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Sydney Witbeck

@storysmith You’re welcome!!

Indeed I did! XD A fine and proud name it tis! My other favorite name is “Valdunar” who is her adoptive father, mentor, guardian, lord of knights, and general. He was once her father’s greatest rival and a great friend. He was blessed by her dying father to raise her and her siblings as he would have his own late daughters. It first he is reminded of his grief at the loss of his beautiful wife and 2 daughters but soon saw how much they would have been overjoyed to take these kids as his family. He eventually sees these new adopted kids as God’s blessing at a 2nd chance at carrying on the dream he shared with his late wife to raise and build a home of peace and comfort from which he could watch the future generations flourish within.

Oh that’s a cool name too! So what changed him from Sylvie’s father’s rival to his close friend? What happened to his wife and girls? 😥 That’s really sweet that he gets to raise the princess and her siblings – I can see those scenes being so gripping and also tender.

Sylvendra and her people’s softest spot is for children no matter the race as they are the life blood that spur on the times of peace or the pursuit of it. They all dream of a time and place where children can run freely without armed guards or powerful guardian beasts to watch over them and especially to hear them laugh and play without fear of shy voices and nervous darting eyes.

I have 2 little kids planned out for a future story and I know how Sylvie & her countrymen feel 🙂 Yes, small children all deserve a chance at life where they get a chance to actually be kids, to be crazy, have fun, and enjoy the fleeting moments of their childhood. What kind of guardian beasts are there? One of my kids – Trevyn (whose story is not for my next book but the one after that) – was captured when he was little and turned into a slave. He essentially grows up with no childhood. 😥 He only catches glimpses of what he can have when a firey redheaded spitfire named Verity comes into his life…. XD (I know, I was going to do her story next, but now that’s on hold b/c I have another story I REALLY can’t wait to start XD)

*Crouches into readied dueling stance, armed with notes and fountain pen with a cool calculated smile* Bring it on! XD

*bows* *unrolls a scroll* YES! PERMISSION!

Excellent question, I am honestly not sure yet and still debating on her outcome. I thought of giving her a love story but an unlikely tale and a possibly impossible and sad dream as the man that earns her heart is an arch enemy. He is daring, strong, courageous, he fights a war with her because he has no choice but to fight for his liege lord who is evil and corrupt. His true allegiance is to his people as he fights for them who will pay the price if he fails. However, he also hopes and prays she will see through to his heart how to win him and his unfailing honor as they exchange blow for blow. He needs her to free his people to earn theirs and especially his eternal devotion, gratitude, admiration, and……love. *wink wink* XD

Oh no no no!! Her arch enemy?! That’s so sad!! Okay, I really want them to be together now *sorry* *ha ha not really* I have a weakness for seeing the redemption of broken characters like that – which is why I have Nathan & Payton as my MCs and the same goes for Kerwin & Maddock my next book MCs (Kerwin is the one who dies btw) Okay, now since I have permission to ask away, I must know: What’s his name? What’s he like?

Currently, I am not sure if she will have a king in the end if this mentioned character does what I know what he will do for his people and consequences that might follow if he disobeys his liege lord. My current thought is that she might in a way be alone in the end as her love for one will be sacrificed for the love of all as she would give her eternal devotion to her people. By the end when she is queen, she has been through and seen so much with a trail covered in tears, blood, ruin, and scars. She might have sealed her heart away for the man who earned and won her heart but at a cost. She might adopt some children who may not share her blood but her heart and also the hearts of the greatest people who helped make her who she is today. These children will one day take up their swords and continue on the vigilant watch for danger as it is her family’s legacy to be the shield to all. Any suggestions or ideas? I have never done romance in a story before but I sadly know the plot to almost every hallmark movie (………thanks Mom!) *nearly fell off my chair laughing* XD XD

Aaawww Sylvie!! *hugs her* Poor girl!! Although, I must say, I love the idea of her adopting children – they would be her heirs right? Ummm ha ha welp, I’ve never actually done any romance like that before either so sadly I can’t help you out here. (The extent of my romance is that I paired off 2 people who were in my first book and the sequel opens with their wedding. Before that? Guess I leave that up to the reader XD) That’s hilarious! Yeah, I’ll read books with romance (Jane Austen, Count of Monte Cristo, Mitford and a bunch of others) but writing it…. *mind blanks* *stares at charries* “Okay, you guys, umm fall in love and I’ll return when you want to get married. Deal?”

Unfortunately, I have not reached those scenes yet but hope to make them the most unexpected hilarious scenes. I keep picturing the old cartoon sound visual effects when a fight is happening out of picture that sometimes have dying from laughter.

XD Well well well….it will be unexpected for sure! 😉😂 YES!! XD

Aww poor guy! I am currently trying to figure out how to navigate with a character who becomes blind and is devastated by their loss but my world has some unique ways to see things than just with the eyes. It will be a hard and sad journey till they discover this only the beginning for what God has in store for them. The first step they must make is to find satisfaction where God has placed them knowing that He always knows what is best. Then other doors might open…….

I know…. *hugs Payton* Writing the scene where he actually realizes he’s blind. Ooof. His mom is there and she says something and he’s like…wait, Mother? All he has is her voice, he’s trapped, drowning all alone in a sea of panic… *runs to hug Payton* *I’m so sorry buddy!* Writing blind characters can definitely be a struggle. Wait, what are the other ways they have? He he, I’m having fun being able to ask a ton of questions. To be fair, you said I could! XD Yes, knowing that God is all they need….Payton, poor boy, never grasped that before his accident. He believed in God, but he wanted to have some control over his life. So when everything spirals out of hand and the bottom drops out of his world, that’s when he panics. Big time.

*whispers* What other doors? (“Payton, don’t listen!!”)

Good! I honestly feel better about it that you see its importance and theme too. Plus it should have its desired effect. XD

*bows again* It will for sure!

I agree it would be an ideal motivator to prove to all how good of a leader they have in the making, who has possibly endured more than they as most grown adults have and yet she continues to fight on and thrive. As for the unfortunate soldier tasked with the task of punishment, I felt he would be the most dumbfounded and horrified at the fact he is about to punish his beloved leader who sheds her innocent blood for the sake of his comrade. I pictured him fidgeting with the rope wishing he could rip it apart but also knows his duty. Worst yet his son has a crush on the princess and her daughter see her as her role model. Kind of a horrible spot to get out of. He hears the ding of his commander roaring at him to begin but it is a dull sound as his mind and heart threaten to tear apart in his horror and guilt. Then all is calm and clear as he gazes into her vibrant and soft glowing eyes and sees her rare gentle look of not just wise and strong leader but of love and kindness. She then addresses him with a firm but low gentle voice that rings in his ears to please begin and has nothing to fear. His mind then goes numb…. just does what he was told to do as he is horrified by the silence of not just the crowd but as no sound comes from her except the contact of the whip as it leaves new marks on top of the countless old scars. Once it is done, he flings the whip into a large brazier like it is vile serpent and falls upon his knees staring at his reddened hands and the blood stained ground. He feels the surge of bodies mill about him as they quickly cover the princess’s wounds with ointment and bandages and throw cloaks about her before they carry her back to tent.

*tears up* Oh poor guy!!! I feel so bad for him, and yet it must be done. I just hope the rest of the villagers don’t judge him or shun him or anything like that! I can just see him there, frozen in shock after the whole ordeal is over, just staring at nothing….POOR GUY!!

Hmmm you can write romance…with his son and the princess 😉

He feels alone and reviled for his action even though she told him to do it. He still wonders would his children still accept and love him after what he has done to their hero. Then his all fears and doubts begin to die as warm and kind gentle hands grip his face as he feels the princess’s kiss of forgiveness and selfless love upon his brow. As his mind clears and begins to focus, he feels his family fling their arms around him as they all begin to sob in one united waterfall. They constantly assure each other that everything will be alright and they love him for doing what he knew was right as princess proved to all, he is a good man who loves what is right for his hesitance to strike the innocent. They all fear being shunned by their community if they fail to understand that he only did the deed because the princess asked him to. He then comes alert as his commander’s immensely strong but kind hand grips his shoulder. He assures him that he has nothing to fear for if anyone holds this against him, they shall not receive any mercy from the princess as she has marked him with her forgiveness and gratitude for helping her do the right thing. He and other fellow soldiers tenderly help the sobbing family to their feet and walk them to a quiet place where they can be alone till the princess can see them. On their way, the path is lined with beasts and people who all bow the their heads in respect and sympathy. It will take me a while to get through this scene when I fully write it out as you said it is a powerful one and could summon a waterfall or two. lol XD

*sigh of relief* Good, I was worried for a moment, like the village would turn on him or something! I mean, I know how hard it is for shunned characters – that’s basically Nathan’s life in Alvastia. But it sounds like his family understands and they want to support him, which is GREAT! Umm yes, I think a waterfall or two or three will be in order when I read this scene! 😭😭😭 There. There are the 3 waterfalls. lol Although, I will say I have a weakness for sad stories or scenes or songs. (Have you read the Wingfeather Saga? XD)

I hope that makes sense. Any thoughts?

It makes sense to me. I think it would add an interesting dynamic if you included some soldiers/villagers who, in spite of what the princess has said, actually did start to shun this man or distance themselves from his family. (IDK if you already had as part of the scene or not) That was the only extra thing I could think of!

Sure! I would be glad to help however I can! I have learned we should refrain from killing off our characters without proper buildup of reasons of why they must die which has halted most of my plans to kill off my characters as it is overly used tool to make other characters grow. I prefer to think of how it would endear the character’s testimony/legacy in the hearts of all if it is their time to go. If the character has not been given enough time to grow as a character and show who they are to the reader, then it is probably not time to kill them yet. But there are some characters who always get themselves in bad situations and it might eventually be time for them to find themselves in a situation of no realistic point of return.

Thank you! *pulls out scroll and feather pen to start making notes* Like I said, I’ve never done this before (let alone it’s Kerwin and I love his character already *sigh*) He’s going to die in his brother’s arms at the very very end. Yes, I will try and make sure I develop his character – I don’t want to readers to feel like, oh this is just another character killed in war. Not that any death is insignificant, but you know what I mean right?

This is him: (or how he is in my head!)


He he! I like finding pictures of my charries, I have a bunch more lol

Death is huge fundamental factor as to why my characters fight till there is no one bad left to fight in a war torn world. They are sick and broken from the constant moments of witnessing the deaths of the innocent especially of helpless women and children no matter the race. A good death scene gets me every time when it makes me remember how the character lived not died. The worst and best death scenes for me are the moments of selfless sacrifice when one person lays their life down as that another might live just has Christ set the example through his death that it is the greatest act of love one can bestow upon another. It definitely gets me in those scenes when there are those reminders and flashbacks as they die that make perfect sense of why they made the choice simply because that is who they were.

Agh that is Kerwin! *hugs him again* I’m not sure 100% on all the details, but I feel like a sacrificial death for his brother’s sake would make it seem like his life wasn’t just “thrown away.” And it’s gonna be SO HARD ON MADDOCK!! AHHH!!! LIKE A POWER PUNCH!! That’s probably going to be even harder for me than the actual death – Maddock’s reaction afterwards, especially b/c it’s going to be at the very end, so I don’t want his reaction to seem rushed. It could potentially turn into a duology as he wrestles with his emotions afterwards and the consequences. Thoughts?

Here is a link to a great article to consider if you are still wondering if you should kill off the brother, https://storyembers.org/3-reasons-you-shouldnt-kill-your-characters/ I recommend reading the comment section of my comment and the article writer Martin Detwiler’s response. It has some awesome points to consider when choosing to kill off your character if it is your best meaningful option for your story.

Oh thank you! That definitely gave me some things to think about. I’m kind of scared to kill Kerwin off but at the same time…. *sigh* I kind of feel like that’s what it’s gonna take….

I hope that makes sense and helps! Does the brother accidentally get caught in a situation he was not able to get out of, a fight, or accident?

So….like I said earlier up on this post, some of the details are eluding me at the moment (which I’m fine with b/c I’m still working on my sequel XD) but basically here’s what I’m thinking:

Kingdom of Fire (working title) is going to be my next book project. And it’s going to be very extremely sad…This is the prologue:

It was a city aflame. It was stars of sparks burning the sky.

And it was two boys caught in the middle of the fiery turbulence. Years would roll between them. A kingdom of fire would almost break one and set the other free. Heartache and hope, triumph and tragedy swirled together in a tale one brother would hand down through the generations.

And this is his story.

(One brother….you caught that right? *sobs*)

Basically, it revolves around two brothers Kerwin & Maddock. Their city was set aflame by raiders and they lost everything in the world – except each other. It turned Maddock into a hard, strong, silent warrior out for revenge. He lives only for that – and his younger brother Kerwin. Maddock joins up with a man (still needs a name) who promises him that he can stop these raiders once and for all. Blinded by his passion, Maddock can’t see what Kerwin can – this leader is out for a far deeper plot and he will walk over anyone he has to to get it. (Still working on what that plot is/potentially joining with the raiders unbeknownst to Maddock) Maddock gives this man everything he has – and in the process, he becomes hardened and ruthless. Somehow the two brothers are separated. Kerwin finds faith that rises out of the ashes of his old life. There’s a major battle/conflict. Kerwin is mortally wounded….somehow saving Maddock? He dies in Maddock’s arms *cries forever* but not before his last words lead Maddock back to the faith he had abandoned so long ago.

There are still a lot of holes to be filled in obviously, but the main idea came from the fact that I wanted a story of redemption told from the antagonist’s side. And Maddock was born! And then he needed a younger brother…And there you have it! 🙂

Extra stuff: This is Kerwin’s quote which I stole from Green Ember: “My place beside you; my blood for yours.”

And Maddock’s theme song for the end of the book is *drumroll*: “The Last Farewell” from the Hobbit.

I’m also thinking of making the setting for this story a sort of a Northern Iceland Viking world thing – so the raiders that destroy M & K’s family are kind of like Viking raiders?

Thoughts? Stuff to tweak, change or scratch? Did it make any sense? XD If you have any more questions, I’ll do my best to answer!

What genre of music do you find helps you the most? Any specific soundtracks or songs?

One I enjoy is “Relaxing Medieval Music for Reading & Writing Playlist by Derek Fiechter” (It’s on Pandora, IDK if you have that or if you use something else?) I like medieval-based music, so I’ll find anything like that! As long as it’s instrumental XD What do you listen to for writing music?

That’s a cool turnaround! It would take some serious shots to the heart to make a hardened soldier change his pov of what he believes is right and wrong. As they say, the truth hurts but will also set you free.

Thank you! Nathan is one of my favs. Well, after Kerwin & Payton XD Yeah, it was pretty hard for him, but now that he has the truth he wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Ah interesting….. I can easily picture some likely awesome and hilarious scenes of Nathan being a drill sergeant lol XD”

I really don’t have a lot of scenes where he’s training the boys *fp* but I want to go back at the end and add that in there. Oh yes! It mostly comes out when he’s teaching those who want to fight in the cavalry – b/c horses are his love! So he can kind of get on a soapbox when it comes to their intelligence, and how you have to earn their loyalty, how their natural instincts are screaming at them to flee from a battle and you’re telling them to race into it – and if you can get a horse like that, you know he’ll go through fire and sword for you. That’s what Falcon, Nathan’s horse is like. And the boys are like *eye roll* WE’VE HEARD THIS LECTURE ALREADY!! Just let us go out there and RIDE!! XD

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