Monday, September 08, 2014

Guest - Frances Pauli

Good morning and how is everyone today? Here at the Scott household we are doing a little preparation for our beautiful daughter's upcoming wedding. There's the shower, the cake, the coffee, the this and the that...lol, you know what I mean. But for now, let's all sit back and enjoy this visit from author Frances Pauli who will be discussing prescience (yes, I've been looking for a place to use that word ;-) ) We have some excellent Cinnamon flavored coffee and luscious Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies (see my newsletter for a recipe). Grab them before they're gone!

And now for our guest!

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Writing What has Been Foretold.

Some of my favorite characters from classical speculative fiction and romance have had what amounts to extra-sensory abilities. From the Bene Gesserit of Dune, to Espers, Mystics, and a host of Fortune tellers, I have always loved a character who can see what's coming...and still goes forth willingly despite that.

But when I decided to introduce my own race of clairvoyant aliens in SEEN, I suddenly realized just how tricky fictional precognition can be. For one thing, a character forewarned is a character forearmed. Knowing what is around the corner has a danger of removing suspense and tension. It can, however, also increase the sense of dread in the reader. I know there is a monster behind that door, so why is she opening it! These moments are a lot of fun, but they lead to the second problem.

Why do they still open it?

Each author will, of course, invent their own ways to solve these issues, but one of the themes that kept coming up as I looked further into precognition was the idea that a vision or prophecy is only a fraction of the entire picture. This was a goldmine in its own right for using a snatch of imagery to give a false impression of the future instead of a completely accurate foreknowledge.

Beyond the vision the character has can be an entire big picture that adds up to something quite different than the precognition suggests. In addition, many bad circumstances can resolve into good outcomes. So that, while a character might be walking into the fire, on the other side there could be a very desirable conclusion.

In other words, we might lose the battle and still win the war. The opposite is also true, and chasing after a good vision can lead the character into all sorts of nasty circumstances.
Using prophecy and glimpses of the future is a fantastic way to misdirect. Finding your character's motivation for going forward regardless of the known danger, is a great way to build in strength and heroism. They must, however, have a very good reason for walking into that danger. Of course, the character can be driven by circumstance to take that step unwillingly, which is also a great suspense builder. I know there's a monster behind this door, but the one chasing me is even larger and scarier and there's no other way to turn...

You can probably tell I had a lot of fun with this.

One thing that did trip me up more than once was keeping the vision of a future scene consistent and accurate with that scene when I finally got around to writing it. I am not a scene writer who can skip about (though I envy the authors who can). I must start at the beginning and continue forward until I reach the end, and so, when my character had a vision of a later event, the event was yet to be written.

Which, of course, resulted in a lot of editing on my part. Things changed by the time I reached the preconceived moment, and so I would recommend to all the linear writers out there like myself, that you tag or mark or somehow make it easy to reference the scenes both where the event is foretold an when it actually unfolds. As I found out, you will be doing a lot of flipping back and forth between them in the editing phase.

Unless you decide to make the vision faulty? Slightly off of accurate? What about a character who has visions that are intentionally wrong? A fortune teller who only gets it right every now and again? The more I think about it, the more possibilities arise. Each has its own challenges, but I found the task worth the effort.  The topic is vast and unbelievably fun to explore if you have an interest, and I highly recommend playing with the future.

I know I love many books and characters that do. And I'd love to hear about your favorite clairvoyants as well.

Thanks for peering forward with me!


About Frances
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.




Seen
Princes of the Shroud book two
Coming  Fall/Winter 2014

Rowri is a priestess with prophetic dreams—and she’s dreamt of her soulmate. So when she volunteers to be the gifted bride in a peace negotiation between her own peoples and the Tolfarians, she is certain that the lilac-skinned man in her visions is the Tolfarian leader she is to marry.

But prophecy is never simple, and visions are never clear. Shayd, a seer and one of the Shrouded, is summoned to transport Rowri to her new husband-to-be. When Rowri sets eyes on his lilac skin, she knows she’s made a terrible mistake—one she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life if she wants to save her people and prevent war.

The two are drawn together, and the fates of two races hinge on the decisions they make. On the precipice of volcanic eruptions, galactic terrorism, and mercenary attacks, Shayd and Rowri must give up every hope of happiness for their people, or sacrifice everything for true love.



Shrouded
Princes of the Shroud book one

Vashia’s father is the planetary governor. Unfortunately, he’s also a complete bastard. When he promises her to his lackey, Jarn, she panics. On the run in the nastiest corner of the galaxy, Vashia seizes her one chance at escape and signs on as a bride candidate for the elusive race of aliens known as the Shrouded, unaware that she very well may be chosen as the next Queen of Shroud

Of the seven, volatile Shrouded princes, Dolfan may be the only one that doesn't covet the throne. So the last thing he expects to find in the future queen is the woman of his dreams. If he wants Vashia, he must accept the throne as well. Unfortunately, his long-time rival has the same idea. Now, only the planet’s sacred crystal can decide their fates, but what happens when the right woman is paired with the wrong man? And when Jarn comes after what was promised to him?


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About Frances
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

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Lynda Again --
Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. Remember, if you're a member of my newsletter, you'll get the recipe for the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies along with the newsletter. Sign up. It's free!

Have a Blessed day!

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4 comments:

Lynda K. Scott said...

Welcome, Frances! This is a great post, raising questions I'd never thought of before. Thanks for sharing and thanks for being with us today!

Frances Pauli said...

Thank you so much for having me! Coffee and cookies for the win. :)

Voss Foster said...

One of my favorite series, hands down.

I think my favorite clairvoyant from literature would have to be Sybil Trelawney from Harry Potter. Whackjob, yes, but still thoroughly and completely accurate.

Frances Pauli said...

I adore Trelawney. She was such a well revealed character. One of my favs too. Thanks!