Plot Number One, 2011 Style

This post officially kicks off my NaNo posting extravaganza!

For all the work I’ve done, I still feel a little behind with my planning.  My idea is as formed as it’ll ever be. 

What is plot 1, you ask? 

It’s about a girl, Poppy, who discovers she’s a mermaid, and it goes terribly wrong.  Originally, I was going to have her die, but now I’m not so sure.  My novel is based on the whole idea that she dies, and I don’t really feel like changing it.  But for now, she dies.   

I had a list of potential creatures, and mermaids were the one group that really jumped out at me.  Plus, I loved the stories!  My favorite one is from One Thousand And One Arabian Nights, where mermaids are anatomically identical to humans, and their children are able to breathe and live underwater.  I found that was the one I could work with the most, and while I don’t have my own mythology for mermaids, and Poppy’s own origin story, I have an idea of what I want to do.

I like the idea of her dad being stationed in the Middle East and meeting her mom.  I have no idea how he’ll end up with her, but he’ll end up with her somehow- her mysteriously showing up at his doorstep seems cliché but I’m working on an inkling.   

As for my own mermaid mythology, mermaids definitely have their own underwater world, with underwater cities all over the world.  I don’t have anything further than that, or how she knows she’s a mermaid.  Or how the child of a human and a mermaid would look.  I mean, what happens when she takes a bath, or otherwise goes into water?  Besides the fact that she’d be a good swimmer- which would be a cliché thing to include- it might be hilarious for her to be afraid of the ocean, and either can’t swim or is really bad at it. 

Actually, that could be a sign that something is wrong with her mermaid side. 

I think for now, her tail could be something that starts to appear when she reaches 16, and only appears when she goes into the ocean, or some other body of water, but not when she’s in a pool or taking a bath. 

One of the big questions is how being a mermaid could kill her.  There are a couple things I settled on.  One- being half-mermaid, she’s really connected to nature.  Pollution is really bad, but for someone so connected to nature, it’s even more toxic, and the more she breathes in polluted air and all that, the more of an effect it has on her.  Being in an underwater city would definitely help her, and while the merfolk in these cities feel some effects, it’s not as bad as it would be if they were living on land like Poppy is.  And with all the processed food, and food recalls, it would not be a good thing for a mermaid.  Two- Something about the human side doesn’t react well with the mermaid side of her, and when combined with pollution and processed foods and everything…it’s disastrous and potentially lethal. 

I did get an interesting idea from Fablehaven that I really want to include.  Oh, and an idea I got from someone in my writer’s group, since they go pretty well together.  First, the Fablehaven inspiration.  There are magical sanctuaries all over the world, where all kinds of magical creatures and being go when their natural environment disappears.  And the idea from my writing group is this: a magical council, who decides on things like a common language for all magical creatures and who can be let in on all the secrets.  I might include some sort of registration system.  I do like someone who knows her- a teacher or neighbor- being on the magical council and suspecting that she’s a mermaid, and keeps asking her questions.  On a related note to how being a mermaid could kill her- if she had known about this magical council, they might have been able to save her.     

Character-wise, I have Poppy and Jordan.  And Poppy’s mom and dad, but I don’t know anything about them yet.  I’ll probably through in a couple friends, a couple neighbors, and maybe a teacher and a few others.  At this point, it’s too late to do complete profiles on everyone, but I only need profiles for her parents, the 2 friends, and the person who suspects she’s a mermaid.  Everyone else, I just need names for. 

Tomorrow’s post will be the novel’s soundtrack plus some other things that I’ll be listening to while I’m writing.

I Think I Have Decided Something…

I’ve kind of narrowed things down a little.  I’m thinking of giving her the ability to heal, read minding, being empathetic, or manipulating time.

With the ability to heal, I’m thinking that in order to heal someone, she somehow absorbs the illness or injury from the person she’s healing.  I’m not sure how, maybe she ends up with illness/injury herself, or maybe it presents a lot of colds or something.  With the empathetic thing, that could go hand-in-hand with her ability to heal others, in that people could always be coming up to her and telling her their problems, and she just keeps absorbing it until she feels sick enough to die. 

I’m not really sure how I could work in mind-reading or manipulating time in, but manipulating time (or even time travel) could be really interesting.  I mean, it could age her really fast or something.  Mind-reading, on the other hand, I have no idea. 

I also like the idea of her having faerie blood, or at least the blood of some similar creature.  I like the idea of her slowly being killed by eating processed food, and breathing in polluted air.  Stuff that isn’t good for the average person, but takes years to have an effect is super toxic to her.

I think those 2 groups are the most interesting to me, but that’s the most thinking I did yesterday.  While it’s not a lot, it is something, and more than I’d normally do.  I definitely need to take a closer look at faerie’s and stuff.  I didn’t really do anything else, but small steps seem to work really well for me.  I don’t know what my next step is…or maybe I do and just don’t want to think about it.

Random Thoughts About The Harry Potter Series

Since the last movie came out, a few things about the series have wandered their way into my head.  The movie review will come sometime this week, once I’ve seen the movie for a second time.  So, onto the things I’ve wondered.

  • Why didn’t Mrs. Weasley get a job?  Seriously, this randomly popped into my head over the weekeend.  The Weasley’s are known for being poor, and if money was such an issue, why didn’t Mrs. Weasley go to work?  I get that she has 7 kids to raise, and so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for her to get a job, but once Ginny went off to Hogwarts, why not go to work?  It’s very odd, especially since she seems to be a stay-at-home mom.  Granted, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but you really do have to wonder…
  • Getting a job as a teacher: How exactly does this work in the wizarding world?  It seems like a position for life- once you get a teaching position, it’s yours until you die or retire.  I’m curious as to how one would go about being a professor.  You clearly need to have a pretty decent knowledge of the subject you want to teach, but exactly how long do you need to study, say, transfiguration, before you can teach it?  Do you get a job where you use potions or charms or whatever on a regular basis, and then go into teaching?  This is really random, and something I can probably figure out myself, but still, I find it rather interesting.  As for substitute teaching, Snape did teach a DADA class during PoA, and Professor Grubbly-Plank filled in for Hagrid several times, so is there a pool of teachers they can choose from?  Calling in sick clearly isn’t an issue, since a lot of the problems can be solved by magic, but when it can’t, how do they know who to choose as a substitute? 
  • Speaking of school, we’ve only heard of a handful of other schools, the most notable being Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.  There’s a school in the U.S., and Bill wrote to a friend in Brazil, so there’s a school there, but it would seem like there aren’t very many wizarding schools.  It does make sense there aren’t many, as the wizarding population is a lot smaller than the muggle one.  I’d like to know more about the different wizarding schools, like how many are in Europe, and the differences between the different schools.
  • I’m also curious about the muggle-born students.  We know someone comes to speak to them and their families when they get their letter, and I would assume that the person sent to the muggle-born students would should them to Diagon Alley, explain the monetary system, and help them with their school supplies.  The thing I wonder about is the paper-trail.  It can be explained by their families as going away to boarding school, but are there records of their grades and such for the muggle world?  I don’t know why there would be, because why would a student want to go back to the muggle world after knowing about magic?  But if they were to be expelled and have their wand snapped, or sent back to the muggle world for whatever reason, how would they prove that they had an education?  Hogwarts doesn’t exist to most of Britain, so they’d have a tough time explaining transfiguration and potions to the muggles.

That’s all I managed to think of, but I know there’s a lot more that I forgot to mention!  I’m sure I’ll think of them later, so I may have to do another post on this.

Mary, Queen Of Scots, And The Murder Of Lord Darnley

Book: Mary, Queen Of Scots, And The Murder Of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir

Pages/Format: 720/hardcover

My Thoughts: Reading Alison Weir after finishing the David Starkey book was such a relief!  She’s so easy to read.

I was definitely expecting something quite different when I what I read.  I was expecting more of a biography of Mary, Queen of Scots and the events that led up to Lord Darnley’s death.  The book turned out to be more about his death, and the aftermath of it, with an overview of both Mary and Lord Darnley.

It’s not my favorite Alison Weir book, but it was still an interesting read.  I didn’t really know too much about the murder of Lord Darnley, and quite frankly, I didn’t know too much about Mary either, except in reference to Elizabeth I.  It was nice to get background on both of them, but there was something different about this book.  I don’t know if it’s because I finished the David Starkey book recently, which was a beast of a book, or if it’s because the book is more about a series of events than an actual person or what.  I definitely want to read a biography of Mary.  I guess it is a biography, focusing on her life in relation to her marriage to Darnley, and in relation to the aftermath of his death, but I wanted more information about her childhood and the events leading up to her death.

One of the things that was really helpful was the list of different lords at the very beginning of the book, because it helped me keep track of the different people.  The prologue definitely made it seem super interesting, and the book was interesting, but not the page-turner that I was expecting after reading it.  It was a good account of some of the events leading up to his death, who killed him, what happened to those involved in his death, and what happened in the years afterwards.

There’s some speculation throughout the book, which wasn’t a big surprise, as it’s a seemingly unsolved mystery.  It had a lot of information and the attention to detail that I’ve come to expect from Weir.  The pictures and illustrations were also interesting- it’s always nice to see that place and the people mentioned.  And the map was slightly interesting as well- it is nice to see Scotland as it was during Mary’s reign, and while I didn’t compare it to a current map, it’s always interesting. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.  Very informative and well-written, but not one of my favorites by Weir.