Sunday, October 31, 2010

Exile Chapter 8 Draft 4

I've finished chapter 8 of the fourth draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

The first half of this chapter was new to draft 3 to help explain part of Mal's resolution in draft 2. The second half is the first meeting of Mal and Silmera, where not much work really needed to be done. Basically the only thing in the second half that changed was the wording in a few places and Silmera's speech patterns. She talks kind of like this brittish dude I work with who manages to fit the word "Bloody" at least once into every sentance, and half of the time talks very proper, except for the cussing, like he wants us to think he's a proper brittish person, and the other half of the time like he grew up on the street.

The dream in the first half of the chapter deserves a little explanation. The girl that Mal is dreaming about is Queen Cora after the War of Zion is over. She left a message in the Exile's Curse for every future generation that would repeat in the Exile's dreams every 6 weeks until the Dark God errodes away the Exile's ability to overcome his power by sheer force of will. She's telling the future generations of Exiles how to absorb the Dark God fully into themselves and basically become the Dark God themselves as Mal does at the end. This needs to be here so that Mal can be pondering over the meaning through the entire story so that he doesn't just pull his triumph over the Dark God out of where the sun don't shine at the end. He needs to be thinking, and trying very hard to find a way to rid himself of the curse or else the triumph in the end is meaningless. A protagonist needs to basically be raked through the coals on their journey to triumph over the antagonist, and learn and grow as a person before finally triumphing over evil just as they were about to be swallowed up by it. They can't stumble over the answer by accident or it's completely meaningless.

This is one of the reasons that I have such a hatred for Star Wars Episode 1. At the end, little Anakintard wins completely by accident. Throughout the entire ending he fumbles his way through by randomly pressing buttons and smiling like, well, a 9 year old child, when big flashy things happen because of it. He didn't suffer to find any answers. He didn't grow as a person and a character. He didn't learn anything. He did everything completely and utterly by accident, and there's no satisfaction whatsoever when he gets that not so hard won victory in the end. If everything is handed to you on a silver platter how can you ever learn and grow as a person? you can't. That's why you see so many rich celebrities completely falling apart, because they're skipping the needed life experiences that teach a person how to deal with the strain of real life.

And with that, I'm on vacation, cyall in a week BWAAHAAHAA.

And don't forget to celebrate Get Hit by a Bus and Knocked Clear the Frick into an Epic Battle Between Good and Evil at the End of the Universe Day tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oi vey!!!

Not to kick a dead horse or anything, I stopped by a church halloween party with a date (yes, I do occasionally find a girl willing to look past my skanky looks and endure my personality) and I heard two little old ladies (my ward is full of little old ladies) talking about terrorists. One of them actually said, and I quote, "I really hate Muslims, I wish Heavenly Father would just wipe them all off the earth."



This coming from someone who is probably old enough to have walked west with the pioneers to settle in the salt lake valley, enduring severe religious persecution all the way?


Now, I've seen quite a bit of hypocracy in my time, and sadly dealt out some of my own on occasion, but HOLY CRAP lady, WTF! You are a member of a religion that was persecuted, hunted, hounded, harassed, and chased into a area of the world that, at the time, was literally hell on earth, it being the one place on earth no one else wanted, and you turn right back around and throw that BS at other religions? I would think that Mormons especially would be more sympathetic toward Islam and the many good, law abiding, peaceful Muslims whose names are being tarnished by the actions of a handful of zealots. I mean, come on, We're one of two groups of people (the other being native americans) in the history of the USA that actually had a government authorized extermination order put out on us, and you want to do that to other people now?

I'll tell you one thing, lady, hell is bursting at the seems with those who murder the innocent in God's name like the terrorists that you keep hearing about, but there's also a special little place for those who persecute the faithful, and that includes you. Just because they do not believe the same things that you do does not mean that they should be exterminated, and anyone who thinks so should be extremely ashamed of themselves. Yes, your religion is the one true faith, but guess what, they believe that theirs is. They've been brought up to believe that. They typically show a whole lot more devotion than most christians ever will to their faiths. And they deserve to die for that? They deserve to die because a few psychos with guns and bombs want to destroy everything the USA stands for?

There are 1.5 BILLION muslims in this world. That is an entire quarter of the world's population. Do people actually believe that 25% of all people on earth are terrorists? Are people REALLY that stupid?

There's really only one word that can describe people who believe something so ridiculous and retarded.



And one last time.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

going on vacation

I will be gone from 10/31 to 11/6 on a lovely cruise to the bahamas. This is my christmas present from my parents this year so I don't have to pay for it at all BWAAHAAHAA. Anyway, this is my first vacation in 11 years, so I'm going to be doing absolutely nothing that I don't have to on it, including writing... mostly because I expect that if I bring my laptop I likely won't be returning with it. In my experience housekeeping peeps are rather sticky fingered with expensive objects. I plan to breathe, eat, sleep, shower occasionally, possibly go on a tour or two, and maybe snorkling once or twice, and generally nothing else whatsoever, except to win a boatload of cash at blackjack, gogo card counting. To quote the governator "I need a vacation".

Friday, October 22, 2010

Exile chapter 7 draft 4

I've finished the fourth draft of Exile Chapter 7 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

This chapter is freakin massive, and unfortunately there's really nowhere that I can cut it either. It needed a crapton of work too since this chapter was added in draft 3 and this is basically only the second draft of it.

This chapter was added in draft 3 to begin a storyline explaining characters added in draft 2. It's about the characters Patrick and Weasel, mostly about WEasel since it's from her point of view. She was a Samirreh captive and went through some extremely horrible things at their hands, including repeated rape. In putting together her personality I did some reasearch on psychological issues that rape victims develope and, not to sound insensitive or anything, chose the most entertaining ones that fit into the story. I forget what her particular disorder is called, but it is where a woman who has suffered rape will develope a fixation with stabbing things. It starts off with stabbing things like vegetables, or raw meat, and progresses to stuffed animals or dolls, sometimes pictures, and in extreme cases, to pets or other small animals, and even other people. They will sometimes also cut and/or stab themselves. The act of stabbing things becomes a sexual experience for them, and often becomes the only way that they can slide into home so to say. The reason behind this disorder is not very well known, but is thought to stem from the combination of two factors. First is a desire by the woman to understand why a man would ever so something so evil to her. She will try to put herself in his place, and try to feel what he felt while violating her, using a knife rather than a weewee to peform the unwanted penetration. And the second is the desire for vengeance. Weasel has developed this disorder, as well as heavy alcoholism as a result of what was done to her, and the only time that she feels alive is when she's eviscerating Samirreh. She's very bloodthirsty.

To make matters worse she has a whole mess of other problems having to do with her dead family, and another man that has an interest in her now, and feelings of being worthless as a woman because she can no longer have children, which, to her, is a complete loss of identity. In short, she is extremely messed up, which makes her rather fun to write, hence the chapter being 11k words long.

Anyway, this chapter takes place on the same night as Silmera's fight with the Fayt, and Mal laying on his roof watching the moons, and introduces the rest of the main characters of the story to you. There are a few other minor characters you've yet to meet, but now you've got all of the major players on the field.

The reason I added this storyline is not only to give back story on characters taht show up at the end and do some extremely cool things. I also wanted to put a face of evil on the Samirreh. In the first and second drafts they're just a vague threat somewhere else that you hear are evil without actually seeing for most of the story. I wanted to put a storyline in of people outside the shelter of the Hidden Valley down in the thick of things, fighting for their lives, their homes, their families, and their freedom every single day against an enemy far more powerful than they are. I really want readers to hate the Samirreh, not because I tell them to hate them, but because tehy read about the things that they've done and make up their own minds about how evil they are. It makes them more of a real threat, and helps readers connect more with the characters' fears over the Samirreh.

Say no to Halloween!!!

As fun as halloween might have been when I was a young child... and okay, yes, not so young a child... I find that as an adult it's rather annoying, I mean you've got kids running around demanding that you give them candy when they've done nothing to earn it from you, trying to act like whatever they're dressed up as... usually not very well. And then you've got the loser teens who see a night to get free candy and go for it. I can't say so much about them because I used to be one of said loser teens, but at least I went christmas caroling and worked for my free candy, unlike some rejects from society.

Anyway, I figured that if I'm going to celebrate on a day that has been completely and utterly ravaged by commercialism I'm not going to celebrate their holiday. I'm going to make up my own holiday and celebrate it instead!

Sooooooo *drum roll* I hope you all join me in Get Hit by a Bus and Knocked Clear the Frick into an Epic Battle Between Good and Evil at the End of the Universe Day on Oct 31st. This holiday marks the day I first got the ideas rolling for Spires of Infinity whilst handing out candy to greedy children and pretending to smile over their costumes. One of the aforementioned loser teens was dressed up as a lawyer that had been hit by a bus, tire treads and all, and that's where the idea for the story came from.

Get Hit by a Bus and Knocked Clear the Frick into an Epic Battle Between Good and Evil at the End of the Universe Day is typically celebrated by eating all of the candy you bought to pass out to children trick-or-treating and watching anime and/or the syfy remake of Battlestar Galactica and/or The Big Bang Theory whilst pretending not to be home so you can keep all the candy or yourself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Exile Chapter 6 Draft 4

I've finished draft 4 of Exile Chapter 5 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

Bunch of small edits here, just clearing up language and making it more readable. Biggest change is the way that Lilia talks. She's from a rural village out even further into nowhere than the middle of nowhere. The way she talks reflects that. Though Mal grew up in this same village he talks differently because his father is from somewhere else, and he speaks with his father's accent, something I'll mention somewhere in the story. Other than that, it hasn't changed much.

And at just over 295,000 words Exile is now officially the longest thing I have ever written.

Exile Chapter 5 Draft 4

I've finished drat 4 of Exile Chapter 5 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

There were a lot of small edits made to this chapter, mostly clearing up some of the history that Silmera thinks about as she running and fighting. Despite being mostly action, this chapter is where you get a lot of exposition on the history of the world through Silmera's thoughts. The trick to doing this is to tell things that have happened in teh world's past without sounding like I'm sitting down and writing out the world's history for you (ala tolkien) and instead making it seem like events that are currently happening are reminding the character of things that happened in the past. As cool as the history of your world might seem to you when you're writing a story, it's hellishly boring for the reader to jut sit there and read pages nd pages of it when they really don't need to know even half of what you've written. You have to walk a thin line, giving enough information that things make sense and the world seems real, without boring people to death. Mostly you play iceberg with people. You hint at things, like the tip of an iceberg above the surface of the water, and keep the bulk of what you've come up with for the world's history to yourself below the surface. Other changes include cleaning up the language to make it easier to read and the meaning of the words as clear as possible. I have this problem where I try to make things sound all flowery and poetic, but then I come back and read it and think to myself "wtf was I trying to say here...?"

Another change in this chapter is the beginning of some major changes in the way that the characters speak. For the first few drafts I have the characters say what needs to be said the way I would say them, pretty much. It makes all of the characters seem kind of like they've got the same personality, and it's hard to tell which one is speaking without dialog tags (he said, she said, etc). In this draft one of the changes I'm making is on how each of the characters talk. Each character needs to have a distictive way of speaking that is different from every other character, and reflects their personailty. You should always be able to tell who is talking without me telling you who is talking. In this chapter I started with Silmera. I've decided that she is going to be sarcastic and foul mouthed, which is perfect for her personailty. She didn't really have much in the way of dialog before this chapter, but I did try to add a little sarcasm to her earlier on.

An example for this in my previous work is in Beyond the Lost Horizon. Each character speaks in a different way, and to cut down on the word count I removed most of the dialog tags, because they're not needed since all of the characters speak differently. Brand basically talks like I do. Raven talks like a hick, often leaving the last letter off of words, saying ya instead of you, making up weird contractions like wha'da'ya or who'da and such. Temari talks to everyone in the sort of exaggerated way a mother might talk to a very young child. Kriss talks with perfect grammar at all times and never uses contractions, she sometimes uses very large words that no one else understands, but usually tries to dumb down her speach for commoners. Behindred talks like everything he sees amuses him and makes him angry at the same time, often gleefully growling the ends of his sentences, and pretty much goes over the top in every single line of dialog. Tristam talks like he's not sure what he's saying is right, and is nervous someone will call BS on him. etc etc etc

The personality of every one of my characters is usually based on someone that i know in real life. This also helps in writing out distinctive dialog, because all I have to do is think to myself, how would this person say this.

When I first thought to myself that i wanted to write books, way back two decades or so ago, I thought hey, write out a cool story and taht's it. I didn't realize at the time how much work you have to do to plot everything out, make all of the characters distictive individuals and a whole bunch of other junk. Taking many writing classes in college helped, but mostly I've figured most of it out fumbling through on my own. It really helps that I'm able to keep track of pretty much everything I need for a book like Exile in my head without too much in the way of notes. I've always sucked at taking notes, and using them when i had them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exile Part 1 Draft 4 completed

So I've finished the fourth draft of Part 1 of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

Part one consists of chapters 1-4. When I wrote the first draft of this book the prologue covered all of the events in the prologue and part one of the fourth draft. There is a fourteen year gap between part one and part two. Basically the only changes made were refinement of language to make it easier to read, with the addition of a few things to make certain things make more sense when we get to them and to flesh out the story.

Chapter four was new to draft 3 and has been expanded in draft 4 a little bit. In this chapter you meet the villian far earlier than in the second draft. This is something that really needed to happen, because Fayt Nightfang just sort of showed up halfway through to be his bad evil self. You now get to see him, and know that he's planning something nasty at the beginning. I needed there to be a clear villian rather than a vague threat, even if the characters themselves have no idea that he exists or who he is, the reader does need to know.

There's a basic rule that I always like to follow while writing a story, start with a bang to get the reader interested, then take a step back and start building the world and the characters after you've hooked them. Part One is the bang. There is a lot of action, a lot of switching to different viewpoints, and virtually no explanation as to what is really going on, but in a good way that kinda sweeps you up into it rather than a confusing wtf is happening sort of way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book recomendation

So I've been rereading a series I read way back in high school. Deathstalker by Simon R. Green. It's kinda hardcore extremely nerdy sci-fi, and the story itself is really kinda generic, but the characters are just so entertaining that it doesn't really matter. I kinda find myself not really caring what's going on, and only reading to see the reactions the characters have to whatever ridiculous, over the top situation the writer comes up with next. The dialog is often hilarious, and while it's not exactly the best written series ever, it does entertain for a couple days (the books are actually quite short). The first book is called Deathstalker, and to my knowledge there are 3 others: Deathstalker Rebellion, Deathstalker War and Deathstalker Honor, though that was way back in high school, so there may be more additions (though I don't know what would happen, it was pretty done) So if you're looking for something to read, give it a try. The characters themselves are really worth reading the whole series for, if the story is a little cheesy and generic. I just sit there and die laughing at how funny they are (and not unintentionally either)

The story is about a dude named Owen who is a rich lord living in the middle of nowhere where the intrigues of court can't reach him, and suddenly finds himself outlawed for some unknown reason, with hidden messages from his murdered father popping up in his computers to lead him on a quest toward rebellion against an insane empress, companions literally falling out of the sky on top of him, and everyone he's ever known or cared about, and just about everyone else in the universe for that matter, chasing after him to bring his head in for the considerable bounty on it, preferably without the rest of his body attached to it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Exile Prologue and Chapter 1 Draft 4

Started working on Draft 4 of Exile and have posted the prolog and first chapter ar the bottom of this page.

I have split the story into several parts:

Part One: Exile's Moon
Part Two: Hidden Valley
Part Three: Exiled
Part Four: Transfiguration
Part Five: Destiny

There are several breaks in this story where large periods of time, some spanning several years, are skipped over. Every time the story jumps ahead months or years I've started a new part. There are 62 years between the prologue and Part one, fourteen years between part one and part two, four years between part two and part three, a month between part three and part four, and there isn't really a break between part four and part five, but there is a transition in the story from building up to all hell breaking loose, and the epilogue chronicles hundreds of years after part five. I did this to help prevent confusion with the jumps over time. This way you've got an actual break to tell you that the story jumps ahead instead of trying to keep track of it yourself. Each part also ends with it's own small sort of climax, part one with Silmera setting out to find Mal, part two with Silmera finally reaching the Wizard, part three with Mal becoming a Samirreh, part four ends with Silmera getting captured, and part five ends with a big battle.

I did pretty well with these first two chapters in the third draft, there were only a few minor changes needed, mostly with wording that was a bit fumbled and difficult to understand. Part One needs the least amount of work out of the bunch, probably because it takes place so much earlier in the timeline than the rest of the story. There won't be many major changes in this draft, but there will be a lot of minor ones, and most of them later on.

I'll be going through this draft relatively quickly as there is no new material that needs to be written, and there are only minor edits needing to be done to fix all of the continuity issues that were created in the third draft. It's basically a read through where I make slight edits as i go along.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Exile Draft 3 Completed

I finished with Exile Draft 3 way late last night (and have been suffering because of it all day long at work haha). At this time I am not going to post this draft on my site as the addition of new content has created several very large problems and made a mess of quite a few things. I will, however, be starting on draft 4 next week and I'll be posting chapters of it as I complete them. This draft should go quickly, as all I really need to do is smoothe everything over so that the new parts added to draft 3 fit in better, change a few little things here and there, and clean up the language a bit so it's easier to read.

This draft ended up at 285,951 words, which is about the length of one of the more hefty Wheel of Time books. I expect that it will reach 300k in draft four. I find this funny, because this project was originally intended to be a smaller book. I wrote the first draft out of frustration for being turned down by agents because Beyond the Lost Horizon was too long. Ufortunately it seems that when I set out to write a uch shorter story, it turns out to be crap, needing extensive rewrites and complete overhauls that add considerably to the word count. I've come to the realization that lately it seems I'm completely unable to write short stories anymore, they always seem like they're missing something, so I keep adding to them and adding to them until they're much larger than they were originally intended. I just can't help myself.

With Exile all of the added content does make for a much better story, and I do plan to condence it, chopping away at least 100k words if not more. The manuscript that I have now is almost 3 times the length of the first draft, and it is almost unrecognizable as the same story. All of the things that I left out in writing the first draft to make it shorter have really filled in the world, and made the characters far more realistic than they were. I can't wait to put up a final draft of it, because I'm really kind of proud of the work that I've done with this story. I was on the verge of abandoning it as unfixable, but it's really come together into what I think is a very good and entertaining story, and my agent agrees. He tells me that my talent is improving, and that Exile even incomplete as it is, is still better written than anything else I've given him so far, and that he thinks when Exile is finished he might have an easier time of selling it for me than he has with Beyond the Lost Horizon. If Exile sells, he's pretty sure he can tack BTLH onto the contract as well.

Ever since I was little I always wanted to write a book and have it published. I used to sit at my dad's type writer, hitting one key at a time with a single finger to write out stupid little kiddie stories that really had no structure and made no sense. It's been an almost lifelong dream of mine. The fact that I'm so close to reaching that dream, but at the sae time so far away has been very, very frustrating. I hope that publishers like Exile more than they've liked Beyond the Lost Horizon so far, I've put a whole lot of work into making it worthy of being published, if not I'll have to pin my hopes on Spires of Infinity, which is probably the most original thing I've ever written to date, but still needs a lot of work to finish.

Anyway, yeah, done with draft 3, startig draft 4 next week, and I will be posting chapters of that as I finish, because I think that the fourth draft will be different enough from the second draft to warrant it.