Real is What Matters

Yeah, it’s getting real now. I’m always thankful for that because real is what matters most.

I can’t believe it’s still been less than a month since I decided to create the supporting character of Talma Loyal while editing Pneuma Key. Now, I’m rushing headlong towards drafting her novel in November. As if I needed additional proof of how this character has captured my imagination, this last week I’ve ceased work on all else.

A few days ago, I created a Scrivener Project for Case of the Deadly Stroll. That’s a big step for me. I don’t create projects lightly even though creating them in Scrivener is easy. It’s more a matter of I have to be sold on an idea before there’s a project. Too, it’s a waste of time to add all my supporting documents just to have a score of defunct projects withering on my computer.

Pannulus. ©2020 CA Hawthorne

Never have I been more ready than I was for this project.

By the time I created Deadly Stroll I had a ton of materials to add. As I mentioned, there were the supporting documents I transfer from Ontyre project to Ontyre project. Those address aspects of the world like, for instance, magic. Next were my references specific to Pannulus or Zephtasha’s novel (there’s a link between them).

Last came what I’d generated about Talma Loyal. To that point, those files were in my Pneuma Key project. One was a folder with the seven backstory chapters. Combined, they constituted a novella. The other was a monstrous file of over 17K that had become unwieldy. I transferred it and immediately broke it into all its pieces parts.

Pieces parts? Oh yeah. A few became major character files. One became my general Character List. A couple became files pertaining to Duskspell and potions. Most, though, concerned Talma, her interests, personal issues, larger problems, and traits. There were others about her distant past that are more general than the backstory chapters.

Once all that was in place it made it easier to work on each file, which I did. I edited, enhanced, and added. Included in the editing was going back through those backstory tales that end with her arriving in Duskspell.

Here we go!

Her arrival in Duskspell ignited my eclectic imagination and I launched in every direction at once and…

• Added more files on Pannulus newspapers, her apartment building, and photography.
• Upgraded the sketched map of Duskspell I’d created.
• Diagramed her penthouse apartment.
• Brushed up on my knowledge of Art Deco while simultaneously interior decorating her fabulous new home.
• Researched and enhanced her camera and motorcar.

Art Deco is the basis for the decorative style that’s sweeping through Pannulus. Thus, in addition, I’m also further expanding on the Pannulus version, which is Tyde Deco. It was touched on in Pneuma Key. It also doesn’t look the same in all regions of the country.

1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Roadster
This is the same as Talma Loyal’s motorcar (hers is cherry red). This picture, though, I’m authorized to use in my blog if I include proper attribution. In any color, this car is gorgeous.
Author:Michel Curi,

I also imagined what her motorcar would look like. As in, I wrote a couple of paragraphs describing it. While having lunch a couple of days ago I dug around on the internet (for about the fifth time) and found it. Literally, there it was. My lunch almost ended up on my desk. I was stunned. For reference, her vehicle is based on a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in Cherry Red. I have about a dozen pictures of it’s interior and exterior and have watched videos.

Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to more jazz than I have in my entire life. To say I’m IN this story is an understatement.

Yeah, it’s getting real, but what really matters are the characters.

It’s always made me smile that I invent all this stuff. I’m proud of all of it, but it’s the backdrop for what’s the real story. Meaning, Talma Loyal. It’s no different than how Pneuma Key is about Zephtasha Barcaine. The problem is, talking at length about characters gives a lot away. I can go on and on about Duskspell society and tell little about the plot.

For instance, Talma Loyal is in Pneuma Key. Saying much more than she’s in the novel is a spoiler. A BIG spoiler.

I can contrast the two main characters from the two different novels this way…

In Protecting the Pneuma Key, Zephtasha has lost everything, including the respect of others and, eventually, her self-respect. That’s the core of her journey.

In Case of the Deadly Stroll, Talma has everything, but on the inside she’s a house of cards. She’s exceptional at much of what she does, but because she isn’t addressing her true needs she’s crumbling on the inside.

Cover: CA Hawthorne

That, a character’s inner conflicts, is what I most enjoy writing. It’s why I write. I’ve never cried over a luxurious airship or a cherry red roadster. I have cried over tragedy or someone finding love when they thought it’d never happen. Good gosh, a couple of moments in Talma’s backstory have already reduced me to tears. Just as many have caused me to laugh out loud.

Characters are the ultimate gift for the human reader, but it’s necessary to wrap them up in attractive paper because presentation matters. Thankfully, I enjoy creating an enjoyable, imaginative, and rich presentation.

Thus, I’ll learn more about Art Deco than I need to know. I’ll also develop Tyde Deco more than I need to. In the end, it’s glimpsing those details that will make the reader comfortable and allow for the suspension of disbelief. The details will allow them to settle into their chair so they can immerse themselves in the world.

In the end, though, more than a decked out roadster, they’ll remember the reason why Talma Loyal’s legs sometimes go to sleep…


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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