Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 42

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity chapter 43 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is Gabriel's climax/resolution. You'll notice that the climaxes of both Gabriel and the Apostle are more about inner discoveries and overcoming things within themselves than about action. This is something that really shines in the medium of the printed word. You can describe the emotional changes, realizations and turmoil much better than say, in a movie where the climax of the story is described in pictures. Sure, there was a lot of action that led up to the two of these characters overcoming their respective demons, but the true climax comes with their realizations, rather than their defeat of each other.

In keeping with the whole a protagonist much either convert or utterly destroy the antagonist in the end of a story rule, we have Gabriel who lost to the Apostle in their duel, but he defeated her by converting her to his way of thinking afterward. And the Apostle utterly destroyed Cain's plans by removing the Spires of Infinity then killing herself rather than using her crystal to jump to safety.

Anyway, Gabriel basically earns his redemption in this chapter, and that's pretty much the end of his storyline. There'll be a bit more from his point of view at the end, but now the story is going to focus on Kari and the end of her storyline. She and her brothers have been pretty absent in the last ten chapters or so, and now it's time to see what they've been up to. I couldn't jump over to them in the middle of the part where Gabriel went into the past, because since all of the characters came together at the Spires of Infinity we've been following his timeline, and even though these things have happened for other characters, they have not yet happened for Gabriel. Now that Gabriel has returned a minute or two after he left, what is going on in the present can now resume, and I can get to telling the end of Kari's storyline. Does that make any sense to anyone else, or is it just me? haha.

The first draft of this story is now at 154,180 words of an estimated 170,000. Yet again I've raised my estimate of how many words this story is going to end at. 170k seems like it'll be pretty close though. There's not much left, maybe two to three chapters and an epilogue, I definitely couldn't finish that in 160k, but I think I can fit it all into 170k give or take a few thousand. This story turned out to be much longer than I originally expected, which I suppose is a good thing, though I'd really like to keep the word count of the final draft down around 150k to help my chances of getting it published.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 41

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 41 and you can download it at the bottom of this page.

In this chapter Gabriel and the Apostle's confrontation comes to a close with the Apostle redeeming herself. In the end it was not blades or guns that could defeat her, it was words. This is the Apostle of Cain's resolution/climax/whatever.

This is another chapter that was not in my original outline. I've changed the original ending I had planned because the things I had planned were a little unsatisfying, and left a lot of loose ends, and it didn't really have much of an ending for the Apostle's storyline at all. It also went against Gabriel's character too, and you should never make characters do things that they would never do. Plus, the Apostle had to fulfill the prophecy that Marce made, and I had originally planned that she would simply do that by purposely losing to Gabriel, which also goes against her character.

The first draft of this story is now at 150,014 words out of an estimated 160,000. And now I've passed up the 150k estimate as well. I still have Gabriel and Kari's climaxes and resolutions to throw in.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 40

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 40 and it can be downloaded at teh bottom of this page.

I'm from the generation that grew up on Star Wars, and the Wheel of Time, and other such great stories. There's one thing that these stories all have in common. There is always an epic duel in the end that just blows your mind with how awesome it is. In my opinion no story is complete without one. Now, I'm not saying that my duel is quite that awesome in it's first draft here, but I have to say it is pretty darn cool. You've got two people fighting on a catwalk that runs right next to a black hole with the gravitational lensing effect bending and twisting everything around them. Their blades are sparking against everything they hit, and bit of an urgency is hanging in the air, in that Gabriel has to hold off the Apostle for a certain amount of time before he can complete his mission.

Now, I realize this duel is not very impressive in its current form, and I really need to work on the imagery and such in the later drafts, but that's kinda the point. The first draft is supposed to have holes and flaws in it. That's why you write it, so you can improve on it. So don't be too disappointed if the epic duel isn't quite so epic as you were hoping it would be, but it will get better in later drafts.

The first draft of this story is now at 144,736 words out of an estimated 160,000.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 39

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 39, and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

In this chapter our characters make it to the containment area where the Black Hole is held. I did a lot of research on the properties of black holes before I started writing this story, from what one would look like up close, to the time dilation in proximity to one, to gravitational lensing. I've also added some fictional, supernatural elements to it, to make it more of a malevolant entity rather than a naturally occurring force of nature.

Also, you'll notice this is not the first time that the Apostle has seen a black hole, though the surface of the event horizon was a different color. She doesn't know what it is, or anything about it other than it was what put her in her current bind and it frightens her. If you'll think back to when Allie was first explaining how the Spires of Infinity create Gates to other worlds and times she says that black holes are like doorways to a place that exists outside of space and time. You step out of the universe, and then back in at your desired point in space and time. The Black Hole on the World Closest to Perdition is sort of like a gateway through which the Council communicates with Cain in his prison, which is called Perdition. It's basically a hole in reality to a place that exists outside of what we view as normal time and space. The event horizons, or surface of the sphere of these two black holes are different colors, and there is a reason for that. One is a doorway to a place that is so far from the center of the universe that any light has yet to reach it. A place so far from anything that even the radiance of God can't light it up. Or Outer Darkness as we Mormons like to call it. It's basically hell, a place so far removed from everything that it's completely cut off from the presense o God, the ultimate punishement. The other leads to somewhere else, which will come up in the story later so I won't ruin it by posting what's going to happen here. Let's just say that the surface is silver instead of black because there's a lot more light on the other end.

The first draft of this story is now at 141,076 words out of an estimated 160,000. I've raised the estimation for the word count yet again, because there's still about six to eight chapters left, and an epilogue. That's just not going to get done in 9k words.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 38

I've finished and uploaded the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 38. You can download it at the bottom of this page .

In this chapter Gabriel must fight his way into a maintenance duct that leads to the containment area under the Central Spire of the Spires of Infinity so that he can set his paradox into motion and save the future.

This chapter was not in my original outline. I added it in on a spur of hte moment whim because I thought there needed to be something a little more exciting in the build up to Gabriel's confrontation with the Apostle. I also wanted to show what the Emperor's elite are really like, but never found a way to work it into the story yet. The reason it took me so long to write this chapter was that I took a couple days to plan it out before I started writing it. I do things like this quite a bit. Sometimes my outline looks awesome before I start writing, but as I get to certain parts ideas come to me for changes, or I think that something needs to be done differently. I think that being flexible and telling the story the way it needs to be told rather than locking myself into the outline, the outline and only the outline is very important.

One thing that I would like to note is that each of the three separate storylines have come together now, but each of them will have their own climax to them. The coming climax is the ending of the Apostle's storyline, not Gabriel's. There will be an ending for Gabriel's storyline shortly after, but the fight in the containment area is the Apostle's resolution, not Gabriel's. After that we'll flash back/forward/wahtever over to Kari's climax, which is the part of hte story that explains how the Apostle and Sam got back into the past. After this will be a sort of cooldown, tying up loose ends, sort of thing and the end. I just want it to be clear that there's still more story beyond Gabriel and the Apostle facing off with an unstable black hole in the background. As cool as that is, there needs to be a resolution and a triumph for ALL of the characters, not just one of them. The Apostle may seem like a villain, but she's not. She's one of the heroes, and she needs to both redeem herself, and triumph over the evil that is controlling her.

The first draft of this story is now at 136,863 words out of an estimated 150,000. I've now passed up the 135k mark where I estimated I would end. With this extra chapter added in I'm thinking it's going to end up closer to 160-165k, but we'll see.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Apostle's Powers

I've never really put into the story what, exactly the Apostle's powers are. I did that for a reason. It's to make her more mysterious, and to keep you wondering what she might be capable of.

First is the mystery of what, exactly, she is. She is both genetically engineered, and a Heretic. This means that one of her parents was a Demon summoned into a human body, and the other was a human. This is where her tail and wolf ears come from. Additionally her genetic material was altered at the moment she was concieved to make make her more suggestable to commands and less able to think for herself. This also changed her eyes to normal human eyes rather than beastlike eyes like normal Heretics. She is stronger and faster than a normal Heretic, capable of greater understanding, and has greater endurance, but she still falls victim to the wasting sickness her kind is plagued with.

She was raised in an environment where she was kept in a cell, not given clothing until she earned it,a nd studied nothing but how to kill people and hone her natural abilities. She never learned what a family was, or what a friend was. She doesn't understand social relationships and has no clue what love is, or how children are born. She doesn't even really understand the difference between men and women. She has never known happiness or comfort, or the warmth of a loving embrace. She doesn't understand what these things are. The first time she ever felt anything even remotely close to pleasure was when she was drinking the blood of a human. It was so foreign to her and so completely different to anything she had ever felt before that it hit her that much harder, and caused a very strong addiction.

Her anger at being forced to kill her own kind allowed her to break the genetic programming that the Council imposed on her to make her more docile toward them and more accepting of their orders. It allowed her to begin thinking for herself and plotting her revenge. Seeing how docile and willing to follow orders the other Subjects were made her even angrier. The fact that she was the only one that seemed to have any clue that what they were doing was wrong made her hate the Council even more, and in turn, that hatred helped her continue to break free of the genetic manipulation.

Once she proved herself to be the Apostle she was taken to a place on the World Closest to Perdition where the walls of reality are thin and one can see into Perdition itself. Perdition is a place so far removed from the center of the universe that even the radiance of God cannot reach it. Those who serve Cain will be cast into this place after the last day. It is currently the place where Cain is imprisoned. She stared into Perdition and Cain stared back. The genetic manipulation that was performed on her made it possible for Cain to transfer a part of his consciousness into the Apostle, changing her from a genetically altered Heretic into something more. He melded with her creating a new being entirely that he could influence completely from his prison.

The Apostle has several powers that are unique to her alone.

First, she can see into the souls of any human and see the darkness that dwells within everyone. She uses this ability to guilt people into doing her bidding.

Second, she can influence the emotions that a person is feeling to some degree. This is one of the ways she is able to so easily convert people to loyal followers of Cain. She asks them to pray, and then causes them to have an emotional response that they find hard to ignore as coinsidence. She is able to use this ability on many people at once without much effort.

Third, she can transfer the seed that Cain planted in her that allows him to directly control her into any person that she comes into contact with. These people can then be completely controlled by Cain, and can pass the seed on to others. With enough followers bearing the seed an entire world can become populated by nothing but puppets controlled by Cain. This power evolved from the joining of the Apostle's genetically manipulaed body and mind, and the seed Cain planted in her. The seed caused a change in not only her, but the seed itself, which gave birth to the ability to pass the seed on to normal people without the genetic manipulation she was born with.

There are defenses against the Apostle's power. Any person with a strong will can resist all of these powers. Free will is something that can never be taken from a human being by force. It can only be taken away when it is given up by those who do not value it, or themselves enough to hold onto it. Those that are weak-willed, everyday people that would rather not have to think for themselves are basically boned, to put it colorfully. If you don't want to resist, you aren't able to, and some people would rather be told what to do rather than thinking for themselves. Unfortunately, those people number far more than they should in our day and age.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 37

I've finished the first draft of Spires Of Infinity Chapter 37 and it can be downloaded from the bottom of this page

In this chapter the Apostle begins to truly realize how trapped she is by what she has become, and she begins to see what it is she's been doing all of this time.

If you will remember back thirty chapters or so a cute little goddess made a prophecy concerning a spreading darkness causing the stars to go out one by one. This is where you see this prophecy begin to be fulfilled. The stars going out is not literal, it's more figurative. As a world is converted to the ways of Cain it's light goes out. This is what she was talking about. The goddess also prophecied that a Heretic would provide the only chance for stopping this tide of darkness. She did not know if this Heretic would be male or female, or what he or she was supposed to do to help stop the darkness, only that it would be impossible without this individual.

The first draft of this story is now at 131,748 words out of an estimated 150,000.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 36

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 36 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

In this chapter Gabriel is talked into doing something extremely awful, but necessary.

I've also tossed in a few more paradoxes for your wtf enjoyment. The first of which is that Allie remembers that all of this already happened before, and it played out differently. She remembers that Gabriel failed and died by her order. She's been waiting this entire time for the opportunity to change the past and make it so he succeeded instead. The second is that if Allie is never created then she can't exist in the future to plot the Gate Jump for Gabriel back to the past, and she cannot exist in the Sa'Dhi in Gabriel's hand. I have always liked paradoxes, and now that I have the chance to create a few billion of them, I'm going to make as many as I can. They're pretty entertaining in my opinion.

The first draft of this story is now at 128,049 out of an estimated 150,000.

Spires of Infinity Chapter 35

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 35 and you can download it at the bottom of this page.

In this chapter our heroes are questioned by the soldiers at the Spires of Infinity, and thanks to a certain talking cat manage to escape.

In this chapter I also show a smaller, much more contained time paradox in that the scientists invent the NVM technology by reverse engineering the nano machines found in Sam's blood. In essence she came back in time with NVM, and they learned how to make it from her, so that she could get it in the future, and come back so they could learn how to make it from her. I like tossing in weird little things like that that make people stop and think for a minute about the implications, without actually sitting down and spelling out all of the implications to them.

The first draft of this story is now at 125,146 words out of an estimated 150,000. Again, I've raised my estimate for the length of this story, because it just isn't going to be finished in another ten thousand words. That's about three chapters worth and there's no way this book is ending in three chapters. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to wrap it up around 150k though. Maybe 160 at the most, but not much more than that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chapters 33 & 34

The First draft of Spires of Infinity Chapters 33 and 34 are done, you can download them at the bottom of this page .

In these chapters Gabriel goes back in time, everyone left behind prepares to defend the Spires of Infinity. The Apostle unexpectedly appears in the past with Gabriel, leading him to believe that the battle has been lost.

I'd like to get more from teh Apostle's point of view in this part of the story, because I've been neglecting her more than I meant to so far. However, I just can't think of a way to do it without giving away things that happen later in the story, namely how she got back to the past in the first place. I plan to go into that in great detail later on, and until it actually happens my hands are kind of tied because Gabriel is the only character now taht doesn't know what happened. So I have to stay in his head until it actually happens in the course of his storyline. Again, I'm messing with timelines here. Remember, the life of a time traveler doesn't always happen in the right order.

I got a bit side tracked by my brother moving in and by Final Fantasy 13 last week, but I'm back to working with a goal of finishing one chapter every day until I'm done. I may or may not be able to hold to that goal, but we'll see.

The first draft of this story is now at 121,907 words out of an estimated 135,000. As you can see I've already surpassed my original goal of 120k, and I will likely break past 135k as well. I might go as high as 150k with the first draft. I'm not sure how long it'll end up, but I'd like to keep the final draft under 175k. If I'm unable to get Beyond the Lost Horizon published my thoughts are that a shorter book with a more original story idea will have a better chance.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

unexpected delays

So I haven't written very much this week. There is a reason for that. Long, long ago, before Final Fantasy 12, the absolute worst game in the series, came out I apparently preordered Final Fantasy 13 (which was announced before the release of 12) and forgot about it because 12 sucked so incredibly much. Well this week it arrived on my doorstep, completely unexpectedly, and again, completely unexpectedly it is actually a very awesome game, making 12 the fluke of the series I guess. Anyway, I got absorbed into Final Fantasy 13 and haven't done much else this week. It's been about 8 years or so since a decent Final Fantasy game was released, so I'm kinda excited about finishing it before I lose interest like I do with many games that I start playing.

Also, I have been working on some revisions rather than writing on new material. I'm trying to expand the beginning of the story a little so it's known what is at stake from the start. I've written a new prologue, and added a few things throughout. That is also a reason why there haven't been many new chapters posted this week. I'll kick myself into working a bit more this weekend.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 32

After taking the weekend off of writing to help my brother move in with me, I'm back to work. I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 32 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page .

In this chapter Gabriel and Sam argue about Gabriel going back to the past alone. Sam is afraid of losing him, and doesn't want to be left out, and Gabriel wants to protect her from any harm that might befall her in the past, because he knows it will be dangerous.

And then the Imperial Army shows up, in fewer numbers and poorer shape than Gabriel had originally hoped.

The first draft of this story is now at 112,903 words out of an estimated 135,000.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 31

I've finished up the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 31 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page .

In this chapter Gabriel lays out his cunning plan (haha, blackadder joke) The Apostle's army approaches, as do reinforcements from the Imperial Army that fled the Quarantine Zone. Time grows short, the protective energy shield of the Spires of Infinity cannot be used while the gateway is in use, and Gabriel must travel back through time to set things right.

The first draft of this story is now at 109,073 words out of an estimated 135,000.

Spires of Infinity Chapter 30

So I've been busy today. Three chapters in one day. I said I write faster when I get near the end and I wasn't joking. I've finished chapter 30 of the first draft of Spires of Infinity and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page .

In this chapter Gabriel comes to terms with his sins with a little help from Kari and her message from Raven. One thing that you may notice here is that I have changed the message that Raven has given Kari to give to Gabriel. That is because it gets a little bit more of an emotional reaction from gabriel this way. When I go back through doing revisions on my second draft I'll be changing the message to match what I've put here.

Gabriel makes his big decision, and puts Sam at ease as to who his feelings are truly with. There is an army on the way, and Gabriel knows how to fix the sun without destroying the universe in a time paradox. Will he be able to do it before the Apostle arrives to take her revenge on Cain, and in so doing grant his deepest desire? Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel to find out.

With that we've basically gotten all of the talking and lovey dovey emotional stuff out of the way. There's one more chapter where GAbriel explains his plan, then it's basically all action from here on out. BWAAHAAHAA!!!

The first draft of this story is now at 105,867 words out of an estimated 135,000. I've raised my estimation for the length of the book because I'm definitely not going to finish it in another 14k words, that is definitely for sure. Possibly in another 30k, but possibly more than that as well. we'll see. There's still quite a bit that needs to happen. Check back soon for more. I'm sure that I'll be getting at least a chapter a day done until I've finished, if not more.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapters 28 and 29

I've finished chapters 28 and 29 of the first draft of Spires of Infinity and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page .

In these two chapters the situation with the Spires of Infinity and the dying sun is really laid out so you know exacly what is happening with them. You also find that there is no time traveling back to stop the Spires from being activated as that wold create a paradox that would destroy all of creation eventually.

We also learn what Cain's true goal with his use of the Apostle has been all along, and the danger that Gabriel was sent to the Spires of Infinity to prevent. Now he has a very difficult choice and some deep soul searching to do before he can make it. He can become the universes greatest hero, or its greatest coward depending on the choice he makes in the next chapter, which will be coming very soon, probably tomorrow.

The first draft of this story has now broken the 100k mark at 101,601 words out of an estimated 120,000.

Spires of Infinity Chapter 27

Ok, so I lied. Revisions to my outline took about a day, rather than a week, so here I am back to writing, much sooner than I thought I'd be. I've finisehd the first draft of chapter twenty seven of Spire of Infinity and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

In this chapter Gabriel and Sam reach the Spires of Infinity at last. Gabriel's sins are starting to weigh down on him, and he has come to realize how wrong he'd been in his previous life. Now he can clearly see what a scumbag he is, and how stained his hands, and his soul, are with blood.

Sam, on the other hand, is pissed at him for wanting to leave her and her world behind like a coward after he showed her such extreme bravery while rescuing her.

Neither of them wants to argue, but neither of them really knows how best to get their points across to the other without offending.

The first draft of this story is now at 96,065 words out of an estimated 120,000. It's now looking to me that I'm almost assuredly going to go over the 120k mark.

I'm getting close to the end. I always tend to write much faster when I reach the climax of a book. I expect I may be finished with the first draft within the next two weeks or so. After that I plan to begin revisions on Exile before returning to do revisions on Spires. And when all of that is finished, who knows, probably revisions on Ark of Zarathustra (it probably needs them more than anything else I have on my plate right now, but it'll take much longer and require a lot more work than the other, shorter stories)