Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year In Review

Well, what have I accomplished this year?

I submitted about 15 stories for publication, but all but 4-5 of those had been written in 2007.

I did complete my goal of writing a novel this year, but it wasn't the novel I originally set out to write.

I've also started the first 25% of another novel with a friend of mine. We're waiting for his life to get a little less hectic before we move forward.

All things told, a pretty good year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Enter the Riot

Well I have now decided that the 4th novel will include a riot. A riot in which the heroes to that part of the book decide to sit back and do nothing or to use 'non violent means' of stopping the crowd burning the livelihoods of those in a town or tossing broken glass bottles and scarring the faces of their victims.

The 'heroes' will justify it 'for the greater good.'

Shades of gray generally makes for a better novel anyway.

Most authors I've read about take bits and pieces and sew them together....of course if it doesn't fit it doesn't fit.

But it seems like to telling a moment not to use.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not much progress

Working on the first half of chapter 10 and the second half of chapter 11. Ken is doing the other half. This is the first mixed chapters we've done (except the preface) so this should be interesting.

Still, didn't get much done during the last weekend due to the thanksgiving break.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2nd Novel

I was ill last week, so Chapter 8 was bumped to Chapter 9 in the 4th novel.

My volunteer reader (my mother) has also been ill and extremely busy so the 2nd Novel is currently in limbo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Novels and Stories

Right now there are two short stories I hope to finish before the end of the year, before I really kick it into high gear with a story a week. After talking with Jennifer, she has suggested I write short stories based in the Fulcrum world. That's fine though fantasy stories apparently don't sell as well, so I'll make 1/2 the short stories I write next year set in Fulcrum.

Right now, I've got one I need to rewrite from scratch called "Busking for Higher Stakes" and another that is nearly done in the first draft doesn't have a name yet, but it is fantasy.

The Pre-Cyber novel with Ken has the first 7 of 40 chapters in their first draft. I'm working on 8, he's working on 6.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Fantasy Novel

So the question is where to go from here. I mean to include notes, but if I'm going to keep working on it, I should probably still have a basic plot in mind. And I've come to learn that outlining the plot ahead of time makes a huge difference. Then again so does setting.

I need the setting to be rich in details, but so do the characters. Its the characters that make the story after all, but often it is what the characters do and why they do it that makes the character.

I mean, if I have 'the most evil guy in the world' I can't just SAY he is, he has to do things that are evil to the reader, and do really horrible despicable actions that make the reader sit up and take notice.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pre-Cyber, Micronation and Pickle

Pre-Cyber: Ken has finished Chapter 4 and I have finished Chapter 5. We're now working on chapter 6 and 7 respectively. I will not count this one toward my 'seven novel limit' threshhold (after which I will vanity publish). It looks to be coming along nicely.

Micronation: This one is done and being edited by Mom. I'm hoping to start shopping this one around by the end of the year.

Pickle: The fantasy novel will be a late next year project. GMVZ taught me that it is better to write the thing in a short period of time (though this one will be from November to Feb of 2010.) I'll be working on notes until then. However, I'm also thinking I need to brainstorm the basic plot a bit more. The current story will be part of the world, but it might be a 'silmarillion' thing wherein it is in the background but not the actual novel I write.

Friday, October 31, 2008

3rd Novel Complete

The third novel is now edited, complete and submitted for consideration for publication.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Once More Around the Park James

Skip is reviewing the book a second time. He's done Chapters 1-10. I'll be entering his edits in today. I'm turning it on Thursday. We'll see how it goes.

The "Precyber" book with Ken is going well. Can't give too many details since we're working on it together and this is just my Blog, but we're on Chapter 5 of 42. So its moving along nicely.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Skip is reviewing the completed first draft but nearly done. Mom has also been reviewing chapters. It is getting cleaner. Once I get the reviews, I'll enter them.

The PreCyber novel Ken and I are working on is more or less outlined. We're working on chapters 1-4 right now and he's sent me Chap 2 and 3 for review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Novel #3 First Draft is done

70000 words.

Sent it to Skip to edit. Then I submit it before the end of the month.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I'm at 60000 and it is getting hard. It's like pulling Teeth at this point. Skip did a really good job of editing almost all of what I've done so far and the quality of the work is significantly improved. After talking with him and feeling out the story, I think I'm going to end it somewhere between 72000 and 75000 words. The problem is that research I've done suggest that to most publishers 80000 is the minimum they will take for print. I know that 'technically' 45000 counts as a novel but publishers don't see it that way.

100000 is the basic bar that they want. This is humor and horror which is a totally different genre than Sci Fi/Fantasy so it might work. We'll see.

Monday, September 29, 2008

50000 WORDS!

I have reached the half way mark. This usually takes years. Having a fixed deadline and someone reading my manuscript to edit it as I work makes all the difference. Might see if I can repeat this next year when I do Flotsam. Though I know an outline will make a difference there and the extra year to prepare things starting in November will help make a difference. Though in retrospect I think October-November to write it instead of November-December is useful so I can do Christmas stuff.

It seems to be coming along. A few new characters introduced. Some have been eaten (as is to be expected in a Zombie novel.) The thing that I am not entirely sure about at this point is final length. 100,000 words was my original target, but this story may merit something shorter. The problem is that most places really want 100,000 words as the minimum length. The natural flow seems to indicate 80,000 to 90,000. I think I'll compromise on 90,000 so I can add another 10,000 without as much difficulty and story disruption if the current people I'm trying to get to publish it reject it.

Taking today 'off' to brainstorm ideas for the second half.

Monday, September 22, 2008

38000 Down, 62000 to go.

The number is starting to look rather amazing for the amount of time that has passed, at least to me.

In terms of chapters, 10 and 11 are strong. I really like what I wrote. Given feedback and my perception 1-5 are also very strong. I'm a little worried about 6,7, 8 and 9. We'll see what Skip's comments are, but if this is any reflection based on the last novel (Micronation) I think this part of a story is my weak point as an author.

Some authors can't start a story or end one. Mine might be the part between the beginning and the middle. There are worse weaknesses to have, but if that is the case it lends more credence to the idea of outlining the plot on a chapter by chapter basis before I start.

Something to keep in mind for when I eventually get around to Flotsam.

Friday, September 19, 2008

30000 down. 70000 to go.

Had to get rid of 1000 words because of a scene that just didn't work. Skip is being very helpful in his edits. This wouldn't be possible or worthwhile without him helping to edit on the fly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

18000 Down, 82000 to go.

Well I've got a good solid beginning. Grenademan isn't in it that much except kind of in the background, but given how I'm using him this story, that's acceptable. I have another 7-8 thousand words of build up before I begin to tear the world apart (which given the mood I'm in at the moment should be delightfully fun) and then the final third which deals with the aftermath.

One challenge at the moment is focusing on the granularity vs montageness. Specifically, the lead time of six months is a bit much to not make an entire first novel about preparations. On the other hand, PREPARING for a zombie apocalypse is not what the story is really about. I'm only really including it because I've never really seen anyone do it before and that's kind of a good portion of what the story is about.

Its hard (in my opinion) to even start to do any meaningful preparation with any less time, but dramatically speaking its ...a lot of time to skip over in 3-4 chapters. Especially given the scope of what is going on. Well, we'll see what happens.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Easier than Shooting Wolves in a Helicopter

6000 Words down. 94000 to go.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Progress Report: On Track So Far

The first chapter is done. It is roughly 3800 words long. Since I’m doing 2000 words a day, I also sent Skip the first 200 words of the second chapter. The first part was largely about the heroes in the world that Grenademan is visiting. The second introduces our demented protagonist. We’ll see how things go. I thought it was funny, but my humor is not always universal.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I have a basic frame work down

The real problem is...that there have been an awful lot of Zombie parodies lately, and an awful lot of super hero parodies....though I admit I haven't seen a lot of Zombie Superhero Parodies.

Another problem with Frank (Frank Noble) is that, while he is comic and he is in some ways a parody....Grenademan isn't the Tick. He's not Plastic Man either. He's more complex than that. In some ways he's a very simple, elemental character, but his alter ego isn't. In fact, he's the closest to a true author Avatar character I've ever created. He's almost Micky Mouse or Super Man in some ways...he's so 'morally pure' that making a story about him is...difficult.

Some of the ideas I got involve the arc of progression of the character from insane 'parody' to genunine hero.....

But that wouldn't really be humorous. Oh it might, but the scope of the story is such that there can only be so much progress. Not to mention the fact that I really want to respect my own existing continuity, and the only place this story possibly fits is after the non existant sequel to the movie script but before he becomes sane.

That makes him a compotent but utterly insane character who, on the immediate surface anyway, has very little depth. He's more force of nature than Hercules Ra or Quissence Prow in that element, but Prow had some change to him....and where Hercules Ra is an alien perspective, Grenademan is a very understandable, albiet highly warped one.

So to top it all off, the story really can't be about Grenademan, despite the fact that it largely consists of Grenademan fighting zombies. But you can't have 100,000 words of that, as fun as it might be. Stories are about their characters, and good stories are about how those characters change.

Generally speaking, Zombies don't change, and neither (at this phase) does Grenademan. So the story is really largely about all of the people caught in between.

Should be interesting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Plan

So, I'm not entirely sure why I did this, but I've accepted a challenge to write a 100,000 word novel in 50 days called "Grenademan Vs. The Zombies." Its due on October 31, 2008 due or die and Skip has offered to help edit the thing. This pushes Flotsam forward in time to more like March because I'm going to need a break. I won't do any other rpg writing but I'm already committed to work with Ken on the Precyberpunk novel.

So basically we're talking 2000 words a day for 50 days.

This is going to be a challenge, and quite frankly, probably impossible. But we'll give it a try.

Since we have no prep time for plot, other than the weekend I have over dragon con, we'll have to pull from the existing idea and setting pool. Which means using the Grenademan from Tossing Grenades At Windmills (hence the blog name) with the Zombie movie idea I had bouncing around in my head for a while. It will be end of the world and it will be romeroesque, but honestly, my heroes are going to be competent against the undead.

At least as competent as anyone can be.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Post Mortem - Le Story

I started reading the third part of a trilogy that shall be unnamed. I normally like this author a lot but I found myself utterly not caring about the characters involved; I liked them for the first two books but 6-7 chapters in, I just...didn't care. I think it was a lot of things...the reality disolving aspect of things....

It is hard to say exactly what it was, but I think it was mainly, I didn't care about the characters or the world anymore. Artificially creating things from nothing is a problem. I learned this in Eye of the Mindstorm.

This story tells me some things. First, Ful needs to suffer more, because as it is he's kind of hollow. Dode has some potential, but she seems kind of flat too.

The REAL problem is...Flotsam (or our hero who shall soon be named) can easily be overshadowed by the other characters. I follow Mr. Card's advice in this in that Flotsam needs to suffer more, which means he needs more to lose. We're going to have to follow Flotsam for a few chapters before Ful and his entourage enter in and turn his life upside down. Flotsom has to suffer more than any other character. Suffering builds empathy with the character, but it can't be pointless suffering.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why are you Hear?

"Why are you here anyway?" Ful asked.

"I'm here to help you be you." Dode smiled.

"Huh?" Ful picked up the last batch of wood and grunted because of its weight. He didn't understand what the girl was saying.

"Do you know who you are?" She asked.

"Yeah, I'm Ful Farmerson." He grunted as he dropped the wood and took a deep breath. What kind of a stupid question was that?

She looked patiently sad. "Is that all you are?"

"Of course it is. Its all I'll ever be."

"It is if you want it to be Ful." She looked hopeful.


"I don't entirely know myself. The lady told me that you could be a lot more if you want to, instead of what everyone else wants." She looked up into the sky.

"What lady?" Clearly Dode was crazy.

"The moon lady. The one that shows up in my dreams." Dode put her hands next to her face as if she were sleeping, closed her eyes and then opened them again. She smiled.

"You listen to dreams? That's crazy. Not unless you're some kind of sorceress or something."

"Do I look like a sorceress?" She smiled. She seemed pleased at the idea.

Ful stood up and cracked his back. He was finally done and now he wanted to go play. "No. Not really."

"Then I probably aren't one."

Ful shrugged, "It all sounds stupid to me."

Dode stamped her foot. "It is not foolish. It is important. Oh, and Ful...could you not tell anyone about what we talked about?"

Ful shrugged, "Join the club."

Dode hugged him and then quickly ran off. After about thirty seconds she stopped and then asked him again, "What club?"

Ful chuckled and didn't say anything. He wouldn't be very good at keeping secrets if he told her 'what club.' Everyone told him things and no one wanted him to tell anyone else. He was a regular lock box he was. What was it about him that made people want to tell him things no one else knew?

The silence lingered until finally Dode stuck out her tounge and skipped away. The sky was getting dark, with a tinge of gray. It felt like it might snow, but it was way too early for that. Who knew? Ful went inside by the fire where he could read.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Ful fetched the water, chopped the wood, weeded the fields, milked the cows and set the fire to burning. As he was gathering up an armful, DoDe showed up again to watch him.

"Can I help you with the wood?" She asked.

"Sure. I guess." Ful was not happy because of the trouble she had gotten him in.

She giggled again. She did that too much. It was starting to annoy him. She picked up an armful of wood and began to help him.

After several loads, Ful asked, "Are you doing this because you're sorry?"

"Sorry for what?"

"Making me late."

She giggled. "I didn't make you la-ow! Why did you hit me?"

Ful rubbed his fist. Mother would punish him for slugging a girl but he didn't care. It had only been in the shoulder. "You were laughing at me."

"No I wasn't." She stuck out her toung.

"Yes you were."

"No I wasn't."

This continued back and forth for about five minutes before Ful finally got bored and said, "Why were you helping me with the wood then?"

"Because I was sorry-"


"-for you." She giggled.

Ful hit her in the other shoulder.

Dode looked like she was going to cry, but she whispered something he couldn't hear.

Ful said, "What?" and leaned in closer.

Then Dode bit him on the ear.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Continued From Previous

Ful scowled at the girl and balled up his fists in anger. He knew that he wasn't ever supposed to be angry, but he couldn't help it. He shouted at her, "You made me late!"

For a moment she looked hurt and upset, but then she thought a moment and giggled again, "Nuh uh."

Was she perhaps some kind of an imbecile? "Uh huh!"

She shook her head.

"Who are you?"

"My name is DoDe," she said. She curtsied like a fine court lady.

"That's a stupid name." Ful was still quite mad but kept his voice down because he was hoping maybe everyone inside wouldn't have noticed his absence. This was foolish of course. Everyone always noticed his absence. Every time.

"Not as stupid as Ful," DoDe said.

"Shut up."

"Make me."

"I just might." At this point Ful felt a bright pain in his right ear as his mother grabbed hold and moved him away from DoDe.

"What did I tell you about talking to strangers?!" She sounded half panicked and all angry.

"OW!" Full was not happy.

Mother looked at Dode, "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

DoDe curtseyed again, "I'm Mina's daughter. She's sent me here to prentice as a shepardess."

Mother's eyes narrowed. "Mina sent you?"

DoDe nodded politely and held out a small stack of letters.

Mother looked them over for a few moments whilst Ful squirmed under her iron grip. Dode kicked the dust a few times with her shiny boots until Mother finally let out a weary frightened sigh, "Well I guess we'll have to introduce you to Mrs. Falworth then."

She dragged Ful along behind her, "And you were late again Ful. That's twice the chores tonight!"

Ful protested loudly but without words.

"Chores build character."

Ful had had about all the character anyone would ever need in a lifetime.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A meeting

The girl was new. Ful had already met everyone in the village and he knew that he had never seen her before. He immediately looked around for some kind of wagon train or horse. Generally, no one ever came to Quiet Nowhere, but there was a trading caravan that came once a year at harvest.

But there was no caravan today.

"Who are you?" Ful asked.

The girl smiled but didn't say anything.

Ful looked around for anyone else. The street was pretty deserted. At first he got really scared, but then he remembered that there was a barn gathering nearby at Zensha's house.

And he was supposed to be there. With a look of horror on his face, Ful waved to the girl and began to run. He was very fast when he wanted to be, and had pretty good endurance.

Down over the pale river and the azure stones of the bridge that crossed it, he skittered around an ancient cobblestone street. Everything was old. From what the elders said, everything was old everywhere. They always talked about how better things would be when the new emperor came, but they never said much about it.

Sometimes, when he was eavesdropping on his own, he'd hear them talk about the Prophesy and how important it was, but they'd never talk about it while he was around. Moving through the scattered trees that were just starting to get the hint of a flower, he cut through Zensha's field and took a short cut.

He heard a giggle behind him and realized that the mysterious girl had been following him. He almost stopped to ask her what was up, but he was out of breath and he was very very late. He kept running and opened the door only to find the village leaving.

The meeting was over.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Daughter of Destiny

So who does our romantic female lead work for? There are a lot of options here, but if everyone else is going to cheat, it strikes me that Sa is going to have a hand in things, plus it technically isn't cheating for her, since its just as much her game as it is Fa's.

Which would make DoDe (name subject to change at my whim) the only person who really has Ful's interest at heart except maybe Pickle. Except Pickle is a bit too much of a trickster or sleeze to really be willing to sacrifice his agenda for Ful's sake. Dode's agenda *IS* to help Ful reach his full (no pun intended) potential and meet his destiny, because he's going to need it. His whole life is a lie, and as such, all the training and preparation that went into him is a lot like the preparation that went into....other things....that are entirely a lie.

Which is to say...Wonderbread.

DoDe is nominally there to pick up the pieces, but like so many other things, I must wonder if it will go according to plan. She hadn't counted on our real hero showing up and neither had Sa.

The real question do we transfer things to our hero without completely leaving the sympathy with Ful, who suddenly has his whole world turned upside down and nothing to show for it.

That could be challenging.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unseen Character: The Prophesy

For a being as powerful and complex as Sa, even their afterthoughts have a tendency to take on a life of their own.

While it won't be seen in the Novel itself, the Last Prophesy is working with Ful. And he isn't happy. He has nothing personal against Ful. That's one of the things that keeps Ful alive through all of the crap that is going to happen to him. In fact, it will become blatantly ridiculously apparent how biased the prophesy works out in his favor in the book. And one will wonder why anyone would stick around someone who generates so much dire straights.

And that will also be a subtle undercurrent to things; because our Real hero stays at first because he must and later because its the right thing to do.

Everyone else there has an agenda of one kind or another that we'll learn about as time goes on. The prophesy will see to that.

And the real reason that this is the Last Prophesy? Because people are cheating. If Pickle's intention was to make the whole thing a game for the gods to enjoy to keep their interest, his failure to prevent humanity from cheating and tilting the results is the very thing that earned their eventual disgust and disinterest.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Full's Life

Ever wonder if your whole life was a lie? Full's life is.

I suppose the immediate influence here that I can think of is 'the Truman show' but that's not really an accurate comparison. The level of personal violation is the same, but the end agenda is not.

You see the Listeners, the Hushers and the Wizards want to leave nothing to chance. They've been studying every subtle nuance of prophesy for thousands of years. Every time there is a prophesy fulfillment, they learn a little bit more and apply it.

And this time, there aren't any competing prophesies to compete. They all think that something major is going to come and that a new golden age that makes all of the others pale in comparison.

Of course, the other powers also have a very slight hand in this as well, because they know that there is blood in the water and Pickle's days are running out. Of course Pickle has an agenda and so does Sa through the forces of Destiny.

As such, every person in Full's life is a sham. He lives on a seemingly pastoral village in the middle of nowhere, destined to go from a farm hand to become a mighty hero. Entire circumstances have been manufactured so that his 'mother' his 'father' his 'friends' and everyone else has just a secret agenda and training as he does.

In the background of this 'peaceful village' there is a titanic war going on in the shadows to influence Full's upbringing and the only thing any of them agree on is what to do.

However unlike most previous prophesies, there is absolutely no truth to the underlying elements of it. The entire thing has come to rely on its own weight and superficiality.

I think this will be the first short story I'll write as a 'prequel' but this won't be in the novel itself....

Because this story isn't about Full. It's about the Flotsom he pulls along.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Full, who thinks his name comes from the fact that he gets full easily when he eats, is Prophesy's Fulcrum. He is the stereotype of fantasy. He's the kid who's father is the current reigning king, and whose mother was the daughter of the greatest wizard in the land. He's the kid who is destined to great things, and who has a prophesy all about just him.

The thing is, that this time, it is the Last Prophesy, and while technichally the Listeners know this, they assume that there will simply be more Prophets that appear when the Fulcrum next appears.

Full will surround himself with friends; the romantic interest, the charming rogue, the wise wizard, the comic relief (in this case an outside) and weak but faithful friend that gets them into trouble.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Details

So how do you make a heroic anti-hero?

Its a bit of a challenge, but I think that I want our hero....who needs a name but I'll do that tomorrow, is ambitious but not very ambitious.

I want the starting society to be a blend of free style frontiermen, whilst having a hierchical static social structure. On the surface that seems really hard to do, but the way I figure I balance things is saying that the threshhold for 'getting off the farm' is high but not impossibly high (like 'the truman show') and if you truly truly want to do it, you can, but most people don't bother.

Then our protagonist leaves for the big city but ends up working in a tavern as a waiter rather than trying to do anything else like become the greatest wizard in the land. Thus, the foreshadowing of heroic potential is there, but by himself, he never did anything with it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hero or Anti Hero

A hero is an example of some kind, someone who possesses a virtue that makes them stand apart and act as a proxy protagonist for our reader. They are usually the focal point of the story, but not necessarily our point of view character.

The anti hero is someone who is more of an average joe type. He doesn't do heroic things, he merely tries to survive them.

My goal with our point of view character is that he is caught up in the whirlwinds of Prophesy, and is very much an anti hero. I don't want him to be a bad person, just wholly unqualified for the world into which he has been swept. Then, said anti-hero becomes hero through his own conscious choice. Its actually a theme that appeared in Micronation, but I must admit it is one I like.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Moving Forward

So I have a premap kind of, but I haven't written it down on paper. So I have a few choices, but basically it amounts to, do I abandon my goal to start writing as of November 1 and finishing by the end of the year, or do I take the long slow route and get more comprehensive notes first?

I choose the first option. That means that I only have three months left to do any prep work I intend to do, and there are a lot of things left to be completed.

Special Effects etc

I have the skeleton for the most part, time to begin assembling the raw materials.

This month I will be primarily doing casting and setting details. One thing I want to do is 'screen test' our chosen cast with three short stories (that will not be included in the novel) primarily because I'll be posting them here and writing them all in one sitting, but it should help give me a feel for them once I start weaving everything together.

As for the plot, come September I'll put together the first half. I don't think I'll post the second half on here because I want the one, maybe two people reading this to be pleasantly surprised at the end.

The working title for now is "Flotsam"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Map

And so the need has come for a Map. Most fantasy books don't have maps any more. I guess they went out of style or they cost money (probably both) but for a while, primarily after Tolkien, you couldn't have a fantasy book without a map. It just helped with the immersion. A map can help make an unreal place more real. Of course, so does language, but I'm not a linguist. I might try to cheat on that and maybe base my languages off of the real thing but we'll have to see. Maybe Pig-Insert Random Language here.

But when building a world, a map is helpful. I'm probably going to use one or two programs to initially help me, but then fill in some of the details that no program really can. Generally speaking, you start with the physical world and then slowly fill in the cultures. This month is going to be about the setting and we'll focus in on the more local setting/continent where our story is to take place.

But first we need a map.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

There will be Wizards

How can one have a fantasy story without wizards? Furthermore, who is to say the Hushers are the only ones with the Secrets?

First, as individual dabblers they would be crushed. But then again, if people didn't allow any secrets out, then the Hushers wouldn't last that long. The key I think is that the Hushers would focus on anything that had large or kingdom changing application. After all, politics is what they're really interested in, which among other things means the technology of the Abysmali and the Enchantments that Simsaur magic can create.

Of course, magic is largely a matter of making arrangements with the right things or utilizing existing agreements. Rocks and the like tend to have much longer memories than most after all. On the other hand, one of the reason I have been so careful to outline various kinds of magic is the fact that I want my magic to be just that, magic. So while I have underlined the actual functional rules behind it, the reader shall be privy only to the surface. Still again, the point is that a true wizard in the Fantasy sense collects these secrets as a hermit might, one bit at a time.

That means some of the names of summoning the Ma-Ka-Fa, the names of some Gods which can be sommoned or dealt with. There would be some of the nature of prophesy taught, but Dreams and Destiny would be more a wizard's creed since Prophesy is the matter of Kings and Empires.

Thus with the Hushers there is a reason for Wizards to act like wizards, lonely and seculed, occasionally dabbling in the affairs of men, but only the most stunningly powerful. Hedge wizards or witches could provide basic services so long as they do not become too uppity or break the Laws as the Hushers have set in the reserving of knowledge to themselves.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Hushers

Time for a bit more crunch in our world. I am hoping to do a map soon, the map is often a doorway into a magical land, and as long as you don't obsess over it too much, or use it as a crush, can be a powerful tool to entering 'another land.' Tolkien certainly used them.

But first, I got an idea whilst I was out on a Family Reunion. If we're talking about a world in which there is an inevitable cycle of prophesy and empire that occur over and over again in cycled fashion, then it stands to reason that someone would notice. Religions exist of course, but High Fantasy often has lost and ancient knowledge in the past, which is reclaimed by the 'new and rightful ruler' at the time of the establishment of a new empire.

The other thought that occurred to me was that in a Gold Rush, it isn't really the miners that get rich but the people that sell things to the miners. These predators on dreams give the miners everything they need, pots, pans, supplies, mules and the like and then they also provide them 'entertainment' when they actually do find some gold; wine, women and song to help them compensate for the hard life and hard work they make trying to get rich. No need to worry about tomorrow, everyone's going to get rich.

So if a smart bunch of fellows realized this headlong rush into renewal and empire, they're be the ultimate lobbiests, recognizing the inevitable decline of one empire forshadowed by the rise of the next, but this time they lock up all the knowledge and keep it for themselves so that the new emperor must come to THEM for all of the secrets gone through all of the ages.

That is what the Hushers do with all of the secrets that the humans have gathered for the last 2000 years. They've done it for three empires now, and in the case of the last empire, they might have gotten a little impatient and hurried things along by a century or two. After all, they do their best business when an empire is in rise, not in decline. Oh sure, they still make a killing selling the occasional tidbit here and there to those who might pay them enough, but the really good stuff, they keep for themselves.

Of course, power corrupts, which means that even the Hushers don't really understand all of the knowledge that they have at this point. Vast hoards of books, perfectly copied and preserved...except for, perhaps the occasional bored employee who might miss something on an obscure tome whilst copying it. Of course, they have Abysmali devices to copy one book to another, but no machine works perfectly. So whispers might abound about some of the Husher secrets that don't work as well as they used to.

But the main thing about Hushers is that they're the toughest power around in these dark times, because they know how to make the weapons and the magics that can stomp anyone else. First they embargo you and then if you still keep looking into things they want left alone or raise in magic or technology too much, then they send out the Hushknights upon you to burn you to the ground.

On the other hand, the fact is that all the Husher's really care about is sitting in their vast towers hoarding books and knowledge, so long as no one violates their chosen thresholds, they are utterly neutral in politics in every way least generally. There are exceptions but not for the purpose of our story.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sopensen and Humans

Both Sopensen and Humans had an awfully long time to be in charge of everything and contact every race, so it seems to me that they've got elements of the others while having their own innate 'racial' ability.

The Sopensen have the ability to cleans and bring peace and order to the world. Its kind of like the Jarral's ability but extended beyond hearthstones. They were the only force that was able to heal the world after the ravages of Bleyok.

I'm thinking that they have a lot of the technological secrets of the Abysmal, and that they have learned science, but the forward way instead of doing it backwards. I'm also thinking that they've learned some of the magic secrets of the Simsaur, but they have secured contracts and permissions rather than automatic authority over everything the way the Simsaur do. They also have hearths. I think the one thing they won't touch is the Bleyoki stuff. They also don't have destiny or fate.

So in practical terms, humans have all of this stuff. A human wizard has to learn secrets which just as well might be magic authority, extraplanar contracts, hearth or healing, science tricks or the like. There will probably be traditions amongst humans, many of which were lost or changed or refined over the centuries. Since the world is in stagnation by the time our story starts, so too will most magic, and whilst some knowledges might exist in vast moldy tomes, most people don't bother to learn it because they have no need to.

Humans don't know about Day and Night. Their concept of destiny is very blurred. They believe in destiny and that everyone has one, and that sometimes a diviner can help someone determine their destiny but it isn't written in stone. I picture entire religions based around different interpretations of destiny.

Prophesy, on the other hand, is now long established as the 'mightiest' power of all. It shapes worlds and empires, and now everyone expects there to be another empire. It has happened so many times before, why not again? As such, most rulers spend a significant amount of time learning and interpreting prophesy. There is, of course, millenia of junk that has accumulated in all of this. It is a nebulous science at best, but since it is an area so many people pay attention to, others want to add in their two cents to gain a bit of immortality.

Having said that, there would be enough interest at preserving it, that there would still be those that have at least a close symmetry and understanding, and an understanding of what is a real prophesy and what isn't. Indeed, those truly in the know understand that most prophesies have been fulfilled, though exactly how many have been fulfilled is a little gray. Those with the gift are watched for very carefully, lest anyone and everyone try to get an edge within the 'wiggle room' such a prophesy allows.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Bleyoki

So how does one manifest the power of 'evil and corruption'? I mean, honestly, standard corruption is so over rated. Things rot. Yeehaw. I'm the evil bad guy and I'm making things rot.

Bleyok might do that. He's a petulant runt (emotionally speaking) who likes to kick sand in what the other gods have done. During his reign it totally makes sense that he would control the minds and destinies of all living creatures, though his power was obviously never absolute otherwise there wouldn't have been a world left by the time he was done.

No, far more interesting are the little bundles of joy he left behind for the next age, the Bleyoki. First off, they've got to be physically strong, because that's the way Bleyok's mind works, but I'd imagine they're quite clever as well. In fact, being evil and immature, he's probably going to have elements of the Simsaur, the Abysmali and the Gods, but particularly magic and science. I can't picture him caring about the power of Hearth and Home.

So it strikes me that the main thing that the Bleyoki do is copy other abilities, really really ridiculously well. If someone else comes up with a spell or a device, they do the same thing and remanufacture it at a rate that is just disgusting. However, I can't picture them having any kind of a coherent social structure. But at the same time, if they're the 'orcs' of Green world, then why not have hoards of them?

I guess they can't really be Orcs, even though that's how I initially thought of them. Maybe more like pernicious humanoid ants.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Nature of Gods

Gods, the third created race, are defined by being defined. Whether through the possession and manifestation of a sphere of influence (such as a rock, a stream or an idea like coinage) as well as the worship that they receive. Their power is based upon attention and acknowledgment, rather than devotion. The Gods of the Green World do not rely on the feckless adornment of 'mortals' to give them power, but they do thrive on it. Gods die of their own course though they have a lifespan that is far longer than humans.

Gods are jealous of their power unless it also increases it. Not all gods are created equal. Some are more capable of absorbing and distributing power than others. Their power, however, derives from a self chosen sphere of influence. When one god dies, another is born. They each set their own measure of circumstance and often forge alliances with each other for their own ends.

Gods have jurisdictions that often overlap the authorities of magic, but magic predates them. Further, their jurisdictions can encompass areas that are not subject to Authority which are purely within the purview of other races. The concept of worship did not really occur until humans began to initiate it. Before this they were simply elemental spirits that formed agreements with anyone who would listen. But with the expansion of humans came the expansion of gods to fill their void, and they are often mistaken for the true power in the world instead of the Greater Powers. This is because the other races are viewed as having their own patron 'God' whereas Pickle is entirely content at remaining hidden behind the creation of his elder brother.

It causes him no end of amusement.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Power of Hearth and Home

I've been going back and forth a lot on the Jarral's powers and I think they should be subtle. I like the idea of creating a secure place where none can be harmed without very specific laws and rules. That means that normally they'll be nice and relaxed but from time to time they'll be incredibly formal. The head of the household (male or female since that's just the way I picture them working) controls many things but not with an iron fist. There are exceptions to everything and the like. I think that they should also have a healing ability and something that helps with the crops.

I like the idea of specially carved stones being the limit of their demense. And the more powerful the community, the larger the circle that they control is. Their numbers will generally be small but tight knit.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

More on the Abysmals

So the thing is, how does this actually work? I mean, the Abysmali don't just sit around in labs and the like, because they don't need them. The finished design just appears in their head. But is it that easy?

Yes and no. The way I figure it, they don't need to do lab work, but they need to define the problem. For example, if they have something really specific like say "A device which keeps my cat from sneaking out of the house at night" then they'll get an answer. Even more specific is better, like "A device which keeps my cat from sneaking out at night that uses a net, a bird and a spring." The more specific they are, the quicker they'll be able to think up the answer.

This means that they're still going to explore things, just backwards. A basic knowledge of how the universe works is required to get more specific in their instructions, though one might imagine this might lead to some fairly backward ways at looking at things.

Multiple Abysmali pooling their talents can make more impressive things, thus if they have something really important, they can put something together very quickly if they properly delegate all of the tasks involved. This means that in Abysmali society, everyone is going to have something they're in charge of when it comes to inventing and creation. A society of experts. That means education is very important to them.

One other thing to keep in mind is, under the sea there is no easy fire. Which means that while some things like Steam power might come easy to them, just burning a bunch of wood under a kettle of water isn't quite going to cut it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Secrets of the Abysmali

OK. First thing is first.

How far can we go with technology in a fiction work and still call it 'Fantasy'?

For some people, if it goes beyond swords and crossbows, they aren't happy, but then again those people aren't the kind of people I'm writing for, at least not as a target.
Indeed, I strongly suspect that I'll never write anything that would make a 'purist' happy.

Now, steam works, for the most part. Lighter than Air craft is OK. Electricity is pushing it, but electronics definitely doesn't work. Indeed, pulp lightning guns or even Victorian era tech ('Steam Punk') is barely acceptable on the fringes and should only be rarely seen.

Fortunately, it looks like the Abysmali will not play a huge role in the vague areas of the plot that I have in mind. Still, this month I'm defining the exceptions to reality rather than the aspects of reality itself.

A far better example of what can be cutting edge tech for them would be 'Clock Punk' or the kinds of gizmos that the Leonardo Da Vinci knock off created in 'Alias'. Only the thing is that the Abysmal can create the solution of perfection such as it is possible in the world of Pickle, simply because they know the answer ahead of time. Its really the only form of time travel (via knowledge) that I'm going to allow in the world.

Now having said that, there is another problem. The basic tenet of science is the organization of world based on the idea that its laws are immutable. The problem is that if you examine the mythology I have created, it is apparent that Pickle and the creations of Fa and Sa are a morphological metaphysical situation. That is to say, when things come 'from chaos' to me that means that a mind can shape the reality around them to be anything that they want it to be. Thus it is one of those 'if enough people believe it then it can become real' scenarios.

However, the key to Pickle is that there have been many many minds going in the same direction for quite some time. Thus, the natural physical laws have more or less reached an extremely powerful inertia that isn't going to change short of an act by one of the greater powers (Sa, Fa, Ob, Hila or one of the Seven). And even they would have to fight against thousands and thousands of years of human expectation.

So what sort of a world do people imagine? They might have made the world flat, but Pickle and the other six countered that. Plus don't forget that the Green world itself and just about everything has a mind and spirit of its own. Its a very animistic world. Now having said that, 'clock punk' suddenly makes a lot more sense if only Newtonian physics apply. That also means that certain basic chemical reactions are possible, but things like relativity and advanced electronics are right out. It is too fine an observation for people to make. Of course, one could argue that since that is too small in the world for people to notice, there can't be laws applying to it, and to a certain degree that might be true, but on a larger scale that is not going to be the case.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Granting – The Granting of something is to give a metaphysical licenses to use or mimic that things essence or nature for the nature of the thing being granted.

The primary rules of Granting are that Granting must be done voluntarily, and it must fall within the power/scope of the thing to grant it.

A human being could grant sight, titles, intelligence etc. A stone could grant toughness and endurance but not motion since it does not possess the power to move. The granting of a thing does not automatically mean the reduction of that which originally gave it, if the original has enough essence to incorporate the change on their own. If it does not, then the thing that is doing the granting must give its own essence to grant.

Feats accomplished by the S’im’saur using granting:

They used their license over the creatures of Green to begin to alter them to their liking, particularly by breeding them over time.

They used their magical powers to store energy and essence to create destructive force.

They created magical memories that could be transferred to others by granting their memories and then storing them in a stone.

Gems – Certain gems possess the essence of the other six worlds. Each world has a specific gem that represents it. The gems themselves cannot grant anything, but if a Gem is from the Indigo world, it can serve as a source of essence in lieu of the cost of the granter or the grantees license.

Binding – the Mak-Ka-Fa and Mak-Ka-Ma require permission to do harm to any creature of the Green World. Thus, the terms of that permission must be laid out in explicit detail.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Game Commences

So Pickle had done a right number of Sa and Fa alright. Back and forth they went for thousands, tens of thousands of years with over ten great human empires rising and falling during the course of it all. The fifth empire was the biggest and conquored all of the other worlds in creation, putting the Sopensen, Abysmal, Simsaur, Middle Folk and all others under their heel.

Needless to say Pickle's siblings were not happy. They began to complain, but quietly at first, respectfully. Fa didn't listen so much but Sa listened patiently to their cries and began to work up a destiny for their children as well. And for a while that worked, but Pickle was wiley and it was humans that kept coming out on top. It was Pickle's era after all and he had right of way. He was the one that had the power, that was what had worked for the others, and now he had his day in the sun.

And what a long day it was, but eventually even gods get tired of their games. By now, all of the prophesies had been fulfilled, and the old ones didn't really work any more. So many heroes and dark lords had risen and fallen that it just bored Fa and Sa, though Pickle tried many times to get them to rediscover their interest, it couldn't hold forever.

So eventually they decided they were going to put the game away, that prophesy and destiny wouldn't apply any more and that they'd retire for a while and let things run themselves. And Sa and Fa's other children grinned with anticipation. Oh there was going to be payback alright. A whole lot of payback.

And so the final wrap up of prophesy and destiny began, with Fa and Sa wanting to tie everything together in one great big bow with a nice ending. There was only one slight complication to their plans.

It is very very hard to kill a god. The Hila Monster was still out there, not quite dead, lingering around creation like a leech that sucked life rather than gave it. And she meant to destroy all of creation. And she had idea how to do it too.

But Ob wasn't dead either. And he had watched with great sadness at the games his mother and father played. He tried to stop them, but he was so weak, they couldn't hear. No he only had just enough power to give humanity a tiny chance at free will. A long shot in the dark at best.

And so begins our story.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sa and Fa Come to an Agreement

Sa would write prophesy and Fa would carry it out. Whereas Fa would set what everyone's destiny was meant to be and Sa would carry it out. They were happy and beamed with joy at the prospect at working together yet occasionally confounding each other.

Pickle was merely content that a third great and mighty human empire came and went, lasting several thousand years. Fa and Sa had taken a while to come to their decision whilst more time was passing for humanity. This empire was more glorious than all the rest, having learned some of the secrets of magic from the Simsaur and some of the secrets of science from the Abysmal, though the world collapsed yet again.

And there was darkness in the land.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sa and Fa get to work

And so a group of heroes arose and put together the first empire. It took a lot of work but they built it to span across three continents. They built roads and buildings and all kinds of neat things. But then there came a prophesy about a child overthrowing the king and restoring the just rule of the people. But neither Fa nor Sa knew whether the prophesy was true. They realized that the rules that they had set up for this thing.

Pickle scratched his head and realized that this was going to be a problem, especially when the First Heroes went nuts and started killing each other to keep the child from being born. Soon enough, they were all dead, and neither Sa nor Fa knew whether or not they should enforce the prophesy.

Pickle suggested that they make a special bloodline the recipients of the true prophesies. He thought that maybe Sa could make the prophesies and Fa could carry them out. Sa wasn't sure what she was supposed to be doing with Destiny whilst all of this was going on, and so they realized that somehow Fa had to decide something about destiny.

While they were trying to figure out what to do, the First Empire fell down around their ears.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Gift to Fa and Sa

I have decided to go with the Folklore format. I think my principle inspiration for this came from North American Indian mythology which has the feel for what I’m looking for at this point. And so without further adieu…I will start.


Pickle was a clever fellow. He looked around at his six brothers and sisters and saw that all good things must come to an end. He didn’t want that, and he couldn’t stop it, then he figured he’d make his time last as long as he possible could. So the first thing he did when he popped into the world was sit down and think.

He thought and thought and an entire Turning took place before he finally decided what to do. The mountains had worn a little, and the Sopensen had shifted. They’d long since left the Green world behind, spreading out into their own little tribes, occasionally fighting amongst themselves. That left the whole world wide open for whatever Pickle intended to do.

So Pickle made people. They weren’t as smart as the Abysmal, or as powerful as the Simsaur, or as evil as the Bleyoki or as good as the Sopensen or as humble as the Middle folk. They just were. They were all different from each other, and they began to build villages and make the world their own.

But Pickle was smart, he was. And he knew that as long as things were interesting, Fa and Sa were going to sit up and take notice. So instead of giving his people some kind of power like the others had, he tried to make things interesting for Sa and Fa. He created two ways of looking at the world, trying to make people important.

To Sa he gave the keys to Destiny. She could see all of the things that all of the people were doing at the same time, and by tweaking things just a little, she could make things happen. Occasionally bits and pieces of what Destiny was supposed to be spilled out so people could se it, and if everything happened the way it was supposed to, amazing things happened.

To Fa he gave the keys to Prophesy. He could mainly watch what people were doing from way up high, but he also had a Focus. That Focus could do whatever it took to make a Prophesy come true, but the thing was, that no one except Fa really knew what that Prophesy meant, which meant that it was entertaining to Fa just to see how people would fall all over themselves trying to figure it out.

Pickle gave them both out at the same time, and boy was he right! Fa and Sa took to the game like nothing else that they had seen before. They started caring about People more than they ever had before. Oh, they’d never been callous, but they had let the world take its course. Now they were trying to shape it, and make things happen. But when Destiny and Prophesy started conflicting, weird things started to happen.

Sa and Fa had a mighty fight, arguing like they never had before. But the fight wasn’t all bad, because it was the first fight they’d ever had, and they realized how much they loved each other. So they made a deal. Sa wielded Destiny during the day, and Fa wielded Prophesy during the night. That way they were both happy. And they loved each other more than ever. And they loved Pickle more than any of his other siblings because of it.

And boy did he make his brothers and sisters jealous! But that is another story.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Seventh Age

I shall be taking a different approach to outlining this era. This isn't like the Iliad or the Odyssey where I want the feel of mythology or epic poetry, but rather the feel of ancient eras and forgotten lore...more like legend (which might seem arbitrary but it doesn't to me.) The key is recording this in a way that I feel captures the idea of what I'm trying to do, with the rise and fall of empires, and the trickiness of the seventh patron of humans, Pickle.

More details to come.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Battle of the Sixth Age

And the Sixth Age did rise the SåpeSønner
Scions of Såpe.
He saw that which had come before
And made the SåpeSønner to renew the world
Fair creatures
Prismatic Hair
Prismatic Irises
Prismatic Skin
All the colors
All the gifts they possessed
The magic of the Simsaur
The science of the Abysmal
The spirit of the Gods
The patience of the Middle Folk
And the might of Bleyok.
They built their cities
On music and crystal
Light and Air
Glorious and Honorable
They slowly began to rebuild the world
To Cleans it of that which had stained it
But the seeds of evil were deep
Planted, so long ago.
There was a great war
In which the SåpeSønner
Led the remaining races against the scions
of Bleyok
Ravenous they were
And mighty and hairy and disgusting
And smelly
They multiplied like rabbits
But each time the mighty SåpeSønner
threw them down.
For a thousand years
The seeds of Bleyok unleashed upon the earth
Stealing the gifts of the SåpeSønner
And turning them dire
But the SåpeSønner triumphed
And at last the world was cleansed of their evil.
And the SåpeSønner looked to the heavens
And went to the other worlds in mighty ships
That sailed the stars.
Leaving almost all of the SåpeSønner.
And time passed.
And they grew to be an idle race
Caught forever in the past
Demanding honorifics from the other races
That they had so gloriously saved
And at first it was given
But as the years passed, they chafed in annoyance
And the Simsaur, and the Abysmal and the Middle Folk
All retreated and hid from the SåpeSønner.
And the Gods howled on the Desert World
Imprisoned there where they could do no more harm.
And the SåpeSønner began to die off
One by one
Until there were only a few left
There was the occasional renewal
A brief flurry of glory and hope
But by the end of the sixth age
The world was ready for something new.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Darkness of the Fifth Age

And Bleyok came to Power
And the Four before him wept
For in their slumbering power
They saw darkness
And Sa and Fa recalled the echoes of Hil
And very nearly destroyed the world
But their loneliness was great
And their perspective wide
And they knew that this too would pass.

And on the first turning of the fifth age
War plagued the land once again
The beaver folk hid
The Abysmal retreated
The Simsaur were nearly driven to extinction
The gods snuffed out one by one
All life was nearly made extinct
And only when Bleyok
Saw that all his toys
Would go away
Should he slay them all
Did he stay his hand

And on the second turning
He took the free will
Of every living thing
Forcing them into acts
Of dire depravity
Whilst their imprisoned minds
Were forced to watch and live and live again
For six hundred hundred years
The world itself cried out in pain
Until only madness ruled.

And on the third turning
Bleyok saw that his time
Was drawing to an end
And he sneered with fury
And frustration
Leaving darkened seeds
Of evil scattered about the land
Corrupting all he could corrupt
Blighting the sky itself
In his final act of fury
He unleashed an attack
Upon Sa and Fa
Only to be locked in a cage.
Sa and Fa
Has seen this coming
Far in advance.
There would not be another Hil.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Fourth Age

And Jagan came in the Midst of All Things
And he shaped the Vord
Who built their dams on the third world
And watched
And waited.
They were a peaceful folk.
And whilst there were minor wars
Between the Abysmal
And the Simsaur
There was peace for a time
In large part
And the world settled into a slight routine.
Whilst the Vord watched
And expanded
And lay in the sun.
No great cities did they build
Nor great sciences or magics did they achieve
But they lived well
And they had peace.
But like all such things
It was not to last.
And so to passed the forth age
And it was far too short.
Almost oddly so
As noted by future generations.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Passing of the Third Age

And High Whithy Fly
Did the Abysmal Go
To the Yellow World
To Die.
They took their walkers
With water inside
And explored it
From head to toe.
And therein the world
Did the Sandstone speak
And say, "You're not welcome here."
But the squids ignored
What was implored
And soon did they all disappear.

And the Third Age began
Enter stage right Slint.
And he found the Yellow world
To his liking.
And he found, like Nowa
That he liked the Green world too.
But he wasn't so happy
About the Blue world.
But he left them alone
Save by twisting their ability
To see the future
So that their devices
Always came with a terrible curse
When they used their gift.
There was now a price.
The Abysmal fell.
One by one.
And Slint watched them fall apart.
He was quite content.
And long and silent was the world.
And the descendants and servants
Of the Sim'saur slowly retook the land.
Dragons and Lizardkin
Ruled the land.
And the Abysmal,
Even in their degraded state
Ruled the Seas.
And the Yellow world was still silent.
And thus passed the third age.

And Slint watched
He felt no need
To intercede a second time
Until he found
Himself compelled
By Fa and Sa
To make something
Rather than simply destroy.
So Slint made Gods.
Creatures of the desert.
Incredibly capricious and powerful.
The gods demanded rule
And gave favor in return.
Thus was Slint's joke on Fa and Sa.
They didn't seem to get it.
The gods began to aquire worship
Amongst the Abysmal
And the Sim'saur's children.
And the Sim'saur.
And L'cin'bok and Nowa
Were wroth.
But there was nothing
That they could do about it.
And thus passed the third age.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The War of Ages

The magic of the Simsaur
And the science of the Abysmal
Raged for centuries.
Thousands died.
Millions died.
And the world bled.
But eventually the Simsaur were reduced to primitives.
Only a few hiding deep within the mountains
Retained their ancient secrets.
The rest falling ever farther
Into a state of perpetual barbarism.
And the Abysmal were triumphant.
Vast was their empire
Stretching between two worlds.
Their science did not truly progress
For their secret lay in knowing the end
Before the beginning
But they still grew.
Alas, it was only in the secrets of crafting
That they had forsight
For they did not see the height of their folly
As they cast their envious and greedful gaze to the heavens
And toward the Yellow World.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Second Age - Conflict in the Depths

And thus was born Nowa,

And Nowa looked and saw the Blue World

And she was captivated by its depths.

And so within them she created The Abysmal.

Prismatic they were

With glittering eyes

And beautiful tentacles tipped with pearls

And beaks as sharp and hard as stone.

Above all she gifted them

With the knowledge of foresight.

This vision did not betray

The Law of Time as dictated

By Sa and Ma.

No one could see the future.

Rather by instinct

The sunken creatures

Saw the clever mechanics of natural law

At its best.

At its most refined.

Soon their cities

Began to light up in the night

From harnessed lightening

And shifting transports.

And the Simsaur looked up to the heavens.

And saw the Blue world

And were jealous.

So they unleashed their minions

In the dead of night

Though a backway gate that slew

Thousands of their eggs.

And Nowa was wroth

And demanded reciprocity

From L’cin’bok.

L’cin’bok would have none of it.

And he laughed at his sister’s plight.

For all for him was order

And she had her jurisdiction

And he had his own.

How was it his fault if she could not protect her playthings?

And Nowa showed L’cin’bok

That Hila hath no fury

Like a woman scorned

And with a motion of her power

Widened the gate

Pouring a third of the blue world

To that of the green

Covering its surface with ocean.

Killing millions of the Simsaur.

Now L’cin’bok was wroth.

And moved to exude his power

To destroy Nowa.

But he could not.

For the second age was Nowa’s now.

And whilst Nowa could not undo

That which had come before

She could forestall her brother’s actions.

So it was,

That war began between the Abysmal and the Simsaur.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The First Age

The Simsaur were lizards; giant lizards. They had great power granted to them by L’cn’Bok, who granted them the ability to act as his stewards, placing them over the Seven worlds and the inhabitants thereof. A part of them was thus in license to control these things and to grant over themselves as well.

Their power came through a small gland in the back of their head that tied their essenence to L’cn’Bok. Their eyes were large but only capable of seeing in black and white since they were not tied to any of the seven worlds directly. They did not have hands, and only had very limited intelligence at first. They ate, drank, mated and moved about the realm in tranquility. They dance by moving in tide with the stars in the heavens. They were not stoppable by any of the creatures on Green, and could eat and do as they wished with no harm or fear. They worshiped L’cn’Bok through their slow low rumbles in the night.

2nd Passing – The S’ims’aur began to change when a few of them created a cave network within a mountain as shelter from the rain and elements of the planet, since Green was quietly against them since L’cn’Bok had given them license over her without her permission. Nothing overt of course, but here and there a little hostility and consternation where she could. Once the other S’ims’aur saw this they began to follow suit. More importantly, they began to try and think of other ways to improve their situation.

The first S’ims’aur to realize the qualities of life were passed on to other life did so before any other major discovery was made by their people. They already lived very long lives and thus began a series of agricultural breakthroughs that greatly improved their food stores. As time improved they began to have more time for other pursuits. Eventually, one of them realized the same principles could be applied toward non plant species.

First, they began to use this to improve themselves. Before, they had simply selected whatever random traits appealed to each other, including social grace and physical appearance. All of this went by the wayside as they determined that mental agility and spiritual essence were the most critical to their well being as a species. They planned very long term. There were some false starts, since they believed that by improving themselves they would improve their progeny further until this was disproved, but in the process they facilitated new and improved methods of learning. With all of this focus on the intellect and learning new things, combined with their extra time that they could spend in the cities, they began to want for things to focus their newfound time and intelligence upon.

The S’ims’aur realized that they could breed their livestock and other animals for intelligence as well. They began to increase the intelligence of one animal in particular, the Gorinfa, which they had amused themselves with by watching its aggressive behavior towards others of its own kind, a concept alien to the S’ims’aur. At one point, the Gorinfa rebelled against the S’ims’aur, but it was a primitive and paltry thing, easily put down. Still, the S’ims’aur learned the lesson well and began to also breed tameness and loyalty toward the S’ims’aur into them as well.

At one point, an idle bet between S’ims’aur showed the strength and aggression that they were willing to show towards one another in a whole new light. What started as small individual matches, soon began to be organized team events. Eventually, one of the S’ims’aur houses realized how effective that they were at other things, and quietly used their Gorinfa to assault a rival house.

This caused a major uproar among them, with many who were determined to find the culprit. An investigation ensued, and the Gorinfa were destroyed and their owners banished to the world of Indigo. However, once the tactic had been used once, little by little the old order passed away as armed city-states began to rise up. Fierce warlords began to fight each other and lay waste to the countryside all around them.

Green wailed at the blood being spilled on her sacred soil. She called to L’cn’Bok in pain and pleaded with him to reign in the S’ims’aur. L’cn’Bok was moved and so he commanded the S’ims’aur to stop fighting one another. Green rejoiced, and for a time there was peace. However, as long as the S’ims’aur were, they eventually died away, and when the fourth generation after L’cn’Bok’s mandate had died, they began to once again pick up the powers of war, and breeding Gorinfa in large numbers.

One amongst their number, Ka’las’sade, remembered the warnings of L’cn’Bok and was afeared that the S’ims’aur would lose their powers and dominion if they were not stopped. He tried using reason first, but proved unable to do so. So he used his mind, and used his powers to grant of his essence, and the essence of Green (who gave her consent) to give the Gorinfa power to defeat the smaller armies of the S’ims’aur. Bit by bit he conquered them until he united them all into one dominion that covered all of the face of the land.

3rd Passing – The empire reigned for tens of thousands of years. Massive works were built, and two other servant races were created; the Gorfim, flying reptiles with extremely agile hands, and the Gorhiss, slow but powerful humanoids that had the strength of the S’ims’aur but the shape and utility of the Gorinfa. The Gorhiss were far more docile, even almost pacifistic. When further rebellions were attempted, the Gorinfa’s numbers slowly began to decline because they were seen as weapons of war and a threat to the state.

There were those who saw the number of S’ims’aur as a threat since they had no natural enemies on the planet. Since they had no natural or unnatural enemies besides themselves, and since war had long since been almost eradicated among them, their numbers swelled until they began to become more than the world of Green could handle. It did not help that Green did everything in her power to harm them. Their license over her, granted by L’cn’Bok limited what she could do against them, but in the end it was enough to cause S’ims’aur to begin to want for food; at least the poorest among them. While even the least S’ims’aur had tremendous magical power, they were not able to replenish their essence with magic. They could force Green to obey them, but since they were not able to harness its essence, they were forced to use their own or that of other lesser creatures. This could create food, but the law of entropy showed that sooner or later they would run out of resources.

As the population began to increase, the pressure for revolt grew. Eventually, the emperor was slain and several large city-states emerged yet again, ruled by bands of powerful families that claimed lineage to the first emperor. During this time, two of the states threw off the shackles of the previous ruling class and established a new order. The first, St’orh’ista, claimed rule by power. They had the backing of the clerics of L’cn’Bok and claimed that any government should be based on the usage of the powers granted them by their god. The second, Ls’ys’tra claimed government by intelligence. Those who were the best educated and well versed in the vast stores of knowledge that had been accumulated over time were the most fit to rule. Wisdom, in their view, was the source of triumph, not power or blood.

They were far more efficient in the organization of their societies than the cities that ran on the old ways. The St’orh’istan and Ls’ys’tran ideologies grew stronger and more popular, with factions in every city believing in their way of life. Finally, St’orh’istan managed to convert another city to their way of thought through a bloodless revolution. Ls’ys’tran would have none of it and began to increase their pressure on other cities. Soon, almost all of the cities had formed with one league or another. War, real war, the likes of which the world had never seen loomed on the horizon.

It started civilly enough at first. Both sides wanted to maintain moral superiority over the other, so they agreed to a code of conduct with each other. They maintained this for a while, but things began to escalate and the stakes became higher. Finally, a surprise attack on the city of St’orh’ista caused them to panicky. They pulled out all the stops and began to attack the softer targets that they had honorably ignored before. Problems began to arise.

They began to work on larger and larger weapons until finally they were able to store up enough destructive energy into a stored essence crystal that they could destroy an entire city. The devastation was tremendous, and three cities were destroyed before they finally realized the horror of what they were doing. As magical recreations of their efforts were passed around from place to place, people demanded that they take action.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Canticle of the Worlds

The Red world was a world of fire and hot to behold.

The Orange world was a place of moltan metal, also hot.

The Yellow world was a world of dust and sand.

The Green world was just right and home to all manner of plants.

The Blue world was a world of many waters.

The Indigo world was a world of Crystal and Jewels.

The Violet world was a world of Ice and Air and Cold.

And L’cn’Bok was pleased with the Green World,

For it had Granted more of its power

Than any of the others in the living form of plants.

And L’cn’Bok blessed the Green World

rising it above the others.

And L’cn’Bok was pleased with the Green World, for it had Granted more of its power than any of the others in the living form of plants. And L’cn’Bok blessed the Green World, rising it above the others.

And the Green World was pleased and created animals of all kinds that it might garner more pleasure.

The Blue World also created animals, similar to but not the same as the Green World.

The Red World was jealous and created the Mak-Ka-Ma, the creatures of living fire that would consume each other and all other things of the other worlds. Down it sent these creatures to the Green World to consume them, but L’cn’Bok intervened and cursed the Red World that it may never harm the creatures of the Green world without their permission.

The Blue world plead for her children as well, and L’cn’Bok was moved and heeded the cries of the Blue World, citing that the Mak-Ka-Ma or their ilk may never harm the children of the waters without the permission of the creatures of the Green World.

The Blue World begged that it be the permission of her own children but L’cn’Bok would not hear it.

The Orange World created the Mak-Ka-San, beings of fire and earth to create great and mighty temples to L’cn’Bok that they might worship him. L’cn’Bok found this worship odd, and demanded that they worship Action and Reaction instead. And they did so.

L’cn’Bok turned to the Yellow World and asked, “What will you make of your world?”

“Nothing” the Yellow World said.

L’cn’Bok was about to curse the Yellow World but the Yellow World said, “I am the reflection of the Suns. In my vastness, in my emptiness, there is a reflection of what came before.”

L’cn’Bok pondered this riddle and said no more.

L’cn’Bok turned to the Indigo world and asked, “What will you make of your world?”

The Indigo world replied that it did not know, for it was afraid to make a race for fear it would displease L’cn’Bok, but it was also afraid to do nothing for fear that it would displease him.

L’cn’Bok laughed and then asked what he should do then.

The Indigo world replied that it would simply do what the others did.

L’cn’Bok said that so it would be, and that thus the Indigo world and her children reflected the nature of the other worlds; each a color according to its own kind.

L’cn’Bok turned to the Violet world of Ice, and L’cn’Bok saw that it too, had quietly made the Mak-Ka-Fa, creatures of ice.

L’cn’Bok asked what they were doing and Violet said nothing.

L’cn’Bok grew angry because the Mak-Ka-Fa would not answer his questions, neither would the Violet world. L’cn’Bok could not understand, but he decided to take no chances and so cursed the Mak-Ka-Fa to be cursed like unto the Mak-Ka-Ma.

Still the Violet world said nothing.

Grunting in annoyance, L’cn’Bok returned to his slumber for a time and thus ended the first turning.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

L'cinbok the First

And seven children did Sa and Fa create.
Seven children that were not children
But lesser children
From which the world would be forged
And time one after another would occur.
Each would have their age
Under which to shine in the sun
And then Sa and Fa
Would decide the fate
Of the world
And those who were in it.

And the first of them was L'cinbok
And he created Authority.
And by the Law of Authority
Did he bring matter into creation.
Seven worlds did he create
Seven colors from whence they came.
And each world did he deign command
To take form and shape
And to please him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Time Turns, The House of the Sun

And so with
The House of the Sun
The Nesting Pair Resides
They forged a House
Of Great Power
Beauty and Solace
That they might rest
And View
The Creation Before Them
Time Began
Fa Action
Sa Reaction
Sa Action
Fa Reaction.
One at a time
They would take their turn
As the skies about them turned.
One Prophesy
One Destiny
To Shape The Land Beneath
About and Around.
And so the Foundation
For the World Was Laid.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Forming of the World

And they were saddened.
For the space around them was silent.
And chaos waved upon
Their silence as waves upon the sea.
But this rhythm would not appease them.
They were lonely.
But they saw the shadows
Of what future children would wreak.
And they feared
Too much, too much to lose
Another son like Ob.
And so it was,
The decided for lesser children instead.
More than pets
Less than gods
Something in between.
They also knew
To protect themselves
And so they created
The Fringe of Creation
A great vast opaque dome
Through which one could see
The sun and the stars
And which could keep them
Safe from whatever chaos
Their lesser children
Might wreak inside.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Two Children

And they had two children,
Hil was dark and diseased.
She wanted all the world to be her own.
Ob was light and hope.
He joyed in the sun and stars
His parents had created.
And they loved their son
And were saddened by their daughter.
And Hil grew jealous.
And slew Ob.
Thus was Hope slain by
The Hopeslayer.
Astonished and apalled
At their daughter's behavior
The two bound Hil in chains
And cast her to the abyss
Where all those who worship darkness
May spend their eternal days.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chaos Changes

And Fa realized that he was alone.
And this made him sad.
And so he made Sa.
Who was like him,
But wasn't.
And they became husband
And wife.
And time and seasons
Then came into being.
And they created the stars
Wherein they might court each other.
And Fa gave Sa the String of Desire.
And Sa gave Fa the Sun.
And they basked in the warth
Of each other's presence.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Chaos, The Dawning

In the beginning there was Chaos.
And chaos was everywhere,
And nowhere.
For the very concept of place was
And yet wasn't.
All thing that are,
Or were,
Or that could be
Or that would be
Lingered in its potential.
Chaos was the limit
Of definition.
Nothing could be smaller
Or more finitely infinite
It was the edge of all creation.
And there was darkness
That was not darkness
For the light was not distinguished
One thing from the other.
And from Chaos came Fa.
Fa was thought.
And so there was thought.
Fa was time
And so there was time.
Fa was sentience.
And so Fa knew that he was.
And Fa saw that he had power over chaos.
And it was good to him.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Plan

Hero of A Thousand Faces was very helpful. Can't follow it rote for rote of course, but it helps reduce to the core of the thing what it is I'm looking for. I'm taking a break for a week (Birthday etc). Then as of Feb 1, I'm going to create my own mythology. An attempt at epic poetry, or at least quasi poetry to describe the creation of the world and the six ages leading up to the current age. That will go on during Feb. After that, in March, I will create the physical world and then begin to create the history of the current age with any lingering remnants of the current world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


It appears that maps have gone out of style as far as most modern day Fantasy novels are concerned, which is a shame, because I think it helps give a sense of immersion to the reader. I guess it is a cost cutting measure, since, after all, someone has to pay for the maps, but still. A map helps establish the realm to which you invite your reader as a PLACE, helping instill what they speak of in fantastic literature as a "Suspension of Disbelief." This 'suspension of disbelief' allows you to, for a few moments, believe in things like magic, and jedi and the Force or Elves and Hobbits.

A map helps bridge that gap between our world and the realm of the Non Existent.

Even if my map making skills are not superior...I'm going to have a map.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I think different 'generations' of Gods is also an interesting idea. Its certainly done in Mythology, though the question would be just how much out of it the early history really was. I don't want to spend TOO long on it of course since it is the later history that matters, still having a good solid background can make a big deal.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Great Game

I picture in my mind a great bowl, through which the two great powers, Destiny and Prophesy (and obviously we'll have to give them better names than that) gaze down upon the world, one at a time to see all but to have limits in how they take their actions.

I'm thinking that the first crack at the world was primitive and didn't work, so they started over again, which happened multiple times. But I'm thinking that when they start over, they keep some of the original world and they grow more attached to their creations, thus taking steps to limit their own power lest they be tempted to screw it up again or some such thing.

Of course, that also invites the idea of powers within the world itself.

This is highly useful in the creation of the world, but following the "Hobbit before LOTR", most of this stuff should be entirely in the background, but its very useful right now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Traditional Vs. Mixed

We just got done watching Eragon and I found it interesting how the movie reflected traditional formulas. Specifically, it rather obviously borrowed from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings...and it did so rather heavily. But both of those works also borrowed from others. Furthermore, as I read, "Hero of a Thousand Faces" I begin to see the merit of the formula. And you have to have the formula pretty down pat before you can break it.

I'm not entirely sure how much of the 'formula' and how much originality I'll put in. I know I completely broke the mold with Gemini: Mask of Three Peoples (No more Time Travel EVER!) and I kind of broke the mold with Micronation. The truth is, I am good at breaking the mold. Originality is my strong point, but too much and quite frankly the audience can't connect with it.

It might be formulaic, but some of my favorite stories include Magician: Apprentice, which starts with two simple peasant boys who become the greatest hero and the greatest wizard in their universe. Ender's Game begins with a small boy who becomes the greatest military mind in History. The peasant that rises to greatness is a foil that is worthy of study, but there are many who hate this kind of thing; some because it has been done BADLY by so many, and some because of what it says. It says that you have to be BORN to greatness, not that you make it on your own.

It certainly is true of fantasy or fantastic science fiction (ie Space Opera) that birthright is a vital component of what makes most heroes special. So how do I bow to the concept of birthright without necessarily emulating it? I don't know, but I do like very much how it matches with the idea of Destiny vs Prophesy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Great Forces

First, the thought occurs to me that I really have this image in my head of two 'Gods' Destiny and Prophesy fighting this war or game over a world with competing and yet matching agendas. But there has to be a bad guy 'force' for it to really be high Fantasy. Is it Destiny or Prophesy? The other thought that occurs to me, is (and I still have work to do on this part) if they emerge 'from chaos' as described by many mythos (particularly Greek and Norse), what of their failed experiments before they get to the story world itself? After all, while it might be nice to think that such powerful beings could just spontaneously think of things like Cheese and Bricks and Marmosets all at once, I imagine a more logical expression is things like sentience, emotions, and communication, so getting around to actually making a world and such would take a whole lot of time. Time, of course, in such circumstances, being entirely relative.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Unstoppable Force Vs. Immobile Object

One thing that I'm heavily considering including (ie pretty much am) is the idea of a clash between Destiny and Prophesy. The two are always mixed heavily, and I'd like them to actually have tangible mechanics (as known by me).

One idea that occurs to me is that one of the two is omniscient and the other is omnipotent. Now of course, I think I'll have to put a few more limits on this. Absolutes, while interesting, can get acutely ridiculous. For example, technically if one is all powerful, one is all knowing (unless they're a moron) and if someone is all knowing, generally speaking, they're all powerful (at least in my opinion). So the key is a limitation, so that one being would be ALMOST all knowing but only somewhat powerful and the other one would be ALMOST all powerful but only somewhat all knowing.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Time and Its Perception

There are two things about Fantasy that have always bothered me, one because of my nature and one because of something pointed out to me by my brother.

The first is that in Fantasy, the Past is almost always better than the Future. Indeed, the very success of the genre is because we want to escape to another realm, that feeling of nostalgia that somehow in days of yesteryear, things were better and more simple. The feeling goes that if we could only turn back the clock to those years, things would be so much better.

After reading the book "Hero of a Thousand Faces" I have become convinced that this 'proto myth' is indeed powerful stuff, but I also think 'inspired by' rather than 'steal' is more appropriate here. There are indeed myths where the future holds promise, and while it often comes apart at the end, Camelot comes to mind as a fantasy where, until the end, the future holds great promise despite the fall of the past. Note, there is still a past, the 'glorious' Roman empire, and Arthur is restoring civilization, but there is more to it than that. The Round Table is something more, something new, and something unique. Of course, it still has the nostalgia of the past, but contemporary to itself, it is very bright about the future.

The second tendency my brother pointed out about Birthrights. I mean, I am proud of my heritage, but I am more proud of my actions as an individual. So often, even the greatest of heroes, has their greatness reduced a notch or two because they happened to be born under a lucky star. Now the truth is, that birthright really does help, and many heroes of the real world have managed to do amazing things, in part, because of relatives, resources or biological enhancements that their birth gave to them. But the more impressive heroes to me are the ones that started out with nothing, and somehow managed to carve a niche of greatness in the world.

Friday, January 4, 2008

What Questions?

So it is to be a match up of questions which determines world and world that determines questions. That is to say, I think I want to determine at a fairly high level the kind of story I want to do, and some of the questions I want to answer, and then create a world, and then rework the questions and the story based on what I come up with. While it is true that you have to start somewhere, I think this time I will focus on the story first, followed by consistent world laws, followed by a modification to the story.

Of course, when I say 'story' I really mean broad questions. Some people think that theme should never be in the story, and that wasn't really my intention in my last two novels, but since this is High Fantasy (with dashes of other genres), I really have to be asking big questions....

And I think the first big one is, what is Good and what is Evil? I also like the idea of exploring Destiny, Freewill and Heroism.

One example I can think of is a character I created for a script that this blog is named after, "Tossing Grenades at Windmills." Frank Noble is a flawed character. He isn't sane. He's annoying and he's often oblvious to the world around him, but at the same time, he really doesn't waver in his desire to do what is right. Having tested this character somewhat, there has been an occasional response that such a concept was unrealistic. No one would do things for selfless reasons.

And yet, I see thousands of aid workers who literally risk life and limb every day in countries that I have absolutely no desire to travel to.

Cynics argue that these people have messiah complexes. I will grant you that sometimes there appears to be a disconnect from reality sometimes, but it is this kind of vision that truly changes the world.

Sometimes, when you dream big enough, the world changes you, you change the world instead.

I think that the argument made by most realists is that this is a fairly rare occurance, and that is the sad truth. That is part of the point of the journey in heroic fiction; to justify the exceptional nature of the hero and thus the corresponding change to the world.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Research, Themes and Questions

Right now I am reading "Hero of a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell. Campell's work on Mythology had a very heavy influence on George Lucas when he created Star Wars. And when I say Star Wars, I mean Star Wars IV, the movie that changed everything, the movie that Lucas had something to prove with. Myth also had a heavy influence upon Tolkien, who actually wrote the novel because he wanted something to use for this nifty Elven language he had created.

Gifted authors do research. They learn about the world around them, and they mine the greatest source of fantasy; reality. Having said that, the more I think about it, the more determined I am that I want to create my own world. Mainly because I like making worlds, but I do also think that I should go to the original source as an inspiration. The rules for creating an amazing world and an amazing story aren't identical. There is a lot of overlap, but the best stories have already been told a thousand times. THIS time, I am not going to deliberately break convention by doing something bizarre. THIS time I am going to follow the 'formula' of 'greatness'.

Understand, that this does not mean that I'm going to use a cookie cutter. I think the quote goes, "Stupid authors steal, Great authors are inspired by." As a matter of fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm entirely sure it is a misquote of the original material, but its close enough for you to get the idea. I'm deranaged. I think outside the box. Indeed, as one sibling put it, I destroy the box.

So this time, I'm going to let that subconcious nature work for me and try a more mainstream and sane approach, allowing my unorthydoxy to fill in the details. Still, the key to telling a story from a fresh perspective is IN the details.

I have to find a story that people can relate to (have in this case meaning 'To meet my goal of making it a story people can relate to') without deliberately cramming a moral lesson down their throat. The problem is...I'm a moral person, or at least I try to be. I am DEFINITELY a preach person, and that will come across in anything I write.

Many great novels start with a question. Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite authors, who also happens to be an annoying putz sometimes, is still a master at his craft. He gives a workshop called "1000 ideas in an hour" and the long and the short of it is that you ask lots of questions and then go from there.

This is clearly a good way of doing things, since Ender's Game (which is still my favorite book) came from asking two questions, "What would humanity do if it really ran into Bug Eyed Monsters?" and "What if their response was to look for the next Napoleon when he was only 5?" Followed by, "How far would they be willing to push him and how would he respond?"

Of course, given some of his lackluster stuff in his later years, questions clearly aren't enough. Though I think the real key is, when the inertia of your thinking influences your work to heavily (ie you get to preachy, and to conscious of what you are doing) you end up with the Spruce Goose.

Not all of his later stuff is lackluster. Enchanted is quite brilliant.

Of course, the other voice inside me says, "You only wish you were Orson Scott Card." To which I blithely reply, "Well, not really, but I'd like to have his level of talent."

I'm working on it.

We'll see if this novel gets me closer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Bigger Picture - Why Am I Writing and For Whom

So I studied the sundry sub genres of Fantasy, and found that are indeed, a large number of them. I think the most interesting revelation to me is that the things that seem to separate most of them are setting and story. The story axiom is either nitty and gritty (anti heroes or the threat of immediate physical threat) or broad and world shattering. I know which of those two kinds of story I write better. I'm a 'blow up the planet' kind of guy.

The setting tends to be "real world" vs "historical" vs "completely made up." Now, Historical has the caveat that it can be a historical period with the serial numbers filed off. For example, a Song of Ice and Fire is (according to the website anyway) based largely upon the War of the Roses.

I can see the appeal. One of the reasons I made Gemini a copy of Earth in "Manifesto of Three Peoples" was because making an entirely new world is HARD. This is especially true if just one person is doing it. There are so many things that make up a world; religion, politics, geography, geology, economics, culture, war, peace and on and on. The closer you base your world on the real world, the more reality you have to draw from.

And that brings the central point I realized that I had to ask....WHY am I writing this?

The first novel I wrote because I simply wanted to write one. It was a life goal, and I am glad I completed it. I used the setting I gave to my mother when I was 15-16, because I'd always felt it wasn't being used and I was tired of giving her lame birthday presents.

The second novel was written largely because there was a plot I always had had in mind, and I wanted to write a near future novel, and at the same time write something with Narcoleptics in it.

This novel I want to write entirely for my own enjoyment. But I also firmly believe the greatest art is the kind that has deep meaning and is enjoyed by a lot of people. Norman Rockwell was not well respected by art critics of his time, but it enjoys a timeless quality about it, in part because it has become part of the popular culture and in part because it is really really good and in part because it speaks to so many people.

I want my novel to be something that anyone can enjoy, even though I'm writing it for me.

Which means some aspect of the novel has to connect with the real world. I'm not entirely opposed to the 'transplant from earth' model, but I'm not doing that with this novel.

The more I reflect upon the kind of story I'm really itching to tell, I think it has to be High Fantasy, but the advances made in the last 10-15 years in the 'historical' and 'urban' fantasy genres is such that I really don't want to ignore them...which tells me of a story that starts small and gets very very big before it is done.

Only I have to do this in a way that doesn't seem too rushed. Galb's suggestion that I do something more like 'The Hobbit' for my Gemini setting was a good one
, which means that while High Fantasy might be in the background, it also has to really be just a tiny fraction of the larger puzzle.

It's a place to start at least.