30 September 2008

Character Profile: Draven

To continue the character profile series that stemmed from this post, I will be discussing Draven, the fan favorite and rebel leader of ANJIDIA (the novel I am shopping out now), as per my lovely Bow-Tie's request.

NOTE: Because this work is currently unpublished, answers may be intentionally vague to avoid spoilers.

About Draven: As the leader of the rebellion, Draven is charming and take-charge. He also has a tendency to keep things very close to the vest. Age isn't a fixed concept in Anjidia, but Draven has matured to what would be the equivalent of a man in his late twenties in our world.

a. What initially prompted me to write about him. I knew that Draven was going to exist from the moment that I first thought about ANJIDIA beyond the first scene that came to me. But he changed quite a bit throughout the writing process. In fact, Draven began his journey through my mind as a prince! (For those of you who haven't read the story, there are no princes in my book.)
b. One of his best traits. Draven takes everything on himself--the rebellion, responsibility for his family, et cetera. He will go to any lengths to take care of those obligations.
c. One of his worst traits. Draven takes everything on himself. What can I say? It's a great liability as well. A lot of pressure is associated with carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and Draven knows that better than most.
d. How easy/difficult I find it to write him. Draven isn't difficult to write, per se. However, he did change quite a bit. I think it's most accurate to say that he is surprising to write. He is one of the characters whose scenes changed (if only a bit) during the editing process, as his character had changed so much throughout.
e. The moment where I feel that I truly captured him. I think that I truly captured the "essence of Draven" when I rewrote a scene between Aryli (the book's narrator and protagonist) and Draven that happens toward the end of the book. I had originally envisioned the scene unfolding like that, but in the first draft, it wasn't right. Happily, that wasn't the case for the revised versions.
f. My plans to write him in the near future. It is very conceptual and theoretical at this point, but I am vaguely planning to write a sequel to ANJIDIA that features Draven as its narrator. We'll see how that pans out, but I would love the opportunity to bring him back.

28 September 2008

Another reason I write

Did you know that in 1931 China banned ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, because the story portrays animals and humans on the same level? It's true. Hm. I guess that it's too bad that I not only read it, but also wrote my 50-page thesis on it.

In celebration of ALA's Banned Book Week, I thought that I would share my brush with the dangerous world of banned books. In addition, I found this list of books that have been banned at some point in the United States. Aren't you glad that we have that pesky First Amendment to keep things like this from...oh wait. Just as an experiment, I've marked those I've had the pleasure of enjoying.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (6th grade)
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume (3rd grade)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (college)
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (9th grade)
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner (college)
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (7th grade)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (9th grade)
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (9th grade)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (10th grade)
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell (4th grade)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (6th grade)
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (um....my grandmother read it to be before I could read)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (6th grade)
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz (6th grade)
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (5th grade)
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot (10th grade)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (college)
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (college)
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (college)
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl (5th grade)
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (9th grade)
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (college)
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

I've read 22 of these titles, seen all of the Stephen King books in their movie form, and have several of the others on my To Be Read list. Apparently, I am a fan of the forbidden fruit. Who would have guessed?

25 September 2008

Character Profile: Kate Stephan

My first response (to this post in which I called for requests for character insight) was by the lovely Kat Kuhl. She wanted to hear more about Kate Stephan, one of the main characters of my currently shelved SPIRITS OF CHANGE.

About Kate: Ms. Stephan is an unmarried, 56-year-old fierce businesswoman. She is the CEO/majority shareholder of Stephan Enterprises, and she is pretty much the most powerful woman in the world--think a female Lex Luthor. She acts as the financier and gatherer of the heroines in SOC.

a. What initially prompted me to write about her. I knew that I needed someone to act as a the magnet to draw all of the leads (there are five) into the story. I also needed someone to get in on the ground floor and become a believer who could actually do something about her beliefs. Thus, Kate was blinked into existence.
b. One of her best traits. Kate may be a hard-nosed, savvy businesswoman, but she's not closed-minded or ultra-conservative. Her open-mindedness is by far her best trait.
c. One of her worst traits. Kate suffers from that familiar ailment that most commonly afflicts the rich and powerful; she will do anything to get what she wants, because she believes that the rules don't apply to her. As a result, she can be somewhat amoral and manipulative.
d. How easy/difficult I find it to write her. Despite my obvious lack of both money and power, I found Kate really easy to write. She has enough of the stereotypical traits of a financial juggernaut that I could use familiar tropes, but she's also soft and caring (in certain ways) enough that I liked her. In fact, I'd say she was my favorite character in the entire SOC cast.
e. The moment where I feel that I truly captured her. I feel that Kate was alive to me from the moment that I started writing, and in the opening scene of the book (told from her point of view) she has this AMAZING conversation in which she essentially tells the President of the US to take a hike, because she's Kate Stephan. She wasn't being malicious, just...Kate. From that moment, there she was.
f. My plans to write her in the near future. Sadly, SOC has been scrapped for the foreseeable future. I had this great cast and realized that they just weren't going anywhere. But I haven't given up on Kate, and I'm certain that I haven't heard the last of her.

Oh the shame!

I can't believe that it has been almost a month since I last updated. At least I made it in under the wire, no? You're right. My apologies.

Sure, I was out of town for a few days over Labor Day weekend. Sure, I was working at a temp job, interviewing for permanent jobs and finally securing one. Sure, I was busy querying more agents and sinking into a subtle depression with each passing rejection. And sure, I was editing my first novel (again) and have been outlining my second.

Clearly I have no excuses. Oh look, there they are. Amazing.

My point is that I regret my absence and am going to try to be better behaved. I make no promises, however. I start my new job on Monday, and I hope to start writing on my next novel this weekend. It will be impressive indeed if I am able to balance all three. Then again, I like challenges.

In the meantime, I thought that I would post this meme for you all to comment on. I will dedicate a blog entry to whatever character you pick. However, you may only choose one. So make it your favorite.

Name a character that you know I write or have written, and I'll tell you:

a. What initially prompted me to write about the character.
b. One of the character's best traits.
c. One of the character's worst traits.
d. How easy/difficult I find it to write the character.
e. The moment where I feel that I truly captured the character.
f. My plans to write the character in the near future.

If you aren't familiar with my characters, enjoy learning a bit about them. And because I'm always on the look-out for good entry topics, you can ask a question of your choosing about my writing process.