Thursday, August 26, 2010

Soooo, I'm a sociopath...?

So the other day at work, my first day back after being to sick to walk straight, some guy i barely knew at work just dropped dead of a heart attack right there in the middle of the post office. Today we had mandatory one on one time with a grief councilor, who in our brief fifteen minutes together has dubbed me as "Displaying sociopathic behavior" and as I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, she explained that I have a severe lack of empathy for anyone that is not me, and she wants to see me again on a more long term basis because she thinks I'm really messed up. I mean seriously, I didn't even know the guy's name, and rarely if ever even interacted with him. What am I supposed to do, break down in tears over his death? Would you? I might as well have never met the guy, and she went on and on about how my refusing to get to know my coworkers (of which there are over 200 might I add) is just another part of it.

Sure, I'll be the first to admit that I do have a serious problem empathizing with other people, and have a hard time recognizing emotions in people I'm not familliar with (signs of Antisocial Behavioral Disorder or Sociopathy, thank you wikipedia). What annoys me about this is that she's crawling down my throat about it over a guy I saw so little I couldn't even describe him to you. He might as well have been a stranger off the street. I didn't even witness the actual event, I was in the break room getting a coke. And, not to mention, that I was still sick after a pretty long stretch of being unable to work because of it. It was my reaction to this event and ONLY this event that she based that opinion on. Which is why I have a strong dislike for therapists. They made me go to one back when I was sent home from my mission, and the guy kept pulling radical conclusions out of nowhere to describe me and none of them were even close, although he was the first one to suggest that I might have a mild electrical problem in my brain afer observing me pausing, completely unaware of it, in mid sentance several times, which did turn out to be true a few months later.

Anyway, long rant short, she talked to my supervisor, lying and saying that I might be having some serious problems due to the incident, and now I'm stuck going to her for an hour a week every thursday (in 45 mins for my first actually). If I miss an appointment I am automatically suspended from work without pay. My only consolation is that I'm not paying for it, workman's comp is BWAAHAAHAA. I also find the prospect of having a certified piece of paper with all of my mental vices on it to jokingly wave at my parents and say "look what you did to me" somewhat amusing as well.

Exile Third Draft Preview

I'm still alive... I think. If I'm not then I'm blogging from beyond the grave and you should all be honored that I would take the time out of my afterlife to do so.

I've been massively sick for the last week and a half or so, and lucky me, having no health insurance, have been too poor to afford to go to a doctor, so I just have to deal with it *joy*. Being sick for my birthday was not cool, but oh well.

Anyway, I've been too dead to do any real work on the third draft of Exile until the last few days. This draft, I've decided, is going to have only the edits needed to make the ending make sense added to it. All other changes are going to wait until draft 4. Still there is a rather lengthy storyline with Patrick and WEasel that will probably be 5-6 chapters at least, and a few other little additions here and there.

I've started writing patrick's storyline seperately, and when it's done I will chop it up into chapters and put it into the draft where I think it fits well enough. These chapters are going to be rather longer than the others in the story before the ending as they need to tell a lengthy story in as few interuptions as possible. Throughout the whole story you keep hearing about the horrors of the Samirreh invasion and I never really let you see any of it firsthand, or even really an actual samirreh until the ending. With this storyline I'm going to take you into the war, and show you the people fighting it, and the horrors that they've lived through, and see with their own eyes. Before I kinda just made you take my word for it that the Samirreh are evil, now you'll get to see how evil they really are.

Anyway, after posting so much of spires and then exile draft 2 up here so often I felt like I was kind of leaving something out not posting anything to be read, so I put up a Third Draft Preview on my site, and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

What this is is basically the beginning of Patrick and Weasel's storyline, how they meet, and what their relationship is like. It introdices the two characters to you early on in the book and gives you a good idea about who they are and what they're doing, and what effects their actions are having on the rest of the Four Kingdoms. Plus there's a bit of setup for the rest of their storyline with thier particular villain Lawrence. Right from the beginning you can see that this storyline is going to be very dark, but if you've read the second draft you know that it has a happy ending. Enjoy =)

I plan to have this draft completed in just a few weeks, though that depends on how long it takes me to read Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings a book he's been blogging about for years and only just got around to publishing. I've read previews of it and it is awesome so far. I may disappear into a hole for a week or two--probably 2 as it is 1008 pages long IN HARDCOVER--to read it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010



So I got into an argument at work today about the merits of fanfic. The other arguee, is a rather pathetic 58 year old woman who is completely and utterly obsessed with Twilight. She spends most of her free time writing rather disgustingly erotic fanfics where the Twilight characters basically screw each other until someone loses an eye. She even told, once, of a slumber party she had with women her own age, where they stayed up all night writing Twilight fanfics together and reading them to each other. GROWN WOMEN, ALL!!! And most of them old enough to have grand children and even great grand children, acting like twelve year old girls. Setting aside the wtf factor of that for another rant, her argument is that fanfics are fun. They're not hurting anyone. They continue the stories that people love, giving fans a way to live their fantasies. She thought that I'd be pleased with her as she knows that I spend a lot of time writing and am trying very hard to get a writing career off the ground. Unfortunately for her, I have a very low opinion of fanfic, and those that waste their talents writing it, and I'll tell you why.

I am no stranger to fanfiction. In my earlier years I used to seek them out on the internet, because like the people who wrote them, I wanted the stories of my favorite games, movies and animes to continue on. I even tried my hand at writing a few, though I found it to be very unsatisfying in the end. Why? Because I was wasting my talents on something I can never, ever, ever take credit for. I am the sort of person that likes to be praised and recognized for my accomplishments. I do not know where this need of mine came from, likely because as the first child everything I did was never good enough for my parents. From an early age I was constantly driven to be the best, and when I fell short, as I often did, I was chastised for it, rather than told that since I did my best I should be proud of what I'd accomplished. They never praised anything I did, even when I became Utah's youngest Eagle Scout in history, and told me that I had better do better next time if I know what's good for me. Oh, it's not their fault, they were still learning to be parents at the time, and likely had no idea how badly they were messing me up. Writing stories that take place in other people's worlds with other people's characters did help me to begin learning how to write, but it was very unsatisfying, because it wasn't my own creation, and therefore I could not take credit for it, and thereby earn praise for it.

I've read many fanfics in my time, though I stopped bothering long ago. Some of the people who write them have real talent, and with a bit of polish and hard work they could have themselves a very successful writing career. But they instead waste themselves on writing stories that take place in the realms of someone else's imagination. It makes me sick to think of all the would be authors out there that are throwing away real chances of making something out of their talent for storytelling. It's just such a waste.

It is my belief that the people who write fanfics can sometimes have very good ideas for stories. They can be very creative and quite original sometimes, though the majority are just retellings of things that already happened in whatever the original source for their fanfic is. Why not take those ideas that you have for a fanfic, and instead of writing them out in someone else's world, with someone else's characters, take one step further into originality and create your own world around them, with your own characters to act them out? It's a very short step from coming up with a good idea for a story, to coming up with a world and characters to base it on. That is how I came to write my very first book. It was total crap, I will admit it, and I have tried very hard to forget it, but it was MY crap, and no one else could ever take credit for it. It was a first attempt at writing a book, way back in tenth grade, and it set me on the long path of honing my skills as a writer and pushing myself to come up with more original and more exciting ideas to write, with ore interesting characters and worlds.

The worst part about it is that most of the people that write fanfics with great skill, and very creative and original stories will never know how talented they are, because they will never seek to put their skills and talent to anything of their own making. THAT is why I hate fanfiction. Because it wastes the talents of the talented, and makes them think that there is nothing more to put their talents to. Think of all of the great writers who go on to boring office jobs and the like, because they never stopped writing fanfiction and started writing their own stories.

Fanfiction destroyes the careers of many promising young writers.

/end rant

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

But then again...

So I was thinking I was going to do the next draft of Spires of Infinity next, buuuuuuut I've decided I might as well finish up Exile first. It really doesn't need too much more work before it's completed, maybe just 3 more drafts, which will go considerably faster than the second as I've pretty much written out most of what needs to be written. THere are a few chapters that need to be written still, but those will not take too long, and then the rest of the edits are very minor until I reach the last draft where I chop it down to size, and it only took me 3 weeks to cut 100k words out of Beyond the Lost Horizon. I bet I can be done with Exile completely by the end of the year at the latest, and then I can turn my full attention to finishing Spires, which does NOT need the complete overhaul that Exile did so it should go pretty fast when I get to it. I think I can prolly be done with both by this time net year. It will be awesome to be done with these two projects so I can look ahead to a new one.

I have two potential stories to write after these two are finished. The first will be the next one in the storyline of Spires of Infinity, which I'm calling The Path for the moment, though that may change. The other will be a pretty long series, called Splitplane Saga, I'm still working out just the storyline of the first book in that series at the moment, though I do know how the series will end. The end was actually the part I thought of first. I'm kinda leaning toward that one more, just because it's such an intriging idea to me. The first book will be called The War of Echoes, and once I get the storyline all brainstormed out it will probably be the most epic and original thing I've ever attempted to write. Although, I may have to save that one until I get a book or two published though, because it's going to be epically long as well as just plain epic.

Anyway, I've already stared work on Draft 3 of Exile. I will not be posting chapter by chapter this time around. I probably will not be doing that until I'm working on the final. Anyway, the biggest changes that you might notice in draft 3 are a couple chapters of Fayt Nightfang earlier in the book to basically intorduce the bad guy earlier in the story so he doesn't just come out of nowhere 2/3 of the way through. And of course there will be a few chapters of Patrick and Weasel and their war against the Samirreh. Their subplot will not be a very big addition, but it needs to be there so that you know who they are and why you care about what happens to them in the end. Other changes will include work on grammar and paragraph structure, and adding of more descriptive writing to chapters that were new to draft 2. I'll post little updates as I continue with the Draft to say how it's going, and possibly the manuscript on my webite when it's completed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

For the Burgeners, here be me Shepherd's pie recipe.


1 cup grated cheese
1 lb chopped sirloin (aka stew meat)
several red potatoes
1/2 ts black pepper
4 cups water
Garlic salt
1 onion
1 green pepper
1/2 cup corn
a few stalks of celery
several carrots
1 tbs ranch dressing
4 strips of bacon
1/4-1/2 cup butter
1 packet gravy mix
several chopped green onions

This recipe is prepared in 3 different parts, the stew, the potatoes, and the pie.

The Stew:
First you'll want to chop up all of your carrots, celery, green pepper and onion.
Next, brown your meat in a skillit pan, and salt it heavily not to the point that you'll be gagging on it, but past what you'd normally salt it. The salt gets into the meat, and bleeds out while it boils into the stew to season the whole thing alla ye olde irish recipes.
When the meat is browned you'll want to leave the drippings in the pan, add your vegetables (corn included), 4 cups of water, and gravy seasoning. Beef gravy works well, but strangely enough I've found that turkey gravy actually makes for better tasting beef stew. Weird, yes, but there it is.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-ish, and let it boil until the vegetables are cooked through. You may need to add more salt, taste it to make sure. Add black pepper, as much or as little as you choose.

When the vegetables have cooked through remove the cover and turn the heat back up to high. You'll want to cook off every single bit of the water now, not just until it thickens. You'll need to constantly stir it until it turns into a sort of sludge around your meat and vegetables, and there's no liquid left in the pan. You need it to be as thick as you can possibly get it without burning it.

The Potatoes:

First you'll want to cook your bacon. Crisp it until it's almost, but not quite burnt, remove it from the pan, and let it dry/cool. Save the grease.

Next you'll want to cut up your potatoes and boil them. Smaller pieces cook faster. I normally leave the peels on because it adds a little bit of color, but you can peel them if you want.

Boil the potatos on high until they're cooked through and drain the water. Pour in the bacon grease, the ranch dressing, and the butter, you may or may not need all of the butter. You'll then want to mash them all together until there are no lumps left in the potatoes and it becomes a thick paste just a little bit more runny than mashed potatoes

Take the bacon, chop it up into small pieces and mix it in with the potatoes.

The Pie:

Preheat oven to 350

Pour stew into a 9 inch baking pan and spread out smoothly and evenly.

Pour the potatoes on top of it and spread out smoothely and evenly as well.

Cover the top with grated cheese and put into the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted.

Chop up your green onions and sprinkle them on top once the cheese has melted.

Serves 4-6 peoples, and makes enough dirty dishes for 12.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What now?

So, now that I've finished the second draft of Exile, here's my plans as far as my writing goes.

First of all I'm going to take a week or two off.

Next I will ready through the first draft of Spires of Infinity, and take notes on everything that needs to be changed, added, removed, fixed and so on.

Then I will write the second draft of Spires, which will hopefully NOT take four months as the second draft of Exile did.

Once that is finished I have a very long list of things that need to be done in the third draft of Exile, and I will begin to do after reading through the second draft.

And so on, and so forth, until both books have been completed.

Exile Chapter 48 and Epilogue Rewrites.

I've finished the second draft of Exile, Chapter 48, the Epilogue, and the full second draft can all now be downloaded at the bottome of this page.

All of the loose ends are tied up in chapter 48, and the all important prophecy that started everything is fulfilled, and that's about all there is to say about that chapter, except that I did lay it on a little thick with the sorrowulness I'm afraid, but really, it's a tragedy, everyone should end up in tears, right?

The epilogue is somethign I'm very proud of. I've always hated getting to the end of the book, closing the cover, placing it back on my shelf and saying to myself, "I wonder what happened next." Well, with this epilogue I decided to do something different. As Malcolm is now in a place of vantage that he is able to watch everyone he ever knew live their lives, I give an account of where all of the characters' lives take them after the story is over to the end of their days. There is a paragraph for every character still living so you wont be left with the wondering of what happens to them next.

The first draft ended at 117,352 words. 67,771 of those words made it past the cut into the second draft.
The second draft ended at 247,112 words, just under 180,000 words of new text written just for this draft.

There's a lesson learned in that, well a couple of them, really. First and foremost, PLAN THINGS OUT BEFORE YOU START WRITING THEM!!! And second, don't be afraid to throw things out if they're crap.

Exile Chpater 47 Rewrites

I've finished chapter 47 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is rather shorter than the few preceding it. Fayt Nightfang meets his fate, and get's his just desserts *snigger* hurray for bad puns. I'll give you that on a two for one sale. And spoiler spoilers along to spoiler spoiler's spoiler, and the spoliers spoiler to spoiler her spoiler.

Okay, the cat, er, wolf is outta the bag I guess, this story is a tragedy. It does not have a happy ending at all. Patrick and Weasel's end was something I tossed in so that at least two of my characters will have something to go on living for here, because the lives of every single other character have been utterly destroyed by this point. But I basically told you up front that Malcolm was not going to be living happily ever after with anyone. He still has a destiny to fulfill, and a duty to perform. He can't do that if he's living happily ever after. That is why Silmera had to die.

This chapter contains, without a doubt, the most poetic writing that I have ever done to date, which I think a great tribute to see my favorite character of this work off to wherever fairytale people go when they die. In college many of my english professors often told me that if it's my goal to write novels I should first study peotry, as being able to say the things you want to in a poetic fashion often makes the words more meaningful, and I think that it certainly has here. I choked myself up a couple times getting it all put down on figurative paper. Killing off a character that has been a constant companion of yours for so long is a very emotional thing for a writer, or at least is is for me. I did my best to give her the best sendoff that I could.

There is one more chapter to go, and the epilogue that bring resolution to all storylines very neatly I think. I'm going to try to finish everything off tonight, as I'm on a bit of a roll today.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 243,451 words.

Exile Chapter 46 rewrites

I've finished chapter 46 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is the climax, where the hero of the story, Mal, triumphs over everything and solves all the world's problems. You'll have to read it if you wanna know how.

Fayt Nightfang, our antagonist does get away at the end of the chapter, HOWEVER, he's also got a Wizard and a Heretic out for his blood. I think it more fitting that Aaron be the one to defeat Nightfang in the end being his former student and all, rather than Mal, so I gave Mal another enemy to triumph over and relegated Nightfang to a position slightly lower than antagonist.

When I began this draft I actually had two ideas for how this story would end, they were similar, though very much different as well. I'm glad that I chose to go in this direcion, because this is really the more fulfilling end.

Oh yes, and I finally tell you what's up with the Dark God, why he hates humans so much, and why he protects Silmera.

Again, this chapter leaves off with a bit of a cliffhanger to let people know that even though Mal has had his triumph over evil, the story is not quite over yet. Remember, there's still a prophecy to be fulfilled. This chapter takes place in 4 different locations in 5 different viewpoints to keep the consistency with the way I've done things throughout the buildup to this climax.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 240,458 words.

Less that a hundred words were added to the word count because I deleted the remnants of the ending from the first draft from the tail end of the manuscript, as I decided taht there are no more parts analogous to them, and so no more text from that draft is salvageable. There are only two chapters left, and I think I'll be able to get them done this weekend, monday or tuesday by the latest. The epilogue is already written, I actually wrote that part of this draft first, though I have one paragraph to add to it due to the adding of Patrick and Weasel and the storyline that will be coming into the third draft.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Exile Chapter 45 Rewrites

I've finished chapter 45 of the second draft of Exile, and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

In this chapter we discover the true identity of Fayt Nightfang, where he came from, why he hates the Four Kingdoms and the Samirreh, and what he's been plotting for the last five hundred years. I like to call plot twists like this one "pulling an Elantris". It's where an offhand comment made early on in the story, and seemingly completely unimportant becomes the entire reason for the antgonist's actions. In this case Silmera briefly speaks after her story about Marael about where the Samirreh came from and what happened to them five hundred years ago. Banished from teh Four Kingdoms they went on to enslave Fayt Nightfang's people and murder his wife. He's been laying plans and manipulating events ever since that day to bring about the his revenge.

This is where it really starts to look a bit like hte end of Fullmetal Alchemist. Fayt Nightfang used his path of conquest through the Four Kingdoms to spill a magic circle in blood across the entire continent, linking to the one that he forced Silmera to trace in her own blood. It drains the life of every living being in the entire continant and gives it to him. Now, like I've said before, that's like EXACTLY what happens in the end of FMA, and I'm really kinda pissed that I didn't get around to writing it out first, because now it's going to look like I just copied it, which I didn't, you can check dates on my website for when I started this draft, i didn't start without knowing how it would end, that would just be retarded. And then compare it to when that part of FMA aired and see I started way before then so =P.

Anyway, Fayt Nightfang's plan is to become a god, kill everyone that ever wronged him, shatter the Gate and make his own within his own body, and ressurect his beloved wife, but what he didn't count on was how sick Mal is of losing things, and the insane lengths to which he will go in order to save Silmera's life.

And again, if you feel like the storyline between Patrick and Weasel just sort of came out of nowhere, never fear, the next draft will have a whole lot more of them in it so that you will hopefully care what happens to these characters by this time.

This chapter is told in 5 different viewpoints in three locations with a paragraph of omnicient tossed in to describe the events taking place all over the Four Kingdoms. And yet again, this chapter ends with a cliffhanger ramping it up into the final confrontations in the next chapter.

Alrighty, just 3 chapters left to write and I can get back to work on Spires of Infinity BWAAHAAHAA.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The Second draft is currently at 240,421 words, which is a difference of just over 123,000 words. If that doesn't convince anyone that read the first draft and hated it that this is almost a completely different story I don't know what will.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Exile Chapter 44 Rewrites

I've finished chapter 44 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

holy freakin' crap, this chapter took all day long to write!!! I started at 10AM and just finished at 3AM, though I did take one or two (or more) breaks during that. Man, work is going to suck tomorrow, i'm going to be so dead tired haha. Although, i do have to say that it turned out pretty awesome. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but dang I thought up a really awesome new end to this story. This Chapter is told in four different viewpoints in three different locations, and picks up right where we left Mal, Silmera, Patrick, Lilia, Aaron and Anna, all locked in duels or battles. We see the resolution of all of these fights in this chapter, leaving only Fayt Nightfang's evil plots to be dealt with in the aftermath. Again, this chapter leaves off with a cliffhanger, and changes frequently between viewpoints in order to reinforce the feeling that things are moving faster and ramping up to something mind-blowingly huge, which they are.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 235,885 words.

I've now more than doubled the size of the first draft in the second, and there's still 4-5 more chapters to be written to finish things off. I estimate it will probably hit 260ish K when I'm done.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yes, I'm still alive...

I haven't posted anything since thursday for a reason. I've been going back and making a few spot edits to places earlier in the second draft to add things before the point where I stopped to re-outline, and one part in a recent chapter that I forgot to put in in my haste. Rather than reupload the chapters that have changed I'll leave them as they are now. All of these edits will be included when I post the second draft as a whole. Most of the changes have to do with Heretic Magic, as it plays such a gigantic part in the end. I give a brief explanation about how it works when Silmera uses it to heal the hurt little girl, but I don't really go into specifics. Basically, there is demonic energy contained in a Heretic's blood, and that power can be released through drawing out spellforms with it that describe to the energy what it's supposed to do. The more powerful the Heretic, the more demonic energy there is in his or her blood, and the stronger his or her spells can be. Being the most powerful Heretic to have ever lived, Silmera's blood is extremely potent, which is why Fayt Nightfang chose her to trace the spell that he painted on the floor of the Mystic King's palace, which, itself is like a gigantic magic amplifier. A lot of the things that I added were bits and pieces of explanation about Heretic Magic and how it works, and little clues as to how Fayt Nightfang intends to use it.

I toyed with adding in the storyline I have planned for Patrick and Weasel during this little break too, but then I realized that it's really too long and would take too much effort, and I'm already past my goal of finising this draft by the end of july, sooooooo, I'll just leave that for the third draft.

Anyway, the things I added you don't really NEED to know to get the ending, but without them being there earlier on it seems like I'm just pulling Fayt Nightfang's evil plot out of my butt as he's putting it into motion. And seriously, I totally thought of this idea way before the chick that wrote Fullmetal Alchemist ever published the end of hte series XD. That always seems to happen to me. I'll think of something really really cool, and I'll write it out, and give it to someone to read just as a movie or anime or TV show or something has done the same thing and everyone always thinks I'm copying. It's so annoying! And the really annoying thing about it is that i think my version of it is better than the Fullmetal Alchemist ending, (not that FMA wasn't incredibly awesome) but whatever. /endrant

I have the day off work tomorrow, and I plan to write out the next chapter then. Can't leave my guys hanging any longer, Like every single main and supporting character is currently engaged in a duel of some sort, not to mention the gigantic battle that's raging on in the background.