Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exile Chapters 14-16 Draft 4

I've finished the 4th draft of Exile chapters 14-16 and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

soooooo, these 3 chapters of Exile needed very minimal edits, which is why they are finished so fast. In fact chapters 14 and 15 have not changed very much at all since the first draft. Nice to know I at least got SOMETHING right on my first try. I sure didn't get much else right. In fact, the first draft is so incredibly bad that the word count has nearly trippled between draft 1 and a partial draft 4. The first draft was 117k words and at about 23% completion the fourth draft is just under 300k, officially the longest thing I have ever written, beating out the Ark of Zarathustra by 6k or so, and I'm not finished yet, I expect another 10-15k words added before I'm done. I am not looking forward to chopping it down to size. I want to cut 40%-50% of the word count, but I'm not sure if it's possible. I might only manage 30%, which is the best I could do with Beyond the Lost Horizon without damaging the integrity of the story.

Anyway, Chapter 14 is one of my favorites in this story. It tells all of the backstory of the world. One way that writers tell you about the history of their worlds without making it seem like a stupidly boring history lesson where none of the characters are involved in any way shape or form is to have one of the characters tell a story, so you've got a story within a story that your characters can add comments and questions to rather than a massive block of text that's not hugely relevant to what's happening. Anyway, Silmera tells the story of the Demon Queen Marael, which is a story that I wrote in high school called Heretic Twilight. Like I said in previous posts it was basically my version of what I thought the star wars prequel trilogy would be like before they came out. And seriously, George Lucas should take some lessons from ME, because that story, as badly written as it was with my incomplete high school education was a thousand times better than his crappy, mostly animated movies. It's been a long, long time since anyone said "no" to George Lucas, and someone really, really, really needs to.

So anyway, we've got this story within a story, where Silmera tells basically all of the events that happen between the third book of the Beyond the Lost Horizon trilogy until the end of Heretic Twilight. These stories are all connected because I like the idea of many different stories taking place in the same universe. in fact, that's where a lot of Spires of Infinity came from. There's always another story to tell. I have a massive explanation of this on my website so i won't go into it here. The purpose of having this chapter here is to satisfy myself in putting in a retelling of one of my better story ideas, and also to show how Silmera views her mother and wishes to be viewed by people. And she is something of an attention whore, though she'll vehemently deny it if you accuse her of it. This chapter also explains who Marael is and why people hate her so much. In the end of her reign there were a little over a hundred and forty thousand human beings left alive in the entire world because of her. Silmera does not go into this in her story, because she is trying to focus on the tragedy of how Marael's life was destroyed, not all of the horrible things that she did.

This story is one of the biggest reasons for the cautious way in which Mal deals with the Dark God. He's completely terrified of turning out like her. It's also what makes his decision in the very end to merge with the Dark God so hard. Mal needed to know the reason Marael did what she did so he could have the fear necessary to make his decisions regarding the Dark God that much harder. He knows how Marael was destroyed by the Dark God, and he knows what the Dark God did using her body after he'd taken it from her. He also learns later on just what the Dark God is capable of doing if he gains even temporary control over his body. He doesn't want to become another Demon Queen Marael, even though everything he finds on how to be rid of the Dark God forever tells him to give in to teh Dark God and let it take him. His fear is a necessary part of how his character grows to the point that he's able to make the decision that ultimately saves every life in the Four Kingdoms. Without conflict stories are boring, so he needed something that would give him the inner conflict to make his coming to that decision exciting. If there's no reason or conflict behind a huge decision like that, then people reading the story don't care what happens, feel gyped out of their time, and generally want to kick the writer for messing it up.

The other two chapters there's not much to say about. pretty much the only thing that was changed were the ways that Lilia and Silmera talk, and a few little tweaks here and there to fix text that was unclear, didn't make much sense, or had contradictions in it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

She says she's perfectly sane... but I beg to differ... a lot... seriously...

Ok, sooo I was recently in a relationship with someone who I kinda liked, and would have liked to persue further. We'd been dating for two months, maybe three. Then, all of a sudden, she just dumped me for the most retarded, completely insane reason on earth, and I'll tell you all about it.

Ok, so, I'm no stranger to the whole dating thing. I've not had many relationships in my time, but I've been in enough to know when she's just not that into me. I met this girl Claire at a bookstore, we were looking for the same book and I asked her if she'd like to go get dinner. Not exactly the smoothest of moves, I know, but it got the job done. We seemed to really hit things off. She actually understood my sense of humor, which few people do. She even thought my scruffiness was sexy, and threatened me with bodily harm if I even thought of shaving more than once a week.

We probably went out once a week for a couple months, did a lot of e-mailing an texing stupid little hearts and xoxo's to each other as retarded people in relationships often do these days, and I was really starting to think we might be going somewhere. She likes Anime, all the same book series I like, she holds American Idol and Twilight with the same contempt that I do, and as a plus, she is incredibly attractive on top of it all. She even read some of my stories and thought They were pretty good.

Now, for as long as I can remember I have always--ALWAYS--hated musicals. Any and all musicals, it doesn't matter what they're about, if I like the music or not, if it's got the most epic story ever, I just cannot stand to watch them. They drive me crazy. They're so completely and utterly pointless and I don't even know a word to describe how much I utterly despise them. I hate them so much that it actually hurts to watch them. I dunno, the part of my brain that translates song to dialog must be broken because I have a very hard time following a story when all of the characters are prancing around and singing rather than just freakin talking to each other like god intended. If I don't like a song I usually just tune it out and 99% of songs in musicals are complete and utter crap. THere are a few I like, such as Phantom of hte Opera, Les Mis, and a few others, but I still have the same problem when i try to watch them. When I do like a song I listen more to the music than the words. I've always been like that. I like to pick out the different chords and melodies and harmonies and crap like that. Yes, I know I'm weird, you don't have to tell me. How do you think i am able to play the piano by ear? I don't know a thing about reading music, but I understand music itself, if that makes any sense. So I focus more on hte music than the words and miss what's going on.

Annnnyway, Claire LOVES musicals, which is fine with me. She's allowed to like the things she likes. She hates video games, but I rather enjoy them every now and then (though much much less than I once did these days) We don't have to like ALL the same things. Well, she kept talking about her favorite, favorite movie of all time, The Musicman, and when I said I'm not really into musicals she basically forced me to sit down with her and watch it, convinced that if I saw it I'd like it. Well, guess what, I've seen it and it is a musical. Musical = hatred. But I really like her and so I was willing to suffer through it to make her happy so long as she realizes how hard it is for me to sit through things like that and keeps it to a minimum in the future.

Now, I have moderately sever ADD. When I'm doing something that I enjoy like writing, playing a video game, watching a movie that I find entertaining, I'm usually pretty good about forcing myself to sit still and pay attention. When I'm faced with something that bores me to tears I'm not so good. I tend to constantly fidget, and move around, tap my feet, drum my fingers against something. There's just something about being able to move that makes sitting through something incredibly boring bearable. Unfortunately she was all snuggled up to me, effectively keeping me in place. now, most men when they have a very, very attractive woman leaning into them are thinking something along the lines of "SCORE!!!!!!!!!" but, all I could think about was how awful that movie was, how incredibly bored I was, and how I was effectively pinned in place. It's hard to describe the pressure that builds up in a person with ADD that is forced to sit still and watch something that he is completely and utterly disinterested in watching. You can feel it building up inside of you, and it actually starts to hurt, you feel like your muscles are on fire and that you're going to explode if something interesting doesn't happen RIGHT NOW, Minutes stretch out and you swear that time is flowing at a tenth it's normal speed, and finally you just can't take it anymore and you need to stand up and move around.

I tried, rather unsucessfully, to explain how much pain I was in at having to sit still and watch her movie, and of course she took it personally. I'm not really very good at putting things into words during conversation. I get this deer caught in headlights look and kinda fumble and mumble and just don't do a very good job of explaining. But I did manage to get across to her that I was having an extremely miserable time of watching this movie. I asked if she would mind if I maybe read a book while the last hour of the movie was on and she freaked out. My neighbors are probably still talking about how she screamed at me. She kept saying how selfish I was, and how I wasn't even giving the movie a chance, and how she could never marry a man that couldn't even sit through her favorite movie with her. I sat there in sheer agony for 90 minutes just because I wanted her to be happy, and I was being selfish and not giving a movie I've already seen twice before and hated a chance?

She now refuses to answer the phone when I call. She sends her room mate out to send me away when i stop by to try to talk to her. She doesn't return any e-mails or texts. Just because I can't stand to sit through musicals she's going to throw away what might have been the most promising relationship I've ever had with a girl.

Now, the obvious answer to the question "why?" is that she just wasn't really all that into me and was looking for an excuse to break up, but she didn't give any signs beforehand. One minute she was hugging my arm like we'd been married 20 years and the next she was screaming and throwing things at me and never wanting to speak to me again. I've known some really crazy women in my time, but that's a little more than a little wierd in my experience.

Luckily, her mom really likes me and she called me to get my side of the story yesterday. Hopefully she can beat some sense into Claire and we can resolve this. I mean, I'd understand her reaction if i'd punched her cat or something, but I just said I needed something to do during a movie that was boring me so much it actually hurt. I don't get why that would be such a huge deal to anyone. I swear I've torn out half of my hair trying to figure out what the real reason for her flipping out is, because it can't possibly be the stupid movie. Why does every girl i meet have to turn out to be a freakin psycho? I mean, I should have met at least one by now that was sane by sheer probability. I've been basically just laying around all depressed all week long because of this. She was going to come to thanksgiving dinner and meet my parents, and now she won't even talk to me. It's enough to make a perfectly crazy guy like me sane. I just want to scream in frustration... but the neighbors got enough of a show last week.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Exile Chapter 13 Draft 4

I've finished the Chapter 13 of the Fourth Draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is the second chapter in the sidestory of Patrick and Weasel. It's pretty long, like all of their chapters will be. There is a lot of material that needs to be included in these chapters to basically make is so people care what happens to these people by the end of the story, but I don't want to take too much attention away from the main storyline with Mal and Silmera. So I decided that I would do 5 or 6 really long chapters and put them into likely places in the main storyline where things are a bit slow to jazz things up with a switch between locations and characters rather than 10 or 12 normal sized chapters that pull you away from the main storyline and are more of a distraction than a good subplot. That's sort of the definition of a subplot after all, something going on in the background that's somehow important to the ending, but doesn't take attention away from the main storyline.

So, anyway, this chapter was new to draft 3, and as that was basically the first draft of it, it needed a crapton of work in this draft. This chapter is entirely from Weasel's point of view, and shows the turmoil in life between grief and anger at her husband's murder, and her dead son, and her loss of ability to procreate, replaced by her need to kill Samirreh as brutally as possible, stabbing them repeatedly so she can watch the light go out of their eyes and feel their blood on her hands. The need sets into her and she has to kill or it actually physically hurts her. She's starting to lose control of herself and her darker urges, and having fond thoughts of killing not only her enemies, but also her friends as well. The only things that can calm her are cutting herself and focusing on the pain, or being near Patrick, which she still sees as a betrayal to her dead husband. There are so many comflicting things bouncing around inside of her that it's literally driving her mad. She's a really fun character to write because she's just so incredibly messed up. It almost seems that a character this crazy is too far gone to ever find redemption, which only makes it that much better when she does in the end.

Anyway, since we don't have much time with these characters I almost have to overexaggerate their personalities in order to get across who they are and what they're doing so you don't forget between this chapter and the next about them. It's kind of a thin line to walk between overdoing it, and enough to get the point across.

In this chapter we see a lot more of what it's like living in the Samirreh occipied Four Kingdoms outside of the Hidden Valley. People huddle together in hidden villages and pray that the Samirreh don't notice them, or that the army they supply will be close enough to help them if they do. Disaster can strike at any moment, and they live constantly in fear of being discovered, because if they are, they'll meet a very brutal end.

Also, in this chapter I've had Patrick be the one to discover what the Samirreh are doing in conquering the Four Kingdoms in such a roundabout, indirect way rather than just sweeping straight across and slaughtering everyone. They're carving a magical symbol into the land in blood, which Fayt Nightfang will use at the end to become a God and bring his beloved dead wife back from the grave. I thought that it was important for someone other than Aaron to figure this out, because Aaron, for all his good intentions, is not very bright, and he never completed his training as a Wizard. He's something of an underachiever, only doing as little work as he possibly can and still get by, hence the reason he didn't press Mal's father for the right to teach Mal to control the Dark God, and why he caves in so easily to Silmera's manipulations. He doesn't have the patience, motivation, or intelligence to do more than he's already doing. Not to say he's a complete lazy idiot, he's just got all he can handle on his plate already with trying to coordinate between hundreds of bands of soldiers scattered across the whole continent and come up with a feasible plan to defeat the Samirreh. Plus, I wanted to show that Patrick is a lot smarter than the average farmboy. He's a genius, and it's not just war and strategy he's studied. He studied just about any subject he could get his hands on, desperate to find something, anything, that would get him away from his father's farm and his destiny to spend the rest of his life working on it. So having him see a pattern that the Wizard missed emphasizes that he is a genius and Aaron is not.

Also, i show in this chapter that for all his genius, patrick is only human. He is completely and utterly exhausted, so much so that he didn't even notice Weasel was there talking to him. Being a legendary general and keeping one step ahead of the Samirreh is taking a lot out of him, and he doesn't really have any way to relieve his stress. Markus, though a reasonably good friend, holds him with the same sense of awe that the rest of his army does. The only person that doesn't do that is Weasel, and she refuses his every advance, which only frustrates him and adds to the stress he's already got. He needs someone that will listen to him, care for him, and hold him when he needs it, and she's the only likely candidate, but she's got so many of her own problems, including not wanting to betray her dead husband by being with another man, that she is trying desperately to hold him at arm's length, which is kind of her only lifeline. They both want and need each other, but her dead husband is continually standing between them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Urge to kill rising... rising... snuffed out by a cupcake...

Ok, soooo, you're driving along and up ahead you see police lights flashing to the side of the road. Some poor sap got caught doing what you were probably doing before you saw the lights. You'd love nothing more than to leave the flashing lights behind because they're strobing into your soul, which is rather uncomfortable, but you can't, because all of a sudden the people in front of you have slowed down to 15 below the speed limit, blocking all 3 lanes of traffic.

I can't even begin to count the number of things that are wrong with this picture, but I'll try.

First of all, and most importantly, the police officer is ALREADY DOING SOMETHING, and he isn't going to look up, see you drive past and dive into his car to pull you over, nor is he going to call on the radio to another officer to come after you. They work in a grid sort of pattern, the cop you see is the only one in the area until you cross into another cop's area unless there is an emergency or someone calls for one.

Second, HE'S NO GOING TO PULL YOU OVER FOR GOING THE SPEED LIMIT!!! A police officer is not going to pull you over for going the posted speed limit even if he isn't already busy pulling someone else over. It is against the law for him to do so.

Thirdly, If you are going more than 10 MPH below the speed limit when there is no obstacle in your path it is considered reckless endangerment which is a misdemeanor in the state of utah. (thank you to my uncle John the not so friendly highway patrolman for giving me the info ^^V) By going slower than the rest of the traffic around you you create a hazzardous obstacle to the other drivers. If you were to be pulled over for this, you would be required to make a court appearance, and depending on the judge you could actually serve jail time FOR GOING TO SLOW. Guess who's gonna be his bunk mate's... mate. Definitely not the dude in for assault and battery, it's the guy who's in for driving too slow. The minimum punishment if you are found guilty of reckless endangerment is a pretty hefty fine.

Fourth, if you're slowing down just to get a better look at someone else's suffering, you're both an idiot and a dick. What if a little old lady decided to cross the road while you're not paying attention and BAM, you've got little old lady splattered all over your windshield? What then? You just killed someone because you're an idiot and a dick. How do you feel now?

So, if you see someone pulled over, don't be a retard and slow down to 15 MPH below the limit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

yada yada yada and a carp in a business suit

Sooooooooo, day after thanksgiving... I hate my job sometimes... *dies*

Anyway, I got my hands on the sequel to I am not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells, titled Mr. Monster, and he's managed to pull off something that few writers ever do. The unplanned sequal capitalizing on the success of the original is actually better than the first one. The main character is even creepier and frightening as he struggles with the monster he unleashed in himself to hunt down and kill the supernatural killer that was murdering people in his little town in the middle of nowhere. Now that he's let it out of the box he's found that he can't put it back in, and all his careful rules to keep himself from hurting other people and becoming a serial killer himself aren't helping, his dark side is just too strong, but luckily another supernatural killer has found his way to the same town looking for his old friend only to find him dead and has started his own rampage in order to lure out the one that did it, giving him a conveniant target for all of his dark urges and needs.

What made this book better than the first one is that there is a whole lot more internal struggle in John, the protagonist and the one telling the story, you can see him suffering and living every moment in terror over what his dark side might do, and watch as the dark side slowly takes over from being a voice in the back of his mind telling him to do things and leaves him the voice of reason in the back of his mind desperately trying to stop himself. The moment when they change places is really creepy, it was awesome. It's really well done, and the fact that the killer is a supernatural being doesn't hit you like a brick like it did in the first one because it's already been establihed that these things exist before. So, if you took my recomendation on the first one and liked it, the second one is better and i recomend it even more.

Also, as I've said many times before, I was highly dissatisfied with the star wars prequel trilogy. I've found a website run by a dude that reviews crappy movies that ruin previously awesome franchises. He has a star wars episode 1 review and a star wars episode 2 review with a star wars episode 3 review forthcoming. They are both rather long, a little over an hour for the first and an hour and a half for the second, but they are completely and utterly hilarious, and the dude puts into words the burning hatred for what George Lucas has done to one of my favorite movie series almost exactly as i would have had I done movie reviews on them. He mirrors my thoughts so perfectly I could almost swear I'd written the reviews myself and forgotten about it. Check them out if you've got the time, they're great for more than a few laughs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Exile chapter 12 and Thanksgiving

I've finished Chapter 12 of the fourth draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Very little has changed in this chapter, just a few more graphic details of what Heretic blood does to a person, and a few small things about the Hidden Valley a thousand years ago as compared to now.

And of course, Happy Thanksgiving to all, except the Canadians, because they act all superior to Americans because their thanksgiving is three months earlier in the year. Screw you Canadia! That's right, I said Canadia instead of Canada. It's only a matter of time before Glenn Beck decides, in his infinite stupidity, that you're the 51st state anyway and you'll have to celebrate thanksgiving on the 3rd thursday of November like civilized human beings. Just you wait, you've only got crappy healthcare and watered down beer to look forward to for all eternity, and your snotty french people can kiss our sombreros, because Spanish is the language spoken by third class citizens here biatches! (note, that was a joke in poor taste about how horribly hispanic immigrants are treated in the USA, not a statement of fact)

P.S. mmmmmmmmmmmm pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Exile Chapter 10&11 Draft 4

I've finished chapters 10 and 11 of the fourth draft of Exile and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

There are some moderate changes in these chapters from the last draft posted. Mostly these changes have to do with Silmera's motivations and suicidal thoughts. In my effort to make the characters into believeable people I've delved much deeper into Silmera's reasons for doing what she's doing. An english professor of mine always used to say that to write a believeable character you have to first know what their secret is. Everyone has a secret, and most of the time it helps to define who they are as a person. Silmera's secret is that she wants to die. She knows that this is wrong, so she is desperately seeking a reason to keep going. She's had a whole thousand years of fruitless labor and people still hate her for who and what she is. She can't take it anymore and just wants it to end.

I've also thrown in a few references to how different the world is now from the way it was when she was a child. She gives the impression from her thoughts that the world she grew up in a thousand years ago during and just after the War of Zion is much like our own modern day.

The story that the War of Zion is based on takes place in a world that is a blending of sci-fi and fantasy, there are laser guns, floating cities, and flying cars, but there is also magic and people who still use swords as a ceremonial weapon rather than a practical one. It's kinda like star wars without space travel, which is kinda what I was going for when I wrote it. After the war the technology began to decline rapidly because so much of the population had been killed in such a short time that few people remained that could build, repair and invent new technology. By the time Silmera was 20 years old things had degraded enough that all of the sci-fi technology had pretty much disappeared and was replaced with things like you would find in our world and time, and that is what she is fondly, and not so fondly, remembering.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Exile chapter 9 draft 4

Sooooooo, after weeks of procrastination, and working on Splitplane Saga, which is has drawn me in because it is just so very awesome, my agent has given me a swift kick or three and told me to get my lazy butt back to work on Exile. I suppose that it's kind of his job to keep me focused, so I didn't grumble too badly over it. So I've finished Chapter 9 of Exile draft 4 and you can download it at the bottom of this page if you are so inclined.

There are no major changes to this chapter in draft 4, but there were some significant ones in draft 3. In that draft I added a to Silmera's spiel before the village. She talks about Patrick Eamon and one of his recent accomplishments to soften the blow of the news that the South has fallen to the Samirreh, and now only the north remains free of them. This was a necessary addition to tie Patrick's storyline into the main plot, and make sure that the reader knows that even people in the far corner of nowhere have heard of him and his deeds. The other big change is Silmera telling about the boy who made her swords for her, who, if you've read the second draft, turns out to be Fayt Nightfang in his much younger years. This needed to here to give a subtle clue early on as to the identity of the antagonist, and let the reader know that when his identity is finally revealed that I didn't just pull that plot twist out of my back pocket and say "look at this flashy bit of storytelling, bet you didn't see THAT coming BWAAHAAHAA!!!".

Other than that I've continued changing dialog for each character to give them more personality and distinctiveness and continued cleaning up text to make it easier to understand.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Books of the recommendation variety

Normally I do not like books written in first person. There are several reason for this dislike, the biggest two being first, that it gives an extremely narrow view of the world and the events since you can only see through the eyes of one character, and can only know things that that one character knows, sees, and thinks about. The second reason is because the vast majority of books that I have read written in first person have been horribly mangled by the writer trying to give first person a bit of a flair that it really doesn't need. Anything written by Anne Rice comes to mind, her books are AWFUL. Usually, my rule for first person books is there is not a single book written ever in first person that would not have been 100% better in third person. First person is fine while a character tells a story for a paragraph, a page or two, or perhaps a chapter, but an entire book is usually stretching it more than a little too far.

However, I've recently found two books written in first person that are excellent, the first probably would not have even worked unless it was told in first person, and the second, though it might have been better told in third person, it was still a very good and well written book.

The first is "I am not a Serial Killer" by Dan Wells. This is a rather short book, but very entertaining. It is about a young boy, a diagnosed sociopath, whose family owns a mortuary. He's been fascinated with serial killers since a very young age because of all of the similarities between them and himself, but is deeply afraid of becoming one himself because he has many of the tendencies displayed by serial killers. He has given himself a set of rules to keep hiself from becoming a killer like the ones that he studies. When a serial killer strikes in his own little town he's ecstatic over the chance to observe a real serial killer up close and personal, but soon finds that this is no serial killer but a monster killing people for organs to replace faulty parts of its own body. In order to stop this monster he must become what he fears becoming, thinking and acting like a serial killer, and throwing his carefully crafted set of rules to keep himself in check away.

It's a really interesting idea for a story, and the writer has obviously done a whole lot of reasearch to make it accurate. I liked the protagonist quite a bit because he and I are a lot alike in the ways we view the world, though I am nowhere near as creepy and removed from humanity as he is. The writer did a very good job making a very creepy and disturbing person who normally would never be thought of as a hero into a hero. "I am not a Serial Killer" was short enough that I read in in one sitting in a few hours, and was well worth the money I spent on it. I've also found that there is a sequel that I have not been able to find in stores yet called Mr. Monster.

The second book is "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. This is the first book in a trilogy, the second installment being released next march. I recieved this book as a birthday gift, and unfortunately put off reading it until this week because there were so many other books that had come out that were ahead of it in the queue. Looking back I probably should have gotten to it sooner because it was very good. It is about a man who is basically a living legend, sitting down with a writer to tell his story and give his reasons for doing the things that he did. This book tells the story of the earlier part of his life, growing up as part of a traveling acting troupe where his genius is discovered by his mentor, to living on the streets after tragedy strikes, to university in search of the answers, skills, and knowledge that he needs in order to seek his revenge.

Though being in first person for the vast majority of the book, this story is well thought out and written. The world is realitic and the magic used is a strangely believeable mix of actual real-world physics combined with mental tricks. There is a good ballance of humor and seriousness, and though there are two more forthcoming books the ending is satisfying. I very much enjoyed it and am very glad I recieved it as a gift as I probably not have picked it up until it was in paperback otherwise (I had heard of it from other sources prior to getting it).

So yeah, if you're looking for something to read, I would definitely recomend picking up "I am not a Serial Killer" by Dan Wells, and "The name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ridiculous of the Day.

Wanna hear the most the most ridiculous thing that happened to me today? Too bad, I'm gonna tell you anyway.

So there I was, delivering mail, as I tend to do 5-6 days a week in order to not have to live with my parents, which is cruel and unusual in nature, and a horror worse than death. It's not the most exciting job in the universe, but it pays the bills, and I don't typically have to talk to anyone to do it. I'm not big on talking to people, never have been, and probably never will be. I'm plenty articulate when I have time to write out my thoughts and such, but not so much when I don't. That and I have recently found out I have some sort of anti-social disorder thingy *shrug* I s'pose there's some sort of drug that I could take for that, but the last medication I took for long term made my hairline recede and messed with my short term memory something crazy.

So anyway, there I was, delivering mail. I was at a community box unit, (or CBU for short) one of those big gray plastic things that has all the mailboxes for a single street in it. I opened it up, and started tossing letters into boxes, hopefully the correct ones. When you're lost in your thoughts sometimes you tend to chuck things into the wrong boxes. It was taking a while because the volume of mail has started its holiday climb into insanity. I was there a good five minutes or so, absorbed in the audiobook I was listening to on my iPod (Deathstalker Honor, dramatized *some sort of dramatic sound effect*) I was just about to finish up, only had two or three boxes left to chuck letters into, when a shadow fell across me.

This often happens. People will see the mail truck and come out to loom over you while you're trying to work even though when asked about how they feel when someone is looking over their shoulder while they're trying to work they'll say they feel uncomfortable... hypocrites! This time it was not a person, but a horse. Yes, a real, actual, horse. It was all saddled up and everything, with no rider anywhere in sight. Mr. Ed proceeded to nose his way into the mailbox and try to pull the mail out of my hands with his teeth. He soon let go when he realized that paper tastes like crap, but I do not envy Devin Garret the horse slobber he will have to deal with whilst opening his social security check.

The horse and I looked at each other for a few seconds. I wasn't exactly sure what to do about it. I mean, a stray dog is easy to deal with, give animal control a call and there you go, but what do you do about a stray horse? The horse nosed me a bit, obviously wondering why I wasn't being very friendly, then wandered off and began grazing on someone's lawn. I figured that was good enough for government work and went on my way.

And, believe it or not, that is not the only ridiculous thing that happened to me today. I have another story to tell as well.

So there I was, delivering mail, as I tend to do 5-6 days a week in order to not have to live with my parents, which is cruel and unusual in nature, and a horror worse than death. It's not the most exciting job in the universe, but it pays the bills, and... well, you know that part already.

So there I was, delivering mail. I was at an apartment complex. If you've ever lived in an apartment, you know how the mailboxes work. If not, all of the mailboxes for the entire complex are typically in one central location. Some apartments have CBUs, others have custom multi-unit boxes (CMUBs for short) which areusually just a huge wall of mailboxes, divided into sections of 30 or so.

I have learned, in my 8 years of being a mailman, that if you bundle all mail for a CBU together with a rubber band and set it on top of the box that it goes to when there are more than one at a stop, it keeps people from asking you if you've delivered their box yet or not, because they can see that either, yes, there is no mail on top of my box so he must have finished, or no, there's still mail there so i'll come back later.

This particular apartment complex has 20 CBUs all lined up in a line. I got out, set all my 20 bundles of mail atop the boxes and started delivering starting at the left of the line. I was about halway through when a young man, probably in his late teens or early twenties walked up.

Now, I know that it's a bad thing to judge a person at a glance, but don't lie, we all do it. This guy had a ridiculous haircut that he likely thought looked cool with enough grease in it to make a Big Mac sigh in envy, and his pants wich were at least seven sizes too big for him were practically sagging down to his ankles. His face was covered with patchy, sparse stubble that he might have actually convinced himself into believing was a beard and had the strutting sort of walk of someone who is too stupid to realize how stupid he looks. My first thought upon seeing him was, something along the lines of "what's up, brain doner; walking funny because your pants are down or are you just happy to see me?"

This young man came to a stop before the very last box in the row. He looked at his box, then to the mail on top of it, then to the mail truck, then to me. He repeated the ritual a few more times. I was too amused by his behavior to say anything to him, so I kept working and watched him out of the corner of my eye. I finished with one box, closed it up, and moved to the next box to my right. I clear sign to anyone that missed the mail atop the boxes as to which direction I'm working in.

The young man stood there looking completely dumbfounded. I could hear the rasping of his fingernail as he idly scratched the line of his jaw, considering what to do with all the intensity and determination of a second grader working out his very first multiplication problem at school. slowly, hesitantly, he reached out with his key and opened his mailbox to find that it was empty. No big surprise to anyone with half a brain, but it was obviously not what he was expecting.

He stared in confusion at his empty box, then up to the bundle of mail atop the CBU, to the mail truck, to me working my way slowly toward him, and back to his box again. Again I heard the rasping of his fingernails on stubble as he idly scratched at his jaw in concentration. I could see a realization building in him. He was almost there, sooner or later the clouds would part and the sun would shine through.

But it was not to be. My faith in his ability to figure things out on his own faded away to nothing when he turned to me and asked, "hey, dude, have you delivered to this box yet?"

I gave him a flat stare that he obviously found to be rather intimidating. I'm told that I can be intimidating at times, which I have always found rather odd because I'm not exactly very tall. I attribute this to my times in grade school when, to avoid the mockery of bullies, I learned to keep my face completely expressionless, which in turn began to frighten some of them away, so it worked out awesomely for me then. The problem is that once you start keeping any and all emotion from your face it is very hard to stop, and most attempts seem really rather awkward to those around you.

Anyway, I gave him a flat start that seemed to intimidate him. He took a step back from me with a bit of fear in his eyes. I'm not a fan of stupidity, but I also remember what it's like to be afraid of someone who wants nothing more than to make you as miserable as possible for no other reason than that they can. I don't particularly enjoy frightening people. My solution to this, raise an eyebrow. As I said before, I'm not exactly articulate on the spot, and it was the only expression I could summon on short notice.

"Seriously," I asked him. "You seriously can't tell?"

The young man shrugged uncomfortably and asked, "well . . . have you?"

"What does it look like," I asked. I do not believe in indulging stupidity. If someone is acting like a complete and utter retard I'm going to make them suffer for it, and maybe come up with the right conclusion on their own while they're at it.

"Well, it's box 11D, right here," he replied, pointing to the box, "I guess it's kinda rectangular and, you know, a mailbox . . . like the rest of them . . .?"

He made it sound like a question, as if he wasn't quite sure that his mailbox was, indeed, a mailbox. I wonder what he thought it might have suddenly become, a portal to another universe perhaps? An all you can eat buffet? A shopping mall?

If my hands weren't full I would probably have facepalmed at that. He thought I meant what his mailbox looked like? Seriously, how dumb can a person get? The problem was, that he was still standing there, and still too stupid to undertand that I had not delivered his mail yet. So how, exactly do you go about resolving this problem? Tell him right out and indulge his stupidity? That's not my style. Let him just stand there like the retard he is and ignore him until I get done and drive away? That course of action has its merits, I suppose, but then you have to have him watching you while you finish up, which is decidedly annoying. You can't just tell him he's too stupid to live and you wonder how he conjured up enough brain power to breathe, that sort of thing can get a person fired. So how, then, do you resolve this?

Well, as I was pondering how to tell him he was retarded in the least insulting way possible, he just sort of wandered off like a cat that has suddenly lost interest in whatever it was doing, leaving his mailbox hanging wide open.

And the moral of this story is, don't do drugs, drugs are bad, m'kay?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Splitplane Saga Preview

So, during the seemingly endless work of editing Exile, I find myself wanting to beat my head against a wall. I don't know how it is for other writers (or wanabes like me) but I can only take so much of editing before I start to have fond thoughts of punching baskets full of kittens. Whenever this happens I am typically working on something else and can just switch over to that for an hour or three and then return. Unfortunately, I'm not working on any other projects at the moment that are in the writing stages. All of the things I have on my plate right now are editing work. So, in the need to get something on the side going when I can't stand to edit anymore, I've started some early work on Book 1 of Splitplane Saga. I've posted the prologue of this book on my site as a preview, and it can be found on this page

This book, when it eventually gets written, will eventually be called:

Splitplane Saga
Book 1
The War of Echoes

The page itself has a pretty good description of the project, and the preview, so I won't repeat myself. I'd just like to say that this project is not, at this time, reciving dedicated work on it, and I'm only using it when I get so sick of editing that I have to do something else. Finished chapters of it will be few and far between, and likely not written in chronological order either, therefore I'll not be posting any of it except the preview for a good long while. I do have several incomplete projects needing extensive editing work before I can really start some real work on a new project.

One thing about this story is that it makes a bit of a deviation from my previous writing style in that I am now including the exact thoughts the person through whose eyes you're seeing is thinking. It gets you deeper into their character and the way that they see the world, and is also much harder to write because there's a lot more work you have to do on a person's personality to make it work. I'm trying it out in hopes that I can start getting people's personalities and distinctiveness down much earlier in my writing process.

Anyway, hope ya enjoy it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Towers of Midnight

Woohoo, another year gone by and another Wheel of Time book comes out... only a year... it's only been ONE year... Something seems veeeeery wrong with this picture. These books haven't come out one a year since like, book 6. Not that I'm complaining, as it is one of my favorite series. aaaaanyway, after finishing it I have to say it's one of the better books in the series because a lot of things that were really kind of annoying were resolved. Perrin seems to have found where he misplaced his balls 7 books ago, which is good, and Rand has FINALLY gotten over his emo streak. The end is finally coming. There's only one book left. And I figured out who Mesaana was when book 5 came out 16 years ago, and was ridiculed for my ideas ever since on message/theory boards on the net, so to those who didn't believe, HA!!! I was right and you were dumb BWAAHAAHAA!!! so =P I also figured out who killed Asmodean after reading that book 16 years ago too, however that has yet to be reveled, but it's perfectly obvious when you know what to look for. Robert Jordan gave you everything you need to figure it out in book 5.

I'm not sure how to feel about a book series that I've been reading and eagerly awaiting new volumes of for twenty years now coming to an end. That's two thirds of my life I've been looking forward to an end to this story, but now that it's within sight I kinda want it to keep going. Of course I want to know how it ends, it's been killing me for twenty years, but I also don't want it to end. I remember when I got the first book, it was the christmas after it came out, I had christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, and it had an awesome cover. Little did I know how freakin' long this series would turn out to be.

So yeah, Towers of Midnight was awesome, and if you gave up the wheel of time series because it seemed like nothing was happening, that does eventually end and stuff starts going again in Knife of Dreams (book 11) and has been going strong ever since.

Cover flap text ftw:

"The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight. The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age. Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way - at long last - to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways - the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn - have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'm ba~ck

You know... the bahamas are not quite so fun when your mother wakes you up to do things at what would be before 6 AM in your home time zone... What is restful and relaxing about that?

Oh well.

While I'm postificating, I might as well talk about some of the history of the world of Exile. Exile is actually based on a story that i wrote during highschool. It was something I started as a school project and then when it turned out to be really really long I kept going on my own time until I finished it. it was horribly written and glossed over a lot of the more epic scenes that i imagined in the effort to make it short enough to turn in as a high school english paper.

I have plans to eventually go back to this story and write it out as it is a really good story in my opinion. I called it Heretic Twilight, and having gone back and read my highschool work on it, it makes a somewhat good summary of what will likely become a trilogy of books, which I will keep the Heretic Twilight name because it sounds pretty freakin sweet.

This is a story about a girl whose parents are murdered in front of her, and she retaliates with latent magical abilities to literally tear the attackers to shreds. She is taken in by an old hermit and taught to control her power. There is a darkness in her soul from the very beginning, something that she struggles with during her formative years as she grows to become a powerful sorceress. When she is brought out of her seclusion back into the world she sees that the ideals she's been brought up to believe are no longer considered important to those who rule over those with magical abilities and that sets her on the path to ruin. She literally gives up her soul and her body to become the Demon Queen and hunts the human race almost to extinction until she is finally defeated by her former teacher and a girl that was as close as a sister to her. She truly believed that the human race had become so corrupt that the only way she saw to cleanse the world was to slaughter every single one of them so that things can start again, and she was willing to give herself completely to the Dark God in order to do it. It's a story of how the brightest shining star of a generation, and greatest hope for the future, can become the greatest evil that the world has ever seen. I give a pretty good summary of this story in one of the next couple of chapters.

Where I got the idea for this story were actually rumors of a second star wars trilogy coming out sometime in the near future. I thought to myself, what would happen in this new trilogy that tells of the fall of the Jedi and the rise of Darth Vader. And I started to think of what would make a character that is so good and pure and powerful fall away to become so evil and corrupt. So basically, you could call this story my version of how the star wars prequels SHOULD have been. It's got the same mix of sci-fi and fantasy, because at the time I had just discovered the star wars expanded universe novels, and final fantasy 7, and they really influenced my writing in those days.

in a way Heretic Twilight is a much better story, and I try to refer to it as often as possible in Exile, without making it overshadow it. The reason that Exile got written and Hereic Twilight has yet to be, is because of the simple fact that it's a much SHORTER story, and as I have yet to be published, that is what I'm looking to sell. A shorter book that is a single novel long rather than the beginning of a trilogy or a longer story. Exile meets those needs, so that is the story I'm working hard to complete. While I would enjoy writing other stories that are frankly more original and more entertaining, what I REALLY need right now is a well written, standalone novel that is under 150k words. My agent is trying hard to sell beyond the lost horizon, but he thinks that unless I get something like Exile out there first it's never going to happen. He's pretty optimistic with Exile, which is a good thing, and it was at his suggestion that I have been working hard on completing it rather than finishing Spires of Infinity, which is the one that I really want to do.