Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Public Brainstorm #2

TITLE: The Ladysmiths
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Blurb: Shennafi has always wanted to be a Ladysmith, but now she needs their power for more than just fulfilling her dreams. She has to avenge her father and rescue their village from his power-hungry apprentice.

Question: When she first, illicitly, summoned the firewylfs (the key to Ladysmith power), she did it with such strength that she burned herself and her friends. Now back, recovered and determined to succeed, she can't manage to get enough power to make a lamp brighter than a dim candle.

I need her to not be able to access her power fully, but I don't know why she keeps having such problems. She clearly has the ability, since she did it successfully the first time. So why not now? Her friends aren't having the same difficulties.


  1. Perhaps forgiveness of self is the power holding your MC back?

  2. Could it be as simple as being seriously injured in her first summons? She may seem to have recovered but she is really still lacking enough strength.
    Or perhaps it terrified her leaving her with emotional conflicts about experiencing it again?
    Hey - what if she killed or maimed a friend in the initial summons? That would give her a huge conflicts about using the power again - even if she earnestly desires the good that will come out of it, she fears hurting innocent ppl.

  3. I think both Kristin and Greta have nailed it. Deep inside she still can't forgive herself for the first accident,which gravely injured a friend. It keeps her from summoning her full powers. She needs the person she injured to be in a situation where Shennafi must create fire to save the friend. Then her powers will return with even greater strength.

  4. In Dennis McKeirnan's Mithgar series, magic has a price. Perhaps she's used it all and it isn't simply the main quest's journey, but a sub-quest to find something that will refuel her power? The 'I'm traumatized' angle mentioned is passive and problematic in my humble opinion.

  5. Something is holding her back. I do like the idea of an injury. Maybe she saw something or someone and it scared her.

  6. are there any negative effects that could result from her avenging her father's death and defeating the apprentice? Perhaps if there are consequences with this goal, she is subconsciously worried about them and it is holding her back.

  7. Maybe it has to do with the firewylfs? You didn't say if they're sentient or not, but maybe they got hurt too. Or something. And they don't want to help aid her, because they think (or react, depending on if they're sentient) she's unsafe.

  8. Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone.

    I'm thinking a combination might do it. She is afraid of things going wrong again, but that wasn't a strong enough motive. But if I make the injuries she caused her friends worse, so she's feeling really guilty as well as afraid; and have a magical drain or injury also, I think that could work.

    That there's a psychological component is good, but having another, more tangible, layer is even better. She can be too impatient to wait to properly heal or 'fill up' or whatever. And I could throw in a minor snit on the firewylfs' part just to make things even more interesting.

    They are somewhat sentient - at least, they're aware and have rudimentary emotions. Human matters aren't important to them so they don't care what their power is used for as long as they get 'paid'. It hadn't occurred to me to have the problem be partly from their side.

    The only real negative that I've thought of in regards to defeating Bad Apprentice, is that if Shenn doesn't do it fast enough, she might get home to find that he's decimated the place. So she's not really worrying about doing it, but about not getting strong enough fast enough, and failing.

    Excellent suggestions all around, and thank you so much again.