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nmarie222

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  1. Story Statement On her way to bury the journal chronicling the last year of her mother’s life, Olivia finds herself transported to another world. In order to harness the power she needs to return home alive, she must finally grieve her mother’s death. Antagonist The antagonist Cala, like Olivia, has something to grieve. Her magic was brutally ripped from her as a child, and she wants it back. Essentially rendered a psychopath by having her essence stolen, Cala wants to replace the organic power of magic with political power by any means possible. Given that she was born into a politically powerful family, she believes that she can use political power to regain her magic. While Olivia struggles to grieve and hone her newly obtained magical skill ethically, Cala has given up ethics entirely. “People who think they’re doing good are the easiest to manipulate” she likes to say, and manipulate she does. Not only do Cala’s political moves threaten Olivia’s safety and make it impossible for her to return to her own world, Cala’s cruelty and lust for power acts as a reminder of what Olivia could become if she doesn’t undertake the training necessary to wield her own considerable power. Titles Valdesia The Spaces Between Trees Our Mother’s Fire The Crow’s Tears Comparables The Newford Series by Charles DeLint The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern. Both these stories are fantasy novels that have one foot in this contemporary world, and another in a magical one. The Newford series follows a group of creative artists in a town that looks a lot like the regular world, except that, like my story, the characters interact with magical realms, which are tied to folklore, mythology, and psychological healing. The Night Circus is about a beautiful magical realm taking place right under the surface of ordinary life. Not only does Morganstern world build in a comparably fanciful manner, but her two main characters are trying to make sense of their own power in the face of overbearing parental figures. Hook Line and Core Wound A young woman, struggling to find her identity after the death of her mother, is thrust into a magical and dangerous world, where, in order to survive, she must learn to wield her new magical power by finally grieving her mother. Other Matters of Conflict. Inner Conflict: After growing up in the shadow of an eccentric and larger-than-life mother, Olivia struggles to embody her own power. In Valdesia, the new world, everyone has the capacity to change into an animal version of themselves. After spending enough time in Valdesia, Olivia learns that she can turn into a mountain lion. However, because of her unprocessed grief and ambivalence toward her own power, the mountain lion is unwieldy, dangerous and overwhelming. Olivia has to face this inner ambivalence and learn to accept its power before it puts innocent lives in danger. Secondary Conflict: One secondary conflict is that Olivia ends up in Valdesia and can’t get back. There are those that could help her, but not only do they not want her to return home, but their lives are defined by the realms political upheaval. Olivia’s struggle to return home, ensnares her in several important and complicated relationships that she navigates for much of the story. Setting The novel begins in a burnt down forest in Southern Oregon. Not only is the imagery evocative: the burnt trunks jutting up through new growth, but the imagery parallels the main characters inner world (lost in grief between life and death). Olivia is then transported into Valdesia (another world). There are a number of sub-settings within this world: She arrives in the Woods of Or Beithe— a monolithic forest made up of huge elephant-bark trees with leaves made of real gold. The trees growing in a grid, which makes it difficult to distinguish any path or road out of there. Next she is taken to the cottage lands, small farm holdings peppered with stone cottages, brooks, and copses of trees. After discovering she is in another world, she leaves a cottage she is staying in and wanders in a rainstorm. When the rainstorm clears, she discovers that in place of a moon is a sky full of purple swirling stars. In the grasses below are big glowing moths that mirror the patterns of the stars above. Hampington, an ancient walled city made of stone and wood, is dense and full of citizens that can turn into both people and animals. The streets are packed with interesting characters. One can travel above ground or below in a series of tunnels. Olivia stays in an Inn that should be full of people but is empty. She visits a market full of strange wears and foods, and sees street performers enacting art that wouldn’t be possible in her world. There is a rough part of town surrounding a walled-off quarantine. At one point, later in the book, she experiences the city on fire. Outside of the city is an occupying army’s camp. There are several scenes that take place inside the large central yellow tents, and below, in a dark stone cavern that’s being used as a jail and torture chamber. The Path is a cobble stoned road, the only one that leads from Valdesia to the lands beyond the bramble-filled impassable forest, which makes up miles of Valdesia’s border. The path is cursed and littered with rotting abandoned carts and wears from the day the curse took hold. But the Bramble forest is actually an illusion that masks a beautiful forest full of old growth trees, huge boulders, and prehistoric ferns. Olivia spends several different periods of time in the forest, once in at night in a glade full of powerfully magic dancers, some time in a stone circle, and another few days camped in a cave. Chigalia is a city in the tree tops inside the hidden forest. The trees that make it up are the ancestors of the inhabitants. When a Chigalian dies, they begin a second life as a tree. The ancestor trees communicate dreams and prophesies by growing images in their bark. Their trunks grow as buildings that people live inside. Olivia visits an important Chigalian figure in their tree house that is full of tiny alcoves, containing animated stone crows. There is an enchanted chamber down a very long ladder, which houses sacred and powerful objects. And there is a root dungeon— a series of hollowed out chambers in the roots of the ancestor trees.
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