The Wizard Nymm

I’ve been writing a lot lately and, for me, that process also involves a lot of sketching.

For me, characters always start as an image. Sometimes that image is in my mind. Other times, that image comes out of a doodle, and then gets refined.

That has been the case with one of the characters I’ve been developing for my latest project. I needed a wizardly character, and he originally came out of this page of brainstorming in my notebook:


I then refined the sketch:


As you can see, at first, I thought he would look old and wizened. But as I wrote, and the character began to speak, I realized he was spinning out of my control and leaving behind this initial visual design. As usual, I got stuck and ended up floundering on my keyboard—though not for long. Because I followed the advice I always give to my students. I retreated to my sketchbook and began drawing and reimagining.  I ended up producing this new sketch:


As you can see, he is a lot more imposing now. Of course, his look and feel may continue to be refined. But so far, I’m pleased because the sketch accomplished its main purpose: it reinvigorated the character for me and my words once again began to flow . . .


Drums of Unger

Here’s the latest page from my Kendra Kandlestar sketchbook, the place that captures all of my ideas, musings, and inspirations for the final installment in the series.

Unger drum concepts

These are just some my ideas as to what Unger drums might look like. You see, drumming is an important part of the cultural fabric of the Unger tribes—and it will also be a key component of the plot of the book. At one point, the Unger hunters will issue “the thunndrum” for one of the Een characters (I bet you can’t guess which one!). The thunddrum, also known as the “thunder beat,” is the beat the Ungers traditionally play while on the hunt, in pursuit of particularly dangerous prey. And to play the thunddrum means to show no mercy for the target.

I was actually inspired to develop this part of Unger culture after participating in a few drumming circles this past year. It’s a wonderfully liberating activity and while I was playing my traditional African drum (called a djembe), my mind drifted off and I suddenly found myself standing amidst an entire sea of Ungers, banging on their instruments as they prepared to wage war on the Land of Een.

I haven’t written this actual scene yet . . . but I have a feeling it will appear on the page almost exactly as it appeared in my imagination while in the drumming circle. We’ll have to see . . .