Ellen's a highborn fugitive with a poetic soul and strong friendships. She's a half-caste who dares to challenge both Skyseeker and Crystalmaker regimes. She's been marked by the Cryptals.
I chaired the first meeting of a committee last night and was intrigued by how seriously many people take life. When I asked a frivolous question: "What would you like to be in your next life?" and went on to say that I would like to be a willy wagtail (that's a small, perky bird), the response from many was not to follow this joking theme but things like: "I don't believe there's a next life" or "I want to be a human being". Since I spend a lot of time, in my writing, trying to live within my character's minds, listening to these responses peaked my curiosity: what would it be like to live in a mind that is so emphatic? This week's bubble is my dive into the mind of a character in my book who almost entirely lives in her imagination and tries to come to terms with what is happening in reality.
One of the best and most difficult parts of writing the sort of fiction I write is "knowing" the minds of the characters that people my books. As my fingers create the actions and thoughts of my characters, I often catch myself screwing up my face or smiling or laughing or wincing as if I am the character coming alive on the page before me. One of the characters I found both challenging to portray and yet totally understandable is the subject of the book bubble this week. Lian Isoldé creates her own reality so how that reality plays out only has to be rational for her. Ellen's interactions with her are on the basis of Lian Isoldé's terms; but since Ellen does not share Isoldé's rationality, I needed to tread carefully in the space between them.
It is a strange thing that writers are often very nervous to read their own writings out loud to people. So many writers have told me this that I became relieved that I'm not the only one whose voice dissolves into a nervous shake when it needs to articulate the words I have crafted. I used this anomaly in the scene chosen for this week's bubble when Müther forces Ellen to read some of her work. Ellen, usually so sure of herself, tries to parry Müther's challenge by reciting a work she's rehearsed before but then must recite a work that is more bizarre and causes her a great deal of discomfort.
I love reading fantasy but, too often, I find the stories 'dark'. In real life, there are often spots of 'light', even in dark times - and, especially, when considering long periods of time. I like to colour my stories, showing that lives are varied, dipping in and out of 'colours'. I do this by placing characters in settings that are inherently beautiful and linking the character with the beauty – interactions that are both observations and reactions to those observations - such as this bubble.
Humans are social animals. Very few people choose to be alone … for many people, being alone translates ultimately into ‘loneliness’. Personally, I’m not fond of large gatherings: there’s an energy that makes me nervous about large gatherings. It is, however, this very energy that attracts so many of my friends and relatives – and I completely understand its attraction and the need for ‘gathering’ and its vital place in binding and re-invigorating society. It is through scenes of ‘gathering’ that I provide context for much that happens on Si’Empra. This week’s book bubble is an excerpt that introduces one of those gatherings on Si'Empra.
In this excerpt from Skyseeker Princess, Elthán decides to send Thimon and the other survivors of the hunt to the cave. Thimon was rightly concerned about this decision but Elthán felt she had no choice, since the risk of not doing so was hypothermia and the loss of already stressed livestock. She then decided that, given the dire state of supplies for Crystalmakers, she had no option but to order the dead goats be butchered for their meat. No matter which decision Elthán took, she was faced with unpalatable consequences. Not to react to the immediate problem spelled certain disaster. To solve the immediate problem spelled a possible future disaster. There's a saying "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush" and that's what guided her decisions. Elthán might have been able to predict the savage murder of Crystalmakers, but she would never have predicted that her actions set the stage for drawing Ellen more firmly into the lives of Crystalmakers.
Ellen thrills at a challenge. The problem is that the thrill sometimes overrides caution. Confronting the Guild Masters is just one of such incidents. She's had a lifetime of digging herself out of trouble though. With guile, charm and a deep knowledge of who she is and her context, she is generally able to steer her way through trouble... Generally, but not always!
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