Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Names

Ooh la la! Es Hannah, in accordance with prophecy.

(Don't bother making sense of the preceding sentence.)

Hey! One of fellow blogging acquaintances just announced a two-week hiatus. What a coincidence! We just had one of those! Unplanned and unannounced though it was. And completely my fault, really. It was my turn to post, and I just went, "Huh." And then chronic procrastination and so on.... So I'm going to pick up the slack again. Sorry.

As always, I am having trouble picking a subject for a post. Trinity has been doing a lot of writing posts lately. But I can't make myself post my stuff because two reasons:

1) It's not very good.
2) I have a morbid fear of releasing a single secret about what's going to happen in my books.

So what on earth do I do if I don't post some of my work, some of my writing, on this writing blog...

I will find out.

Today I'll say something about a subject I've been considering. Names. Specifically, the names or titles of books.

In fiction, names have a lot of power. Just read the Inheritance Cycle, that's got names written all over and up and down it. At one point I started reading a series (I think it was Animorphs), and they mentioned a lot about powerful names. And I know that names are important on books. It's one of the first things that you register when you look at the book, along with whatever picture is on the cover. It's what you refer to the book by ("...hey, I just finished reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, it was awesome..."). It's one of the most important things about a book, for a writer.
And please tell me how everyone out there chooses a title for their books. I am going bonkers. And a bonkers me is not a rational or sensible person.

Looking at names of popular books (popular fiction books, I should say), I'm trying to find a trend. A few noticable characteristics are that the name is intriguing, that it's to the point, and that it doesn't give anything away. Usually. It makes you curious: "Where is Gorlan, and what are these Ruins?" It doesn't go on and on, like this: "Hey, have you read The Really Big Battle At The End Of A Super Exciting Book Where There's This Guy That Meets A Girl Who Fakes Her Death So Please Read This Book? It's really interesting." And you can't go: "Ooh, here's a cool book. The name is Trouble... I bet at the end they all die, except for the main character, who ends up loses his left elbow in a street fight with the gangster that killed his grandmother on his father's side, the one who raised him from a child and was actually a nurse during World War II. Huh."
Here's a list of trends I noticed:

1. A description of a person. A dramatized name for the main character, or one of the main characters. It could be used as their title in battle, like, "Look, it's The Chosen One!" for Harry Potter, or "Beware, The Thunderer," for Thor. These are everywhere. Just look at some of your favorite books, or the favorite books of a sibling.
For example:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Queen Of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Oh, and as you may have noticed, most or all of these titles start with the word the. It seems to be mandatory. But it must still work (all of these books are best-sellers, aren't they?).

2. An object in the book. Maybe it's the one object the main character is questing for, like the Sorcerer's or Philosopher's Stone. or maybe it just shows up, like the Silver Chair.
The Goblet Of Fire by J. K. Rowling
The Mark Of Athena by Rick Riordan
The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
The Candlestone by Bryan Davis
Hey, these names start with "the" too!

3. An organization. A bunch of people or a secret society. Slightly less common, but still out there.
The Fellowship Of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Order Of The Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

4. An event. The Big Party, The Happy Moment, The Time Of Awesome... you know.
The Battle Of The Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
The Return Of The King by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
The Siege Of Macindaw by John Flanagan
The Darkest Moment by Erin Hunter
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

5. A place.  An important location. Most of the book probably depends on this very place!
Isle Of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson
The Chamber Of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Icebound Land by John Flanagan
Forest Of Secrets by Erin Hunter
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

6. A short word. Brief but vague. Probably a name or a description. This has been used a lot in recent movies released, like Brave and Tangled and Oblivion.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Outcast by Erin Hunter
Magyk by Angie Sage

7. A vague term. Maybe something that a character said, like Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Dragon's Breath by E. D. Baker
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Venom and Song by Christopher Hopper and Wayne Thomas Batson
Circles Of Seven by Bryan Davis

And second only to the book title in importance (or maybe it surpasses it) is the main character's name! Like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Leven Thumps, and Artemis Fowl. Maybe that's why there are so many "This Person and...", like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Everyone knows the name of the main character. It's probably an easy to remember name - Harry Potter. Like Paul Bunyan. To the point. If it were something like Xavier Beauregard... you know, it'd be harder to say Xavier Beauregard and The Chamber Of Secrets. We'd call them something like: The Wizard Kid series, The Irish Genius Chronicles, and The Adventures of the Demigod Dude.

I like making lists. They make everything so orderly! But mostly I only do it when writing, because if I didn't have a sense of organization, my head would explode.

So that's the end of my random thoughts on the matter. It's hard to keep up with Trinity's more exciting posts about.... them. But we will try to start posting more regularly. Adios, amigos!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Changelings - Part Two

I got two comments on part one! *happy dance* Anyway, here's part two! It's a little longer, and parts of it are a touch stilted because I was trying to dash this off in fifteen minutes, continue the story, as well as explain how things worked a little bit. Oh, and you'll find out who "they" are...! Hehehe... Next time.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Part Two <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Gregg ran as fast as he could, subtly trying to shake off the snow that clung to his fur with every leap. It slowed him down a little, and he wished he could stop, but he couldn’t quite suppress the urge or his distaste. The snow kept falling hard and fast, so he tried to keep his path through the forest, where it was slightly more sheltered.

After a half an hour, even his lithe cat muscles burned with the effort. Using his momentum, he jumped up the trunk of a nearby tree and perched on a branch, sides heaving. He was so thirsty, he licked at the snow on the branch next to him. After a few minutes, he carefully descended and began to trot onward, then broke into a lope. Two more rests later, he finally saw his destination. From the outside it looked like a large, simple castle. It had several stories, and more doors than he had ever been able to count. Putting on a burst of speed, he skidding into the large open archway, his claws scrabbling on the polished wooden floor. It didn’t help that it was wet from all the melted snow the other inhabitants had tracked in. Losing control, he spun around and slammed into the stone wall.

Someone snickered at his antics. “A little slick, eh?”

Gregg looked up and grinned weakly at the man standing above him. “Someone needs to mop up in here.”

The man shrugged. “There’s a lot of dogs coming through today. If we cleaned up it’d be wet again in just a few minutes.” 

As if to prove his point, a mid-sized wolf came bounding in, spun around once on the floor, then shook itself mightily, spraying half melted snow everywhere. Gregg stood and felt his fur stand on end. The wolf cocked it’s head then smiled, well, wolfishly.

“Back already, Gregg?” It asked in a strong female voice. “That didn’t take long.”

Gregg’s bushy tail whipped back and forth, but he forced himself to answer calmly, “Hello Sabine. I need to speak with Oren.”

The wolf closed her green eyes and stretched upward to become a human woman. She wore a simple brown tunic and leggings, just like the man. “You heard something?”

Gregg slowly relaxed, his tail drooping tiredly. “Yes, but I have to tell Oren first. Do you know where he is?”

Sabine shook her head, her shaggy dark hair showing evidence of her last change. “No, I haven’t seen him. Kart?”

The man, Kart, shrugged again. He had beady eyes, and a pointed nose. “No. I imagine he’s up in the powders room, though. He’s been spending a lot of time there.”

“Well, hurry and change then, Gregg, and we’ll go find him.” Sabine said.

Gregg nodded and closed his eyes. Nothing happened for a long moment, then finally, his paws spread slightly, the toes elongating, his back legs got a little longer, his knees getting a bit bigger and a bit knobblier, and his ears began to tilt backwards, starting to melt back into his head. And there it stopped.

Kart snickered once more. “Out of energy, eh?”

Gregg nodded weakly, his misshapen limbs shaking. Sabine sympathetically scooped him up and carried him out of the room, bumping into Kart roughly on the way out.

“He can’t help it yet, you know.” She explained to Gregg as they walked through the warm stone hallways. “He’s just started changing and the best he can do is a rat. They’re not very pleasant, and it carries over.”

“I like rats.” Gregg mumbled sleepily, thinking about how good a rat would taste right about now. Sabine was stroking his still furry back and that combined with the warmth of the castle was lulling him to sleep.

By the time they reached the powders room, Gregg was fast asleep. Sabine set him down on a cushioned chair. On one side of the room there was a fireplace that crackled merrily, and it front of it, a large rug with five cats, two dogs, and three snakes napped in it’s warmth. To her left was a small kitchen. On the wall to her right, there were several hundred round containers protruding straight outward, filled with multi colored powders and minerals. Each was labeled in neat writing, and Sabine browsed them contentedly, waiting for Oren. A few minutes later, he appeared. He hair had a silvery sheen to it, the only thing showing his age besides his smile creases. He glanced at Gregg.

“Oh, dear. A half change?”

Sabine nodded. “He was really tired. I think he was travelling all night last night.”

“Easily remedied.” Oren smiled. He swept over to the wall of powders and waved his hand in front of them indecisively, finally pointing at a container with a vibrant blue gritty powder in it. Drawing a selection of measuring utensils from his belt, he took a scoop of it and brushed past her into the kitchen, mixing the powder with a small bowl of milk. Sabine made a face as the blue milk, but took it to Gregg as Oren instructed.
Scratching him behind his stubby, half-human ears, she said, “Gregg…! Wake up. Oren made you something.” 

Gregg roused himself and stretched awkwardly, his limbs not working quite properly. Sabine set him on the floor and he lapped at the milk. A few seconds later, his change had completed and he was completely human again. Nevertheless, he drained the last of the mixture, then grinned at Sabine. His hair was blonde, silky and short. His eyes were ever so slightly slanted, and when he stood, his balance was perfect. 


Okay, okay. "They" are what people call- Huh? Dinner time? Whoops, sorry ya'll, gotta go!

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Faces Or The Lack Thereof

I've seen your face, on stained glass, in colored lights, in pictures of you looking to the sky. You've been portrayed a thousand different ways, but my heart can see you better than my eyes, 'cause it's love that paints a portrait of your life.
- The Face Of Love, Sanctus Real

Hannah, at your service.

How hard is it to find the perfect picture that is your character?
Really. Blasted. Hard.
Trinity and I agree on this point. It's almost like Characters Gone Rogue. But in your head. You have this vague feeling that tells you how they're supposed to look. You probably have a factual-worded-out description for your book. But you can't really see them in your head precisely, if you're like me. I read some sort of psychological thing that said your subconscious can't conjure up a face. When you dream up someone you've never met, you had to have seen the person's face at least once, even for just a second. Is it the same with a writer's imagination? But if it is, shouldn't there be someone in the world who looks like your character, precisely and to a T?

Apparently not.

Really, I've looked all over.

I don't know when I decided I wanted to find pictures for my characters. Trinity got on Pinterest a few years back and started a board of Aouthentica characters. I wasn't allowed a Facebook or Pinterest account at that point, so instead I did the second best thing and began sketching fictional faces. It became something of an obsession. My sketchbooks used to be full of random meandering scribbles. Now there's hardly a page that isn't related in some way to the world of Eyra. But I'm not as skilled as I would sometimes like to think, and so I haven't quite gotten it right.

Then Pinterest. (Oh, the weight of those two words - Pinterest, the inescapable pit of pictures.)
So far I have managed to keep my Story boards (heh, Story boards, storyboards) at a minimum of around seven. Some are related to NaNoWriMo and Orphna's Tale instead of Darby's Dragon and Eyra Chronicles, and at least two are "possibility" boards. Then there's general writing stuff, and A Quill In Her Quiver, and last of all a secret board to put all the down-low story stuff on. Like.... and also.... then there's.... yeah, that sort of stuff.

But with all of the millions of pictures and links and photos and screenshots on Pinterest, between photoshoots and art, you'd think there would be one acceptable correct picture for each character. BUT NO.

So far I've gotten about two YESTHATSTHEM-OHMYCHEESEPUFFS pictures. Then there's a few "Well, I guess that could be them. It kind of fits." And there's some "That kind of reminds me of him/her."

I mentioned earlier in this post, if I find a good picture of Armen, I will explode several times and then post it. Maybe that's why I've become desperate enough to put out a warrant for a picture of him. So far I have decided that he looks like a strange mix of Mykel Hawke, Ben Barnes, Gaspard Ulliel, Richard Armitage, Grant Imahara, and basically any Asian guy. Plus he wears "impeccable clothings", which, in medieval Elven times, means his wardrobe contains a mix of The Man In Black, Aragorn, Elrond, and a three-piece suit. And he seems to like olive green. Is there any confusion as to why I can't find a proper picture for him?

Have you any related problems? I sometimes wonder if everyone besides Trinity and myself can just brain-tweak their characters to fit a picture. That's only happened to me, subconsciously, once. Accidentally. It was the only available picture I had of the girl, and so my idea of her face kind of molded itself to the picture. Which is okay now, I guess.

I shall attempt to get more in order on my future posts. Yeah. That will happen. Ahem. Anyway.

To God be the glory,

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Changelings - Part One

I mentioned my changeling story before, back in December, but I didn't actually want to put anything up because it needed work, and I wanted to eventually rewrite it, but I don't think that's going to happen for a while, so I'm gonna go ahead and post it. There are eight parts, because it was a Creative Writing series I did.
Here goes: Part One of The Changelings (I think it needs a new name, but I'll get to that when I get to rewriting).


Kay ducked her head against the wind and sleet, fluffing her feathers to try and stay warm. It didn't work very well. Thankfully, it wasn't long before a large eagle landed next to her. At least, she was pretty sure it was an eagle; All she could actually seen was a great brown blob. She looked up to see the eagle's face, (it's white head feathers blended perfectly in the blizzard) and was nearly blown off her perch. 

“Whoops! Careful, there.” The eagle said in a deep voice, putting a wing around the little robin. “Wind a little much for you?”

Kay hunkered down next to him and nodded.

Though her beak was chattering, she said, “Oren said I’m supposed to tell you that “they” are migrating tonight.”

The eagle nodded, his naturally severe look deepening. “In that case, I don’t have much time. I have to go.”

“Now?” Kay chirped in distress. “I just got warm.”

The eagle chuckled. “It’s not my fault you’re so small. Why be a robin anyway?”

Kay shrugged. Or at least, did the closest thing to a birdy shrug, which can look a little odd, seeing as they have no shoulders. “I didn’t want to be noticed. I didn’t realize it was going to snow until I was in the air.”

“Well, change into something warmer before you go.” He ruffled his feathers impatiently, anxious to be off.

Kay’s beady eyes closed and she spread her little wings, leaning forward. Slowly, her feathers began to shorten and in a few moments, a very small greyish chipmunk stood in her place. The eagle looked away for a moment, resisting the urge to snap her up for a snack.

“I’ll be off then.” He said briskly. “You’ll be good getting home?”

Kay nodded. “Just fine. There’s hardly anyone out tonight. Fly safe, Gregg.”

With that, she scampered off, quickly disappearing in the snow. Gregg turned and leapt off his perch, intending to glide to the ground. Unfortunately, the wind was so strong, he actually had to fly towards the ground and landed with an undignified flump. He hurriedly got to his feet and leaned forward, wings spread, much as Kay had. His tail feathers gathered and lengthened, smoothing to become furry. After a moment, a cream colored tabby cat had taken his place. Fortunately, he was bigger than Kay, so he could change into bigger creatures, as long as they were all about the same size. Gregg shook himself, hating the feeling of the old wetness, and bounded across the snowy terrain, hoping he wouldn’t come across Kay, who would be nigh unto irresistible for a hunter like himself. Even more, he worried about the message she had delivered. If “they” really were migrating, what could possibly have caused it?


I know that was rather short, but the parts get longer, I promise. And more interesting. You even find out who "they" are. So, more to come soon!

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!