Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nano 2008!

Its November again and that means its time for National Novel Writing Month! Woot! I'm not going to spend alot of time talking about my story (or apologizing for never updating this blog for that matter...) But I figured I'd do a little synopsis.

Crosswind Gambit ( working title) is a Science Fiction space opera (I'm hoping anyway) I've never really tried for this type of story, but Nano is the time to try new things. It will be influenced by 'A Game of Thrones' by George R. Martin (for the politics and feel) and by all the classics, Dune, star Wars etc. Of course I will be giving it my own blend but overall, a pretty serious feel with just a bit of humor thrown in. Even teh tragedies have clowns.

The premis:

Far far future, man has discovered spaceflight is possible through alternate planes of existance and spread itself out to the stars. Earth is lost to memory as wars and disasters ravenge man. Through all of this men are resolute; as in their past they divide themselves and teh strong build up castles to defend the weak. Those that linger long in the 'Negative Planes' find that they change, creating races of men whose bodies are changed, genetics altered.

Into this the great houses of their time are thrust, and their Lords quarrel over planets, dancing in an eternal game of intrigue and war, alliance and foe. Anchient blood feuds rage through this plane and the negative plane. And through all this a deadly enemy waits to strike, the man made menace of the Kael, an artificail organism created with the sole purpose of making men strong; or breaking them forever.

Thats it, very general I know BUT I have another very special bit of info. This year I'm going to try and use google documents to write my story. What this means is that if you anyone has a gmail account and wants to keep tabs on the story, I'll make it read only for you. Just let me know. And any toher Nano'ers out there, keep the faith! the stories will come!

John, the Writer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mixing it up.

I figure its about time to put my heart on my sleeve and let everyone in on a little secret of mine: I love long stories. I really do! I like watching characters run through their adventures over the course of months and years, through different arcs and different seasons. Given enough time we begin to expect certain things, know all the references and why a character might act a certain way. That sort of knowledge base has to built over time, there's no other way to do it. It's a natural progression of plot and history that's much like life expierence.

Now, and this is the beautiful thing, a story can hit a spot where there is enough accumulated reader expierence with the story that the reader takes certain things for granted. The writer, if they are attuned to this, can go two ways with this certain 'reader state':

1) A writer can streamline their writing. As long as the reader is current on all the story content up to a certain point, a writer can take liberties and move on to new things, building on the old.

2) A writer can completely change the direction of the story. This is actually nessesary at a certain point in the story to breath new life into it. The same pony doing the same tricks can at times become boring if not handled correctly.

I was thinking a bit about this today and it really just bioled down to that. Any writer trying to build an epic world and story has to do so slowly, building on each subsequent piece of information. Tolkien and Jordan used a classic method I like to call 'the student character' that the writer can teach with a teacher character. In this way the reader learns naturally along with the naive character about how the world works outside of the student character's isolate existance.

I think more than anything I'm tired and wanted to write a little something. This whole thing was inspired by Scott Kurtz's recent events. He really shook up a world that had been since set in stone of some sort. Two characters marrying, effectively removing a character and updating the art for two others through scandaleous means. It's a bold move that may frighten some readers, anger others and invigorate the rest and I say hats off to you Scott, hats off to you.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More Blog wit!

Ok so I've kinda been neglecting this blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. On teh writing side of things I've been tuning 'Culture' working a bit on a project my good friend Saara suggested (It's called 'Mirror, Mirror' and so far its been a blast to write!) and of course work has started on the next Parable anthology. We're doing a Piper Sorrow's story, a modified version of 'Trust in the Snow' it's shaping up to be fantastic. :) As well as all that I've been helping to keep the blog updated at the Parable website. Twice a month you can read my literary genius. Visit, enjoy and the reflect on teh hidden mysteries that lie within those simple words.

On the normal life side of things the wedding is fast approaching. I'd liken it to train jumping just 'cause it's exciting, unstoppable and possibly very dangerous. Still lots of fun, but lots of planning to keep us busy. We also just got our condo whose walls are like a pubescent boy; covered in bumps and irregulairties. We will be first filling, then sanding and THEN painting these walls so that we can take some pride in being home owners.

Comic wise I NEED to send clue everyone into this man and his work. As an artist he's fantastic, but as a mind he is more than that. Each character is fantastic yet still beleivable; their abilities, traits and personalities a fount of inspiration. Then move to the writing. It's work with layers, and each next layer is as good or better than the previous in such a manner that once you start digging, you may never, ever find your way out.

And check this comic as well. I found it by chance and I'm glad that I did:

On teh wirting side, I may post some Mirror, Mirror as it gets worked on, but those that hold hope of this may be disappionted. I think, for the summer at least, most of my writing will be focused on Parable and then on personal projects as time allows. I'll try and keep some updates coming, but until the wedding's over and we're moved in comfortably, I can't see my free time being my own anymore.

Thanks for reading!

John, the Writer.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quick post, cause that's all I seem to have time for anymore :S

I did a bit more work on Piper Sorrows today, but be advised that this one is still kinda a work in progress. Still, it shows a bit more of the Face of Piper, who he is and what he is. He's a complex man. This section will be revised, but reading through it a couple times I'm happy enough with the presentation of the new facts to post it here. Hope you enjoy :)

Sorrowful confessions ~part 2~

Summer flourished, filling the air with heat and scents from a world that brimmed with life. Piper sat on a tall hill in deep grass still wearing a travel stained jacket and heavy gloves. The world around him stretched perfectly in all directions, a castle sat against a range of mountains that spanned the horizon. There were parts of the world that seemed too real, parts that didn't seem real enough and other things in the corner of his eye that were unearthly horror.
“This isn’t real.” Piper said to himself, lying on the grass.
“It’s as real as you make it, lost one.” A voice whispered in his ear. The voice was formless, coming on the winds to speak softly to Piper. It spoke in words and feelings, carried on a tide too powerful to contain, like an ocean’s whim.
“I thought you might find me,” Piper said to the nothing. A tattered black cloak fluttered just behind him like an evening shadow, but when he turned his head it was gone. “Though I don't remember who you are.”
“Still no memories, it pains me to see you like this, lost and alone. Weak. I would protect you, you know I can. Even if you don't remember, you know I can. If only you give me your hand. Not even a hand, just speak a word and I will give you back everything that was taken.”
“I’m finding it myself.” Piper said. “And I am not as weak as you would think. I am surviving.”
“Barely!” The voice tensed and the power beneath it quivered, showing part of its true nature. Black ribbons and tattered cloth like funeral shrouds rose briefly in a flurry around Piper, though they were gone when he looked for them.
“You are a shadow of what you once were. You were more than a prince, more than a warrior!” The voice crooned. “Now you are a beggar with tricks that will not long protect you from those that will come for you. So far it has been the vagrants and mercenaries that have harassed you. Far more powerful foes you will face.”
“If you don’t send any, none will come for me.” Piper rose to his feet, finding that his legs worked normally in this strange place.
“Me? You think it’s only I who searches for you? You don’t fear Jonas? You don't fear the Thanes? It is not only my will that bends itself towards you, it is all the enemies you left behind. They still live, all of them, they thrive now while you only linger. You would do well to fear them.”
“I have no fear left in me.” Piper smiled, bending to pluck a flower from the field, “I was stripped of all that and left like this.”
“You should learn fear. Fear creates respect. Fear and respect Jonas, he will find you, have no doubts.”
“Then it saves me the time of finding him.”
“Fool! In your state you could not withstand even his captains!” The voice shrieked, wilting the flower in Piper’s hand. “You are lost and powerless! To survive you need protection! You need me!”
Piper nodded in agreement to the voice, “I have all I need to find who I was. I have more control than you think. Now I think I will wake up…”
The world around Piper hazed, as if he saw it through a mist and the voice faded, the power behind it waning, but the intentions still clear.
“We will see you when you have found the parts of yourself you despise! I will come to you then and see what you say!” The voice faded more and more, as did the field. “I know where you are now, I will send for you! I … will … send … for …. You!”
Piper opened his eyes painfully, and in his vision there was nothing around him that smelled of a field. The roof was bleak and thatch, the smells of stale bodies and blood rose up around him like a steam and mixed with the scent of animals. His head was wet from a damp cloth that sat there, cooling the fever that he still felt. He remembered the place, but it was if the memory came from another man; or the dream of another man. Piper tried to sit up but found that he couldn’t. Still, the small motion of trying brought a woman to his side and she leaned over him attentively.
“You should not move. It took me a day to move after the drugs left me.” The woman said. Her voice was harsh but carried with it compassion. “Can you hear me, can you understand me?”
Piper tried to speak, coughed and then nodded his head.
“This is good.” The woman said, “I would thank you for saving me. I heard all of what was to happen to me, and such fear I have never known! You saved me from that. Here, drink this, and I will help you as best as I can.”
A steaming cup was pressed gently to his mouth while a hand raised his head and Piper did his best to swallow without choking on the bitter drink. The hands that pressed the cup were careful and firm, making sure that some of the draught entered his lips without flooding them. Those hands had done this service before.
The drink coursed through Piper’s veins warming them with a speed that made him gasp out loud. There was magic at work, a cleansing kind that caused rebirth within him and set every sense tingling. Visions of the Ouri came back to him, rushing in like the mountain wind. Piper remembered vividly the trek to the small mining town and paying the inn keeper well for a room before the poison took him. Then there were the dreams, his mind retreating from his body when it was no longer useful there and finding her voice in his head. Now there was here, the present, and the woman he remembered from the Ouri tent leaning over him intently, mass of hair falling down around them both.
“What was that?” Piper asked.
The woman smiled, “it was life.” Content that Piper was regaining himself she stood and brushed the stray straws from the pallet off of her skirt’s knees. She busied herself around the small dim room, putting things into a pot that was boiling in the hearth and murmuring snatches of song while she worked. Piper sat up, limbs still tingling from the draught and drew the blankets up around his shoulders. His coat and shirt were hanging on a peg by the door.
“I am called Willow.” The woman said from her work. “I have some powers, sight and healing. The forest gives me many things, lends me its strength and it’s many shapes, if I have need. It was my foolishness that allowed them to catch me, much as it was yours that allowed them to catch you.”
“I was not being foolish, I was led there to rescue you.” Piper said simply.
“Hah! Led you say? I call that luck, and not the good kind if you had not been able to outsmart them.” Willow chuckled, then glanced over her shoulder, “still you must have some protection if you are still here and not at the mercy of those animals.”
Piper shrugged, reaching for his shirt to stave off the chill. The warming effects of the woman's drink were fading and the stiffnes was returning in small parts. Movement was possible but his arms needed the warm embrace of cloth.
“I did not see what you did to them, but I heard your explanation.” Will said again, sampling a bit of the pot's contents with a long spoon. “How did you do it? It may be a trick I would want to learn.”
Piper let out a low laugh, and shook his head.
“What? You think I have not the skill?” Willow asked haughtily.
“In honesty I can not teach what I do.” Piper said slowly, drawing his shirt up and over his head. “It is just something I am able to do.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I don't know...” Piper said, pulling the shirt over his head. “I remember little of my life from before my journey.”
“Your journey? Where are you going?”
“East.” Piper said with a small smile. “That is all I know. I will find what I am looking for if I travel east.”
Willow shook her head, her hair fanning out breifly from the small act, “the great cities are east, the Once Kingdoms. Few from these terrortories go east unless they have to.”
“I have to.” Piper said slowly, beginning to put on his coat.
With Piper's back to Willow, she hesitantly raised a hand, “you are... I feel...”
Piper whirled around and raised up his hand to stop her, but it was too late she had already begun looking into his time, gazing on the thread that was Piper's own in the great trapestry of the world.What she found was desolation.
There was a sun that had died, a lifeless orb that sat in the sky above a barren planet. Red clay was wind swept and rocky for as far as the eye could see; no trees grew, no green flourished. The ruins of a once great castle sat in the middle of a crator that must have, at one time, been a great lake but had since been withered to a muddy pool. Brown moss grew stangnat on the rocks of the castle and on the surface of the muddy pool.
Worse than all of this was the moon. The sun's opposite, the moon was a great pale light in the sky, smiling like a skull in the night. It wreathed with power and force, straining to break free of some invisible bonds. It was not a safe or unsafe power, but an indifferent power that could be shaped, maybe, by a mind of enough will. Willow saw all this vividly in an instant, and then reeled back as it struck as she desperately cut the connection her powrs had created to Piper's mind.
Piper was at her side in an instant, covering her shivering body with his coat.
“What are you?” Willow stuttered out between shiving fits, “I saw... I saw only desolation.”
“I am broken.” Piper said softly, “I am what once was, but cannot be anymore. You saw what is left in my absence, all the great powers laid to waste. I am a man of Sorrow, a lesson in humility.”
“No man could bear... you cannot live with such a past. Its wieght would destroy you! No man can live under a history that looks like what I saw.”
Piper smiled saddly, “I do not think you understand. What I am now is what you saw, I bear it easily everyday. You wondered why I journey? It is to restore what is to what it might be again. If I only find enough good in the world to deserve it.”
Piper nodded, “there is much evil in this world, the very air is tainted by it. Greed, dishonor, lust.. these are killing the world. But there are traces of good, like flowers pushing through cold stone.”
“Is that... is that why you saved me? To put some good back into the world?” Willow asked, clutching the coat close to herself. “By saving me you made the world a better place?”
“ No, I saved you because you told the truth.”

Monday, February 11, 2008

To all those friends we forget so easily...

Sooo... updates hey? Right. I'm on top of that like an elephant on a buttered up beach ball. Which is to say I'm not on top of it at all. I would be more... underneath it. With the aforementioned elephant on top of me. Sooo ... yeah ... updates.

I did finish a new Piper Sorrows story. Haha I know what you're thinking "suuuure you did, you liar! If you finished it, where is it?" Its on my computer... you know, hanging out with all the other stuff on there... *cough* Ok ok seriously, it is done but I don't think I'm posting it here. Not yet anyway. I started writing bits to fill in the 'between' spots, you see, and decided once and for all I should create a beginning for Piper. What I wrote was the beginning. The first installment, as it were, and it doesn't at all fit in the chronological order of what is posted on this blog. Which, as far as I'm concerned, is fine. I will have new Piper content up, and soon. For now you will have to endure one of my rants... sort of.

I have two things that I always kept meaning to post up here. One is The Golden Compass, the other is Oban Star Racer. So first things first. Golden Compass.

Apparently Golden Compass (the movie) and the books from which it drew the majority of its strengths, was written by an athiest as a sort of antidote for the works of CS Lewis(namely the Chronicals of Narnia). The film was visually appealing but quite lackluster. Apparently the movie strayed from the books and watered down alot of the very religious(or anti-religious) themes. The result was a very mundane story, as far as I'm concerned. It probably would have been better had it been more controversial, though it has sparked alot of noise from both secular groups(for watering it down) and religious groups(for it existing at all and even hinting at its themes). Still there were two points I'd like to make about it.

What I found expressly interesting was the inclusion of souls in the story. Each and every person in the story had a soul that inhabited an animal form and was its own creature. (though there was a very clear physical connection between human and soul). I found the idea of an athiest soul very interesting. I beleive in an immortal soul, but that's coming from a Christian perspective. A soul is not tagible, I can not prove it's existence, you have to take a step of faith to say you beleive in it. Basically the Golden Compass puts forth the idea that you can prove, scientifically, the existance of a soul. By the same effort then, God could also be proven scientifically, thus contradicting athiest belief. I found that funny.

The other thing I found funny was the motivation for the movie. CS Lewis didn't go out of his way to create thinlly veiled christian propaganda. He wanted to write a story but, as he was one great Christian Philosopher, his beleifs shone through and influenced his fiction. Thats why his story worked. Lewis is quoted to saying once that "The world does not need more Christian Writers, they need writers who are Christian." He was a great philosopher and a great influence on anyone who reads his works.

Golden Compass -
C.S. Lewis -

The Second thing I want to say is abouw Oban Star Racer. Very rarely am I completely blown away by an animated show for its originality, strength of plot and perfect pacing. Those that come to mind are Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Samuari Seven. To this Oban adds heart. It's the story of a human racing team being chosen to compete in an intergalactic race where the prize is one wish, anything you could want. Each character is in the race for different reasons, and their interaction is partly why the show is as good as it is. The character / ship / world designs are the other part. If you get the chance watch it. Watch it and love it, for it is certainly worthy of our affections.

Oban Star Racer -

More Piper Sorrows coming, I promise.

John, the Writer.