Sneakiness Pt. 2

Last time we talked about some ways to sneak your character into a scene when you don’t want to hold up a big old sign saying “HEY GUYS, OVER HERE!”

Because we here at The Athele Series are master of subtlety. Yup.

With that in mind, here is the continuation of our list!

#3 Items

As cliche as it is for a character to have a special memento which reminds them of someone or something, it can also be a really great way to give a character away to the reader without the other characters in the scene being the wiser.

If someone were to assign me items which would give me away, it would no doubt be crazy socks and my Nanowrimo hoodie.  So for instance, to sneak myself into a scene, I’d write something to the effect of:

The peculiar woman was staring.  What the hell for?  It wasn’t like he was dressed strangely, unlike her wildly colored knee-high socks.

See what I did there?  The point of view I’m writing from has no idea who I am, but you, the reader do, because you are aware of my affection for stripped socks.

I love using this one, because there’s always a story behind the object in question.  For instance, one woman is consistently marked by her jeweled hair clip, which she received as a gift from her sister before she disappeared.

#4 History

I hesitate to put this one in here, because it’s more about how to reveal a character than how to hide them.

But here it goes.  History is also a valid way to out a character.  When you use a character’s history in order to show the reader who they are, basically you take two strings and tie them together across your story.  For instance, in the first scene, a character mentions that they were involved in something called the “Keria Conflict”.  Later, an unnamed person talks about how they took part in the “conflict in Keria.”

That’s the most obvious use of history as a tagger.  You can also use speech or a recalled line to show that the character in question has been present before.   For instance, your character notices a man standing behind his friend at the courthouse.  Later, that man comes to him offering revenge and says:

“Nothing so frightening as a woman spurned.  Isn’t that what you said on the steps of the capital?”

It’s shown that the character was there when he uses a quote and says it’s origination in the story.  As I said, it’s more a way to out them than to hide them, but I enjoy this kind of surprise on both the reading and the writing end.

So there’s your points.  How have you slid a character in sideways?  What are your favorite sneaky things to do?

Tomorrow is the drawing!  Make sure you tweet the video, like the facebook page, or link the blog for a chance to win some cool stuff!

Being Sneaky

Sometimes, it becomes neccasary to have a character in a scene without ever telling anyone that the character is there.  This happens a lot in mysteries, but I really love doing it in The Athele Series.  Often, a character who seems to just be pulled out of no where and has no real bearing on anything pops up again, turning out to be a fairly important person.  The reader thinks “Oh, well, we’ll never see them again” and, if they’re paying attention, will later go “well played, author.  Well played indeed.”

Except without the mauling and screaming.  Usually.

Except without the mauling and screaming. Usually.

There are several ways to do this kind of sneakiness, and I’m going to describe them for you.  I’ve used them at one time or another.  Some are obvious, some less so, but there are four basic ways of sneaking a character into a scene.  I will give you two today and two in the next post!

#1 Description

This may be the most obvious, but it’s also the most versatile and the most used.  The thing to remember with this one is consistency.  You have to consistently describe a character in the same basic way in order for a reader to recognize them and make the connection later.

Consider Homer, for instance.  If you’ve ever read a well-translated version of The Odyssey or The Iliad, you will notice that certain characters are always described in the same way.  Bright Eyed Athena.  Cunning Odysseus.  Those tags come up over and over again, such that when Athena comes to Odysseus’ son in disguise as a boy, as the readers, we know it’s her because the boy is described as ‘Bright Eyed’.

No, not that one.

You don’t have to do with with any special characteristic, and in fact tagging the feature too often can clog up your writing flow.  But with careful writing, it’s an effective way to achieve the sneakiness.

#2 Speaking

Everyone knows that depending on where your from and who you’ve met, you have different speech patterns and accents.  It’s difficult to get across in text though, and can also horribly disrupt the dialogue.  As an author, you have to strike that balance between ‘character quirk’ and ‘trying too damn hard’.

I choose one or two words which are either altered or repeated enough to be recognized.  One character mutters “Aieya” when dismayed, confused, or surprised.  One of Michael’s characters calls his daughter ‘baby doll’, which gives him away to the reader in a variety of circumstances, while preserving secrecy to just about everyone else.  Again, you have to be certain to establish the pattern before you can expect the reader to pick up on the cue.  But it’s a great way to tag a character as well as have some fun with dialogue.

Yes. Just like this. But please don't let the comparison put your off...

There’s the two for today!

Don’t forget, we’re having a giveaway!  All you have to do is tweet or reblog the contest post (it’s Here!) or like the facebook page (that’s here!  or to the left side of the screen!).  We’re giving away some pretty cool stuff, including Korean sweets and a hand written letter!

See you in the next post!

Special Vlog Giveaway!

Tl;dr?  Issues with the video?  Not enough time?  Youtube blocked at work?  Can’t quite hear me cause of my webcam’s not-so-great mike (or me talking too fast?)?  Here’s the gist of it.

We’re having a giveaway! Most of these things are stuff that’s from Korea, or distinctly Korean, including:

- Korean charms
- a box of Peppero (the Korean equivalent of pocky)
- 1000 won (about $1 Korean)
- a poster with writing from the genre of your choice (poem/rant, etc.)

How do you win? Simple! Just retweet this video and tag @TheAtheleSeries/ reblog http://www.kaitlinandmichaelbranch.com on wordpress (or link us on any other blog site and let us know!)/ or like The Athele Series on Facebook and you’re in! Each share gets you an entry into a drawing that will be done in about a week – there will be 3 winners, who will each get a packet with one of the items mentioned above in it.

(Also, what do you think of my vlog skills?  Do you like vlogs or are you straight bloggers?  Let me know, this was kind of fun!)

Kate and Mike

Wheee!

Are you ready?

Are you?

Cause I’m gonna hit you with something exciting!

Do you remember the Steampunk Rapunzel piece I entered into the ‘How Lyrical is your Romance’ contest back in early February?  (Here’s a few blog posts involving it)

Well, it didn’t win… but it did get picked up for publication!  Hooray!  Steampunk Rapunzel for everyone!

So essentially, I got done editing Sleight of Spirit again, only to dive into editing Valeria so that my brand new editor from Lyrical Press could get editing!  Hooray!

Here are the specs for Valeria:

Release Date:  11/05/12 – so the beginning of Nanowrimo!  This is barring editing snarls and other issues, but I’ll be doing my best to keep this on track, and I’m sure Lyrical will as well!

Word Count/availability:  It’s a short little thing, about 18,000 words, and will be available first in the Lyrical press store, and then on all the normal e-reader routes (amazon, stuff like that!)

So I’ll be starting to do a bit more with Lyrical Press, and once I finish this edit of Valeria, I get to write more!  What with working and training for a half-marathon at the end of April, it’ll be a challenge, but it’s one I’m looking forward to!

Sorry about the short post today, but I’m working on a special thing for Friday or Saturday!