Hey, what’s up, Patrons?
My new writing schedule has me posting a full scene/chapter of Freya’s Tears, two days of writing on my Work In Progress (currently the Superhero Project entitled Chained Destinies,) and one entry per week on something new and different.
New and different is on the menu today!
I picked up a couple of card decks over the pandemic, but really haven’t had much time to use them.
– The Story Engine deck gives prompts for characters, their motivations and their goals. It also introduces random conflict that a writer can use to flesh out a plot. (I used this deck to find the plot to my Superhero Project.)
– The World Building deck is exactly that. It helps with locations, their names and descriptions and throws in random quirks about an area or people. I haven’t had a chance to use this one yet, so I’m eager to have a go!
Today was all about the brainstorming.
With this writing and posting schedule, I don’t want to double up on my genres.
– Freya’s Tears, Ginnungagap is a space opera.
– My next WIP, Eclipse of Shadows, is a contemporary apocalyptic novel.
Whatever I choose for my playtime shouldn’t be contemporary, pre- or post-apocalyptic or science fiction. I don’t want to get bored.
That leaves what? Fantasy? The tale I plan to weave with these card decks is ongoing – more along the lines of a long running television series than a novel with a beginning, middle and end.
Fantasy’s been done to death, what other options do I have? Historical fantasy? Historical books are tough to write if you’re not an expert on the time period (which I’m not! I only bluff well.)
Maybe a different time period? 1800s Alaska works well enough; the frontier is easier to portray than the trappings of civilization. I don’t want to get close to the Victorian era…yeesh. The temptation to fall into the steampunk genre would be difficult to avoid.
I want magic in this storyline. Perhaps I can work in the Darkstone universe, where magic has been loosed onto the world. But…contemporary time period? That’s on my no-no list.
So. Not past. That leaves future. FAR future, but not space or cyberpunk. Say, five hundred years in the future.
– The Darkstone universe is the base, but our story takes place half a millennia after the end of modern civilization.
– Elder races and monsters are alive and well. Elves, Yeti, Pixies, etc. have survived the fall along with mankind.
– Mixing in a little Mad Max (R.I.P. Tina Turner,) will allow me to use current day maps for locations.
Okay, then. Who are my protagonists?
Warrior / Paladin
Initial description – redhead, 18 years old, taking a gap year between attaining adulthood and taking on responsibilities with her people. She’s been trained in war from adolescence; her people have compulsory military to ensure their survival.
She’s a warrior, but I have plans for her to eventually reach her calling as a paladin.
Drawing the cards from the Story Engine deck, I get the following:
“Our gifted road warrior wants to obtain an enchantment. But she will be unable to return to normal life.”
Not bad…something I can work with!
Consort / Sidekick
The only notation for this protagonist is that she’s a brunette. (I was on the streetcar while I jotted down notes. My stop came up before I could add more.)
I don’t want to fall into the warrior/bard thing. So she’s not a performer in the classic sense – acting, singing, writing, poetry…all out.
Xena & Gabrielle were awesome, but let’s be honest. I’m the one writing this thing, and I don’t do the campy stuff. I prefer gritty realism. So this woman’s got to have some toughness from the start.
When I drew the cards for her, I received:
“Our hardscrabble Elvish consort wast to stop being haunted by a quest. But an ancient evil will be released.”
Does the consort seek out the warrior to help her? Does she have the key to the warrior’s search for the enchantment? What enchantment would prevent the warrior from returning home? Will the consort’s ancient evil be released? Will they both be able to capture and contain it again?
Where does the first scene take place? I know I want to start it in Oregon, because I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for over thirty years. Write what you know. Ya know?
Ooooo! Now I get to play with the World Building deck!
Here are the cards I drew:
“In the woods is a place run by the military. It’s called the Circle of Spears and is the site of a famous miracle.”
– Circle – the first thing I thought about was the PGE Park where the Portland Timbers (baseball) play.
– Spears – imagine tall buildings surrounding the stadium that have fallen into several centuries of disrepair. The steel girders reach to the skies, almost looking like a circle of spears.
– Woods – the Pacific NW is notorious for its temperate rain forest (or used to be before the lumber industry cut down all the monstrous old-growth forests.) I believe that, left to her own devices, Mother Nature will more than make up for mankind’s greed. This city will be swallowed by trees in a few hundred years.
– The cards on the sides are descriptors.
The scene is set: our warrior is ‘graduating’ from her training. It’s dark, the woods are close, the only light are from the torches of the military gathering at the Circle of Spears. There, she’ll go through a ritual to shed her adolescence and become a warrior for her people. Once the ceremony is over, she’ll say good bye to her parents and leave for the year-long walk about that all young adults are required to follow before taking up the mantle of adulthood in the clan.
Blade and Silk
Lastly, I checked out ChatGPT and requested it to “generate romance book titles for a paladin road warrior traveling to right wrongs and a former consort looking to escape a haunting.”
After reviewing about sixty titles, two intrigued me – Beneath Steel and Silk and Mending Souls. I preferred the first over the second.
After a Google search, I discovered The Steel Beneath the Silk by Patricia Bracewell. Completely different connotations to my storyline, but a little too close for comfort. So I pulled out the old thesaurus to find alternative wording.
Here’s my Goal for Blade & Silk…
I’ve mentioned on Facebook that I’ve been hooked on Critical Role, a YouTube/Twitch series of Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. I was a gamer in the past and still use gaming techniques for many of my fight scenes. I’ve missed gaming very much, but haven’t found anyone close to home.
This tale is my solo D&D game. I can develop the characters in response to various prompts from my card decks. The world and lore will grow around them as needed, and I’ll be writing by the seat of my pants again!
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done that!
So…here’s your warning. My primary focus will be on the Work In Progress, not Blade and Silk. In the event of a time crunch on my end, Blade and Silk will be the first weekly posting dropped from the lineup in favor of the still unnamed WIP.
I don’t foresee a problem at this point. My day job has settled down immensely after I transferred into another department. My only challenge now is disciplining myself to sit down and write at least four days a week.
Thank you for being a patron! I hope you’ll have as much fun over the coming months as I will!