Monthly Archives: October 2011

Novel Prep: Exercise 16

I’m skipping Exercises 9-15. Exercises 9-11 and 15 were great, but I would be FAR too tempted to put it verbatim into the story, and since it’s not November 1st yet, that’s a no-no. As for Exercises 12-13, I felt I’d done those exercises already (I hadn’t realized the subject would be covered later on…) Exercise 14 is one I did write up, but the whole thing needed to be [Redacted], so there was no point in posting it. (Unfortunately, a quick scan of Exercises 17-19 showed me that these are going to be like Exercise 14 – I can, and will, do them, but I won’t be able to reveal any of what I wrote. Since the only other exercise, number 21, is to start writing the novel, this is going to be the last exercise I post.) So…on to Exercise 16!

Exercise 16: Write up a tag-line and back-cover blurb for your book.

Tag-line: As war descends once again upon the town of Freepass, secrets long buried will be revealed for all to see.

Back-cover blurb: The town of Freepass is nestled in the only possible path through the Created Mountains. The warring nations of Northern Rurik and Southern Jolan both view Freepass as a strategic necessity in their centuries’ long feud, though the town has never been defeated by either side…until now. Unfortunately, the town’s primary defense, the twin swords of the Chosen One, lies locked behind the impenetrable Gates of Heaven – its key lost to time.

As open conflict erupts once more, the brothers Kayin and Hevel are called on to find the missing key. Will Kayin accept his younger brother as the Chosen One, and can their strained kinship survive, when Hevel wants nothing more than to leave Freepass for good? If both brothers do not accept the fate the gods have chosen for them, Freepass will surely fall, unleashing full scale war upon the continent.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo

Novel Prep: Exercise 8

Exercise 8: Repeat everything done for characters 1 and 2 with a third character (ie. 5 paragraphs of information about the character, with an additional 5 paragraphs of the opposing side of those features, and two short term and one long term goals as well as the obstacles to overcome to achieve those goals.)

Devorah

1. Devorah has prophetic dreams, one of which led her to become an acolyte and, eventually, the Priestess of the Temple. She has dedicated her life to the Lovers (the gods of the town), and tries to follow both her heart and her beliefs. This is the one area of her life where Devorah has no doubts.

   Opposed: All of her duties keep Devorah extremely busy, and she feels incredibly alone. She especially longs to hang out with her friends from childhood, Kayin and Hevel. Unfortunately, Kayin’s avoiding her, and Hevel is avoiding the Temple, both of which sadden her greatly.

2. She is the youngest Priestess in Freepass history, and takes her job as shepherdess to the people very seriously. She always goes the extra mile to insure that everyone is taken care of, spiritually and physically. She feels this is the greatest task of the Priestess, and the people love her for it.

   Opposed: The Priest of the Temple, who is technically in charge due to being “in office” for longer, finds the people’s devotion to the young Priestess to be a threat to his own position of authority. He became Priest upon the suspicious death of the previous Priest, and many of those old enough to remember the events do not accept his authority. He had nothing to do with the previous Priest’s death, but has grown bitter and is contemplating killing Devorah.

3. [Redacted]

4. Though she hides it, she knows that she is very sick, and will not be alive in another decade or less. She knows this because she’s experiencing the same symptoms that her mother had, which is also how she came up with the estimate for how long she has left. While the pain is manageable now, the disease is degenerative, though, and she is decidedly not looking forward to the last few years.

   Opposed: Though she’s trying to keep her sickness a secret (for now), the Matron of the Temple (kind of like the senior enlisted soldier of the temple) has noticed. The Matron hasn’t said anything because she thinks her puking is due to pregnancy (she’s assuming Kayin’s the dad), and she’s still figuring out a way to broach the subject. No one else even has that much of a clue.

5. [Redacted]

Short Term Goals:

1. Bring the people who’ve been absent from Temple back.

   Obstacle(s): A lot of them, like Hevel, are hunters, which is why she implemented prayer meetings before and after major hunting expeditions. This has been met with mixed response.

2. Tell her friends about her sickness – and just spend time with those she loves before she passes on.

   Obstacle(s): They’re avoiding her for one reason or another, and she’s afraid to tell anyone, anyway.

Long Term Goal:

   [Redacted]

 

Well, there’s character #3, and we’re starting to get into some of the planned twists and turns of the story (hence, all the “[Redacted]” stuff). We’re also getting into the exercises that I would probably end up including in the novel (and I can’t write any of the novel ahead of time, so I’m skipping those exercises, excellent as they are). So I’ll read ’em, and maybe take some notes, but from here on out, I won’t be posting every exercise like I have been…

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo

Novel Prep: Exercise 7

Exercise 7: Define the obstacles and fears that are preventing the characters from achieving their goals. These obstacles should come out of the first ten paragraphs from Exercises 1-5.

Hevel

Short Term Goals:

1. Decide between the love of his life, or the life he’s always known

   Obstacle(s): If he chooses love, he would never again be allowed back in the town where all his friends and family are. He’s also unsure if his hunting skills will be needed in a more civilized society, so what would he do to support a family? But if he chooses his current life, will he ever find love again? Would he want to?

2. Pull off the ultimate prank

   Obstacle(s): Everyone in the town is familiar with his mischievous nature, and it makes pulling harmless pranks all the harder – let alone pulling off the “ultimate” prank.

Long Term Goal:

Find his niche in the world – figure out a way to be comfortable within his own skin

   Obstacle(s): Hevel is uncomfortable with how others see him (he doesn’t view himself as a leader, but looks up to his brother as the leader instead). He must first realize that it’s not what he does, but who he is that will determine his place in the world.

 

Kayin

Short Term Goals:

1. Be elected Elder

   Obstacle(s): Kayin is on the young side to be an Elder, and there are many who oppose his progressive changes to their society…

2. Start his next project: domesticating animals

   Obstacle(s): The very idea makes most of the town nervous. The farmers worry that too much land is making their profession and homes a target when the next war comes, and the hunters worry that this could put them out of a job – and Kayin needs the support of both groups to make this work (the farmers to create fences for the pastures – as well as needing a lot of work to make pastures in mountainous terrain – and the hunters need to catch the animals to breed into domesticated animals.)

Long Term Goal:

Establish a peace that will last beyond one generation by becoming Judge, the ultimate secular leader of the town.

   Obstacle(s): In addition to the problems listed under his first short term goal (which definitely apply here), it will require expertise beyond that of the town (specifically, that of each of the two nations that continues to try to invade every generation or so) to insure that a lasting peace is achieved.

 

I’ve decided that, while I’m keeping the love for the priestess, I’m going to give Kayin a loveless marriage. Realizing he was never going to be with Devorah, he married Miriam, the daughter of the current Judge of the town. Though they have one child (now about 5 or 6 years old), they spend most of their time arguing, which spurs Kayin to spend more time at work, swordplay, and at the temple – anything to keep him out of his miserable excuse for a home. Still, the town only sees a respectably married man who works hard and puts the town first…

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo

Novel Prep: Exercise 6

Exercise 6: Provide a minimum of 2 short term and 1 long term goals for each of the characters. Creating links between the characters, and especially conflicting goals, is encouraged.

Hevel

Short Term Goals:

1. Decide between the love of his life, or the life he’s always known

2. Pull off the ultimate prank

Long Term Goal:

Find his niche in the world – figure out a way to be comfortable within his own skin

 

 Kayin

Short Term Goals:

1. Be elected Elder

2. Start his next project: domesticating animals

Long Term Goal:

Establish a peace that will last beyond one generation by becoming Judge, the ultimate secular leader of the town.

 

It was a little difficult to decide what goals to give Hevel, beyond the first short term goal, as he isn’t sure what he wants from life, and the answer to the first goal could completely change the rest of his life, whichever way he decides. I ended up using that for his long term goal, and just threw in a second short term goal. Kayin has a lofty goal that he’s pursued since childhood, so he was easier to figure out.

Anyway, that’s another exercise done! Exercise 7 tomorrow! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo

Novel Prep: Exercise 5

Exercise 5: “Lather, Rinse, Repeat.” (ie. Repeat Exercises 1-4 for a second character.)

Kayin

1. As the elder brother, Kayin is often jealous of Hevel’s surpassing successes. He is proud of his younger brother’s accomplishments, and wouldn’t want his brother to have succeeded less, only that he had succeeded more himself. That his younger brother can succeed greater than him makes him feel like a failure.

   Opposed: Kayin was secretly relieved when Hevel became a Hunter, as he feared Hevel would continue to outshine him. His success as an architect and farmer has mitigated his mental self- flagellation, though it’s his abilities as a swordsman that really help to ease his ego. It’s the one area that he’s better at than his brother…

2. Kayin is in love with the priestess, Devorah, though her vows require her to be celibate and unwed. He’s loved her since they were teenagers, and her decision to become an acolyte felt like a slap in the face. Now that the old priestess has passed away and Devorah has assumed the role of Priestess of the Temple, things have become even more complicated.

   Opposed: Time spent at the temple has become bittersweet since Devorah took over as Priestess of the Temple. Lately, time spent around Devorah only makes him feel empty and alone. His present solution, such as it is, is to try to be involved in the temple as much as possible, while avoiding Devorah with equal fervor.

3. Kayin doesn’t believe in his people’s god, but keeps this quiet, as he thinks of religion as useful for teaching the laws and providing a sense of community. He also sees it as a path toward advancement, and he’s right – he’s being considered for the position of Elder in the town leadership, in no small part because of his ties to the community through the temple. He is active in the temple, and volunteers for anything he can provide assistance with.

   Opposed: Time spent at the temple has become bittersweet since Devorah took over as Priestess of the Temple. Being an Elder would require him to spend more time with Devorah, and he’s no longer sure that’ s what he wants. Still, he doesn’t feel that there’s any alternative, and as such, he feels trapped by his ambitions and responsibilities to the town.

4. After his term as a sergeant in the militia, Kayin became known as a respected farmer, though he functions more as an architect for farmers. Kayin created greenhouses, allowing crops to be grown even in the long winters, and an irrigation system that allows them to use even more land for farming.

   Opposed: Though many are happy with his advancements, there is an undercurrent of worry surrounding them, too. War inevitably comes to Freepass, and the town survives in no small part because its citizens can go to ground in the mountains while the Chosen One leads the military in guerrilla warfare. There is a concern that this greater presence in the mountains will also make for a greater target when the next war comes.

5. Between farming and swordplay sparring, Kayin keeps himself in shape. Though he prefers to build than to work the ground, Kayin is not averse to physical work, and does his fair share of the labor. His evenings are spent sparring with whoever is interested, and he is often asked to teach the younger generation his technique with a sword.

   Opposed: Now in his early 30’s, Kayin is just beginning to slow.  Though no one in the town is a match for his skill with a sword, several late-teens/early 20’s are quickly growing in skill. It’s only a matter of time before he’s ousted from his position…

 

Well, I managed to get sick, which slowed down my ability and motivation to work on these exercises. Thankfully, I’ve got extra days to work on ’em, as I gave myself the month of October to do less than 20 exercises. Still, even though I’m feeling better (not 100%, but better than I was), I didn’t particularly care for the results of this exercise. I think I tied the character too closely to the first, which made him feel more cardboard cut-out. I’m going to have to work on him before I begin the story, I think – though this exercise was pretty helpful in showing me that fact!

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo

Novel Prep: Exercise 4

Exercise 4: Write two more sentences to expand and explain each of the five (six, in my case) opposing sentences from Exercise 3.

Hevel

1. Hevel looks up to his older brother, but chose a different path. Whereas Kayin chose to be an architect and farmer, Hevel chose to be a hunter and scout. Even after their separate careers were chosen, though, Hevel continues to seek Kayin’s advice on life in general.

   Opposed: Recently, Hevel has started to realize just how different their lives are, and how much he can’t go to his brother for advice on. Matters concerning hunting generally garner a blank stare, and Hevel isn’t about to broach the subject of possibly leaving Freepass to marry a foreign girl with his religious brother. Hevel still uses Kayin as a sounding board and to vent frustrations, but is saddened that their connectedness isn’t the same as when they were younger.

2. Hevel is a dedicated follower of his people’s god, though he believes faith is a private matter. Part of his enjoyment of his hunting profession is the excuse it gives him to skip various “required” religious meetings (though there are special holidays that even he cannot avoid). Even so, he prays daily and feels he is closer to his god than most of those who attend regular worship.

   Opposed: The new priestess has noticed his absence, and has made it her personal mission to attend regular services. She has started holding prayer meetings before and after each hunting expedition (to bless the hunters and food, respectively), which adds a whole new religious meeting he must attend. Many are attributing the increase in the hunts to this practice, causing more people to attend these events, which is increasing Hevel’s unease at them.

3. Charisma and a head for tactics helped Hevel during his term in the militia. He advanced through the scouts, and eventually earned the rank of Lieutenant of the South Wall at an unprecedented age. Before he left the service, everyone assumed he would stay in and become the next Captain of the Guard.

   Opposed: His abrupt departure from the militia left him with several enemies, most notably the current Captain of the Guard. Captain Tzidkiyahu thought of Hevel as a son, and took it as a personal slap in the face when Hevel left the service. Hevel thought of Captain “Zid” as a father, himself, and feels as if this is the second father he’s lost (since his biological father died when he was still a baby).

4. After his term in the militia was over, Hevel took up the profession of hunter. Even here, Hevel has distinguished himself as a leader, having led several expeditions to hunt some of the more fearsome beasts in the mountains. Still, when Hevel feels the need to think deeply upon important matters, he always chooses to hunt alone.

   Opposed: Lately, the prey from the south has been more plentiful…and more ferocious. Most of Freepass is exuberant about the increase in fresh meat, but the hunters are worried about what might be driving them north. Besides, with all of the preferred prey, many predators have also come north, making the hunts more dangerous.

5. Hevel is notorious for his mischievous nature, but rarely gets in trouble. His pranks are good natured, and his charming smile gets him out of whatever small amount of trouble his pranks get him into. Most often, he talks his brother and friends into aiding him in his mischief-making.

   Opposed: Even though they’ve often been amused by his pranks in the past, the people of Freepass are starting to grumble. Many feel that the solution is for Hevel to get married and settle down, and the young women have certainly tried to convince him of this. Not wanting to lead anyone on, Hevel hasn’t acquiesced, and has instead returned to the wilderness to hunt more often.

6. The love of Hevel’s life was a foreign girl named Alina, who lived in the town itself. It is forbidden to marry a foreigner, so their love affair was kept secret. Foreigners are given a five year pass to live inside the town, and must leave to their respective country thereafter; it has been over four years since she departed.

   Opposed: As is often the case amongst family business interests in Freepass, Alina’s father was replaced with her Uncle, who has been smuggling the lovers’ letters back and forth. He has agreed to take Hevel back with him, and even give him a job in the family business. Hevel still hasn’t decided whether to give up the life he knows for the woman he loves, but the decision will have to be made soon…

Exercise 5 is basically Exercises 1-4 all in one for a second character (I’ll be using Kayin, Hevel’s brother). So while there are still many exercises left that will include and expand upon the first character, for now, it’s time to set aside Hevel and focus on Kayin. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo

Novel Prep: Exercise 3

Exercise 3: Write a single sentence exposing the dark side of things – or the silver lining, if it’s a negative trait – to each of the five paragraphs (six, in my case) from Exercise 2.

Hevel

  1. Hevel looks up to his older brother, but chose a different path. Whereas Kayin chose to be an architect and farmer, Hevel chose to be a hunter and scout. Even after their separate careers were chosen, though, Hevel continues to seek Kayin’s advice on life in general. Opposed: Recently, Hevel has started to realize just how different their lives are, and how much he can’t go to his brother for advice on.
  2. Hevel is a dedicated follower of his people’s god, though he believes faith is a private matter. Part of his enjoyment of his hunting profession is the excuse it gives him to skip various “required” religious meetings (though there are special holidays that even he cannot avoid). Even so, he prays daily and feels he is closer to his god than most of those who attend regular worship. Opposed: The new priestess has noticed his absence, and has made it her personal mission to attend regular services.
  3. Charisma and a head for tactics helped Hevel during his term in the militia. He advanced through the scouts, and eventually earned the rank of Lieutenant of the South Wall at an unprecedented age. Before he left the service, everyone assumed he would stay in and become the next Captain of the Guard. Opposed: His abrupt departure from the militia left him with several enemies, most notably the current Captain of the Guard.
  4. After his term in the militia was over, Hevel took up the profession of hunter. Even here, Hevel has distinguished himself as a leader, having led several expeditions to hunt some of the more fearsome beasts in the mountains. Still, when Hevel feels the need to think deeply upon important matters, he always chooses to hunt alone. Opposed: Lately, the prey has been more plentiful…and more ferocious.
  5. Hevel is notorious for his mischievous nature, but rarely gets in trouble. His pranks are good natured, and his charming smile gets him out of whatever small amount of trouble his pranks get him into. Most often, he talks his brother and friends into aiding him in his mischief-making. Opposed: Even though they’ve often been amused by his pranks in the past, the people of Freepass are starting to grumble.
  6. The love of Hevel’s life was a foreign girl named Alina, who lived in the town itself. It is forbidden to marry a foreigner, so their love affair was kept secret. Foreigners are given a five year pass to live inside the town, and must leave to their respective country thereafter; it has been four years since she departed… Opposed: As is often the case amongst family business interests in Freepass, Alina’s father was replaced with her Uncle, who has been smuggling the lovers’ letters back and forth.

This one was a lot of fun – I was beginning to feel like I was creating a rather wooden character, but this exercise really fleshed him (and the plot) out a bit. I still haven’t touched on the main plot of the book, but these exercises have really given me a number of sub-plots to play with! Number 4, for example, took me forever to come up with something opposed, but when I did, it changed quite a few ideas I had in mind, and I couldn’t help but smile. You’ll get more of a hint tomorrow, I’m sure.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaNoWriMo