Saturday, November 13, 2010

As if you were reading

There is a song I heard somewhere that has a line, "he prays like someone hears him."  I feel a correlation between that line and with this blog.  I write like someone reads it.  Now I know I have a few followers.  And that's grand, really it is.  I love you.  All three of you.  I'm mean I write like there are dozens, hundreds even.  Who knows maybe there are.  People who read but don't follow or comment.  They call them lurkers.  I hear there's some sort of a "come out of the closet day" for lurkers.  I'm not sure when that is or whether it is conscionable to call people out of the closet like that.

I lurk.

I'm happy lurking.

That's how God made me.

And wow, I'm getting off topic here.  Alright lets straighten out this sub text. (I know I'm getting kind of bad with all the gay wordplay but I just couldn't help myself.)


Anyway.  So any of you out there.  Not that I'm calling you out.  I feel awkward calling out lurkers.  I once saw this really weird teddy bear stop motion animation thing on TV when I was a kid.  But it was like a stop motion animation thing made for adults, not naughty adult, just mature humor adult.  I could tell it was meant for grown ups because the show was making jokes but I wasn't laughing.  It was like watching MASH.  So... anyway this teddy bear was lonely and before he went to sleep he lit a candle and looking under his bed he called out "Any ladies under there."

I had to ask my Mom what the heck he was talking about.  Why on earth would he be looking for women under his bed.  She could only guess that is was a play on an old notion that women sometimes checked under their beds at night for men.  Where this crazy and creepy social tradition sprang from I have no idea.  In the times before I was alive was it common for women to be assaulted by men who were hiding under their beds?  Well I suppose it serves them right for not checking.

 Latter I saw a cartoon (The still drawn kind) of a young girl with a candle looking under her bed only to find a sign that read "Back in five minuets"  Now that was funny.  Creepy, but funny.  The bear, not so much.  With him it was just pathetic really.  This was a really crummy show I was watching.  It was like a grown up melancholy situational comedy without the humor and marketed for kids.  They were really missing every mark you could miss.  Both the lame attempt at the joke and how pathetic the bear himself was.  All in all it was really sad and pathetic.  The bear was so lonely for females he grasped at the false hope that there might be some hiding under his bed.

And so asking if there's anyone out there lurking feels just as bad.  By doing so it's like asking for more readers.  Now why do I think that asking for more readers on a blog with only three followers will help get more?  Beats me.  Might as will holler under the bed for attention.  I have tried to refrain from doing so mostly because I don't want to whine nor do I want to be pathetic like the bear.  Yet by writing all this I sort of am the bear now... nuts.  Well at least I'm self aware unlike the bear.  Well as long as I don't make a habit out of it.  (Although maybe whining works.  I watched Julie & Julia, the Julie chick whined on her blog and they made it into a movie with Merl Streep and Amy Adams.  So maybe if I whine they'll turn my blog into a movie with Harrison Ford and Shia Lebuff.)

Instead of whining I have written as though someone reads this.  (Again the dozens or hundreds of someones, I don't want to belittle the wonderful three I have now.  Your like my Trinity, (nothing but love)).  I explain this in case there are lurkers out there wondering why this guy writes as though he had a vast audience.  Near as I can tell it's just me, a lurker myself, and three others (three brave others with the guts to follow).  So to lurkers I explain.  I explain as though you cared, just as some pray as though someone listens, or write as though someone read.

In the movie Matilda there is a powerful line about what authors do.  "So Matilda's strong young mind continued to grow nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships onto the sea.  These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message "You Are Not Alone.""  That is how I feel about what I write.  Its like a ship.  I know not where it goes or if it ever arrives at it's destination.  I only know it carries a message, my message.  A message that I think will hearten those who hear it.

Ted from "How I Met Your Mother" says that Karaoke is Japanese for empty orchestra.  He thinks that is hauntingly beautiful.  I feel like that sometimes, like a performer lit up on a stage.   I peer out into the darkness, to the audience, but I can't see if anyone is watching.  I preform not knowing if there will be applause of silence when the curtain falls.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Story Rises Again to Enthrall the World.

A few months ago I posted a post about how I was writing a online group story thing-a-ma-jig.  For those of you who may have been following it you may be asking yourselves "Where is the next installment by that daring and brash young writer we've come to know and love?"  Well it's not on the Story Blog (Feel free to take a look at Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.)  I'm not sure what has happened to my writing cohort.  He's probably just busy.  But the fact that it's my turn to write the next part has me fearing that you, dear readers, might be fearing that I wasn't writing it.  Well let me assuage your fears gentle readers and sate my insecurities.  Here is part four complete with scrounged pictures.  Please enjoy and discuss.

Part Four by me.
“A good question,” Redcloak said looking at Harlan who winced to himself before turning around.
“Now is not good time for this,” he said.
“We have a good half an hour or more before the Rune Kin can get through,” Redcloak said.
“And we should use that time to get as far away from it as possible.”
“I'd prefer to know just why we're dealing with a Rune Kin in the first place,” Redcloak insisted.
“But it's wounded now. Won't it stop, doesn't it need to heal or something?” Sally asked
Harlan started to shake his head “no” when Redcloak spoke.
“That depends on its runes. The Kin were created with powerful magic’s. Each one is different; this one may be “healed” already. It's hard to say because their strength is linked to their weakness. There is a correlation between the two. For example one might be invincible so long as it touches the ground. To kill it one would need to take it off the ground. The greater the strength the greater the weakness. That's why they hide knowledge of their existence; it’s a form of self preservation. It's why they kill all who know of them, or try to kill them at least.”
“You knew about them and you’re still alive,” Alric said.
“It hasn't killed me yet,” Redcloak corrected. “Whether or not I stay alive remains to be seen. It won’t stop until we're dead or it is.”
“How many of them are there?” said Sir Callahan.
“No one knows for sure. Not a lot. More than you'd want to exist. A dozen maybe less. One is more than enough.
“Will it bring others?” Sir Callahan asked.
“Doubtful. They're very individualistic. Asking the others for help would mean admitting failure. They would likely kill it and then come after us. But make no mistake, it would sacrafice it's self to the others rather than let us escape.”
“Has anyone ever killed one of them?” Kain asked. Redcloak didn't answer for a long time. The dark of the tunnel seemed to grow more oppressive. Everything quieting except for the constant muffled digging noises.
“There are legends,” Readcloak said at length, “but nothing verifiable.”
“Need to solve a puzzle just to kill the thing,” Kain muttered. “Won't stop. Won't rest.”
“Well depends on the Kin. It may need rest as part of its strength-weakness rune magic. The ones with less pronounced strengths have less pronounced weakness. Depending on how you look at it the less powerful ones are more dangerous. The relation is intricate and linked,”
“So what is its weakness, Inkeep?” Sir Callahan asked Harlan
“How should I know,” he answered looking back surprised
“That pouch you threw at it... what was that by the way?”
“Alchemists call it, dragon's grain. Pull the neutralizing cord and it burns like a dwarven smelting core.”
“Not something you'd expect to see in the hands of an innkeeper,” said Redcloak. “Not just because of the price either. No simple business man needs the destructive power of something so dangerous, yet so short lived,”
“Not unless one was running from a Run Kin,” said Harlan.
“Glad you had it too,” said Kain. “Although it does make one wonder why a Rune Kin would be chasing you.”
It kept coming back to that. No matter how Harlan tried to avoid it. The day he had feared had come. Even so it was not quite what he had expected. He was alive for one thing, and he gotten tangled up with a bunch the likes of Callahan, Kain, and Redcloak. He wouldn't tell them the truth, he couldn't. Not after everything he'd sacrificed. Not with someone like Sir Callahan waiting to pass judgment. Harlan could see the scales in the man's eyes ready to weigh in. He wouldn't tell them the truth but they wouldn't accept silence either. Redcloak knew about the Kin so no simple lie would suffice. He'd never believe a mundane reason for them to be pursuing Sally. So he latched onto an idea. It was straight out of a bard's song but it was grandiose enough to merit a Kin. Even if they suspected the falsehood the Kin was real and that might be enough to give credence to the untruth.
“Sally is the heir of Ielliane,” Harlan said.
“Ielliane?” Kain said, he sounded incredulous. “As in the mythic city of the mages?”
“The tales are true,” Harlan said. “Sally is the last mage of the air bound city. She is destined to unseal its people from their sleep and allow them to rain down wonders on the land.” Harlan tried not to overdo it, but the tale he had chosen was a particularly lavish one. “But only if she makes it to her twenty birthday. We just need another year and half.” The very last part was true at least. Eighteen more months. If he could just stay out of the Rune Kin's grasp for that long...

A violent explosion rocked the tunnel around them and roared through their ears. Dirt shook from the ceiling and walls while old wooden trusses groaned and creaked. Harlan thought he heard a couple snap. He feared the tunnel would collapse on them but aside from a few minor cave ins the beams held the earth back.
“That,” Harlan said coughing up dirt, “would be the rest of my dragon grain.”
“I'm a princess?” Sally asked. Harlan rolled his eyes.
“More than that,” he said and again he didn't have to lie, “much, much more than that.”
“I never knew... you never told me.”
“I've had you under an enchantment for years now. Think back girl do you remember your mother or father? Your childhood even? This whole life of yours has been a disguise to hide you from those who want to harm or use you and your gifts.”
“I think we may be able to help you,” Sir Callahan said looking very thoughtful. “Perhaps it is fate that has thrown us together. You see my friends and I have the Scroll of Valorian if you recall.”
“Valorian, wasn't he the god that taught the dwarves smithing?” Sally asked.
“He wasn't a god,” Harlan said before he could stop himself. Redcloak narrowed his cold eyes on Harlan which made him shiver. Sir Callahan harrumphed disdainfully.
“Well his godhood is, I suppose, a matter of opinion. Regardless, is he was a crafter of unimaginable skill. The scroll we have leads to one of his creations.” He turned to Redcloak and asked, “What we're after, the Blade of Tarsin. It could kill the Rune Kin couldn't it?”
“Well.. possibly,” said Redcloak, “It depends on the Kin's enchantments, it would at least give us a chance of surviving a confrontation with it until we can discern its weakness.”
“Then that's what we'll do, it's a lucky day for you innkeep, A Rune Kin comes calling on your door and some men who happen to have the means of defeating it are there with you.”
“Lucky day my missing arm!” Harlan swore. “I don't care what you do or where you go but me and Sally are going to run. We'll get on a ship and sail away so that the Rune Kin will have a harder time tracking us. Now come girl,” Harlan said motioning with the torch, “it's time to be gone.”
“I can't let you do that,” Sir Callahan said stepping between Harlan and Sally meaningfully.
“And why is that?” Harlan asked his patience draining.
“This girl needs to survive to her twentieth birthday, you said it yourself. Her best chance of doing that is by coming with us.”
“Survive. By going on an insane quest?”
“How long do you think you'll last without us?” Redcloak asked. “Especially now that you out of dragon grain pouches. Not to mention money, how much do you have on you now that your inn is gone.”
“I'll manage without you. I've done so for eighteen years, I can do so again. Besides wasn't your best idea about dealing with the Kin back in Speckled Dragon to run. No, I'm taking Sally once we’re out of this tunnel and sailing away. I don't care what happens to you. If you stay on land with any luck the Kin will hunt you first and it'll buy us some time.”

In Sally's mind she was weighing her options while Harlan and the others argued and weighed them out loud for her. Her world had just collapsed around her. Her entire life had been a lie, an enchantment concocted by Harlan. She was a princess, no, something more than a princess. Now that she thought about it she wondered why she hadn't seen it before. Her whole childhood was a blank. She couldn't even remember thinking about it before now. No parents, no siblings, no friends, nothing. Just serving at the Speckled Dragon.
Now a being that frightened some of the hardest of men she had ever met was hunting her. Harlan said he was taking her away from it on a ship. But he didn't sound too hopeful about escaping it. Redcloak and Sir Callahan did. And Kain was incredibly muscled and looked like he could take on a battalion of men. Then there was Harlan. Old, one handed, Harlan. The man that had lied to her all her life.

“I'm not going with you Harlan,” she said abruptly and loudly.
Harlan stared at her for a long minute.
“You what?”
“I'm not going with you,” she said “You've lied to me every day of my life. And now, if what you’re telling me is true, my life is in danger and I don't trust you with it.”
“What makes you think you have any say in the matter.”
“You don't own me.”
“This is not a decision you get to make, you have no idea the importance, the... crucial.... no idea what it's taken to get here nor what's at stake.”
“With all due respect innkeep,” Sir Callahan said with a decided lack of respect in his tone, “The girl has a point. I will not see her harmed. Not by that thing, not by you, not anything. Not while I live.”
“Who do you think you are? In my day-” but then Harlan stopped, he bit back his sudden anger, but just barely. It was no longer his day. He clenched his fist around the torch, which only angered him because it reminded him once more of what he'd lost and of what he no longer was. He looked at them all. Sir Callahan who stared back at him resolutely. Kain who looked bored but his posture was ready to fight. Redcloak stared with icy eyes intently as if he was looking through everything. Alric who had remained oddly quiet. And Sally who looked like she was about to cry. The tunnel was silent save for the digging noises still growing nearer.
“The Rune Kin is after us,” Redcloak said, “and if the circumstances were any different I'd say yes, run. But we have a chance here. If we can find the blade of Tarsin before-”
Redcloak was cut off mid sentence by Harlan's bitter, mocking, laughter.
“The puzzle sword?! The blade hasn't been seen since the war with the forbidden religion. And you’re going to find it before the Rune Kin finds you?”
There was deadly silence among the three, and by its quality it was clear that they were not accustomed to be being laughed at. Harlan's disdainful mirth drained away. He had only laughed because of the absurdity and the direness of the situation. Had he not laughed he would have broken into tears or madness. But now he was growing afraid. These men who surrounded him were dangerous and not just in the physical sense. Harlan knew of men likes these. Men who spoke and did great things so often they forgot their limits.
Not having limits is one thing. God's didn't have limits... usually. Which was why Harlan had done what he had...
But to be unaware of limits. That was an insanity common to both the hero and the fool. Only time could determine which was which. The difference was indicated by death. It was almost a type of magic. People had done the impossible because no one had told them it was impossible. The most wondrous things of all creation existed because of beings that defied their bounds. But there were also the most terrible nightmares made real by the same “magic.” That was what he saw in those three men's eyes. He remembered when he had seen it in himself.
“You’re all mad,” he said in a whisper that was as terrible as it was quiet.
The gravity of the situation had shifted into darker realms. Harlan wished he had the strength to strike them all down and take Sally, by force if need be. But he didn't. There was a time when he did, but it was long gone.
“You’re decided in this foolishness then?” he asked Sally. It took her a moment but she nodded. “Then you've decided for me as well. Let’s go find the blade of Tarsin.”


Do you know how tricky it is to find art on the internet that matches the tone, setting, and characters you've created in a story?  Considering the fact that none of the pictures I found were drawn for this story nor were they drawn by the same artist I think I did pretty well.  Of all of them Kain's picture matches the closest to what is in my head.  And good luck trying to find a proper image of a one armed innkeeper.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Snap that band

The world is full of characters dealing with sexual or romantic tension.  It seems to be more prevalent in TV; and TV like a taint, like the best taints, touches everything.  It influences the young minds who become writers.  There are too many bad habits that one can pick up from TV to list here.  So I will focus on this one for now.  The extending of sexual tension to impossible lengths.  It stems from a inherent flaw in TV series. 

A series in order to be a series need to keep the story going indefinitely.  They do this by treading water, the same water, over and over.  Once they stumble on a combination that works, one that strikes a cord with the viewing audience, they keep recycling the same formula.

sexual tension Pictures, Images and Photos One such formula is the pair that just can't make it into relationship status.  One or the other is already dating, married, mourning, or there's some other more elaborate reason why the two can't be together.  And this sexual tension builds and builds between them.  If the show lasts long enough the tension is maintained so long that I no longer care if the two get the hook up or not.  Or if they do it feels like they are betraying the characters somehow.

Now it is not the use of sexual or romantic tension that I dislike, it's the misuse of it.  As mentioned it seems to show up the most in television, or maybe it's just that much more noticeable in that medium.  But I've seen it in books too.

Sexual, or romantic tension is like an elastic band.  The longer it stays taut the more strength it loses.  But including it in a story is a way to keep people interested in your characters and keep vibrancy in your plot.  The trick is to keep the right balance, it is a delicate tight rope dance.  Too much and a reader will be strained waiting for the charters to get the hook up but never getting that release which they (and we the readers) oh so desperately want and need.

Come on, snap it.  You know you want to.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Distinction

I prefer to write Fantasy but I enjoy Sci Fi as well.  Now Sci Fi is not the same thing as Fantasy.  The distinction is small, and in some stories it's blurred but it's there.

The best and most succinct explanation of the difference that I've ever heard is this:

"Sci Fi is what could be but isn't.  
Fantasy is what can't be but is."

I believe it was Orson Scott Card who said this but I can't prove it.  If anyone knows if it was indeed Mr. Card, or if you know who did say it, please let me know.  If I happen to be lucky enough to have made it up without realizing it then I claim it as mine, but I doubt I did.

The difference is Sci Fi uses science to explain its impossibilities and Fantasy uses magic. The two genres have more in common then not.  And yet I've heard of infighting amongst the geeks and nerd ranks.  Contention rages about the validity of Sci Fi over Fantasy or vice versa.  Arguments that one is better than the other abound.

Brothers and sisters (assuming there are any girl geeks out there, I've yet to find any) please put this bad blood which runs between our two great genres aside.  They are both capable of greatness and culpable of ... ungreatness.  But there are those who would deride us all of our place in the world.  Those who view both genres as dross.  The enemy is out there, let us not do their work for them.  Besides if Sci Fi and Fantasy really were to clash one with the other I think we all know who would win.
Huh... I didn't expect that.  Although it may look bad now, this knight is totally gonna kick this space ranger's butt.  Trust me,  because in Fantasy we got the magic.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Look what I'm writing!

I am taking part in a shared story.

You can check it out here.  I am currently responsible for part two.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Time Vampires

There are lots of little things that eat the day away. On their own they don't seem like that much, but put them all together and a picture forms of a ravenous creature intent on sapping every second of every day. They are Time Vampires and here are some of mine:

Work: Now yes work is necessary to pay the bills, and as far as jobs go I don't have the worst. But a full time job is nice chunk of time out of one's day. I just think about all that time I'm being productive for someone else when I could be writing. It's frustrating.

TV: Because I just can't miss... well actually there is no good reason or excuse for this vampire. Most of the so called "must watch TV" I consider "must avoid TV." There are scant few shows I actually go out of my way to watch, and even those I normally watch on Hulu. Ah, blessed Hulu. The great thing about it is the liberation to watch just about any show at any time with with a grand total of four or six commercials. That's commercials total, not six commercial breaks with thirty commercials each. Do the math. Ah cursed math.

(And this is how math makes me feel.(Warning animated cartoon stick man violence, very graphic. I am not kidding. Click at your own risk.))

Friends: They'll be there for me. Even when I might be better off without them, working on my story. I know this sounds ungrateful, rude, and a bit anti-social, but friends do distract me from what I should be doing. I can't count the number of times my friends have pulled me into a fountain and forced me to dance the night away (like I'm was always stuck in second gear.)

Laziness: I was gonna write something here, but....

I so tired.

Gaming: I start up a game and I'm having a good time when suddenly... I look up at the clock and it's midnight. The game just Rip Van Winkled me. I hate to say anything bad about gaming on account of it giving so much good to me. But it does take time and money, and time is money, so it takes money squared. And dang it I've started talking math again. You can never be too careful with math.

You can never be too careful with math.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting back on track

The Holidays have gotten me a little off track. But fear not I am slowing making my way back to where I want to be.
This means writing, and a lot of it. Hopefully some of that so called writing will splash over onto this blog. Boy it sure is easier to break habits than make them. But this year is gonna be my year. I can feel it.
...Although I have felt that way before. In particular I felt really good about 2007. That turned out to be a train wreck. But onward and upward.
And whew. I was really running out of things to say. you see I had to keep writing because I included this neat picture of a train. As I did I thought to myself: "Self, you ought put that picture in the left hand corner instead of front and center." So I did but if I didn't have words to wrap around the bottom it would just look silly. So here we are.