Saturday, July 19, 2014

Who or What Peoples Your World

Most of my worlds are peopled by 'people' just like you and me, more or less. I mean, it's the simple thing to do; everyone can relate to the descriptions. I've given a couple of my peoples wings in one way or another, and I've made some shapeshifters, but in one of my stories I've taken it a bit farther.

I took a race, humanoid in basic form, and fragmented it into four groups that, because of the life habits they chose to lead, they evolved in four drastically different directions.

Like all bipedal creatures we are most familiar with (humans), they farmed crops, herded an assortment of livestock, lived in wooden structures of a log cabin design, and so on - your average very early western settlement, so to speak.

On this world, the trees are immensely tall - maybe something like our redwoods, only rather than being only something akin to a spruce tree, they all were this tall, even the fruit trees. SO - one quarter of the people took to the trees in search of the fruit up there, and since it took so long to climb up there and back, not to mention hauling their harvest around, they took to living in the trees all the time.

And as we all know, there are those people who simply must climb mountains, so I made the mountains in my world viscous crags that were much easier to attain on the wing. Now since wings aren't really an evolutionary trait I can see spontaneously developing, the root race of this planet may have been winged to begin with and only those who remained in the mountains retained their flight ability. I did make them all egg-layers with many of the nesting characteristics of birds. Who knows, maybe severe mountain cold drove many of the people out of the mountains and only the hardiest remained. Then, after generations of life on the ground, wings atrophied away.

That leaves the fourth and last quarter of this fragmented race. As in all peoples there are those who might be called the criminal element. As life becomes rather specialized, the selfish and mean, the greedy brutes, bullies and other such personalities were ostracized. Unwilling to do the work to pick the fruit or till the fields, they took to hunting within the fringes of the great forests, and they hunted anything that moved, to include any of the other humanoid members of their world.

The tree-dwellers I came to call Eanders. They were frail but very strong and ghostly white in appearance with an elven beauty.

The people of the mountains I call Winders. They were tall, fine-boned people with an average wingspan of around fifty feet. They built grand open stone structures and hunted the tops of the trees or the open plains.

The farmers of course were named Landers. They lived near the fringe of the forests walking a fine line between the demons who stole their livestock or the unwary citizen and the plains where the Winders hunted whatever they could swoop down on and carry away.

Then there was the Honders. Raised in such a way that only the strongest of their young survived to procreate, they were heavier than any of the others. They were the most brutish and unforgiving of all the peoples.

Despite all these physical differences, and the obvious hate or fear each has for the others, they all have quite a few similarities.

They all have bony stingers located on the inside of their wrists at the base of their palm. Per race, these had also evolved differently. The Winders were highly poisonous; prey needed to die instantly if they were to successfully hunt on the wing. Eanders poison wasn't so vital to their survival but it did paralyze. Being blood-drinkers rather than water-drinkers, Honders' venom was a strong anticoagulant, which in itself was fatal enough. The Landers also had the barbs but their poison cause a wasting infection that might cost a victim to lose a limb if the sting went untended too long.

They also had spinnerets located between their thumb and first finger, but the uses of their webbing was drastically different per race. The Eanders were by far the most talented:their homes were spun into a hollow ball, which they camouflaged with the leaves of their host tree. It lasted a lifetime unless damaged. The Landers were next in proficiency; they spun all their clothing and material. The Winders could also weave but they did little more than create their sleeping nests. The Honders used their webbing to bind their prey until they were no longer of use alive, or they make sacks to transport or store meat.

As I mentioned before, they all laid eggs that looked something like a turtle egg, about the size of a softball. At first the outer membrane is transparent and the yellow yoke is clearly visible. As soon as the male fertilizes it (after being laid) the membrane turns white. How the egg is tended after fertilization is drastically different per race.

At any rate, I had a lot of fun creating these divergent races, while at the same time tying them closely together. You see, the plan for the story is to end up with one young man who can claim blood ties to all four of the races, and then just maybe bring them all back together, maybe not to live, but at least to work together rather than hunt or prey on each other.

So how did I do that? Well, when I finally get it all written, you'll find out.

Out of curiosity, how would you manage to pair these four races together? You gotta have two of them somehow create a girl and the other two somehow create a boy, at about the same time, and somehow this girl and boy should fall in love (an important step, I think) and create the child who will try to bring peace and understanding, or at least cooperation between all four of the races. Who knows what that will start.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Connecting the Dots

Have you ever read one of those books where there's this character that just pops in once in a while with some cryptic message or vague clue? They can be fun to work with, and of course they can add to the puzzle of what is coming in the book. That is they can be if the dots are properly connected.

If the dots are poorly connected, the reader can get used to the character and learn to recognize their touch, but you as the writer really shouldn't make your reader work for these connections. It robs them of some of the joy if they have to stop and wonder if the person in the second scene is maybe the same person as showed up in the first scene.

Remember, you're showing a blind person a movie he has never seen so you need to use your words to see for him.

Your clues can be as blatant as having this person be the one and only Gothic student in the school - an object of interest but not someone easily approachable, or you can use clues as small as a facial scar - something that doesn't disfigure but still attracts attention, while at the same time be hard to inquire after. By clues, I mean something you can mention, something you notice each time this character appears.
The girl passed me a note as she shoved on past. I noticed that she only had a gold hoop in one ear, and then I noticed why; her other ear had no earlobe, just a blue line where the scar cupped her lower ear and dripped down her neck. Did she have that tattooed? I couldn't tell before she was gone.
Now the next time this girl appears, you might want to take a closer look at that ear but she's facing the wrong direction. And the next time you see her, you might take a moment to make sure you cross paths in such a manner so you can get that look.

The ear is the dots. You mentioning them is the connections. What she does is the important part of the story, be it pass a note or give some dark warning, or even something more up front.

Eventually this person might develop a name and maybe she will become a topic of conversation. She might even become a major character in your story, but if you go that far, the 'dot' part of her should remain one of those cryptic mysteries. I mean, what's the fun in revealing ALL her secrets.

The character I used in my trilogy wasn't even a character, in fact he scarcely qualified as a ghost, and he might have been one of two ghosts, it was sometimes hard to tell. The clues he left were indecipherable compulsions and confusing dreams and visions. He did his best to keep us all confused throughout the story. hahaha Did he keep you guessing too?

So what are the 'dots' in your story, and how have you connected them?

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Life in a Harry Potter World

Thus is the direction of my thoughts upon occasion as I make the fifteen minuted drive to work on a quiet river early in the morning. The other day I watched a special about a new Harry Potter attraction at Disney Land in Florida. Some time ago I saw a cool picture of a witch's broom on Facebook and made the comment about how it would be nice to just hop on and buzz over to work, and not have to worry about launching the boat or all the rest of that jazz. Put this all together and I begin to wonder what it might be like. So here goes:

As already mentioned, a broom would be awesome if all I had to do was pop over to the lodge and back. Heck, disapparateion would be even better. However, just going back and forth isn't all I do. There's the year's worth of food and fuel ordered through the lodge that I need to haul home, and in my little boat, this takes many trips. I'm not exactly sure how Reducto works, and there's Hermiony's purse that seemed to hold everything they needed while they were on the run. That might work for the food, but I'm not sure the fuel would be so easy.

At work, I set the tables for breakfast, which will be at 8:00 - a simple wave of the wand would do that; I'm sure Molly would be able to teach me everything I need to know. After the tables are cleared, I sweep the floor and occasionally mop, then it's off to clean the bathhouse at about 9:00, and whatever cabins and rooms that happen to be occupied. Here again, I would need to take lessons from Molly, but it sure would be cool to wave my wand and have the beds make themselves properly and the floors swept. It doesn't take long to begin with, but you know how it is. Anything that takes a ten minute job and turns it into a five minute job would be awesome. Same with when the guests leave. Just wave my wand and the beds are stripped and remade; I wouldn't mind if it took a few more minutes. I'd have to come back with a mop, but that's not too bad. 

Then it's back to the lodge to run the vacuum, start the laundry, and set the tables for lunch. I can see it happening all at once, of course the washing machine and the drier can handle the laundry. Woohoo!!!

Now, since there are eight cabins and four rooms, the possibility of not being able to get to them all before lunch exists. Of course, if I've cut the time in half, that possibility is slim, but sometimes people go back to sleep after breakfast, so after the tables are all cleared and the floor swept again, it's back to any cabins or rooms that were skipped in the morning. After that, not much is happening until it's time to set the table for dinner at 7:00. 

Hanging around after dinner to clear the tables is probably the hardest part for me; it makes my trip home rather late, but the guys have been spoiling me by letting me go after desert is out, and then they clear the tables for me later.

So with a wave of a wand, my life would be a little easier, but many things would still be much the same. We'd still have to run a generator in order to keep the freezer going. There might be a spell to deal with that, but I'm rather certain there's no spell that can ensure my internet connection. hahaha So, since muggles go to great lengths to invent machines to make life simple, there's no reason I shouldn't take advantage of that.

Where will my thoughts go next time? Time will tell. hahaha

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