Tag Archives: storyworld: vardin

The Next Big Thing: Rothnen Cycle

Rabia Gale tagged me for the Next Big Thing meme, wherein I wax eloquent on matters of this big novel I'm supposed to be writing next. I've got a few issues with picking a project, something about the fact that I've had two of them for a while and have had yet to nail my focus, but I'm going to just pick one and run with it.

1. What is the working title of your next book?

The Rothnen Cycle

I learned something about myself over the course of failing NanoLite: I kept trying to segregate out the different plot threads of City of Glass, of The Rothnen Cycle, and kept failing miserably. I couldn't find and keep my focus, so I kept not getting anywhere with either of them, despite knowing way more about both stories than a girl ought.

Job hunt put me on the right direction: I'm a detail-oriented of the whole big picture kind of gal and I kept losing the forest for the trees. Thus, the title of the book is technically what I thought was a series title because it gives me back my focus. It's a rather expanded version of the Vardin story.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Vardin was born from my fandom tendencies, the exposition of the theories I developed regarding gifts and powers, and this story itself was born from the way I acquire characters, make them my own in the premise of my making, and all the dynamics and tightly interwoven relationships that emerged from playing them out in the Vardin world. The Rothnen Cycle covers not even the tip of my personal storyworld iceberg, but it captures a big picture of a fragile time when the outside world 'discovers' Vardin—which has always known about the outside world—, the people involved in that discovery, who cause that discovery, and who are most affected by it. It covers the couples who are bound, whether they know it or not, and yet held apart by the distance between baseline human and gifted human and how those bonds affect Vardin as a whole.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Science Fiction Fantasy. It's really science fiction, but I've never liked to limit myself and I write it in a firmly fantasy style half the time.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I plead the fifth. Seriously. I've been 'acquiring' characters since I was five years old and now, they are truly mine, but I wouldn't exactly want to hand out to the world who each character was based on. Though I think only a handful will be obvious to those in the know.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

:blinks: Might I mention that this is cruel and unusual punishment to try to even shoehorn an almost series-length book into a single sentence? Duly mentioned, here goes:

The Queen of Vardin is dying, a team of explorers has ventured upon the land's hidden shore, and the whole world is about to discover a place where people are divided between the baseline and the gifted, where dragons and mythical creatures are real, and where the balance of power in Vardin can affect the entire world.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Still working...

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I wish I knew, but I really don't.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See #2. Also, Kirsten of A Scenic Route. She liked a snippet from Storm, the first part of The Rothnen Cycle, and startled me into realizing I had found the Vardin voice.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

To create a one-sentence summary makes the whole story seem so big stakes, big picture, but the truth is that this is a story about individuals making choices, commitments, and sacrifices based on their love for significant others, for their families, for their nation. It's about a Queen who can either care for her people or marry the man she will always be bound to. It's about an outsider who learns the terrible secret of Vardin and must choose between the world he's always known and the one that embraces him as its own. It's about a girl raised as an outsider but born to Vardin and wishing as hard as she can that she could be both. It's about the hard choice between forcing the guardians to remain hidden in their own land or allowing them to reveal what they really are—and put the whole world at risk of repeating Vardin's worst and most terrible mistakes.


Tagged: in_the_blue, lithiumlaughter, pygmymuse, and xenokattz. Fandom perfectly permitted.

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5 Things Meme: Worldbuilding

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series 5 Things Meme

Comment to this post saying "FIVE!" and I will pick five things I would like you to talk about. They might make sense or be totally random.

Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself, hopefully for the rest of eternity!

From arliddian: Worldbuilding

What do we talk about when we talk about worldbuilding? How about we begin with the fact that I am a worldbuilder at heart, that I empathize with Tolkien's desire to write out stories to express the worldbuilding he had done and further, that the worldbuilding he had done was built around languages. Additionally, I was asked to write this post ages ago, but haven't, primarily because it's too big. I couldn't get my arms around it.

Worldbuilding is writing. No matter what time period you're in, what setting, what people, your story exists within a world, and the story builds that world within your reader's mind.
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Myth, Legend, and Folktale

This is the post I have been waiting for. Marie Brennan, in a guest post on Jim Hine's journal, encapsulated beautifully so many of the things I have wrestled with about my own fiction recently. My good friend, Rabia, asked me to write a post for her a while back that ended up being about flash fiction, but it was supposed to be about writing myth.

This is that post she asked for.

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5 Things Meme: Siblings

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series 5 Things Meme

Comment to this post saying "FIVE!" and I will pick five things I would like you to talk about. They might make sense or be totally random.

Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself, hopefully for the rest of eternity!

From arliddian: Siblings

When it comes to family, they are one of the most important things in both my life and my fiction, a fact not everybody may be aware of. Sisters, brothers, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents...

But today, let's talk about siblings.

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Theme in Fiction: How do you take it?

My characters are beverage drinkers. From Clark Gabrin with his "fine decantation of valuable stimulants and nutrients" designed to taste like an Earl Grey to the national Vardin beverage, sluscheta; to Shelley Huntington's addiction to all things coffee, tea and coffee seems to show up all over in my fiction.

Myself, I am a bit of a tea connoisseur. The family cupboard has always been stuffed to the brim with assorted teas, mostly supplemental or Celestial Seasonings, and my father's pantry contained even more exotic varieties, including coffee alternatives, such as Roma and Pero. When I opened up shop in my own pantry, I included hefty doses of tea for both healing and flavor. An introduction to a local tea room owner led me to fall in love with rooibos as well. So, when my characters began showing personality through their choice of beverage, not only did it not really take me by surprise, but it made for a delightful round table of who likes what and what that says about them.

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Snippet: Storm

So on Write a Book with Me, Kirsten asked for snippets and shared an amazing one of her own. I went ahead and went out on a limb (for me, anyway) and shared the first bit of Storm, the new bit of the overhaul of my Vardin novelverse into The Rothnen Cycle.

I wasn't expecting much; I've been scared to really go where this book goes, but her response just about choked me up and told me I am finally doing this right. It's still scary, if I'm honest, but I hope that I can keep doing, reaching down into the real parts of this story that draw me and compel me and share them, no matter how much I worry that it's going to go down wrong.

She fell into sleep wearing her usual blonde braid and her long, flannel nightgown. She woke to a rocky beach with her golden hair loose and blowing in the softly singing winds and wearing a simple cream-colored dress under a dark cloak. He was there. He was always there, waiting for her. A little older than she was, maybe twelve or thirteen, and visibly too thin without his shirt. He liked to hang his bare legs in the water and let the water and wind ruffle his hair into unkempt auburn. He liked to sit just in front of her and grin when she wasn’t being serious.

But tonight—or day, the sun was glimmering softly over here through a haze of beautiful blue so intense, it seemed she could swirl her finger in it—she was serious as she settled her cloaked back against the large rock leading upward toward the cliffs. She was serious often enough to know he would not laugh or grin, but listen to her intently, like his life hung upon her words.

“What day is it?” she asked, softly, like speaking too loud would change his answer.

It was an old question between them, something worrisome and weary filling the gap between.

“The seventeenth,” he answered solemnly.

“What month is it?”

He waited a moment, dark eyes holding hers. “The second.”

The same day. She slept and awoke and it was all her own life. It bothered her.

He was all pent-up, restless energy and stepped up as if to go, but she caught his hand and held it tightly. He let her and sat beside her while she waited for the ache of confusion within her to leave her for the winds and drift away.

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Who—and What—is the Book About

There is a thought in writing that the best point of view for a scene is the character who knows the least and has the most to lose.

Last week or thereabouts, I had an epiphany. Summerlight is not about the discovery of Vardin or the opening of the Barrier, but about the Vardin succession while those things are going on. It's about people, in particular a person who loses everything whether or not she succeeds her mother on the throne.

Most people think knowing who you are supposed to marry is a good thing. I used to—until I knew I could never marry him.

Summerlight is about the person who has most to lose and, typically, one of the last characters whose role within the story I knew anything about.

Apparently, I tend to start with those who have most to gain because they are driven and informative and drive the story forward. But they don't have the same sacrifices, the same loss. They may even already be resigned to the possibility of not-having.

Despite my general desire for relief from romance, I find my Vardin series is starting with the rothnen, the soulmates, for lack of a better understood shorthand. They are complex and deal very much with sacrifice, though it mostly falls on the non-rothnen side at first. Those who grow up always knowing are far more aware that they may never have. Being rothnen is fraught with issues like consent, invasion of privacy, pain, and belief or disbelief in fate. In short, despite running from romantic angst in my original fic, I find myself smack dab in it again.

Oh well.

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