Back From Lent

Back From Lent

Those of you who follow me on Figment or Wattpad may know I’ve been joining my family in abstaining from recreational activities done on a screen for Lent. While we determined that I could still compete in Figgy Idol, since it’s considered extracirricular instead of recreational, I was unable to blog or update other stories.

As a result, I’ve actually had a lot more time for writing. Who would have thought? /sarcasm

Here’s a list of all the things I’ve done during the forty days of feasting. Writing wise, of course. Just click on the title of a work to be taken to where you can read it.

 

Shutdown: A group of online teens are faced with a very unique situation.

Trapdoor: A cyberpunk bounty hunter goes after a big catch, but she might get caught instead.

Hempen Jig: A mermaid trapped in a cage. Here, I had to express a certain emotion without ever naming it. A few Figgies liked it so much that I wrote a few more chapters. I’m looking forward to updating more at the end of Figgy Idol.

Oblivion: Featuring the same characters as my dialogue story Pi, Oblivion shows Setta and and her AI having a confrontation over what it means to be human. Which is my favorite subject.

Everything Behind You: Okay, so this wasn’t technically Figgy Idol. I only posted it today. It’s an eery story from second-person point of view about deserts, memories, and illumination.

 

I’m really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I plan to blog at least once a week, but I might move up from there once my college coursework slacks off in a few weeks. Other than that, here’s a small list of what pieces of writing I’ll be working on.

 

Beast– I finally got my rear into a chair to write Part II. I’ve taken down the previous Part II of Beast on Wattpad so that I can continue to update with the new material.

I Hate Wonderland– A fanfiction crossover between Avengers and Once Upon A Time, where Bucky realizes he’s the Mad Hatter. This is a quirky/dark fic that I’m doing just for fun. It’s been on hold for a while, obviously, but I’ll be updating again soon.

Sidekick– Another fic, this one a Flash/Arrow fic about another earth. But on this earth, Flash and Arrow are mortal enemies, with A.R.G.U.S. agents Abbi Garret and John Diggle between. But the already tentative balance is upset even further when Hunter Zolomon–from the earths we know and love–zooms into town.

Euler Circuit- This one has no links, as it’s still in the planning stage. I got my friend T.R.G. to help with the creation of some planets for our beloved characters of the first novella to protect and save, possibly from themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story

Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story

So on the amazing website of Figment, some users are holding Season 4 of Figgy Idol. Figgy Idol is a writing competition that mirrors American Idol and similar competitions.

I’m lucky enough to join for the fourth season, and things are booming. My audition story–A Real Fighter–served well enough to get me into Round One. Today was the deadline for the first real part of the competition however.

The prompt was simple, but also infuriating. The focus was creativity, and the goal was to create a legendary character, much in the same style as Greek and Roman mythology.

Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! Even though I’ve turned in my submission already, I would still love to expand my abilities.

A brief explanation of my strange schedule lately: My family just took a vacation, so I missed two updates. I apologize for that! I also decided to put off my Book Blab until next Monday, where I’ll be reviewing Challenger Deep.

So, with that aside, I’m proud to present A Real Hero!

 

Continue reading “Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story”

Query Shark

Query Shark

I’ve always been one to put the cart before the horse. Planning things is just so much fun. And sometimes I forget to actually do the things I planned about.

In any case, this week’s Procrastination Tool is Query Shark. I skimmed literary agent Janet Ried’s blog a year or two back, but this time I did the full dive into the shark tank. I read every single query, all of her comments, and read (and reread) her rules for submission. I don’t know if she plans on taking any in 2017, but I plan on giving it a shot.

Obviously Beast needs a ton of editing, and I wouldn’t dream of sending in a query to The Shark before Beast is as polished up as possible. But here’s what I’m thinking so far:

 

Dear Query Shark, 

Belle never planned to love the monster who took her as payment for saving her kingdom. The Assassin never planned for anyone to love him again in spite of his bloody past and shattered mind. 

And his curse never planned on Belle’s true-love kiss causing her to take it upon herself. 

Belle runs before the curse forces her to massacre a kingdom. The Assassin makes a deal with a former employer: if she helps him track down Belle and the curse, he’ll help her take down an evil queen. 

As they play games with hearts and magic, someone else is playing games with their minds and monsters. 

BEAST is a 72,000 word fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Its sequel, QUEEN, will soon be complete at 80,000 words and continues the story of the curse through a Snow White retelling. Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Sincerely, 

Jane Apricity

 

Paring down the plot and trying to make it as enticing as possible has also helped my writing not just for the query’s sake, but for editing Beast as well. I’m getting back to the basics of the plot, the feel, the tone and underlying themes that are important to me.

In essence, I’m going back to good old fashioned storytelling. Which, in the end, is exactly what I’m trying to do as an author.

The Images of Writing

While I’m definitely not my sister, I’m a relatively artsy person. Which is incredibly handy for worldbuilding. Example:

 

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I swear I’m a mature author.

Okay, okay, not really. But in all honesty, a map can make the writing process so much smoother.

This is a real example of the map above, which will be used in KISA/Legends of Galdre/Sorcerers Familiar. (My trilogy that is in desperate need of a unifying title.)

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It’s still in the works, obviously, but it’s coming along pretty nicely. And I love that I could use Skelside Tower as the Compass Rose.

(For anyone interested in fantasy maps, I used this book by Jared Blando, which is also free on Kindle if you have the right cred. I promise I make no money off of telling you this.)

I’ll be making a map for Tale soon as well, and want to make more detailed maps of individual countries on each.

World building isn’t just restricted to mapping it out, however. This sketch of Naiporl, an important city in Tale, was a blast to do. I got to have fun portraying the architecture based a little more on the Middle East, which is an important part of Naiporl’s–and a lot of the world of Tale’s–identity.

 

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I have part of the Delumbrum (religious center for the Clergy) on the left, and the “Black Market” straight ahead, under the silk canopies. The mosaics and statues of saints become more intricate the closer you get to the Delumbrum. The windows and doors of the buildings are open air to elleviate heat, but are secured by grates.  

 

This is my first attempt at a cityscape… I really enjoyed it! I’m going to try sketching the Assassin’s castle next, and am working on a map for this world as well as touching up KISA’s.

I also want to try sketching the characters, although that’s really more my sister’s area of expertise.

I used to try and avoid doing anything other than writing because I felt like it was cheating. It was time spent not writing, and shouldn’t I be able to express it all in words anyways? I’m an author, not a storyteller.

Oh… right.

In any case, I no longer give myself grief for taking the time to build up my worlds a little more in multiple mediums. If you guys do the same, I’d love to hear about it! Link me to some pictures below, or just blab to me at apricitydefine@gmail.com

Blessings!

-J.A.

 

Christmas Books

I write, therefore I read. 

I think this should be posted somewhere. Granted, it isn’t always true, but I struggle to think of a situation in which a writer is excused from all forms of reading ever.

Regardless, I adore reading. So it comes as no surprise that books made up the majority of my “Christmas Haul” this year.

 

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 12)

I read the first one just after watching the movie for the first time, but I often forget that I saw the movie first. I adore the book world even more, and the scope of the story is so much more endearing and epic.

And plus, tiny dragons.

And really, really huge dragons.

 

100 Deadly Skills

Of a SEAL Operative, no less.

 

Krav Maga

I happen to like the idea of being able to defend myself.

 

Igraine the Brave (In German)

I’m by no means fluent, but I thought perhaps a kid’s book would help. I have a German picture book, and a German version of Lord of the Rings. One I’d mastered and one… well, reading it in English can be a challenge.

 

Space Case

I loved Spy School and the subsequent novels, and space is so darn cool. I had to give this a try.

 

Ink and Bone

I have no idea what this book is about, but that title is irresistible.

 

Wheel of Time (Book 1)

I feel like such a bad book person for taking so long to read Wheel of Time. I had it on my Amazon wish list for forever, but no one seemed interested in buying it for me, and I could never find book one anywhere. I finally stumbled across it at a thrift store. So it technically wasn’t a Christmas gift, but I’ll throw it in just to celebrate finally getting it.

 

Now to make sure I’m not a bad book person for neglecting my own! I’ve been picking up steam with writing again, although I have yet to touch Queen. For some reason, it now feels daunting. (Probably because I left off right before the very important bit of the final building stages of the climax.) But it will be tackled tonight! Wish me luck, and let’s put on the kettle.

-J.A.

 

The Art of a Roleplay

In my freshman year of high school, all I ever talked about were my new online friends and our “RP”s. My parents were just a little bit horrified; their only experience with roleplay was a bunch of weirdoes at college who only spoke in Klingon, then dressed up in foam armor to whack each other over the head with swords.

“Ten year olds can recreate the battle for Minas Tirith,” my dad once said. “But once you’re in college, you should probably… not.”

Luckily, my parents have by now accepted that I will be one of the sword-whacking, Gallifreyan-speaking, weird-t-shirt-wearing weirdoes. Even more luckily, they now understand what I really mean by roleplay.

My friends and I are all online friends, so actual sword-whacking wasn’t an option. Instead, we do online roleplay. What started out with each of us assuming a role from the tale of Robin Hood spun into dozens of richly designed plots with vivid, lifelike characters. During the “Golden Age” of our time together, we had one RP that stood out more than others.

Originally, it was referred to as “KISA,” since the link ending was KnightsInShiningArmor. It was a generic fantasy land, filled with princesses and queens and warriors and Rorrik, the beloved, epic-ly Over-Powered mage who essentially can be blamed for all of reality existing and continuing to exist. Let it never be said that my friends and I didn’t have lofty goals.

In fact, we loved this RP so much that we rebooted it into YORP, or YeOldeRP. It was during this that a legitimate plot arose, as well as a few fantastic world maps and enough plot twists to throw off the most seasoned RPer.

But that was hardly enough. It then spawned LegendsofGaldre (based on Merlin at the beginning) that, over time, turned into a KISA/YORP second generation, with a dazzling new cast of characters. (Being herded by the immortal Rorrik, of course.)

What started out as one fun day where we got to be queens and knights turned into three years of world-building and character development, all of which I have very safely stowed away for use in future books. And I owe all the credit to the modest RP.

When I first began, I assumed it would merely be good for getting into the mind of a character. But it proved to be far more instructive than that. RPs can give you a better sense of pacing, teach you the valuable skill of conciseness and communication. Not everything goes as planned either; adaptability is a must when you were working towards one goal, but another persons character simply isn’t going with the program and you have to course-correct. And you learn what really tugs at a person’s heartstrings. Killing off any old character halfway through isn’t truly heart-breaking. But taking one of a pair, building things up, then ripping it to shreds in the most painful way possible… there’s a reason certain authors are infamous for #feels.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to spin RPs into The Best Writing Tool Ever. At the end of the day, it’s just fun. But it more than has it’s uses, and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without it, as cliche as it sounds.

 

If this got you up and rearing for a good RP, join me and a couple friends over at The Characters Within Us! Sign-up is free, and we’d love to have you. The current plot is pretty epic, gotta say.

The Best of KISA

The Best of KISA

So I’ve been writing Knights in Shining Armor as responses to weekly writing prompts from Irene on The Inklings. This chapter has gotten the best response by far, and doesn’t require much knowledge of the world to understand, so I’m posting it here. Enjoy!

 

Aalina guided her horse through the woods, leaving the dark castle behind her. It was a terrible night to try and leave secretly; her horse’s white fur and her white cloak reflected the full moon brilliantly, making them far too visible. But it was tonight or no night, Aalina knew.

The horse–Veritas–gave a snort, tossing his head slightly.

“Hush,” Aalina scolded him. She felt like a weathered old grandmother. She looked like one too, even though her face showed her to be no more than five and twenty. But her body had a weary stance beneath it’s armor, and her eyes held a coldness that came with seeing far too much of life. Where her hair lacked greyness, her worldview more than made up for it.

And it was little wonder why. Though her body had a tired stance, there was a grace to her movements. It was the movement of a warrior, trained and seasoned.

The grim woman steered her stallion between trees, making her way to the main trade route between Bannantyne and King Reinhold’s kingdom. She was finally headed home, after this mess of a diplomatic trip.

Home.

Home was where a warm drink and bed awaited her. Home was where she wasn’t guarding the backside of an entire kingdom from the scathing Bannantyne’s. Home was where Reinhold was.

Yet, ironically, she never felt more out of place than when she was near him.

Aalina came upon the trade route. It was empty, the chill of winter not quite receded. She was the only person visible, a pale knight dressed in the ethereal light of the moon. A sword hung by her side, and a long cloak flowed over her horse’s flanks. Her dark hair spilled out of the helmet, her dark eyes staring straight ahead. Each clop of a horse’s hoof brought her closer to home.

Yes, this trip had been a disaster. Reinhold had sent Aalina in a final, desperate attempt to make peace between the two kingdoms. But Reinhold’s stance on magic was too relaxed for Bannantyne. Aalina had been as humble as possible, playing down their army’s strength and their importance in the world, but it had been of no avail. Reinhold was an immanent threat in their mind. A single knight could not change that view.

The journey home stretched out for several days. Aalina felt she was getting too old for it all. Perhaps her body hadn’t aged since the deal, but Aalina thought that perhaps the cold hurt old bones not for the aged structure, but for the aged soul.

And Aalina’s soul was ancient.

The trade route narrowed as she neared Reinhold’s castle, the usual paths taken by merchants splitting off towards large cities and not solitary fortresses. Soon, Veritas was walking through untended woods, muzzle straying from time to time towards a tempting clump of greenery.

But at one point, Aalina pulled Veritas to a stop. She turned her head ever so slightly, ear catching a noise on the wind.

Talking. Not too unusual, perhaps; this part of the forest was close to the castle. But one voice was very familiar. And the other not at all.

Aalina dismounted swiftly and unsheathed her sword, stalking towards the noise.

It was Princess Forestyne, speaking with a hooded man. Between the princess’ fingers danced a purple light, streaming like ribbons from hand to hand.

A thousand thoughts ran through Aalina’s head at one. The Bannantyne Kingdom would attack us for having a magical royal. Why is Forestyne not on the castle grounds? Who is the hooded man? 

They all coalesced into a single thought.

Stop this. 

Aalina stepped into the clearing, sword pointed at the hooded man. He was magical, no doubt of that. Stopping him would be tricky, if he chose to put up a fight.

“Step away from the princess,” Aalina said, voice gruff.

Forestyne reacted behind her, gasping or screaming or somesuch thing. The girl could never react to a thing usefully.

The hooded man stepped back, holding his hands out.

“I mean the princess no harm,” he said.

“Leave.”

“I only wished to-”

Leave, and I will discuss this with the king,” Aalina growled.

The man looked past the knight towards the princess, then vanished.

Aalina turned and wrapped an arm around the princess’ too-tiny waist and slung her up onto Veritas, her sword still in one hand. Aalina mounted in front of the girl, then urged the horse into a canter.

“Why did you do that?” Forestyne demanded when she got her voice back.

“I should be asking that question of you,” Aalina responded. “But I will leave it to your brother to pose.” She ducked a branch.

“Don’t tell Rei-” Forestyne began before the tree branch caught her mid-sentence.

Aalina galloped across the castle grounds before bursting through the main doors. Her horse’s hooves clattered with a ferocious noise on the flagstones before coming to a stop in front of the throne, where Reinhold sat.

Reinhold raised a single eyebrow up past the rim of his crown.

“Knight Aalina? Forestyne?”

Forestyne dismounted and left the room, purple skirts swishing. Aalina looked down at the king.

“I’m afraid I bring a lot of bad news,” she said.