Adventures in NaNo-land – It’s all in the Family

November 25, 2012 at 2:13 am (fantasy, Fervor, The Snowy Barrens trilogy, writing) (, , , , , , )

The Trading of Skin is my first attempt at writing a novel that focuses strongly on the importance of family. Not that I haven’t touched on the subject before. In Fervor my characters feel a strong connection to others in their assigned house-family. Victims of Circumstance, the fourth book in my Masters & Renegades series, deals with a person’s relationship with birth parents versus foster parents and of building bridges with adult progeny when you haven’t been involved in their lives as children. It also introduces the idea of siblings with contrasting magical talents, one that is explored in more depth in later books. In that same series, the Renegade Academy exists as somewhat of a family business with all the expected trials and tribulations. There are many approaches of addressing the subject of family in a story and I’ve only tapped into a few.

But I have to wonder why I haven’t explored this topic in greater detail before now. Family is the most important thing in my own life. Nevertheless, I’ve dodged it for the most part. Even in my Snowy Barren Trilogy, where family is a significant part of tribal culture, there’s still more focus on tribal politics and ritual than on family. I guess this is one of the things that really differentiates this NaNoWriMo project from previous manuscripts. I honestly find myself struggling to get through certain sections, not because I don’t know what to say or how to say it, but because despite knowing these things, the process is still emotionally jarring. In some cases, it ends up “mushy”, and I find writing “mushy” awkward. I’m more of an action kind of woman.

I still think this is an essential part of this story, so I’m muddling my way through it and I hope I manage to move the reader with it the way I’d like to. Here’s an excerpt from the latest chapter:

A twinge in Oaván’s back made him stop and stiffen. He was already tired, and they had only been travelling for a few hours. It didn’t bode well for the rest of the trip. Dáidu could see his brother’s suffering and his look softened.

“I won’t leave you, even if you insist on going on a fool’s mission. I promised Father long ago that I would always look out for you, no matter where fate might take you. I’m not about to go back on my promise now. He’s watching us from saivo and we’ll have to face him again there someday. I don’t want to go to him with disappointment and shame in my heart, knowing I had not done as he asked. He might turn me away, until my soul has done penance in saivo for failing him. That could take a very long time and a great deal of suffering.”

This revelation stung for Oaván. His father had never asked him to make the same promise. Perhaps Osku had seen him as weaker than Dáidu, and less competent, incapable of providing the same kind of protection. Oaván had never thought his father was one to play favourites, but apparently he had misjudged him. For some reason, Osku had considered Dáidu more of a man than him.

“Well come along if you must then, but I’ll not be indebted to you for something you deem not worth your bother,” Oaván said. “You’re not coming at my request.”

He hobbled forward a little faster, trying to separate himself from his brother. Catching up to him was no challenge for Dáidu, even though Oaván had made it past the next bend in the labyrinth by that point.

“What, so now that the tables have turned, you’re too good to ask for my help? Escorting that Haldi is not something I deem worthy – true, but I don’t feel that way about you. I might not agree with what you are doing, but I’m not about to abandon you, unlike her. I care.”

Oaván sighed.

“What do you mean, the tables have turned?”

With a shrug of his shoulders and a pained smile, Dáidu laughed, but it was a bitter sound.

“Just over a year ago, when father was alive, I was the one with all the prospects. I could do no wrong. I was the one with a beautiful woman at my side. I was the one expected to replace Father as Anár’s noaidi. I was sure of myself and the world was there for my taking. Now I have nothing…other than what’s left of my family. I have no woman, no hopes of taking the oath and the scorn of Anár, thanks to Rana and Heaibmu. You, on the other hand have risen above all the problems our birthright carries with it. You’ve already learned how to control that savage animal that lurks inside us. You know who you are, inside and out, and you can speak directly to Laib Olmai. You are clearly the one destined to be noaidi. You were the one to first bed a woman, not me. That, Brother, is how the tables have turned.” Dáidu paused. “I’ll admit; I am jealous. How could I not be with the way things have changed? But I still love you. That hasn’t changed.”

Dáidu’s admission floored Oaván. His brother, jealous of him? How could that be possible? While he might have Lieđđi with him for the moment, she had no intention of staying with him, and she didn’t love him. Dáidu might have lost Rana, but at least he had experienced love for a time. Oaván envied him that. And with regards to becoming a noiaidi, that was still within Dáidu’s grasp.

More tomorrowJ


1 Comment

  1. All in the What? | Guild Of Dreams said,

    […] my NaNo project, The Trading of Skin and my other attempts at using family as a central theme in my Adventures in NaNo-land segment of my Word Blurb […]

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