Friday, December 6, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 5

A reminder note: If you want to know how to enter your name for the weekly giveaways, please see the November 30 post for details. I'm going to sound like such a broken record by the time all is said and done, but I don't want any of you to miss your opportunity.

And yes, you can go back an answer questions from days you missed for points!

Now for Chapter 5 . . .


Chapter 5

I have realized that if I keep writing up these read-along posts as long as all of these others, I’m going to end up with a total read-along word count as long as the novel itself! So, I’m going to cut back a little. Sorry, imps! But there will still be plenty of random little tidbits, hints, insights, etc. Just a little less wordy . . . .

Moving on!

Dame Willowfair: Foxbrush’s mother, the owner of Hill House, is scarcely mentioned throughout this entire adventure. She is a recluse to the max, and scarcely enough of a personality to be even enigmatic. The practical reason for this was that I didn’t want to deal with one more character as I was drafting this book (secret’s out!). But it also led to some interesting little tidbits of information which will be revealed in Shadow Hand. So keep your eyes open for future mentions of Foxbrush’s mother.

Contrasting coffees: When constructing a novel, one of the most important steps is establishing strong, individualized characters. And one of the best ways to establish a character is to contrast it to another character, allowing each to add to the substance of the other (just like in art, they say to define your lights by your shadows . . . you artists out there will know what I mean). Throwing two dissimilar personalities like Leo and Foxbrush into contrast with each other is always fun, and I enjoyed writing those little moments like the different ways they take their coffee. Could there be any two more dissimilar young fellows?

Poor Foxbrush: I know Foxbrush is the character everyone loves to loathe . . . but I must admit, I kind of like him, myself. This little scene where he asks if he can join Leo on his outdoor adventuring proves, I think that Foxbrush longs at least a little to be part of his cousin’s life. Perhaps he even longs to be as adventurous and daring.

In fact, perhaps there is more to the little milksop than meets the eye.

A boy climbed one path and a girl, some distance off, descended another. This little scene leading up to Leo and Rose Red meeting once more is one I have used several times as an example for why the omniscient narrative is, in a word, awesome. I get criticized by modern CBA novelists on a regular basis for my use of this narrative voice, which is considered dreadfully out of fashion at the moment (despite the brilliance and popularity of such novelists as Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett). But if I did not take the omniscient narrative and step outside an individual character’s point-of-view, I would not be able to observe the scene from this sky-high vantage and watch my two protagonists on their collision course. It’s fun, it’s scenic, and it paints a dynamic picture that would not have come to be if I had limited myself to a strict third-person narrative.

So, despite criticisms and dismissals, I will continue to write in this narrative voice and glory in the freedom it gives me. And I will continue to urge other young novelists to give it a try, to see what magic they might create from an omniscient point-of-view. 

Hints: There are little hints as to Rosie’s identity . . . or, not her identity so much as simply what she is. For instance, we are told several times over that she is surprisingly strong. She carries her buckets without apparent strain, even though they are quite large for her little child’s frame. And she hauls Leo up over the rise (and later knocks him flat on his back) without any effort at all . . . which certainly impresses our young hero! So much for her being “just” a girl.

It was interesting for me to work with a female character like this. So many heroines are defined by their appearance, their charms, the talents. But Rosie’s face isn’t seen at all, not until the very end of the book. She doesn’t have any apparent talents or charms. Indeed, her great skill is her strength, which is singularly unfeminine. And yet, Rose Red is not at all mannish. She was a challenge to work with, but so interesting the whole while, and I quite loved her.

Questions on the Text:

1. What are your thoughts on cousin Foxbrush at this stage in the story? Love-to-hate him? Feel kind of sorry for him? Jury still out?

2. Which of Rose Red’s characteristics make her most interesting to you? How is she like a typical heroine? How is she unlike?

3. Why do you think Leo was so ready to give up the monster hunt?

4. Any favorite lines?


Allison Ruvidich wants to know: "My question is: how old is Leo at the beginning of 'Veiled Rose' and at the beginning of 'Moonblood'?"

Leo is eleven at the beginning of Veiled Rose and approximately twenty-two at the beginning of Moonblood. (I had to do a little bit of math there to figure that out!)

Meredith wants to know: "Since Faerie kings and queens have three lives, is it safe to assume the Dragon King does as well? By this I mean, will he be a prominent villain in another book, or can we expect to meet new villains in each and every novel to come?"

Good question, Meredith! But actually, the Dragon is not a Faerie. As the series progresses and we learn more of him and his Sister, you will see that he is a being very different from Faeries and mortals both. He is an entity much more powerful and doesn't need three lives.

(SPOILERS) But I will say that when he is dead, he is dead. When we see him killed at the ending of Heartless, that's it for the Dragon. But we will see much more of him in the series because I am going back and telling many stories of the world before the Dragon's death and all the events leading up to it. Basically, I started the series at the climax, and now I am going back and around to so that my readers will eventually be able to see his death (and Aethelbald's claiming of Una as his bride) in the context of the whole.

Sarah wants to know: "Will we ever see any more of Una? I know her story is kind of over, but I'm curious about what her life is like now."

Not for a while if ever, I'm sorry to say. I have tentative plans of bringing her back in much later on (many, many books from now). But the fact is, poor Una was so HATED by so many people when Heartless first released, I feel a bit gun shy when it comes to writing about her again. She might make an appearance or two in some novellas, however, so keep an eye out for those! And like I said, maybe many books down the road . . .

Jemma wants to know: "Is Beana's name Leta?"

Actually no! Though I'm not surprised many people have thought so . . . However, there are several important "Ladies Aiven" who will be featured in the Goldstone Wood series. I hate to giveaway spoilers, so if you'll excuse some crazy vagueness, I'll tell you this--because of things that happened to Lady Leta in Dragonwitch, the family of Aiven becomes an object of interest to . . . a certain Faerie race.

Wow, that sounds terribly enigmatic! But stick with me until Book 9, and things will begin to come clear, I promise.

Rebekah wants to know: "If Veiled Rose ever becomes a movie (and I suppose all us imps hope for that), how would you want Rosie's veils to be handled? I mean, you have her taking off her wrappings all through out it, but never tell us WHAT she looks like until the very end; and you can pull that off because in a book you don't have to describe her. But in a movie you couldn't do that. So, anyway, what would you want them to do?"

Wow, that's a tough question, Rebekah! I've never seriously thought about these books becoming movies. I've always figured they were too complicated and interconnected to really do well on the big screen. But I suppose I would prefer to simply never have Rosie unveil herself at all. Or if she does, have the lighting be such that we don't see what she looks like. I think the secret of her appearance is that important.

But this is why I prefer novels to movies (and why I don't go in for the so-called "cinematic writing techniques" popular in modern fiction). You can do so much MORE with a novel while playing with the reader's imagination!

Rebekah also wants to know: "Will Rosie have a role (however small) in 'Shadow Hand'?"

Um . . . a very small role. Very, very small. Important! But very small.

But if it makes you feel any better, I do intend to write a novel about her after she becomes Queen Varvare! The beginnings of that novel have been brewing over the last year, and it's starting to look really exciting. (And yes, Lionheart will be in it too.) I think when it comes together it will be surprising and satisfying to readers. But in order for it to work its absolute best, I need to go back and tell Vahe and Oeric's story first.

If I have not answered your question, I do apologize! And please do alert me if I've somehow skipped you. I want to answer all of these questions, but it's all too easy for me to let one or two of them slip. So don't hesitate to give me a heads-up if I need it!

And thanks for all these great questions, Rebekah, Jemma, Sarah, Meredith, and Allison. And all of you who have asked questions so far. It's a lot of fun to get to speculate and discuss some of these things . . . and to drop hints of future plans. . . .


Unknown said...

I don't believe that Foxbrush's father is ever mentioned in 'Veiled Rose'. Do you think that his reclusiveness, his timidity, and his animosity towards his cousin might have something to do with his lack of a father figure? (Or, if I just blew over every reference to his father, if his father has a particular trait that encouraged these?)

Sarah Pennington said...

1. I don't exactly hate him at this point . . . He's conceited, a suck-up to the grown-ups, and rather annoying, but I do feel almost sorry for him.
2. The fact that we know so little about her. I want to know who she is, why she's so strong, why she wears the veils, etc. She's like a typical heroine in that she's something different from everyone else; she's unlike in that so much about her is hidden.
3. He was scared and didn't really want to face the monster.
4."When the trees sighed, she heard them whispering songs of longing, songs of love, songs of sorrow for bygone days.
"And this morning, when the sun broke through the canopy of the forest and fell upon the creek in blinding, sparkling light too bright for her to gaze upon, the wood thrush began to sing, and Rose Red recognized the voice of her Imaginary Friend."

Also, "Dragons eat these dragon-kissed flies! Die, blood-sucking fiends, die!" Exactly my thoughts about mosquitoes. xD

Finally, people hate Una? Seriously? How? She's one of my favorite characters!

Anonymous said...

3. Poor Leo is a bit cowardly - it's actually really sad. :( I guess I probably shouldn't say anything else so that I don't give away spoilers, but the later part of the book always makes me want to cry.

Meredith said...

Thank you, Mrs. Anne Elisabeth, for the answer to my question. Forgive me for not picking up on that. Love the nonlinear way these tales are unfolding, like an intricate quilt with many patchwork pieces or a marvelous tapestry.

1. I've always felt sorry for Foxbrush and think he's much more complex than might first appear. I base this on later events in the story, mainly his determination, (however foolhardy), to protect his land when the Dragon lays siege to the Eldest's House.

2. I love the fact that Rose Red is not afraid to say what she thinks. Also, despite her loneliness, she takes steps to make a friend. Her loyalty also endeared her to me. Her stubbornness is a frustrating aspect of her character to me, but I love her for it.

4. Line: Leo, by contrast, liked a little coffee to flavor his milky sugarwater, (paraphrased). How I can relate! If I were a cat with access to cream, I'd be the fattest one known to man!

I'm so angered by these people who do not like Una. Perhaps they are the ones who are heartless? Sorry. I just loved her so much, and, seriously, why such vehement animosity towards someone who is so relatable? I think it's a case of mirror image: people don't want to admit they're a lot like her. Please don't let them intimidate you.

By the way, I think I might have thought of some other literary nods:
Heidi, by Joanne Spyri, (the "grandfather tree" and the goat.
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, (you kind of turn it on its head, but I still think the reference is there). I base this on a certain character's interpretation of a phrase which another character manipulates. So, equivocal sayings mean two very different things.
The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, (obvious reference of Lionheart's name).
A play entitled, The Lion in Winter.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

You skipped over my questions, but that would probably be partially my fault. I wrote them rather late. Sometimes I'm on second shift, sometimes first. Shall I repeat them?

Thanks for even answering questions!

- Heather

Rebekah said...

1) I seriously disliked Foxbrush at first, but now I kinda like him. And he's so pitiful here, looking out the window and trying to convince himself he doesn't care.
3) I think he simply has a short attention span.
4) I'm stuck between Foxbrush's "You're an idiot,"
and "neither could guess at how far that friendship would take them. Oh! and "Dragons eat these dragon-kissed flies! Die, blood-sucking fiends, die!"
This chapter is so chock-full of great quotes!

Thank you so much for answering my questions!

Ruth said...

Hows does Beana get her name?

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Heather: Oh, no! Sorry I missed them. I'll go digging back in the early chapters and find them, no worries. If you still don't see them posted tomorrow, then go ahead and repeat them.

Unknown said...

I have another question: since the Dragon, one of the main series protagonists, is dead, will the bulk of your future work take place before Heartless, when he is still alive, or after, with new antagonists?
Also: Would you consider the immortals in your stories to be more or less inclined to selfishness, pride, and general malevolence than the humans because of their immortality?

Ruth said...

3)I think Leo just really wanted someone to play with he didn't care.
4)I like the "you're an idiot" line.

Kira Thomas said...

1. I'm not entirely sure what I think of Foxbrush. He seems kind of... Well, sad. Even more so because he doesn't even seem to realize it. He buries himself in books and convinces himself that he doesn't really want to have an adventure. Not that his convincing himself changes things later on.

2. I loved how you gave us little bits of information about her at a time to keep us reading. Her veils keep her hidden from us, but while she's hidden we get to know her and love her for herself: stubbornness, loyalty, honesty, and the like. After that, we want to see her face, but not just because we want to see her face anymore, but because it's a part of her, and we want to love all of her. I find that she's different than most heroines because, these days, there's a lot of two different types of heroines: The damsel in distress, and the don't-come-near-me:I-have-a-sword type heroines. It's nice to see a heroine who is strong, but still a girl.

3. Little boys had short attention spans, and he had found something better: a friend, and a neat project.

4. Ye~es. I love this line: "Foxbrush sipped his coffee (he drank it black and had done so since he was five years old, considering sugar and milk to be signs of a weak mind. Leo, by contrast, liked a little coffee flavoring in his milky sugar-water) "

"But I wasn’t sure how we’d move the boulders, unless we stole one of Leanbear’s carriage horses, and they have a lot of teeth, so I thought maybe we’d have to steal some carrots to tempt them, or maybe some sugar, but that means raiding Mistress Redbird’s larder, and she’s got a lot of teeth too."

Judith said...

3)I think Leo just wanted to be with someone else besides his cousin Foxbrush.

Judith said...

Back in chapter 1 how did Leanbear see Rose Reds face if she never takes off her veil?

Anonymous said...

1. I kind of like Foxbrush for asking that question. It was unexpected.

2. The characteristic most interesting is that she can seem to disappeare even when standing in front of you. She hopes and wants something.

3. Maybe he's afraid.

4. The fact stood that--beanpole or sword--Leo's stick was the only weapon in the room, and it was just long enough to reach across the breakfast table for a good smack on the head, which Foxbrush did not doubt Leo would be willing to give. -pg. 55

It was uncanny, but somehow she almost vanished even as she stood there in plain sight. If he focused, he could still see her standing there, but if he let his attention wander at all, she simply disappeared. -pg. 60


Anonymous said...

1. He was just a itsy-bitsy annoying the first time I read about him. That didn't last long. I felt sorry for him when he asked if he could go with Leo.

2. Interesting characteristic: her unbelievable hearing ability and the ability to appear and disappear in a moment's notice. Her compassion and devotion also.

Well, we never saw her face so we wouldn't know if she's stunningly beautiful. Most heroines are.

3. He was scared, I believe.

Out of curiosity, are you planning on doing these kind of read alongs with your other books?

Is Beana based off of someone you know? Or any of the other characters in this book?

I think if you brought Una in again it wouldn't go over so bad. She's a changed person.

- Heather

Unknown said...

I don't have time to leave comments on every post, but I just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying reading all your notes and tidbits about "Veiled Rose", Anne Elisabeth! I love reading about how much love and depth writers put into their work, and your passion continues to be an inspiration.

God bless!

Unknown said...

1. I think Foxbrush is an interesting character at this point, and I do feel a bit sorry for him - he has such a different sort of view of the world than many people do. I liked him asking Leo if he could go with him here.
2.Most interesting characteristics to me are probably her 'listening' that we saw here in this chapter, or her sort of appearing or disappearing with little effort.
3. I think Leo has started to really realize that he might have liked the idea of adventure much more than the reality of it, and with finding someone who can be a friend he's more than happy to substitute that for his previous monster-slaying plans.
4. My favorite passage: "Dragon’s teeth! What was this? Could his slouching cousin’s secret enthusiasm for who-knows-what truly be that catching? What about algebra? What about the economic patterns of the last three decades? What about that enormous history of the second-class farmers’ tax records, which he had only just begun? What about—"

Anna said...

1. Foxbrush...hmmm...maybe annoying? I didn't care much for the scenes with him...until a certain lady (spoilers!) enters the picture. Then I felt so sorry for him! :(

2. Rosie is so adorable. She's my all-time favorite character in this series. :) Well, her and Imraldera. ;)

3. Maybe he was scared? Like he is of everything else?

Therru Ghibli said...

1. This is where I really started to feel sorry for Foxbrush which led to him being a bit of a favorite.

2. The only way Rosie is like a typical heroine is that she's an outcast. It ends there.
In every other way she is a refreshing and darling new take on a heroine.

3. I think Leo found something much more interesting.

4. "A what?" Leo gave him a stupid look. But then, Foxbrush thought all Leo's looks were stupid, so that was no surprise.
And then most of page 59 to the beginning of 60. Far too much for me to quote though!

And by the way, Anne Elisabeth, I want you to know that Una is actually my favorite character out of all the series. I really connected with her and loved her through and through, I pretty much understood her mental process and why she did what she did. I've never read about a character I felt so similar to. Thank you for creating Una!