Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Mash Up – Teera + Onrey + Whittling

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This post features the following characters from my books:
Teera from Sisters, a Sorceress, Curses, and Songs
Onrey from The Bard’s Choice
Scenelette Type: Crossover (Click Here if confused)

Greetings, friends! Here is another of my Two Character Mash Ups (two characters and a random word from the dictionary.) This one features:
Teera x Onrey x “Whittle”


Overnight trips were always exciting for Teera. If the job was far enough away that they had to get lodgings for the night, that meant once they were done performing, she had a few hours to wander the streets of a new city.

It was a hobby she indulged in alone. Emilin liked cities because that was where the wealthier clients lived, but the subtle differences in culture, wares, architecture, or clothing held no fascination for her. For Teera, this was the best part of traveling.

She found her way to the market street, browsing tents and booths, sampling foods, running her fingers over fabrics – until she heard the scream. Or, maybe ‘scream’ was a poor way of describing it. It was more of a yelp, a muffled grunt, but whatever you wanted to call it, it sounded like someone nearby was in pain, and Teera went looking for them.

She searched a couple of shaded side street before she saw the boy crouched against a wall. He was curled up tightly, shoulders heaving with strained breaths. “Excuse me?” Teera called to him. “Is everything okay?”

He whipped around to look at her. She guessed from his tattered clothes that he was probably homeless. And right now, those clothes had blood on them. At first, she thought it was a stomach wound, but then she saw that he was just using that area of the shirt to staunch the bleeding from his hand.

She took a step forward, and he instinctively flinched back. “Stay away,” he warned, fumbling for a small knife and pointing it at her.

The boy was maybe ten, but Teera didn’t doubt that he would win against her in physical combat. Fortunately, that wasn’t what she was here for. “It’s okay,” she said. “I just want to help. I can take you to a doctor—”

He shook his head. “No doctors.”

“They’re nice people,” Teera said.

“They’re expensive people,” he countered, and Teera couldn’t really argue with that.

“Maybe I can help you, then,” she offered. “My name’s Teera of Stormsdale. Who are you?”

“Onrey,” he replied, glaring at her. “Of ‘this alley.’ And I have it under control.” But even as he said it, he winced with pain and pressed the hand back against his shirt.

“Look, just stay here, okay? Just for a minute? I’ll be right back.” She ran back to the market and picked up some cloth remnants, a jar of water, and a small bit of alcohol. She also bought a couple of vegetable pasties, because the kid looked hungry.

She got back to the alley and at first thought Onrey had run away, but he was just hiding around the corner to make sure that she came back alone. She sat down, holding the supplies on her lap, and waited for him to come over. He ate the pasties with his free hand while she worked on the injured one.

“So, are you training to be a doctor or something?” Onrey guessed, wincing as she blotted the cut with alcohol so it wouldn’t get infected.

“Actually, I’m a musician,” she said. “But my mother taught me some basic stuff. I still think you ought to get this looked at by a real doctor.”

Onrey shook his head, mouth full. “It’s not that bad.”

And it actually wasn’t. It had looked much worse because of the blood. “How did it happen?” Teera asked, carefully winding the cloth bandage around his hand.

“Accident,” Onrey mumbled, sounding embarrassed. He held up the small knife he’d threatened her with earlier, along with small piece of wood. “I’m teaching myself how to whittle, and the knife slipped.”

“Sounds like a dangerous hobby,” Teera said.

Onrey shrugged off the warning. “I just thought maybe if I had a skill or something…” He didn’t finish the thought. He just put the knife and wood back in his pocket and started fishing for something else. “Thanks for wrapping the hand,” he said. “And the food. I don’t really have money, but—”

“Oh, you don’t have to give my anything,” Teera said quickly.

Undeterred, Onrey pulled out another piece of wood, though this one he’d obviously worked on for longer. He held it out to her on an open palm. “It was supposed to be a horse,” he explained. “See, that’s the head, and those are the legs?”

“Yes! It’s beautiful,” Teera said. It was rough, but she probably could have guessed what it was without him telling her. When he continued holding it insistently out to her, Teera took it, folding it carefully in her fingers. “Thank you, Onrey. I love it.”

“So, we’re even, right?” he said.

“Yes, totally even,” she agreed, and stood up. “I should be going. Here, take the rest of the fabric. You should change those bandages any time they get dirty, okay? And if it starts feeling hot or looking slimy, please go to a real doctor.” As she folded up the cloth scraps, she sneakily palmed a few extra coins into them. Onrey wouldn’t discover them until later, and thus wouldn’t be able to return them to her.

“Thanks,” he said again, putting the bandages in his pocket. He looked up at her like he felt like he ought to say more, but couldn’t think of the right words, so instead he just took off at a sprint. He darted around the corner and out of sight, and Teera went back to the market, keeping a tight hold on the toy horse as she walked.


If you’re curious about
Teera’s original story,
you can find it here.
And here is Onrey’s.

My Characters in Quarantine

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Greeting, friends!

I know most of us are practicing social distancing right now, or are in full-blown quarantine. (And I applaud you! Props for flattening the curve, and all that.) So I thought it would be fun to ask my characters what they would be doing if they were stuck in quarantine.


Willow, from A Book Without Dragons
“Getting caught up on reading! Reading some new books if I could get them, but if not then rereading the old ones is great, too.”


Ellsie from The World That Forgot How to Dance
“There’s actually a lot of exercises you can do from a small space that’ll make you a better dancer. Having a huge stage is fun, but spending some time really focusing on the basics never hurts.”


Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons
“I wouldn’t be at home. I’m an essential employee.”
[Hannah] – “Yeah, I know, but that’s not the point of the blog post. If you weren’t an essential employee—”
“But I am.”
[Hannah] *getting annoyed* “Riiiight, but if you had to be in quarantine…”
“…”
[Hannah] – …
“Essential employees don’t have to stay at home.”
[Hannah] – *sighs* “Never mind.”


Kaeya from The Bard’s Choice
“I’m sure I’d still have customers even if we were in quarantine. I deal mostly in stolen items, so my clientele isn’t overly concerned with breaking rules. I might have to meet with them outside of my normal shop. And I’d tell them to keep six feel away, of course.”


Denise from The World That Forgot How to Dance
“Well, classes are all online, right? So I’d just keep going to school. I’d miss having the library, but for the most part things would be okay.”


Teera from Sisters, a Sorceress, Curses, and Songs
“I’ve always wanted to give gardening a try. And if the quarantine goes longer than expected, we’d have a lot of vegetables.”


Emilin from Sisters, a Sorceress, Curses, and Songs
“Pft. Practicing, obviously. We could get a lot of new songs written.” *pause* “What do you mean Teera said gardening?”


 

I hope you are all staying safe and finding ways to keep yourselves entertained and in high spirits! (Also – I don’t condone Kaeya’s response. She’s a bit of a workaholic. Juuuuust take a break.)

Character Analysis: Jasper

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Jasper

This post features Jasper
from A Book Without Dragons
No Spoilers

Jasper has always been part of the plot, even when A Book Without Dragons was still a short story. While his functionality within the story went through a bunch of rewrites, his personality was pretty solid from the beginning.

From a plot standpoint, having him there allowed a good amount of the exposition to come out in dialog between him and Willow. Also, since the five main characters are all in unsteady places in their lives, Jasper served as a good offset to that. He loves his life, he’s happy with his job, he feels confidant in who he is. That kind of energy helps to bring awareness to what the others seem to be missing.

“I don’t think you’re the kind of guy to do anything rash. Let’s sort this out.”
“What are you, some kind of shrink?”
“I’m a crisis negotiator for the FBI,” Jasper said, and then shrugged. “It seems like you’re having a crisis.”

But from a more internal standpoint, it just made sense to me that Willow would need to be with a friend during the Unitime crisis. Willow’s always been the kind of person who really thrived on close relationships, even though he tends not to have many of them. Willow would probably claim that he prefers solitude so other people wouldn’t be endangered, but beneath all that, I know he’s profoundly grateful to have Jasper there with him.

I did struggle a bit with Jasper’s personal story arc and what sort of agency I wanted him to have within the story. In some of the earlier drafts he served an exclusively emotional purpose, and I knew pretty early on that I wanted more for him than that.

As I was outlining, I first started to feel like Jasper’s arc was working when I introduced the dynamic between him and Snowiks. Yes, he was still functioning in a primarily emotional context, but I just loved how much more dynamic Snowiks’s personal arc became once Jasper was involved.

Jasper dropped into a chair and looked around the room with a fond nostalgia that I almost couldn’t comprehend. If I’d actually gotten out of Chagrin Heights, as was always the plan, I would hate any reminders of where I started.

The way Jasper could come into a scene and guide it in the right direction was always fun for me to watch. It was effortless, really. And maybe that has something to do with how open and connected his is with other people. I always loved that about him.

So, once we’d established this extra connection with Snowiks, it became a lot easier to find other plot-positive things for Jasper to do. I was able to tap more into his skills as an FBI agent, and have him work either with or against Snowiks.

I particularly enjoyed playing with his training as a crisis negotiator. The scenes where we really get to see Jasper in his element were so much fun to write.

 

If you’re curious
about Jasper, you can
find the full book here.

Scenelette: Snowiks and the Post Office

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This post features Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons.
No Spoilers

Drabble Type: Canon (aka – Events that really happened to the characters)
Timeline: After the events of the book 

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Snowiks opened his e-mail with the daily sense of defeat. He didn’t know why he still checked it, really. It was considered antiquated. (People these days were using voice-snaps, which Snowiks refused to send simply because the name sounded stupid.) This time, though, his routine wasn’t for the sake of warming up the keyboard – he had a message.

And what’s more: the message was from the post office. Paper mail hadn’t been delivered for the past decade, but the establishment still existed. The e-mail concisely informed him that he had something waiting for him and could he please pick it up before next Thursday?

No need to wait that long. After his shift ended, he didn’t even swing by his home before heading towards the local post branch. (‘Local’ takes on the meaning of ‘a two hour drive’ when one lives in a town as small as Chagrin Heights.) Read the rest of this entry

Scenelette: Pumpkin Spice Day

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This post features Jasper and Snowiks from A Book Without Dragons.
No Spoilers

Drabble Type: Meta (aka – characters know they are characters)

~*~

Chief Snowiks saw a brief shadow on the door only moments before it swung open—Jasper, apparently, didn’t feel the need to knock.

He also didn’t feel obliged to ask Snowiks if he was busy. “Chief! It’s Pumpkin Spice Day! Where were you?”

Snowiks flipped over the top paper on the pile, though it was purely a reflex. Jasper technically had security clearance to look at anything that might pass over his desk. “I was right here,” he said. “And what is…?”

“Pumpkin Spice Day,” Jasper repeated, holding out a to-go cup of coffee as if that explained everything. Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: Samantha and Zen

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This post features the following characters:
Samantha from Waiting Room
Zen from Dove Without Wings (No More Heroes)
No Spoilers

First off, thank you muchly to everyone who voted in my previous post! (If you missed it, fear not. I’ll probably do it again because I had a good time with this!) 

So, the Drabble you picked for me was Zen + Samantha + a wine-tasting party. Which was a fun little challenge because Zen would never go to something like that unless being forced. I tried writing it from both points of view, but ultimately chose this one. I almost always write from inside Samantha’s head, so it was cool seeing what someone else thinks of her. (Even if that someone is Zen, who has very low emotionality compared to my other characters, but hey.)  Read the rest of this entry

Pre-writing Traditions

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When it comes to my writing process, I am a creature of tradition. And I’m not even talking about the actual writing process. I’m talking about before, in that strange limbo between when I say, “Okay, it’s writing time” and when I actually put words on the page.

These little rituals have evolved over time, but at the moment they include the following:

–                     Lighting three writing candles (yeah, those same ones I have at the bottom of every post…) Read the rest of this entry

Character Focus: Samantha

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This post features Samantha from Waiting Room
Warning: Spoilers!

Here’s another of my Character Surveys 🙂 (The first was Trevor’s a few weeks ago.) Samantha was just so much fun to work with. Even though I finished her story a long time ago, I end up thinking about her every time I go to the doctor’s, and I remember, “Aw, yeah… Samantha… You were weird and I miss you.”

SAMANTHA

 

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 27
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Dark Brown
  • Hair Style: Long, worn many different ways depending on her persona of the day
  • Body Type: Slightly taller than average, curvy
  • Favorite color: Burgundy
  • Typical Outfit: Haha… there definitely isn’t one…   

Read the rest of this entry

Character Focus: Trevor

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This post features Trevor from School Spirit
No spoilers

This is a technique I’ve been using for many years to help develop my characters. I created a survey of 100 questions, and randomly choose 20. Additionally there are the bullet point questions which everyone fills out. I give the survey to the character (Yes, my characters frequently get homework from me. And they can get over it and stop grumbling.) They fill out the survey, and then the dialog section gives my trusty alter-ego a chance to delve into whatever strikes her curiosity at the moment.

Feel free to ask your own questions in the comments, and I’d be happy to pass them along to Trevor 😉 Read the rest of this entry