Fun and Games

Special Edition: Author Oracle


Today I’ll be answering with questions of the Author Oracle as designed by Angel D’Onofrio on her blog.

0. The Fool: Which of your characters is the most intuitive?  The worst decision-maker?

The Most intuitive character is my protagonist, Impyra. She just doesn’t trust herself enough to follow those instincts every time.

The worst decision maker is Ka Harn, the Emperor. He is a terrible leader and allows things happen instead of stepping up and taking control.

I. The Magician: What character, location, or object has the most positive influence in your story?

This is a tough one because there are a couple of very positive characters and places hiding in this crumbling world. If I had to choose one, I would choose Winifred. She has taken it upon herself to create a sanctuary for the people without expecting anything in return.

II . The High Priestess:  Do any of your characters have very strong beliefs?

Multiple characters have strong beliefs. The chief among them being Garinsith and Winifred. They see the world much differently than everyone else.

III.  The Empress:  Who is your biggest supporter?  Give them a little love, here.

My biggest supporter in life is my husband. That’s followed by my friend Anita and her husband and my friend Lisa.

IV.  The Emperor:  Do you outline or plan?  (You know … plotter or pantser…)

Okay, so this is not an easy answer. I’m not a plotter or a panters, but I’m also both. I don’t just rush into my story headlong without knowing exactly where I’m going from beginning to end. I also don’t create an outline at all and it’s kept in order in my head. I allow inspiration to guide me as I go and if something better comes up, I will deviate from the original course.

I don’t create a story outline, but I do create tons of resources for my stories, such as historical timelines, maps, and so on.

I call it disorganized organization.

V.  The Hierophant:  What do you feel is your most valuable piece of writing advice?

The most valuable piece of advice is that you need to be okay with taking a break. So many people chant “write every day,” but that’s not always helpful. Writing yourself into burnout is bad. If you find yourself needing so many breaks that you can’t be productive, then you need to examine what’s really happening. There is usually an underlying cause that needs to be addressed before you can write at your best.

VI.  The Lovers:  Which of your characters follow their heart?  Is it for the right reasons?

Many of my characters follow their hearts, but primary among them is my main character Brosen follows his heart. It is his choice to do what he knows is right by helping Impyra that kicks the whole story into motion.

VII.  The Chariot:  Tell us about the first “darling” you ever “killed”

Well, I can’t say much as it is a spoiler in Book Two. Let’s just say the first POV character to die gets his just desserts.

VIII.  Strength:   What do you feel your greatest creative strength is?

My greatest strength is that I see things so clearly in my head from start to finish, as if I’m watching a movie, and I can hold onto that for a really long time.

IX.  The Hermit:  Can you write in coffee shops or other busy places, or do you need quiet?

I do not like hanging out in public doing things and being watched. You could say I need my peace and quiet except I’m always writing with my kids. The only time they are quiet is if they are sleeping, (which getting them to sleep so I can write is not easy.)

X.  The Wheel of Fortune:  Do you have a set routine or schedule?

I have a very loose schedule. I try to write every day or edit every day, unless I need a break. I try to write before I do anything else other than eat dinner. Disorganized organization.

XI.  Justice:  What’s the biggest consequence that your main character will have to face?  (If it spoils the plot, feel free to be vague.)

Both main character and protagonist will be given choices that they were never prepared to make and for reasons they don’t understand. Their choices will have an effect on the whole world.

XII.  The Hanged Man:  What sacrifices do you make for writing time?  Or, what must your main character be willing to choose between?

I’ll stay up a little too late to write one more thing.

XIII.  Death:  What do you do after you’ve finished a project?

After Book One I started a new project the next day, then I took about three weeks off.

XIV. Temperance:  Please share your best tested & proven tip for balancing writing and “the rest”:

Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up for not doing things like someone else or as someone else advises is much worse for your writing than being kind to yourself.

XV.  The Devil:  Everyone has a nasty habit they can’t shake.  What’s your main character’s?

Because I have a protagonist and a main character, I’ll do both.

My main character keeps things bottled up. He’s trying to share more but when people question him he gets defensive.

My protagonist thinks she should be able to do things without help, and feels guilty when things go wrong for others who did help her, and that makes her blame herself for everything.

XVI.  The Tower:  Have you ever had to scrap an entire project and start over?  How did it feel?  Were you frustrated, sad … relieved?

I’m going to say I had to scrap pretty much the entire middle of the old manuscript of Darkness Falling to write Book Two. It feels fabulous, though, because the old material was depressingly bad.

XVII.  The Star:  What is your favorite part of starting a new project?  New notebook smell?  Getting to know the characters? Building the plot?

My favorite part of a new project is the initial rush of ideas flowing without obstacles or doubt.

XVIII.   The Moon:  What’s the biggest lie that your main character is telling themselves?

Both my protagonist and main character want to believe their roll really isn’t as important as others make it out to be, but deep down they know it is important and are afraid.

XIX.  The Sun:  Do you have any themes, symbols or objects which come full circle in your work?

The basis of my world is balance and cycles. The cyclical themes are freedom, hope, and how people forget which causes history to repeat itself.

XX.  Judgement: Do your characters get what they deserve?  Why or why not?

That’s going to be a big question at the end, actually. Did any of the characters really deserve what happens? Is it good or bad? I can’t say or it will give it away.

XXI.   The World: At what point did you know that you had to write this project?

These characters have lived in my heart for a long time. They’ve grown up with me. They’ve survived computer malfunctions, illness, hopelessness, and life getting in the way. Not writing this story would be a huge regret in my life.


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