What I’ve been up to

So, this is just a bit of my rambling and plans, story-wise, for the New Year. It also contains a bit of what I’ve been up to.

Currently, I still haven’t started working on proofreading Milly. I do plan on doing that sometime soon. Of late, I’ve been sort of taking a break and working on some random side-projects just for fun. They aren’t serious, I mean, one’s fan fiction. Another work is just some magical high school comedy with characters based on the Tarot. I might have them up somewhere, maybe.

Activity on my blog might slow down until I have more to write about. I’ll probably talk about Milly once the story has been looked through and is ready to put out in e-book stores. It’ll still be a free download.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on Feast of the End, Book 2. I still have all the ideas in place, but I hope I can pick up the tone. I’m almost done with it, but there’s still a whole lot of proofreading to be done. Well, I don’t want to say too much on it. Currently, the tentative title is Sorrowful Articulation, but I’m going to change it. That just seems like a mouthfull for only 2 words.

See you in the new year with Milly and Feast of the End, Sorrowful Articulation!

Advertisements

Design notes – Dizaks 4

This post will contain spoilers. Don’t read unless you are okay with that, or better yet, finished Feast of the End, Lightning Heart.

This is will cover random design notes the rest of the dizaks I’ve talked about in the first book of Feast of the End. This also includes the character of Runi! But that comes later.

First up, Qoatls. These are the white snakes in Serpestaine Mountain that live in the ravines. They are an external magic type, and their magic allows them to produce a white mist. The Qoatls can move in such a way that they appear invisible to their prey while in the mist. It only works from that angle, though. When viewed from different locations, they can be seen a bit easier. The abilities aren’t quite as useful for Feastends who can’t move in that special way.

Serpestaine, what Serpestaine Mountain was named after. They make that place their home, but as they don’t show up in the story itself, I don’t have much notes on them. Consider them apex hunters, similar to Ampwolves in power.

Ampwolf, when I first made them, I didn’t have them directly facing the main characters. They were merely showing off just how strong and terrifying the upper levels of dizaks could be. Of course, I quickly changed my mind. Just showing off their light beams wasn’t going to be fun at all. Their names are a combination of Amplify and wolf. Woo portmanteaus.

I made them to show that was strong as magic, military and feastends are, the higher level of dizaks are still far more powerful. I also wanted to show how wild dizaks could become notorious and get names.

Ampwolves are an external magic type, though they are tough enough to beat most internal magic dizaks in physical combat. They can fire super-heated beams of light from their mouths.

The way I wanted them to look is a bit science-fiction, actually. That’s why they have plates over their bodies and a visor-like eyes. The visor-likeness helps prevent them from getting blinded.

Sisart, they were meant to evoke a creepy kind of cute, being pretty small with a fur-covered body, large; pointed ears and wide eyes. I don’t know the name of the real animal they were based on, but it appeared in the Madagascar movies. Mouse lemurs! That was it.

Sisarts are an external magic type. They are one of the dizaks in which the ability becomes more powerful when used by a feastend. Dizaks don’t communicate well with each other, so sisarts can only do simple lulluby-like effects. It’s enough to allow them to slash the throat of a much larger target.

When used by a feastend, they can turn the hypnosis voice into a commanding voice as long as the target understands the language. There are many ways to use it. Loud, sudden commands can catch a person off guard, but they must be simple. Quiet whispers can embed unconscious movements in a person, though if they realize it, they can easily resist.

The name of the sisart, well, it comes from something silly. It is a combination of the words sister and articulation, as in the little sister that begs you for stuff and you do it to keept her from annoying you.

Strikhart, the main dizak of the story. They were the third or so dizak I thought of, after lukrolds and angkrabs. If you remember that I originally wanted the main character’s name to be Furfur, you might be able to guess how I came upon their appearance (scale-covered deers). As for the scales, I don’t know why, but looking at the cover art, it works so well.

They are an external magic type with lightning magic. They can also transfer emotions through their lightning abilities. The name strikhart comes from lightning strike and the other word for deer, hart. And that is how I came up with the title of the first book. Lightning Heart. Overall, they are considered among the more powerful dizaks.

Now, as for Runi, he was a challenging character to make. Well, first off, I saw a sketch on Key and Peele that says even saying spoiler warning already puts people on alert for something “whoa” happening. But here we go, spoilers.

He was really tough to do because I knew I was killing him off. Originally, he wasn’t going with Selaf when she went to kill Macerich, but then I realized that gave him too little time with the readers. I wanted to show off his personality traits more and give the readers more time to know him. I was really worried how late I was introducing him in the first book that I even considered letting him live into the second book. It just wouldn’t work as well that way, though.

Runi is basically easy-going until a fight breaks out, then he’s all for it. I hoped I gave readers enough to his likeable nature. It’s one weakness of mine when writing, if I know I’m killing off a character, I tend not to develop them as much because it makes me sad to know they’re going away. And if I develop them too much, I find it hard to kill them off.

I tried to put in a lot of Selaf and Runi moments. He is probably the most important character to Selaf in this book. I’m sad he’s gone, but he had to go.

Skarni is Sophy’s dizak pet before she became a feastend. Well, I do plan to expound a bit on what happened between them in book two.

Whew, that’s about it for notes on Feast of the End, Lightning Heart. If you there are any other questions, I’ll see if I can answer them in the blog, or maybe they’ll be answered in future installments.

How about a sneak peak at a dizak that appears in book two?

Coeryp, they are probably the strangest one I’ve made, and one I really wanted to do. Rather than one animal, they are a colony of fungal-like creatures that reproduce through spores. Be careful around them as breathing them in would be really bad.

Design Notes – Dust Drivers

First up, went to see the Hobbit today. It was snowing/raining, that annoying slush mixture, but I went anyway. And I liked it. Maybe I’ll put up my full thoughts once the entire trilogy is out. They do have some divergence from the book, so those that read the Hobbit can get something new here and there.

Anyway, this time, I want to talk about the Dust Drivers. They were briefly mentioned in the book as an organization primarily found in Sorcnon. At the time of the story, they are not in use as much. Their original purpose, was to safely bring people between cities. All Dust Drivers are strong, cunning and well-equipped. They defend their passengers from bandits and, more importantly, dizaks.

With new technologies, such as armored trains, use of the Dust Drivers have quickly fallen out of favor. They are still among the most dangerous people in Sorcnon, rivalling most of the military forces.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about something only appeared for that one section. Well, it’s because the Dust Drivers were based on another one of my stories (not finished, not shown yet), the Railway Drivers. It was a science fiction story, my desire to do a space western.

I need to look up the name of the planet again, but the main character was called Milli. This Milli Cadgall was made before Amelie “Milly” Randall from my Nanowrimo book. Their names just happened to be similar for some reason. Anyway, Milli was a Railway Driver, an employee of a company that focuses on transportation of people and goods.

On most planets, there are no fuel for traditional crafts, and shipping it in from off-world is expensive, so most people use old-style, animal-drawn carriages with the local animals providing the labor.

The planet Milli is on is full of dangerous creatures, rocky plains and other harsh enviroments. Many rich people do like coming to the frontier planets because regulations there are looser, and there is always the chance of finding valuable materials or minerals.

Railway Drivers take clients where they want to go, no matter how dangerous. Of course, its up to the passengers to decide if they want to trust the drivers to go into dangerous locations. Each Driver is skilled and has a personal armory that could outfit a platoon of soldiers.

They also have license classifications ranging from 1 to 10. This denotes the danger level a particular Railway Driver is ready to handle safely. There are also specialty marks, signifying that a driver can handle certain dangers even above their current level. Of course, this means the planet has been divided into danger zones, though it is just a rough estimate on the part of the company.

Each driver has a second and a puller, as in carriage-puller. I forgot the name of Milli’s second, but her beast was named Shoti, a prickly lizard. Shoti is a giant lizard with a back full of quills, not as fast as other pullers but hardy and tough to injure. The second’s job is to be backup during dangerous situations, and if the primary driver falls, get the passenger to the destination.

The story wasn’t that much about grand plots like Feast of the End. Railway Drivers is more about the passengers and the characters doing the driving. I originally gotten the inspiration from a manga (Japanese comic) called Aria. Aria is, in short terms, a space gondelier. Railway Drivers is just a bit more violent.

I do want to complete Railway Drivers someday as I really like the stories without a definite goal. A new passenger pops up as the last one departs.

Next time, I’ll finish up the dizaks, this includes the character of Runi. Later.

Design Notes – Dizaks 3

Hah, quick random thing I just discovered: asyndeton. Apparently, it means leaving out the conjunctions, as Milleta does in her speech. It’s a real thing! Okay, on to the dizaks now.

Nionite: I really don’t have anything more for this than just a name. It’s weaker than the lukrolds, therefore, the lukrold blood overpowers it and renders it useless.

Loberi: A dizak with flame powers. I also don’t have much more other than a name for this.

Lepuear: An external magic type dizak. It is considered difficult and dangerous to catch. Not many people know what a lepuear really looks like. They have the appearance of giant rabbits, mad with anger. They constantly froth at the mouth, and their eyes bulge out with a maddening red. They mostly have flesh with only a few spots of fur. Sharp teeth line their great maws.

But most people don’t see that. Lepuears can cast illusions, usually turning themselves invisible while luring prey to a weaker-looking dizak. They live in forest areas and spend large parts of their day still, waiting as a bush or a fallen log.

There wasn’t any huge reason why I chose to have Selaf originally ingest lepuear blood. A scene was originally planned where she confronted a lepuear in Forehearth Forest, but I cut it out because I wanted her first dangerous dizak encounter to be with the shadow fiend.

Banefly: A dizak that can phase through objects. They look like giant flies with a giant flexible horn.

Shadow Fiend: Shadow fiends are an external type dizak. Their magic allows them to take control of a things shadow and then control that persons actions. Being shadows, they are hard to hit, but they are forced away from light.

Typically, they sneak up on stronger dizaks and use those to hunt for prey. If needed, the shadow fiend will just bend itself in a posture that the target it’s possessing can’t, usually breaking the target’s neck or back. They only tend to do this after finishing with the hunt.

Shadow Fiends are not native to forests. They prefer to live in arid expansions, placed without much plant-life but a lot of rocks and cliffs.

That’s it for today! Next time, I want to write about something that has to do with the story, but not really. Find out what it is!

Frozen

So time for something out from the norm. It’s time for another of my movie opinions! This time, it will be Frozen. I will try to avoid spoilers, but no promises.

Frozen is a disney computer animated movie based on The Snow Queen, though loosely based. The main character, Anna, is the younger sister of Elsa . Elsa well I’ll just call her Snow Queen due to her ice powers, but she’s not completely meant to be that Snow Queen. In simplest/non-spoilering terms story is about their struggles dealing with Elsa’s snow powers.

The characters are all great with wonderful voice acting. And I will say I did not see the twist coming. It does actually make the resolution of the story slighty easier, though. And that’s about as much as I’ll say on that. The story constantly remains fun with things to see while still being grounded by the characters.

A lot of effort probably went into the snow and ice effects. They look magnificent. Snow scatters, ice will reflect light, and it’s all wonderfully magical. Disney never fails to bring the razzle and the dazzle. Snow always has the potential to look magical, but they really brought up that feeling much more.

This time, they also brought the music. There are a lot of songs in this movie. Almost every major character gets a song or duet. Some of the songs are put there just for the sake of having songs. What I mean is that it doesn’t progress the plot much. All the songs are definitely great. My favorite would have to be “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel. They hired a lot of songsters to voice the characters, and it shows through on the marvelousness of their songs.

The movie is both heartwarming and funny. No pun intended, but it gave me chills, too. The characters have a lot of feeling and warmth. Even the comedy relief gets his moment. You just want them to be happy. Well, I suppose that’s true of most main characters, but it applies extra here. Their struggles are presented in a powerful manner.

I will sum up by saying that the movie is adorable, great and completely worth watching.

Design Notes – Railpane Characters, Dharuta, Military Characters

Well, time for a little break from dizaks. They’ll return soon, don’t worry. For now, I’ll do some more design notes on characters. Remember, there might be spoilers, so please read Feast of the End first!

We’ll start with the staff member of Railpane.

Hughard Blonts

He is the president and owner of Railpane. The company is in his family for a few generations now. He never had to work hard, usually just getting things because he was the boss’s son. His father died early, however, and now he runs the company.

Hughard is a nice person, well-meaning but slightly incompetent. He leaves most of the operations of the company up to his Vice-presidents while he gets to go to all the fancy parties given to someone of his position. When something bad happens, the first thing he does is get advice on what to do from his vice-presidents. Both of them realize that he’s a weak leader, however.

His last name, Blonts. I made that to sound sort of goofy to show that he wasn’t all that good at his job.

Chairée Bellre

ChairĂ©e is a lumian, though an oddly short one. Instead of being tall and lean, like they normally are, she’s short and pudgy. She is the one that manages Hughard’s business life. Pretty much everything goes through her, including the plans for the end of year event.

There’s not much more on her. Well, nothing I’m going to say here.

Macerich Ottenon

I sort of had to make him as bad, if not worse than, Miletta in terms of being power-hungry. I added the part about him sending someone after her just to sort of balance out their murder attempts on each other. Despite having the same goals, he’s the antagonist and Miletta is the protagonist, so I was trying to make him more unlikeable without having him just go around kicking dogs and stuff. I even made it so that he wasn’t directly attacked by Miletta’s guards.

Vanice

Vanice’s family has always been servants to the Ottenon family, that’s why she’s so loyal to him. They’ve known each other since they were children as a sort of master and servant relationship, with her being the servant. She was created to further show how similar Macerich and Miletta are. She also shows off how other powerful people have powerful servants.

That’s it for now about Railpane, now I’ll go into a bit on Dharuta.

Dharuta

He was designed to be a feral man, a hunter, one that is interested in strong prey. He accidentally cripples or kills a lot of slaves in Scar Hound. They only keep him there because it’s amusing, and he’s good at putting the fear into people just by being there.

I wonder if I could have done more to make him the first feastend that appeared. He did manage to beat an Angkrab by ripping off the shell with his strength. For Selaf, he is technically considered on her side. He also really cared about the dizak that he found as a baby. His last words were saying how he’ll see the dizak again soon.

What kind of dizak power does Dharuta have? An internal magic type that makes him strong and fast, a green slasher. Green slashers are tiger-like dizaks that live in the plains. They’re colored green and have really long fur. When running at full speed, they look like a streak of green.

Now it’s time for the Anmaul military. I divided them into specialized groups mostly because I think it is pretty cool. Each one of them operates individually and has their own culture. When they come together, there is nothing they can’t handle.

I named them after the last names of the current commander. Some groups are constantly changing names, some groups have kept the same name for a long time.

The Dalkurans are the Elite Center Guard. They specifically protect the council and the city of Anmaul. They also control the rest of the military, being made up of the highest ranks. Commander Dalkur is also the highest general of the Sorcan military.

The Gabreans are the Elite Wall Defenders. They are primarily defensive, taking up position around the cities’ walls. They mostly protect against dizaks but also act as early warning scouts. Most of them are trained snipers. Their leader is Renault Gabre.

The Noranans are the Elite Investigation Unit. I imagine them as the main characters of procedural crime dramas mixed in with spies. I named them Noranans just as an example of how a group would be named if the leaders name already ends in -an. Their leader is Baltic Noran.

The Ashans are the Elite Dizak Hunters. I didn’t mention them within the story proper, but they are the most knowledgeable about dizaks. Their role is to beat back any serious incursions, such as if Ampwolves were to attack, they would be called in. They also deal with any criminal feastends. Their leader is Seraphina Ash.

The Rapsardans are the Elite Assault Force. I consider them to be like SWAT, for those that know what SWAT is. They are heavily armed and called into dangerous situations. They are adept at breaking defenses and charging in. Their leader is Lynn Rapsard

Lynn Rapsard

Perhaps Lynn’s appearance is just due to me wanting to put an ambiguous character into everything I write. I’m going to use the neutral, though plural, they and their for this. Their appearance is either a womanly man or a manly woman, whichever one you prefer. I’m not going to say one way or the other. In fact, I’m planning on changing which pronoun I use to refer to them in between books.

When I first designed the Rapsardans, I wasn’t sure what their role was going to be, but it easily fell into place that they were to fight the Shining Sun Order towards the end of the book. It sort of shaped Commander Rapsard’s personality to be more reasonable and caring towards Selaf.

Their dizak is a phasro. They are pretty much impossible to catch due to their ability to teleport extremely short distances. That’s what they are doing, several micro teleports that allows them to get to where they are going. They look like some kind of snake that has two bladed arms. Commander Rapsard’s phasro was raised from the egg.

Whew, this one was pretty long. Well, see you next time.