Category Archives: fictional characters
Cinderella has never been one of my favorite fairy tales. Maybe that’s because its familiarity through the years has turned it a bit drab for me. Maybe it’s because the danger isn’t fierce enough or the stakes aren’t high enough.
Or maybe . . . maybe it’s because I can’t relate to a girl who is nothing more than a victim. A girl with a princess-like beauty whom never does anything wrong except in the eyes of her “evil” step-mother and stepsisters. A girl whose beauty and mere lack of evil are all it take for her to win not only a prince, but a kingdom.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely do things wrong. A lot. I say the wrong things, I’m clumsy, I’m impatient, I’m unkind, I’m none-too-beautiful. Basically, I’m human. How could I possibly write a story about a girl like Cinderella? I’m not qualified. I can’t understand her. I’ve never even been able to care much about her, try as I might.
So when considering retelling this story, I decided I wouldn’t write about Cinderella at all. Simple as that.
Instead, I wrote through the eyes of somebody I could understand: the stepsister (in my story, there’s just one). As a teen who went through some rough times, I often felt like the freak, the ugly, awkward girl, the misunderstood girl, the girl who used sarcasm like a shield, the girl people were uncomfortable having around because of her random bursts of emotion and sometimes rather brutal honesty. The girl . . . well, you get the picture.
Evil. Many times that’s how I felt. That’s what I believed people thought of me. That’s how they seemed to look at me. Therefore that’s what I began to believe I was in truth. Evil. Warped.
Then God stepped in. He had had enough.
“You’re not evil,” He whispered to me. “Your heart is beautiful and kind and loving. It is desirable to Me.”
The things I had never been able to see before because of my own blindness and self-loathing became apparent when God showed them to me through His eyes, through His grace. But then, that’s natural, isn’t it? That’s how it’s supposed to happen, the rescuing of our souls. My heart is beautiful because it’s God’s. My kindness and love are really only an extension of God’s own kindness and love.
When I began to think back on my own love story with God, I knew I must make it a part of this story I was writing. I have never been a Cinderella, ready from birth for Heaven. I needed redemption. I need redemption on a daily basis. But not from an evil stepmother or stepsisters. Not from any outside source of oppression. No, I needed saving from myself, and from the person Satan has plans for me to become. Because I am the evil stepsister. Or at least I was . . .
Those are the times God patiently reminds me that I am now His true daughter – a stepchild no longer.
When He took me in I became a princess in truth, and I share in a Kingdom more beautiful than any prince could have offered Cinderella. Right now I can’t always see that Kingdom, though it’s both in me and all around me. Sometimes I catch glimpses of it clearly, sometimes I only feel its nearness. But someday I plan on living there and claiming my happy-ever-after once and for all.
Tell me, what fairy tale could be better than that?
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Instead of simply introducing the characters in A Wish Made of Glass, I thought I’d go a little further and give you a peek into some of the enchanting places and settings in my story as well. I saw them all so clearly as I wrote them, people and places and props alike, it was such a pleasure to find images that mirrored what was in my imagination already, and now show and describe them to you.
Welcome to the world of A Wish Made of Glass.
She is the one who tells this story. She is the stepsister, the outsider, the stormy and dark protagonist who is, in fact, her own worst enemy. Yet I’ve always found that, in both books and real life, people who have known the greatest pain and heartbreak have the largest capacity for joy and love.
Here is the girl on whom the actual Cinderella character is based. Although soft-hearted and soft-spoken, don’t be fooled. Blessing has real struggles of her own, too.
Isidore’s father’s heart has a huge amount of love for everyone, his daughter most of all. It’s a love that means so much to Isidore that she doesn’t want to share it with anyone – not even her beloved new stepsister, Blessing, much to her father’s heartbreak.
After Isidore’s mother dies, her father hires a nursemaid: Hazel. Isidore wouldn’t have been the same without her dear maid, who becomes more of a mother and friend to her than anything else. This tale-weaving, long-suffering, opinionated lady supports Isidore through every heartache and joy.
The fey man
He’s ageless, as are all the fey folk. He’s completely unfamiliar, yet Isidore feels she knows him somehow. He’s one of the fey creatures who live hidden in the forest. I saw him clearly in my mind as I wrote him, although finding an image that looks like him was extremely difficult! I suppose this picture will have to suffice . . .
The mysterious young lord who holds a ball, rumored to be searching for a wife. He is young and kind-hearted and rather shy, but most assuredly knows his own mind and is a true lord of the manor.
This is the place Isidore grew up, the place she first met and danced with the fey folk as a little girl. The trees here are, “squat, woven-trunked, whispering things” which make up much of the fabric of Isidore’s childhood, just as the fey themselves do. Green and moss-covered and full to the brim with whimsy and magic and memories, the Midland forest is a true fairy tale wood.
Different entirely from the Midland forest, the trees in the North are “straight and proud and tall. They wear their leaves like a gathering of giant kings donning their crowns.” Isidore soon learns the invisible paths in this wood, which lays just beyond the garden hedge of her new home. She wanders here often, seeking comfort when heartache starts to haunt her. The forest’s cold stillness echoes her own heart.
Although Isidore may not be enchanted with her new home in the North, the gardens surrounding it are another story, especially after all the memories she and Blessing make together there, playing tag and whispering sisterly secrets.
Oh, the masquerade. How fun, honestly? I’ve always wanted to go to one. Second best: writing about one. Lord Auren throws a masquerade in an attempt to find a bride. Does he succeed in finding the woman he could love among the masked attendees? You’ll have to read the story to find out . . . In the meantime, check out the Pinterest board of masks I created, some of which inspired descriptions in my novella.
Enter to win this fairy tale package giveaway (Aug 24-30) which includes a masquerade mask, a signed paperback copy of A Wish Made of Glass, and a set of 5 custom-painted enchanted forest greeting cards.
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God in allegory. Even though I’m an allegorical writer myself, I often have issues with this one. Well, maybe not issues. Let’s just say I approach it carefully.
God is sovereign. God is almighty and all-knowing. His ways are not our ways. How, then, can any writer really do Him justice in an allegory? We seek to know Him, but we’ll never know Him completely. Not on this side of death, anyway. If we did, He wouldn’t be God, right? But if we don’t understand Him, how can we write about Him in a way that will satisfy readers who want to see Him in all His wonderful, awe-inspiring glory?
I don’t have a cut and dried answer for this, really. I only know what I prefer when I read allegory, and the rules I personally follow when I write God into an allegorical story of my own.
An allegorical representation of God should be as mysterious as the true God. So we don’t understand all the facets of this God-character we write about. So our readers don’t. That’s ok. Use the mystery to good effect. Let the unknown deepen the reader’s experience of this God whose ways are not ours, and thus deepen their awe of Him.
Large or tiny. Roaring or whispering. God is anything but a lukewarm, mediocre Being. C.S. Lewis uses a great lion to represent God in his Chronicles of Narnia. In one scene of my book I represented God as a field mouse, whispering encouraging directions in the ear of the protagonist before a battle. Anne Elisabeth Stengl represents the holy spirit with a wood thrush, which I absolutely love. Whether it be intriguing, awe-inspiring, or even quirky, the character a writer chooses to represent God has to be worthy of the reader’s attention and respect.
God is to be feared. We fear His wrath, His judgment, His anger when we have chosen to disregard His Word. But take away that fear and you’re left with little love and no respect at all. That’s not a the type of ruler I’d want to follow. Whatever creature or person a writer chooses to use as her representation of God within her story, it should be one whose actions and power inspire a healthy fear. God has the power over life and death and time and all the earth. Fiction shouldn’t show Him as anything less.
Yet beyond the fear, a writer must be sure to show the deep and unconditional love God has for His creation. Fear alone can perhaps turn our heads and keep in our minds what will happen if we stray. But it’s love that binds us to Him, heart and soul. It’s God’s mercy and forgiveness and sacrifice that give us the passion to follow Him to the ends of the earth. So why should an allegorical God be any different?
Do you have any preferences when reading Christian allegory? What are the things you like to see in a symbolic fictional God figure?
It’s always with a bit of trembling that I hear of another Narnia movie being produced. Part of my nervousness comes from excitement, part from fear.
The creatures and characters of Narnia mean a great deal to me, and I want to know they are in capable, loving hands … hands that appreciate them for what Lewis created them to be, not what the director feels will look best or be most impressive on the big screen.
Rumors of the movie, The Silver Chair, have been around the past few months, and I find myself fearing the outcome. Why? Well, mostly because it’s in The Silver Chair that my favorite Narnian character makes his first appearance …..
What will the writers and director do with my wonderfully quirky, endearingly cynical, terribly brave Marshwiggle??! Will they give him the respect and care he deserves? Will they see and portray him as the creature of depth and faith that he truly is? And – on a more superficial note – who will they cast to play him, and what will he look like?
Ah, the worries of a Narnian.
My sister and I grew up watching the original Narnia movies, although we didn’t see them until they had been out several years. They have more than a whiff of 90’s influence and corniness in them, not to mention they were probably quite low budget as well. But they are still beloved, all the same (though as an adult I have to giggle quite a bit at rather inappropriate places). The Puddleglum of my own imagination is a bit different than the one portrayed in the 1990 film, but I still think Tom Baker did a great job:
How do you picture Puddleglum, whether you’ve seen the old movies or only read the books? Any ideas on who would be a good actor to cast for him in the upcoming version of The Silver Chair?
I’ve always loved Bilbo’s account of himself when being questioned by the dragon, Smaug. Even when his life is at stake, Bilbo manages to stay witty and even throws in a riddle or two.
So here’s the challenge: If you were to face a dragon with scales like tenfold shields, teeth like swords and wings like a hurricane, and this dragon demanded you to account for yourself … what would you say to him?
I can’t see myself giving any account at all, truth be told, other than perhaps a whimper or two. But let’s pretend you’ve kept your wits about you, maybe even some humor, and definitely creativity.
Here’s my try:
I am enchanted with enchantment, lover of love and hater of hatred. I chase dreams and words and images – and lash them onto pages. I am forest-walker, story-weaver, follower of the Grower of all trees, worshiper of the Teller of all tales.
Your turn! Comment below and share your best description of yourself, Bilbo-style!
Today I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters from The Word Changers. All of these people, save one, are unique in that they portray Characters within characters.
Confused? Yeah, probably!
Let me explain.
Within The Word Changers is another book – a strange, dark fairy tale that Posy, our heroine, finds in her poky hometown library. It’s The Book: the one she falls into and spends the rest of the story within, the one she ends up traveling through and ultimately changing the words to … And within that fairy tale lies the rest of the cast of characters.
So without further ado, here is the lineup of each Character, including a bit about him or her, and even a few pictures to portray what some of them look like (in my head, at least!).
Posy: Uncertain of her worth, unsure of her path, she stumbles into something that seems like a dream, but ends up being more like a nightmare. A runaway princess, a forgotten Author … Posy has many things to find. But none as important as finding herself.
Prince Kyran: Haughty and condescending, the prince of the Kingdom is bored with his role in it, and fed up with his parents’ cruelty and manipulation. When he agrees to accompany Posy on her quest beyond the Borders of the Plot, he little realizes the life-changing journey that awaits him.
Falak: Chief advisor to the king. Head of the council of owls. Oh, and he happens to be an owl himself. He is sharp, intelligent, and not quite all he seems …
King Melanthius: Ruler of the Kingdom, Keeper of the Plot. But Melanthius has gone a step too far – he not only keeps the Plot, he now fully controls it along with all its characters. He has usurped the job that only the Author of the story has a right to.
Queen Valanor: Cold, clever and beautiful. Her husband the king may rule the Kingdom, but she rules him. …At least, she thinks she does.
Princess Evanthe: She saw the truth of the wrong that was happening in the Kingdom and did the one thing she thought would remedy it … she ran away. She went into hiding far beyond the Borders of the Plot, where her brother Kyran and his companion Posy go to seek her.
The Mist: A voice … a feeling … a whisper. The Mist is kept under tight control by King Melanthius, and its voice can’t be heard by many these days, at least for any purpose but petty information. Yet it has a power all its own, and a role much bigger than anyone dreams of.
Alvar: A “common” character, with no large part in the Plot. All the same, he has a strong belief in every character’s importance, and he opposes the king openly – something that’s never been done. He even has plans for forming an army of his own to fight for freedom.
Faxon: Protector of the Glade. He is the leader of the exiled council of centaurs who were in power before the council of owls. He now lives in the Wild Land beyond the Plot as leader of a rogue centaur army. He helps Posy and Kyran in their search for the dark place they believe Princess Evanthe to be hiding.
Seraphine, Limnoreia, and Adamaris: A trio of exquisite mermaid sisters who have been wronged by the King Melanthius and banished from the Plot. They live in an underwater palace full of secrets and darkness. They have a choice – seek revenge for their own sakes, or join Kyran and Posy to fight in the name of justice.
The Wild Folk: These are the folk native to the Wild Land. They are truly natural creatures who have always lived beyond the Borders of the Plot, and whom have never been a part of the book at all. They are so bonded with the Wild Land forest that they even look like a part of it. They are peaceful and quiet by nature, yet when the King threatens their land with invasion, many of them decide action must be taken.
The Author: He wrote the story, yes, but his characters haven’t heard from him in centuries. They have even begun to believe he never existed at all, and is only a myth kept alive in tales. But some still believe he lurks somewhere beyond the Borders of the Plot, waiting to lay claim to his story once again.
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Fairies have been around in our stories and legends for many years. Their lore exists in every country of the world in some form or another. Books have been written on them, places have been said to be inhabited by them, people even claim to have seen them.
Fairies, just like any fantastical creature born in the imaginations of men and women, can be whatever we wish them to be, take on whatever form we fancy, speak and do the things the writers of their stories make them speak and do. It’s hard to pin down characteristics of a group of creatures who have been seen in so many different lights.
But then again, that’s the beauty of them, too.
Here are some fun things rumored of fairies.
- Freckles are really just the kisses of fairies.
- Fairies live where there is the least chance of human contact – in forests, up trees, in hollow places, on mountainsides, and even – in some stories – in invisible realms right among humankind.
- Fairies love honey cake, milk, nectar, and sweet butter.
- Fairies watch over and protect the natural world – woodlands, trees, rivers and growing things.
- Many fairies like to play practical (and sometimes not-so-practical) jokes on humans and even each other.
- Iron negates a fairies’ magical powers and causes them pain.
- A sudden chill breeze, or ripples across the surface of water, are often indications that a fairy is nearby.
- Fairies can live to be hundreds of years old.
- Rheumatism in a human is sometimes said to be the result of pinches from angry fairies.
- Fairies are magical by nature.
- Fairies love to dance.
- Many legends claim fairies are prone to kidnapping human babies, leaving a changeling in its place.
- The oldest and strongest fairies are fallen angels.
- Some fairies were once humans who simply got lost in fairyland.
- Fairies are quick to do you a favor … and even quicker to demand payment for it.
- Other terms for fairy: fae, wee folk, fair folk, elf, pixie, nymph, sprite, gnome, imp, leprechaun, brownie, hob, sylph, enchanter.
As a reader, I never tire of discovering the different versions of fairies that storytellers come up with. As a writer, I look forward to perhaps trying my own hand at writing something new about fairies someday. If you could create a new characteristic, attitude, role or practice for the fair folk, what would it be?