Archive for May, 2009

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…

Making Progress

Posted: May 15, 2009 in writing update
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Got in a couple of hours of solid work yesterday and finished off the second of the short stories I had in progress (for a given value of finished.)

It came out to around 9500 words in the end, a decent length for a short story. I’m sure that with time I could make it better but it is good enough for what I want for now.

The other two short stories I hope to finish editing in the next few days, ready for people to have a read of.

I managed to get some writing done this week. Not a lot, but its a start compared to previous weeks. I also started getting back into posting on this site again. After such a long break it feels good to be making progress again, and I am positive about what is to come.

I hope to soon have the four short stories I have been working on finished off, at least to the best that I can make them for now. Once that is done I have plans for them. More on that later.

Got a few errands to carry out now, but after that back into the writing.

Primal vs Intellectual

Posted: May 13, 2009 in General

This post is, in a way, related to the previous post I made, on Dwarves vs Elves, though it goes beyond that.

There are a number of never ending debates out there. Some, such as Cats vs Dogs, are fairly widely known, whilst others are more localised and often unknown outside the more geekish elements of culture. These are things like Dwarves vs Elves, Werewolves vs Vampires, Pirates vs Ninjas.

I have a theory, though it has yet to be tested, that if you were to ask someone who they favoured, Cats or Dogs, you could pick with a fair degree of certainty their answers in the other debates.

Lets list a few and see what you choose.
Cats vs Dogs
Dwarves vs Elves
Pirates vs Ninjas
Werewolves vs Vampires
Romulans vs Klingons
Narn vs Centauri
Horde vs Alliance
Swords vs Sorcery

My theory is that if you went with dogs, you would be more likely to choose Dwarves, Pirates, Werewolves, Klingons, Narn, Horde and Swods. On the other side a cat person would be more likely to go for Elves, Vampires, Romulans, Centauri, Alliance and Sorcery. In my case I am a dog person and went every single choice on the dog side.

In thinking about his I labeled this as a debate between primal and intellectual.

The primal side is the wild side, doers, not thinkers. They react on instinct, are fierce and proud and often rely on brute force and ignorance to solve things.

The intellectual side is the exact opposite. It is the side of the thinkers, the refined and cultured types who prefer to plan and plot before acting.

Of course the primal side can go to far, becoming bloodthirsty and barbaric, yet on the other hand the intellectuals can become arrogant, spiteful, and petty.

And the worse villains. A primal villain will simply kill you. An intellectual villain is likely to take sadistic pleasure in victory and prolong the torment to let you know just who has won.

At least, that is my theory.

Dwarves vs Elves

Posted: May 11, 2009 in General
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Dwarves or Elves. It is an old debate, and one, like Dogs or Cats and Pirates or Ninjas, is endlessly debated with no resolutions. On one side you have those who know the truth and on the other the recalcitrants that refuse to acknowledge what is obviously the truth. On one hand you have a race that is honourable, hard working, loyal, dependable and on the other is an arrogant, proud, xenophobic people with delusions of superiority.

But now that debate can be put to rest. The Dwarves and Elves themselves debated this very topic, and the winner is obvious for all to see.

For myself I have always been a fan of Dwarves, ever since I can remember. Early influences were of course Narnia, The Black Cauldron and of course The Hobbit.

Dwarves, unfortunately, have never had the respect they deserve, unlike those upstart Elves, and have become more and more likely to be used as comic relief, and as badly stereotyped Scotsmen.

In the early days, back when I was a teen, I also liked the Elves. But as I got older the more Elves began to annoy me, until now days I hate them with a burning passion. Why the change of opinion? It is because I grew up in my opinion. Elves appeal to teenagers, as they share the same superior, know-it-all attitude. Lets face it Elves, as normally written, are arrogant, angsty and superior at everything. (The Inheritance series is a classic example of this, and, not surprisingly, written by a teenager. Vegan elves who wear leather? Think a bit harder.) The there is the fact that Tolkien’s Elves have been ripped off so badly and often it is beyond a joke.

Elves of today are a far cry of Elves of mythology, which is why I like Pratchett’s Elves, whom are vicious and evil and malevolent, just the way Elves should be.

When I started writing in my world, my aim was to have Dwarves front and centre, to make them in my world what Elves were in Tolkien’s – the superior race. Looking back, I probably overdid it a bit, but I was young then, and since then have wound it back a bit until the current situation where they are no longer Dwarves as commonly seen, but a race called the Arduq, ancient and mysterious, spirits of earth who emerge rarely from the deep deserts on tasks few understand or can fathom. Hairless and beardless, their skins are the colours of stones and metals and they also work alongside the dragons. They are sometimes called Dwarves, but that is a result of a mistranslation of one of the names they give themselves – The Diminished.

Elves also existed int he early days of the creation of the world, and were, sadly, clones of Tolkien’s Elves. As my opinions of Elves changed, so did their place and role in my world. I am still deciding exactly how, if at all, to use them. Their current role is that of of a race called the Aelfir, a race not of the world of Sharael and who fill a role somewhere between that of a Vampire and a Wraith. Not a pleasant people, but there are exceptions.