Jul. 16th, 2017 07:14 pm
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Which OC is a person of color?

Zela, Seljai, Kaleb, Ebrin and Sylvie are people of color. If I was casting them, Kaleb, Sylvie and most of the Yrethtari are black, Zela, Ebrin and the Yllaii could be played by actors with brown skin, and for Seljai and the Ro I'd want to cast Asian actors, indigenous actors, or someone who is both. Valerai and the Kaishi are largely white.

Lial is a color (genetic blue) that does not exist in actual humans.


Jul. 1st, 2017 05:15 pm
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Which OC speaks 2 or more languages?

Valerai speaks five different languages, seven to eight if one chooses, as she insists, on separating three to four variations of her native Kaishi. She still finds dogs more comprehensible than any.
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Which OC speaks a dead language?

His language is not dead, but in the city it may as well be, so distant are all of its speakers. Valerai fervently hopes that they remain that way, but she will always miss them.

Seljai, she thinks every morning at the time she once opened her mind to daily prayer: be alive, be full of joy, be far, far away from this place.

And in the city, she speaks his language to her hounds. “Beautiful ones, sleek wind-chasers, little piece-of-the-sky hounds," she speaks to them so that she does not forget his language, so unlike any other she ever learned. The long softness of its syllables, the gentle rising and falling of its cadence, the neat definition of its structure comfort her, soothe her aching when she misses him and all that she has lost.

Everyone assumes Valerai is speaking her own language, or nonsense-syllables; and if she becomes aware of this, she does not correct them. She does not speak of him, does not wish to invoke him here; but she will not forget his language, for it is not dead, and, somewhere, neither is he.
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Which OC is very good at what they do, but nobody is really sure what it is that they do?

Lial, at Rosegarden, did everything—a little of this, a little of that, whatever needed a pair of skilled hands. It was only required that she did this very well.
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Sweet, this is a bit of Rosegarden I needed to write eventually anyway. It fits into Lial's early emancipation sequence.


Which OC wears hair accessories?


Lial stepped out onto the staff balcony, into the sun, and the net of tiny crystals worked into her long hair seemed to ignite into pale-yellow fire. Her white robe was of the simplest cut, but Zela blinked at the unlikely marvel that she’d made of her already eye-catching tresses.

Zela realized she was staring, returned herself to appropriate distance, but didn’t grudge signing ‘impressive’ into their shared context. Valerai was still staring, but in a different way, her expression a thoughtful, head-cocked perplexity not at all unlike the wolfhound standing quietly beside her, as though trying to understand rather than admire what she was seeing.

The jeweled net worked part of Lial’s hair into an interlocking spiral that began at her temples, made a tight coil down the back of her neck, and spilled in scintillation down her back. A faceted stone of clear yellow glittered at her brow. It was the same bright, clear yellow as her eyes, and it was to this Valerai looked askance.

Lial’s usual regal distance had a different quality as she stared calmly into the middle distance, her expression an absence framed by the intricate crystals, and Valerai scrutinized her in the way her dog sniffed the air, trying to understand.

“Will it impress the audience?” She spoke with the inflection of one who had been taught late how inflection was meant to work in human language. In-city formal, and now Zela thought she understood the Yls-vel accent—God.

“Ought to,” shrugged Zela. “Hey Valerai, you’re staring. Nice hair. Come on, we’d better get out there.”
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A piece of story! But not of 'Rosegarden.' This bit will come in the third part of book 1, 'Lady and Huntsman.' Currently, I plan to divide it into 3 parts, with 'City of Beasts' being third.

This scene should be one of the first introduction to the vayans (assuming the reader has not already read Rosegarden, which will be finished first) and almost certainly the first use of vayan perspective.

I apparently needed to write some average human/vayan interaction out there, to contrast with the less average situation I'm working on now in 'Rosegarden.'

The silent air became electric. The vayans were perfectly still, weight forward on their heavy, curving hands, long, razor-crested necks held tall and stiffly forward, bristling. )
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Which OC would be the most fashionable at the Met Gala?

Valerai, no question. She and Jena would go to the world-equivalent Met gala and love it.

Something more or less along these lines happens in the first book. (Have I mentioned here that this is a trilogy? It's a trilogy. Rosegarden is book 2).
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Which OC always chooses ‘truth’ in games of truth or dare?

When she was young, before the capture, Zela always chose the dare. She and her brother would make dares constantly, if in secret, and then act on them to great effect when the time came right.

Later, afterwards, dare games made her uncomfortable, even when the children played them. She would be angry, and then angry at herself, but Ebril understood her and ignored it. He was such a gentle child. He liked to take the dares, but Zela only asked for truth.
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This one took me forever but it was fun. Pageantry, grandiosity, theatrics! All seven of the main cast, three of the minor cast and something like 20 of their dogs have something to do! Although it feels like Sun-tiger should be somewhere in here too.

I think of this scene as the coda of Orchid's arrival and finding-his-place arc; everything after this is the leadup to the ending sequence and the ending sequence itself. I still have a pretty hefty chunk to go before it actually ends, but I am heading in that direction.

And then there's the whole bit in the middle with freshly emancipated Lial, but that will be easier to do when I have the end, and I always planned to do it last. Lial is the most difficult character by far, but I'm getting more comfortable with her.

“You monsters,” came a low cadence, deliberate and rich. “You made Precision wear a muzzle?” )
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Added the Table of Scenes to the google doc.

I am currently working on '61. The rose and the aptar' (Rose and Aptar? The Aptar and the Rose? idk quite). It's grandiose.

I look at the table and am both excited by how close I am to a finished draft, and dismayed by how far it still is. But I'm also clearly closer to being finished with the 'coming down to the end and ending' missing part of the book than the 'big chunk in the middle about Lial's emancipation' missing part of the book. Those are the two big missing chunks! They aren't small chunks, but still, just the two.

Oh, and Pattern has a soccer game before the intimate misunderstanding sequence, but by the time I get around to it, that should be fun to write. Maybe that will be the last scene I finish.

And then it will be finished. (The rough draft, anyway).

The Lives of St. Valerai:

Table of Scenes )
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Immensely Valuable Beta Feedback Received:

"the single-quote/ double-quote to denote signing vs. speech continues to annoy me, because I read both British and American novels and don't see a difference (U.S. uses double quotes for dialogue, U.K. uses single) until I get confused and backtrack."

Definitely a problem to fix; I want it immediately obvious to the reader when a character changes from verbal to gestural speech. The best repair seems to be replacing ' ' with another form of punctuation. Fix this on second draft.

Current Punctuation:


'Signing' The problem is obvious;

< Strobing >

/ ! / Plosion in the higher register

/ + / Plosion in the lower register
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Kaleb's teenage son needs a name. Jaim? Danol? Both fit as Yrethtari male names. Maybe Jaim b/c it's one syllable, and the other characters he hangs out with, Sylvie and Ebrin, are both two syllable names.

Edit; Jaim is Kaleb's kid, Danol is the deceased embezzler who Lial replaces. Poor dude needs a name.

I go back and forth about whether Danol turns out to be important at the end of book 3 as a wronged senator's beloved human, whose fate she learns at a plot-relevant moment, or if having him be the same guy is a little too cleverly coincidental.
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The Yllaii undoubtedly have some kind of religious requirements around butchery / food preparation analogous to kosher or halal. This certainly forbids vayans from handling their food.

Given that they are a small ethnic minority in Urkatriabek, how do they get around this?

What issues does Zela face finding food? Early in immigration, this is a huge issue with the Yllaii. Zela will have eaten inappropriate food as the only option, and felt sick/terrible about it.

When Valerai brings her meat, does she do something at the time of kill to make certain it will be ok for Zela (this would be a great small detail to add in 'Hunger and the white stag.')

Add this somewhere in the 'young Valerai and Zela getting to know each other' sequences. The two do not start out well together, but when Valerai finds out Zela has this kind of need, she will unquestioningly do the thing...Getting The Food, Doing That Correctly is Valerai's whole life, after all, and she is much more comfortable adjusting her methods/ saying the right prayer /etc. than Zela expects.

This will contrast with a point where Zela is otherwise put out/surprised by the absolute authority Valerai unconsciously assumes in hunting, especially when she is, early on, so frightened and submissive elsewhere. This is part of Zela's process of getting to know Valerai and obtaining a sense of who she is and what her life was like before immigration.

Confused Zela: "But you don't even like me. Why are you taking this so seriously?"

Confused Valerai: "What does liking you have to do with it? Food for you must be done in X way, you are one of the people I am now hunting for, ergo I must do X thing. Liking you has nothing do do with it.
...but actually, you are incorrect; I do like you."
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Zela clearly does not have a religious proscription against alcohol, or 'scene 52. Revelry; return' won't fly. It seems as though they would have rules around it, especially how and when, so perhaps think about that and add it somewhere.

Perhaps the Yllaii originally had harsher restrictions around booze, and that is one of the things that changed culturally during their generations of rebellion. Alcohol is a human invention, or at least if the vayans invented distillery they did it independently, or with the help of captive humans. Zela embraces her religion and culture more as her arc progresses, not less, so add something about this somewhere.
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A point in the list of 'things to think about when a first draft is finished':

Usage of the word 'muzzle.' At various points in frequent use as a part of the face of a vayan or a dog; also often used to describe a device worn on the jaws of either species. Are there points where this is confusing?

From scene 67:

Pattern exhaled with a little moan and let the sound carry her shoulder carefully into Precision, who returned pressure with a quiet huff of gratitude. Gold vayan and silver pressed their cheeks together tenderly and closed their eyes, so that each muzzle nested into the deep, plush coat of the other’s backskull. Their cheek patches touched.

Is it as clear as I think it is that I'm talking about the part of their faces and that neither character is wearing a muzzle?
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The work-in-progress is here:


Rosegarden: an alternate history; a story of manners and predation; toothy monsters; a woman and her dogs. Warning for explicit content in places.

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Well hey, new internet platform, we'll see how this goes.

For the time being, this is mostly going to be a writing journal for my novel-in-progress, 'Rosegarden.' I plan to shortly make it available as a google document, in as much of its extremely unfinished, messy, rough drafted glory as exists.

But I'll begin with the scene I've been working on for the last couple of days. I realized that it contains the book in a nutshell, and is probably a decent indicator for whether a reader will find the thing interesting. If you like this, there's 548 pages and counting (sob) more of it.

66. Honest dogs )
summer_jackel: (Zhava Running)
So, I am writing a novel! I'm not engaging with NaPo as a writing exercise, because I am perhaps 3/4 of the way done with said novel.

I will soon have 'The Lives of St. Valerai: Rosegarden' available as a google document in as much of its extremely unfinished, messy, rough drafted glory as exists. For the nonce, I leave the scene I've been working on for the last couple of days. I was going through it and realized that it contains the book in a nutshell, and is probably a decent indicator for whether a reader will find the thing interesting. If you like, this, there's 548 pages and counting (sob) more of it.

Honest dogs )


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July 2017



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