Writer’s Challenge

This is supposed to be a 30 day challenge, but I’m going to make a survey of it…because I’m impatient. Be warned that pretty much all of my answers will revolve around Mythos since that’s the project I am working on the most these days. 

01 → Your favorite writ­ing project/universe that you’ve worked with.
** I made a project during my early adolescence called “Lumina: The Last Child”, and it was the first project I made that did not revolve around an anime or game I was obsessed with. It came from my own genuine fascination with the concept of the apocalypse, and what happens when no hero pops up to stop it. Actually, a lot of characters and plot ideas for future projects like “Messengers: Guardians of the Cross” (now “Mythos”), and “Venus Avalon” (abandoned ages ago) came from Lumina. My domain name came from reminiscing about Lumina, and attempting to create a word that was a spin off of that word ‘lumina’. I really did enjoy that project. Maybe one day, for nostalgic reasons, I will revive it. Why not? 😛

02 → How many char­ac­ters do you have? Do you pre­fer males or females?
** Outside of the five major characters, there are a lot of minor characters who play an important role in the developing war. I do prefer to write about females as opposed to males. Outside of Mythos, just about every project I am working on has a female protagonist with a predominantly female cast. In Mythos, though, the main character role is split between Odin (male) and Elda (female). The male-female ratio is also an even split.

03 → How do you come up with character names?
** I mainly look to mythology. I also have this ongoing list of names that I like, and I tend to go to that list for names.

04→ Your first stories/characters.
** My first story was a complete Sailor Moon ripoff. It was called “The Kitty Jewels”, and it had five girls who did the whole magical girl, henshin, love-and-friendship-solves-everything approach. As you probably guessed, each girl was named after a jewel. I had Diamond Kitty, Pearl Kitty, Sapphire Kitty, Emerald Kitty, and Ruby Kitty. Once more, blatant ripoff XDDD. But it was definitely fun. It was the first time I put this entire world into writing and drawing. I was so proud of it. Definitely a childhood highlight I will always remember. I would not go about reviving it though. I mean…I enjoy the whole magical girl and jewelry idea, but I’ll still always associate it with shamelessly taking from Sailor Moon. @_@

05→ By age, who are your youngest /oldest char­ac­ters?
** Elda is the oldest at 107 years, and Silvain is the youngest at 15 years.

06 → Where are and you most com­fort­able writ­ing? Use the 5 W’s.
** I may be answering this wrong, but the wording is a bit confusing to me. I will do my best nonetheless.

  • Who? I am most comfortable writing about characters who make an effort to break away from the molds set for them by their society. I am not very good at writing about people who just blindly accept everything that they see and hear.
  • What? I am most comfortable writing about destruction…as strange as that is.
  • When? I am comfortable writing in medieval settings, or hybrid-eras (industrial-modern, renaissance-futuristic, etc.).
  • Where? I tend to write about kingdoms a lot. I find a large group of people falling under one nation, and attempting to agree with one vision of their nation interesting.
  • Why? I am most comfortable writing because it gives me the chance to organize my thoughts and ideas.

07 → Do you lis­ten to music while you write? What kind? How do you relate music to your writing?
** Yes. I mainly listen to instrumentals because I have this thing about people not speaking while I am writing. I find it to be too distracting. Sometimes I will listen to music with words, but the singing has to be very gentle or in a language that I don’t understand so I won’t unintentionally allow the lyrics to influence my writing. I tend to divide music into different themes like battle songs, romance songs, sad songs, upbeat songs, town/village/city songs, etc. It’s pretty fun. ^^;

08 → What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?
** I love to write fantasy, but I prefer to read military science fiction or stories that can be classified as space operas. Actually, I love to read just about every genre, but military science fiction/space opera always fascinates me more than the other types.

09 → How do you get ideas for your char­ac­ters? Describe the process of cre­at­ing them.
** Well, I usually work like this: create the plot, create the main conflict, create different standpoints to that conflict, pick the most interesting standpoints, create characters based on those standpoints. Obviously, having a bunch of different standpoints to one common issue leads to disagreements. Even characters who are otherwise close by blood or circumstance drift apart because of conflicting ideas. So, I do enjoy creating characters based on their morals and opinions rather than…I don’t know…what I used to do. I used to just say: “I want a character with purple hair” or “I want a character who likes to steal”. Now I insert those quirks after I flesh out the character’s mind. I think less of my characters as “That guy with the chain as a weapon” and more of “that guy who believes that the world needs a reset button”. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s hard to explain how I think without drawn out charts and diagrams. Sorry. >_<

10 → What are some really weird sit­u­a­tions your char­ac­ters have been in?
** There are a lot of weird things scattered around the plot of Mythos, but the weirdest thing to me is Sebastian’s Club Hyperion. It started off as a silly meetup to celebrate his father’s existence (because Sebastian is pretty much Odin’s biggest fanboy XDD), but the meetups started turning into parties and then the parties started turning into this…really big and lively thing. It’s like an underground nightclub that only the most elite of elites know about, and can gain entry to. I even started to work on these comic strips where Sebastian will drag Odin out of his sleep to these Club Hyperion parties, and Odin will always run into the weirdest things and people there. The best part is that regardless of how much Odin protests going and participating in Club Hyperion, he always ends up passed out on the floor of the basement from partying too hard. It’s kind of funny for a man who is, to most people, very uptight and miserable. It’s like watching Batman go to a party. It gets really amusing.

11 → Who is your favorite/least favorite char­ac­ter to write?
** Yikes! This is hard. When it comes to the major characters, I really enjoy writing about them. It’s hard to choose a favorite. If I had to choose, though, I would choose Elda. Someone who lived THAT long must have a lot of interesting stories and views on life. That is what I tell myself when I write about her. My least favorite…maybe Vivienne. Only because she is not a character who changes much. I intentionally made her this way because I told myself: “Not everyone has to undergo some dramatic change.” Vivienne is one of those types of people who is comfortable with who she is and her approach to life, and she has no reason to change. That doesn’t make her a bad person at all. I like her because she is always content with who she is despite criticism, but writing about someone who never changes can get boring after a while. Really, the only people I truly hate writing about are the holier-than-thou nobles within the story. I hate people like that in real life, and I especially hate writing about their narcissistic tendencies in the story. It just makes me want to reach in the page, and push them into a ditch. LOL

12 → In what story did you feel you did the best job of world ­build­ing?
** Definitely Mythos. Mythos is the first story where I sat there and fleshed out the entire society of that world. I’m talking the different races, their traits, the religions, the various diseases, the popular debates, the celebrities, the popular past times, their school system, their prison system. I even spent an entire day just planning the various holidays and parades in Telluria. I sat there thinking about the types of stores that would offer certain types of specials based on these holidays. I always bring the smallest details of life to Mythos. It’s fun for me.

13 → What’s your favorite cul­ture to write, fic­tional or not?
** I am obsessed with Elves. I don’t know who to blame for that. LOL. Actually, I always blame The Legend of Zelda, but it was The Lord of the Rings that really got me fascinated with Elves. I love that while other creatures are passive to the very planet they dwell on, Elves can just sit there and have conversations with the trees and the flowers. I love how every feature they possess, from their pointed ears to their extensive lives, is relevant to their bond with mother nature. It’s all really neat. I feel a sense of peace just writing about Elves just…living in own culture. If I ever need to look to an IRL culture or group for inspiration with Elves, I look to the Buddhists in Tibet, and the “hippies” who have so much desire to protect the planet. Mostly, though, I just look to fantasy.

14 → How do you map out loca­tions, if needed?
** Almost always draw them. I just draw a map, and pinpoint various regions and major nations. Then I’ll list the various towns/villages within those regions or nations.

15 → A writer you admire, whether pro­fes­sional or not!
** Tolkien is a definite. I am fond of the writing in many games and mangas. You can’t play games like Mass Effect or read mangas like Berserk, and not admire the amount of creativity that went into those stories–even if the names of those writers are not as well known as say Tolkien. I definitely like R.A. Salvatore. I recently became a fan of Andrzej Sapkowski, and his almost poetic writing style. Or at least the translations seem poetic to me. It focuses less on perfect grammar and mechanics, and more on creating this…rhythm. When Geralt is doing battle, the sentences are short to give this feel of a fast yet exciting battle. When Geralt is in an emotional situation, every sensation is described. The dialogues are my favorite. When Geralt is talking to someone then all of the focus goes to that dialogue. What goes on around him is not focused on too much because you begin to feel like Geralt. You just focus on the words being said, and the body language while it is being said…and not so much the people in the background. I am a fan of a lot of authors and their style. It really is going to take forever to sit here attempting to break them each down. XDD

16 → Do you write roman­tic rela­tion­ships? Are you good with those? Do you write sex scenes?
** Yes. I do try to avoid them all together at times, but romance is a part of life. Even if that romance is one-sided. I believe that everyone understands how it feels to fall in love, and how it can fill you with so many strange emotions that you never asked for. It turns the most sensible person into this…irrational, passionate, jealous, determined, single-minded being. Romance is interesting. Am I good at writing about them? No. At least I am not good at writing about conventional romance. The roses and chocolate and wine type of romance is not my specialty at all. The romances in my stories tend to be tragic, or uninvited. It’s strange to say as someone who is married, but successful relationships are boring. LOL. I mean, when you’re in a stable relationship then it is great, but you don’t want to read about people planning date nights, dividing their paychecks to pay bills, or talking to each other while one person is on the toilet. You know, the type of things that long-term and stable couples tend to deal with on a daily basis and not think about. In fantasy stories, especially, where millions of life threatening things are happening at once, I just can’t see two characters saying: “Killing that dragon was fun. Want to go out for a latte?” So, I don’t know…As I said, I am better at writing about romance that is almost too complicated to ever become stable or long. Sex scenes…I don’t write those. Not because I don’t want to, but I haven’t really found a reason to write them into my stories. I don’t see sex as like the final boss of a blossoming relationship. Like romantic dinners and walks on the beach, it is just a means of bonding between two lovers, and does not really represent an important factor of successful relationship. Fun is necessary, but things like trust and communication always trump the fun things. Would I ever write a sex scene? Sure. Of course, it would be awkward for me because I am not familiar with erotic writings. The same way an erotic writer may not be familiar with Elves and dragons, but it’s not impossible or unreasonable. Maybe someday I’ll try for the hell of it.

17 → Favorite pro­tag­o­nist.
** Though the protagonist role is split between Odin and Elda, I am going to say Elda. She embodies everything I admire in a woman. I would want to be like her, or have my future daughter become like her. She is that type of woman. My favorite thing about Elda is that she is the one actually running the world. Yes, Odin is the emperor, but he finds almost all guidance and influence in his decisions during his time spent speaking with Elda. People write her off as a mere assistant to the emperor because she is a woman and his guardian, but they are wrong. Elda is constantly proving people wrong. She is constantly putting people in their place. She can be this…gentle flower of a woman, patching up wounds and cradling overemotional teenagers, and the next second she has her boot on someone’s neck. I can’t help but admire that. If anything, Elda takes up the traditional role of a man in a story while Odin takes up the traditional role of a woman. Elda is the one maintaining order and reason, and tirelessly tending to the emotional needs of the opposite sex in the story. In most cases, Odin is the one searching for emotional satisfaction in questionable places. Elda does not need that. No man has to fly to her rescue, or give her purpose in the story by loving her. She is unapologetically self-sufficient from start to finish. That’s the best way I can describe why I enjoy writing about a character like her.

18 → Favorite antag­o­nist.
** At the risk of sounding too poetic, my favorite antagonist is not a person at all. It’s an idea. It’s this thing that has no face or name; therefore, no one can blame it or train to fight it in battle at the end of the story. It’s almost like a poison that must be methodically removed from the masses in order for the mass to experience peace…or whatever their goal is. For example, take the movie Crash. There were some immoral assholes in that movie, but there was no single man or woman causing the conflict. The evil was racism, intolerance, and ignorance. This one idea of blaming an entire group of people for the fault of one or two gave birth to this very contagious illness of an idea. It really took a handful of people to (a)notice the evil, (b)accept that it was evil, and (c)stand against it. That is the type of antagonist I like in a story. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a villain in a snazzy costume as much as the next geek. I mean, that’s what I grew up on. But as I grow older, I stop putting evil on faces, and I start putting them on fallacies. Once more, probably too poetic. Sorry. 😦

19 → Favorite minor that decided to shove him­self into the spot­light.
** Elda’s sisters. Definitely. They are just a walking comedy act–all eight of them. I mean, there are a lot of comic reliefs in the story, but they are typical. You have the air-headed girl, the idiotic guy, the bad-behaving kids. Things like that. But you rarely see a group of women who are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, teachers, writers, basket weavers, soldiers, and so many titles you wouldn’t commonly associate with “funny” or “comedian” who are just ridiculously blunt, perverted, and fearless in expressing their opinions. You kind of look at them and tell yourself: “No wonder Elda is so elegant and well-behaved.” You can almost imagine her constantly telling people: “They didn’t mean to say that! Please don’t get offended!” all of her life. LOL. I like them though. They do always steal the scene the moment they are in the scene.

20 → What are your favorite char­ac­ter inter­ac­tions to write?
** I enjoy writing the moments when a character takes off his/her mask, and confesses to another that…you know…” I can’t do this. I’m not as tough as you think. I am not a bad ass at all. Deep down, I am terrified.” Regardless of what type of society you are in, everyone is expected to play this role they don’t always agree with to please their family, their friends, their community, neighbors, their enemies. It is overwhelming for everyone. Not everyone can be like Vivienne, for example, and completely shut off their emotions. A lot of people don’t want to risk missing out on important emotions just to avoid the unpleasant ones. So, despite being unemotional like Vivienne most of the time and avoiding emotional people IRL, I enjoy writing about those emotional interactions that people have in secret. I like going beyond that emotional armor, and exposing the person that is really in there. Even for a brief scene.

21 → Do any of your char­ac­ters have chil­dren? How well do you write them?
** Odin has two sons, and Elda has one son (who I am considering making a girl >_>). It’s tough to write about children, so I don’t believe that I write them very well. That time between birth and adulthood is basically behaving like a sponge, and just absorbing all of this information and influence. It’s almost instinct to think: “Make the child behave like his/her parents”, but it’s not like that at all. You can have two extroverted parents, for example, yet have this introverted child. Children are molded more by experience, and less by genetics. That is something that I am trying to tell myself, you know? Sebastian and Silvain do not have to be like Odin the same way Evan does not have to be like Elda. In fact, they don’t even have to have a good relationship with their parents. A bad parent-child bond is not so uncommon, especially with teenagers. It’s…all really difficult. Even without being a parent, I can just see how difficult child rearing is through watching other parents.

22 →Tell us about one scene between your char­ac­ters that you’ve never written.
** Well, it is said from the very beginning that Odin was once married to a woman named Selene, but I’ve yet to write about their actual marriage. You only really hear about how they met, and why they are not married anymore (it is usually due to Selene’s death although I flip-flop between her death or just a divorce). As of late, I am growing tired of the “I used to have a perfect marriage until my spouse died” type of route. I much prefer the idea that Odin’s marriage was never solid. In fact, in one recent fragment (since I write random scenes rather than a chronological story, I tend to just call these random snapshots of the plot “fragments” of the story), Silvain is not Odin’s biological son, and he knows this, but he tries to play along for the sake of his family. In this same fragment, Selene is dead. However, it is not because of an illness or childbirth. She died while on a trip to visit the guy she was messing around with. The events revolving around Selene’s death, and Odin’s borderline disrespectful remarks about his deceased wife leaves this…rift between himself and his sons as they get into the typical adolescent “I KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD” thing and Odin gets into the typical adolescent parent’s “STFU NO YOU DONT YOU’RE A CHILD” thing. Back on point, I haven’t really written about the details of their marriage, rocky or otherwise, but I might do that later.

23 → How long does it usu­ally take you to com­plete an entire story?
** …I am beginning to think it is impossible for me to complete a story. LOL. But I won’t give up. The pleasure comes from the journey of creating a story as opposed to the bittersweet destination of finishing it.

24 → How will­ing are you to kill your char­ac­ters if the plot so demands it?
** If the plot demands it, I am willing. I just don’t believe in killing a character simply because the story is drawing to a close, and I need something interesting to happen. I find it impractical to have this experienced and almost superhuman hero suddenly die in the last battle out of some careless mistake…like not double checking if this uber-diabolical mass murdering villain is actually dead, or randomly deciding to flash a smile at a loved one in the middle of battle before “Ha ha! I stabbed you because you weren’t paying attention!” type of thing. Even the most novice fighter knows not to turn their back on an enemy who is not confirmed dead. It just seems like common sense. Sorry…I’m ranting. I just hate trite deaths like that. Or the: “Yes, I know you just chopped me into a million pieces, but I magically got back together while you were celebrating to pull this cheap shot attack, and kill you.” That type of thing I won’t do. But I do understand that if I choose to go one route in a story that I am basically in denial if I think that someone will not die as a result. For example, you can’t put six people in an all-out, decade-long war, and not expect at least one of them to die. You also cannot expect people to not die of natural or unforeseen circumstances. After all, deaths are not always dramatic. It’s sometimes just bad luck or a result of flat out carelessness. Things like that.

25 → Do any of your char­ac­ters have pets? Tell us about them.
** Evan has a pet since it is a tradition for Minthe rangers to have one. They’re more familiars than pets, to me, but…whatever. He feeds it. He cares for it. He fights with it. They’re practically family. So, it’s pretty much a pet. Evan’s pet is basically a giant cat. It’s the size of a horse, but it looks like a panther. For a reason I still have not explained, all the animals within the Minthe woods are fucking giants. LOL. Giant cats. Giant wolves. Giant boars (my favorite…until Nier stole it ;____;. Still keeping them though. I love boars. >_<). Giant insects and birds too. They’re all big enough to ride which is important for rangers since they travel such long distances to patrol every inch of the woods on a daily basis. Pets/Familiars are an undeveloped aspect of Mythos, so I am still working it out.

26 → Do you draw your char­ac­ters? Do oth­ers draw them?
** I draw all of my characters. I am comfortable with certain people drawing my characters (like Tiffa or, if I ever do it, an artist I hire to draw them), but I can’t imagine some random person just drawing my characters. It won’t feel terrible, but I will immediately start saying nitpicky things like: “Odin should not look so mischievous. It’s not his nature to be sneaky. No, Elda is not the type of person to wear jeans or pants. Why does Vivienne have such long hair? She would HATE that.” I feel annoying for thinking that way, but I’m sure a lot of artists are like that. For example, if you drew Lightning cheerleading or something, I’m sure people would be like: “WTF. This is stupid,” and they’re not even the ones who made Lightning.  LOL. It’s about character integrity. I don’t believe in changing characters, outside of comedy sketches, just because someone thinks that everyone should be more outgoing and happy, or more brooding and dark. That type of thing bothers me. Changing a character’s skin color/ethnicity also bothers me. Don’t do that. -_-

27 → Do appear­ances play a big role in your sto­ries? How do you go about design­ing your char­ac­ters?
** …Not really. If I could, I would just hit the random button on a character generator, and make a character based on that. I am just more interested in character personality than character appearance in this story (Mythos). In other stories, like magical girls or something, I would put more emphasis on appearance. I do think of color combinations, fashion sense based on personality, posture based on occupation, and so on. I don’t really have a set method of designing characters. Maybe I end up just choosing what comes to mind first without realizing it. ^^;;

28 → Have you ever writ­ten a char­ac­ter with phys­i­cal or men­tal dis­abil­i­ties?
** Yes. Silvain, for example, suffers from many physical ailments that make it difficult for him to function like a “normal” person. He cannot go outside when it is sunny, he has a difficult time with his motor skills, and he will often admit that he is too afraid to go somewhere alone out of fear of randomly fainting or dying. He has an illness that is fairly well known in the world of Mythos, but does not exist in this world. At least not that I know of. It’s more of a combination of real world illnesses/disabilities. As for mental disabilities, I would say that Odin suffers from a disorder that is most like PTSD. He is not your stereotypical and incredibly false depiction of a mentally ill individual that you see in movies. He’s not walking around in slippers with unkempt hair, talking to himself and spontaneously yelling at nonexistent people. You don’t really see the damage that life has done to Odin until you see him in private doing simple things. He is often disoriented, lost, and paranoid when he is not expected to be anything but himself. Around others, he finds comfort in sticking to the cold and undeniable facts since they do not require him to think too deeply and expose what an anxious individual he truly is. There are other minor characters with disabilities throughout Mythos and other stories too, but Odin and Silvain are the major ones.

29 → How often do you think about writ­ing?
** When I am not writing, I am thinking about writing. LOL

30 → Best source of inspiration?
** Without a doubt, books. But I do get a lot of inspiration from video games, animes, graphic novels/comics, and some movies. It is not too common, but I’ll sometimes draw inspiration from events in reality. It all depends. Outside of stories, I also draw inspiration from anyone who is passionate about an art. I am always motivated by people who are pumped up by their own imagination and creativity, and I will instantly put that energy towards my own imagination as a result. Artists and writers constantly inspire one another, I would say. It’s this cycle of inspiring, creating, and then inspiring others with that creation.

(( I will correct typos and other errors later. I have to head out now. >_> ))

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