Meet The Narrator’s Prince Calder

CalderI’ve been tagged for the Meet My Character Blog Hop by Juneta Key, who’s working on Guardians of the Seals – Apocalypse, Signed, Sealed, and Delivered. It’s a novella about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and looks pretty interesting. I “met” Juneta through Holly Lisle’s writing classes — if you’re a writer, I can’t recommend them enough!

For this blog hop, I’m introducing you to the protagonist of The Narrator: Prince Calder.

What is the name of your character? Is he fictional or a historical person?
Prince Calder is definitely a fictional person. He’s the main character of both The Narrator and the Narrator’s book.

When and where is the story set?
The story is set in a book, but that book is set in the kingdom of Anwingda. It’s your classic medieval fantasy setting.

What should we know about him?
Calder starts off as your typical knight in shining armor. He wants to be the hero, to save the damsel in distress from certain destruction. Not for fame or riches, just for the sake of doing good. He also strongly believes in fate, and doesn’t like people interfering with it. At the beginning of the story, an old woman tells him that it is his destiny to save the princess of Faraday Castle.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
When Calder sets out to rescue the princess, the narrator of the book intercepts him. He tells Calder to turn back, that he won’t narrate such a cliche story as a prince rescuing a princess. When Calder refuses, the narrator literally rewrites his life. Calder’s no longer the Crown Prince of Anwingda, but the youngest of three sons.

What is the personal goal of the character?
After his run-in with the narrator, Calder has to find a way to both return to his previous life and rescue the princess despite the narrator’s interference.

Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
You can read more about The Narrator on my dedicated page.

When can we expect the book to be published?
I’m still revising, and then I want to send it out to agents to see if I can get it traditionally published. But let’s dream big. Let’s say next year.

Crown Prince Calder departs the kingdom to rescue a princess from her classically evil captors. He expects dangers, but there is one thing he does not expect: his story’s narrator.

Refusing to narrate even one more boring quest plot, Pennington materializes and orders Calder to ignore the kidnapped princess. He will create a more engaging story, one that a truly great narrator deserves. Calder doesn’t believe his claim to be the narrator and, determined to be a hero, refuses.

Then Pennington completely rewrites Calder’s backstory. Suddenly Crown Prince Calder…isn’t. He is now a younger son, and has lost his inheritance and the confidence that he is a real person in one sentence. Calder’s story is no longer as straightforward as he thinks. Does the princess still need to be rescued? Can he get his life back as the crown prince? If he continues to defy Pennington, will he even recognize himself?

Losing his sense of identity and reality, he clings to his quest, determined – at all costs – to beat the narrator and end his story, his way.

Now, hop on over to my friend Jennifer Loizeaux’s site. You can meet one of the characters of her upcoming mystery, Flight Risk, when she posts next week.

Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

Book Magic Series: The Pagemaster

The Pagemaster

“Look to the books,” the Pagemaster advises Richard Tyler in this classic film.

If you haven’t seen it, let me do a short recap. Richard Tyler (who is almost always referred to in this way, don’t ask me why) is a kid who’s afraid to take risks because of the 3% chance he’ll get hurt. When a bad storm strands him at a library, he meets the Pagemaster and is forced to prove himself in a series of tests across classic literature.

At first glance, the Pagemaster may seem like a similar character to the Narrator, what with their affinity for book magic and knowledge of the written word — but don’t be fooled. The Pagemaster and the Narrator operate in completely different ways.

The Pagemaster calls himself “The Keeper of the Books.” It’s never explicitly stated, but the gist seems to be that he’s the guardian of all the books’ characters and their stories. Sort of like a magical librarian. He effectively kidnaps Richard Tyler, drops him in the middle of the library, and tells him to head for the exit.

Thanks, Pagemaster. So helpful.

The Narrator, on the other hand, is closer to an author than a librarian. He tells stories, he doesn’t “keep” them. After he hijacks the novel, he can manipulate the setting and minor characters in an attempt to control the story’s direction. If Richard Tyler was in the Narrator’s book, he’d find a lot more “help” than he’d be comfortable with!

Other major differences between the movie and the novel:

  • The Price of Fiction: In both stories, characters remove objects from books. But in The Pagemaster, there’s no cost to the character except whatever dangers are released. Good examples: the Hound of the Baskervilles, and the giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In The Narrator, there’s a much higher cost.
  • Readers: Richard Tyler isn’t a character, he’s a reader. A respected one, at that, once he proves his identity with his library card. The Narrator has no such character running around.
  • Fate vs. Free Will: Richard Tyler’s presence changes the story he’s visiting, but some things are still predestined. For instance, he takes Jim Hawkins’ place in Treasure Island, but Long John Silver still manages to escape in a rowboat.
  • Books as Characters: There are three characters in The Pagemaster that are physical books. The Narrator doesn’t have anything like this.
  • Traveling Between Books: All of the stories in The Pagemaster exist next to each other in some weird quilt-like universe. Gulliver’s Travels is a hop, skip, and a jump away from Treasure Island. In Narrator, these stories would be self-contained worlds, and you wouldn’t be able to jump directly from one to the other.

Hopefully, this has been a good illustration of differences in book magic and literature-themed stories. I have more examples lined up, so stay tuned!

Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.