Monday, February 29, 2016

Why the delay?

Happy Monday, everyone! 

As promised, today's the day I explain what's going on. 

As you've heard by now, the release of Cedwig: People in the Vines, has been delayed. I'm unable to go into a great deal of detail, but what I can tell you is this: I tried my best to keep from delaying. I did everything in my power to make sure it released on time. And something happened to prevent it happening. 

I'll keep you posted, as much as I can, so you'll know when the new release date arrives (hopefully still in April). And until then, I've prepared something special for you — one of my favorite scenes from Cedwig, and one of my Mum's favorites as well. 

I hope you enjoy it, and that you'll stick around while we work out the new release date! 

[love]

{Rani Divine}

~


Cedwig: People in the Vines, by Rani Divine



Raivyn she walked through the trees, carefully stepping over roots and brambles to reach the berry bushes. This was the first time she’d truly been allowed to enter the forest, aside from being sent to ask questions of the men. She had to admit, since they’d moved into the field, the forest seemed much more appealing. If it were possible, she would’ve asked that her family move into a smaller clearing, some distance away from the main field. But even if she could find a suitable space, she knew that her family would not be willing to go through with it. At the very least, mother would want to remain in close proximity to other people. The woman was a socialite, if ever there was one.
When she finally reached a bush containing thousands of tiny red berries, she dropped to her knees and plucked the nearest berries from their stems. Her task, many times, had been to clean the fruits and prepare them for dinner—and she knew that it would be no different this evening. With that in mind, she took her time, finding the plumpest of berries and plucking them completely from their stems before she placed them into her basket.
It was surprising that they hadn’t thought of her for such a task before. She wasn’t afraid to be in the forest, her limbs were small enough that she could reach into the thorny brambles without getting stuck, and she knew very well how to tell a ripe berry from a sour one. She couldn’t say the same for many of the others.
In the plains, they’d only bought their food. Their mothers hadn’t thought to teach them how to tell between ripe and raw. But Raivyn’s mother was a gardener. She’d taught her daughter everything that she knew, despite Raivyn’s insistence that plants would never be her m├ętier. No matter how hard she’d tried, Raivyn couldn’t grow anything. But she knew how to pick fruits, and she knew how to tell when something was poisonous, especially when it came to mushrooms.
Carol had been begging Raivyn’s mother to come out and look for mushrooms, but the woman was far too afraid of everything that moved. None of them had stopped to think that Raivyn might be good at it, or that she wouldn’t mind looking.
As soon as her basket was half-full, she turned to one of the other girls, Sera, who’d been searching for fruits up in the trees. The girl looked more terrified than a fly caught in the web of a spider. “How much have you found?” Raivyn asked her, trying to remain civil though she wanted to explain to the girl that the trees in which she searched were not fruit-bearing at all.
Sera trembled and shook her head, turning her basket upside down. Empty.
“Take this back to the others.” Raivyn sighed as she reached her own basket out toward the girl. “Tell Carol I’m going to look for some mushrooms, and I’ll be back before the men leave the forest.” She groaned quietly when the girl curtly nodded and walked away, leaving her own basket on the ground at Raivyn’s feet. Women like Sera should never have been brought to a place like this.
Raivyn picked up the basket and walked back around the berry bush, not bothering to ensure that any of the men were in sight. She knew how to take care of herself, should anything come up.
She plucked a small handful of berries from the bush and placed them in the bottom of the basket, in case she wanted something to eat while she searched the ground.
Using the skills her mother had taught her, she walked into an area that seemed untouched and untrampled by the men—exactly what she was looking for. She smiled brightly as she set her basket down and got onto her knees, lifting fallen vines and branches in search of her prize. If only she could find something, anything that would be of more sustenance to them, maybe Carol would begin to think of her as someone who could go out into the forest and look for things. Maybe she would start to be useful around camp for a change.
When she finally found a cluster of mushrooms, she pulled the pocketknife from her bosom and cut them from the ground, one by one. In the dense forest, it was difficult to tell whether this species was edible or not. But she knew once she got it back to the field, she would be able to tell. If not, mother would surely know.
Her brow furrowed when the wind swirled above her, in a pattern it hadn’t been moving before. It seemed to move toward her, rather than up through the tops of the trees.
Raivyn lifted her eyes to look up into the branches, and she had to stifle a gasp when she saw the creature perched there. From the look on his face, he hadn’t yet noticed her. He was looking in the opposite direction, likely watching some of the men. But that meant the men were close, and if they found her here, away from everyone else, she could be in the same position as Freia.
Not that she would’ve minded seeing her brothers tied up in the stocks, after everything they’d put her through over the years.
Smiling, she picked up a berry from her basket and threw it toward the creature, striking his shoulder.
He turned toward her, an inquisitive look in his black eyes.
She’d never seen one so close before. But now that she had, she saw why the others feared them. His teeth were sharp and pointed, his nails like claws, his entire body toned and fit, as though at any moment he could become a weapon. And he was wild. She knew that, just by looking him in the eye. The way that he perched in the trees revealed his inhumanity, his body contorting in a way that no human’s ever could.
But she was not afraid.
In fact, there was only one question she had, now that she looked the creature in the eye.
“Are these safe to eat?” she whispered, hoping that he could hear. 




© Copyright, RAD Writing 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sorcery

Happy Friday!

As many of you now know, Cedwig's release has been postponed. Check back in on Monday, and I'll explain everything that's going on, and give you an update on when you can expect to have the next druid novel in your hands.


Today, however, we're finishing up a series on characters, and a week on dynamic duos. The third and final duo, that is also one of my favorites to write, even though I've only successfully done so once, is...


The Wizard and His Apprentice



It's a very common duo, used by a lot of writers and a lot of stories, in a lot of different genres. It doesn't have to be a wizard, you see, but anyone who's very good at what they do. The two end up making a very fun pair, because one is very strong, and one is a novice. So let's take a few minutes to delve a little deeper into this final dynamo.


1. Life


Very frequently, the story is written so that the Apprentice has either come to live with or spends most of his time beside, the Wizard. And generally, we want to focus the majority of our attentions upon the Apprentice, because he's the one who's going to steal the show whether we want him to or not.

So make your Apprentice very alive. Make him the most real character you can imagine. And then make your Wizard just that — make him magical, mystical, mysterious, very far from the standard of humanity, and very far above the Apprentice. Offset their lives by what role they take on in the story. The Apprentice should have very little idea of what he's doing, and the Wizard should know literally everything about what's going on, even when it comes to his...

2. Death


This is one of the most important things you need to do in a story that contains this dynamic duo. The Wizard either has to die, or he has to disappear. You can bring him back in the end if you wish, but only if the Apprentice is successful. Or if you play your cards right, you can make like Star Wars and have your Wizard come back as a ghost to continue teaching your Apprentice. But whatever the case, the Wizard must go.

See, the story is really about the Apprentice. It's about whether or not he can survive doing what the Wizard has always done, what he's become master over. So if the Wizard is always there by his side, the Apprentice will never really fail, and there will never really be a story. But if the Wizard dies, if he disappears, the Apprentice really has to push himself.

It's one of the things that makes this dynamic duo so interesting, because the majority of the time the Wizard won't even be an "on-screen" character, but he'll always exist in the heart of the Apprentice, even beyond the grave.


I hope that you've all enjoyed this series on characters! Next month we'll be talking about story as a whole, and the differences between short stories and novels. I've never talked about anything like it in the blog before, so it should be a lot of fun.

And don't forget, Monday I'll be able to explain everything that's going on with Cedwig, and I'll give you an update as to when you can expect it to hit the proverbial shelves.

See you then!


[love]

{Rani D.}

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fairytale

Our first dynamic duo was the Power Couple, like the two who finally got together on that show I like to watch. See how I try to hide spoilers behind facades?

Today, I have another dynamic duo for you to consider:


The Princess and the Frog



Now, I don't mean this in a literal sense, mind you. But the Princess/Frog duo are a very dynamic pair, and they are often seen in both novels and short stories.

The best way to describe them is as follows:

One person is strong in almost every way, with very few weaknesses. The other one is a Frog. They don't really know what they're doing, but they know they have to stick to the Princess, no matter what.


And as per usual, I have two things to tell you about this dynamic duo.


1. Togetherness


As with all dynamic duos, these two work very well together. It's not because they offset each other, however. With the Power Couple, we noted that strengths and weaknesses should be opposite each other, but with the Princess/Frog dynamic, it works better if they have a similar weakness.

Why?

Because it's the thing that keeps them together. Think about it through the traditional Princess and the Frog story, told by parents to their children. The Princess is a strong character, who has almost everything she wants, but she doesn't have a Prince to make her life complete. The Frog is a weak character, whose very life has been stolen from him, and he needs a Princess to get his life back.

See what I mean?

They need each other, if they're ever going to get what they want. They have one very specific thing in common, and it's almost always the thing that makes them vulnerable and weak.

2. Apartness


Yeah, yeah, I know that's not a word. I wanted it to match better with togetherness, so I made it up. Hush yourselves. Unless you're giggling. Giggling is always aloud. Get it?

I digress.

The Princess and the Frog, because they're both very independent characters, don't really require that they always be together. So while there's a part to them that keeps them always tied to each other, because of the weakness they share, there's usually something between them that forces them to stay apart — and they're usually pretty okay with that, at least until the end, when all the issues are resolved and the weaknesses are worked out.


So there you have it. Dynamic duo number two. Friday will be the last in the series, which means Monday will bring us a new series... We'll see what it ends up being, as we lead up to the release of Cedwig :-D

[love]

{Rani Divine}

Monday, February 22, 2016

Powered

Only a week left until March, and only a little over a month left before Cedwig!!! Are you getting excited? I know I am. My copies are supposed to get here this week, and I can't wait to hold it in my hands. We might even do a little giveaway to celebrate...

But as usual, I digress.

This week is all about dynamic duos, and today we're focusing on one of the most common pairs:


The Power Couple



Usually it's a man and a woman, but sometimes it can be like the hero-sidekick relationship. Whatever the case, the Power Couple is a writer and reader favorite, because we can all relate to wanting someone to share literally everything with. We all want the other half of our power couple, and some of us find it best through fiction.

But, as usual, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing the Power Couple.

1. Mismatched Strengths


This is one of the things a lot of writers forget to do. They give their Power Couple strengths, but they tend to have the same exact strengths. Thing is, they'd be weak in the same places if that were the case, and then they wouldn't be powerful.

Generally, you want your Power Couple to be slightly opposite each other. One could be good at fighting but terrible at people skills, and the other could be great with people but have no idea how to properly hold a gun. Whatever the case, try to make it so the couple seems as though they wouldn't function without each other. It makes it a whole lot more fun when the story drives them apart for even a short amount of time.

2. Matching Goals


Throughout your story, your Power Couple need to have the same goals. But they should also have differing ideas on how to carry them out. It makes for better dynamics in your story, because even your characters don't know how they're going to get this done.

So, although they think and act very differently from each other, there needs to be one thing that keeps them together, no matter what. Their goal is the thing that unites them, perhaps even the thing that caused them to band together in the first place. If they lost sight of that goal, they'd quickly lose sight of each other as well, and your story would soon fall apart.

Trust me, I've seen it happen, by my own hands.

And I write a lot.

[love]

{Rani Divine}

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friend

Happy Friday! This means we're only two days away from the next episode of The Walking Dead. Yes, I might be slightly obsessed. Might. Move along.

All week we've been talking about the minor characters to include in your story, the people who push the plot forward but don't need the spotlight on them for long periods of time. Well, today I'm going to tell you about a minor character who needs a little bit more light.


The Sidekick



Okay, we may have talked a little bit about the sidekick a couple weeks ago, but I promised there would be more — and here it is!

Sidekicks are almost quintessential when it comes to traditional hero stories, and even to nontraditional fantasy fictions where the protagonist simply cannot do everything by themselves. Maybe then they wouldn't be labeled as the sidekick, but the fact still stands.


1. Give them a life


This, as always, is a very important part of character making. Your sidekick needs to have a life, outside of the story. That's usually the best way to make them a really cool person, whom your protagonist would like to hang out with.  The sidekick is usually a fun-loving, somewhat rebellious, loyal to a fault type of person.

In a lot of my stories, they end up being someone with little to no real connection to the protagonist, but someone who has a similar amount of stakes in the story. I would give you a prime example, but it's straight out of Cedwig, and I don't want to spoil anything for you. ;-)

2. Give them a challenge


From my experience, this is the real thing that makes the sidekick jump off the page. Often to the point that they want to steal the show. So you'll have to be more careful with this, but it's still a very important feature.

Sidekicks thrive on challenge. They've joined the fight not because they think they can win, but because they want the adventure of trying. They've befriended the hero not because they think they can be bettered by the hero, but because they want the challenge of trying to be like him.

Essentially, the sidekick is the same as the hero, only as in a younger self. That doesn't necessarily mean age, mind you. It could simply be that the sidekick is less mature, or that they have less knowledge on the subject at hand than the hero. Whatever the case, he's always just a couple steps behind the hero, and he never really has a problem with that.

It's why I have so much fun with sidekicks. 



This was a fun week on minor characters! Next week, we'll be talking about something even more interesting (in my honest opinion) — dynamic character duos!

For now, have a lovely weekend, and I'll see you on the other side.

[love]

{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Debbie

Hey-o! It's midweek time, which means we're going to jump right into...

The Debbie Downer



Yeah, yeah, she's not an amazingly fun character to write, but she can be a great literary tool to move your story forward. If you haven't used her before, try it. She's a great way to state the obvious, in case you feel your reader needs to be outright told what's going on.

As per usual, two things to keep in mine while writing the Debbie Downer:


1. Grim Reaper


Generally, I refer to my downers as either Debbies or Grims. Why? Because that's what they usually are! They're the angel of death, the person who seems to be literally followed by bad things. And they tend to want to stick with the protagonist, because the protagonist is the one person who might be able to help them.

But the thing to remember with Grim Reapers is that though they're constantly followed by bad things, though they're really downers and they're quite depressing to spend too much time with, they're also people. This is something that I say with every single type of character there is, but really, you need to give your downers some life. Show us how life really is for the Debbies and Grims out there, and allow your protagonist to be the one to show them how good things can be.

2. No "Up" Days


This one is really personal preference, but I try not to give my downers good days. By which I don't mean that no good things ever happen to them. It's just that they have a good day and they see the bad day right around the corner, so they choose not to celebrate. It makes for a very interesting character, and one who makes a good sidekick to the usual extroverted fancy of the protagonist.

Of course, downers also make amazing protagonists, if you can stomach being with them for that long, and helping them get back up to the top. After all, what goes down doesn't always come up.


[love and hugs for the downers]

{Rani Divine}