Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010: The Big Goal

So I have a goal for 2010. Not a New Year's resolution. I don't do resolutions. But I do set goals. Resolutions are kind of like promises, and if one fails to live up (down) to them then one has, in effect, lied. Goals are simply what they are. A goal is like a hope. A dream. There is no guarantee or promise that it will be reached/achieved. That suits me well, for I don't always achieve my goals. But I try.

So, my goal for 2010? Well, the one which applies to this blog would be to rewrite Swords of Fire: Book I. I am going to take a different perspective with telling the same story. Maybe it'll work. At the least I should expand my abilities.

The new working title is, Fire Mountain.

So wish me luck. Okay?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Have a a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Morbid Kind of Writing

Stumbled on something cute. A website which compares writing to that of famous authors and determines who the writing style most resembles.

Tales From The Great Sea is 27% like Edgar Allen Poe.

If you're curious about your own writing, here's the link.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are the Tales Over

I am seriously considering turning off access to this blog and letting it go dormant. I'll make a decision by Thanksgiving. I think. If I choose to continue it I may find myself confronted with the question again later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not Dead Yet

For several months now Swords of Fire has sat unlooked at and unworked on. I've been busy writing other stories. Other novels. Those projects aren't generating much more interest than my epic fantasy. A little, but not much.

The truth is, none of my works is of the kind which makes people want to read them. Feel like they need to read them. Not sure why what I write is so dull, but then there haven't been many books in my life which I've read which just demanded I read them. Lord of the Rings comes to mind, certainly. And maybe Well-Favored Man. Those are the two which have spawned many re-reads over time.

Some people make a big deal out of whatever book they're reading. Like teenagers, every book seems to be either the greatest or the worst. While I do tend to categorize books into two groups, the groups are far less extreme. Either I like them or I don't. Sometimes it isn't easy to tell. Sometimes a story has elements which I truly enjoy, while at the same time having other elements which completely annoy me. Ultimately, I will base my decision on the story and the characters.

But back to Swords of Fire.

Swords of Fire has its main story, which crosses over several books. It is the story of Madatar's fight with Shatahar over control of The Great Sea. Not the blog. The place. There will be six books in this series. At least. As the story unfolds I discover some chapters have enough detail and suspense to warrant their own book.

But apart from the main story between Madatar and Shatahar there are literally hundreds of other stories associated with Swords of Fire and The Great Sea. My favorite is the story of Tavaar, which also intertwines deeply with the main Swords of Fire saga.

There are over 6,000 people in Khirsha's family tree. More than once I have thought it would be very cool to write a short biography for each and every one of them. I believe I even gave it a go on this blog at one time. But the process is incredibly time consuming, and it takes away from telling other stories. With 6,000 people you know there has to be more than a few stories in that mix.

Then there are the stories of the Children of Fire, and how they helped shape and fashion The Great Sea in the first place. What of all the creatures they created, most now deemed mythical because they were destroyed in the Great War which nearly destroyed The Great Sea. What of the Dragons and the Unicorns and the Phoenix?

There were Overlords and Mortals. What of their stories?

It's a trap for world builders, I suppose. Getting lost in the background stories of their creations.

Recently, I reread Lord of the Rings again. I've read that story more than 200 times in the past forty years. I used to read it over and over and over again. Now I'm down to a couple of times a year. But in his Foreward, Tolkien says something I didn't understand before, but completely sympathize with now.

"I had little hope that other people would be interested in this work, especially since it was primarilly linguistic in inspiration and was begun in order to provide the necessary background of 'history' for Elvish tongues. When those whose advice and opinion I sought corrected little hope to no hope, I went back to the sequel."

Few people care about a character's background. Or the history of a place. All they care about is the story that's going on now. They don't look back and they don't look forward. I suppose that's ultimately a healthy way to live, but it's an ignorant way, to my thinking. So much of what is now is based on so much of what was then. And certainly the combination of then and now are going to impact the future.

Real stories don't begin at Chapter One and conclude at a book's ending. They began some time before, possibly at the beginning of everything, and they don't end until all is done.

But what I find interesting others find dull. And to a great measure I think the opposite is true, too.

And so I keep writing. My audience is me. There are no others.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writing Contest

Writtenwyrdd has an October contest in honor of Halloween. Write a horror story in 1,000-words or less. The details are here. And here is a picture of the grand prize. I wouldn't mind winning that. So, even though I am not a horror writer, I wrote a horror story and submitted it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things to Do for Fun

I like maps. I use them to help me in world building.

World building is fun. It is personally satisfying. It is also a lot of work, if one wishes to do it well.

Often, for me, the beginning of a new world begins with a new map. Like the one below. The map below only shows a portion of a world. There is a vast mountain range stretching from west to east. South of it is an even greater forest area, and a huge lake with seven rivers flooding it, and one draining.

What I might add next would be something to the north. Perhaps a coastal area? Rivers would flow from the melting glacial ice caps to the sea. There would be others which cut into the forest. After establishing the geography I would begin to add settlements. Coastal towns, and villages along river routes. Perhaps roads would be cut, connecting major villages.Having done all of that, the easy part is over. Now it is time to figure out just who lives in this place. Are they woodsmen? Fishermen? Whalers? Are they warlike? How far have they progressed technologically. Are they one kind of people, or are various races represented?

Eventually what must be determined is the main character. Who is the specific woman (man/creature/being) to develop a story? And importantly, what is their conflict?

But that's what happens when the world begins with a map. Just as often I begin with a character, a conflict, and a need to find a place in which this character can resolve their conflict. When this happens, the actual map is drawn later, if at all.

I like maps. But I don't always use them. Many of my stories have no world map. Some have no map at all. And many of my maps have no story. But I like maps.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

From the Quiet of a Forest

So I've not posted here in two months. Sometimes I think about deleting my blogs and just starting over. But it's not that simple.

I think about this blog a lot. I feel bad because it never got the visitors I hoped it would. People just aren't interested in Swords of Fire. Certainly not agents. What a pity. Swords of Fire means so much to me.

Swords of Fire remains on my mind a lot, despite my lately working on stories which have nothing to do with it. That Swords of Fire should not invoke enthusiasm from others is disappointing to the extreme. I suppose I could take the time out and rewrite it yet again. I've lost track of the number of rewrites the story has been subjected to. It's changed over the years. As have I.

It began in 1973 or 1974. I'm never quite sure now. Those were just ideas. In 1976 I wrote the true beginnings of what was to become a life's work. That was called, White King of Ladondo. I don't think that copy exists anymore. The map certainly doesn't. That was drawn on the paper wrapping for a queen-sized mattress. Greatest map I've ever drawn.

I screwed up my life. From the beginning I got everything wrong. And it's cost me. Cost me dearly. The amazing thing about that is, I'm supposed to be a genius or something. Got the I.Q. for it anyway.

But I let others dictate my decisions. I believed them when they told me I should 'want this', 'do that', 'go there'. And I was afraid. That more than anything has just made my life hell. Afraid to say "I love you" to the people I loved. Afraid to really try and be what I wanted to be. Afraid to go where I wanted to go.

And now I'm old.

Too old to do so many things I wanted to do. They are youth dependent. And now I'm also out of money. Too broke to go where I want to go and do what I want to do.

So what about Swords of Fire? If it's ever going to be published I expect it is going to have to be rewritten. Am I too old to get it done? It's getting harder and harder to believe. You know?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shut Down

Going to be going offline (again) beginning on Monday, August 10th. Part of the losing my home disease which has struck with deadly malevolence of late.

I feel bad about this blog. It's never developed as I hoped. It has a minimal readership. I have neglected it often of late, and now I will be neglecting it by reason of no online service. If/When I come back online I'll have to see what I can do.

In the meantime, I will leave you with a song. Used to have it posted here. Here are the lyrics, and link, in case you'd like to sing along.

Dont think sorrys easily said
Dont try turning tables instead
Youve taken lots of chances before
But Im not gonna give anymore
Dont ask me
Thats how it goes
Cause part of me knows what youre thinkin

Dont say words youre gonna regret
Dont let the fire rush to your head
Ive heard the accusation before
And I aint gonna take any more
Believe me
The sun in your eyes
Made some of the lies worth believing

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I dont need to see any more
To know that
I can read your mind, I can read your mind

Dont leave false illusions behind
Dont cry cause I aint changing my mind
So find another fool like before
Cause I aint gonna live anymore believing
Some of the lies while all of the signs are deceiving


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Girls

Just an odd poem which came to mind.

Tuwa, Tiva, Wawa and Awentia, four girls of the street
The four were all called pretty, and known by all as sweet

Two of them were sisters, but which they would not say
It was hard to tell at night and no none saw them in the day

The house they kept was small, but a room for each they kept
The beds were soft with down, and that was where they slept

Each morning at the dawn, a young boy named Nibaw
Would knock upon their door, he was the only one they saw

He brought them things they ordered, they paid him off in gold
And whether he got more, Nibaw he never told

The girls were all hated, and shunned by all in town
To speak their name was shame, and met with stares and frowns

And yet each night their came, upon their door soft knocks
From men who in the day spoke of them all with shock

Then Nibaw grew up stately, and was no more a boy
And when he found a gold mine, his heart was filled with joy

He went back to the girls’ house, and knocked upon their door
And told them that for gold they need slave themselves no more

Then did the girls exclaim with joy and open their door wide
And when the knocks came in the night, it was Nibaw who replied

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Aislin was a pretty girl, warm and sweet and bright
Her hair was thick about her face, and burned red in the light
Without so much as effort, she kept her body thin
When asked how she could do this, Aislin would just grin

Saoirse was plain as paper used to wrap fresh fish
Pudgy, clumbsy, silly, one could hardly call her dish
Yet Saoirse was still friendly, caring and a treat
She treated all else kindly, everyone she’d meet

One day down by the river’s edge, Aislin chanced did spy
The young girl known as Saoirse, who wanted but to die
For Saoirse was lonely, just wanting to be loved
To know that she was worthy, to be someone’s pure dove

There was a boy named Gradin, who’s mind was in his pants
Who offered once to Saorise, the chance with him to dance
She let him have his way with her, she gave him his desire
And when he finished he gave her coins, as payment for her hire

Aislin knelt beside the girl, and held her in her arms
And promised she would love her most, and keep her safe from harm
And when the boy named Gradin, thought again to have his way
It was Aislin’s thought to punish him, in such an awful way

Exactly what she did to him, not ever has she said
But Gradin walked in shame from then, and wished that he were dead
And so the two girls became fast friends, and lovers in the night
And found that love was just enough, and made them feel just right

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Putting the Years Together

Have progressed through thirty-two years of military history. Only 320 years remaining to catch up to present.

It's interesting to learn some of my assumptions about who probably held what rank back when are completely unfounded. It just couldn't work out that way. By Year 81 - the year when flameswords became part of the training - I am going to have to make some adjustments to the structure.

The idea is that, by Year 320, the following structure needs to be in place.

There will only be five Marshalls.

For every Marshall there should be four Generals. This is a change from two.

For every General there should be two Commanders. This remains unchanged.

For every Commander there should be two or three Captains. This is down from four.

For every Captain there should be one or two Scouts and six to eight Lieutenants. This is a change from four Lieutenants.

Pretty dry stuff, I suppose, but it's part of the world building process. Not all of world building is creative excitement. Some of it is simply diligence and adherence to logic and rules already set in place. Changing a rule is permitted, but only if it is exatrapolated throughout. This is required if one wishes to maintain credibility and believability.

We've been watching Dinotopia, another poorly made fantasy movie in which the focus is primarily on strange creatures doing strange things. Time and distance are ignored, making the story seem implausible within itself. As a viewer I am willing to suspend disbelief, but only if the story keeps true to itself. Don't show me that people walk no faster there then here and then expect me to believe someone with asthma can climb a 300-step stairwell in ten minutes, or even a person who is fit can walk miles in a few minutes through jungle.

On average, people walk about three miles in one hour. That is on level ground. So, to walk through jungle it is reasonable to believe the pace will hold true. Disbelief can be set aside for speeds of up to five or six miles in an hour (two leagues). This means, walking, a well fit person could make about twenty leagues (about sixty miles) in a day, but that would be pushing it. And that is a ten hour day, not four or six. I just hate it when writers get time and distance wrong. There is no way I can suspend my disbelief.

And that is why I devote so much time, energy, and pure creative thought to things like who was Head-of-Family in Year 30, and who was High Marshall, and who were the acting Scouts. (For the record, Khirbah was still Head-of-Family in Year 30, Daheek was High Marshall [I had been hoping for Jora], and Alanta, Gahbi, Nordahn and Raigur were the Scouts.) It's a lot of work, but it is part of the creative process.

Today's Music

Yeah. That's The Great Sea all right.