Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
She is often depicted as a mare or woman seated side-saddle on a horse, often accompanied by a bird, dog, or foal. The British Museum has a 7.5-cm high Roman bronze of Epona sitting with a small foal and stallion on either side. Large ears of grain rest on her lap, on the patera in her right hand, and in the mouths of the horses flanking her. A yoke sits over her left arm, rising above her shoulder.
One legend tells that she was the daughter of an unusual pairing. Stellos hated women. For some bizarre reason, he mated with a mare, which bore a lovely maiden given the name Epona. Other stories compare her to the Welsh goddess Rhiannon and the Irish cult of Macha, sharing many of the same traits.
Epona has served as inspiration for modern creative works. Morgan Llywelyn features her as a Celtic woman with Druidic powers in The Horse Goddess. Link, in the Legends of Zelda games, rides a horse named Epona. Enya, Omnia (a Dutch PaganFolk Band), and Heol Telwen (a French folk/black metal band) each have a song in tribute to her. Scottish author Patricia Leitch features her in the “Jinny and Finmory” children’s book series.
Even science and science fiction have paid their tributes to this Celtic goddess. Irish scientists from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth named an experiment after her (the Energetic Particle ONset Admonitor), which was part of the European Space Agency Giotto Mission to Halley’s Comet.
Acorna is referred to as Epona by many of the children in the first book of Anne McCaffrey’s co-written Acorna series. She blends traits of both Epona and many of the unicorn legends. Though the focus is on the unicorn traits, I think it interesting how well the two legends dovetail.
So whether writing fantasy or science fiction, you can create your own variant of Epona or one of the related goddesses. She may take you somewhere unexpected.
Jaleh Dragich is an avid reader and aspiring author of fantasy and science fiction. Her interest in the genre covers more than the written form to include music, movies, games, and visual art. She is now sharing her passion for the subject on her blog, Ex Libris Draconis.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Susan gave a smirk before walking out the door.
Dammit! Dammit! He wanted to kill her. He wanted to wring her little neck! How dare she walk out on him. He picked up a vase and threw it against the floor, imagining all the broken shards were her fragile, shattered skull. (Third limited)
Jared gave a good show by throwing a vase against the floor, imagining all the little pieces were her shattered skull, but the action was laughable and brought him no closer to getting her back. (Omniscient)
Friday, November 13, 2009
One of the great things about joining a writing community is that you get to meet a lot of fascinating writers. A few months ago, I didn’t even know there was such a genre as paranormal romance, but today’s author not only introduced me to it, she sparked in me a love of reading it. And that author is Jenn Lidster.
In her blog, Jenn talks about her life as a writer. And she takes writing seriously. She has been a member of the Romantic Writers Association since June of 2009 and the Ottawa Romantic Writers Association since this past September. Yup, you read that right, Jenn is a Canadian. But don't hold it against her. She's actually a very wonderful person. ;)
A mother of two little ones, a five year old daughter and a two year old son, Jenn somehow finds time to revise her superhero romance, Topaz Skies. She hopes to be ready to send it out to agents by the end of the month. But she's not done there! She's also got two upcoming paranormal romance projects, tentatively titled Badge of the Sentinel and The Hidden.
She just finished reading A Perfect Darkness, by Jaime Rush and admits that her favorite authors include Carrie Vaughn with her Kitty the Werewolf books and C.E. Murphy with her Walker Papers series. Jenn highly recommends everyone check out the latter author's awesome blog.
When asked what she hoped for the future, Jenn kept it simple. She would love to write full-time, but would be willing to settle for part-time employment just as long as she could devote more time to her writing career. In order to get that, she's crossing her fingers for an agent/book deal. We're all crossing our fingers with you, Jenn!
If you would like to learn more about this author, check out her blog and become a follower today!
I'd just like to send a big thank you to Jenn Lidster for allowing me to talk about her today! I love doing this and I hope she enjoyed it as well!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Described briefly in Homer's The Iliad, this Greek mythological creature was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Today, the name of the monster has become a term that means an impossible or foolish fantasy.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Each morning I wake up and tell myself that I'm going to finish a chapter in Aurumenas and at night I tell myself that tomorrow will be the day. It's getting ridiculous! You would think that because I'm aware of this show getting in the way, I would cut it out of my life completely, but apparently not. Every time I sit down to write in my book, my mind wanders to what the next episode might be about.
So what's your vice? You may not be suffering from it now, but what really gets in the way of your writing when you allow it to?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
We've all been there. When the rejections start piling up (sometimes one right after the other), our inner baby threatens to come out.
Nathan Bransford posted about this in his blog yesterday, but I wanted to touch upon it here.
There's nothing wrong with feeling sensitive about our work, but it's important that we keep our senses. It often may be pretty tempting to hit reply when we receive a rather personal and (we feel) mean rejection letter, but that moment of passion could possibly ruin our career. I certainly hope that every writer is aware that agents tend to converse amongst each other.
I think the best thing that a writer can do is learn to whimper to himself and his spouse, friends, family, but NOT to the professionals! Being sensitive is natural for a writer, but keep your senses! Don't rant to the people who control the success (or lack thereof) of your future.
Any thoughts? Are you a sensitive person or do you take critique and rejections in stride?
Monday, October 19, 2009
I know, I know, I'm a day late, but yesterday was particularly hectic. I'm in the middle of potty training my two year old and let me tell you, it's not fun.
So we touched upon the history of the dragon last Wednesday. There's a lot of evidence the world over to indicate that dragons were once living, breathing creatures that actually caused problems for the local populace. Sure, myth has elevated these animals to magical beings capable of shapeshifting, telepathy, etc., but word-of-mouth stories tend to do that. If we were to believe every tall tale, we would have to accept the fact that there really are mice four feet tall with foam dripping at the mouth, and any man that came home from a fishing trip empty-handed only did so because the big one, with a mind as sharp as any human's, got away.
In the cave painting to the right, a fire-breathing creature is depicted. It doesn't take too much imagination to see that this is probably a dragon. Though it is depicted without wings, this isn't uncommon. The Drake is a particular dragon that is represented this way, as well as the Chinese variety.
Some of the oldest tales in the world talk about brave men going out to fight the local dragon, depending upon the culture. In many eastern cultures, the dragon was (and still is) revered as a noble creature, worthy of worship. This isn't uncommon as well. There are cultures and religions today that revere the cow in much the same way.
It would be silly to think that all dragons were the same, and therefore dangerous. It could have possibly been the case that many were rather docile and offered a bit of protection to a local town from the more vicious variety, as well as other smaller predators. In fact, there are some tales that speak of certain dragons as herbivores and rather friendly.
However, we are typically more familiar with the ones that are hunted and killed by the local heroes. In this mosaic, a group of Ethiopian warriors are shown hunting a rather familiar-looking creature. No, this animal does not look like most representations of the dragon, but it is very likely that the dragon was in actuality a group of animals that we are very familiar with--dinosaurs.
Many paleontologists do concur that the similarities between dinosaurs and dragons are too close to ignore. The theory is that ancient man found the fossilized remains of these creatures and wove tales accordingly. But, their knowledge of the hard scales and other characteristics that would have been impossible to derive from just the fossils, indicates differently.
As mentioned last week, scholars have found official palace records in China of a royal dragon keeper. Why would the emperor assign such a position if this animal were not real? And why would Marco Polo claim to have seen the emperor pulled along by dragons? Any paleontologist knows that if you want to find dinosaur remains, you go to China.
Think of this, tales of dragons have been told since the beginning of civilization, but the term dinosaur was only coined in 1841.
Although, I was late for this particular post, I promise that tomorrow's post will be on time. Don't forget to check in!
Friday, October 16, 2009
For those of you who may have missed it, I hosted my first monthly Tuesday's Trivia where the first person to answer the question correctly wins a blog post all about them. There will be a new Tuesday's Trivia on the second Tuesday of every month.
I'm very happy to report that my first Author Review will be all about a good friend of mine, fellow writer, Liz Penn.
If you haven't visited Liz's blog, Wandering-Quill, I highly suggest you do so today. With three novels under her belt, not to mention short stories, and poems, she has honed her craft to such a degree that she has already developed a fanbase that eagerly awaits any postings of her work on the Writer's Digest Forum.
Liz is currently working on a complete rewrite of her sci-fi, Phoenix Rising while simultaneously writing her fantasy, Half-Soul, novel #5 of a 9 novel series. And if that wasn't enough for one person's plate, she is also trying to find homes for two of her short stories. I have been fortunate enough to read all of these pieces and I am constantly impressed with how Liz is able to portray the human dynamic. Many female authors feel constrained to write about only women, but Liz has shown an uncanny ability to get into the male psyche and articulate the growing friendship of two men in her novel, Phoenix Rising.
As I mentioned earlier, Liz has broadened her writing career to include poetry, of which she has two published, Look to the Horizon and Autumn.
As a sci-fi/fantasy novelist, it should not be surprising that her favorite author and the one who's books inspired her to write is J.R.R. Tolkien, the father of fantasy. Some other favorites include, David Drake (King's Blade series), Jennifer Roberson (Sword Dancer, Karavan series, and Cheysuli Chronicles), and Dean Koontz for his "more urban/contemporary fantasy and some thriller/suspense." She is currently devouring the newest two books in the Sword-Sworn series by Jennifer Roberson.
When asked what she wanted for the future, Liz of course gave off a list that is every writer's dream: "A multi-book deal, six-digit advance, interview on Oprah's book club." But for the more recent future, she's willing to settle for ten publishing credits and an induction to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
This was such an honor for me to be able to talk about Liz Penn today. I hope you take the opportunity to check out her blog and show her your support.
Don't forget to check out Monday's Myths where we will look deeper into the history of the dragon.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Yes, it was indeed the dragon. On his return, Marco Polo told of the great Emperor of China being pulled in a chariot by dragons. In fact, archealogists have recently discovered official palace records of a royal dragon keeper. And if you will notice, the only mythological (?) creature on the Chinese calendar is the dragon. Clearly this animal was considered very real at one point.
I'll go into more detail on this amazing creature on Monday's Myths, but in the meantime, Friday will feature all you've ever wanted to know about the woman behind the Wandering-Quill! Well, at least everything she's willing to tell you. :)
By the way, if you don't know already, Nathan Bransford is hosting his 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. Check it out and post your paragraph!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Now wait no longer! Here is the question *plays Jeopardy theme song*:
When Marco Polo returned from his travels in the far east, what mythological creature did he claim he saw in China?
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
And there is one area that a lot of critiquers particularly seem to abhor: head popping. Oh the horror of head popping! It should never be done! It is the mark of the amateur! Uh, not so much. In fact, head popping (aka Omniscient POV) is precisely the style Tolkein, Lewis, Asimov, King, and a handful of other highly successful and brilliant authors use. So why all the hate? Because most new authors have not yet mastered the art of the omniscient POV, so rather than helping them to perfect it, teachers and mentors will usually suggest that they steer clear of it altogether (In fact, a lot of teachers and mentors don't know enough to teach it anyway). This is a shame. The omniscient POV, when done well, can lure a reader into a story like no other. The reader can know at all times just what is happening and what everyone is feeling because the all-knowing narrator knows these things. This narrator can either be the author himself, or some other outside character that the author has created. This character isn't always in the story, just telling it.
First person point of view seems to be on the rise in popularity. Everywhere I go another author seems to be attempting it. There's nothing wrong with it; it's a good enough POV and it's the best one to use when you want to lead a reader astray. But it is easy for the author to get lulled into a sense that they have brought the reader as close to the story as possible, so they don't have to work as hard. Uh, no. Think about it. Yes, the reader is right in the head of the MC, but every other character must be known outside the point of view person. And it is easy for the reader to be lied to. Reality is only as how the MC sees it. If anything, as a reader I feel very pulled out of the all-encompassing story when I read something in first person. In some stories, that works. In a mystery, for example, the first person POV would be perfect. The reader would have no more information than the MC. In fact, I'm in the process of writing a short story in first person because I plan on pulling a fast one on my MC, and in turn, the readers.
There are quite a few POVs that I just won't get into here right now. Some of them have fallen out of use in modern writing and others are just so difficult that only the most knowledgeable writers would dare attempt them. However, the last point of view that I will talk about is third limited.
A lot like first person, third limited is restricted to one character at a time. A lot of authors choose to have several POV characters in one novel, while others may stick with one (e.g. Harry Potter series). You can't "head pop" in third limited because the narrator is the character of choice, not the all-knowing one. The narrator, therefore, can surmise what the other characters may be thinking or feeling, but it is all speculation based on their actions.
Point of view, like I stated in my previous blog post, I shake my fist at you! is a style. If you see that a writer has used a certain POV rather poorly, direct them to the best resources to perfect their craft. But do not steer them away from their style. We need an end to cookie-cutter novels that are crafted the way "everyone" is doing it. I think we know what kind of novels come out when that happens. ;)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Ugh. Now the writer has a few options in his/her path. He can either remain calm (I repeat! Remain calm!) and discuss this possible glitch in the path to perfection with the reader, or he can put up his defensive wall and attack the reader for obviously missing the scope of the work. It's not the reader's fault he/she is so stupid and can't pick up obvious things, the public school system has merely failed them.
Now imagine when an agent or publisher "just doesn't get it." How can the world possibly not recognize the awesomeness that is your novel?? It's probably wise at this point to take a step back and reevaluate your darlings.
I, for one, am the queen of defensiveness. I can honestly say that I am shocked and appalled when someone I have asked to read a section of my book comes back and criticizes a certain part of it. Walls come up! Oh the excuses! BUT! After a few minutes of steady breathing, I really think about what the reader had to say. Now that I have calmed down, do I still disagree? If yes, then I move on. There have been many instances where I have agreed with my critiquer. A good writer friend of mine suggested that I scrap my first chapter and start with my MC. I fought this for a while because I believed that important things would be missed if I changed where the novel started. But I did give in, and I'm glad. My new first chapter is far better and the reader has a chance to connect with my MC immediately, rather than slowly but surely.
There are instances, however, where your critiquer(s) will criticize the style of your work, rather than the content. It is extremely important, therefore, to know what your style is and be prepared to defend it. Lots of people confuse style and content. They think they're the same thing. They are not. Style is how you tell your story, content includes things like the plot, your characters, etc. It is not a style to describe one-dimensional characters and a plot that goes nowhere! So get that out of your head right now. Style includes sentence structure (as long as it's grammatically correct), POV, etc. These things should be left alone during a critique. If you write long, flowy sentences, but your critiquer prefers short, choppy ones, it's time to find someone else to critique your book. Those styles do not jive and the critiquer will feel tempted to change your style. There will only be pain in a situation like this.
Writers do tend to freak out (*raises hand*) when they recieve a particulary bad review, but we just need to start looking at them objectively. You'll never improve as an artist if you disregard every negative critique. I'll concur that some of them are ridiculous, but don't ignore the gems out there just because a few bad apples have gotten through. This is advice that I have a hard time living, but it's worth it when I do.
And if you're a critiquer, please, please, please! Stop critiquing style. We writers simultaneously believe that we are the greatest in our generation and just pure crap. Critiquing style will only work to make us even more depressed and it does nothing to improve us as artists.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Gone are the days when only politicians needed to worry about their pasts. With the influx of internet communities, more and more people are learning to regret something they may have posted on a whim, possibly believing that it would stay between them and their closest friends.
Well, sad to say, but your closest friends now include every single person with access to the internet. And it should not surprise us that prospective employers, agents, publishers, etc. now use the internet to determine the character of a potential employee or client. If you choose to post about your drunken orgy weekends, you better be prepared to suffer the consequences. No one wants to put in time and effort working with a person who might prove to be unreliable.
And nowadays the author needs to be sold just as much as his/her novel. Think about how you create likeable characters--this is the same way you should go about your life. Writing is a career, not a hobby, so be careful about anything you put on the internet. You don't want to ruin your career before it even begins.
Don't forget to check in for Monday's Myths!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Stephen King is a bestselling author of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and screenplays. Look for his latest novel, Under the Dome, scheduled to come out 11/10/09.
For the last week and a half, we've been discussing the masters and their amazing use of words to create effects that resonate with readers for years. Stephen King is well on his way to joining their ranks, if he has not done so already; only time will tell.
I bring him up today because his particular style runs rampant with the ever dreaded...swear word! Yes, I'm going there.
There is an ongoing discussion around the swear word. Some believe that it is never necessary, no matter what the situation, while others are a bit more lenient and will concur that people will drop the f-bomb on certain occassions. I'm of the latter opinion. Stephen King, on the other hand, seems to take this argument to the extreme. I will admit that I am often put-off by his blatant use of some words. For one, I can't stand the "c" word or the "p" word in any situation, and I believe that it should just stay out of the literary field altogether. And it seems that he is more than willing to drop the "f" bomb even when the situation didn't necessarily call for it. But, it's his style and a lot of people love it.
The point I want to make, though, is that swear words instantly change the mood (and often, classification) of a piece. I don't care who you are, or what situation you put your characters in, if you are trying to write Middle Grade, you cannot use swear words. The moment you do, your classification has just changed to at least YA. But more than likely, you've just entered into the world of adults. And if you've spent the majority of your novel setting up one of your characters as a lady or gentleman, but just had them spew a swear word, you've lost that impression. You must be very careful in the words you use, and the swear word brings this point out better than any other.
Stephen King gets away with it (and justifies it in his book, On Writing) because he's been in the business a long time and has earned a bit of leeway from the publishing industry and his fans. And, even though he uses swear words a lot, he doesn't make his story about them, which is what a lot of amateur writers do when they want to be "impactful." Too many swear words is the equivalent of a horror movie that is more gross than scary. Yeah, you can show that someone is angry by having them swear, but it's often the cheap way to go and you run the risk of losing your audience.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Are swear words ever justified? And if so, when?
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
William Shakespeare had a handle on words that few have ever equalled. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, many readers today do not fully appreciate his work. There are phrases that moved the story along that we just don't use today. For example, when have we ever mentioned our spleen when overcome with anger? And yet, this was a common word usage in Shakespeare's time. Just as we attribute the heart to certain feelings, other organs also had their place.
This shouldn't surprise us. Just within a short time (still in living memory), many words have been given different meanings and some just don't find their place in conversation anymore. When's the last time you said you were gay in order to indicate that you were happy? Or when have we thought, "what a queer little dog" when we see a household pet acting silly? The Post-Modern generation, for the most part, does not. Our grandparents and great-grandparents may still use those phrases from time to time, but those words are quickly adapting to new meanings.
Today, a spleen is a spleen, but in Shakespeare's time it was an organ of anger.
Now why did I spend so much time explaining that? Because a master, in just a few simple words, can portray so much. Which is better? Saying, "the act of the woman surprised and saddened him" or "his heart sank?" I hope that you understand the latter is better. It portrays so much more emotion and feeling. We can relate to a sinking heart. Whereas, the first description was rather flat and the reader would have to stop and think in order to relate to the character.
When describing emotion, think about where you feel it. You feel love, sadness, hurt, etc. in your heart, but your heart does different things for each of those emotions. A loving heart is light, a sad heart is heavy, and a hurt heart, well, hurts. There are other organs that are affected as well. Don't we feel guilt in our stomach?
These words and expressions are powerful because every single person has felt them and can relate to them. And that's the key. A writer and a reader must be able to understand each other. It's all about communication, and a master communicates his point, not only beautifully, but precisely.
The series will continue next Wednesday. In the meantime, Monday will be the start of Monday's Myths where I'll introduce a new mythological character and its origins every week.
Don't forget to check in!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Try to start your novel like that and I guarantee you that in whatever writing group you belong to, the people will start going crazy. "It doesn't make sense," "those two things can't be true at the same time," and of course, "it doesn't pop. You should start your first scene with some kind of action."
Clearly, this is the opening of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. Not only does that opening work, it's one of the most recognizable out of the 168 million+ published novels out there. And Charles Dickens didn't even stop there. The first paragraph (and it's a long one) repeats that contradictory format. In fact, if you keep reading, you'll see that the opening isn't contradictory at all. Instead, it sets up the theme of the book perfectly. Charles Dickens articulated the feelings prior to the French Revolution in a way that few (if any) have done better.
Some consider Dickens rather verbose. And they may be right, but if I were being paid per word, I think I would want to stretch my sentences as well. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that his words had impact. He was a master. Dickens knew just what to say and how to say it. There wasn't a wasted word in the bunch.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of writers out there who think that the admonition to be clear and concise means creating short, choppy sentences. Let's take a look at the whole paragraph from Dickens's work:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
That entire paragraph is one sentence. Let me repeat: one sentence. But who among us would dare think it needs to be changed? It is so completely opposite of how we think we are told to write, and yet, it is nothing but supremely beautiful. At first sight, this opening appeares completely meaningless. It doesn't set us up for the scene, it does not introduce the MC, and nothing is happening (where's the action??). But by the end of the book, we see just how impactful and perfect that opening is.
Charles Dickens, like all the masters before him and after him, shows us that writing is an artform. We are not just telling a story, we are weaving a tale. It must be beautiful as well as concise. Each single word that we put down must drive the story forward and contribute to the picture as a whole.
Our words have the power to create worlds in the minds of complete strangers. We must not take this lightly. If we want to be taken seriously at all in the publishing world, we must approach paper (or a computer screen) with the same solemn respect as any master has ever approached an outlet of his/her creativity.
Don't forget to check in on Friday when I will continue the series on The Power of Words.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Don't forget to check in! :)
Monday, August 31, 2009
If you haven't heard of him, then I'm pretty sure you've heard of his most famous series of books: "The Chronicles of Narnia."
Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so. With Disney's recent releases of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian," there are few who haven't heard of that series.
What few do know, however, is that "The Chronicles of Narnia" is an allegory about the Christian faith for children. Do you think that C.S. Lewis may have wanted to distance himself from pagan magic? You better believe it. Those who possessed "magic" were the witch and Aslan.
Magic was by no means the central theme of the books. And it was not attributed to nature, a "spirit realm," and could not be acquired through special worship or rituals. Instead, "magic" was attributed to the major players of good and evil.
Why is all this important? Well, as you shall see when I review my third author next week, how magic is presented is pivotal to the theme and feel of the story.
As a Christian author, I, like C.S. Lewis, do not want to be associated with paganism or spiritism, though I still do want to write fantasy. This genre is not closed to just those who write about magic wielding wizards and a group of gods and goddesses who play with the lives of the hero/heroine. There is a way to write strictly fantasy, but not abandon your morals. Tolkien and Lewis led the way in this and are considered the masters in the genre.
Stay tuned for a different perspective on fantasy by author, Terry Goodkind, next week.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I think it's pretty safe to assume that when you see the name, J.R.R Tolkien you automatically think of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But do you also think of magic and/or paganism? Well, I certainly hope not, and I'm willing to bet Tolkien would have hoped not too. He went through a lot of care to keep magic, for the most part, out of his novel. What do I mean by "for the most part?" If you've read "The Lord of the Rings," you may have noticed that the word "magic" made its appearance from time to time. But who did it typically come from? The hobbits, Gimli, and sometimes even men. What about the wielders of this supposed magic? Well, when asked about it, they were usually pretty emphatic that it wasn't magic at all. Now wait a second! You might be saying. Gandalf and Saruman were wizards! And they certainly used magic! Hmm...this actually requires some deeper reading...
"The Silmarillion" is a very detailed look at the world of Middle Earth and even beyond. It's full of Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Valar. What? Valar? Yes indeed. They were in "The Lord of the Rings" too. Anyone remember Tom Bombadil? He's better known as Tulkas in "The Silmarillion," and he's a Valar. The Valar, with the help and guidance of Eru, created Middle Earth. And there aren't just Valar, there are Maiar too. I could go into a very detailed explanation of what these beings actually represent, but let's keep this particular post as short as possible (it's already getting pretty long and I haven't even gotten to the other two authors). What you need to know is that Gandalf, Saruman, and Sauron are Maiar.
This all is just a long, roundabout way of saying that those who are accused of using magic are done so by those who don't know any better.
You may be thinking that this doesn't change the fact that some of those characters had special abilities. And you would be right. But you have to stop and see where those abilities are coming from. Are they coming from special potions, rituals, sayings, etc.? Or are they coming from some supreme being who doesn't give the ability to just a rare few, but to all within a certain race?
There is a difference and I'll go into why in Parts 2 and 3.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Well, lately the ideas pouring out of my mind have been very similar to the rainy season in Iraq. Just as the dry season in that country would surely lead you to believe that not a drop of rain would ever again fall from the sky, the rainy season will make you convinced that you'll never see dry ground again. And that's the way I feel right now.
Just the other day, while watching the news, a great idea for a novel popped into my head. It is unlike anything I have ever written. In fact, it's not even fantasy, but a thriller. Obviously, I haven't started writing it yet because I still need to finish Aurumenas, but it's always exciting to write a novel when you know you have another one to take its place as soon as you're finished.
And speaking of Aurumenas (because remember, I said it was pouring), new subplots and twists have been popping into my head; ideas that I never would have guessed when starting, but seem to fit perfectly in the direction my characters have taken me.
Needless to say, this is the part of writing that every writer lives for. We persevere through the dry patches because we know our hard work will eventually pay off.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Here I was, on the day of the deadline (yes, I am a procrastinator) writing out the first few words of my story. I didn't finish it that night. I got about a third of the way through the story and decided the drivel wasn't worth the wasted space or anyone's precious time in reading it. I went to bed without another thought. The next day, I discovered that the deadline had been pushed back a few days. It was then that I smacked myself around a bit and resolved to finish my story.
I didn't finish it that day, or the next day. In fact, I didn't even work on it. No, it wasn't even until the day before the deadline that I decided to look at it again. It was still drivel, but it was my drivel and I sat behind my computer until that story was done! After a few small edits, I sent it away hoping and praying that I would get more than one vote (my own). As it turned out, I got a few more than one.
We are always our own worst critics. Now, after this small victory, I can allow myself to look at that story and admit that it's actually pretty good. I'm glad I decided to put myself out there and enter that contest. I just hope that this situation will always remind me that, no matter what, I need to push forward and submit, submit, submit!!
And I certianly hope that this story will inspire you to do the same.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Yes, Aurumenas (hour-oo-may-nahs) is my very own made up word, or what I like to call an Emism. My book has a lot of Emisms, but this particular one is the most important. Inspired by J.R.R Tolkien's "The Silmarillion," I wanted a title that had a deep meaning that was special to the story. I wanted to give the reader a sense of what my story was like before he even opened the book.
So what does Aurumenas mean? Well, it literally means (however literal you can get with a made up word): The search for the Child of Auru. I will go into more detail about Auru and the Auri in a later post, but for the time being all you need to know is that it is a planet, and the Child of Auru is the one who rules it. While my main character, the Aurume, is indeed missing and all of Auru is searching for her, the deeper meaning behind the term actually has to do with the character's need to discover who she is and what it means to be the Child of Auru.
Pulled on all sides by the supporting characters, the MC (Nathadria) finds herself wanting to escape and live her own life. But being the mean author that I am, I rarely give my characters what they want. Instead, Nathadria is forced to make a decision between her own desires and the needs of those counting on her. By doing so, she discovers just how strong she really is; the real Child of Auru.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Chances are that you'll skim through this little post or ignore it completely, but I feel compelled to offer a bit of welcome and explanation.
So, what can you expect from this blog? Well, as a writer of fantasy and science fiction and a mother of two very young children, I know what it's like trying to get deeply involved in a story during the far too rare moments of peace and quiet. Quite too often, I'm forced to write in five minute intervals while simultaneously feeding my three-week old and cuddling with my two year old. Just a few weeks ago, I would have told you that such a thing was impossible. But when you have a passion for something, you make do with what you have. And when you only have five minutes, you use them.
By this point, you must be thinking I'm crazy for trying to keep up with a blog, and well, you'd be right. But like I said before, writing is my passion and I can't imagine not using every available moment I have in pursuit of it.
Because my newest literary baby is my novel, Aurumenas, most of my posts will have to do with my struggles in writing it and my characters' struggles in revealing themselves to me.
So sit back and enjoy the blog!