Killing Darlings

 

I’m gonna have to really murder something I was mildly attached to. Deleting Kabare wasn’t so difficult. He was just a side character. However… this scene that I’m gonna have to cut was awesome! Main Chara #2 comes busting into a shuttle bay, riding on the wing of hist fighter and blast up a lot of stuff. Sigh. It’s just a really cool scene… and I’m going to have to cut it because I need MC#2 more active and not just busting in at the last moment to save the day.

I’d post the scene on here, but that’d be a major spoiler, because the scene is at the end of the book and would reveal a bunch of things.

Additionally, another one of my characters is giving me trouble. She’s just… really boring for me to write and I don’t know what to do. She’s important, but she’s important because she’s had all the life beaten out of her by the badguy. She doesn’t get a spine until she meets Vathion, and that’s not until around the end of Act 1. Until then, she’s just existing to point out how terrible the badguy is and because I don’t want the badguy and this chick to just pop up in the middle of Act 2. Doing so runs dangerously close to being like those stupid romance novels that I used to read where theoretically, there’s a badguy, but he shows up in the last 20 pages of the book and is easily defeated by the good guy in 2 pages. Without even a fight.
So, in short, this chick and the badguy NEED to be in Act 1, but I don’t know any other way to portray her that shows how damaged this girl is and still make it interesting. She really has no life in her. And that’s the point…

Sorting Seeds

Yesterday, I printed out everything I had for Symbol of Hope and then rearranged it all into something slightly more coherent… I described it to my boyfriend like having a basket of seeds, dumping them out on a table and sorting them, just to sweep them all back into the basket once I was done. …Unfortunately, this was the only way to know exactly what I had and how much of each I had. I rewrote one and a half scenes yesterday as well. I made myself feel better about it by saving off a copy of the original document before I started in with the machete. (or scissors as the case actually was. Scissors and tape)
Even though I feel like it was wasted effort, I at least know what scenes have good information in them that can be rewritten.

As a result, I’ve decided to cut a character I introduce in Act 2. Even if he’s mentioned in Book 1, he’s not a character that is absolutely needed, so all his lines are going to probably be reattributed to doctor Savon. Poor Poor Kabare. I beheaded him and took all his lines.

However useful the sorting WAS, I still just don’t feel like I really did any work yesterday. Even if I got rid of 5 extra documents that had ‘deleted scenes that weren’t really as deleted as they should have been’ and storyline bits that I’d thought of, written out, and then not known where to put them. There was also an aborted attempt to take the 2 main characters and write their parts separate – only to realize that in order to make them both useful and interesting, they needed to feed off each other and interact even if the characters themselves never talk to each other until Act 3.

I still need to figure out a way to totally destroy one or the other of the main characters so they can climb back up. I don’t think I’ve quite got that yet. … And, unfortunately, since this series is attempting to be YA, I’m trying to not be as gruesome and dirty as many of my other stories tend to be. Perhaps later, I’ll write a pure fantasy and pull out all the stops.
Unless anyone has any ideas on how I can dropkick a character to the rock bottom without going over the edge of what’s acceptable in a Young Adult book?

Random joke prompted by the rewrite…
Symbol of Hope: Starring the Natan Personality Replacement Program! Played by Johnny Five! (You’ll totally have to read the book to figure out what this one means!)

Additionally, I’ve decided to go to kinkos for all my flier printing needs… considering that my printer, with a practically new ink cartridge is complaining that it’s out of ink (or nearly) after printing about 200 pages of my novel. bleh! Why do they make ink cartridges so expensive when they don’t last very long? I keep the printer turned off when I’m not using it, so it shouldn’t be drying out the ink. Unlike the last printer I had that had some kind of programming that told it that every time the power flickers, it’s to turn on. OR if it’s unplugged and plugged in again, it’s to turn on. Which means that it sat there turned on most of the time because I wasn’t always around to turn it off. Plugging it in every time I needed to use it was obnoxious.

As for Symbol of Hope, the story itself is 160 pages again (full 8×11 pages, with narrow margins even). undoubtedly it will get longer, considering that I’ve got a ton of scenes I don’t have written, like Vathion’s chasing after Ha’Likka, and Surprise Main Character #2’s chasing after Vathion. And I have to give Ha’Likka more scenes to make sure my audience hates her sufficiently. Her and Surprise Badguy #2 – who IS in book 1.
Sadly, until I get the rest of the document fully edited, I don’t think I’ll be able to write any of these scenes – since I might be able to get some of the information required into one of the scenes I’ve already got. Yay! Econo-plotting!

Faith on Silver Wings Cover – wip

I’ve got the cover image for Faith on Silver Wings done. Or fairly close to it except for some minor work. I cheated a bit and used that pic of Enkiria I’d already done and a few other things I’d already done in my other version of the book cover that I decided I didn’t quite like.

I will be editing this cover further, of course, getting it perfect and all, but here it is for now.

Power Playing

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in fiction and sci-fi lately. The new authors, that is, the old ones are doing fine, so far as I’ve seen. However, the old Greats are dying off and these new people are filing in. The disturbing trend happens to be the “Let anything and everything happen as it will.”

By this, I’m meaning the Mary Sue characters and lack of clear-cut definitions of what things can and cannot do within a book’s universe.

The Late Greats that I grew up reading had defined edges of what their magic or tech could and could not do. The ability to raise the dead wasn’t something that just anyone could do, and it had limitations. You simply couldn’t just go “HEAL!” and BAM, your corpse is totally un-ghastly and has the soul and mind of the original person reinstated, the heart’s pumping and all the pipes work, just like they’re alive again, except technically they’re a zombie. In the past, there were rules. You had to make preparations. You had to have enough power. Your corpse didn’t automatically regenerate back to a state before dying. Your zombie didn’t have the original’s soul. The zombie could only be used for certain tasks.

Take the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The zombies had limits. They had drawbacks. All three movies stayed true to those Zombie Rules and didn’t retcon (retroactive continuity) anything major.

Zombies just happens to be an example here, but I’ve noticed books lately that have not had Rules for anything put in place or stuck with. I’m given to understand that the last few Harry Potter books, especially the 7th, had a problem with retconning things. The magic worked however Rowling said it worked THIS time when LAST time it did something different. I’m not picking on Rowling, just the HP books are a widely known example is all. Meyer is also guilty of retconning important plot things because it pleases her to do so. And I could name a few others I know about who fall into the trap of just giving a character a power because they felt like it, or it was required at the time, regardless of whether the character has ENOUGH power already.

I suppose in Playing the Hero, I skirt close to that with Vathion. However, I counteract that with his insecurity and the fact that he messes up big-time several times in PTH and SERIOUSLY screws the pooch in Symbol of Hope. He is, after all, 16, more than a little whiny, and very reactionary.

My biggest danger of Gary Stu-ism is Kedetireen. However, I hope that society’s constraints on him will be enough to limit his OMG-SUPERPOWAH-ness. And I plan to have his powers work within a certain set of rules. Admittedly, I haven’t defined those rules yet and I need to before I get any further in Faith on Silver Wings. But, so far, I don’t think he’s crossed the line.

I suppose my point in all this rambling is that lately, the books I’ve been reading have been mildly Mary Sue-style and it worries me. I guess power-fantasies have their place, but there’s an abundance of them right now and I hope that this isn’t a trend that will last long. I like having a book universe work in a predictable way. Or, if not exactly predictable, at least logical. Randomly saying in book 3 that, oh, btw, I can change my appearance without illusions, to the point of giving myself a 30ft wingspan, and I’ve got rapid healing that was never mentioned before and healing was explained previously as a fairly intensive process that uses spells. But that’s ok. My rapid healing uses pure WILLPOWAH!

**

In other news, I’ve started working at yet ANOTHER project. This one, however, will be posted on my website as a webnovel. It’s called Ghost Talent. I’d decided to write GT because …I miss writing epic episodic stories. I spent several years writing a fanfic that was posted online and really enjoyed the feeling of power weaving and interweaving the strands of plot together. I finally ended that story at 400,000+ words. I felt so … very empty after completing that story. It makes me sad that if I even tried to remove the copyrighted material, I’d destroy the story. Ohwell. it was good practice! And a fun ride. so! I’ll move on to working at making original epic episodic stories. I’ve got what I think is the first chapter of GT written, it just needs some clean-up before I post it online. I also need to figure out what I’m going to do in chapter 2. I’ve got a lot of scenes written, but they’re actually chronologically before the first chapter… But I wanted to start GT off with a bang instead of easing into it.

I really reeaally need to pick an update schedule for my website, and this. I’ve been sporatic about updating the website. Usually about once every 2 weeks. I think if I had a job it would be easier.

Unfortunately, that’s getting into Personal Stuff and if I got into that topic on here, I’d start whining. Not a good thing to do on my 4th post!

Way of the Shadows

I finally finished the Shadow’s series by Brent Weeks.

The first book (Way of the Shadows) was a fun ride. I really enjoyed it. Stayed up til 6AM reading it. My only problem was the introduction of some minor characters that really weren’t as minor as they seemed and really weren’t explained. They just …showed up, did some stuff, and ran off. It was mildly confusing. Overall, though, the book was fantastic and I greatly enjoyed it. It didn’t go how I had expected – though the plot twist at the end was a bit out of the blue. There wasn’t much leadup to it. Additionally, Kylar, for all that he grew up on the streets is remarkably… feminine. Maybe it’s Jarl’s fault? I dunno. Also, though it’s questioned, no one explains why Kylar’s original name was Azoth, though it’s hinted that he’s something more – maybe his parents were important, but it’s never explained and that’s something I’m really curious about.

Second book (Shadow’s Edge) was also fun. I stayed up til 6AM reading that one as well. Weeks got a bit worse about the random minor characters having conversations that I suppose were important but for the life of me, I couldn’t understand. And I really… REALLY don’t like Vi. Her actions, while … necessary, were also very terrible. You don’t starve and beat an 11yr old and then essentially _rape_ someone, forcing them to drop whatever else they were trying to do with their lives and attend to your every whim even though it was for a good cause (sort of) and expect readers to totally forgive them. Which leads to my complaint about book 3.

Weeks then spent the entire third book (Beyond the Shadows) trying to replace Elene with Vi. Forcibly. I didn’t like that. It ticked me off. Every chapter Vi was in, Weeks bashed me over the head with how terrible Vi’s life had been and how she was an emotional cripple… But I saw what he was trying to do and what Vi did at the end of book 2 just ticked me off so much that I simply Could Not like her. The best he was going to get from me was apathy, which he really didn’t succeed in getting. Then the rest of the characters decided to throw a party and serve Stupid Juice by the keg. Not only were they talking about things that weren’t explained very well, they were… mildly out of character. Really the only one who stayed true was Logan. The abundance of C-countrynames was confusing and half the characters I can’t pronounce their names, and thus couldn’t remember that I had seen them before. At least the introduction of random side characters used only once and for no purpose whatsoever stopped. Except for the Final Boss, which came totally out of nowhere. Well… They fought Khali, but Khali’s real identity wasn’t what was expected and there was nothing leading up to what occured. Weeks also seems to like putting pregnant women in life-threatening situations … and even killing them occasionally.

Now, don’t get me wrong! I like the fact that someone’s willing to be that cruel to their characters and that Murphy’s Law is God of his realm, additionally, the world itself was deep and interesting. But. I just feel that Weeks could have gone through the whole storyline one last time and removed the extras. About 10 characters could have been removed and another already established character used instead.  Book 3, overall, felt like Weeks said “oookay! I’ve got a contract for 3 books, and the deadline’s coming up. I’d better kick something out quick!”

Additonally, Durzo Blint got perilously close to being a Gary Stu. That makes me sad. In my fanfiction, I’ve practiced making people hate characters, and redeeming them in a believable manner, but I just don’t think Weeks carried this one off very well. I just don’t think someone who’s spent most of their life protecting and courting one woman would easily go “oh, well, I’m COMPELLED to love this other chick whom I don’t know and who stole my wedding rings and forced this spell on me to make me love her and now I can’t even kiss my true beloved because it makes me sick, so I guess I’ll forget Elene and go with Vi.” It just doesn’t work like that.

I guess I’ll have to say it again after all this complaining – I DID like the books. They were a fun ride. I liked the main characters intoduced in the first book (Kylar, Durzo, Momma K, Jarl, and Logan, to be specific), but there was a lot of clutter (characters, conversations, relationships, unexplained things).

Faith on Silver Wings Cover

I’ve been working on a cover design for Faith on Silver Wings…
I’ve got something but I’m still not sure I’m happy with it. It’s got a big bird on it and I’m not sure if the bird really fits… It’s pretty, I guess… I’ll finish this piece anyway, as it might be fine as just random artwork for the series.

Haven’t done any writing lately, but I’ve been reading.
The Shadow’s series by Brent Weeks is pretty darn good. Lots of stuff Just Goes Wrong and it’s delightful! The sadistic author side of me is overjoyed that someone else likes tormenting their characters as much as I do! I’ll probably write a review of the series when I finish the third book.

Burnt bits

My friend is far too polite.

She said: “The burnt bits give it flavor.”

I didn’t know what else to do for dinner. I’m no cook. So I frying-panned some salmon and let it simmer with sweet and sour sauce. then wilted some spinach in the juices that remained and threw more spinach on top and green beans. I was hoping the meat would pick up more of the sweet and sour sauce taste though. But Salmon is stubborn like that, I guess.

Product of Fiction

I’m going to try to make up some philosophical explanation for why we are here, who we are, and where we’re going.

NOTE: This is not the Truth, not even a fraction of the Truth, and nothing LIKE the Truth.

Also, I freely admit that I do not have very much background in philosophy but, it is possible to go about making a theory without much background in philosophy or religion – as demonstrated by Pierce.

So here is my first bit of evidence:
Dark Matter

So we are all agreed on the basis of science that the universe is expanding. It has also been determined that the universe has no ending. Thus is this a strange oxymoron we have arrived at; how can something that has no end, continue to expand? In fact, how can it expand at a faster rate?

My theory is that we are in fact creations of a Mind.

You might think that has nothing to do with the universe and its expansion, but allow me to explain and perhaps I will convince you.
Being that I am agnostic, I cannot definitively say that this Mind is God, or a pantheon of gods. In this case, “god” is taken to mean a being that is omnipotent and omniscient. However, I can say that even if this Mind does happen to be a god of some sort, I doubt it is the god that we have created in any of the religions of our world. This point, however, will be discussed shortly, as it is part of my argument

This Mind, however, I will refer to as The Author from here on out.

I will thus, over the course of several posts, try to create a philosophy/religion or something.
Reality and You

Descartes posited that the senses could not be trusted, and so we have to have universal doubt about all things we encounter.

He, however, is wrong. Reality is, as found in everyday life, all the things we perceive with our senses. This point is discussed by Pierce and the Pragmatist movement of philosophy. Descartes’ reasoning for Universal Doubt was due to the fact that the senses can trick you. Admittedly there are numerous documented occasions of hallucinations – visions of islands that are merely reflections of heat on a flat surface, or drug-induced visions of babies on the ceiling (just to be extreme, but my point should be obvious). Pierce’s commentary on the subject was that because our abstractions are created out of everyday experience, we cannot wholly discount everyday experience. To jump from what we experience to saying that only abstractions and Perfect Forms of ideas are the true reality is total horseradish. However there is documented evidence that a scent can evoke memories; memories are never remembered correctly. You can ask several different people who witnessed the same event, and none will tell you the exact same story.

In fact, if they are allowed to speak to each other after the event, they will create a different version of the event that is wholly different than what any of the people would have said individually. This is due to the fact that we are autonomous individuals, capable of seeing things differently from someone else. Perception, in the end, is what lies, rather than the senses. Since Perception is what causes us to question whether something is real or not, we can safely say that our perception of the world is probably wrong; even our collective perception of the world, including what we know of science.

Now that I have talked myself into a corner, I will now show you the backdoor out. To rescue science from a circular argument that defeats itself, allow me to suggest that perhaps our reality is what it is because we have been given a set of rules in which our universe works. These rules are something like the Clock Maker God theories of the Renaissance. These are also the Laws which have been discovered by great minds like Einstein and Newton. This is also a ploy used by writers when creating universes and worlds that are both like and unlike our own. Readers are not likely to read, or take seriously, a story that does not obey a set of logical rules that are applied to the world the story is set on. For example, a world in which the main character can do anything is a boring world – unless the villain is just as powerful as the main character, in which case that sets limits on what the main character can do. A system of science that does not function in a way that is understandable fails to catch the reader’s attention. The same goes for any system of magic that is chaotic and frequently contradicts itself. That is not to say that the rules have to be boring – there are worlds created with very strange sets of rules, such as Diskworld, and the universe of The Hitchhiker’s Guide. Our universe, too, has rules, and while we may not fully understand them, we at least know those rules exist and function in a way that prevents us from flying off into space if we jump into the air.

However, as I pointed out before with the comment on the universe and its rate of expansion, there are plot holes. The only way to allow for both the endlessness and expansion to occur in the same “object” (I scare quote this because space is a void – another point I will get to later) is that the Author is still creating our universe even as we breathe. So, we can at least take reality with a grain of salt, knowing that the Reality we exist in may not be the only one there is. Other worlds may function with a different set of rules which only apply to that world.

In a way, then, Reality is the rules which govern this world, what you choose to believe is there, and what the Author has placed in this world as plot devices. We can then break Reality into three categories: that which we know, that which we do not know because it is not yet created, and that which we do not know because we have not discovered it yet. Admittedly, the last two would be impossible to determine, due to the fact that they are things we cannot know without changing them and forcing them to be categorized as something we know.