Work in progress.
Note: The story actually starts with post #5, which is marked with butterflies below |
Everything before that is planning.
What do you think of when you think about fairies?
When I think of fairies, the first picture that comes to my mind is something like this:
...probably due to my having played Magic and seen pictures like that a lot. However, I think something like this makes more sense:
When I think of fairies, I think of creatures immersed in magic. In my mind, the two are inseparable. I'd like to write a story just in the world of fairies, or in other words without any other races, so I need to know what fairies are and what they can do.
For this story, these are some ideas I've come up with so far:
1. Fairies have wings, and are about the size of Tinkerbell (which varies, but I'd put at about 3 inches). Alternatively, I'm say the size of fireflies (less than 1 inch), but I can't decide.
2. They can use magic, cast by "asking," usually out loud, the universe/world/something, which grants their wishes... to a point, perhaps very limited.
3. They can feel the emotions of those around them. Hence fairies try to make each other happy, so that they feel happy, and instead of selfishness, fairies almost always practice selflessness. Enjoying the presence of nature is a stronger interest for fairies than humans.
4. (Drawn from folklore) Fairies like practical jokes, the kind where nobody gets hurt, and one way they play with each other is with them.
5. Fairies live for 1 summer, being born in the spring, and dying in the fall (about 3-6 months). Their level of energy makes each day seem like a month. Fairies don't need sleep, so they can enjoy both the day and night. They live in the moment.
Feel free to offer changes to any of these, or expand them, because I know I need the help :P
|Before we get started with the actual story, I'd like to make sure we're starting on equal footing. One thing I've learned from role-playing is that if the players have different understandings of the way the universe works, it can cause confusion and problems. Part of the result of that is the introduction above, and more is to follow.|
Unlike in role-playing games that I'm used to, both of us are going to have to control "the universe," by which I mean: creating descriptions of the environment, creating and controlling people other than our main characters, and providing plot ideas. I don't want you to have more work than me, or visa versa, but I'm not sure what the best way to co-author a book is because I've never done it before. I'm sorry in advance for when I will make mistakes (I'll apologize then too), because I'm sure it will happen, but I enjoy writing enough that I'm willing to do things wrong in order to learn to do things "write"
I forgot to include this above, but I imagine that fairies are born as children, and more-or-less stay that way, changing by human standards from about 8 to about 18, perhaps in the course of a day, perhaps throughout the course of a summer. The latter sounds more interesting to me, but the former allows for "wisdom from age" later in the book. I do imagine the fairies to be youthful until death. As for the fairies' birth, I have no idea for how it should happen - perhaps they bloom out of flowers? Perhaps they are born in eggs?
As for the setting, I'm thinking of a lush green wood that supports several different kinds of flowers, in addition to animal life - insects and birds, and some mammals as well. The first scene I imagine with the protagonist is he or she starting into some flower like a hydrangea, engaged in taking in its beauty, until interrupted by a friend.
And for an important question: clothing. I imagine fairies can clothe themselves by magic, and I'm wondering what they would use. The colors, patterns, and feel of flowers? The softness of cloth? The beauty and etherealness of silk? Leaves? Fur? Feathers? Some combination, or a variation with each individual fairy? What do you think?
One last big thing that bugs at me, is what purpose do fairies have? Do they take pollen from place to place like bugs and bees? Do they spread seeds across the land? Do they enjoy life until the end of summer, when they sacrifice themselves to the earth as part of a magic ritual that brings a new Spring the next year, thus ensuring that the coming winter does end? I think that having something ephemeral and annual gives us something to play with as important in the story. I was imagining that at the end of summer, the fairies have a giant magic ritual in which they cast a spell that causes... something to happen. But that idea isn't fully formed yet.
For the antagonist, I am imagining a male fairy who is cursed with an addiction, which the magic of the fairies cannot cure, possibly because it is genetic. Perhaps an addiction to magic (casting spells), or "alcohol" (nectar?) or even lust (though that is somewhat hard to write about without involving erotica). Like a real addict, the addiction will drive him crazy. Then he'll create or find a magic item that removes his ability to feel emotions (including his empathy). The insanity of his addiction will be relieved, but he'll want to prevent other fairies from suffering his fate by removing all fairies' ability to feel emotions (possibly starting with the next generation), and he'll plan to use something (perhaps the proposed annual magic ritual) to remove fairies' ability to feel.
That's what I have so far. Critique is welcomed.
|About the birth of fairies. We could have it be an act of natural magic that has no resemblence to the non-magical natural world. During the first weeks of spring, mostly in the wee morning hours around dawn, as the early rays of the sun reflect in the dew drops on flowers and leaves, the light creates little explosions of magic which in turn create a baby fairy. |
In Peter Pan, a fairy is born when a child has its first laugh. That means fairies are creates all year round. Since we are staying with summer as the fairies' life cycle, I think the nature magic could be a solution.
Let me try to describe the birth of a fairy as I imagine it if a person were so lucky to observe it:
It is very early in the morning. There is very little dailylight already, but the sun has not yet shown up over the horizon. All over the forest flowers and leaves are still at rest from the night, their bodies heavy with morning dew. As the drops get heavy and fall onto the ground, they explode into myriads of micro drops, and a new fairy lies sleeping on the ground. As the sun rises above the horizon, the fairy wakes up. The fairy is selfaware, but not concerned with its origin. The fairies clothes reflect the plant that the drop fell off. If the dew drop fell off a flower, the fairy wears a dress that has the flower's colors and texture. If the dewdrop fell off a piece of treebark, the fairy wears a little wooden helmet and has a dress of sticks on. This may sound uncomfortable to us, but to the fairy it is as comfortable as his own skin.
As the season progresses, the births of fairies increase until they reach a peak and then stop. All the fairies of the season are there and they will not reproduce with each other.
Since nature is in itself pristine and pure, fairies have a tendency to be playful and pure. But pollution has contaminated the DNA of some plants, and this is how the villain fairy could come to be. Because his flower/tree/plant was sick, he suffers from a type of disorder that affects his ability to be happy, to feel pleasure, or to be as blissfully unconcerned with the reality of life as the other fairies.
I'm thinking that the fairies actually do not have any measurable "function" in nature. Due they are magical. Nature can live with them or without them. They can not live without nature. Fairies do not adapt to city life, except in very large parks. This is why small playgrounds will either have no fairies or diseased fairies. But that is not our backdrop, so we don't have to worry about it.
My protagonist would be one of the fairies who is born of a healtht flower's dew drop. (I'd like it to be a male, if we even need that distinction in creatures that have no sexual function)
|I like your idea that natural magic gives rise to the birth of fairies, and your idea that a fairy looks like whatever a dew drop falls on. I think it allows for a wide variation in what fairies look like, possibly subject to change based on the fairy's own interests (but why would they do that, since the way they look when they're born is "normal"?). Although it takes some wrestling in my mind, I can see fairies to be born on one day, over the course of several days, or throughout the spring. I'm not sure it makes any difference which way we do it, as long as we pick one and stick with it, and since you've suggested "season," let's go with that. Then the fairies might begin to die in roughly the same order they were born, each having a lifespan roughly equal. Then how long should Summer be? Where I live it's about 3-4 months. Why not have a month of fairy births, 3-4 months of life, and a month when they die, for a total of about 6 months in the fairy lifespan?|
"Pollution" is an interesting topic to add. It makes sense to talk about fairies being tied to the land, since we already have them born in Spring, and gone when Winter comes. Your idea is a good one. I'd like to add to it by saying that the land benefits from having fairies in it, since they usually cleanse and remove pollution from their area, because their magical senses highlight such problems (or perhaps make it look dark, menacing, wholly destructive and inherently harmful) and in their empathy they use their magic to remove it. This could even be a plot-line, if we want to introduce a human element. I definitely don't want to at the start, but it might be useful in order to progress the plot if introduced partway through. I don't quite like the idea of humans being a strictly evil force in our story (like the movie Fern Gully), but I know that these things happen. Still I'd like to stay away from humans altogether, if possible.
I like your idea that fairies have no function in nature, or that their purpose is to enjoy nature. We'll need a different source for conflict then, which improves the case for pollution. I also like the idea that fairies would have no viable gender, having no need of one, but then there is also the case that since most things come in pairs, fairies would too. They wouldn't need to procreate though, so I'm not sure what to do on the issue of exactly how male/female should work.
Going back to some of my original thoughts, I think fairies should be about 2" in size, so that a rose would make a fitting Victorian-esque dress, and a dandelion would be the size of a dinner plate.
Also, I've copied and pasted the following from my email:
I had a thought. What if fairies could do magic of any size (as I was originally
thinking), but casting bigger magic gave them a disturbing feeling? In other words, every
time a fairy casts magic they feel a change, and the bigger the magic the bigger the
change. For example, if you're a fairy and you create a flower, you feel a tiny
change in the universe. Then you look at the flower and you think "Oh, it's a
good change." And you feel happy. But let's say you cast a spell to make a rock
fall on a bug. You feel the change, see the dead bug, and you feel bad because you cut
short something's life. And the feeling of change could be almost nothing with small
magic, like summoning a bug to your side, but increasingly more present with larger forms
of magic, to the point where, say, creating an entire forest out of air would cause
Basically, my idea is that fairies feel the effects of casting magic, just like
they feel the emotions of others around them. Not painfully, not physically nor mentally,
but with another sense, like spiritually. Then we would have a reason why fairies
don't cast big magic often, unless it serves some obvious good purpose like creating a
field of beautiful flowers.
That could even be the whole basis for a plot: a fairy trying to find out why casting
magic causes them so much grief. Does it mean that fairies aren't one with
magic, as some might believe (unlike beetles, for example), or that fairies are more
magically powerful than other creatures. Debate could even touch on the source of magic
itself, for those distracted enough by philosophy to pursue it.
Since you like it, I think that's what we'll go with.
|Addition from Michael's email: |
I even had an idea as to what might cause fairies to "feel" their use of magic. Some people think we're connected to everything. If you take that idea and apply it to the story, you can say that fairies feel that connection much clearer than we humans do, and that when they cast magic, they're destroying old connections and creating new ones. This can apply to all uses of magic. For example, when creating a flower, the connection(s) to the dirt and air are destroyed and replaced with connection(s) to the plant that now exists. Or when teleporting, the connection(s) (I prefer "connection") to one's own location is destroyed and a new connection is created with the fairy's new location.
I agree with leaving humans out completely. That is easy. Pollution doesn't need the immediate involvement of humans, and some pollution, such as a volcano eruption, toxic gases released by earthquakes or other natural catastrophes is part of the normal events on Earth as it is.
To have a polluted forest, it only needs to have suffered from the ash fallout of a volcano. The sulfur could be a toxin to the fairies and cause mutations. One idea to contemplate.
I think the idea that fairies feel their magic is brilliant. We should definitely include this into the story as an element of their magic. In many role playing games, mages get stun from casting spells or they have to roll for drain. So I think this is not only an accepted fact of magic, but the way you describe it is still unique and different from the typical spell backlash a full grown human sized mage would have to expect.
Well, if we do have fairies in pairs of Yin and Yang or male and female, maybe their gender can be determined by the flower or plant they stem from. Or even from which part of a flower the dewdrop fell off. Flowers have "male" and "female" parts and it is the bees' job to connect those two with pollen. The fairies, being detached, yet dependent on the plant lifecycle could be the flowers' magical fruit. The contribution of the visible nature to the spirit world, if you will.
|And so to begin. |
Early morning met a silent forest glade. It was the first day of Spring, and the sun had not yet risen, leaving the sky light gray.
Dew collected on the bright green leaf of a towering elm. Many tiny beads of water slid down the light veins of the leaf to its pointed tip. There they combined into one large droplet, whose weight caused the tip of the leaf to dip. The dew slid off, and plummeted to the ground.
While falling, the dewdrop caught the first rays of the rising sun coming through the trees and deflected them in every direction, creating a natural spectacle of light. Then the pearl of water hit the center of a small periwinkle flower and it exploded into a tiny shower of water droplets and light. At that instant, a small creature appeared lying curled up in the bloom of the flower.
The creature looked like a slender, fair-skinned boy with short, periwinkle hair that matched the flower he lay on. He was clothed in a sleeveless, pearly-white shirt and pants that seemed to be made of the same material as the flower petals he rested on. His shirt covered his entire torso except for two small slits in the back where butterfly wings grew out of his back. The wings were sparkling white, with rich black outlines and veins, that more than doubled his size. He was a newborn fairy boy.
The boy opened his eyes, revealing silvery irises, and stretched. His wings fluttered, his legs spread out, and he stuck his arms out above his head. Sitting up on the flower, he looked around at his surroundings. Flowers of every color rose around him. A nearby tree rose up beyond view, seeming to touch the sky. In that same direction more trees rose, creating a loose wall of skyscrapers that circled the flowery clearing in which the boy's flower grew. The clearing was not so large that the early morning sun reached down to the verdant floor, and so they were still covered in light shadow, but it was large enough for a variety of beautiful flowers to grow. In the spaces between the flowers the boy could see a forest of green stems reaching down to the deep brown dirt. The influx of color and beauty left the boy bewildered.
Looking across to other flowers, the boy could see others like himself moving about. Wherever the dew had fallen on a flower, a fairy rose. Some were looking around, like himself. Others had already left their flowery seats and taken to the air, wings fluttering, to explore everything around them. One came up to the boy and floated directly in front of him, gazing at him. This fairy had bright scarlet hair that floated down past his shoulders, where red and white ruffled clothing covered him from neck to ankle. His red and white wings were a blur behind him.
The two fairies looked at each other. Seeing each other, they both smiled, and felt happiness; not only their own, but each other's as well. The boy felt his happiness and the other fairy's happiness and understood the two were separate, each coming from their own source, and yet both were inside him. He realized he felt the emotions of the other fairies as well: more happiness, as well as joy, awe, and wonder. The combination of such powerful emotions made him laugh, and his own laughter added to the joy the other fairies felt, causing them all to laugh together.
When the boy looked again, the red-and-white fairy still floated in front of him, giggling. Then the other fairy stuck out his arm and made a beckoning gesture, inviting the boy to join him, and flew off to where the next fairy lay in a flower.
The boy stood. Testing his wings, he felt the air thick beneath him, ready to hold him aloft. He jumped and caught the air beneath his wings, propelling himself up into the air. He flew straight up, laughing at the joy of movement, and then flew down again, circling the flower he was born in til it met the ground beneath him. He went left and right, catching the tips of grass with his hands and bouncing up the stacks of other plants that grew with the flowers. He spotted and chased after the fairy with the red and white wings, and promptly found himself in a group of three other fairies with a variety of colors.
Forgetting about the first fairy he had met, the boy circled around those that followed him, looking and being looked at by each of them in turn. They all danced back and forth in the air as they looked at each other from the front, side, top, and every angle you could think of, expressing curiosity and wonder the whole time.
The first fairy had long purple hair and eyes, with a shirt and pants made out of half-yellow, half-purple petal that was skin-tight down to just above the waist, hands and feet, where it opened up in the shape of a blooming flower. The fairy's wings were purple-lined yellow, echoing the clothing's colors. The second possessed cropped black hair but brown eyes, a scarlet petal outfit that lightly flowed down the body, was tight against the waist, and came into the wrists and ankles like a bowl. This fairy fluttered black-lined scarlet wings. The last fairy was blond with deep blue eyes and long azure clothes. His wings were bright azure with speckled black lines.
As they examined each other, more and more fairies lifted from flowers to whisk through the air. They looked, they laughed, they flew through the glade with the excitement of children learning to walk for the first time. It was a festival of new life.
"That's neat!" A voice said. It was the blue fairy, looking at the gray fairy boy's shirt. "I wish my shirt didn't have sleeves."
The gray fairy boy stared, first at the fairy for speaking, then at his shirt. The deep blue sleeves shrunk upward and disappeared into circles around his shoulders.
"Whoa!" The gray fairy boy cried, and was surprised to hear his own voice forming words without any effort. Words spilled into his mind, ready to jump off his tongue at the mental command. The realization not only that he could speak, but that he knew how to without any memory of ever having done it before, rocked him.
"Cool, Pascal!" The yellow/purple fairy commented, inspecting the change from just over Pascal's shoulder. Pascal rolled his arms around while he and the other fairies looked at his newly changed shirt with interest.
"Thanks, Aurora." Pascal said, grinning back at her.
"Wha..." the gray fairy boy said, struggling to regain his senses. The magnitude of what he had just experienced had left him speechless. Pascal seemed to sense his wonder, and turned to grin at him.
"Isn't it neat?" he asked. The question helped the gray fairy boy's brain get moving again.
"Oh, yeah!" he replied. "What did you do?"
"Magic!" Pascal answered.
"Try it!" The scarlet fairy jumped in with a grin. "Wish for something."
"Okay..." The gray fairy boy said. He tried to think. "What should I wish for?"
"Wish that your clothes were red like mine!" The scarlet fairy said.
"Oh, that's so unimaginative, Riley!" Aurora said with a frown at him. She annunciated the word "unimaginative" proudly, as though she was giving herself credit for being able to pronounce such as long word. The gray fairy boy felt her pride, and more noticeably, her disapproval. So did Riley, apparently, because he jolted back and down in the air, as though he'd been pushed, then came back up.
"Is not!" He retorted. The gray fairy boy felt his anger adding to the growing mix of emotions inside of him. "I like my clothes! And what would you wish for?"
"Stop it!" The gray fairy boy yelled, grabbing their attention and the attention of several passing fairies as well, but it didn't matter. The emotions were too much to handle. The simultaneous feelings of excitement and jubilation mixed with anger, shame, and criticism were starting to drive him crazy. When everyone paused to look at him, the feelings subsided and started to fade, allowing him to think again. He also felt slightly different, as though something small had changed and he had missed it.
"Sorry." Riley and Aurora said in unison. Their negative feelings turned into feelings of repentance.
"That's it." Pascal said with a smile. "That was magic!"
"What?" The gray fairy boy asked.
"What you just did. Where they were arguing and you told everyone to stop. I felt it like a tiny push on my heart."
"Oh. Sorry." The gray fairy boy said to Aurora and Pascal, pulling his hands up to cover his face. "I didn't mean to."
"That's okay!" Aurora said with a light smile. "I didn't like that feeling either."
"That's right!" Riley continued. "It was like I was mad and happy at the same time."
"I know!" Aurora agreed. "It was crazy, because I was mad at Riley, but I also felt Riley's shame, and your amazement, and Pascal and the other fairies' happiness..."
"Wait." The gray fairy boy interrupted. "What did you just say?"
"I said I was feeling what Riley, you, Pascal, and the other fairies felt."
"Fairies?" The gray fairy boy asked. When he thought of the word, he felt like it described himself and everyone else perfectly, and realized that he thought of himself as a fairy.
"Yeah, that's what we are you know." Aurora said.
"Fairies!" Riley said happily. "Fairies fairies fairies fairies fairies!"
The others started laughing. Joy and excitement returned to the group. By now the fairies that the gray fairy boy had stopped with his exclamation had returned to flying around, some forming groups of their own, others flying through the flowers or into the trees.
"Watch this!" Riley zoomed straight up a good ways, then turned straight upside-down and started falling. The others watched with interest and a bit of worry, and a few fairies even stopped to see what Riley was doing. Riley held out his arms in front of him as he fell, and a ball of light appeared before them. The gray fairy boy felt a slight change, and this time was able to associate it with the magic that Riley was casting.
Riley's wings didn't move an inch until he was right at the group's height. Then he started waving his wings quickly, and caught himself in the air with a jerk. At the same moment he let the ball of light go from his hands, and it exploded at his feet into little fractions of light. A cry went up from the gathered fairies, many of whom shielded their faces, but the light explosion wasn't dangerous. The fractions that hit fairies disappeared immediately, and the rest did so after another second.
After the initial shock of the explosion, when the fairies saw that no one was hurt, the gathering of fairies went wild. Some were cheering for Riley, others were laughing, and still others were duplicating his trick. The space was suddenly lit with little explosions of light. Riley floated with his hands on his hips, looking very pleased with himself.
"Cool!" The gray fairy boy said. "I wish I could do that."
And all of a sudden, he realized that he could. All he had to do was imagine it happening, and it would. He tried it, and another explosion of light joined the others already in the air. He laughed at the joy of it.
"Isn't it awesome?" Riley asked. "I just thought of it!"
"Yeah!" Pascal answered. "But check this out."
He threw his hand in the air, and above it another explosion of light appeared, only this time the light was blue.
"That's a rip off!" Riley said. "You just changed the color!"
"So?" Pascal answered. "Blue's better!"
"No, it's not!" Riley said, flying closer to him.
"Guys, calm down!" The gray fairy boy said, but the two ignored him.
"I wish you guys would stop fighting." Aurora said.
They stopped fighting. The gray fairy boy looked at her in wonder. From Riley and Pascal he felt peace.
"That's better." Aurora said. Some onlooking fairies nodded. "Fighting's no good, it just makes everybody mad. Somebody could get hurt."
"Wait, you mean you were mad too, Aurora?" Riley asked her.
"Yeah, I thought it was just me." Pascal said.
"No, guys, don't you get it?" Aurora asked. "Whatever one of us feels, everyone else feels it too."
The gray fairy boy realized she was right. All fairies could feel other's emotions. Even though it was something he had never thought of before, he felt like it was a fact he had known at one point and was just remembering. He wondered how he could know something he had never thought of before, but his attention was quickly diverted.
"Yeah, I guess we shouldn't fight." Riley said. Pascal nodded, and so did the gray fairy boy. "But I don't like copycats."
"That's right, Pascal, don't just copy Riley!" Aurora said.
"Aw, come on!" Pascal said. "I thought it was cool."
"Me too." The gray fairy boy said quietly, but the others turned to him. He realized that the other fairies had left them alone, either playing their own games of light magic or just because they were bored. The four of them were floating on about the same level in the air, with Aurora being the highest, and the gray fairy boy being the lowest. He adjusted himself slightly to be on Riley and Pascal's level.
"Aw, you don't have to be shy around us." Aurora said, flying closer to look him in the eye. "What's your name anyways?"
"My name?" The gray fairy boy asked. The question had crossed his mind unconciously, when he first heard Aurora call Pascal by his name, but he hadn't had a chance to think about it until now. And now that he did focus on the question, he realized he didn't know.
"Yeah!" Aurora answered. She twirled as she introduced herself. "I'm Aurora."
"I'm Pascal." Pascal said with a wave.
"And I'm Riley!" Riley said throwing his arms over his head. Little sparks of light exploded over his head like fireworks. Aurora rolled her eyes. The gray fairy boy laughed.
"So? What's your name?" Pascal asked.
"I don't know." He replied hesitantly. "Am I supposed to know?"
Pascal looked confused. "I dunno. I just knew my name."
Aurora and Riley made sounds of agreement.
"Why don't you just wish to know your name?" Aurora asked.
"Ok. I wish I knew my name." The gray fairy boy closed his eyes as he made the wish and thought, but nothing came to him. No words, no name, nothing. He got worried. Did that mean he didn't have a name?
"So?" Aurora asked.
"I don't know. I still don't know."
"Huh. That's weird." Aurora said, now looking confused herself. "Magic is supposed to work..."
"But what'll we call you then?" Pascal asked. "Everybody's got to have a name."
"Oh, how about Gray? Because he's got gray hair and wings." Riley said.
"No way! That's a silly name." Aurora answered.
While the other three discussed what to call the gray fairy boy, he tried to think of his name. He felt like he should know it, but couldn't remember it. Words floated in and out of his mind while he thought: name, code, card, cat, clove... He felt like he was close to it, but couldn't grasp it.
"I know!" Aurora interrupted loudly. "We'll call him Minute, because we met him a few minutes ago, and a few minutes after we were all born."
"I like minute." Riley answered.
"Yeah, that's alright." Pascal agreed. They turned to the gray fairy boy, and Aurora spoke.
"Hear that? Your name is Minute now."
"Oh, ok!" The gray fairy boy replied. At least it's a name, he thought. Minute. I guess that's not so bad.
"Well, come on, guys!" Aurora said. "Everyone's gathering over there. Let's go see what's going on!"
"Yeah!" Riley shouted, zipping off at once.
"You too, Minute!" Pascal said with a smile.
"Yeah!" Minute echoed, happy again. He followed Aurora and Pascal as they flew to where a crowd of fairies were gathering in the sunshine over many gleaming flowers.