Saturday, April 29, 2017

Realizations about Writing

    I hear it all the time, "Only write about what you know." But I've always wondered how that counsel applies to authors writing fantasy novels. Well, I think that some of the best authors write a combination of things they know by sight or through experience and things they know in their heart - something they carry deep feelings about. When you write about something you feel a connection with, you will likely end up producing some of your best work yet. I don't think that, in order to write an incredibly successful trilogy, Tolkein had to know what it was like to go on a journey to drop an all-powerful ring into a volcanic mountain. What I do suspect he knew, however, is what it felt like to bond with something so corruptive and yet have a strong desire to be rid of that thing. It's a relatable story that feels rather familiar to most, if not all, readers.
     By the way, "the Lord of the Rings" has been reported to have been read more than any other book next to the Bible.
     Until I get to that point where I have sympathetic feelings rooted into my writing, I just don't care enough about my work to write anything with a better quality than plain old decent.
     Then again, it's not even that. It's not exactly like I don't care, it's more like I really can't write well without feeling some moral in the story that I relate to.
     So here's my advice to myself: don't write it if it doesn't have a heart - a good heart. Like people, you only want to get to know the story if it has a good heart, and you find that out by the way you feel.
     Those are my realizations of the week.
Moving on to Word Count Wednesday (which may or may not actually include a word count).

                                                          What am I working on?

     It's been pretty uneventful in my story notebook for the past few days. I still want to write the Kent Higgins short-story I mentioned a while ago, but I don't know how likely I am to write more than a couple sentences outlining the story.

                                                 How do I feel about the process?

     I suppose I'm just stuck in one of those phases where trying to write anything feels like trudging through peanut butter.

Total word count: Nope.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Character Sketch - Avis


Age: About eighteen years old.

Role in the story: Main character's friend.

Parents: Harppolde and Zenta.

Place of birth: Waklei, the Eastern Tribe.

Skills: Rock-climbing/scaling (grippy frog-like fingers), taming wild animals (kesques being a favorite).

What she fears most: Feeling torn between two worlds (literally), Avis fears never being able to find a stable place that feels like home.

Something that motivates her: When something turns into a competition, Avis is suddenly very determined to put everything she has into the project, whatever it is. She is always eager to prove herself.

Other: Avis' wide-eyed stare can be somewhat disconcerting. Many of her physical characteristics can be attributed to the traits she inherited from her father, Harpollde. On the planet where her father came from, Ersta (referring again to "the Sword in the Sky" map), everyone has large brightly colored eyes that are completely round and have almost no whites - sort of like cat eyes. Erstans are stretched broader from shoulder to shoulder, wider from temple to temple (making space for their humongous eyes), and have slightly bulbous finger-tips. Avis has been told on occasion by her father that she looks a lot like his youngest sister. However, she has her Waklein mother's olive complexion and silvery hair and eyes... as opposed to her father's dark brown hair and vivid purple eyes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Map #2 - Three Countries and an Island

     As promised, Map #2, zooming in on Planet #1 from "the Sword in the Sky."
These are roughly the shapes and sizes of the countries Waklei (WALK-lay), Mukrone (Muhk-RONE), Pevna, and Ancern Island (ANN-kurn). The main character, Winara, lives on the tail of Waklei - the tip facing Pevna. 

I fished up a couple acrylic paintings I did a few years back on little pieces of card-stock paper. The picture above is of the sunset on the White-Sand shore of Waklei. 

The picture below is of a Hiikter plant (huge rubbery-feeling plants that glow at night) from Mukrone. There's also a few star-flies in that picture - translucent purple-winged insects that feed off of nectar stems during the day, making a field of what looks like shaggy purple flowers. After feeding off of the nectar, they take flight at night and fill the sky with glowing purple wings; hence, the name "star-flies." ... I overthink details, but it's fun.

     Just to give you a glimpse into the world in my head:

     Waklei is typically pretty dull in color, but the colors in the water and sky have their moments of brilliance. For the most part, Waklei is just made of lots of stone, a bit of moss, and plenty of white sand; not very colorful, but striking in a strange way.

     Pevna is just the opposite! It's almost always warm and windy there, and it's pretty much the land of eternal Autumn. The colors of the trees are crimson red, gold, fiery orange, and deep brown. It's probably my favorite place to write about. But if I were to go to one of these countries I would probably choose Mukrone.

     Mukrone is the greenest of the three. It gets plenty of rain and has the widest variety of exotic plants and animals. There's a sort of magical element that seems to live in the very air of Mukrone. It could be the influence of the elves that live there...

     This world has existed for me since I was about twelve years old. To me, it almost seems like it does exist in some dimension.

     End of spiel.

Return of the Word Count

                                                       What am I working on?

     I'm still working on that story that doesn't have a name (the one involving "the Sword in the Sky").

     I've also been coming up with titles for poems - not the words, just titles.

                                                 How do I feel about the process?

     Quite frankly, I'm sort of surprised at the way chapter one of this story turned out. Originally, I didn't have a fully developed storyline so I created one. The new plot influenced the characters to do things I didn't expect them to, and certain characters came into the story that I tried to kick out in the past.
     Very intriguing...

                                                         What am I reading?
     I better not bore you with my reading list again this week cause I'm STILL reading the same ol' books. That is, those same books have not yet been finished. I really don't spend a ton of time reading books during the school semesters.
     I find that ironic.

Total Word Count: 2,400+

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Map #1 - The Sword in the Sky

Three planets, four moons, one star=The Sword in the Sky.

     In this constellation, there are three planets that make up the hilt of the sword (numbered 1, 2, and 3 in pencil). There are four moons between planet #1 and the star that makes the tip of the sword. The story I'm currently working on takes places on planet #1 in the constellation, but I have a story for each one of them. I haven't named planet #1 yet, but planet #2 has a name: Ersta. From the viewpoint of planet #1, Ersta looks just like a purple star in the sky, and people fondly and simply call it "The Purple Star." Most people believe it is just a star, except for a select few who have their reasons for thinking it's more than that.
     Planet #3 is another one without a name, but it does have a story all its own. The sun only shines on top of that planet; it never travels to other parts. Unless they live in the permanently sunlit lands, the only light people get on this planet is either from their moon and stars or from fire. 
     Because of its partial lighting, this planet is thought to be a moon. The first of the five smaller circles is planet #1's moon; hence, planet #1 people are very proud of their Purple Star and two moons.

     Well, that's that. I hope you're thoroughly confused.

I'll be back with another map zooming in on the first planet.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Word Countless Wednesday

     Last week I didn't post a thing, and I'm pretty sure that was because I was daunted by the actual word count portion of these posts. As I've said, a lot of my writing is done by hand so it kind of makes word counting hard. Hence, the "Word Countless Wednesday."

                                                            What am I working on?

     I've been dabbling with two very different stories. One is about the so-called heartless Kent Higgins and a family crisis involving his little sister Jenny, who had a bad accident with one of the family-owned horses.
     The other story is about way too many things. I'm considering separating some of it's side plots into further books of the same series.
     Or not.
     I don't know.
     The main idea is that, on anther planet, three countries are faced with the possibility of war as they are discovered by a fourth power-seeking country, and they would call upon their king for help except that... they're not exactly sure he exists.
      That is REALLY nut-shelling it!

                                                   How do I feel about the process?

     There's so much going on in this story, so much to each of the three countries, so many details about different creatures and plants, so much to the history of the characters that... I'm excited! But also overwhelmed (I know that's a sentence fragment).

                                                             What am I reading?

     As far as novels go, nothing new.
I have been reading over some ancient drafts I wrote of the second story mentioned.

I'll post a map of a constellation in a bit. It'll explain part of what I mean when I say there's way too much going on in this story.