Why Beggar Magic is different

I write to tell stories, and my stories come from playing around with ideas and asking "what if." Beggar Magic came out of the simple concept of a non-magic user in a magical world. The idea was slightly inspired by our own world's dependency on technology and how we  forget how to do simple things because we are used to having computers and machines do them for us. Not a mind-blowingly original concept, but it opened the door to the world of Beggar Magic.

Once I established that the book would be told from the eyes of a "normal" person in an abnormal world, I messed around with the magic system. I wanted something different and fun, and for some reason I, the most tone death person you will ever meet (seriously, my singing is awful) hit upon music as magic.

The Strains are magical,  invisible forces that exist in the land of Gelia. People can hear and interact with them and coax them into doing tasks large and small. While  everyone can hear their music, only certain people, known as Highmost, can hear their lyrics, the words they speak, and relate to them in a way to get them to do greater magic.

In a "this thought leads to that thought" sort of way, I wondered, well, what would it be like if you  couldn't hear the magic at all. What would that do to your place in a society where audible magic is everything?

So I invented Brick, my first deaf character. I don't want to give away too many story points this early in the game, but I'm a little in love with Brick. He's kind of adorable. He has the soul of an artist and the grin of an unruly child. I can't wait to introduce him to  my readers.

Another step away from my writing norm came when I chose to focus on the relationship between my main character and her best friend, rather than focusing fully on a love story.  I often find that I don't find the "voice" for a piece until I identify the relationship I care about the most. Dragon's Curse got its voice when I realized the main point of resolution involved the estranged brothers. Dragon's Debt got its power from the give and take between Ewan and Shannon as they struggled to find a balance in their out of the norm relationship. Dragon's Rival is very  dependent on the rift forming between Ryan and his father, and the focus on the friendship between Martin and Ewan provides me endless amusement in Dragon's Bride. With Beggar Magic it is all about Zebedy and Kynel and how they managed to become best friends even though their worlds and personalities are polar opposites. (by the way, Kynel's  name is still up for grabs. You can enter for a chance to rename her here).

Then while playing around with the story line I was inspired by the Myst game series. I love the puzzles in this game.

I also love the aesthetic.
I loved poking around in drawers looking for clues.
This series of games is one of my favorite things ever.  If you haven't tried it, here's a link. Buy it, try it, love it.
So drew from that experience and I decided to go Steampunk in the book's style. I looked at Steampunk art and watched short videos and listened to Steampunk music. 

I had an awesome time. I'm not sure the Steampunk influence is strong enough to advertise the book as such, but it definitely had a hand in my imaginings of the world.

So anyway, I played around with a lot, stretching myself as a writer, stretching my characters and my worlds. I'm pretty excited about the results and can't wait to share!

Shared here and here and here