Saturday, January 3, 2015

Defugia, the bright light on the black shores

This is what I listen to as I write about Defugia.  Not its bustling market or busy piers.  Not its thick walls of living stone or the tightly packed residences within the walls.  Defugia is, first and foremost, an ideal.  And an ideal will breathe its own particular brand of life into a place. 

By the way, if you haven't watched the new Star Trek movies then you should remedy that situation immediately.  10/10 for me, even when I rewatch them on dvd they still raise my pulse. 

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies

Random thoughts after watching the movie:

Lots of good.  Lots of material that is straight from the mind of Peter Jackson and not from the pages of the Hobbit.

Martin Freeman is so good as Bilbo, he makes the movie for me. 

Dain:  this guy looks like he's straight from the intro movie to Warhammer Online:  Age of Reckoning.
skip ahead to 0:55

more after the jump...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Writing into a Corner

Ever start writing a scene and feel like you're banging your head against a wall?  Or maybe you plow through that wall with sheer desire to write your scene, but when you go back and read it you find it to be lacking?

In my process, I think of these two instances as two sides of the same coin:  writing into a corner.

Having written into many corners, I have developed a mantra for thinking my way around the corner :  Let the scene be about what the scene is about.

Sounds obvious, right?  Well yeah, but that's why it works for me.

Sometimes I find myself getting really into the setting.  Perhaps a particular building or location really excites me.  Like Doug from the movie Up, a squirrel can take your attention away really quickly from the task at hand. When that happens it is easy to try to couch the purpose of the scene in terms of that particular thing that excites you in the moment.

That never works out for me.

Example:  The purpose of the scene is to show a necromancer unleashing a horror against a protagonist.  The scene also needs to introduce the necromancer's lair, which is an awesome place.  The lair must be developed in terms of the necromancer's actions.  If the necromancer's actions are developed in terms of the lair, the scene tends to lose coherence and I'm left unsatisfied. 

By rewriting the scene and couching everything in terms of the highest priority of the scene, I find that troublesome scenes tend to be easier to write and I like the result better as well.

Cheers, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Help Must Come to Us

Yes I know I've used a quote from the movie and not the book, but we'll just have to make do with the lesser of two inspirations today.

I've been looking at the pacing of Blind Guardian today, paying particular attention to the ebbs and flows of action sequences.  I'm reminded of The Return of the King movie, where Pippen and Gandalf are on the balcony watching the darkness approach.  It is the deep breath before the storm and it builds tension like crazy.

While I'm working on the deep breaths of my story, here's what I'll be listening to:

Jeremy Soule is fantastic.  You may notice that I listen to a fair amount of video game music.  You'd be right to notice that.  To the uninitiated, the "video game" modifier for "music" might draw a laugh and an inference that the art is silly or cheap but I promise you nothing could be further from the case.  Have a listen and see if you agree.

Bonus LotR art after the break (found it posted on goodreads, I think it's the work of Jian Guo )

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Would-be authors and their blogs

Participation in the flash fiction challenge has led to an unanticipated realization:  there are a ton of would-be authors in the same position as me.

I mean, I always knew that was the case.  But it's different to read a bunch of responses to the flash fiction challenge and see how well these people tell stories.  And the responses to that one flash fiction challenge represent only the smallest of fractions of the total number of people who are working hard to get their first novels published.  If publishers are searching for a needle in a haystack it's easy to feel like just another piece of hay!

But the majority of authors probably feel this way before they get their break and they get their novel published.  And that's an encouraging thought.

BG Update:  character outlines are finished, next task is reviewing the scene outlines and addressing structural weaknesses.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Ditch that Runs Parallel

I wander through a lot of writing blogs, usually aimlessly hoping something sparks inspiration.  This morning I came across Chuck Wendig's blog.  He has posted a Flash Fiction Challenge.

Oddly, only yesterday I had talked to someone about something and I had a secret thought along the lines of "that creeps me out, it'd be the perfect beginning to a horror story."  That I will eventually teeter on the edge of death has always horrified me.  Will I struggle for life or happily let go?

Mind you, I don't read horror.  It's not that I don't like it, but there are only so many hours in the day you know?  So what follows is my ~1600 word take on the holiday horror challenge, and it may or may not actually be horror.  It started out being holiday themed, but in the end it's only holiday related insofar as it is a foil to the dizzying highs normally associated with the holidays.  I'm titling it The Ditch that Runs Parallel

            Cindy lost control of her Lexus SUV when it hit a patch of ice.  She was an amateur photographer and, as a favor to her brother and his wife, was scouting for a decent location to take pictures for their family Christmas card.  The mountain road that wound through the Cibola National Forest was steep, narrow, and winding.  The road conditions deteriorated the higher Cindy drove, and at last she had decided to turn around.  She hit the ice while performing a K-turn.

            When she realized she had lost control, she felt panic.  But she was at the same time struck by how wonderful the sliding felt.  Slow and with beautiful inevitability, physics dictated that her car slid sideways and into the shallow ditch that ran parallel to the road.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Nothing accompanies black ale quite like a bard's lute

So there's one thing yWriter software doesn't do:  offer a place to keep youtube videos.  After my last post on the music that is inspiring my fictional world, I realized just how great it is to be able to go to one location and play whatever BG inspiring video I want.  Since this blog, heretofore, is mostly me talking to myself I don't feel any remorse in flooding this space with inspirational tunes.  It's a great way to have them readily available to me as I write.  I hope you, dear absent readers, will enjoy them as much as I do. 

Rhys, Bearer of the Bard Petranth, enchants minds with his musical chops.  He is comfortable playing a flute, hurdy-gurdy, and fiddle but his weapon of choice is the lute.  Or, in a pinch, dual wielding a sabre and dagger.

Sometimes others can't help joining in to jam with Rhys, whether they play a 2 string bass, a less mean lute, or simply pound a beat with fists on tables and feet on ground.