This is our alliterative second look into the mind of our aptly-named villain. By this point, Vilnius sees an unexpected flaw in his plan (Charlotte’s escape), and begins taking increasingly villainous actions in order to stop her. This early in the story, it’s just setting Sandy Lane on our heroes, but Vilnius’ actions will get more intense when we revisit him in later sections. “A Vile View of Vilnius” was difficult and generated so much discussion between Luke and I that I wrote an entire article devoted to it. It’ll tell you why I didn’t quite get Vilnius right, despite some really killer lines from our villain in this section. The comments in this section are particularly enlightening, and show a map of a developing conversation that eventually landed us at the conclusions covered in the linked article.
This sections marks an important transition for our characters. Charlotte and Raul must climb the wall of the river valley and in so doing move from Raul’s world into Charlotte’s. It is a turning point in the narrative, so naturally, we wanted to bring a villain in. Sandy Lane has the kind of martial ability that Charlotte and Raul lack, which means we needed Blue as a foil (spoiler alert, I guess). Sandy proved the regular challenge—a character with no gendered pronouns(and no obvious gender neutral ones, either!) I think Blue really shines here—I feel very comfortable writing his character and I think he’s a lot of fun. Giving him some agency, demonstrating why he is a survivor, was a big change from his first appearance, but I feel it works and justifies his acceptance into the team dynamic. Continue reading “CC.021.J.2 | Sandy Lane vs. Team Good Guys: Round 1”
Writing this scene brought me head to head with the concept of “physical space”. When I started describing the tents that Charlotte was cutting through, I drew multiple maps trying to make it work (and in the end still didn’t quite get there). There’s definitely a Central Pillar post in there; James and I talked about the need to get away from the computer and physically move ourselves, just as our characters do. So fun times to come from that. Continue reading “CC.008–009.L.2 | Lucinda Meets Magic”
The character sketches were a collaborative effort; a rough road map to understanding our characters. As we continued to co-write Charlotte’s Journey, this was a way to keep the “shape”, or a baseline, of a character in mind; so we didn’t create two competing arcs as we wrote first drafts.
Sandy is androgynous through terrifying reputation, and we’ve challenged ourselves to relate this without using any pronouns for…Sandy. It’s turned out to be kind of fun, and surprisingly, not as hard as we thought. Read Sandy’s character sketch closely and you’ll see what we mean…
Continue reading “Character Sketch: Sandy (Lane)”
I really started having fun writing this section. Raul is, without a doubt, an absolute blast to write. I was proud of how the scene between Charlotte and Vilnius played out, too. Strangely (thought probably not that strange), I found I was completely off base with Charlotte. I misunderstood how she’d be feeling here, and only after a conversation with James did I start to see where I’d gone wrong (this is where Charlotte’s character sketch came in real handy to get back on track). She’s our main character—the narrative literally follows her around—so it makes sense I’d need more time to understand her since her presence fills so much. I’ll get there, though, and this is one step along the journey.
Continue reading “CC.007.L.2 | Charlotte & Raul at a party!”
Luke: This is where James would write an intro to this section he wrote. He may talk about what it was like to write it; or something he learned about his process, the story, or one of the characters; maybe he’ll just go on a tangent about cheese. I’m not sure which, because he hasn’t done it yet…
James: This section is long. It actually covers a few important events, not the least of which is meeting Blue. Originally, Blue was supposed to join the team right here, but that didn’t work for the story as I was writing it. Some emergent ideas reshuffled the timeline of events, and hopefully improved the next section I’ll be writing with Blue’s surprise re-appearance.
Although it doesn’t make it into the narrative itself, I took efforts to explain all the magic in this section under the strict rules we imposed on our story. You can see those explanations in the comments.
Finally, this section might be a failure. Blue doesn’t join the team as the cue card suggests he should, and an implicit connection between the ruined fortress and Count Vilnius never arises. Both failures may, in the end, prove to be better for the story, but there you have it.
Continue reading “CC.018.J.2 | Charlotte and Raul Meet Blue (But for Real This Time)”
The Wrestling Match was an opportunity to let Charlotte and Raul get to know each other in the wake of a traumatic event. The trick was making sure they aren’t too familiar yet, which I found to be a challenge because I know both the characters well. This section is all about having our two leads interact and learn about each other. Raul’s buffoonery is front and center, but I tried to give him some nobility as well. Charlotte is dealing with grief, and coming to terms with the challenge that faces her. The sword, well, it’s largely absent, which means that we’ll be seeing improvements in a future draft.
This was the first chunk of Charlotte’s Journey I started writing; our introduction to the accord sword, and possibly the first time we’ll see magic affect the world. It also gives us a lot of insight into Charlotte’s thoughts, her relationship with Lucinda (and maybe Vilnius, too); not to mention monks, ceremony, and blood. Though it’s clear it still needs a lot of polish (it is a first draft, after all), I feel I was able to really capture Augusto’s voice in the end…
A Night on the Bratwurst Pass was part of an experiment. Luke and I had been working on character sketches and world-building for Charlotte’s Journey, but we hadn’t yet actually managed to get down to some good old fashioned story writing. We needed a change of pace, so I suggested that some homework for the week should be writing a short story. We would take our lovable skeleton man Blue and imagine a time when he was still alive in the flesh-and-blood sense of the word, and tell the story of the one time he met an orc. Below, you’ll find my take on that story. Although very much a first draft, it captures the spirit of both the character Blue in his (relative) youth and the world that he and Charlotte live in.
After ideation, several potential story treatments, and a whole lot of back and forth, James and I settled on a rough setting / adventure for our hero, Prota (later to be named Charlotte; but that’s another story). Since my initial idea was to see if we could tell a worthwhile story using Joseph Campbell’s monomyth structure, I suggested we each create another story treatment that spoke to the Hero’s Journey story beats. (And I was prepared to hang up on James if he suggested we do it 3 times each.) The following is what I came up with. Continue reading “Luke’s Monomyth Story Treatment”