Monday Character Conversations: Severna

Today for my Monday Character conversation, I thought I’d get some perspective from one of my most interesting background characters by far: Severna, daughter of Gregory, mistress of the dancing strings, crotch-whisperer (final two titles self-proclaimed). I take no responsibility for what occurs in this interview. If I needed an example of a character with a mind of its own, Sevie would be my first choice…

 

So, how are you today, Severna?

Oh, I’m doing wonderfully, author-lady.  Simply amazing. I had the most amazing party last night and….mm…so many wonderful people…so many delicious hormones… Oh, I could just die of excitement, and…and…

Exertion?

Oh, no. I have tons of stamina. I was looking for happiness, actually. Oh, do they make me happy when I heard them screaming me name… I’m referring to my music, of course. 😉

Mhm…care to introduce yourself?

Sure! My name’s Severna, and I am the sexiest woman in all of Hael! Well, I have the most sex, at least. Oh, how wonderful it is…I know I *should* just pick one person and stick with them for a bit, but sampling the field is just so much fun! I mean, if you have food placed in front of you, why wouldn’t you want to taste it all? That’s the way I feel about love. I wanna play the field while I’m young, and then settle down with someone once I start getting older. Anyway, I’m also a great musician! Everyone tells me that I sicg wonderfully…if you catch my drift. 😉

Okay… So, why don’t you tell us a bit about your music next?

Oh, it’s so much fun! After the First Strike five years ago, the civilians started gaining access to some of the culture and stuff of the surface, I absolutely fell in love with these two little beauties name Guitar and Violin. I learned to play a little bit from just playing around, as well as talking to a few…friends…from the army about what their music is like. Then, I found some others around my age who were intrigued by human music , and we just started hanging out and discussing our interests, and then we started writing songs, and began performing them and throwing these awesome parties and stuff in the process! Before we started partying, Hael was kind of boring. I mean, not as boring as the way humans live, but it still needed some spicing up. Our district did, at least…

How would you describe your style of music?

I don’t know. Music. I started off just speeding up some human music, like the waltzes or whatever that Aria likes, and then started trying to fit them to words. I also sometimes set some old Haelian songs to music, and maybe updated them a bit. We didn’t really have a lot of instruments before the Strike, so not all of our songs are exactly made for instrumentation, especially not to something as cool as my strings. I don’t really know how else to describe it.

(Side note: Severna is totally Hael’s first great folk singer. She looks like a rocker, but she totally plays folk music. I have said it, and thus it was made canon.)

And did people seem to like the new music?

Oh, of course they do! It was something new and interesting, and gave us something to do. Whenever I plan a party or to show off our new songs, we always fill up the storage house. We even get soldiers coming, and everyone knows how stuck up they can get…

So, what an average party like?

Well, we…I and the other musicians…go set up and warm up our instruments. Then people start to show up, and we start to play music. They dance, and we play, and sometimes, when people are a bit tired from dancing, they go into one of the smaller areas of the storage house and…well, I don’t think I need to say much more on that. 😉 But, we play for most of the night, and then we clean up and go home. Sometimes to our own home…sometimes to other homes…

And don’t you ever get in trouble?

No? It’s public storage. If nobody’s using the space, and nothing gets damaged, nobody really cares what we do it there. And, oh my, do we do so many things…

Okay…so, how did you meet Vaughn?

We grew up together! He was a combat brat, and my mama was a training instructor, so dad brought me up to the barracks all the time for that I could visit mom, but I didn’t like her that much, so I sometimes wandered off to find something fun to do. That’s when I met Vaughn. We were both still fairly young, so I think her was still on lackey duty back then. Anyway, we got to talking a bit, and we started playing together when he didn’t have any immediate duties to take care of. I started begging my dad to teach me how to fly early, so I could go talk to him more, and then when he started his actual training and had a bit more predictable spans of downtime, he started flying down to visit me, too. We became the best of friends, and I kind of also kinda wanted him to be my first. I never really told him, though, because I knew he needed to finish his training before he’d be allowed to take anyone to bed with him, so I kinda lost my chance, especially since Livia ended up scaring his shitless so he was terrified of sleeping with any sort of girl with a backbone. I’m happy for him and Aria, though! They’re perfect for each other.

Yes, they are. So, how do you feel about Aria as a person?

Oh, she’s the cutest thing ever! She just gets so flustered at everything, and she knows so little about demons and stuff, but she’s so smart and nice. I just wanna take her to bed with me and cuddle her like a little doll or something. I could see myself getting so caught up in how adorable she is that I might not even try to take her clothes off. I mean, not that she’d let me, anyway. She’s so pure or whatever, but it makes her even more adorable. [sighs] Oh, Vaughn, you lucky little pig. I would give anything to feel Aria’s warm breath beside me at night…or yours…or maybe both at the same time! [chuckles]

And how do you feel about them being together?

It’s the sweetest thing ever! I mean, I sometime wish they would loosen up a bit and let me have a little taste or two. But, I really don’t care. They love each other, and no one else. They don’t let anyone get in the way of them, and they never let any problem come between them for very long. They’re great together, and I would never want them to be any other way, because I know that they make each other happy. Sometimes, I kind of envy the level of commitment they have.

So, you don’t have anyone you feel committed to?

Well…I guess you could say I have a level of commitment to Ianthe. I mean, I’m obviously not monogamous for her, but she does make me feel a level of connection that I don’t really feel with anyone else. I’m not sure if I’m at liberty to say too much about her past or whatever, but when I found her, she was so sad, and hurt, and lost. She’s a really good friend, and she seems to really enjoy my company, as well… If I had to pick one person right now to stay with for the rest of my life, it would be Anthy. She puts up with my wandering eye, but she always comes to me when I just want someone to cuddle with and talk…and I’m always willing to go to her if she wants a bit extra fun.

That’s beautiful, Severna.

Thank you~! Not as beautiful as Anthy, though. She has the most interesting shade of olive skin, and her breasts are just so perky! I kind wish I had been born a guy, so I might be able to have children with her. Hm…I wonder if she’d be willing to sleep with someone nice just once, so we could maybe have a kid…

Anyway, Sevie, is there anything else you wish to add, or should we close down the conversation?

Hm…nope! Nothing else to say, have a wonderful evening, everyone~! 😉

See you later, Severna. 🙂

Monday Character Conversations: Aria

Hello again, everyone, and welcome to another Monday Character Conversation. Since we interviewed the main male of my novel last week, today we will be speaking with the main female, Aria.

 

Good morning, Aria.

Hello, ma’am. Good morning to you as well. Did you sleep well?

Yes, of course I did.

That is good to hear. I slept very well as well.

That’s good. Now, if you could please get down to business, Aria –

Oh! I’m very sorry if I obstructed you from what you wished to do!

No, it’s fine. If you would, please state you name, age, and anything else that is important for people to know about you.

Yes, of course. My name is Aria Prudence Beckett, and I am sixteen year of age. I have a younger sister, Melody, and formerly worked for the royal family of Estela as Princess Meira’s body double. That was before Vaughn kidnapped me, at which point I became his…um…his pet, I believe is the term her prefers me to use.  According to Haelian law, I am owned by his as a personal servant to clean his room, run errands, and… um… perform other duties… He does not force me to do the latter ones if I do not wish to, though! Vaughn is very kind to me. I do not want to make him seem otherwise!

Calm down, sweetie, we know. It’s alright. Now, why don’t you tell us about your job as a body double?

Oh…okay… Well, after my parents were killed in the Great Attacks of five years ago, I auditioned to replace the princess’s body double, as she had been thought to have been killed in the attacks as well. I suppose they pitied me or something of the sort, because I was auditioning in the hopes of putting Melody in better circumstances to grow up in in the process, so I was chosen to become Princess Meira’s body double. I was expected to put myself in the line of anything which threatened Princess Meira’s health or safety, so that she would survive until she was married. For the years that followed, until I was kidnapped, I became a sort of personal attendant for the princess, so that I would be by her side at all times, in case another attack would occur. We are in a war with the demons, after all, so there was no way to be sure that the castle would be completely safe at any given moment. I was allowed to leave the castle on my own, when the Princess was eating meals or occupied with business or her fiancé, Prince Arnald, so I also sometimes ran errands for other members of the castle staff. I was returning from such a shopping trip when Vaughn attempted to steal the Princess, but I was able to arrive at her bedroom before he did, and was kidnapped in her place. I sometimes miss Princess Meira, but I suppose it is better that I was taken, rather than her. Although I did end up fairly happy alongside Vaughn, some of the other things which I had to go through first were…um…not things which a princess should be forced to experience.

And, just out of curiosity, what would happened if you had failed in your duty, and Meira –

Princess Meira. You must be formal with the princess… even if she insisted of allowing me to refer to her by her given name…. She said she thought of us as friends, but I do not feel worthy of such things!

Yes, of course. What would have happened if you had failed to prevent Princess Meira from being kidnapped?

Oh, that would have been horrible! I would have been disgraced! Shamed! Perhaps…perhaps even executed! As her body double, I could not allow anything to happen to her! If she had been kidnapped in my place…or worse, if she had been killed! Oh, if that would have happened, I do not think I would have been able to live with myself! Even if I had not been killed for my failure, I imagine I would have wished myself dead. Oh, what a dreadful thing to even consider…

Yes, that would be horrible. I apologize for asking such a thing. Would you like to discuss your life with Vaughn?

Oh, yes! I would not mind speaking of that. I wake up, and then I go to the canteen to get Vaughn and my breakfast. Vaughn usually eat a chunk of meat, as demons cannot digest plant matter, and I eat a bowl of whitish mush that tastes somewhere between potatoes and cauliflower. Usually, the meat is raw, as the army does not see a point in cooking it when demons are capable of eating it raw, but they do cook it on special occasions. Then after I return to the room, I awaken Vaughn, and we eat breakfast. On most days, he has tactics meetings to attend, but if he does not, we usually talk about different things, or his friend Sarah sometimes visits.  Then, I usually tidy up the room a bit. After that, I usually go get dinner, which is usually the same as breakfast, except Vaughn’s meat is sometimes bigger, and the special cooked meat is more often served at dinner than breakfast. Then, we usually go to bed and talk, and perhaps cuddle for a bit until we go to sleep.

And you don’t do…other things with him?

Um…I’d prefer to keep the instances and frequency of my other duties private. A lady does not speak of matters of the bedchamber in polite company, Miss, and I do not know how many people will be privy to this conversation, so I must apologize for keeping such matters candid.

Yes, of course. But, if I may be so bold, how do you feel about your relationship with Vaughn, exactly? Both in terms of your statuses in the eyes of the other demons, as well as on a personal level?

Oh, I am very thankful to Vaughn for how kind he has been since he kidnapped me. We are very much infatuated with each other at this point, as far as I am concerned. Although, I do admit, I was a bit unhappy with him in the beginning, I have come to realize that everything he did was for my own benefit, in some way or another. Plus, he treats me much better than the other demons treat their pets. He is very gentle, and asks my permission before he…does certain things. He respects me, and treats me as if I actually have rights. Oh…I do hope he does not get into trouble again! I do so wish he would stop breaking rules for my sake…

I believe I already know the answer to this, but would you prefer the alternative? That he follows all the rules that pertain to you, and the way you are to be treated?

It’s okay, Aria. You don’t have to answer if you don’t w-

No, it is alright. I just needed to think for a moment. Yes, I do believe that I would prefer him to follow the rules…no matter what they may be. I do not wish for him to be punished because of me. He would still be the same Vaughn after all, so after he was done receiving from me that which I was expected to give, we would be able to go back to simply snuggling and talking about things…and he would comfort me and reassure me that he would have waited until I was ready, had he been given the choice. Furthermore, if he insists on breaking the rules, I would much rather take the punishment myself. Although the punishment given to me would most likely be much worse than that which is usually given to him… [sighs] I would rather take on punishment for my own actions than force it upon Vaughn. I could very easily pretend to be willing, to avoid punishment in the first place, but no. I must be so frightened and jittery, so it is my entire fault that he is being punished…

It’s okay, sweetie. It is a noble idea, but Vaughn is willingly taking the punishment specifically because he does not want you getting hurt.

I know. But that does not make me feel any less guilty. Vaughn has shown so much love to me, and I turn around had get him into trouble, because of my petty human modesties. I am a horrible slave, Miss.

You may be, but you are a wonderful girl, and should not allow anyone to tell you otherwise. You are beautiful, and smart, and brave when you wish to be, and you make Vaughn very happy. I should know; I’m your author.

Yes, I know… Thank you, Miss.

No problem at all. Now, would you like to say anything before I end the post?

No, I believe I have said plenty. I thank you for interviewing me, and I hope I was not too much of a bother.

Not at all, you were perfect, as always. J

 

Thank you for reading this interview. Although she was frightened a bit, I believe Aria very much enjoyed being given the opportunity to speak to you all. I hope you have enjoyed it, and I will see you again next post.

Never Going To Happen (A discussion of my first kill)

If you know anything about my friend Sabrina and I, you know that we’re never going to have a normal conversation. Ever. When you put two weird people together on Skype, add in some crazy ideas, and some characters with personalities ranging from Victorian and medieval sensibilities to the moral compass as your average high school party girl, there’s a very low possibility of anything normal lasting for very long.

Another thing that’s not going to happen is going to be killing someone. Obviously, this is a good thing when talking about real life. Not only is it illegal in most situations, but I’m terrified of the dead. Not death, just the dead. If there is a corpse, human or animal, lying in front of me without moving or breathing, I’m going to start screaming and trying to get away by any means necessary. Unfortunately, my inability to kill also applies to fictional characters.  I have too much of a conscience and a deep connection with all my characters. So, unlike certain people who often kill someone in the first chapter (Sabrina), I can’t bring myself to kill off anyone of even partial importance, unless  they’re coming back in some way or another. If the deaths I have planned, one is resurrected by magic, one is reincarnated, and one occurs in the last line of the last page of the last book, so I believe barely counts. If anyone else dies in any of my stories, they will probably be minor characters who are either mentioned once and disappear, or their mention is the fact they are dead.

So, when I thought I had experience my first kill yesterday, I was overjoyed. Obviously, it was not part of a story (unfortunately, she has the potential to be important again). I was on Skype with Sabrina, and out characters were fooling around as usual, when Sokola started asking if she could meet a character named Livia, and yell at her for “being mean to Vaughn.” If you read my interview with Vaughn on Monday, you might remember that Livia is Vaughn’s ex-lover. She is an evil, heartless bitch by creation, and as I learned while writing her first and thus far only personal appearance in my novel the other day, she can become downright psychotic when the right buttons are pushed. We (at least, my characters and I “we”) were all a bit nervous about letting sweet, (somewhat) innocent Sokola meet her, but she she did come, with the precautions of having three adult male characters looking after Sokola, and not letting Livia carry her weapon on her person.

Everything started out pretty much as expected. Livia insulted Vaughn and talked about what a weak traitor she thought him, Sokola started yelling at her, and everyone else just sat back waited to see that would happen. That was about the time that Livia decided to grab Sokola by her extremely curly little head of hair and give her a lecture on respect to her superiors. Vaughn issued a couple of warnings for Livia to release Sokola, but it was finally Mordecai, using a spell that caused Livia’s hand to burn, that caused Sokola’s hair to be freed. That didn’t stop her from going back to insults and rude comments, so for a bit of fun, Mordecai turned her into a pig. Because Sokola loves pigs, and he thought she would enjoy playing with one, while Livia learned a bit of a lesson in listening to undead men with magic. After that, Mordecai passed out, and the wheels in Sokola and Vaughn’s minds started to turn, their idea of fun turning to gorier things than any of us probably expected.

While chasing the bitey little woman-turned-hog around the Box, Sokola asked a simple question: What happens when you drop a piggy from wayyyyy high up? Vaughn answered simply that it would probably splat…and then offered to make piggy splatter art with his ex.  When Sokola expressed that she would enjoy such a thing, the two winged characters grabbed the pig and flew up to the ceiling of the room and prepared for their crime. As the authors, Sabrina and I could have stopped them, but she’s a fictional character, so why should it matter? Gideon (Mordecai’s younger brother) could have easily stopped us, either verbally or by reversing the spell, but after an attempt to flirt with the scantily clad demon scared the womanizer a bit, he was not too eager to get near her. All the other characters were out of the room, so Vaughn let go, and the piggy hit the floor. Then, Vaughn and Sokola started planning a ham dinner (because it’s not cannibalism if she’s not a demon when she died, right?). I’m really scared of the way our minds work sometimes.

Before I continue, with the story, I wish to say that I was totally fine with this turn of events. She was a fictional character, and a character I totally hated on top of that. Killing her for fun over Skype would not affect my story at all, as I’m not even sure if she will show up again, and even if she did, it isn’t as if murdering her over a chat is going to make it impossible to resurrect her for a page or two when I’m writing. After seeing her making two marginally helpless young females miserable fairly close together, I was actually eager to see her suffer. I was happy about her piggy death. I’m actually tempted to make an offhanded reference to Livia being in a freak accident in which her wings cramp up, sending her falling over the cliff that her barracks are built on, just to make it canon and give her what’s coming to her.

When Mordecai finally woke up, however, he did not share my pleasure. He got the horrific surprise of finding the body of the former demon still in the middle of the floor.  As he was asleep, and could not have had any idea of what his feathered friends were going to do, so I tried to reassure him that he had nothing to do with Livia’s death. He was still upset, though, so I made the offer to bring her back on the claim she was injured and unconscious, but alive, to ease his mind. He left it up to me to decide, though, so I poofed Livia off to an infirmary that I don’t even think actually exists in her universe, and began setting off to make my decision.

So, is Livia a dead pig? No idea. After I got rid of her still-swine-shaped body, I put her out of my mind, not giving two bits about her fate. To give Morty peace of mind, I said she would wake up with broken limbs eventually, and gave Vaughn a ham to cook (or, as it would have it, for him to leave in a fire hole to cool, and Aria to scurry off to watch it). As I use her more over Skype than I have in the current draft of my novel (she did have a more important role in the first draft, but as the plot and how the characters affect it changed, she was relegated to background character, though it came with a promotion from the Haelian army), I really didn’t particularly care either way. As Sabrina added a character in her own novel that she describes as “Livia Lite” “Diet Livia” and “Livia Jr.” today, we joke that Livia died and was reincarnated as the miniature psycho who just began to appear. But, for the time being, Livia herself will just be floating between life and death until I need her again. Or, until I decide her death was deserved, and decide to cramp up her wings just a bit while she’s running errands. [cue evil face]

 

So, discuss if you will: do kills still count if they come back, whether it be through resurrection, reincarnation, or zombiism? Does it count if it happens just between you and your friends, and isn’t canon (yet)? How important do characters have to be before their deaths count for your kill count? Have you had your first kill, and if so, what was it and how did it feel? Also…want a bite of ham?

Monday Character Interview: Vaughn

Starting today, I hope to begin a weekly thing in which I will interview one of the characters from a current project (although, I use the term ‘current’ loosely, as it might mean a story or series that is still in the works, but not being worked on that very moment, or a story that I’m planning but haven’t started yet.) This will hopefully go on until I either run out of characters for the time being, or until I participate in blogging from A to Z in April, and I will try to start it back up again as soon as possible. Now, may I present our first guest for my Monday Character Interviews: Vaughn

 

Good morning, Vaughn. How’d you sleep?

 Okay, I guess? Why?

Just thought I’d ask. So, would you care to introduce yourself to the good people? Give them your name, age, race, what have you?

I guess so. I don’t really have much of a choice, do I?

Anyway, I’m Vaughn. Demons don’t really bother with last names, but I guess my full name would be “Vaughn, son of no one.” I’m 27, and as I mentioned before, a demon. I’m a private in the Haelian military, and I’m also Aria’s…I’m her…

Her what, Vaughn? You don’t need to come up with some fancy name for it, we’re not going to judge you. Just tell the people what you are to her, and we can move on to the next question.

[sighs] I’m her master, alright? I own her. Since humans don’t really get many rights or respect in Hael, I had to make her my pet officially, or she would have ended up with someone horrible. I don’t like being called master, and I don’t like calling her my pet or my slave. She’s just Aria to me. I could never think of hurting her the way some other demons hurt their pets. It’s a disgusting practice, and if I had any power, I’d end it right then and there.

It’s okay, Vaughn. I can see you really love her. Why is that?

Why do I need a reason?

Because you’re a fictional character, Vaughn. You’re required to have a reason for the color socks you wear, not that you actually wear any. Now, what is it about Aria that really catches your fancy?

I don’t know. She’s beautiful, for one thing, even if she doesn’t want to admit it. And she’s sweet, too. She never hesitates ask if I want her to do anything, and will do anything I ask, or that she thinks that I want, fairly quickly, even if I insist that I’ll do it myself. She takes her role as my…her position very seriously, though I can’t tell whether it is because she wants to make me happy or because she’s afraid of what will happen to her if anyone finds out I let her slack off. I’d like to hope it’s the first one, but I know that it’s probably at least partially the second one.

I’m fairly sure it’s a mixture of both. Galan is scary, and I don’t blame her for fearing reassignment, but I’m almost certain that she loves you very much as well. I’ve seen how much she enjoys being close to you, and how happy she is when you smile and compliment her or something she’s done.

Good. I’d never forgive myself if everything she did was just out of fear. Some things even more than others..

Okay. Now, just out of curiosity, is there anything you don’t like about her?

Why would I dislike anything about her? Wait, don’t answer that. I know you’re just going to go into some writer-y mumbo jumbo about character development and whatever. If I had to say something, I’d probably say it’s her lack of backbone. When she feels threatened or is in danger, or even if she’s just getting hit on by someone else, she just starts to stutter, and her eyes bug out, and she just sort of stands there until I come to help. It’s a damn lucky thing she hasn’t gotten hurt yet. I mean, I know that she can protect herself when she really needs to. She’s fairly good at finding any and every reason that someone should not continue with whatever their doing, when she’s in a bind and has no choice but to stall for time, and when she gets angry, she’s really a force to be reckoned with. I’ve never seen her more forceful than when she gets mad, and I’m grateful to Miceli that she doesn’t turn that anger toward me too often. I just wish it would come out once in a while around other people.

Okay. So, even if you don’t feel comfortable exactly being “dominant” of her, you have to admit that you are the dominant one in the relationship, given your personalities and your roles in your society. Any particular reason for that?

I think it’s pretty obvious why I’m the “dominant” one, idiot. I mean, for one thing, I kind of own her, remember? Kind of hard not to be dominant there. And she’s also so quiet and subservient. I’m a bit of a loudmouth by nature, and I don’t let people push either of us around, Plus, if I didn’t protect her, then who would? I don’t exactly have a choice but to be dominant.

But is there any other reason, like why you fell in love with a human, who you knew you would have to exert authority over to some extent, rather than a female soldier, or at least another demon?

Perhaps a certain reason that starts with and “L”?

Fine. I guess Livia is part of the reason, too. She picked me up when I was just new, fresh out of training, and she gave me exactly what I had wanted since I first started learning about the various privileges soldiers got, once they graduated from training. Then, after a few months, she turned, and became this monster. I was only 17, and I was frightened by this older soldier, this woman, who draped her authority over me and hurt me, literally hurt me, in her quest to fill that role of being in a role of dominance. After I got away from her, I never wanted to risk being ordered around and threatened in the bedroom, in addition to the way I was controlled out in battle by my superiors. I guess, on some level, the fact that I knew I would be the one in control was part of why I was attracted to Aria. But I would never do to her what Livia did to me. Unlike that bitch, I actually love Aria. I respect her, and have learned what it feel like to be on the other side of the whip, so to speak.

Okay. Since this is a bit of a sore subject for you, I’m going to ask you a bit of a happier question. Would you please describe your friends for me?

Well, there’s Severna, for one thing. We’ve been friends since we were about eight or nine, I think? I know we were young, because her dad still had to carry her, since civilian kids don’t learn to fly as early as kids of the army. She’s nice I guess. She’s always been pretty outgoing, always wanting to have some sort of adventure or try out new things. She’s also a damn good musician, even if she only really plays during those dance parties she and her friends are always throwing. I can’t say I agree with all the choices she’s made since we got older, but I guess her heart’s in the right place, and it definitely makes her happy. I just wish she’d keep her hands off Aria. It kind of makes Aria uncomfortable, the way she’s always hanging all over her and flirting.

Then there’s Sarah. She’s a sweet kid. I can tell she’s going to grow up to be a great soldier, if not a great rebel. She does need to learn to watch what she says and to who she says them sometimes, but otherwise she’s a great girl to talk to. I can really tell why Aria’s so eager to visit her when I’m at combat exercises or off doing an attack. I kind of feel like we’re kind of the same, in some ways, since we’re both orphans in a way, and her thoughts are also kind of similar to mine at her age. I guess I feel responsible for making sure she grows up right and doesn’t get hurt, since her parents aren’t around to watch over her, and I know for a fact the army isn’t going to be any help in raising her correctly.

You said that you’re both orphans in a way, and earlier you said you were “son of no one.” Care to elaborate a bit?

I guess so… [sighs] Sarah’s mom died in childbirth, and her dad was killed during and an attack on the humans. So, she’s a legit orphan. I, on the other hand, was a service baby. Most likely, I was some unplanned kind that my parents didn’t have the patience or means to take care of, or maybe my parents had some falling out and neither of them wanted to raise me on their own, so rather than letting me have a miserable life as an unwanted child, they gave me an even more miserable one by abandoning me to the army to raise and place in their ranks when I got older. I have no idea who my parents are, and probably wouldn’t be able to find out if I tried. So, I just accepted it and went back to doing my duties. I still would have preferred to just be raised on the streets, though. At least then I wouldn’t have to be in the fucking army.

But then you wouldn’t have met Aria, either.

Exactly. If I hadn’t been in that sham of a military since the time I could walk, I wouldn’t have been part of the attacks on the humans. Then I wouldn’t have felt the need to try to kidnap a girl who I thought was a princess in order to try to convince my own superiors to try to respect the humans and reason with them civilly. If I hadn’t been in the army, Aria would probably be much happier, and she’d still be with with whoever it is she lived with before I interfered.

Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, you seem to really hate your army. Any particular reason?

Well, they start training kids to fight and kill people when they’re about seven, for one thing. And they think that, just because we hand wings and humans don’t we’re superior, even though I’ve seen that humans are just as good as us, and perhaps even better in quite a few categories. The food also sucks, because they’re too lazy to cook any real food. I mean, the could at least cook the meat more than once a year. Considering we have holed that are warm enough to give her burns, if you get too close to them, I’m sure it wouldn’t be that terribly difficult to dangle the meat over the hole for a while, at least so it isn’t raw. And the food they give the human pets is even worse. Aria can actually digest vegetables, and even she doesn’t know what on Assiel’s surface they use to make that mush. It’s completely white, and from what Aria tells me, lumpy and bland. Also, their generals and officers are douchebags, the rest of the soldiers are idiots, and while it’s cool they like us to “relieve our stress” or whatever, it’s definitely gone to a lot of soldier’s head. A lot of the guys see a female and think it’s their birthright to flirt with them. Maybe if they spent less time thinking about sex and more actually paying attention to what they were doing, they’d see what great beings the humans are. Or, at the very least, we’d be making more progress in trying to acquire land above ground.

Sounds great. Thanks for talking to me, Vaughn! Any last words before we end the interview?

Yeah, I’ve got a few: Sabrina, I’d totally want to be your friend, but stop being a creep, okay? That’s honestly the only reason I don’t like you. And stop calling me a moron or whatever. I’m a lot smarter than you give me credit for sometimes.

 

And with that, we will end this posting. I hope feel Vaughn has explained himself adequately, and I thank him for his cooperation. And before anyone asks, yes, he did need to cooperate for this to work. I mean honestly, you think I could have forced information out of him, just because he’s my character? Geez, it’s not like I control him or something!

Dos and Don’ts of Writing Regularly

(Or, How to kick start your creativity without really trying)

 

Being as the lovely Miss Sabrina and I are currently in the heat of a bit of friendly competition, via our region’s decision to do a year-long writing challenge, I thought I would share a few of the techniques which we have found that motivate us to write on a regular basis. After all, by learning to write regularly, you will also get into the practice of improving your writing, and it will become easier to write as well! First of all…

 

Do be sure to have fun!

I’m assuming that most people nowadays start writing because they enjoy it. It is when we begin to lose that enjoyment that our work begins to suffer, as we are only writing in order to get it done, rather than make something you can be proud of. If you need an example of this, dig up a writing assignment you did for school and look it over. Most likely, you wrote it with your grade in mind, and were not too enthusiastic about it. Now, would you ever think to put that assignment in the public eye, such as in a magazine or anthology? While it is possible that the pressure caused you to produce a hidden gem, a majority of school assignments become the types of things you just want to shove in a drawer and never look at again. Now, find something that you wrote jest because you wanted to, and the difference should be evident. Everything is better when your heart is in it!

 

Don’t be afraid to take a break once in a while

If you feel stuck, and have no idea where to turn, just take a step back for a little. Take a walk, read a book, watch some TV, or surf the web. Sometimes, just having the chance to relax a bit is all you need in order to clear your mind and have the absolute best idea ever! Now, if your writers block goes on for too long, or you’re participating in NaNoWriMo and are in serious need for words, sidetracking a bit while have a similar effect while still contributing to your word count. This past November, I spent about a few days writing out the theological beliefs of the humans and demons in my story, so that I would have a better understanding of why they do the things they do, and the way their versions of the same story might differ, based on the way it was passed down through their own generations. It also ensured that I would not contradict myself when I referenced their faiths. Sabrina, on the other hand, had another idea: she gave Mordecai a TARDIS, and wrote a short side story about his adventures coming to visit us, and then my characters in their own world. It was just a silly little thing, and didn’t really have any point other than entertaining us and just play around with Mordecai a little bit in a situation he would never face otherwise, but because it was written in a way that it could be included canonically, so it still counted for her words! Something else you could possibly try is writing ahead, so you know where you want to go, and just need to find how to get there. If gives you a goal to reach, and it will sometimes help you realize what elements you may have forgotten to include that will be important later on.

 

Do get your friends involved in your writing

This can be as simple as just telling them you’re a writer. By doing this, it will raise interest in them, so that they may begin to ask about how it’s going, which will in turn give you some accountability to produce results. In the case of Sabrina and I, we actually pester each other about out novels almost daily, as if our lives depended on the other getting their book published. Sabrina’s actually went as far as creating a sort of religion based around my novels, centered around the one truth of the world: Vaughn is a moron. Since the day she decided on this, the Church of the Speckled Ass has evolved, but she’s still always asking about the status of her “holy books.” I have not gone quite as far, but as a steadfast zombie rights activist, I push her to publish her mystery novels so that everyone may someday see how incredibly wonderful and adorable and gentlemanly Mordecai is, despite the fact he is a living corpse, so unlike the shambling monsters the media insists on portraying them as. Plus, I really want a Chivalry is Dead T-shirt. If you really need a challenge, and have an awesome fellow writer friend like I do, you can also employ a bit of competition. Oh, you wrote 1000 words this morning? Well, I had a particularly good night last night, and now I’m 2000 words ahead of you. It’s conversations like the one I just described that are perfect for giving you that push to write like the wind. It’s just for fun, of course, and we’re very understanding about giving each other the chance to catch up, when the gap is especially large, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still taunt each other with our word counts at times. After all, you don’t write over 11,000 words in a single day by being nice.

 

Don’t let other people’s opinions discourage you

If you’ve just started writing a story, or poem, or song, it probably is going to suck a bit. All that means, however, is that you will need to put in a little work to revise it a few time. Nothing is perfect when it is first put on paper. Even the best novel or most beautiful poem in the word was once a crappy first draft that somebody worked day and night to polish off until it shined. In the interim, though, people are going to feel they must give you their opinions about what you have so far. Some will be legitimate attempts to help you, such as pointing out the holes you have, or giving you advice or something that would really make your story awesome! Others will only want to tear you down, telling you your story sucks, or that you have no talent, or continually remind you that it is a long and hard process to get published, and that the chances of success are so low. When you encounter the later of the two, you just need to look straight into their eyes, smile, and tell them that those are still better chances than if you didn’t try at all. However, even the most well-intended advice and sometimes backfire. When telling a friend about an old novel I was thinking about resurrecting, we started discussing what problem I’d need to correct while I was rewriting it. My original draft had so many plot holes and problems that I lost the will to write for a few days and almost didn’t do NaNo this year. After I thought about it for a bit, though, I realized that my idea was fine, and that it was just the way I was telling it and my understanding of the story at the time that was the problem. So, for NaNo, I completely rewrote the story from scratch, completely changing the setting and storyline of the novel, only keeping the characters and the original idea for what kind of story I wanted it to be. And you know what? It’s turning out amazing. I’m so glad I realized how much work the story needed, and pushed through it, because I never would have realized what a great story I could make out of it otherwise. And the first draft? Well, Sabrina sure seems to enjoy it.

 

Do listen to music while you write

Music is a great way to keep you working hard. It can give you ideas for the next scene, motivate you with its quick tempos and inspirational lyrics, and just make the process a bit more fun. Personally, I like to put together Youtube playlists of music for each of the stories I’m working on and have them playing on another window while I’m working, because I can set the mood for what I’m writing, and break up the annoying silence that I’m sometimes faced with when I writing on the couch or alone in my room. I also keep a supply of CDs nearby, and have a few of my favorite songs and albums saved on my computer for emergencies. When I’m really having a hard time with a scene, it sometime helps to put on my favorite song and belt out a few lines before returning to the document. A sad song for sad scenes, funny ones for happy scenes, and some awesome steampunk battle songs for fights! Then, when I’m done with the scene, I can reward myself with something fun that had nothing to do with the story, just to keep my mood up. And in the meantime, the hours and words just slip away, until I find I’ve written thousands of words without feeling like I’ve filled more than a page.

 

Don’t have anything else playing that might distract you

While playing music can be good, trying to watch TV or a movie, or try to write in the same room as someone who has a TV or a video game running. Even if you have rock hard concentration, your still bound to drift off every once in a while when something catches your eye and ear. And, much too often “just seeing what’s on” turns onto “let’s watch the rest of this episode” which becomes “just one more hour” which eventually becomes a skimpy word count and no progress. In fact, being distracted can even end up keeping you from knowing what you’re even writing. If your family is glued to the TV, make the choice to go up in your room or to the library until you make adequate progress, whether you decide that that is 500 word, or half an hour, or writing 2500 word in a single hour. If you just can’t miss a show, have someone record it in some way, or look it up online later on. Plus, it’ll seem so much more satisfying to use it as a reward for your hard work, rather than a diversion that you have to try to ignore.

 

When writing a novel…

 

Do outline your ideas ahead of time

One of the most difficult parts of writing a novel is when you’re a couple of chapters in, and start to run out of steam. When you began, you had so many amazing ideas that you wanted to include, but you’ve suddenly forgotten every single one. Something I’ve found that can help with this is to outline your ideas ahead of time. You can just open up a word document or write out some bullet points on paper of everything you want to happen in your story. It doesn’t need to be real rigid; it doesn’t even have to be in order. My outline for the story I’m working on at the moment it split up into a group of major events, smaller events that need to happen before I can move on to the next one, and a few smaller events that I can sprinkle in here and there if I just need a break from the major drama, or need to have a little bit of time pass between one part and another without outright saying “a week passed between now and then.” Many of the sub-bullets can be rearranged as needed, depending on what I can see happening at the point at which I’m writing, and some of the non-important events even get pushed down repeatedly simply because I didn’t know how to include it at the time, and don’t see it as important. Then, as I use events, I erased them, so I can see myself slowly nearing the end of my novel. It feels great.

 

Don’t end your day of writing on a particularly high or low note

Be careful when deciding where to stop. One of the hardest things to do it wake up in the morning and immediately remember that you have to write one of the most miserable and depressing scene in your story as soon as you open the document. It works the same way when you turn in for the night at the end of one of the happiest scenes in the novel. I once went to bed after finishing one of the most adorable dream sequences in my entire story, and I didn’t even want to get out of bed the next morning, because I knew that my waking up would also involve waking Aria up and ruining her life a little bit more. I love my characters, I really do. So, the prospect of ripping them out of a state of pure happiness first thing in the morning is enough to almost make me give up on a story. Almost. Obviously, I didn’t, because then I would have Sabrina after my head. But, as with life, the wheel of fortune (as in, the legit tarot-card wheel, not the game show) must continue to spin. Good things will happen to our characters, and bad things will happen to our characters, but you’re never on the top for long. It’s just easier to get the wheel spinning properly when it has the proper momentum. Don’t let too many good or bad times stop your wheel before it’s had its chance to make the full revolution!

 

And finally…

 

Do keep up with other writers, both published and bloggers!

Sometimes, the best inspiration for your story is to read somebody else’s. As long as you don’t blatantly copy every single thing someone writes, it’s okay to name one of your characters after somebody else’s, or imitate the style of someone else’s scene when you’re struggling with a similar one of your own. In fact, a few “cameo appearances” in some of Sabrina and my novels actually became much bigger once they were given the chance to grow (Severna and Malik, right Seb?) Just remember to give credit where credit is due, and do what you can to develop your own style before you start trying to leech off others. Oh! And if you like the way someone writes, why not give them a little encouragement? Hm…?