Following Sleeping in Cyberspace #1: All the Stuff You Already Know from “Following Oracular #1” & Other New Stuff

So you know what’s unfair?  What’s unfair is everybody talking about Oracular when Morgan is, in fact, writing Sleeping in Cyberspace.  We’re rectifying that, however, and…now you get a dual blog post series, one about Oracular and one about Cyberspace, depending on which one was more apparent in Morgan’s brain that week.

(You’ll probably see more of us in the immediate future, as Morgan scrambles to finish draft one by the end of the year, hopefully.)

Anyhow, I’m Kivessa, and I’m going to tell you all about my story!


The Concept:

Science fiction set ~120 years in the future + elements of a Sleeping Beauty retelling + artificial intelligence that already rules the world + a really crazy heist + three siblings with complex relationships + running jokes about fedoras = Sleeping in Cyberspace

Ceveth laughs a little bit.  “That doesn’t even touch on any of the emotions of the story.”

Well, that’s true.  There’s also a lot of emotions.  One of us has really bad anxiety.  Another of us is a control-freak.

“And the last one of us?” Dazant asks.

Oh, well, yeah, and then there’s me.  I…am slightly underdeveloped.

The Concept in an Official-Ish-Sounding Blurb Form Instead of a Math Equation:

Fifteen year old Ceveth lives in a world where the artificial intelligence already has control of the world, having turned the United Council into a figurehead.  One of its most famous actions was to nearly purge the world of criminals, by creating a near-perfect police force.

This means that former thief Ceveth and his two older siblings have no chance of redeeming themselves.  The best they can do is evade arrest and struggle to survive, and even that, at times, is near impossible.

Then one day, the siblings are contacted by someone who promises them freedom.  A clean slate; a brand new start to their lives.  And all it asks in return is that they commit one more theft and steal an item from the most hi-tech bank in the city.

Or, basically, the world is ruled by an AI, which really wants to throw us in prison, but we really don’t want to go to prison.  Then Ceveth starts hearing this weird voice identifying itself as Izi in his bionic ear.  Izi doesn’t tell us anything about herself, and doesn’t even let us meet her, choosing instead to only contact us through messages on our tablets, but she tells us that if we don’t break into the bank and steal some item that she won’t actually identify for us, she’ll have us thrown into prison anyway.


The Characters:

Ceveth:

Um. Hi.  Uh… I’m Cev.  I am really good with computers (well, tablets are what we use nowadays), and I love music.  I have anxiety and panic attacks and nightmares and…yeah.  I really love music, though.  All kinds.

Dazant:

Of the three of us, I’m the oldest, so I have to keep us together and safe.  I…can sometimes be over-protective, but it’s for their own good.

Kivessa:

Dazant makes everything happen; I make it all go smoothly. I help the boys hold themselves together.  Which often means arguing with Dazant, but

Izi:

I am not interested in talking about myself here.

Dazant sputters annoyedly.  “Of course not.  Here’s what you need to know about Izi.  She—if it is a she, since there’s been no confirmation from her—doesn’t answer any of your questions unless it specifically interests her, and even then, she’ll probably say something useless.”

Izi does not protest to this statement.


So, there’s us.  What do ya’ll think?

Ceveth looks like he’s about to laugh.  “Ki, did you just say ‘ya’ll’?”

Yeah, I guess I did.

Following Oracular #2: The Concept & Meeting the Cast

Hi, I’m Meriela.

So I guess I’m going to be telling you what the story is about, in a nutshell, and introducing you to my fellow characters.

So what Morgan calls her “elevator pitch” goes something like this:

An Oracle grows bored giving prophecies about other people being heroes, and she decides that this time, she’s going to be the heroine.

”That’s me,” Ereinne cheerfully says, waving.  “In case you didn’t guess.”

“Nope, definitely didn’t guess.”

“Tiri, stop being snarky.”

Obviously, that pitch doesn’t mention any of the rest of us, and Ereinne, hate to say it, isn’t the most important character.

The story of Oracular came out from two different concepts.  The first was the above pitch, about an oracle character deciding she didn’t really care for being an oracle.  The second idea was to play with the idea of prophecies and “Chosen One” characters, particularly ones who didn’t blindly follow their destiny just because that’s what they were supposed to do.  The two ideas obviously fit well into the same world, and so—

“Ugh,” Tiri interrupts.  “You make it sound so neat and peachy-keen.  This is what Oracular is about.

“If your eyes are blue, you’re an Oracle.  This means the Guardians, who are supposed to be knight-like warriors but really aren’t knights at all, take you away from your home and lock you in a tower, where you then spend the next several centuries giving mumbo-jumbo prophecies that don’t even make sense.  The Guardians then interpret your nonsense, and tell everybody else what they have to do because the prophecy says they have to do it.”

Well, there’s that.

The weird part is that the Guardians—er, the prophecies—talk about two Chosen Ones.  The first one is the one you’re all thinking of—you know, the great legendary hero character who saves the world and all that.  The second Chosen One character is…not so great.  He or she is the one who causes all the problems that the other has to save everyone from.  Basically, the bad guy.


So there’s the concept, to an extent.  Now, all of us characters and who we are.  We’ll go in alphabetical order.

Cimizelle

Funny that I’m first, because I’m not that major of a character in the first book.  I’m an Oracle and also a princess.  My parents faked my death when I turned into an Oracle at the age of three, and I’ve spent most of my life locked in a tower.

Ereinne

I am the one the elevator pitch talks about, as you knew!  I am over 300 years old, and I’ve spent all of that in the Oracle’s castle, kind of similar to Cimi’s situation, only I have been able to interact with other people on a regular basis.  It’s been my dream to be like the heroes I’ve met (once) and heard stories about, and so when I finally see my opportunity, of course, I take it.

Iaelie

I’m the Guardian assigned to Ereinne, which means it’s my job to keep her safe and, well, contained inside the castle.  When she sneaks out from under me and escapes the castle on her foolhardy “I want to be a hero” quest, I have to follow after her and try to get her back safely.  If I don’t get her back in one piece and quickly enough, I’ll lose any and all respect I’ve worked so hard to gain as a Guardian.

Kalvias

Ugh, my turn.  Okay, Cim (Cimizelle) is the real princess, but because she’s technically dead as far as the kingdom is concerned, the king doesn’t have an heir.  Enter me, the son of two of his advisors, and the king suddenly decides I’d make a great heir.  Never mind I have zero interest in being a future king.  To make matters worse, the gods seem to have endorsed this idea, and countless times over, Cim has prophecies and visions about me one day sitting on the throne.

Meriela

Every other character in this story has been born and grown up in Keilanor, where the story is set, but I’m a foreigner and an immigrant.  I don’t have a family, nobody trusts me with my green eyes (brown eyes are very important to the Keilorians) and pale skin, and so I spend most of my time on the streets, until one day, after nearly getting arrested, some Guardians inform me that I’m a Chosen One.

But I’m not the good guy.  Despite that I’ve never hurt anybody and my biggest desire in life has been to own a herbary and to fall in love, my destiny is to ruin the world.

Raethl

First, my littlest sister’s eyes turned blue when she was two.  The law says that we had to give her up to the Guardians, but if we did, we’d never see her again, so my parents hid her.  That did not last, and the Guardians eventually took her away.  Then my mother disappeared, and I think the Guardians murdered her in punishment.

I want revenge on them, and I want my sister back.

Saelas

I’m one of Iaelie’s brothers.

”Really?” Tiri demands.  “Everybody else gave a decent description of themselves, and here you are, saying nothing.”

Saelas shrugs.

I had a bad childhood.  I leave home with Iaelie, get separated from her, and end up following Tiri because I have nothing better to do.  That’s about all.

Tiri sighs.  “Whatever.”

Tiri

After my father died, I figured I would spend my life taking over his profession—that of making pottery—and I was okay with that.  The gods had other ideas, though, and then the Guardians showed up at my house, declared I was a Chosen One and I would save the world, and dragged me away from my home and everything I knew.  It didn’t seem to matter to anybody that Meriela—the one I was supposedly saving the world from—was right when she told the world that the Guardians were manipulating us and it needed to end.


So that’s the cast.  Some of us are more important than others.  (Saelas really does not do much of anything in the first book, as far as I’m aware, so why he’s even here, I have no idea.)

If you have any questions about the concept or about us, feel free to share them in the comments!

Following Oracular #1: An Introduction

Hey, all!  Ereinne here!  I bet you all missed me so much.  Come here so I can give you all a hug!

Tiri groans.  “Nobody wants to hug you, Ereinne.”

Shush, you.  Nobody wants to hug you when you talk so rudely to them.


My story is Oracular.  Some of you know this.  Some of you also know that this was the novel that Morgan wrote for NaNoWriMo 2014, and then spent most of 2015 editing.

As Morgan so nicely put it recently, our story sucks and is completely and utterly broken.  (Her words, not mine.  I vehemently disagree, of course, and am of the mind that the story is brilliant.)

“Right,” Kalvias says.  “Because you think everything is brilliant.”

“Either that, or she likes disagreeing with Morgan,” Cimizelle says, rolling her eyes.

You both are as bad as Tiri.

Anyhow, the point is, the story is being built back up from the very bottom, so that soon, Morgan can properly edit it and make it so shiny perfect that…that…

“Don’t bother making metaphors,” Tiri says.  “You’re no good at them.”

Ereinne glares at her.

Nobody here is cooperating with me very well, and this post is not easy to write.  I’ll just try to get through it quickly and hope if I talk fast enough, Tiri won’t be able to interrupt me.

Tiri rolls her eyes.

We’re staring a series of blog posts following the re-development of Oracular.  Mostly, it’ll be about us characters and about the world we live in, and somewhat, it’ll be about the plot.  Occasionally, there might be a post or two complaining about how Morgan procrastinates too much, but otherwise, that’s what we’ve got.  So ta-da!

So this is a short post, but we just wanted to let y’all know about this!  For our next post, we’ll introduce you to the concept of the story, and a little about us, the characters, and what roles we play.

Hello…? Anyone Home?

 

Um, hi.  I’m…Ceveth.

So…today is November 21st (though I don’t think you’ll see this until the 22nd), and things…didn’t quite go as planned.  As far as NaNoWriMo, I mean.

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.07.08 PM.png

As you can see, Morgan didn’t exactly write this week.  Percy (whom you met in the very last blog post, I think), the protagonist of the novel, was having trouble finding his voice and… Well, basically, the long story short is that here at Studies in Character, NaNoWriMo is…kind of done.

I’m sure most of you get that, especially with Morgan being a college student and all.

So what’s happening instead?

The usual stuff, mostly.  Mine and my siblings’ story gets the main focus again.  (We’re part of the Cyberspace story.)  And at the same time, there’s been slow progress made towards the Oracular story.  In fact, Morgan drew the beginnings of a map.

WallMap.png

So what about with the blog?  There have been no posts for a month.

No, of course not.  We’re still here, and hopefully, we’ll be more apparent over December and the holidays.  There will not be a Character Studies this month, but we should be back on schedule next month!

So how’s the writing and/or NaNoWriMo going for everyone else?

Character Studies (October)—Costumes! Ish!

Character studies is a monthly interview (often broken into several parts).  For more info, see here.

CS1a.pngInterested in participating?  Copy/paste the following questions, pick a character to answer them, and then share the link back here so we can go check it out!


So Kellyn suggested we have a Character Studies where one character answers questions about another.  First off, that’s an awesome idea, and second off, it’s perfect for October!  While all (or some) of our authors are dressing up for Halloween, we’ll dress up as our fellow characters!

So it’ll basically work like the normal Character Studies, except you, the character, will pretend to be one of your fellow characters, and answer the questions how you think they would, rather than how you would.

This month we’re intentionally only doing one set of questions (unlike last month’s accidental one-set), but we’ll hopefully also get some other cool posts up, so you might not even notice there’ll be no part two!


  1. First off, who are you and who are you pretending to be?  What’s your relationship to the person you’re pretending to be, and why would you (or your author) pick them?
  2. What’s your fashion sense?  (Or, if you want, what do you/your “costume” look like?)
  3. Trick or treat?
  4. What’s your opinion of yourself? (Interpret this question how you will.)
  5. Best thing about you?  Worst thing about you?
  6. You look in the mirror, and it’s mocking you.  What is it saying?
  7. Kittens or puppies?
  8. Coffee or tea?
  9. If you had to pretend to be this person for a whole week, what would you do?
  10. Bonus: Best cake flavor?

Beautiful Books: “Aesthetic”, This Year’s NaNoWriMo Novel

Note: A little bit in this post, but mostly in future posts, we’ll be playing with the post formats a little.  So don’t be alarmed if anything seems bizarre or different or if there’s a little bit of “Morgan, are you sure you slept last night? Because I’m not sure you did”.  We’re just experimenting, trying to find something more interesting and fun, so anything you see isn’t a guarantee, and we’ll happily listen to any feedback you may have.


“Kivessa here, hi.  Beautiful People this month has a focus on, instead of a character, a book, which makes it quite nice to use for NaNoWriMo.  So today, you get to see a brand-new character you’ve never met—the protagonist of this year’s NaNoWriMo novel.

“Without further ado, here’s Percy Arrington.”


Hi, I’m Percival—Per—er, Percy, the, um, p—protagonist in this year’s Nn…NaNoWriMo novel.

I guess you knew that.  This is a little odd.

Kivessa interrupts Percy’s awkward stuttering. “Don’t worry, Percy.  The author-lingo gets easier the more you use it.”

I see.

What inspired the idea for this novel, and how long have you (er, your author) had the idea?

Well, I don’t know a d—date, but it has been a while since Morgan had the idea for my novel.  I do know that she put the story together using several images and writing prompts she found on P—Pinterest.  She found a d—dozen or so, and found a connection between them all that resulted in my story.

This image is what actually inspired my character:

Describe what your novel is about!

Um…

In a world of black and white, he grew up in color.  Almost since birth, Percy Arrington has had the unique ability to draw in colors no one has seen before, especially for a world where color is only seen when linked with emotion.  He’s become a celebrity, the single most famous artist alive, and still at the young age of nineteen.

When Percy decides he’s tired of living under his parents’ watchful, even tyrannical thumbs, he attempts to strike it out on his own.  His parents are unwilling to let go of him, and the media follows him.  He ends up near-penniless with only one skill he can call his own—painting.  No life survival skills to speak of.

As if this isn’t bad enough, Percy starts to find odd drawings—childlike doodles that are eerily similar to a few of his own childhood drawings.  He dismisses them, but the drawings appear again and again—until he starts to get the sensation that they’re followinghim.  But how could drawings be following him?

“That’s the summary?” Dazant asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Nobody ever accused Morgan of being good at writing book blurbs, that’s for sure,” Kivessa says.  “She doesn’t even mention any real conflict!”

Percy seems to be blushing.

W—well, there’s not so much a—any plot yet.

“Typical of Morgan,” Dazant mutters.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

The closest the story has to an aesthetic at the moment is its Pinterest board, which…is lacking.

https://www.pinterest.com/duskydragons/aesthetic/

Introduce us to each of your characters!

There’s…me, and J—Jolana and Saidra.

You already know my name, and sort of a little about me.  I’m an artist.  Jolana is a girl living in the apartment above me, and Saidra is her roommate.  Saidra’s quiet, always reading a book, and I s—suppose Jolana is quiet, too, in a way; she likes to talk mostly when she has something to say.

I’m not very good at talking about other people.

How does [the author] prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I…don’t know.  I’m still not sure how this…breaking the fourth wall…thing works.

”I know this,” Kivessa says, peeking in over Percy’s shoulder.  “Morgan in fact does hoard chocolate.  She never researches—we scold her for this on a regular basis—and she doesn’t so much outline as babble incessantly to her writing buddies.”

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Not really anything?  I don’t know.

Possibly drawing something, or maybe meeting J—Jolana.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

It’s a variation of modern-day Earth, with a few alterations.  As far as most people are concerned, it’s a low-magic world, with the exception of myself.  What you all call synesthesia is very common on my world.

Most people (meaning everyone but me, as far as I know) see things in black and white, until they feel some kind of emotion, and then it sort of sparks a little color in their vision.

I’m not sure if that’s three things, but that’s the extent of the world-building so far.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

My goal is to be m—myself, and destroy the perfect mask I was forced to wear for so many years.  Everything that made me create it in the first place stands in my way.

That sounds cheesy.

Ceveth snickers in the background; Kivessa rolls her eyes and says, “Authors like cheesy things.  Ours does, anyway.”

My goal is to figure out who I’m supposed to be, I guess.

How does the protagonist change by the end of the novel?

I…hope I reach my goal?  But there’s also… Jolana… and… well.  Things change because of her.

Ereinne, who’s supposed to be staying out of this blog post, jumps in, flailing and squealing something about a ship.  Percy looks very concerned, and Kivessa leans over, whispering, “Don’t ask, don’t encourage her, don’t say anything at all.

What are the book’s themes? How are the readers theoretically going to feel when the story is over?

Well, there seems to be a theme of exploration and adventure?  Theoretically, I don’t know, some kind of satisfaction, I h—hope. 


Kivessa eyes the post over, frowning her little frown.  “Percy,” she says, “you didn’t give much information, you know.  You didn’t even mention that your drawings talk to you.”

Percy’s face is decidedly pinker than normal.  “I—I don’t like to talk about th—that.”

“You also didn’t tell anybody what you or the two girls look like.”  Kivessa pauses.  “Wait, Morgan hasn’t even figured out what you look like, has she?”

“Not yet.”

Kivessa sighs.  “She’ll get to that, I promise.”

Boring Update Stuff

This post is a little weird to write from the perspective of a character, so today, you get to actually see me, Morgan.

There’s going to be changes around both my blogging style and the way I am present in the blogosphere.  Most of these changes I’m not happy with, but they are, unfortunately, necessary.

This is a longer post than I intended, so sorry for that, but if you want to skim, I tried to bold the important bits.

In the blogosphere:

First off, I won’t be able to read all of the posts that appear in my Reader feed.  The thing is, I love reading all the posts that show up, but there’s so many of them, I often procrastinate until I “will have time to do them all”, and then by that point, there’s so many, I can’t even remember how far back to go, nor do I actually have the time to do so.  (When I tried to look at it earlier this evening, I realized I hadn’t been caught up on anything since the beginning of last month.  That’s pretty sad.)

I’ll still be here, I just won’t read or comment on every post.  I’ll still read some, though, I promise, and if I read the post, I will do my best to also comment.  If there’s a post you really want me to comment on, just let me know, and I will happily do so.

On comments on the blog:

That being said, I will still do my very best to respond to every single comment that’s on my blog.  (Or, rather, my characters will attempt to respond.)  If you don’t get a response, then either A. I didn’t see the comment somehow, B. I commented in my head and forgot to actually post the comment thing, in which case, just let me know and I’ll rectify it, C. a comment didn’t seem necessary or I couldn’t think of anything to say.

Also, regarding HTML within comments.  As you know, currently when a character responds to a comment, they say something within brackets that are colored with the corresponding color, as dictated by the chart on the sidebar.  However, the color often doesn’t show up if you look at the post a certain way, and honestly, putting the HTML in is time-consuming.

So, instead, in comments only, characters will have their name before their actual comment.  This won’t be the case in the actual blog posts; those will continue to remain in brackets.  However, comments will now look something like this:

Ereinne: Hi!

For blog-ish stuff:

Now we get down to the formatting of the blog and my blogging style.  I love using my characters’ voices, although I admit it is often hard to pull off, especially in certain scenarios.  As you may have noticed, it’s very difficult to balance a cast of ten, and so you often see some characters a lot, and others very little.

The characters come from two different projects, Oracular and Sleeping in Cyberspace.  The former is an old project that I am actually planning to shelve for a while and come back to later, when life is less hectic (well, if such a thing exists) and I have a better mindset to tackle the problems that this particular project has.  Cyberspace, on the other hand, is my current WIP.

Why am I telling you this?  I am going to limit the appearances of the cast of Oracular, and focus instead on the three characters from Sleeping in Cyberspace. That is, expect to see more of Kivessa, Dazant, and Ceveth, and less of…everybody else.

Does that mean they’re gone?  Absolutely not.  Ereinne will still probably do her best to introduce as many posts as possible, Tiri will still make contrary comments, and so on and so forth.  But it will happen admittedly less often.

Is this permanent?  No, and it might not even last long.  Maybe in a month or two, I’ll post again, saying that the reverse has happened, and you’ll see…more Ereinne or something.

You may also see “guests”—that is, small appearances from other projects, such as from my NaNoWriMo novel.  I can’t guarantee if/when/how often those will happen; that’s sort of to be determined as it happens.

Blog posts might not be that consistent.  Although anybody who’s followed the blog has probably already gotten that idea.  I’m a full-time college student, and blog posts take a while to write.

I will still be writing Character Studies.  Of them all, these are the easiest and sometimes the most fun to write; plus they seem to be my most popular posts, so don’t worry, those will still be around.  (And also, we have something planned for this month that I think’ll be extra fun.)


Recap, in case you skipped to the end: I’m officially going to be seen less often, both on my blog and on other blogs, but I promise I’m not disappearing.  Meanwhile, the formatting of comments is going to be slightly different, for your convenience, and you will see some characters post less often.