Welcome to the tour for Compendium by Alia Luria, a sci-fantasy novel that is adult but clean and appropriate for young adult readers.
On the heavily forested planet of Lumin, the Network has slept, dormant, for over six hundred cycles. Only a select few remember that it resides beneath the crust of the planet, waiting, and for them, the battle for Lumin’s future has raged in the shadows.
When Mia Jayne’s path crosses with an ancient volume in the Archives of the Order of Vis Firmitas, this ancient battle moves from the shadows into the light. Compendium opens up a world of knowledge, and, for the first time since arriving at the Order, Mia has the key to reclaim the freedom she has lost. To do so, she must choose between her conscience and her heart. Conceived against an ailing world of fantastical beauty where long-lost technology tips the balance between extinction and survival, Mia must remember that there is always a choice, and that makes all the difference.
Exploring Your Characters Through Free Writing: “Deleted Scenes” from Compendium
Hi! My name is Alia Luria, and I am the author of the new novel Compendium, the first book in the Artifacts of Lumin series. I’m really excited to be here at Suzy Turner’s site, and I hope you enjoy this post. On Monday, at Mythic Books, I wrote about those authors that I find most inspiring from literary, speculative fiction, those which I feel have contributed the most when it comes to expanding my mind to the craft of writing. This post, I want to talk a little about my process. The world of Lumin, my characters, Mia Jayne and Cedar Kannon, Thaddeus SainClair and Nikola Draca, didn’t spring to into my imagination fully formed. Like J.K. Rowling, I had a flash in my mind. My flash, however, rather than being something define like “Harry Potter goes to wizard school,” sparked a very small piece of the concept for Lumin.
As I was holding a Kindle, I thought about what it would be like for someone who had never had access to the Internet or any device that displays real-time information of any kind to suddenly have access to such a device with no understanding about how it works, what it’s capable of, or even what it is. That was the initial thought that popped into my mind. It was the seed, but it was only the beginning. What really made my characters come to life was free writing. I got the initial idea for free writing from a video game designer who free wrote in a giant notebook and used it as a story development tool. He created a documentary series following his game company as it tried to create a game via crowd funding. It is bothering me SO MUCH right now that I can’t remember his name. Figures that I can’t find it easily via an Internet search! It will probably come to me after this gets posted and I can’t update it. I started free writing after seeing part of his documentary series, which my brother forced me to watch. Thanks Isaac!
After I already had a basic concept in place for Mia and Lumin, I added character perspective prompts to basic free writing as a way to explore my characters I didn’t just write from Mia’s perspective, but from a number of perspectives in my novel. It is really easy. All you do is start with the beginning of a sentence, and just keep writing about it. I did a lot of these exercises to get a sense of where Mia comes from. I thought it might be fun to share some of these snippets. Keep in mind that these are early in the process (read: Mia is still being developed), I have not had them edited (read: sorry if they are trite), and they were never meant to see the light of day! That said, hopefully if you are an aspiring writer or you just want to know more about my character Mia, you will enjoy these free writing snippets. The bit in bold is the prompt, and all of them are from Mia Jayne’s perspective. Bracketed text is where I break form and start writing as myself or where I censor names that have changed.
1. I fear that when people look at me they see a child who has no confidence. I try to project toughness but I know they can see right through the facade to the mealy, squishy, unformed center of my being. They know that I’m a fraud and a liar with no family, no friends, no past and no future. I fear that they will see my failure or smell its stink and snicker at me. They will equate my clothes and hair and dirt with poverty and incompetence and reject me. They don’t laugh at me in the streets, but sometimes they stare and sometimes they look away. I always wonder if they are laughing about me after. Then I tell myself I am paranoid and narcissistic for thinking that anyone cares enough to laugh or spit or to give me a moment’s thought, not even the ones who stare or look away. And then I worry that they don’t see me at all… that I am invisible and have never been here and will leave no mark on this world, for better or worse.
2. The place where I go when I don’t want anyone to find me is as high up in the trees as I can climb. I have a particular tree that is a favorite. It is so large that two people can stand on either side of the trunk and not touch each other’s hands. I have carefully carved hidden steps and holds into the moss-covered bark where only I know. I use these to scale the tree up into a high branch. There, I carefully hollowed out a portion of the trunk to form a small cubby, and I sit there and daydream. Sometimes I would pull small vines with light in and read or pretend I lived there and no one could bother me. I would often hide there. It was just me and the plants and a few select animals and birds. [I have to think about what kinds of animals live in my world. They will have to be different if the plants are power sources. They maybe are smaller? Would they be furry or hairless? More like bats? Leathery? Would there be birds, snakes and lizards? Would they eat through power sources? I expect not because then it would be impossible to keep things running. Will have to think about this more.]
3. The last time I remember laughing hard was when we were excavating the space for our home from the giant [?] tree. We had dug out the rooms and were building some supports on the outside. It had begun to rain fiercely but our supports were not in yet. [Father] insisted that we keep going and tried to place a beam along the side of the tree’s trunk. The excavated dirt quickly became a muddy quagmire and [Father’s] boat sunk into the muck. He tried to pull his leg up, but the force caused the plank to slip and took him down with it. He landed with a squelch in the muck, rain beating down on his head. All of this happened in a split second. When it happened, I was under the cover of the trunk looking out. I stifled back a smile, seeing the anger flash across his face. My composure quickly fled however, because every time he would try to stand up, he would slip and slide in the slick, fine mud and land back in the muck. After a few attempts, I could no longer contain my laughter and was cackling with glee. The anger in his face dissolved at the complete helplessness of the situation and by the time he was able to gingerly crawl to the cover of the trunk, he was laughing too. Both of us laughed, tears squeezing out of the corners of our eyes, until we were all laughed out. Then I got up and heated some water for tea over the [hearthroot]. [Father] and I haven’t laughed like that since.
Well, as you can see, these types of prompts can oscillate between the mundane, the funny, and the self-reflective. A lot has changed about Mia and her backstory since I wrote these snippets from her perspective, and even though none of this writing makes it into the book, I, as the author, am able to internalize her experiences and (hopefully!) bring some depth to her as a character. I hope you enjoyed this peephole into my writing process. If you want to read more about Mia, please feel free to pick up Compendium, or if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, read it for free! Thanks very much to Suzy Turner for having me as a guest poster!
Alia Luria resides in Orlando, Florida with her partner and two Pembroke Welsh Corgis. When she is not busy writing her epic sci-fiction/fantasy series, she is very, very busy practicing law as a corporate mergers and acquisitions and data privacy attorney. Apart from writing and reading voraciously, she really enjoys travel and photography and mixing the two. She also spends an inordinate amount of time enjoying fountain pens.
The author will be giving away $100 Amazon Gift Card (INT) to the winner of the below Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends May 20th.a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.