Trope Tuesday: Childhood Friends

Friendship comes in a lot of flavors. In The Sword Keeper, Tamuna’s most loyal friend (and arguably a deuteragonist of the book) is Nika, the stable boy at her aunt’s tavern. Where Tamuna initially refuses the call to adventure, Nika jumps at the call, quickly catching up to her (which is good, because the call knows where they live).

Where Alex’s loyalty is based in honor, Nika’s loyalty is based in pure friendship, at times even flirting with (but never quite achieving) childhood friend romance. (Of course, this is only the first book in a trilogy…) These two different kinds of loyalty lead to some interesting differences between the characters, which I can’t really discuss since I don’t want to spoil the book.

I guess I can say this much: at the beginning of the book, Nika believes that he is Tamuna’s only friend. But when it becomes clear that Tamuna is no shrinking violet, the roles become reversed as Tamuna comes into her own. Since Nika has never known a world outside of their village, he does not take this well.

According to Dramatica, each story can be broken into four throughlines: the overworld story, the main character’s story, the impact character’s story, and the story of how each of them… well, impact each other. In The Sword Keeper, the overworld story is all about the return of the twelfth sword to a dark and troubled world. The main character, Tamuna’s story, is about her rise from the most unlikely beginnings to become the prophesied sword bearer. Her childhood friend Nika is the character who impacts her the most, and while I won’t spoil his story or the main vs. impact character story for you, it’s definitely a key part of the book.

The Sword Keeper comes out in less than two weeks! Preorder your copy today!

The Sword Keeper

The Sword Keeper

eBook: $5.99
Series: The Twelfth Sword, Book 1
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy
Tag: 2017 Release
Tamuna Leladze always dreamed of adventure, but never expected to answer its call. That changes when a wandering knight arrives at her aunt's tavern. He is the keeper of a magic sword that vanished from the pages of history more than a thousand years ago. The sword has a mind and a memory, and it has chosen Tamuna for purpose far greater than she knows. More info →
Buy now!

LTUE 2011

So LTUE (BYU’s science fiction and fantasy symposium) was last weekend, and it was awesome.

The venue was the BYU Conference Center just north of where DT used to be, and in my opinion this was a much better place to hold it than the student center, where it’s always been.  It felt a lot more professional, and allowed for better interaction.

It felt like there were a lot more people there this year, including two editors: Lisa Mangum from Shadow Mountain, and Stacy Whitman from Tu.  I didn’t try to pitch to either of them, since I don’t think they really publish what I write, but they were on a few interesting panels.  Tracy Hickman, Howard & Sandra Tayler, and Jessica Day George were also very awesome on all the panels they attended.

One of my favorite panels was the presentation by Tracy Hickman on Lord of the Rings.  He basically took it apart using Dramatica theory, showing how the series is composed of several distinct subplot, where each character (even the minor ones, like Eowyn) is literally the hero of their own story.

The presentation inspired me to go through some of my own novels and use the basic character archetypes from Dramatica to outline my own novels.  I wrote out the names of all the characters in WAFH and GE on notecards, then on the back wrote down which archetype they fulfilled based on who was the protagonist.

There were several other excellent panels as well.  I got a ton out of the “Can your dreams pay the bills?” one, with Sandra Tayler moderating.  She sure knows her stuff when it comes to the practical business aspects of a creative career.

I dunno; a lot of my writing friends claim to be at a point where panels at cons are less useful for them.  While I can see why they say that, I still find them helpful.  While a lot of the advice is stuff I’ve heard before, every once and a while someone will have a fascinating insight on things.  It’s like stories, I guess; even though there’s nothing new under the sun, everyone has a different way of making it their own, which is ultimately what makes the whole enterprise valuable.

Also, I had an awesome first this year: I signed my first autographed story!  Leading Edge had a booth in the hall, and while I was hanging out there, I mentioned to Eric James Stone how I had a short story published and joked around about signed copies.  To my surprise, he bought the issue and asked for me to sign it!

So yeah, my first signed copy of anything ever goes to Eric–thanks for the support!  Now I’ll see what I can do to make that signature actually worth something someday…

Oh yeah, one more thing: Dan Wells is going to name a character in one of his books after me!  According to Dan, the character (Gabe Vasicek) is “a big guy who wields a minigun.” Hehehe…can’t wait to read it!

Anyhow, LTUE was awesome this year, just as I’d expected.  The panels were enlightening and entertaining, the guests were gracious and easy to talk with, and the overall experience was just a lot of fun.