NaNoWriMo is a cruel disease, fellow writers. It's extremely contagious. PLEASE avoid it at all cost unless you want to end up like me; a coffee-slurping psychotic writer with a peanut butter and chocolate addiction.
NaNoWriMo this year was as merciless as the before years. At least this time I managed not to get the flu.
In earlier posts, I bemoaned my lack of knowledge on Flake. I believed she would become a villain, or as the awesome Miss Jenelle suggested, an anti-villain. I thought she would betray her fellow Leverage and plunge the world into a darkness much worse than anything Valin or Feldryn could concoct. I was positive that the climax would result in her losing her power and being cast out, forced to wander the world as an outcast and scourge to the Leverage.
Well, let me tell you something- Flake was mad when she discovered my plans for her. She took matters into her own hands and became the most realistic, most driven, most honest, most relentless heroine I have ever written. I assumed Maybelle, a new character, would take center-stage as hero for this novel. No no no. Maybelle, while still crucial, became the "best supporting actress." I also thought Hail and Ember would turn out to be the main protagonists of Flake Frost.
Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. He. Ho. Ha. And I thought my jokes were bad. (Sorry. Joker still on the mind.)
Yeah, they're still there. And while Ember leads a quest separated from most of the other characters, Hail became basically a hidden ally to Maybelle. They only (thus far) have two conversations, but Hail is with Maybelle through most of the novel. He's a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A dark knight. (I need to stop watching that movie. It's taking over my brain. Le sigh.)
And Valin, the cheeky little devil, weaseled his way into my heart. Again. I had originally planned for him to die in Hail Frost. He didn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So then I planned for him to die in Flake Frost. Nope. He lives...again. Fortunately though, he was NOT the principal antagonist of Flake Frost. He's more of...well, an anti-villain, honestly. He fights for what he wants and he is willing to use any means necessary to accomplish his goals. The interesting thing is...Flake begins the book with this same thought-pattern, but she learns, the hard way, that it is not a good philosophy to live by, even if your goals are good.
The main antagonist is a surprise, but I think he was partially inspired by Benjamin Linus from LOST. I'll just leave it at that.
Hmm... how about some random fun facts?
1. Maybelle's story arc is loosely based on the Fairy Tale 'Beauty and the Beast.' She was named after the heroine of the Disney version of the tale, and also one of my two best friends- Mayson.
2. My other best friend got the hero of the upcoming fourth Leverage novel named after her...sort of. Her name is Tori (Victoria), and the hero's name was Victor. However, it just didn't fit him. His name changed to Vidar after some thought. He's gonna be crazy awesome, so just you wait and see 'em, Tori!
3. According to my two guinea pigs (two insightful middle-schoolers who are the only people on the planet allowed to read my rough drafts. I let them do this because they are both incredibly smart and offer good insight into plots, characters, expected v.s. unexpected, etc. I'm serious, I cannot rave about them enough. They are both so intelligent and way beyond their years in literary knowledge. And they are honest with me. Which is always good.) Ahem...anyway, according to my two guinea pigs, the best character is Dray. I'll share a scene with his awesomeness in a moment.
4. There are Doctor Who references. (always a plus!) There are a group of people known as Threaders, which is essentially dimension/time travelers. Two of the three that appear in my novel make references to Doctor Who, just cuz. One yells "Geronimo!" once, and the other yells "Allonsy!". I'm mentioning this here because I don't plan on ever pointing it out again...so, lucky you! There are also plenty of Disney references, and a reference to the 'Count of Monte Cristo.'
5. Most fantasies are "Medieval fantasies", which are fantasy worlds based on the Middle Ages. 'Lord of the Rings' was a Celtic/Nordic fantasy, with some WWI and II era references. The 'Blood of Kings' trilogy by Jill Williamson is a Hebrew/Jewish fantasy. 'The Leverage Series' is a modern America fantasy. I thought it would be interesting to put modern America in a fantasy world. I'll probably write a longer blog post on this, but I got to insert "modern" monsters into my fantasy. Slender Man makes an appearance in Flake Frost and earlier novels featured zombies, ghost dragons, and hydras.
Just for fun, here's a meet the main characters. I've found the most accurate pictures I can of them, and used them here along with a brief description. I'm sure most of them came from movies/actors, but I don't know who most of them are. *shrugs*
Maybelle is the former princess of Finsik, orphaned when the Pull took over, and raised by shepherds. She's laid-back, friendly, encouraging, open minded, and accepting. She has a fierce love for her adopted family and fellow countryman, and feels responsible for their safety even though she is no longer the princess. This responsibility pushes her to drastic decisions, which leads to more self-doubt and internal conflict.
Valin has a lot of secrets...more than he even thought he had. He hates the Pull, for a reason only he knows, and he isn't too fond of the Leverage either. The embarrassment of a failed assassination, and Flake's 'betrayal' could be blamed for that. He enjoys manipulating and blackmailing the good guys-even practically forcing Maybelle into a marriage for a vague, mysterious goal. However, he's not the real enemy. There's someone else that even he fears.
|If only her skin were a wee bit tanner...|
Ember. Oh, Ember. Ember is snappy, immature, overprotective, flippant, and courageous. When an unknown monster captures Klina and Snow, Ember travels with an unstable and slightly crazy magician named Lyle to rescue them. Ember's patience and determination is tested, along with her faith and trust in Elethor. Somehow, she has to save her sister, her friend, and the elusive Ghost Dragons before the world collapses. Fun stuff.
Hail has a lot of problems. Most of them involve spoiled and sassy, Ash. Hail is quiet, strong, distant, and short-tempered, probably the worse set of attributes for a nanny. Didn't Elethor know that? Then why did He decide to pair him with Ash and then give them an impossible task-start a war against the Pull? Hail soon realizes, however, that there is a lot more to people-Ash and Valin in particular- than meets the eye. Sometimes, the real enemy is the person you least expect.
Flake has never been one to 'take the hard path.' She tends to find the easiest and most simple way possible to get a job done, and then do that. An excellent trait when making cupcakes, but not so great when converting your wayward little brother to Elethor's law. She decided to simply erase his mind and fill it with false memories instead. Now Rime knows the truth, and he is seriously ticked off. He leaves Flake and sets off on her own journey, leaving it her responsibility to stop Holdinus from the aforementioned collapsing. She struggles to find the right path to accomplishing the goal-trying to balance her faith in Elethor and her longing to regain the trust of her friends. Flake is loyal, determined, deceptive, and yet, loving. That last bit makes it hard to get over Valin...much to Dray's disapproval.
Dray was Ember's former best friend, but it now a vigilante running from the law and...something else. He can almost match Valin in a manipulative contest, and could probably best Maybelle in a sass-fest. (Okay, maybe not. But he'd be close!) Dray uses his wit and humor to hide the pain and secrets he buries within his heart. He keeps himself closed off in an attempt to keep those who would befriend him away. However, this angsty girl named Flake just won't let the guilt of his inevitable betrayal leave....
Lastly, a short excerpt featuring Dray's first appearance in the story! Enjoy! :)
“Hey, hey, hey, you. If anyone asks, we were gambling, got it?”
Hail flinched at the voice, inwardly cursing his straying thoughts. Someone was trying to press a sack of coins into his non-existent right hand. Hail instantly grabbed his dagger, but paused when he saw the stranger.
His head was turned away, glancing fearfully over his shoulder. But Hail would recognize the close-cropped black hair and tan skin anywhere. Not to mention the utter obnoxiousness that seemed to radiate off of the stranger's very being.
“Dray?” Hail asked.
The person jerked towards him. The desperate look vanished and was replaced by a huge white grin. “Hail, buddy, how ya been? What are you up to? Need a... hand with your little mission?”
Hail glowered at the last comment. “Who's after you, Dray?”
Dray's smile vanished. “Oh yeah, right. Them. It's not good. Very extremely not good. Can you hide me? Do you have a house or apartment or basement or pot you can hide me in?”
Hail smirked. “Nope.”
Dray crossed his arms. “Are you serious, or are you just being a jerk?”
“Both.” Hail chuckled. He glanced away from Dray and scanned the marketplace for Ash. Shouts and curses resounded a few blocks away, echoing through the crowded streets. Dray swore beneath his breath and began spinning desperately, searching for an escape. Soldiers shouted Dray's name, their footsteps pounding through the streets.
“Darn you, Rime. Darn you,” Dray murmured. He began to dash for an empty alley.
Hail grabbed Dray's arm, dropping Cloudy's leash. He yanked Dray back towards him. The renegade stumbled and tripped on the cobblestones. “Rime? What's wrong with Rime?”
“Be more than happy to chat with ya Hail. Actually, no, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But if you haven't noticed, my life is in jeopardy at the moment, so now's a tad inconvenient.” Dray said, pulling his arm out of Hail grasp.
Hail groaned and relented. “The library is two blocks down. Go hide in the tunnels.”
Dray stared at him, his amusement, mockery, and fear replaced by disbelief. “Have you been in the tunnels recently?”
Hail opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by the nearing shouts and calls of the soldiers. Hail swore and grabbed Dray's shoulder, pushing him towards the alley. “I hate you. Come on!”
It's a rough draft, so cut me some slack, okey dokey?
Oh yeah! My novel is currently at 90,061 words. I expect there to be at least 40,000 more words before it's all said and done.
Hope y'all had a great November! I, for one, am completely ready for Christmas. :)