is when people are lazy and irresponsible. She's been repeatedly trying to solicit Pharazon's help, practically holding his hand and walking him through assisting in their escape, but he's just refused to do anything but cower and despair. I think, though, that it makes it that much more meaningful when Terra bargains with Isengrim for Pharazon's safety, because as annoyed as she is with Pharazon, she refuses to act vindictively toward him.

I also had a lot of fun writing the Uni's Scottish brogue, because, SCOTLAND Y'ALL. Suhel has a Scottish accent, but it's more urban, while this guy has a thick rural accent from the highlands. I clearly like playing around with accents.

I greatly enjoyed doing lots of research for this story, because I wanted to make sure that I portrayed the Meridell region accurately, specifically the Werelupe Burrows and the surrounding settings. I played the Darkest Faerie PlayStation 2 game again, because it contains the most in-depth information about that setting, as well as a few fun details that helped me flesh out the story, like the animosity between the Werelupes and Illusen, and the graveyard with the mausoleums that ended up playing such a big part in the plot. I really enjoy stories where the author takes time to make the setting come to life--I think that's one of the reasons why I like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so much, because Tolkien pays such loving care to Middle-earth and paints such vivid images of his world that you really feel like it's a real place, and the world itself is just as important as the story that takes place in it. It's something I strive for in my own writing as well. I like crafting worlds.

I also had to do a lot of research on wolf body language, because I wanted to make sure I wrote the Werelupes accurately. In "Worth Fighting For", I actually accidentally gave them feline body language, which is different than that of canines. (I fixed it in the FFN revision, of course.) Comes with living with cats, I guess. :) (Of course, living with cats comes in handy when I'm writing Kougras like Lexora!)

Finally, a word on why Terra sympathizes with Isengrim. Someone mentioned that it seemed unlikely that Terra would sympathize and befriend someone who had given her and her family so much grief, but Terra is the kind of person who does not hold a grudge and who sees the bigger picture. She wants everybody to be happy, and she knows that people do bad things because they're hurting, and they need all the kindness they can get. Her compassion and ability to see and draw out the good in everyone is one of her biggest strengths, and especially with these edits I want to draw out and emphasize that idea, to make sure her character reads more clearly.

Of course, none of this would mean anything if Isengrim was not receptive to it, and one of the other things I want to make clearer is that, once he realizes the mistakes he's making, he wants to change and he does change. He's someone who was hurt in the past and responded to it poorly, but at his core he has a good heart. He just needed someone like Terra to have the courage, wisdom, and patience to help him overcome his weaknesses and lingering traumas. And once he's figured himself out, he more than compensates for the mistakes of his past by being a way hardcore hero, as well as a kind and fair ruler.

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