A Writing Meme – 5

The Writing Meme – Part 1
The Writing Meme – Part 2
The Writing Meme – Part 3
The Writing Meme – Part 4

23. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Oh, perfectly willing. In fact, I’ve just… Ah, but no. Spoilers. Mwahahaha.

24. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

Kim had an obese cat named Bud. He got old and died, because even wizard cats get old. If you’re following the Liminality Series, you’ll soon be introduced to Erin, who has a squad of buff men she calls her “entourage,” though they’re actually thralls, which is what you call it when a faerie keeps humans for pets.

There may be more miscellaneous pets in the future.

25. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favourite picture of him!

bashful_by_justleftofcenter13-d34dw92Well… I do. Just very, very poorly. I used to keep a file of sketches of my characters, until I realized my descriptions were more useful than my doodles, most of which looked like unidentified marsupials.

I like it a lot better when other people draw them for me.

Here’s Lenny, as envisioned by my dear friend Jennifer.

26. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

As in, are they significant to the plot? Eh, some. Morrigan, for instance, is not a conventionally pretty girl. She looks startlingly like her brother Sherlock in a wig and will, in a much later book (not a major spoiler) be arrested for posing as female for the purpose of felonious solicitation. Hard to make the charge stick, of course, after an undignified strip reveals that she is a bit female.

Most others work off certain archetypes, or common-sense extensions of their personal habits, genetics, etc. Lenny is nonthreatening: small, untidy, blond, but with unusually bright blue eyes. Daniel is severe and has an ascetic, angular appearance to match. Kim spends an awful lot of time sitting and reading, so she has thick, soft hips and thighs. She has the black hair and warm, dark complexion that comes from her mostly Indian ancestry. Jadwiga has the brown hair and eyes that are prevalent in Poland. Her scars prevent her from re-entering a society that largely frowns on extensive body modification, even though it wasn’t voluntary.

27. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

A few. In the small stuff, Daniel has such poor eyesight as to be non-functional without glasses. He can perceive large, blurry shapes, but wouldn’t be able to identify an object on a table three feet away, unless it was producing a distinctive sound or smell. With glasses, though, he can see just as well in the dark as in daylight.

Lenny suffered a brain infection as an infant and was totally deaf until his teens, except to the voices of ghosts and other dead beings. When he was fourteen, he began to regain some hearing and could perceive loud noises as a buzz. Becoming a vampire restored it completely, but left sensitivity and the inner-ear damage that prevents him from balancing. Other vampires would still consider him disabled, since the lack of balance means he can’t move superhumanly fast without hurting himself. Also, though not in the category of disabilities, I write him as non-neurotypical and asexual. A few readers have asked me if he’s on the autism spectrum, and while not precisely correct, it’s a useful analogy. His brain is designed for effective interaction with the dead, and as a result, interacting with the living is often difficult for him; likewise, his body is designed to facilitate moving spirits out of the world, not into it, so no sex drive.

Now you know.

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A Writing Meme – 4

The Writing Meme – Part 1
The Writing Meme – Part 2
The Writing Meme – Part 3

18. Favourite antagonist and why!

Signe, hands down. At least in Lost Knowledge, though I have a contender coming up in a future publication.

She’s not a primary antagonist, or anything. She’s not a bad guy, exactly, though she’s certainly awful. She just does a great job of poking at everybody’s insecurities, harassing them endlessly, and failing to put up with anybody’s rubbish.

19. Favourite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

It’s a duo: Lenny and Kim. Shadow of the Mountains was the first Lost Knowledge book I planned, and originally, it was supposed to be the only. Everything in Liminality was intended to be backstory, plotted but never written. But Kim and Lenny elbowed themselves into center stage, and I couldn’t say no when I realized that their story was really so much bigger than I had ever imagined.

20. What are your favourite character interactions to write?

I sort of already answered that without realizing that this was coming up, so I’ll go with a different answer.

Right now, I’m drafting The Van Helsing Legacy, and I am really digging the interactions between Meg and Chessie, the monster-hunting flatmates around whom the story revolves. Sort of without my consent, they acquired a bit of a buddy-cop vibe. You’ve got to admit that a bluestocking and a flapper chasing down vampires has a certain appeal.

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

Well… yes. Jeremiah’s got Cynthia, and Cynthia’s got Kim. Nobody’s got young children, though.

There’ll be more parent-child interaction in No Cage for a Crow, but it’s still mostly at a distance. Morrigan doesn’t get on well with her parents.

22. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

This is impossible. Everything I’m writing now has been percolating in the back of my head for ages. The Medium started brewing in 2005 or so, about the same time I began writing the atrocity that eventually became In the Shadow of the Mountains. The Morrigan Holmes series occurred to me when I was five. Yes, five. I’ve had The van Helsing Legacy rolling around in my head since the first time I saw a Hammer Dracula film, and I don’t even know when that was. I can’t possibly trace a story from inception to completion. The writing is variable. I was writing ItSotM for eight years before publication. The Medium brewed forever, but only took me a year to write, edit, and publish, probably precisely because so much thought had gone in beforehand. I drafted The Wailing in less than a month, but it’s short. There is no consistency in my time frames.

The Writing Meme  – Part 5

A Writing Meme – 1

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

To be honest, my favourite is usually whatever shiny new thing I happen to be working on currently, and my various projects are different enough that it’s a bit apples-to-oranges trying to compare them.

I love my Lost Knowledge world, because it’s flexible enough to incorporate almost any new folklore I come across, and I have fun working with monsters who are basically just screwed-up people.

I love dipping into the Victorian world of Sherlock Holmes in the Morrigan Holmes serial I’m working on. I love the contrast between the glittering upper classes, the stolid middle class, and the starving, tubercular masses upon whose backs the other two build their lives. It’s all very pretty, but only until you actually start paying attention.

I  love the classic horror world in which I’ll be playing with The Van Helsing Legacy, based in part on my deep and painstaking folklore research and in part on the old Hammer films. The post-war attitudes of absurdity and cynicism will be tough, but I welcome the challenge.

And there’s one more on the back burner that I won’t discuss too much too soon, except to say that it’s had me reading lots and lots of old gothic fiction, and I’m very excited.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

There are 832 documents in my combined “Character Profile” folders. It’s possible I have a problem.

I don’t have a real preference. There’s a roughly equal number of males and females in the work I’ve published so far. The Liminality Series follows two women and two men, all of whom are pivotal. Women are outnumbered in No Cage for a Crow, but it’s written from a female perspective. Women will far outnumber men in The Van Helsing Legacy (also written from a female perspective), as a result of the dent World War One made in Europe’s male population.

There certainly needs to be more female-driven literature. I may as well contribute.

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

I keep a list of names I like, with a connotation analysis and etymology, if I can find one. It’s sorted by gender and origin.

For real-world fictional places, I research trends in place-naming by time period and geography. For instance, a near-future project will take place partly at Blackeagles in Cumbria. There are no eagles in the area, “-eagles” being a corruption of “-eccles”, referring to a church. Blackeagles is named for the burnt-out ruin of a monastery outside the town.

For invented-world fictional places… Boggle.

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

The first I can remember was a ‘novel’ that spanned something like ten or fifteen black-and-white composition notebooks, begun in… second grade? Third? It was horrible. A girl named Sabrina got sucked into a magical world and was made their princess for no particular reason, and she was the best at magic and had beautiful eyes that changed colour and beautiful hair that changed colour and a magic ring that did I-forget-what, and there were unicorns, and I believe she was able to turn into one at will (though this was never a useful skill). It didn’t really have much of a plot.

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest?

Chronologically, Aaron Margolis, from In the Shadow of the Mountains, is youngest in Lost Knowledge, being fourteen when the story starts. He’s recently been beaten out by Snail, of No Cage for a Crow, who is nine.

Oldest is tough, since I have a few who have technically existed since the beginning of the universe. But I guess they only halfway qualify as characters, so I’ll have to go with Signe the Swarm, first introduced in The Wailing. She’s forgotten how old she is, but the prevailing opinion in the wizard community is that she’s old enough it’s possible she was never human at all.

I came across this interview on DeviantART and couldn’t trace it down to an original post. If you know where this originally came from, please let me know so I can give appropriate credit.

The Writing Meme – Part 2
The Writing Meme – Part 3
The Writing Meme – Part 4
The Writing Meme – Part 5

Tuesday Teaser #33

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

No Cage for a Crow

Our intrepid heroine15307316

Tuesday Teaser #32

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

No Cage for a Crow

morrigan holmes no cage for a crow

Wha-hey!

Tuesday Teaser #29

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

No Cage for a Crow

In the box, half-buried in a bed of clotted, discoloured salt, lay the severed head of a bird, a grisly, eyeless thing as long as my forearm. An albatross.

Tuesday Teaser #23

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

No Cage for a Crow

I was surrounded by voices. They told me to hold on. They told me to give up. I had things to do, things I needed to fix. My life was worthless, a progression of failures culminating in this.

Live.

Die.

Something seems to be available for preorder.

No Cage for A CrownarrowI would like, if I may, to draw your attention to this fascinating little gem. A serialized young adult suspense?

“But who is this author?” you ask. “Graham, I didn’t know you collaborated.”

Funny story, that. You can find out all about it on 3 September.

In the mean time, click the cover to preorder Part 1!

Tuesday Teaser #22

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

No Cage for a Crow

‘It’s a bad time,’ he said. ‘I can’t tell you what to do, Morrigan. That’s all your decision. But it would be a very bad time to die. Hurry up, though, one way or the other. Time’s wasting.’

Tuesday Teaser #18

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

No Cage for a Crow

I had, also, some foggy and half-formed idea, no doubt drawn from the works of Mr Dickens, that life on London’s streets, for a capable young person of strong constitution, at least in the short term, would be more adventure than misery.