Snark Theater Questions, Day 16 – 19
What’s your process to tackling a new story? Are you more of a potter, a pantser, a grower? What came first for your current project: the story, the characters or the setting?
My process is kind of a mess right now, let’s be honest. I’m a mixture of panster and plotter. I need parts of a story completely figured out before I write, but if I write a strict outline to follow, I’m terrible at 100% sticking to it.
For this particular story, the character technically came first. And I’m sticking to that because I wouldn’t be writing it if not for the character (Summer). My usual story process is character-heavy, and I often have character arcs completely figured out before I’ve even touched the overall story plot.
Does your story deal with themes of race or racism? Or does it feature a racially diverse cast without discussing race in detail?
This is tricky to answer because, technically, I want to say yes to both? Skin color isn’t cause to turn heads in this world. One of the main characters of the whole series is Latina, and Summer herself is Polynesian. There’s no one side that has a monopoly on skin color. And of the eight gods and goddess in this world’s mythology, five of them are non-white.
But there is a lot of prejudice between the three main splits of people: elemental, inter-race, and basic magic-users. The latter, though, live in a separate society on a separate chunk of land (of their own volition), and they’re only main, consistent interaction with the larger mainland is with black market trades.
A huge conflict across the whole six books is that the World Council (that main government system I keep mentioning) wants to shove off the entire inter-race population out of the union, out of all seven countries, under the justification that they would manage better off in their own space. Not everyone agrees with this (though not all of these alternative POVs are exactly any better, even if they are “nicer”), and, throughout the main series, the inter-races themselves debate whether its worth fighting back or if they should start mass moving to the new world, where a different, more promising culture is developing and more opportunities are available.
A central theme in the story is perspective, so there’s a lot of characters whose understandings of the world are challenged and ultimately changed.
Pick a male character from your story and have him introduce himself to us.
Might as well introduce Aaron: I’m still reeling from an argument Summer and I had. She isn’t acting the same, and I’m not sure what to do. I can tell she’s in some pain. I want to help.
This is Aaron. He’s not really in the best of emotional places right now. He is a Verra spy much like Summer is, but they have different abilities. Aaron is unique in that he has two: telekinesis and mind reading (not all abilities stack; none of the pure elemental ones do). He’s arguably one of my most emotionally charged character in the series, coupled with a desire to protect, care for, and provide for a significant other (he’s the kind of personality that loves being in relationships).
How do you name your characters or settings? Is there any in-universe cultural significance to how names are chosen? Is there a hidden meaning (in-universe or just for the audience’s sake) behind the names of your protagonist and antagonist?
Names actually are different. We have a first, middle, and last name, but on Ellie, the naming convention is formal, common, and surname.
So Morgan, a MC who I talk an awful lot about, has this for her full name: Marie Morganna Darvshie. Marie is a formal name, rarely invoked, especially since this is a time period where the naming convention only still exists because that’s just how things have been. Morganna is what people commonly call her (or would if she didn’t insist on Morgan). Darvshie is the surname.
Summer, Aaron, and most of the Verras, however, have dropped their formal name entirely as a sort of middle finger to the government.
Beyond that, there isn’t anything special to the names. I try not to name them too fantasy-heavy overall. Ismazar and Cynazia are probably the funkiest names I’ve got.