One of my observations during my lunch walk is that my characters are somewhat intelligent, but they in different ways. The three main characters of Flight of the Scions are probably the best example and I would say Rutejìmo is probably the least intelligent character I've had as a main character.
Sand and Blood 13: Breaking Up
A long time ago, in a book I haven't read for decades, I read an interesting discussion about angels. In that book, it discussed how angels didn't have free will which made them functions of the universe (god, Bob, whatever you want to call it). The angels' purpose wasn't to evolve themselves but to be way points and beacons to guide others.
This influenced how the clan spirits work in my world. They don't really have free will and they are not capable of enlightenment. They can get more powerful, but it is based on rules that mortals don't understand, but Shimusògo will never become one of the Great Triad.
This chapter actually demonstrate a tiny bit of this internal cosmology. Shimusògo, the spirit, provides power to Rutejìmo because he is in the right place, has the right mental state, resonance, and is ready to accept his power. It wouldn't matter if the clan (the social structure) accepted it or not, the clan spirit connected to Rutejìmo and he is spiritually part of the clan.
Now, being accepted socially into the clan, that's a much bigger difficulty for Rutejìmo's case and probably the subject of the entire novel.
Read Sand and Blood 13: Breaking Up at https://fedran.com/sand-and-blood/chapter-13/.
Flight of the Scions 19: Travel Partners
Intelligence, this is a hard one to talk about. While I was walking, I realized that even Maris was rather intelligent despite her lack of education and her innocent nature.
There are many types of intelligence (generically speaking). The three main character of Flight of the Scions demonstrate different aspects of that.
Ruben is the easiest. He knows things and has a vast repository of useless knowledge (just like it says on my website). Internally, he has a copy of Wikipedia for my world, though it is a few years out of date. However, knowing details doesn't mean comprehension. Maris mentions that in this chapter about how Ruben knows how to speak Miwāfu but can't teach it.
He could easily tell you the details of every magical system in the world, the lineage of every politician, and the history behind the units of measure. What he doesn't know is how they relate to each other. While teaching Miwāfu, he can only say if Maris is right or wrong, not how to speak it.
Maris, on the other hand, is efficient in her intelligence. For someone who didn't learn how to write until a year before, she has advanced far beyond what most teenagers learning how to write for the first time. She learned numbers without formal education. She also has social skills and a better handle on how people work (for example knowing that Pahim wanted to fuck Kanéko and giving Kanéko the contraceptive tea).
Her limitation is when she figures out something, she doesn't push herself to improve. She figures out something and then uses it.
And then we come to Kanéko. She doesn't have magic, but her “power” as I envisioned it, is tied into her ability to adapt, comprehend, and learn. She can also visual and capable of building up three-dimensional models in her head to help understand physical constructs.
She also has a body of knowledge and trivia. That helps drive her need to improve beyond “what works.”
Put together, this gives her on par with a telepath and… whatever Maris becomes.
Read Sand and Blood 19: Travel Partners at https://fedran.com/flight-of-the-scions/chapter-19/ (subscribers)
Sand and Ash
Sand and Ash has gotten through the first editor of two. Shannon Ryan did a good job of development and line edits and I think it is a much strong piece (coupled with the beta readers at the same time). I noticed I had a couple new trouble spots, mainly "But " and " as " so I'm going through a quick round or two to work on those before passing it to the copy editor.
I think I've also finalized the cover for the book. I still need to redo the cover for Sand and Blood but I'm pretty happy with the results. It is more “literary” than the illustrated version, but maybe that's okay? Either way, it is what I'm working with now.
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