Friday, January 20, 2012

Write 1, Sub 1 Blog Chain - Interview with a Character

Turns out the MC (Keira Fennel) of my steampunk novel (Gaslyte) doesn't have time for interviews. Being the sneaky author that I am, I slipped an extra scene into the story and got a few answers from her anyway.


The corridor below The Bell and Burrow is cold enough to be uncomfortable. Doors open on the right, dim rooms beyond that smell of copper and whisper of velvet and silk. Keira stuffs her hands in her pockets and limps a little faster. The hall has been empty so far; if she's spotted that could change, quick.

Glyphs on the wall indicate she should turn left. The new route is darker, smaller, colder. “Pox.” Head down, she doesn't see the glim in the air 'til she smacks right into it. Magic flexes and pushes her back several steps.

“What the hell?” She puts her hand out, takes a cautious step forward. Her fingers touch nothing, but she cannot move any further down the hall. A glance around for a sign of a lock, but there's nothing. She thumps her fist against the invisible barrier and lyte swirls, solidifying into a small, dark figure.

“Before you continue, you must answer a few questions.”

Keira rubs her fingers through her hair. “Great.” She points her chin at the gatekeeper ward. “Go on, then.”

“What do you consider your greatest achievement?”

“Fuck me mam.” She paces a few steps. “What kind of a riddle is that?”

“Not a riddle. A question. There is no correct answer.”

Keira looks at the shadow-thing, suspicious. “Right.”

“What do you consider your greatest achievement?”

“I'm still alive, aren't I?”

“Survival is your greatest achievement?”


The gatekeeper-ward tilt's its head. “Interesting.”
“Can I pass?”

“Not yet.” The ward looks down, as though consulting a piece of paper. “What is your idea of perfect happiness?”

“I don't have one.” She fingers the buttons on her coat.

“The answers don't matter in and of themselves, but they must be honest.”

“To have the ones I love safe and sound away from this damned city.”

“Ones? Plural?”

“That's right.”

“Who are they?”

Keira chews her lip. “My da. And Lowen.” The last comes out, reluctant.

“Who is Lowen?”

Her cheeks flush. “A friend.” She presses her lips together tight.

The gatekeeper figure leans closer. “Who do you love more?”

I don't.” She thumps her fist against the magic blocking her way. “What kind of ward are you anyway?”

One who isn't done asking questions.” A pause. “If you had to choose between saving your father and saving your friend who would you pick?”

Keira spreads her feet a little wider on the floor, arms crossed over her chest. “I'd save them both.”

What if you couldn't? What if trying to save both meant you'd all perish, what...”

We'd all die.” She's white around the lips, hands knotted into fists.

Are you afraid of that, then? Having to choose between them?”


I'm not sure I'm familiar with that term. What does it mean?”

It doesn't mean anything.” She rakes her fingers through her hair. “It means your questions are fucked up.”

So you are afraid of that.”

Who wouldn't be afraid of losing someone they love?” Keira's almost leaning against the barrier.

Ah. True. Let's see.” Again as if checking a list. “Is that your greatest fear, then?”

She pauses. “I guess.”

There's something else you're more afraid of?”


That's not an answer.”

Keira kicks the barrier and lyte glims, wall to wall. “Are you going to let me pass?”

You haven't answered all my questions.”

I'll find another way around.” She turns, stomping back down the hall the way she came.

What if there isn't one?” The gatekeeper's voice drifts after her.

I'll make one.” She rolls her shoulders to unkink muscles that have locked up. If I have to tear the whole place down.

The previous link in the blog chain can be found here - Cas Webb's Interview - and don't miss the next link in the chain over at Defcon's Blog.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How To Feel Miserable As A Writer

(Or, What Not To Do. Underline Any That Apply)

1. Constantly Compare Yourself to Other Writers
2. Talk to Your Family About What You Do and Expect Them To Cheer You On
3. Base The Success of Your Career On One Project
4. Stick With What You Know
5. Undervalue Your Expertise
6. Let Money Dictate What You Do
7. Bow To Societal Pressures
8. Only Do Work That Your Family Would Love
9. Do Whatever the Client/Editor/Publisher/Magazine Wants
10. Set Unachievable/Overwhelming Goals. To Be Accomplished By Tomorrow

(NOTE: This is adapted from a post on The Violin Channel on Facebook - How To Feel Miserable As An Artist. All credit due to original (unnamed) author.)