Tare Turns 5 Years Old

(Kedran’s Wood collage I made. Some images belong to me, others were found on Pinterest, here.)

Some of you are probably squinting at the title of this post, going: “…Wait, what??”

(Especially since, as those three or so people reading this who have beta-read some of the books would know, Tare’s actual age is so confusing in the story itself that he doesn’t need any more confusingness added on.)

(For anyone who is further confused due to not knowing: Tare is the name of my favorite character I’ve ever written [sorry, all you other characters] and he inhabits the contemporary fantasy series I’m writing.)

Let me set you straight.

No, it’s not actually Tare’s birthday (which is in January).

No, this post is not actually about an adorable Tare when he was a small boy (apologies).

But a week ago, on April 5, 2017, it was in fact the 5-year anniversary of the day I first started writing the book in which I first met Tare, the first book in the Kedran’s Wood series, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood!

Yes indeed, it’s KW1’s book birthday!

Here, have a cupcake to celebrate:

Today’s post is a conglomeration of random things about the series, including the first book, and basically just A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS KEDRAN’S-WOOD-ISH!

How it Began

It began with the forging of the great rings…

…Whoops, wrong story. How about this?

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.

Wait, wrong one again. How about this one:

In an abandoned apartment down a dark alley there lived a Tare?

Closer.

Ahem.

Anyways, it actually began in early 2012 when I “randomly” started writing what I thought would be a fun standalone novella or short novel called The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. I wanted to try a little modern fantasy story and just… started writing. I knew a few things about the story, but for the most part, I was as in the dark as my main characters, the Chess Club. It was a first for me in many ways. I hadn’t done a lot of “pantsing” stories before, and it was also my first modern story.

I never thought I would write a modern story. Contemporary books were never my thing, and I think it’s because I don’t enjoy the kinds of things that modern books can rarely seem to resist including, like school and its petty backstabbing and bullying and drama (ugh), annoying teen characters who don’t get along and have family life problems, and love-triangles… etc., and just general ick. Many modern books just seemed petty to me and I always enjoyed fantasy worlds instead.

So the idea that I would write a fantasy book in *gasp* modern times? Unheard of!

But it happened.

I started writing a modern fantasy book, and ended up writing it (unintentionally) in direct opposition to all the problems I’d had with other modern fiction. I made it a book that I wouldn’t mind reading myself. On the way, I completely fell in love with this cast of characters — the Chess Club became more than friends, they became MY friends, and Tare became my favorite character I’ve written (so far). It also turned out to be 100K words. So much for “short.” 😄

From being a one-time random story I thought I would finish and move on from, it wrapped itself around my heart and turned into a series which, five years later, I’m still working on writing, and foresee being happily involved in scribbling for many more years to come. ^_^

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about this particular book in the series (since it’s been awhile since I finished it) so, in celebration of its birthday, let me direct you to a handy new summary I wrote for it recently.

The Owl of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, Book 1)
by Deborah O’Carroll

Welcome to the town by Kedran’s Wood

  • Where teenaged best friends (but not, y’know, the angsty kind) don’t need to backstab each other (though they might the recent outbreak of monsters).
  • Where it’s not about life in highschool (because who wants to spend more time there than necessary?) but about life outside it.
  • And where the local chess club (see best friends) does more than just play chess . . .

Meet shy Lavender, rambunctious Baz, fiery Ivy, confident Adrian, and wry Mr. Larch. Oh, and Small Occasion (who is tiny, white, and fluffy, and barks like a tree).

This book is about how they play (badly) at being over-reacting amateur detectives more often than at chess; fight monsters (with some—okay, lots of—help from the resident leather-clad stranger); and still find time for friendships old and new, and small occasions like summer lemonade and puns (yes, that last one is always Baz’s fault).

But mostly it’s about the mysterious young man called Tare (see resident leather-clad stranger), how the Chess Club meets him (though whether that’s a terrific or terrible thing is part of the question—Baz would say both, if only for the puns), and how just at the edge of an ordinary small modern town, lies Kedran’s Wood . . .

And that’s where the pieces are beginning to move for a game that’s far from a friendly match of chess.

Books in the Kedran’s Wood Series

and a little bit about them

Novels

  • 1 The Owl of Kedran’s Wood — the summer when Tare and the Chess Club meet, featuring cake-baking disasters and the (almost) end of the world (#awkward). Status: draft written.
  • 2 The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — wintry novel, current work in progress, featuring mysterious villains and (possibly) an evil faerie. Status: 1/3 done? Hopefully more?
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood — featuring summer vacation, more about Tare, and of course secret agents. Status: snippets.

Novellas (to write)

  • 1.5 Son of Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare does stuff between 1 &2, + prequel about his past (yay!)
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare and Adrian accidentally switch minds/bodies (because that won’t be confusing at all…)
  • 3.5 Celebrations at Kedran’s Wood — in which there is a birthday party and a wedding (no, I’m not telling you whose)

Bonus Novel (to write)

  • The Quest of Kedran’s Wood — in which Marie undertakes something NaNo-ish and writes an epic fantasy book starring the chess club and Tare in medieval roles. And reads it aloud to them. (What could possibly go wrong?)

Number of KW words written so far

According to one calculation:

190,780 words

  • (105K book 1 current finished draft)
  • (65K book 2 current + 10K snippets out of order later in book 2)
  • (10K snippets total from book 3, 1.5, 2.5, and bonus)

That averages out to approximately 104 words of Kedran’s Wood writing per day for 5 years. 😄 (Not counting previous versions or plotting, of course.)

#WIPjoy

In celebration of my Kedran’s Wood series turning 5 years old, and in an effort to get myself immersed again in the writing of KW2, I’m doing #WIPjoy on Twitter all this month, featuring The Secret of Kedran’s Wood!

For those who don’t know #WIPjoy is to celebrate and answer questions about your work-in-progress (WIP), with a different question for every day of the month.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, check it out! …For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, where have you been?? (Just kidding. 😉 I will excuse you if you don’t have Twitter. 😄 Ahem.)

It’s been a blast so far!

Tare is an INTJ (surprise)

Yes, I took the MBTI test as Tare (or rather, as Tare IS, not how he would answer, because I’m 99% sure he wouldn’t want a random test knowing things about him so he’d likely be less than truthful in that case) and he came out as INTJ, which is the category most villains and awesome dark people like Mr. Darcy and Batman and Sherlock tend to fit into. Yes, I was monstrously pleased at this. 😄 It’s creepy how well he fits it, too…

(He’s not shy but he’s definitely not a people person. I love that he’s 80% introverted. XD)

Tare is the only character I’ve taken the test for, since he’s the only one I know well enough.

Some posts about the series

This seemed like a fun time to highlight some favorite posts in the past about the Kedran’s Wood series or (usually) Tare.

And there you have it!

This concludes my reminiscing about this unlikely but beloved series of mine. (Now to just finish writing it and get it published, amIright?? Ahem. That may be far down the road, but it’s an eventual goal. ;))

What most intrigues you about this series, or what was your favorite part of this post? Thank you so much for putting up with me flailing about this stuff (and reading this post), and celebrating with me the 5-year birthday of this series! ^_^

Tare + Teague Beautiful People: Appearances {Aug 2016}

bpaug2016

*creeps out of hiatus briefly*

*whispers:* Sooo… I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-perhaps-possibly might have accidentally seen that Beautiful People was up for this month and that it was on Appearances and been unable to resist doing it.

I also kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-perhaps-possibly might have been unable to decide whether to do Tare from my Kedran’s Wood series or Teague from The Other Half of Everything for it.

So I’m doing both of them.

Behold, Beautiful People!

*tosses thing at you and creeps away again*

bp

Monthly character questions for writers, hosted by Sky @ Further Up & Further In and Cait @ Paper Fury — join the linkup!

1. Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

Tare: Nineteen years old, tall, black hair pushed back, dark blue eyes, chiseled face, black leather jacket, black shirt, black pants, black lace-up boots. (Okay, yes, you get the picture: face and hands pale, eyes dark blue; otherwise, lots and lots of black.)

tarecollage

Tare-ish things

Teague: Twenty-five years old, tall, sandy hair tousled and falling down over his forehead, uncertainly-colored sea-like eyes, vague face, grey jeans, casual t-shirt/buttoned long-sleeved shirt in muted colors of light grey, pale brown, or white.

teaguecollage

Teague-ish things

2. Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

Danger zone. Don’t invite me to share snippets of when we first meet two of my favorite characters– Whoops, too late. You were warned. I’ve been unleashed… Here we go.

Snippet of the first time Meridian sees Teague:

OHEcoverA faint padding sound came, then finally the door opened. I braced myself for a crazy old man with a white beard. I did not brace myself for a twenty-something-year-old young man with sandy hair, which was unfortunate, since that meant I was unprepared for this.

He couldn’t have seen my extreme surprise, though, since he wasn’t looking at me at all, but at a book he held open in one hand. He was also rather more good-looking (in a vague sort of way) than he had any right to be, considering I had expected an 80-year-old guy. He wore faded grey jeans which might once have been black, and a tan-ish vest over a button-down white shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbow and a slightly crooked collar. The white socks on his shoeless feet provided the reason for the padding sound in place of ordinary footsteps.

Aaaand a snippet of the first time Teague sees Meridian, since he didn’t look up at the time. 😄

A pair of uncertainly-colored eyes—blue? Grey? Green? Brown? Dust? Ice?—glanced briefly up at me from under sandy-colored hair-tips spilling down to his eyebrows. His focus returned to the book briefly and then flickered back up to me again and stayed there this time, sudden mild surprise in his face.

Snippet of Tare from The Owl of Kedran’s Wood (the first in the series), the first time we get a good look at him:

KWcoverHe was young, maybe nineteen—Lavender wasn’t sure, not being real good with ages—tall, and still clad entirely in black. He had a hard, chiseled face, without expression, somewhat pale in contrast with his black hair slicked back. His eyes were a very dark blue that Lavender had never seen the like of before, and they looked steadily back at her for about three seconds—not so long that it became awkward, but long enough to show that he knew she knew he was watching, and that he didn’t care. Then he moved away from the window and walked on down the street at an easy stride, his hands thrust into the pockets of his long black leather jacket.

Snippet of Tare from The Owl of Kedran’s Wood when he really shows up for real:

Presently the metal door of the warehouse creaked and the sound of metal grating together filled the air. The Wildlings rose and stood, watching the door, which swung open.

A figure stood in the doorway for a long moment before stepping forward into the pale florescent light. It was the young man who Lavender had seen now on two occasions. The light glinted dully off his long black leather jacket and dark hair, highlighting his expressionless face. His black boots were planted firmly apart on the concrete as he stood his ground opposite the half-dozen creatures.

It seemed he was not who they had expected.

“Who are you?” one of them asked.

His voice was quiet and low, half careless yet with a slight edge to it. “No one you want to mess with.” His eyes turned toward the caged Chess Club, taking in their situation in a glance. “So . . .” He looked back at the monsters, linking his fingers and flexing them outward, like one readying for a fight. “How do you want to do this?”

They stared at him in silence for several moments. Then one turned away, jerking his head toward the intruder in a sign to his companions, saying only, “Kill him.”

3. What is the first thing people might notice about them?

For Tare… his formidable-ness. Overall shadowy-ness and commanding presence, combined with his leather jacket.

I imagine most people wouldn’t have a “first thing” they would notice about Teague because he’s so vague and unassuming on first acquaintance they might not even notice him at all. 😄

4. What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)

Tare’s unnaturally dark blue eyes and his expressive dark eyebrows. He does also have scars, but they’re not normally visible.

Teague has grey-green-blue-something, uncertainly-colored eyes, and also a vague, rather dreamy and absent expression as if he’s not really paying attention to anything in this world.

5. How tall are they? What is their build (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)

Tare’s around 6’1″ I think; tall, lean, thin but not skinny.

Teague is 6′, rather thin, but a bit more muscular than you would think at first.

6. What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?

In a nutshell: Tare is like a large tense black panther who’s permanently slightly peeved with the world; cool and removed in a catlike way, but clearly dangerous. Teague is like a lanky, lazy ginger cat who couldn’t care less about the world, not because he’s coldhearted, but because he never remembers the world exists. …Our world, anyway.

Tare has an upright posture and decisive manner of carrying himself — confident but slightly wary and calculated, with very precise movements and an acute awareness of his surroundings. He’s constantly paying attention to what’s going on around him. His movements have three speeds: casual, stealthy, or quick, depending on his mood/circumstances. Be nervous around all three.

Teague slouches a little, normally with his head bent to look at a book or notepad while he walks, and tends to move slowly and a little dreamily, as if he’s not fully awake or moving through molasses. There are times, however, like when he’s worried or angry, when he can liven up more than you would think. And we won’t get into what he’s like in… erm… other places, since that’s another story entirely.

7. Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?

Tare’s wearing black jeans, black socks, and a black button-up shirt. His hair might be more mussed than usual, instead of sleeked-back. In this scenario, he’s hanging out in his very neat “lair” (a.k.a. his small, dark, paneled apartment in the long string of abandoned buildings), probably reading a book, or carving some wood with one of his knives, or cleaning his weapons, as close to relaxing as he gets, which isn’t usually very close…

Teague is wearing his usual casual jeans, probably grey, and either a t-shirt or a button-up shirt and white socks, or else is barefoot. In fact… he looks as he always does because all his days are lazy days. 😉 He’s lounging around in his rather messy rooms at the top of the old house, either reading or scribbling away, and likely absentmindedly burning his dinner unless Meridian’s there (if he even remembered anything about dinner anyway).

8. Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark?

Tare DEFINITELY has a trademark, namely his black leather jacket. It’s notorious. 😄 As for accessories, do a lot of guns, knives, and other weapons count? He also has dark sunglasses he wears occasionally.

Teague doesn’t seem to have a trademark, unless you count that he wears vests sometimes. Oh! He does have a dark blue wool coat, kind of like the style Sherlock wears. *nods* He also wears a certain key on a chain around his neck.

9. Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!

Um… no? There mayyy or may not (*cough*spoilers*cough*) have been an occasion when Tare’s leather jacket and “scary” attitude got him some mockery when he was younger, but it would have been from a slightly nervous distance, and regardless, he never paid any heed or cared at all. Also when his change of eye color was noticed by someone, it kind of bothered him a little.

Teague never paid attention if anyone said anything so he doesn’t know. 😄

10. Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?

Neither of them is the sort to think much about their looks at all. So methinks they’re content. They are both rather laid-back in that regard and don’t care about their appearance, so whatever they are is their casual, natural look.

So there you have it. What think ye? Also, remember that old saying, “Appearances can be deceiving”? Well… although some things about their appearances do reveal their character, the saying does apply to Teague and Tare. 😉 Just sayin’.

Beautiful People: Tare {July 2016}

bp

(hosted by Sky & Cait)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any Kedran’s Wood-ish posts, what with Meridian and Teague stealing the show around here more often than not… But Beautiful People is up for this month and I saw these questions and thought: “TARE!”

So I’m doing Tare today. I miss him, so this makes me happy. ^_^

Okay, this is how it’s going to work. I want to have my cake and eat it too (always a good idea, if you can manage it), so Tare’s going to answer the questions as far as he will — which, I anticipate, will likely not be very far — and then I shall elaborate on it further… out of his hearing. *cough* Because his answers will be interesting, and mine shall be informative, so between us we should cover most of it.

Let’s have at it, shall we?

TareBW

1. Do they want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?

“And what exactly prompted this bit of irrelevancy?”

Tare, you can’t answer a question with another question.

*folds his arms* “I can and just did. If you’re going to make me answer questions I don’t want to answer, I’ll answer them how I want.”

*sigh* Ahem. So, for this question… Tare honestly has never thought this far ahead on this subject. He is, and always has been, an extreme loner, who only recently has begun to understand the concept of friends as applied to himself. At the moment, definitely not. I can personally see him married someday, perhaps, if the right girl came along… but it would definitely be FAR in the future since he has a long way to go in the HR department, you could say.

2. What is their weapon of choice? (It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical weapon.)

“All of them.”

…Okay, thanks for that, Tare. I’m glad you’ve decided to be cooperative and specific with your answers.

“You’re welcome.”

…All right, I won’t leave you guys with that. He does mean all of them, or at least anything that’s around. But he’s also partial to using his fists since they’re reliable, or knives, since he prefers hand-to-hand combat. He won’t say no to a handgun, sword, machine gun or bow and arrows, or even a grenade, though. Any other weapon you can think of to hand him… he’d adapt pretty quick. Not to mention, his mind is a pretty good weapon already because he’s smart and stuffs. *nods*

3. What’s the nicest thing they’ve done for someone else, and why did they do it?

KWcover“The time that — Well.” *studies his fingernails in minute detail* “I saved some people. Because . . . they needed me to.” *clears throat and shifts in chair* “Or the time I had to hold up a wall of the gingerbread house the Chess Club were making, because I was there and they made me. I’d say I was pretty nice then.”

*look of horror from yours-truly* Tare! That hasn’t happened yet!

*Tare shrugs as if it doesn’t matter and time is fluid and all that sort of thing*

Anyways, that first reference, which he did not elaborate on, would definitely be the nicest thing he’s done, referring to the time he nearly died — and worse — in order to save the world, specifically so that his friends wouldn’t die. Because he realized they were his friends and he actually cared about them and didn’t want them to die, and so was willing to do anything necessary to protect them. Cuz he’s nice like that. Who cares about saving the world? — he was saving his Chess Club. ^_^

4. Have they ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?

*raises one dark eyebrow slightly like a question mark as if to say “What is the point of this obvious question?”* “Yes. Lots. And they did.”

I’m… trying very hard not to laugh at this question. And not doing a very good job. Ahem. Tare’s whole life has been rather violent, though not of his choosing. Not to mention that a whole lot of shapeshifting monsters kind of call for being fought… It’s nearly always the others’ fault, though.

Of course, there were a couple times when he was violent to the Chess Club, but those are… special cases. *cough* In the first book, he punched Baz for being annoying, and started a fistfight with Adrian for… reasons. (To be fair, Baz WAS being annoying, and Adrian had just run into him with his pickup-truck… kinda-sorta-almost on purpose. So.) In the second book, Tare shoves Baz one time when Baz was being REALLY frivolous about something that really bothers Tare, and the next scene I need to write Tare kinda shoves Adrian off a building. You know. Because he had to. *shrugs*

5. Are they a rule-follower or a rebel?

KW2coverP“Both, when it suits me.”

Wow, that was . . . deep . . . or . . . something, Tare. O_O

*shrugs* “I try.”

He’s an odd mix of both. He’s a bit of a rebel, yes, since that’s sort of his nature by default, just due to his life. But despite that, he’s also surprisingly rule-abiding, in his own way. He won’t hesitate to do something that would be frowned upon if he needs to, but he also has a strong sense of justice and generally has boundaries of his own.

6. Are they organized or messy?

“Come into my lair with intent to mess it up and you’ll find out.”

With glitter. >:D *evil grin*

*turns to me and asks mildly:* “Do you want me to kill your readers?”

(Tare’s kind of scary when he’s being all playful. 😄 Ahem. >.>) Tare’s pretty organized, though he’s not as obsessed about it as his answer makes him sound. 😄 His home is pretty tidy, swept and neat, with nothing lying around unless he wants it there, like leaving his black leather jacket draped over a chair or a stack of books on a table or various weapons lying around while he cleans them or something. And he usually makes his bed. If it’s messy around his place, it usually means something’s wrong with him and so he doesn’t feel like making an effort to keep things clean. But he doesn’t overthink it, it’s just something he does. I guess you could call it a casual organized, with a side of messy, since he doesn’t mind throwing a bunch of stuff together as long as he knows where it is. As far as outlook, his approach to most things is organized instead of spontaneous, but he can occasionally be unpredictable.

7. What makes them feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

picthing*folds arms again* “I don’t know why anyone would… love me, so I don’t see how this applies.”

Tare, honestly…

“Well why do you care?”

It’s just an interview; no need to blow up in my face! o.o

“I’m not blowing up in your face. I’m asking a simple question about your inapplicable one.”

Just answer it, then! It’s not that hard. What makes you feel loved and who made you feel that way?

*gives me a hard stare* “How should I know? Probably the last time was… I don’t know, maybe when I was like… three or something and my parents held me. I told you. It doesn’t apply.”

Youch. Okay, so Tare is very not used to the idea of anyone caring about him, or the notion of feeling loved. *cough* He’s recently discovered the Chess Club and their friendship with him, so I guess the fact that they care about him makes him feel… perplexed but cared about. I don’t know if he’d say “feel loved” though. I don’t think the last time was when he was three; it was probably when he was a teen and his mother came for him. He wasn’t used to feeling loved then either, but I think he did in that case, and also confused and wary… but who knows.

8.What do they eat for breakfast?

“When I have it? Food.”

So helpful, Tare.

*rolls eyes* “All right, I’m partial to meat if it’s around. But anything else that happens to be there is fine too. I’m not particular.”

The last time we saw him eat breakfast he was eating steak, so… that probably applies. He does like meat. It keeps him going and it’s also what he’s used to. Mostly he sees food as fuel though, so as long as it’s food he doesn’t care much. It’s not something he overthinks, hence his first answer.

9. Have they ever lost someone close to them? What happened?

*cold stare and blank face* “No.”

Um… so… until recently, Tare hasn’t really had people who were close to him. Unless his parents count. In which case he did lose them and… what happened is spoilers. Which will be revealed if I ever get around to writing the prequel about him. Ahem.

notquitetare

10. What’s their treat of choice? (Or, if not food, how else do they reward themselves?)

“I’m partial to being alive. That’s a good treat/reward.”

Not helpful, to be honest. -_-

“All right, I have nothing against chocolate cake, and I like hunting in the woods, or reading a good book by the fireplace in my lair. Assuming nothing’s currently trying to kill me, of course. Or that the Chess Club aren’t bothering me and acting like they live at my place… Annoying over-reacting detective amateur puppies.”

Oh, come on, you aren’t as annoyed at them as you let on.

*rubs a hand across his mouth as if to hide a frown or a smile or, you know, a something, and looks at the ground so his dark hair hides the possible fond gleam in his dark blue eyes* “Fine. But you didn’t hear it from me.”

***

And that was today’s Beautiful People post! Hope you enjoyed. 🙂 I know I certainly did… I missed Tare! Poor fellow’s been lurking in the shadows while Teague takes over, mostly because Tare’s been pretty done with me of late and not in the mood for me to write him. But now I want to again…

Starrellian Celebration

You may wonder at the title of this post, since I’m afraid I haven’t done much talking around here about my Starrellian Saga, the ten-book epic fantasy series I’ve been working on, on and off, since I first began to write, set in the Land of Starrellia. But today seemed a good day to revisit it.

Today, July 20, is a special day. It is the birthday of a character of mine.

Faron is turning 5 years old today.

trillum

(I know I’ve used this picture for Trillum, and it actually makes me think a tiny bit of Ryan too, but it’s also the closest to anything Faron-like I’ve found — minus pointy-ears — so I’m using it again)

…All right, technically, he’s 17 when we meet him in the first book.

I mean that his character is 5 years old. Because on July 20, 2010, is when I first “met” him in my mind and he came into existence as a character. This is important, and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve before told the story of when I became serious about my writing in 2007, after a few early years of aimless scribbling on different tales. In 2008 I finished my first novel. But it was June of 2010 that I first began keeping a log of my writing.

I’ve been keeping that log ever since — noting down all of the writing or writing-related stuff I’ve done, each day, for the last 5 years and a bit. Wow. That’s kind of an amazing thought for me to realize… (My records also claim I’ve written over 580,000 words since beginning to record such things… But I digress.)

I consider my beginning of keeping a log, in 2010, to be the next step in my writing years, following my decision in ’07 to be a writer.

In 2012, I met Tare and started writing The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, and other tales of Kedran’s Wood have been following it, along with yet other unrelated stories that have cropped up since doing my first NaNo in 2010. So I haven’t talked much about Starrellia, as I said, what with Tare and others having taken over a few years back.

But there was a time, before Tare, and after the beginning of my log-keeping practices, that I was very absorbed with my Starrellian Saga (a time that I hope will come again).

starrellianicon

Starrellia and all of its tales were my original stories.

Most of them remain unwritten, and those that are will require a major re-haul. But from my earliest years of writing, Starrellia has always been there.

What has become the first book in the series, Grey Betrayal, was having a problem around when I started my logs. The main character, Ryan, a mysterious young lad with silver hair and eyes, was too different of a character for me to have as the primary Point of View character.

I knew I needed someone else, someone more ordinary and relatable, to filter Ryan’s adventures through the eyes of, but I was stuck as to who that character might be, especially since I had far too many characters in my tales already, and did not want to spend a lot of time trying to come up with another.

Enter July 20, 2010.

At the time, I was reading a book on writing, called “Anybody Can Write” by Roberta
Jean Bryant. I honestly don’t remember much about the book now, but there was a particular exercise that I read in it that caught my attention. It was to write stream-of-consciousness from the Point of View of the paper you’re writing on, and then of the pen, using first-person. I didn’t want to do that in particular, but I thought — wait. I could use this for a character.

Yes, those were early days. I was used to writing in my own way and not trying new things. You’re probably all laughing at me. But it was an epiphany moment for me, and as those thoughts of a character for the reader to view Ryan through had been swirling, my thoughts took shape and solidified.

I took a piece of paper (yes, I wrote on paper back then; I know, I’m ancient; don’t laugh) and I became this new character who introduced himself in my head at that moment. His name was Faron, and he spent 45 minutes writing out his thoughts through my hand and my pen, and I suddenly knew his mind deeper than any characters I’d written before then.

And just like that, I had my new main POV character for the first Starrellian book.

Faron would be the Watson to my Ryan’s Holmes.

I consider that day to be the beginning of the new era of my Starrellian writing. Everything before that is old and distant. Everything after that, all the solidifying and expanding of the plots I’ve done since, is post-Faron. Somehow, he’s the line dividing past from now.

So that day — this day — July 20, Faron’s birthday, is the beginning of Starrellia-in-earnest. …As I thought of it, until recently.

Because I realized that with this long time stepping away from Starrellia — my heart and my home — in order to write the stories of Tare (my favorite character) and the Chess Club (my dearest friends), I’ve stepped away long enough that instead of becoming estranged . . .

. . . I have gained a new perspective.

I have discovered that I can now look at Starrellia, its lands, its tales, its characters, with new eyes, and I see everything fresh and ready to be rediscovered and made new.

I will return to it. That time is not yet, for I hope to finish some of my current tales first — stories that I love dearly as well, and which demand that I hear them out and set their words on paper. But then — then, I will go back.

I hope for a renewal, a returning, when I will once again journey back to the things I once knew, the hills and forests and mountains and seas, the castles and villages and caves, the cloaks and swords and harp music, the wild clans of talking bears, the Filanu and all their mysteries, the Seven and their long quest to protect the kingdoms, the exiled kings and lost princes, the villains who prowl at large and seek to dominate the free peoples of the land, the love and loss and victory and adventure, and all that is wild and adventurous and yet all at once comforting and at home, as only a world of fantasy can give.

And there I will meet long-lost friends, like Faron himself (happy birthday, m’lad! *tousles his hair fondly*), and Ryan the Silent One, and Prince Duncan, Bithoa the Outlaw, Varentle Kingson, Andrew, Ethan, Princess Atria, Eleanor, Oflagaro, Darksky the Bear, David and Donavin, Calendula, and all the rest, and we will travel on our quests through Starrellia and its surrounding lands.

And at night we will enjoy our friendship and sit or dance around a burning fire of red flickering flames, like a beacon of hope amid darkness, in a glade under the stars in the familiar forests of my dear Land of Starrellia.

July Fourth, Chess Club Style

Well then. It’s July 4th, which means, of course, Independence Day!

*cue fireworks*

(Sorry, non-Americans who don’t get fireworks and ice cream… but I hope you have a lovely day all the same! ;))

Maybe think about celebrating Independence Day not just with fireworks and barbeque, but perhaps even reading the actual texts of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution and Bill of Rights…! Novel thoughts, I know…

I also wish I was watching Beyond the Mask again… That movie was SO good! *flail*

Today I can’t help but post a snippet from The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, the first book in my Kedran’s Wood series, because the Chess Club celebrated the 4th of July in the story. …And I just realized it’s the only holiday I’ve ever written about. Weird.

Here we go!

KWcover
The week passed with surprising quietness as far as anything having to do with Tare and the Wildlings went, but was anything but quiet besides that. The Fourth of July arrived with a literal bang as the Chess Club celebrated Independence Day along with their families and the rest of the town.

A very overrated parade wound its brightly colored and blaring but cheerful way through town. It was really much too hot to sit around and watch it, but everyone did anyway, even though the line of vehicles, people, and occasional horses seemed to last all day.

Most of the Chess Club members had dared each other to enter the parade itself, but despite that, no one had ended up doing it.

Ice cream flowed rather more freely than the local river did, and the tantalizing aroma and sizzle of grilling hamburgers filled many back yards, parties flourishing everywhere.
The Chess Club also took the opportunity of an impromptu party of their own at Ivy’s house to finish off the famed disaster cake of the Epic Cake-Bakers, and consumed more of what Ivy claimed was the best lemonade to be found for miles.

The snap and bang of firecrackers filled the air sporadically all day long, and toward evening everyone gathered to watch the firework display from the grandstands of the local football field. The deafening noise, general hum of happiness and excitement from the crowd, and the smell of leftover smoke filled the air, while the brilliant and beautiful fireworks themselves lit the sky in dazzling flashes of colored light.

“They’re not nearly as good as Gandalf’s fireworks,” Baz complained. But he had to admit they were okay nonetheless, and that it was still fun.

“I’m trying to imagine Tare having fun,” Lavender remarked over the noise. She giggled. “It’s not working.”

“I should think not,” Baz said with a laugh.

Adrian put in dryly, “I bet he doesn’t understand people who have a good time listening to explosions.”

“Poor Tare,” Ivy said, also laughing. “He’s probably sitting at home reading or something, and subconsciously grabbing his guns whenever there’s a bang, thinking he’s under attack.”

After the public firework display, groups split off and headed variously home to wrap up the night with fireworks of their own, or in some cases watching neighbors or friends setting them off, and ate still more ice cream, getting very sticky in the dark because they couldn’t see the mess they were causing.

And when all was over, everyone finally went to bed far later than was good for them, and didn’t care a bit.

***

Happy Independence Day!

And here, have some gorgeous soundtrack music because I’m thinking of it. (Don’t let Mel Gibson running at the screen with a flag scare you. It’s just music with a picture in the background. XD)