Eljena’s backstory, part 1

Sept 29, 2015. 2:30 AM

This all came to me in a dream this morning. It was really this vivid and brutal. It wasn’t Eljena (my world’s first female member of the Wizards of the Grand Order, which is referenced in Symbol (Re)Interpretation) while I was dreaming, but it was her viewpoint, and I was able to wake myself up at the moment that, in this story, her magic manifests itself. I lay there for only a few minutes, and it immediately became clear to me who this woman was and what happened just after I woke up. Everything else is pretty much as it happened in my dream. This is virtually unedited and finished about 3:45 AM. Due to its length, I will post in three parts. The setting is she is speaking to Bautista, another member of the Grand Order, and his wife Alasaia.

This scene does not appear in my book. It is simply a writing and character development exercise.

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Seeing Outside of Caste

I am a member of a large masters swim team. We have roughly 80 members, about half of whom regularly swim very demanding workouts early in the morning. This provides me with chances to interact with my teammates in a setting that is well outside both their social and work norms.

What I find most interesting is that, in the pool setting, the norm changes dramatically. Everyone is on an equal basis; that is, we’re all in our Speedos with none of our usual crutches to hide behind, and a new primary standard on which to judge others. This standard is not, as you might expect, based on speed, but on effort.

Although effort is not a pure measurement of character, it is a reflection that is far different than the job we have, the clothes we wear, the car we drive, or the house we live in. In the pool, I find that, because there are fewer criteria, we are all more like equals than we are outside the water. The same holds true in the locker room (at least for the men) where we’re all naked in the shower and cannot hide our true body shapes whatsoever.

I find it interesting that speed, at least on my team, only places us in lanes with others of similar speed; it is not the determining factor of whether or not we fit in. What makes the biggest difference for those who attend regularly is the willingness to work hard. Because of the early (~6 am) start time required, and the physical effort required, we have become, for the most part, each other’s biggest cheerleaders. At team events, whether swim meets or dinners, we all see ourselves as equals and partners.

Is there a lesson here? Yes. We create castes in our culture based on political views, choice of religion or non-religion, wealth, and other criteria, then defame those who don’t fit in. In the pool, my team is made up of members from many of our social castes, yet when thrown in the water in just our Speedos, those cultural restrictions fade away and we are simply friends.

Symbol (Re)Interpretation

The following was a writing assignment from the Seed Writers Group. The challenge was to write an interpretation, possibly of a symbol. As I’m currently in the middle of my second book, I chose to make this part of my plot. My wife has reminded me over and over to include strong female characters and this provided the perfect opportunity. My new character is not introduced here, but is hinted at. Unlike Revealing Dreams, this does not appear verbatim in my book, but gives insight into the mind of the chief wizard, who is not a major character. In case it’s not clear, the Grand Order of Wizards has lost three members (out of twelve) in a very short time.

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Revealing Dreams

This was the first assignment I did for the Seed Writers Group. At the time, this was simply to create a little background into a very minor character who was acting as a foil for my wizard. This piece, written as a journal entry, ended up changing him into the primary antagonist in my first book, and the entry ended up in the book verbatim. When it’s found, it sets off the climax of the first book.

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