Tag Archives: potion

P is for Potioner

Alas, we find ourselves at another entry that leaves me struggling to not post spoilers. And man, does this topic develop in the next book.

One of the interesting things about writing a series is how things develop in unexpected ways. I don’t remember when I decided that there were two types of magic in the world I was creating, or when I realized how very different they were. It was one of those things that just seemed to exist, a discovery rather than an idea.

I’m afraid I’m as guilty of underestimating Potioners as some of my characters are, though. You see, when things started out, I thought there were strict divisions. A Sorcerer’s magic is internal, whereas a Potioner uses her perceptions and skills to manipulate magic outside of herself. They were healers, typically. Important people in their way, but nothing on the level of a Sorcerer.

Not real magic.

My characters showed me differently as I wrote their stories. It wasn’t until I drafted The Binding that I realized a Potioner was responsible for Rowan’s condition–I’d assumed it was a magical curse of some sort. But Elisha showed up with her ointments and herbs, and I learned that healing isn’t the only thing a Potioner is capable of.

Emalda introduced me to the range of skills a Potioner might have, but it wasn’t until I slipped into Nox’s mind that I truly understood the experience. I learned what it’s like to feel magic pulsing through a plant, to hear them calling silently, to sense the potential of a thing. I understood then that Potioners are far more than the glorified chefs or chemists that Aren (and so many people like him) take them for. Their magic might not flow through them as it does a Sorcerer, but it’s there.

And now we come to SPOILERTOWN, so I won’t say much. I will tell you that I’ve met another character who changed everything. Actually, she showed me something that was in front of me from the beginning, and I had overlooked it.

You see, there are several levels of skill when you’re a Potioner.

There are those with basic skills, mostly learned from books with a little kick of natural talent thrown in. They may be competent craftsmen, but there’s little art to it. Little of themselves thrown in.

There are the gifted ones, those like Nox and Sara who sense the power and potential in everything around them, who work from instinct as much as from lessons. They are the artists, using their gifts to build on learned skills and create something entirely new. They’re the innovators.

And then there are the truly great ones, who can–

No, I’m not telling.

All I’ll say is that though Nox thinks she’s mastered her art, she still has a lot to learn.

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WIPpet Wednesday – Awkward Spoiler Avoidance Edition (and a lesson learned)

WIP it… (duh nuh nuh nuh)… W-WIP it real good!

Sorry, I was tired of getting Devo stuck in my head every time WIPpet Wednesday rolled around. Thought I’d try Salt n’ Peppa. You know, instead of “Push It”.

It’s not actually better. Live and learn. *sigh*

WIPpet Wednesday is the day where we post a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date. I’ve been having a lot of trouble participating lately, because a) I’m busy, and I don’t post if I know I can’t get around to comment (though I sometimes miss a few who post late–sorry! I’ll try harder!), and b) I’m seriously running out of spoiler-free snippets from Torn.

Like… even saying who’s in it is a spoiler, aside from the obvious suspects.

So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to share a big snippet, and I’m not going to say who’s in it. The POV character (herein referred to as “I”) is female and a Potioner, and that’s all I’m saying. The other party in the conversation is a dude, and… we’ll call him Y here.

Warning: If you’ve read Bound and really don’t want to know whether certain species are going to show up again, skip it. You’ll probably guess. I doubt anyone will be disappointed, but there you have it. 🙂

Okay, it’s super obvious. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

19 (short) paragraphs. WIPpet math: 1+1+8+2+0+1+5 = 18, plus one to grow on.

I’d only need one more ingredient. I brought out one of the daggers that my unfortunate soldier friend had left behind.

“Can I help?” Y’s voice drifted from the trees behind me.

“You’re getting quieter,” I observed. “I barely heard you coming.”

Y stood up straighter. “I’m working on it. I don’t think I’ll ever be as graceful on land as I am in [awkward redaction], though. What are you doing?”

“Trying to be prepared. You might not want to see this.”

The shadows covered much of his face, but I caught the concerned furrow of his brow. “Do you want me to leave? Whatever it is, I can handle it.”

The firm set of his jaw and the look in his eyes told me he wasn’t lying. I wondered what he’d seen in his life. Such a strange man. I couldn’t deny I was glad to have his assistance, and his company. Something about him calmed my mind, even as his presence tended to do the opposite to my body. I could ignore that, though.

“You can stay, if you want to,” I said. “Hold the bowl for me.”

He stepped into the clearing and cupped the bowl in his hands, holding it out from his body. “Like this?”

“Perfect.” I slipped off my cloak, then tried to roll up my sleeves. They were too tight. The whole thing would have to go. I thought about asking Y to close his eyes. We didn’t need to complicate things further.

Don’t be silly, I told myself. You’re both adults. He’s seen more, and probably prettier.

Y’s eyes widened as I unbuttoned my shirt, then swallowed hard as I slipped it off, leaving me in a thin under-shirt in the cold woods.

I waited for his gaze to return to mine. “Don’t [oh, so very redacted] go around naked most of the time?”

“Yes.”

I raised my eyebrows, and fought back a smile when his eyes wandered again.

“It’s just different with you,” he said. “It’s fine. Carry on. Please.”

I took a deep breath and traced the tip of the dagger over the skin of my arm, trying to decide on the best spot to get what I needed while doing the smallest possible amount of damage. I settled on the top of my forearm and stroked the tip of the dagger gently over my skin once, twice, three times, building my nerve.

“Use my blood, if you want,” Y said.

“No. Thank you. I’ve had worse injuries.”

“So have I.”

Well, my work here is done. Smoothly done, Sparkes. SMOOOOTHLY DONE.

O.o

For more and probably less awkward WIPpet Wednesday fun, scoot on over here to the linkie, and feel free to join in on your own blog. Thanks to KL Schwengel for hosting!

But seriously, guys, I think I’m out for a few weeks.

ROW80 Update

On the only goal that matters at the moment: Still editing. I think I have about eight chapters left to go, only two of which are full rewrites.

*cough*

Yes, it makes things harder. Yes, it’s more work than I thought I’d be doing two months shy of the projected publication date. It’s going to be worth it, though.

I’m done stressing about dates. Some people might be irritated if things are delayed by a week, but once the book’s out, no one will care. As I’ve said before, I’m not half-assing anything to meet a deadline.

My readers deserve my best. No shortcuts.

For the record, there will be no promises, speculation, or hints about the next book’s release date until after edits (professional, not self-edits). We’re looking at the same kind of space between books as we were this time, but beyond that, my lips are sealed.

Having a deadline is motivating, but it’s useless when it stresses you out too much to do anything.

Consider that a lesson learned.

ROW80 posts or to learn about the event, click here

 


WIPpet Wednesday: Ick

I know, I know. I said I ran out of non-spoilery stuff.

That’s not a complete lie. Today’s snippet gives something away, but it’s not anything I’m particularly concerned with keeping a secret. If you’ve been following my WIPpet posts for a few months, you already know. But fair warning, okay? Stop here if you don’t want to know anything.

Because this week’s snippet isn’t from Aren or Rowan.

Ooooooooooooh.

In honour of Halloween (yes, that’s my tenuous connection to the date), we have a Potioner poking through someone else’s supply store-room, trying to solve a problem to pass a test that’s REALLY important to her. It’s for Halloween because… well, you’ll see. Long one today. Sorry. I’ve been good and posted short snippets lately. 🙂

Insert first draft disclaimer here. This part of the scene might be cut, or at least cut down. If not, it’ll need work. I had fun writing it, though, and it says a lot about this character.

The room has already been described. Picture a storeroom with shelves covering every wall, and shelves forming aisles through the middle, all covered in jars, bottles, baskets, boxes, and STUFF. For this character, it’s like being a kid in a candy store, but far less fattening. Also a bit more stressful at this point…

I continued through the room, reaching places we hadn’t seen the day before. She had everything organized by type of ingredient—flowering plants in one area, whole and in parts. Reeds in another. Catalysts. Null items that would nonetheless help in certain instances. Sands, waters, metals, slabs of stone, chunks of wood. Within each section, items were shelved by the region they’d come from, and seemed to be set out roughly in order of how powerful the magic within them was before interference from us. Simple enough, if one knew what she was looking for. Less helpful for me, who hadn’t the first clue.

At the rear of the room I came upon the animal ingredients. I’d never liked using them, but sometimes it couldn’t be avoided if one wanted a specific and reliable result. Eye of newt always impressed folk when they heard we’d included it. I preferred salamander myself, though I found the fiery little buggers difficult to come by. Bundles of feathers covered one shelf, labeled with hanging tags: red parrot was new to me. Eagle. Robin. Harpy. Aeyer.

I shuddered at that last. I refused to ask people to consume anything remotely human, and the Aeyer were far too close. Besides, where would one get the ingredients save for from a dead body? And to desecrate those… no. Even the harpy deserved better.

I pulled the curtain back on another section and leaned closer to read the labels, gasped, and let the curtain fall. Several deep breaths later, I pulled it back again. One jar of eyeballs had been labelled “human,” the other “human- MU.” The dried and stacked strips of skin had to be the same. Vials of dark liquid didn’t invite closer scrutiny, and I didn’t dare look closer at the shapes floating in the bottles at the back. I moved on, hoping my answer didn’t lie there.

On a higher shelf I found several small jars of gold-tinted liquid labeled “mer tears.” I didn’t try to imagine how they’d acquired those. In my admittedly limited experience with merfolk, I hadn’t found them overly keen on giving them up.

At least there were no eyeballs on that shelf.

Focus. I passed by those shelves and searched higher. Dragon scales in a rainbow of hues, radiating protective power. Unicorn tail-hairs and horn shavings. Horrid. A unicorn never shed its horn. The only way to obtain that would be to kill the beast. I turned away, but the jar’s contents called to me. I couldn’t help looking back, reaching out, and opening the dark glass lid. This would help. A unicorn’s deep magic would [redacted for spoilers–it would solve several of her problems]. It was the absolute simplest solution, and I hadn’t thought of it before because I’d never had access to the ingredients.

It’s here anyway. If the unicorn is dead, it’s dead. Just use it. Make the potion.

I reached my fingers into the jar. Even before I touched the thick slices of nacre-like horn, they glowed softly. The scent of an autumn wood reached my nostrils, thick and rich with moss and mushroom and rotting leaves. Pleasant, to be sure, and I felt my mind relax into it. There was a wildness to the magic, carried on the scent of the wind. I closed my eyes and found myself racing along the crest of a mountain ridge in the moonlight. The world was at my feet, and all of its magic coursed through my veins…

I snapped the hinged lid of the jar closed, and the experience vanished with the scent. A tear slipped from my eye. I’d seen a unicorn’s memory, felt her magic, and known she wasn’t a part of the world anymore. Stupid, perhaps. Sentimental. And yet I set the jar back on the shelf.

There had to be another way.

Hey, look. That came out to eleven paragraphs. It’s the 29th. 9+2=11. MATH.

For more (and hopefully shorter, I SAID I WAS SORRY) WIPpet fun, click here. If you’d like to join in on your own blog, post a snippet from your work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date. Share there, link back, and be sure to visit the others. If you’re like our host KL Schwengel, you’ll have to choose just one of your multitude of WIPs to share. If you’re like me… well, it’s easier to decide.

ROW80 Update

Is anyone even reading this far?

*crickets*

I know, it makes for a long post. And hey, let’s make it longer! I’m procrastinating, you see. I have this battle scene to write, and I kind of haven’t done that on this scale before, and… well, you know. Why do now what you can put off until after the blog post?

Ugh. Fine.

Word counts have been pretty good, except for yesterday, because battle scene:

Wednesday: 3,199
Thursday: 5,293
Friday: ~3000
Saturday: ~3000
Sunday: 0 (family day, migraine, good times)
Monday: 4,014
Tuesday: 1129

This puts the manuscript over 108,000 words, and we’re not even climaxing yet.

Pretend I said that in a way that’s less creepy.

Beta reading is all finished up, and I don’t think anyone hates me. WOO! Listened to one writing podcast. Mostly, I’ve been wording with the words. And the wording has been swell. So… here’s hoping that next week’s update features a big, relieved announcement and me saying I’m back to pre-editor edits on Torn.

Glack.

If you’re curious about what the heck ROW80 is, check it out here.

And… that’s it. No big conclusion. Sorry. I gotta go do some research.

20141029-153026.jpg

Um… not at all like this.


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