ConGlomeration Compelling Characters panel up at Patreon!

Here is how you know it was a long motherfucking day: I am drinking an alcohol at the moment, which is a thing that I do not do. Or, at least, I have an alcoholic beverage eight inches off from my elbow on the table next to me on the couch. I have tasted it once and it is terrible and I am probably not going to come close to finishing it but it’s the thought that counts. Or something.

Anyway, I finally got that second panel from ConGlomeration, on writing compelling characters, uploaded to Patreon. So if you’re interested in that sort of thing you should head over there and listen to it. I am, right now, three Patrons short of twenty, and nine dollars a month short of $50, so if anybody wants to help me get to cool round numbers, that would be super awesome. There’s a bunch of other stuff over there too, including a whole new book you’ve never read at the $2 a month tier or higher!

S’worth it, I promise.

Awesome female characters: an addendum

This was gonna get scheduled for later this afternoon, but the post I wanted to write this morning sort of fell apart in the writing, so I’ll do it now.  I totally forgot somebody yesterday:

Unknown11.  Helen Parr/Elastigirl (THE INCREDIBLES)

The Incredibles is one of my favorite movies, and the announcement that it’s finally, finally getting a sequel caused no end of glee around here.  I still can’t figure out how making it didn’t cause Marvel to sue the hell out of Pixar, who wasn’t owned by Disney yet in 2004, because it’s transparently a rip-off of the Fantastic Four, only they made the Human Torch a baby and brought in the Flash instead.  I mean, hell, their daughter combines invisibility and force fields as her powers.  Those two things do not naturally go together!  Give me a break, here!

Whatever; it’s the best Fantastic Four movie ever made, so I don’t care.  But this is supposed to be about Elastigirl.  She’s got the second-best moment in the movie.  For the first, oh, third to half of the film or so, she’s kind of portrayed as a wet rag, content to blend in and have a home life and just be quiet, and other than her desire to be rooted for once in their lives she’s kind of a naggy, boring sort of character.  She’s a soccer mom.  Soccer moms aren’t supposed to be interesting.

And then she discovers that Bob is off on an island somewhere, and she decides to go after him.  And her kids sneak on board the plane with her, and she finds them– just after deciding that maybe she needs to have that superhero costume on after all.

(Goes and looks)  Oh, hell, it’s on YouTube:

I love, love, love this moment.  She’s literally talking to her babysitter at the beginning of the clip.  Full Mom mode.  Then she notices the missiles, and bam.  The superhero in her takes over like it’s a goddamned second personality, and for the rest of the movie Helen Parr is a ninja.  You really have no idea what she’s all about until this point in the movie; you’ve seen her flirt with Bob for a few minutes at the very beginning of the movie and then next to nothing until now, when you suddenly figure out that not only is she really is the Mr. Fantastic of the family– she’s the smart one, too, and there is a ton of stuff that she’s better at than her husband.

I kinda wish the clip started about a minute earlier and ended about a minute later, after she’s explained to her kids exactly how they’re going to survive the mess they’ve found themselves in– because the integration of the “mom” personality into the “superhero” personality is really interesting– but god do I love this character.

And, yeah, second favorite moment.  The fifth through seventh seconds of this clip are my favorite moment in the movie:

(Also: I don’t remember who suggested Veronica Mars, but I totally should have included her, too.  I thought about Sarah Connor but I already had Ripley, and they struck me as real similar, so I just kept Ripley.  Also, Starbuck.)


ba-cover-tiny(First things first: this should post to the Luther Siler Facebook page, a change I’ve been meaning to make for a long time; posts have been showing up on my real-name page instead.  We’ll see if engagement drops; it’ll be interesting to see.)

Okay.  So.  I’m trying to name some characters, and I’d like to hear some suggestions from those of you who have read THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES ($2.99 cheap!) or even those of you who haven’t, if you’re able to form an opinion just based on what you see here.  I need to name some characters, and I’m not sure at the moment what direction to go.  They’re literally named NEEDANAME and ALSONEEDANAME in the manuscript right now.

Some background information: I use traditional high-fantasy races as stand-ins for “aliens” in this book; the two main characters are a gnome and a halfogre.  Let most of the stereotypes take over, although I’ve twisted a few of the races in ways that please me.

GNOMES:  Gnomes have, for lack of a better phrase, standard fantasy names, such as Brazel, Rhundi, Darsi, and Gorrim.  Only female gnomes have surnames; Rhundi’s is Tavh’re’muil, and I haven’t decided if most gnomic surnames are as flowery as that.  Males technically have their wives’ (or mothers, if unmarried) surnames, but Brazel would never refer to himself as Brazel Tavh’re’muil.  It’s not done.

OGRES:  Also standard fantasy names, although I’m trying to make them shorter and a bit more guttural-sounding.  The one named ogre so far is Grond.  No surnames.

HUMANS:  All humans have personal and surnames, which work much as they do in the Western world, although they can be more fantasy-style or more mundane, much in the same way that the main character in Dune was named Paul Atreides.  So, theoretically I could have a human character named Bill or Steve or Jim.  Or, uh, Angela.  Who is technically an Iklis sniper’s longbow, but she has a human name.

GOBLINS:  Goblins do not share their personal names with outsiders, only their surnames.  If there are multiple members of that clan around they tend to number themselves; Rhundi talks to a goblin named “Twelfth Corvix” in one of the stories because she has a number of goblins of that clan working for her.

DWARVES:  Dwarven females and high-ranking dwarven males (generally, only the children of incredibly high-ranking dwarven females, such as clan leaders) have what I’m thinking of as “story names,” such as Shocks-the-Mountains, Smashes-the-Stars, Majesty-of-Nature or Glow-of-Twilight.  I’ve only used three-word dwarven names so far but there’s no reason they can’t be longer than that.  Dwarven males have three-letter names and they or may not be pronounceable.

TROLLS:  Trolls are kinda complicated.  They’re shapeshifters, and their name is dependent on their current shape.  So is their personality, to some extent, although it’s important to realize that they’re all one being– just a complicated one.  The “base” name for a troll is generally tripartite, such as Sirrys ban Irtuus bon Alaamac.  Calling a troll by name depends on which shape you’re looking at; the troll I refer to here is generally known as Irtuus-bon, but his shortest, most childish and petulant form is addressed as Sirrys.

ELVES:  Here’s the problem.  Elves are kinda a spoiler, although they’re a spoiler that gets spoiled within about the first fifty pages of BA 8 and I’m not sure that the way elves work is really all that terribly important as far as spoilers go.  I cannot decide how to name my elves.

Actually, let’s do this:  If you want to make just a random suggestion on how to name elves, go ahead and put one in comments right now, but you probably don’t want to read anything anybody else has to say.  I’m putting the rest of the post under a jump in case anyone really wants to avoid spoilers for BA 8.  It’s not a huge deal, I promise:

Continue reading “Thinking out loud: THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES”

Infinitefreetime in the Character Blog Hop

Writing at my parents’ house this morning; they’re out of town and needed me to feed the cat, and all the stores that I need to go to/burn down in between now and heading to my interview (possibly naked, but more likely wearing the flayed skins of various Michiana-area clothiers) are on this side of town, so I’m just going to hole up here for a few hours.  We’ll see what I manage to get done.  In between now and then, let’s do us a blog hop.  Taylor Grace nominated me for this one, the very day I was complaining that no one had nominated me for a different one.  Whee!

Here are the questions:

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Ezekiel ben Zahav.  Call him Zub.   He is fictional.

2) When and where is the story set?

The story is set in the future– not far; a few decades.  I’m actually revising right now because it was written several years ago and events in the real world have already overtaken some of the stuff in the book.  I’m having to rewrite the prologue, which involved the Challenger disaster.  It makes me sad.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Zub is smarter than you.  Zub is smarter than me, which makes him an excessive challenge to write.  He’s also an aerospace engineer among other things which means that I have to have him smarter than me in a field I know nothing about; writing him requires a lot of research.

He’s also a bit of an ass.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Turns out the ship he personally designed to get humans to Mars and back didn’t quite do its job the way he hoped.  The second one, though?  This one’s gonna work.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

Mars or bust.  Preferably not “bust,” that’s happened once already.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

It’s called Skylights.  I should be seeing thumbnails from my artist today for the cover and I expect to have it available at least in ebook form by the end of the summer.  You’ll be hearing more about it around here as the publication date gets nearer.  I like it.

7) When can we expect the book to be published? 

Oh, wait, I just said that– later this summer.  I did make a substantial effort to get this one traditionally published, and it got a second look from a couple of agents, but that was as far as it got.  I’ll have it up soon enough, I promise.

Not planning on specifically tagging anyone– if you want in on this one, tag yourself in comments and go for it!