Archive for May, 2009

Main news of the week was of course the collection of short stories I released as Pure Escapism: Volume One. I can’t say as how it has taken off like a house of fire, but it is early days and there hasn’t been much in the way of advertising its existence yet.

On the positive side I have had a couple of nice things said about it, which was very encouraging.

Work for the second volume is well underway – perhaps not as quickly as I had hoped, but certainly on schedule for a release in June.

The companion for the Eleventh Doctor in the next seasons of Doctor Who starting next year has been announced and it is…drumroll…Karen Gillian.

Who? I’d never heard of her, but she is a relative newcomer to the game, so that is hardly surprising.

Steven Moffat spoke highly of her in the BBC press release announcing her appointment though.

Seems they are going for a ‘younger’ look to the next Doctor – sort of reminds me of a clip from Stargate from episode 200 (though I doubt it will end up like that parody.)

Rousing Speeches

Posted: May 29, 2009 in General
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As a writer, one of the things I really want to accomplish is to be able to give characters stirring, inspiring speeches – the kind tvtropes refers to as the Rousing Speech.  The kind that can turn the tide of a battle or just make you sit back and go ‘wow’.

There is a bit of a one that makes an appearance in The Bronze Man, but as I’m still learning the craft it isn’t up to level of some of the ones that inspire me.  In time perhaps.

One of the best ones for me is the Rooftop Scene in Bladerunner, given by Roy Batty.  It is made even more memorial as the lines came from the actor, Rutger Hauer, who felt the lines in the script were lacking.  Not your typical rousing speech, but one that really works.

Shakespeare was of course a master of the written word, and he can not go without a mention.  There are many to choose from, including the stirring Band of Brothers speech from Henry V.

Elizabeth I in reality gave one such speech at Tilbury in 1588, before the defeat of the Spanish Armada.  It may seem a little dated to us, but certainly fits the bill.

And then there is Tolkien.  Lord of the Rings seems packed with them.  From Sam, to Aragorn, to Gandalf, to Theoden.

Sam’s speech at the end of the Two Towers.

Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate.

Theoden’s Speech at Helm’s Deep

Theoden’s speech at Pelennor Fields – in the book this is actually Eomer’s speech, but it was given to Theoden in the movie.

Any others that you find inspiration from?

More WOW Druid Skins

Posted: May 28, 2009 in General
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An update on yesterdays post – the Night Elf druid bear form skins are now available for view.  All I can say is once more I’m glad I’m a Tauren and not an elf.

Night Elf Bear Form

Cat forms are coming next week – look forward to seeing how much they have improved the Tauren cat form.

One of the things I do when I’m not writing is play World of Warcraft. Not as much as I used to, but still enough.

I am certain the game is making me get OCD, what with all the mounts, and achievements and vanity pets and tabards I have to get…

I am Horde – always have been, always will. My main is a Tauren Druid, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given how often Minotaurs crop up in my writing – though that predates playing WOW by many years.

I have been a Feral Druid since the start, which is a kind of druid that shapeshifts into a bear or a big cat to fight. The problem is that since game release the models have never changed – every druid, no matter their level or equipment, looks the same.

Finally, after four years of waiting, that is about to change. New skins are coming and the previews of the Tauren Bear Form have been released, with cat form to come later.

Tauren Bear Form

My Tauren is white skinned (and you may have run into a couple of those in Pure Escapism…) and, according to what we know so far, I should end up with the new white skinned polar bear form, and should also end up as a white lion. All very exciting.

What Not To Write

Posted: May 25, 2009 in General
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Came across the following article at Strange Horizons, an online SF magazine, about what they don’t want to see more of – basically story ideas they have seen submitted too often.

I am fairly certain I’m not guilty of any of them, at least not recently.

A few examples from the list;

# Scientist uses himself or herself as test subject.

# Evil unethical doctor performs medical experiments on unsuspecting patient.

# In the future, criminals are punished much more harshly than they are today.
1. In the future, the punishment always fits the crime.
2. The author is apparently unaware of the American constitutional amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, and so postulates that in the future, American punishment will be extra-cruel in some unusual way.

# White protagonist is given wise and mystical advice by Holy Simple Native Folk.

Twenty weeks into the year already – where does time go?

News of the week is that I’ve finally finished the last of the four short stories I have been editing, at least well enough for the purposes I want it for. Hopefully sometime during the day the four of them will be available on the site, in one form or another.

Still no closer to working out the conundrum from the previous post – still requires more thinking I guess.

Once more I am having quite an old debate with myself – where to begin. It is an old, old debate. There are many stories I want to tell in my writing about my worlds, but I want to choose a good one to begin with, to garner interest in the world and to share some of the concepts behind the world, as well as introduce secrets that will gradually be revealed.

As I may have mentioned before, I am a big history buff. A lot of that is evident in my world and my writings. I want to show the passage of time, as characters and events become myths and legends over the course of history. Yet at the same time I don’t want to spoil some of the surprises in store.

Which all brings it back to – where to begin.

There are four main periods of time, so far, that I have focused on for ideas, scattered over a broad period of time. I want to explore them all, in short stories and longer stories and whatever else I can.

Logically you would start at the beginning, but in this case it really won’t work. The beginning here is the pre-human world, which I refer to as the Age of Myths. It is heavily influenced by such works as the Silmarillion, various creation myths and even the Old Testament. The Silmarillion is perhaps my favourite fantasy book of all time and I would really like to write a book in that style for this period. Problem is that you would never do that as a first book – it would never sell. It would be a book written for myself and, in the unlikely event of major success, the die hard fans. Cahuac and the Sun is an example of the style of work I am aiming for, though chronologically the story dates from after the period in question.

Following on from that we move on to what I call the Age of Heroes. It deals with bronze age human cultures, specifically early Maedari and Chelosians, and the wars between them. This draws on and is influenced by the ancient Greek works, such as the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, Herodotus and Thucydides and by the ancient Celtic tales, such as in the Mabinogion. It is a period of chariot riding champions, as exemplified by Awn in The Bronze Man. It is certainly a less commonly explored area for fantasy, which is both a strike for and against it. Also, while I do have a few short story ideas for the period, there are as yet no ideas for a novel.

The next period, and really the one I started out with, has no name. It is a much more conventional fantasy period, straddling the late medieval/early renaissance, with the burgeoning of science and exploration, the invention of printing presses, experimentation with gunpowder. it does not, nor will it have, Knights and heavy plate armour. It doesn’t fit the climate nor cultures. This would logically be the place to start, but there is a problem. There is a story I want to tell first. It has been in my head for many many years. If I tell some of the other stories planned for that period, it will spoil some of the plot. The problem is that I really want to do this one properly, but your first book is normally not your best one. Hence the dilemma.

The fourth time period also has no name, but it a bit further on, with the advent of Napoleonic era technology into a fantasy world. Very much so different than your standard fantasy. I am very much looking forward to writing in this time frame, but the worry is that once more it may be too different from conventional fantasy for a first book. Plus there is a chance it may give away some of what is going on in the aforementioned book.

So, there you have it. My dilemma. I am going to have to have a long think and read through of notes to figure this one out.

Well, finished the editing of the third short story over the weekend. Just one more to go.

That one is the longest of them though, and the first one written, so will probably take the longest. I hope to have it done in the next couple of days though.

An Interesting Idea

Posted: May 16, 2009 in General
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Had a rather intriguing idea come to mind the last few days. Of course I don’t have time for any other new ideas so this one is just being made note of for future use – unless it really takes a hold and doesn’t let go.

I was watching a show the other day and there was an actor on it whose face I knew but I couldn’t place him from what. It bugged me for quite some time until I figured it out – he was one of Sean Bean’s men from National Treasure.

These treasure hunting movies and stories have always been a favourite of mine. As it happened I had also been looking at the Belgariad again. That series is the equivalent of junk food and Coke – it isn’t good for you but some days you just crave it.

The thought came to me that the whole prophecy thing in the Belgariad (and similar stories) is remarkably similar to the hidden clues that lead to the secret treasure. What if you were to combine the two…

And thus was born the idea of a character blessed by vision – but instead of using it to slay the evil god, save the world, but to get clues leading to the hidden treasure…