I've always loved happy endings. Still do. So it has come as a surprise to me that I've started also really loving sad things. Oh, I still hate that they're sad, but somehow the sad things end up being among my favorites. Like "Doomsday." And Mockingjay. And the sad parts of Ilyon Chronicles. Time Captives ended up with some super sad stuff. At first, I tried to figure out a way to make these certain characters happy, but eventually I realized it was impossible.
This element of the story involves Eleanor, the Time Captive from 1940. The Time Captives are stuck at age twelve with the world moving on around them. This came out of Tuck Everlasting, but with Eleanor, Doctor Who made me take it in another direction from what Tuck did. I lay blame on some dialogue in the episode "School Reunion."
I don't know why I chose this topic, because it's super hard to write without spoilers. The thing is, I love writing about Eleanor. It makes me sad, but I love the sad it gives me. I love Grant Weathersby. The sad stuff involves him. I can't remember what I've said here about Grant and Eleanor, or if I said anything here or just on Facebook. Eleanor and Grant...They get to know each other when Grant helps her to stow away on his brother's ship. They become good friends. And then Grant starts to grow up as Eleanor remains a twelve year old.
Speculation, I'm sure, can figure out where this is going. I won't say any more. It's so sad, but I love it. I carried around a notepad in my pocket on Independence Day to write something for later about them as we went to various parades and events in our campaign T-shirts. (And my friend said I was obsessed with writing and tried to get me to stop. I just had the scene in my head and didn't want to lose it, I wasn't obsessed. I mean that, Brianna. :) )
I love happy stuff. I'm extremely partial to the typical very happy Disney movie ending. But I love sad stuff too. I suppose because it's just happy for deep people.
I finished writing Espionage last week! Most of it was pretty easy, but I hit a snag at the climax, which caused a single chapter to take a whole month to write. With my mom's help, I figured out how to solve the problem I had and took care of the bad guy. But then something happened that I didn't expect.
I want to write good stories. I want my books to be well written, the characters well developed, the plot well constructed. But I want my books to be more than just good, well written stories. I want my stories to mean something. More specifically, I want my books to point people to God and the Bible, to help to further God's kingdom. I quite often pray that God would use my writing for His glory, and that He would help me to write the stories He wants me to tell. Because stories without meaning are nothing but entertainment.
For a long time, it seemed that Espionage was just a story. It was exciting, Vannie was an interesting point of view character, the other characters were super easy to develop, and the story was unfolding wonderfully. But there didn't seem to be a message in it. I never want to force a message into a book. That sounds preachy, and I've never heard of anyone liking a preachy book. All my favorite books are non-preachy books with a strong message skillfully woven into the story. But Espionage didn't seem to have that.
Then I hit chapter 9. And I began to realize that it had been working toward a message the whole time. Vannie's attitude along the way gave her a lesson to learn. I don't want to give too much away, though it will be awhile before it comes time for the release of Espionage, since it comes between books 2 & 3 of Time Captives, but it ended with a Gospel message. God already knew what the point of Espionage was. When I give things over to Him, He always works it out.
I continue to learn that. It's hard to let things go. I want things my way, but my way is not always God's way. There are still things I need to give over to God. There always will be. But I am always encouraged to see how when I surrender things to God, they always work out way better than I could have expected.
"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be directed." --Proverbs 16:3
"Commit thy way unto the Lord, and trust in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." --Psalms 37:5
For starters, I was interviewed recently on the Stardust and Gravel blog. Hop over there to learn extras about my books and some more things about me, like if I prefer movies, TV shows, or neither, and don't forget to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Experiment.
Now for the writing update. A few weeks ago, I posted on my Facebook page that I had finished with my rewrite of The Crossways, book 2 of Time Captives, at 38,352 words, by far a record for me. The edits I made on my subsequent read through raised that number to 38,509. So now Time Captives is 2/3 complete. Book 3 will be Crannig Castle, but I haven't started it yet. I'm taking a break from Time Captives to write a companion to the trilogy.
This companion is called Espionage. Here is the logline:
In the midst of an alliance controversy, a nobleman's daughter must expose a heinous scheme by her father's political arch-enemy to force him to align with the evil strytes of Calhortz.
It will be a shorter, less complicated book than anything I have written in some time, and so it is a nice relief, in more ways than one. I'm estimating it will be about 24,000 words, and I'm aiming for ten chapters. (I just realized the number of chapters is the number of my favorite Doctor. Weird, and not intentional.) My goal is to finish Espionage by the end of August. I have a schedule that I have amazingly kept on track for a week, so I think this will happen.
Just a little bit more about it, because I like to ramble about my story ideas. The main character is a nine year old girl named Savanna, but called Vannie for short. I'm writing it in 1st person from her point of view. (Past tense, I can't stand present in the narrative of a book.) I haven't successfully written a book in 1st person, so if this works, which it seems to be doing, it will be my first. The only other complete story I wrote in 1st person was my stupidest picture book which will never see the light of day.
Vannie is a fun point of view character, and rather a relief from Adriel and Eleanor, the primary point of view characters in The Crossways. See, Adriel is a sullen and rebellious slave who is deeply hurt, and Eleanor has had her heart broken by her circumstances and been betrayed, and insists on dwelling on it, which can get sort of depressing. They'll both come out of it by the end, but they haven't quite yet. Contrast that to Vannie, who has a secure happy life, and has only the company of a very annoying cousin to complain about. Things do get more serious than that, but she still has a much lighter tone than either Adriel or Eleanor. Besides, it's fun to try to think like a little girl again. And the characters are super easy to develop, as opposed to my struggles with Time Captives who want to shut me out. :) I'm building a story board for Espionage as I write it on Pinterest. There's one for Time Captives as well.
What does this mean for publishing? Well, my plan is to publish Creighton Hill sometime early next year. I'm not sure of anything more exact yet, but I'll announce it once I am. I'm also thinking, not sure this will happen, of trying NaNo this year to write a sequel to Across the Stars about Hanna and Sam. If (and that's a big, major, huge if) I do, I will probably publish it next fall, if it's any good. You never can tell with sequels. Then the plan is to publish The Crossways in early 2016, Espionage in late 2016, and Crannig Castle the following spring. Who knows what will actually happen. After all, God is in control of my life, not me. His plans could be completely different.
Next on my writing plans, after Time Captives is finished, is to finally fully jump into an outer space dystopian trilogy I planned last year. It was sparked by a dream, and combined with ideas sparked by The Giver and my desire to write a space story because of reading Red Rain, The Destiny Trilogy, and Radialloy. I really can't wait to get into it, especially since every time I finish watching a Hunger Games movie I come away going "Must. Write. Dystopian." and start thinking about my story again even though it's completely different other than sharing a basic genre. What can I say? I've always loved evil government stories.
So that's a (not so) brief update on my current writing and publishing plans. (I could have rambled on longer, but I don't know that anyone would read it.) So long, for now!
For any readers not on Facebook, my friend Jaye L. Knight interviewed me on her blog last week. There's still a little bit of time to enter to win an eBook copy of Across the Stars!
Last week I talked about perfect characters, and how they can be boring, annoying, or even dangerous. This week I'm going to talk about the other extreme: when character flaws are condoned.
The biggest thing I can think of to illustrate this right now is Pirates of the Caribbean. Will and Elizabeth start out as ordinary colonists, well, Elizabeth is the governor's daughter. They are good. Will is a blacksmith. He hates pirates because they are criminals. Throughout the course of the story, both Will and Elizabeth become pirates. They gradually lose their moral compass, learning to do whatever it takes to accomplish what they want to. True, the British officers aren't really good guys either, but that doesn't mean that it should be okay for the "good guys" to be pirates.
Now, I enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean (not the fourth one, I hated the fourth one), but the lack of a true moral compass by any of the characters annoys me. For instance, in the second movie, Jack Sparrow wants to get out of dying yet again, so he and his crew try to round up one hundred people to unknowingly send to their deaths, so as to trade one hundred souls for Jack's life. Am I supposed to support that? Maybe not, but I don't remember the movie making it clear that it was the wrong choice. SPOILER Elizabeth ended up tethering Jack to the Black Pearl so Davy Jones's beastie would eat him, thus killing him and alleviating the need to kill one hundred souls. So they didn't actually go through with it. Then they went to Davy Jones's Locker to get Jack out, cheating death once again. END SPOILER
Another thing that bothers me is NBC's Revolution, which has now been cancelled. I watched the first half of the first season, and enjoyed how Charlie was a good person in the midst of chaos where everyone, including her uncle Miles, were willing to kill for any reason. I stopped caring about the show when it came back after Christmas because they killed off Charlie's brother Danny, who they were trying to rescue for the first half of the season. Then they started adding in inappropriate material and I really really didn't care to watch. But my parents still watched the show, and so occasionally I caught part of an episode. I was disappointed to see how all the characters had deteriorated into wandering around killing people without much purpose. Sure, maybe Charlie and Aaron were wimps at the beginning and needed to toughen up, but to become killers? Maybe that's part of the reason why it was cancelled.
Yet another is National Treasure. I enjoy it and its sequel, yes, but the characters constantly break the law, nonchalantly, and get away with it. They steal the Declaration of Independence, kidnap the President, hack into security systems, break into numerous places, and Ben Gates even once remarks, "Maybe one day I'll wear this to a party I'm actually invited to." Somehow they're the good guys, I suppose because they're not going around shooting people. Still, every time they get off scot-free, and are hailed as heroes for the historical finds they made in the process. It's "the end justifies the means" in action, and I don't really think that's a good message to be sending people.
I suppose Star Wars is a different matter, since the prequel trilogy is a story about how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. His behavior isn't condoned. It tears everything apart, his friendships, his marriage, the Jedi Order, the Republic, the entire galaxy. This is a place where a negative character arc is necessary and well done. (Yes, there are tons of flaws in the film-making, but I think the negative character arc was well done.) I still don't see why Padme was stupid enough to marry him, when she knew how bad he could be, but someone had to be Luke and Leia's mother. I don't agree with the idea of marrying someone in hopes of reforming him, but again, someone had to be Luke and Leia's mother.
Something I like about Tangled, one of the many things (yes, I'm now an adult and I love that movie), is that Rapunzel didn't really start falling in love with Flynn until he saw the error of his thieving ways and started trying to be a hero. At the end Flynn says specifically that he gave up thieving and turned his life completely around, then it says that he and Rapunzel got married. See, just as I think it's bad for girls to expect perfection from their future husband, I think it's dangerous to make them think they can marry someone bad and reform him to make him good. The song "Fixer Upper" from Frozen interestingly points this out:
"We're not saying you can change him,
Cause people don't really change.
We're only saying that love's a force
That's powerful and strange.
People make bad choices when they're mad or scared or stressed.
Throw a little love their way,
And you'll bring out their best."
People can change for the better, but it's not a good idea to marry someone in the hopes of changing him. That isn't likely to work out well. It's more likely to deteriorate into a really bad situation. There's a reason the Bible says Christians shouldn't be unequally yoked with non-Christians.
Bryan Davis is actually very good at creating good, but flawed characters. Jason Masters from Dragons of Starlight and Nathan Sheppard from Echoes From the Edge are both gentlemen who care about the people around them and try to do what's right. They have flaws, but they are things they struggle against in order to do right.
I'll finish with Bardon from the Dragon Keeper Chronicles again. He is a good character who is a gentleman and a knight, but he has flaws. Yet his flaws are not condoned. Kale doesn't think it a good thing that he constantly gripes when riding horses instead of dragons, though it does amuse her. Make good guys good. Don't make them perfect, give them flaws that are clearly portrayed as flaws, and make them good. Well rounded characters are the true key to an excellent story.
Characters are an important part of stories. In fact, they are probably the most important part. Without good characters a story is missing something vital. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about character development and I've come to the conclusion that there are two extremes to avoid: perfect characters and characters with flaws that are condoned.
I'll start with perfect characters. I love the Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley, but they have a major flaw: perfect characters. If the character is a good one, he or she rarely, if ever, makes mistakes. Just look at Elsie. She is the standard of what a little girl should be, right? Lulu Raymond was really bad, until she reformed and became a Christian, at which point she was perfect. To be honest, this was pretty typical of child characters of the time. Look at Sara Crewe. She doesn't really have any serious character flaws to struggle against.
J. Grace Pennington had an excellent post about this subject awhile back. See, it's not that I'm against characters being good, not by a long shot, and I'll address that in more detail later. It's the unrealistic goodness that I don't like. It gives a false impression, and makes it impossible to relate to the characters. I never could relate to Elsie. I could relate to Lulu and her struggles with her temper, but it annoyed me when she reformed because she never did anything wrong again. Sure, I conquered my temper and don't really have much of a problem with it anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't struggle with sin in other areas anymore. I think good guys should be good, of course, but not perfect. Perfection in a human character is unrelatable, and makes for a flat, cardboard character.
Another aspect I thought of recently, actually what got me thinking about it again, was the perfect "love interest." A trap many authors fall into is creating a girl character and then making a perfect guy for her to marry. I admit, I did somewhat fall into this trap myself when writing Felix Walker. And my favorite character in The Hunger Games Trilogy is Peeta Mellark, who is pretty near perfect. I mean, he does lie to the Capitol, but overall he's really good. He's really nice, he loves Katniss unconditionally and is blind to her flaws, and he is incredibly selfless. He was willing to let himself get beaten for burning bread in order to give Katniss the bread that saved her life after her father died. Maybe there are people like that, but we can't teach our readers to expect that from real life. Things do change in regards to him in Mockingjay but that would be a major spoiler.
On the other hand, Jace in Ilyon Chronicles is far from perfect. He is constantly depressed because of his ryrik blood and sometimes has difficulty controlling his temper. But he's still a good person, and is always struggling against his nature and trying to protect others, namely Kyrin. The character who got me thinking about this subject again was Bardon in Donita K. Paul's Dragon Keeper Chronicles. He is a gentleman and a chivalrous knight, but he's not perfect. He can be infuriating with his principle quoting. Actually, he kind of reminds me of Ferus Olin from Jedi Quest and Last of the Jedi by Jude Watson, a character who was so focused on being perfectly by the book that he became stuck up. Not that Bardon was all that stuck up, but still.
I think having a perfect character in such a role is a very bad idea. It prepares girls to expect perfection out of their future husband, which of course can never be attained. The key I discovered with Bardon is that he is a character in his own right. Sure, he entered the story to eventually marry Kale, but he still is his own character. He got the first 3/4 of DragonKnight to develop as an independent character, struggling against his nature and personal desires in order to do what is right, and it made the last books better for him to be a character in his own right.
Next week (hopefully), I will explore the opposite extreme: condoned character flaws.
A writing tip gleaned from C. S. Lewis.
The Time Captives trilogy has been full of writing struggles for me, from character development to worldbuilding. One of these struggles was the writing of journeys. They should be long, who ever heard of a fantasy country it took two hours to cross? But just journeying on and on with nothing really happening gets really boring really quick.
I was trying to figure out how to write journeys accurately. I researched how far someone could walk in a day, and didn't get a definitive answer, but it was enough for me to realize Calhortea must be tiny. It barely took the Hubbards any time at all to reach Calhortz in the first draft. It needed to be a bigger world. Yet, I didn't want to do like Month of the Novel and write "So they walked and they walked and they walked and they walked and they walked and they walked and they walked and they walked..." And I had that "show, don't tell" principle in my head.
A few months ago, I had a bunch of sewing projects. I like listening to audiobooks while I sew, otherwise I'm bored, so I got out my Focus on the Family Radio Theater Narnia audiobooks, and randomly picked The Horse and His Boy. If you're at all familiar with the story, you know that it is full of journeying. I have read and listened to that book millions of times, but that time something hit me. It skips a lot of the traveling!
The book "shows" the beginning of the journey, how tired and sore Shasta is, etc. then sets up their system for traveling (every other night Shasta went into a village and met Bree on the other side). Then it tells that this went on for weeks and weeks. It doesn't get to "showing" again until the night they meet Aravis and Hwin. Cool, isn't it? It just skips the boring parts of the journey where nothing important happened. And it's okay. It's even preferable.
I noticed this in DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul as well. It sets up what it's like to travel through the Bogs, then just says it went on for however long it took for something to actually happen. It just comes down to knowing when to show and when to tell. There are times for both, and a story wouldn't be complete with the omission of one or the other.
There's always stuff to tell and stuff to skip and skim over. As E. Nesbit wrote in The Story of the Treasure Seekers, "The best part of books is when things are happening....This is why I shall not tell you in this story about all the days when nothing happened....So I shall just tell you the nice interesting parts--and in between you will understand that we had our meals and got up and went to bed, and dull things like that. It would be sickening to write all that down, though of course it happens."
So now I don't worry about just saying they traveled for so long. Something doesn't have to happen every minute, and it's okay to skim over the weeks of a journey where nothing really happens.
There is only one current show I watch: ABC's Once Upon a Time. (I watch Doctor Who, but I'm only a few episodes into the tenth doctor, so I'm pretty far behind.) A few months ago, I realized that Once Upon a Time has had an effect on my writing. The effect is not so much of what I put into my stories now (though I did decide I had to have mermaids in my fantasy world when they were introduced into the show), but the way I tell stories.
For those unfamiliar with the show, it is a twist on fairy tales, throwing fairy tale characters into our world. The way the story is told is by alternating between what's going on in our world (in the town of Storybrooke) and what happened back in time in the fairy tale world (the Enchanted Forest). The portions from the past always help to further the plot of the part of the story being told in the modern world. It also follows a ton of different characters' stories.
The original version of Across the Stars followed only Sara Watson. The time frame of the story was straightforward and covered only the brief period of time the Watsons were on Emoria. I didn't really keep track of when I wrote different parts of the story, but I have been able to piece together through various memories somewhat of a time line of the writing of that book. And so I am fairly certain that Once subconsciously inspired me to delve into the past of certain characters and deepen the plot through the use of multiple main characters and backstories. I'm not terribly skillful at strategically revealing plot points in the flashbacks and such, but it does serve to deepen the plot and make the story more interesting.
In The Experiment, I did stay in the same timeline, but I had broken away from the single point of view and thus was able to tell the story more fully by telling all relevant parts of it.
For the Time Captives trilogy (Creighton Hill), I am continuing to use the Once Upon a Time Effect. I am enjoying, as I rewrite Creighton Hill, delving into the past of the older Hubbards and discovering what happened to them in the time before the youngest ones arrived, and just what their history with Toarna is. This could not be accomplished effectively without this technique, and I love the depth it is adding to the story.
I have come to love the complication the Once Upon a Time Effect gives to a story and can't imagine Across the Stars or Time Captives without it. It just shows even structure of storytelling can be influenced by what one reads and watches!
I love a good sequel. I always hate saying goodbye to characters I've come to know and love, and I always want to know what happens next. For that reason, a good sequel is perfect for me. Unfortunately, lots of sequels do not quite qualify as "good."
It is commonly known that sequels are rarely as good as the original story. I have certainly found this to be true. For instance, I love Disney's Mulan. As for Mulan 2, it's not worth the time it takes to watch it. It was completely cliché and predictable, and extremely disappointing after how much I enjoyed the first movie. I also enjoyed Summer of My German Soldier, but I didn't even get halfway through the sequel.
Some sequels are just as good as the first. I have read Return to Gone-away as many times as I have read Gone-away Lake. The Lord of the Rings is a continuation of the story begun in The Hobbit, and it far exceeds the previous tale. (Series are a different matter, and are of no concern to this topic.)
What makes the difference? I believe it is whether or not the sequel is a story worth telling or if it is merely a story written because the first one was successful and beloved. So often sequels are written simply because fans are clamoring for more, not because there is more story to tell. The result is a flat, cliché story that is nowhere as good as the first one. I know that I am more disappointed with the existence of a poor sequel than the absence of any sequel at all.
I have yet to write a sequel to any of my chapter books. I have had family and friends, and even a young reviewer, beg for a sequel to The Experiment. Even so, I don't see one being written. I ended the story where I did because I didn't have any more story to tell. What is in the book is it. Though my sister constantly asks if Audrey marries Adam when they grow up, I have no desire even to decide that. It is possible I may change my mind about writing a sequel someday, but you can be sure it won't be until I have a story worth telling.
Across the Stars is another matter. I have some ideas for a sequel about Hanna and Sam that I am considering writing as a first NaNoWriMo project this November if I ever plan it. Yet, though I have always foreseen the possibility of writing a sequel about Felix and Sara, it is on hold indefinitely for lack of a plot. I could get an idea for it within the next year, in fifty years, or never, but until I do get a good idea, I won't write it.
I am not against sequels. I rather like them. But my advice is not to write a sequel unless the continuation of the characters' story is just as worth telling as the beginning of it. If you have a good sequel idea, then go ahead and write it. Your fans will be happy.
People say a lot about writing rules, even if they don't really know what they're talking about, and expect people to follow them. Well, I'm going to do something a little different.
Don't be afraid to break writing rules. They're just guidelines anyway, and they change over time. But do have a reason for it, and if multiple people think you'd be better off following the rule, it might be a good idea to listen.
Don't just write what you know. Do write what you want to read. But if you write what you don't know, do research it because people who know it won't appreciate wrong facts.
Don't just write when you're inspired and excited, because that will lead to hundreds of Chapter Ones and few Chapter Twos. However, if after the first inspiration, you don't ever get excited, do evaluate the story. There could be something wrong with it.
Don't just learn to write by reading "how to write" books. Do read real books. Writing how-to has its place, but stories get writing how-to into the subconscious in a way nothing else can. It's more fun anyway.
Don't worry about spelling and grammar and style and little nitpicky details in the first draft. Just get the story down. But do fix those things later. That's what second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh drafts are for. (That's about how many it took me to get The Experiment right.)
Don't be afraid to let people read your story. Stories are meant to be shared. But do remember you can't please everyone. Write the story you want to write.
Don't freak out when you get writer's block. Go do something else. I usually ride my bike when I get stuck, and it really helps. (My mom heard about a study that shows exercise helps break writer's block and get creativity going, which I thought was really cool.)
Don't be afraid to rewrite your stories. Only a genius could get everything right on the first try. Do take some breaks between drafts, though. It helps to get a fresh perspective.
Don't try to conform to someone else's writing style or method. Everyone is different. Do find what works for you. But don't be afraid to change your method. As people grow, they change. I know I have, and my writing method has changed.
Don't forget to have fun. What's writing for if you can't have fun with it?
Toarna. Elusive. Unknown. Sitting right in front of me. I don't understand villains. Which, I suppose, was why I was interviewing Toarna. I surveyed her quietly, trying to keep my pencil out of my mouth. She wore the traditional rich robes of stryte royalty, and her ebony black hair flowed over her shoulders. Her yellow eyes seemed to bore into me. Yellow eyes are certainly creepy.
"Um . . ." I couldn't think how to begin. Toarna could see the extent of my uncertainty. The ability to fully communicate with looks and movements almost to the point of telepathy is inherent to the nature of strytes. "How was your childhood?"
That didn't tell me much. My stryte worldbuilding is almost nonexistent.
"What kind of house did you live in?"
"A mountain home, carved out of rock. It was small and bare."
So Toarna hadn't always lived in the lap of luxury. "Did you have any Mer slaves?"
"A few. We mostly worked them in the coal mine." Toarna was very matter-of-fact about this.
"Did you ever feel any remorse for enslaving rational beings?"
Toarna's eyes flashed indignation at the thought. "Why should I? They are one of the lesser races. Their limitation to audible speech clearly displays that."
It was true, unadulterated racism. I should have expected as much from a stryte, after all, I am the one who decided the strytes had a feeling of superiority toward the other races, but I still didn't understand it in the least.
"Was your childhood rough?" I asked.
"All life in Chalton is rough," Toarna replied. "We have nothing but coal and fish. We had been driven out of the frugal lands generations before my time."
"Do you think maybe that was partly the strytes' fault?" I said. "Maybe if you lived in peace with the humans, elves, and kalicans, they wouldn't have gone to war against you."
"Live in peace with such uncivilized barbarians?"
I had a differing opinion as to the true identity of the barbarians, but I kept it to myself.
"They are little higher than animals," Toarna continued. "Why should they be treated as more than such?"
"I'm human," I said.
Her eyes narrowed at me. Time for another subject.
"How did you meet your husband Mudan?"
Toarna's face softened. She wasn't entirely devoid of tender feeling.
"Mudan was a commanding officer in Chalton's army. His regiment was stationed near my home. I was a girl then, and ready for the right man to come along. There he was, near my home, ready and waiting."
"And you married, and he went off to conquer Calhortz and enslave the people, never questioning if it was wrong."
Toarna narrowed her eyes again. "So the author does know some of my story. You gave the impression it was all up to me."
"Villains are hard for me to figure out," I admitted. "I just don't understand you."
"I the villain?" Toarna rose from her seat. "Mudan and I ruled our people well. Calhortz is a happy, prosperous land. We don't worry for food as we did in Chalton. We don't have to work ourselves to the bone to survive. We don't have to rely on trade from irresponsible humans for our sustenance. We are in control of our lives at long last. And you, author, had to send children from your world here to destroy our happiness. They cost Mudan his life."
"Technically, they're not from my world," I corrected. "They're from a fictional version of my world."
"It matters not to me if they are fiction to you," Toarna said. "They are real to me."
As I digested Toarna's speech in my mind, something stuck out to me. "Humans still provide you sustenance," I said. "You just control them now."
"As you would own an animal," Toarna countered.
"The only animal I own is my dog, and she doesn't really earn her keep," I said. "Humans are more than animals. And in your world, so are merfolk, kalicans, and elves. They are rational creatures, and they have souls. It's just the same as enslaving strytes."
"If you insist on granting them rationality, then I will argue this: they deserve this condition after all the suffering they caused my race." Toarna was seated again.
"These people had nothing to do with it," I insisted. "It was many stryte generations ago, and so at least four times that for the humans. Besides, I maintain that the strytes caused their own expulsion from the better lands of Calhortea."
"You don't know the history of those times."
"But I'm the author. I decide what it was. I just haven't had an idea for it yet. You're lucky to have the history and worldbuilding you do."
"I still believe they deserve it."
"Do they deserve to be forced to fight as gladiators?" I asked.
"Yes," Toarna insisted. "And it is enjoyable."
"How can you think so?"
"Does not everyone enjoy a good fight?"
"Not a real one," I said. "And even make-believe ones are hard for me to watch."
"Humans," Toarna snorted.
"I believe every life has value," I responded, "and it shouldn't be thrown away for no reason."
"What value is there to life besides the present?"
"You mean, 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die'?" I asked.
"Is that not true?"
"You don't believe in God, then?"
"Why should I?" was her nonchalant answer.
The root of the problem. Toarna didn't believe there was anything else to life than living for one's present pleasure. But if I got her to truly understand, I would lose my main villain. And she wasn't really real, so it wasn't as if I was condemning a soul by not explaining myself.
"I think I have a decent grasp on who you are," I told Toarna. "You may return to your story." With a wave of my hand, she vanished from sight.
I've moved my blog over to Blogger. You can find all the same content you can here plus much more at www.morganhuneke.blogspot.com
I am a 19 year old home-school graduate and a Christian children's book author. I'm involved in politics, and I play the violin. I make a lot of my own clothes and I love taking care of children. I generally blog about my books, but I also have an indefinitely running series on my favorite fictional characters. My friends' very awesome books seem to pop up around here quite often. I rarely post reviews here anymore, but my sisters and I regularly review books and movies at ShireReviews.blogspot.com I hope you enjoy your time here on my blog!