Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cover art and summary for my '13 NaNoWriMo

November is fast approaching so today found me frantically fumbling around for a synopsis/summary and cover to add to my NaNoWriMo story's page. I had finally stumbled on my title earlier this week when my writing-partner-in-crime mentioned the phrase "unexpected inspiration" in an email; turns out that not only is my female main character the muse of my protagonist, my partner-in-crime is my own personal muse! ;)

Anyway, with a title now in hand, I was able to put together some stock images in paintshop to make a cover. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it's as close as I could get with free images. I'm pretty happy with it, though! This year I went with paintbrushes as the theme because Adair is my artist-mage. (I'm still referring to him as an "artist-mage", but in the story it'll probably be "illustrator-mage" because technically all of the mages in this story are artists in some way.)

Cover for my NaNoWriMo '13

'13 NaNoWriMo Cover

(At some prompting of Wrimos on the forum who know more about graphics than I do, I darkened the font. This looks nicer, but the brighter blue is more the tone of the story- otherwise it just looks too serious.)

In a time where magic is suspect and mostly kept hidden behind other occupations, Adair is a carefree apprentice Illustrator-Mage with the ability to make what he draws have the semblance of life, often at the most inconvenient of times. When a wealthy patron arrives at his master's door to request a map, insinuating that it needs to be more than a mere drawing, this commission is passed on to the teenaged apprentice to serve as his final test towards his promotion to Journeyman rank. Little did Adair realize the man's true motives for this request.

As the map's new owner seeks out more mages to exploit in his quest for power, Adair feels a tug from his creation to follow. This pull leads him to a carnival where he meets a mysterious sword-dancer just coming into his own magic- and who Adair soon begins to suspect isn't what he appears. Much to his amusement and relief, Adair gains the help of this young dancer, his performance company, and a few other clandestine mages they meet along the way.

In order to free himself from what his creation has become and stop the harm its bearer is doing to an unwitting population, Adair must put aside his daydreaming to become the hero his unlikely muse is inspiring him to be.


I may edit this slightly, but it works until I actually write said story (because who knows what may change along the way?). I still have an outline to finish this week, but I'm definitely looking forward to November 1st!

Edit: And one of my friends awesomely tried her hand at my cover and I like this version much better. The brightness is much more the tone of the story than the darker version I had come up with. :)


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another new character for NaNoWriMo '13

I still haven't come up with much more in the way of plot ideas for NaNoWriMo next month (*whistles* Here, plot plot plot...) but I have figured out who my other main character will be: Blythe Bladedancer. Blythe is a blade-mage (title subject to change when I think of something better than "blade-mage") and he can actually say that as a kid he ran away to join the circus; he has spent several years touring with a carnival in his quest for fame. The surname is accurate as he dances and spins the blades both as a performance and to work magic. Blythe looks something like an assassin or ninja, but that's just the dramatics of his stage persona.

...Or should I say "her persona". I really wish I'd been able to get that avatar to look more androgynous because Blythe has spent most of her life pretending to be male in order to be in the career that she's chosen. This story is taking place 150 or so years previous to my other writing; if her true gender had been known, it's unlikely that she could have become what she wanted to be- and trust me, she wants to be famous.

She'll end up teaming up with Adair on his quest, so he'll be one of the few who catches on to her real gender. Eventually, if she's away from the part of the world where she's working to establish herself, then I think she's going to spend time wearing something like this just for the novelty of being able to wear something else for a while:

I'm thinking that in this garb, she'd pick clothes that flow dramatically with her movements, whereas in her "boy" garb it's more form-fitting to better show off her skill by not causing a distraction. (This has nothing to do with the gender being the deciding factor, just that she wants to try something new. She could just as easily have a flowing cloak or robe or something as a male.) I can definitely see her getting a kick out of proving to men she meets on the road that, yes, she very much knows how to use those blades she carries. Messing with Blythe is probably not a good idea. No matter what she's wearing, though, her arms will be free of sleeves that would tangle in her weapons. The potion bottle isn't actually full of a potion: that's enchanted dye/paint. Since it's from Adair, who knows if it'll actually work or not, though. ;)

I'm going to be spending the next two weeks trying to sort out some idea of plot and personalities for her and Adair (and figure out if they need a third to help them on their quest). I'm not usually drawn towards sword-wielders, but I love the idea of Blythe. I mean, getting to say "One of my characters really did run off to join the circus!" is something that probably won't happen again!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Unlocking a new character for NaNoWriMo

"Another new character?" I hear you say. (Or at least I would hear that question if there were more than two people who read this blog. Since both of them know my writing plans, all I'm getting are some vague nods from their directions, lol.) I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from my year-long struggle with "In the Cards" (my epic mess) to write something else during NaNoWriMo this year and since I desperately need some time away from Seph (I love you, dude, but you're really getting on my nerves hard to write), I'm moving as far away as possible. Well, geographically speaking I'm staying in the same area for part of the story, but I'm moving back in time about 150 years.

There will be a few new characters (two? three? Who knows! NaNo is the time for crazy, anything goes chaos!) that go along with November's story, but in this case I'm just sharing the protagonist who I unlocked first (and made using this generator). Meet Adair Conroy:

If his name rings a bell and he looks a little familiar, there's a good reason for that: he's the ancestor of both Cyneric and Phillip. (Which is kind of funny because at the time of his story, he's all of about sixteen and the thought of descendents would make him flee in a panic. So shhhhh, no one tell him that he has great-great grandkids.) I'm still fumbling for the first glimmerings of plot and characterization, but he's an artist-mage tasked with facing the baddie who made an incredibly brief appearance in the prologue of The Acolyte's Map. That evil map? Yeah, you can put some of the blame on Adair, although he's claiming that he had no idea what he was doing. All he wanted was a patron to buy him some more paint and canvas. Honest! How was he to know how his drawings would be twisted?

This is pretty close to how I picture him- looking similar to his descendents, but garbed a little differently for a different time period. And splattered with paint and ink, of course. At his belt is a scrollcase where he keeps some of his precious paper and that isn't so much a sash that he's wearing as a bandolier; he stashes some of his art supplies into that, as well as his belt, to keep them near at hand. He does this not just because he's constantly sketching, but because they're keyed into his magic.

That's all the detail I'll go into right now, but I'm sure I'll ramble more as NaNo approaches, probably with even more parenthesis. And I realize that a lot of my avatars at the top of the page go to sparse bio pages. My goal between now and November is to at least finish the bios of the characters I already have.

...That and, ya know, figure out how an artist is able to stop a baddie from usurping a throne in a kingdom that's halfway across the world from his home. Technicalities, right? ;) I love the start of NaNo season! So many crazy ideas circling your head at once and none of them make any sense. Aaaahhh. *breathes in the smell of new pens, notebooks, and chaos*