Friday, October 23, 2015

Scene Stealers

Characters who steal scenes.

As an author, I love all of my characters--good, bad, horrid, awesome--they're my babies, and I relish the instant when a supporting character steps into his or her role with zeal, bringing the plotline to life. They're the characters who light fires, challenge the protagonists, and fight for their own ideals every step of the way, sometimes unleashing epic struggles.

Did someone mention Scythe? (Also known as "Pet" from Prophet.)
While such characters do add wonderful life to stories, and sometimes provide much-needed comic relief, they present a charming danger to every plotline, even affecting the way that readers might eventually feel about your main character, whom you also love as a parent-author.

They become major scene-stealers, and it's not always a good thing. In Valor, a vibrant supporting character was threatening to completely overshadow the female main character, whose introverted nature made her vulnerable to fading away in the lesser character's glow. By the third chapter, I was consciously "shushing" the lesser character to allow my main female lead to speak for herself, and allow the reader to live in her quiet but no less admirable thoughts. (Dear character kids, you really do have to share the scenes!)

Fortunately, in Valor, my supporting character understood perfectly. As for Scythe/Pet in Prophet ... well, yes, he's another story.

Blessings, Dear Everyone!

Image: Shutterstock.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Valor Cover

 Valor Cover

At last, we have a cover image for Valor, the seventh volume in the Books of the Infinite stories!

Valor was inspired by Judges, chapter 11, specifically, the tragic story of Jephthah and his heroic daughter--verses from the Scriptures, which distressed and absorbed me when I first read them at age eight. 

For readers of the Books of the Infinite, Valor is set in Agocii lands, which is perfect for unfolding this tragic story, so horrifically bound by its own times, traditions, and laws, as well as eternal expectations. 

Yes, you might cry--never say I didn't warn you--but I pray that Valor will leave you with hope!

Blessings, Dear Everyone! You are in my prayers. 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Quiet Characters

Not long ago, a reader sent me an email--YAY!--listing his favorite characters thus far in the Infinite series.
1. Bryce, the dauntless household steward turned spy in Judge.
2. Tsir Aun, the calm, efficient commander in Prophet.
3. Pet/Scythe, the ever-hungry monster warhorse in Prophet, Judge, and King, who is not, I repeat NOT, based on Maximus from Tangled. (Prophet was on my editor's desk months before Tangled hit the big screens. I bought tickets to Tangled, enjoyed the show, bought the dvd, and told DH, "I'll receive mail asking about Max/Scythe." Sure enough.)

I was intrigued by this list because this reader, Jeff, had chosen two of my favorite supporting characters, Bryce and Tsir Aun. I replied, of course, and asked why these two made the top of his list, and in our ensuing emails, we agreed that Bryce and Tsir Aun were quiet characters. The sort of friends we should all be lucky enough to number among our own. Read more Here.

Ever since this email exchange, I've been pondering Quiet Characters. Why are they important in life and, as a result, in fiction?

I'd like to think of Quiet Characters as the everyday heroes who cross our paths and our Main Characters' paths routinely--calm, efficient, dauntless, honorable and faithful souls who are pleased to remain in the shadows while they work in humble occupations. In short, Quiet Characters provide glue that holds our societies together. This is not to say that Quiet Characters lead boring lives and are content with everyday humdrum. They don't, and they aren't. Didn't Bryce volunteer himself as a spy and infiltrate an enemy army's encampment to aid his own people? Didn't Tsir Aun accept and undertake (honorably and efficiently) a punishing political task after striving mightily to lead his country away from defeat in battle?

Hats off to you, dear Quiet Characters, in life, poems and prose. Life on Earth would be bedlam without you.