Thoughts on New Title?

This is just a quick post to ask you all what you think of this renaming for Aundes Aura. Recently a critiquer suggested The Gifted. It seemed appropriate to me, as later in the novel we meet more people who are gifted with Auras and they become involved with the story.

How do you feel about this change of title?

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Flow


So I've been writing chapter one. I wrote and wrote and eventually I printed out what I had done up to that point and realised something: It didn't flow. I had the scenes, but it felt choppy. In the course of a couple of thousand words my characters had gone from the market to an alleyway, to a courtyard on the way to the castle, then on to the castle, into town to see an acquaintance, back to the castle and then to the church.

Wow.

I figured if I cut the scene with the acquaintance, it would flow better, as they could go straight from the castle to the church. I wholly believe it's worked. But through this process, I have learned something about flow.

Sometimes scenes move between areas so quickly that it seems your characters are teleporting. That's how I felt when I read the first draft anyway. But as I worked through it, I took notice of the parts that did seem to flow. What was different?

Well, when it didn't flow, it was because the paragraphs between the two areas were too short. Here is an excerpt from the first version:

"That's it," said Eoin. "You will go to the Passing tonight. I will make sure of it." He left the room and headed back towards the castle's front door. There was only one other person in town who knew Saera had the Aura, and if anyone had the answer to Eoin's questions, it would be him. Old Hanne lived in the common district, across from the house where Eoin and Saera used to live.

Eoin slammed the brass knocker against the door and waited. He smiled and nodded as someone passed him in the street. The door opened.

Soon after, the scene with Old Hanne was removed and they went straight from the castle to the church:

"That's it," said Eoin. "You will go to the Passing tonight. Just come with me." He held out his hand, and Saera hesitated before taking it. They left the room and headed back towards the castle's front door.

Eoin hated the way this society based so much on the appearance of people, and rarely gave a second thought to discover what they might actually be like on the inside. It was society's inability to look deeper than the flesh that put Saera in so much danger. If the light were to come to the surface, people would see only the light. If only they would look deeper they would see an innocent, harmless girl. Still, it was the reason Saera was still safe. No one could see what she had inside her. This curse. This light.

As he stepped out into the street, he felt confined all of a sudden. The creamy-white houses seemed to close in on him from every direction. His heart beat faster. He had to get away from here. He had to get Saera to the Church as soon as possible.

Eoin led Saera through the streets, all the way to the church. Its high, triangular roof cast a shadow upon the streets. There were no windows visible from where Eoin stood. He and Saera ascended the steps, and once they were inside, Eoin closed the door as quickly as he could. It was necessary to ensure that the holy spirits remained within.
 
The last paragraph continues and describes the inside of the church. As dictated by "To Keep or Not To Keep", I decided to describe the inside of the church because it is quite different to the first image that would come to a reader's mind.
 
So what can you do to help transitions between areas to flow into one another more easily? Well, there are a few things.
 
1. Desription: A description of the setting as the character sees it. Perhaps it doesn't have to be literal, as the mind can play tricks on us. You can go into how the character feels about the place. Again, as dictated by "To Keep or Not To Keep", this could be world-building mateial. If it has been said before, don't repeat it.
 
2. Dialogue: In Real Life, people talk as they walk. Conversations elapse time, so when the characters arrive at their destination after the dialogue has finished, it feels right.
 
3. Interior Monologue: Technically, the character thinking to himself, written as narration. An example from the above excerpt would be:
Eoin hated the way this society based so much on the appearance of people, and rarely gave a second thought to discover what they might actually be like on the inside.
And so on. Again, this elapses time in the Real World, so it feels right that time would elapse within the text, and thus bridge the gap between one area and another.
 
So if you ever find a choppy transition between areas and need a fix, just remember the "Three Bridges"*.
 
*Sounds like a good title for a new fantasy novel.

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Pour Terreur Nocturne

On the brink of despair,
Taemus is there
When you're corrupted by fear,
Taemus is here

Il est présent pour tu,
Terreur Nocturne

Don't forget it

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Aundes Aura: Chapter One (Part One) - Critique Circle: 17th - 24th of March

The first part of Aundes Aura, chapter one is up this period if any of you are interested. However, I submitted this three weeks ago, and since then have found two inconsistencies in the text which have been addressed in my current draft, but which I am unable to address in the version on Critique Circle.

Also, the scenes are very choppy and it seems as though the characters teleport from one area to the next, to the next, back and to the next again. If you want to be more impressed by what I have up, you may want to wait a few more weeks until the full and revised Chapter One is up, which I must say is reading marginally better already.

Still, if you want something easy to crit, I am leaving my chapter one, part one up since I have waited three weeks for it to come into queue. By reading it you might get the general feel for my style.

But don't worry about this one. I'd much prefer you read the version later down the track, and perhaps think slightly higher of me.

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To keep, or not to keep


To keep, or not to keep: That is the question
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to endure that which is pointless,
Or to seek out that which is not; and in so seeking,
Give enjoyment unto another.

A bad twist on the famous Hamlet monologue, To be or not to be, courtesy of my Dark Corner. Also, there are more than ten or eleven syllables in each line as per custom, but what can I say? I rarely write poetry. Still, I think it spells it out pretty well. The purpose of this post is to help with deciding which scenes are worth keeping, and which ones you may have to consider cutting.

I have devised a formula to help you decide whether the scene is worth decribing.

First, consider which element of storytelling the scene is relevant to:
- Plot
- Backstory
- Character Development
- World Building

If the scene relates to none of the above, you may want to consider cutting it.
________________________________________
Plot: The plot is the forward progression of the story. It is the means by which your characters come closer to their goal. A scene that is plot will include the characters either discovering something that brings them closer to their goal, or otherwise moving on to their next sub-goal (a point on the way to their main goal).

Backstory: The backstory is what has happened to the characters and within the world before the beginning of the story. It is usually not essential to the main story, but is useful to know, as it makes your characters and world deeper, more true. For example, Faine is a main character whom the protagonist meets in the second chapter. Later on in the story he will help our protagonist, Eoin, and his sister, Saera. None of the following is essential to know. When Faine was a child he discovered an Aura while exploring and he absorbed it. When his father found out he left in a rage and never returned, leaving Faine and his mother alone. Weeks later, Faine's mother died and he was forced to go out into the world and look after himself. He is still travelling now in his late twenties.

None of that was essential to know, but it makes Faine a deeper character. Knowing that, I can give a certain tone in Faine's dialogue that reflects how he feels about his past.

You can also create backstory to a town. In Aundes Aura there is a village called Tierra, and it sits at the base of the mountains. This village is situated next to the border of Meira, and used to trade with towns from the other country. However, the Church of Duthonne does not agree with the beliefs of the people in Meira, and thus contend that it is a sin to make trades with the country. The Church ordered the village to stop, but it did not as the trades were the most efficient way of keeping the village in stock. As a result the Church ordered a demolition on the village, and it was destroyed.

In knowing that, when the characters travel to Tierra they will discover what happened, and they notice how the village looks half-built as its people try to restore it.

So while backstory may not be essential to the plot, it helps immensely with creating a deeper world and deeper characters.

Character Development: This is the way your characters progress as people throughout the story. Character development is usually given between main plot points. It contributes heavily to pacing, as it breaks up the action of the story and lets us see how the character is adapting to his situation. Character development can be shown through either dialogue or, if it is the POV character, interior monologue.

World Building: How much world building you do will obviously depend on your genre. It is most prominent in fantasy and science-fiction. Deciding on whether you should show a particular feature of the world will depend on how unique it is from what we would find in our own world. For example, we all know what a dog looks like, however, it might be worth mentioning that in this world dogs have three heads and fiery tails.

Recently I had to make a decision on whether or not to show a scene in the church. I decided it was worth showing, as it is different to what you would find here. In particular, at the far end of the church there are gigantic statues of the four Great Gods. Elcalades the Giving stands in the centre of the other three statues, who face him. When someone needs to pray to a particular god, they kneel in front of the statue of the god they wish to communicate to and pray.
________________________________________
If the scene you have written does not contribute to any of these elements, it may not add anything to the story and just be filler.

Make every scene count.

To keep, or not to keep: That is the question
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to endure that which is pointless,
Or to seek out that which is not; and in so seeking,
Give enjoyment unto another.

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Character Interview: Eoin

Ryan Sullivan: So, uh... ee-oyn?

Eoin: It's pronounced like Owen.

R.S: Oh, okay. Eoin, what are your ambitions in life?

Eoin: Ambitions? When I was ten I wanted to be a renowned warrior. I don't care for that anymore. Now... now I don't know what I want. I guess I want to keep my sister safe.

R.S: Safe from what?

Eoin: Oh, you know, she's my little sister and everything. I have to keep her safe from the world.

R.S: Why do you think the world is so dangerous?

Eoin: I wouldn't exactly say the world istself is dangerous, so much as its people.

R.S: Why would anyone want to harm your sister?

Eoin: I can't say... I mean, you know how it is. You never know what's around the corner, so you have to be on your guard.

R.S: What about your parents? Shouldn't they be looking after her?

Eoin: [Looks away.] I don't have any parents.

R.S: I am sorry.

Eoin: Please, don't apologise. I am sick to death of people apologising. It doesn't change the past.

R.S: [Nods.] So if you, uh, have no parents, then who looks after you and your sister?

Eoin: I'm seventeen and she's sixteen. We can look after ourselves. But we live in a castle at our village. It isn't too big, so we don't ever get lost, but it's much nicer than the place where we used to live.

R.S: Where did you used to live?

Eoin: In the lower district, where most of the people in the village live. Some years after Mother passed away, the reverend recognised Father's conribution to the country and we were allowed to live in the castle. He was a blacksmith, and he supplied the Duthonian army with weapons and tools.

R.S: You speak of your mother's passing away as if it were nothing.

Eoin: It happened a very long time ago.

R.S: One last question. Your father blacksmithed for the army. Would you consider fighting for the army in memory of him?

Eoin: While Father supported the army, I think he would prefer that my sister be kept safe. I would never leave her here alone.

R.S: That's it, then. Thank you for your time.

The Floor: A Deviation

The floor is good. The floor is ground. The ground keeps us up, where we would otherwise fall. Therefore, the floor keeps us up where we would otherwise fall. The floor comes in many flavours: soft, hard, patterned, coloured, shaded. People have many different tastes in floor.

In the Tower of Success, there are countless floors. I am on the first floor. Always aim for the next floor. If Real Life is bullying you, endeavour to hold your ground. Don't fall down the stairs. But if Real Life pushes you down the stairs, there's nothing you can do. All you can do is wait for him to calm down, and then have a talk with him. Hopefully this time he'll help you up the stairs.

To the next floor.

A. Deviation.

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

Here at The Dark Corner, Real Life is both our best friend and our worst enemy. Look to him for inspiration, but don't let him get in the way too much.

If he does, bribe him with cookies.

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