Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where are my Characters at?

Today I am going to do a rundown of the map of the World of Theron. I sent this image to a friend reading the book and they said it was pretty damn helpful in keeping track of where things are occurring at. To be honest I liked having it myself while writing. Without further adieu - I give you Theron (in color pencil glory).
This version of Theron is not the original - there was a much different one when this idea came into being a decade ago. However, this one grew as the story did. Additionally, I incorporated greater details based on an increasing understanding of how our world was made. I have a personal love of geology, paleontology, meteorology among other things science.
Yes, I actually have ideas for how weather patterns have shifted because of Epic events that occur in my story. In fact - I fully plan on weather having an impact on the outcome of what this world will look like by the end of the story.
Also, I am a HUGE fan of Jared Diamond and his books. His ideas on specific triggers causing the collapse of societies is, I feel, reasonably useful in explaining how some societies meet their end. I don't think any writer should go without reading his books if they want a realistic story about societies.
However - a breakdown of the nations of Theron, starting with the northeast continent and moving clockwise...

North East Continent
Ledun, Dalerad, Kalnor, Dwarven Holds, Barbarian Holds, Eastern Coalition, Pentath, Yulan.

Eastern Continent
Brodesia, Sythian

Central Islands
Iliana, Adavad, Narkissos, Zenon

Western Continent and Islands
Lopaka, Palila, Elnar, Goran, Western Coalition, Goronwy, Zsalt, Haidar, Noam, Phelan, Castell, Sanctum, Ergheith

Northern Lands
Priscus, Tyrnor

There are lots of lands for me to write about, and I have lot I will share as this world grows. I really want to get to a point where I write multiple books - taking place in different epochs of this world. I have ideas to write the pre-history and another for a story to take place in a modern or future technology era as well. That is for the future - for now I am making this trilogy go places.

If anyone wants more details on a country, let me know and I will make a post about a specific country and its culture, history, etc.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Royal Commanders, Vandahar Gates and Denzel Washington

I like the idea of a person devoting themselves to an ideal, and showing humble loyalty to that singular thing they devote their lives to. Perhaps I am, at times, jealous of the focus individuals can have as they doggedly pursue the cause they have set themselves to. It is even more of a love when done in the thread of a fantasy story – because they can become not just devoted but empowered. Nothing can compare to the giddy feeling I had inside when I read the battles of Garet Jax in “The Wishsong of Shannara”.

This singular devotion also comes from my own personal faith – Confucianism.  I studied many different
religions and their place in a cultural context. For a time I can even say I was a Christian Fundamentalist – a prospect that undoubtedly would frighten some of those who know me now. Once I found Confucianism, its basic ideas seemed to grow on me. I liked what it had to say about what a person should say and do and how they should behave. Most importantly it helped me deal with quirks I had developed from my own life. When you have a colorful past as I do, everyday things disturb you that others do not struggle with. This gave me a way of acting that helped me to feel I had a guideline to follow – something I need more than people know.

Why am I discussing Garet Jax and Confucianism? Because they helped me create the concept of a “Royal Commander”, the first of these seen is Vandahar Gates in Empires Awakening. While they will not all be warriors like Vandahar, they are all individuals who have submitted themselves to a higher calling, and they have become “Tian” (insert character) and are princes of virtue among humanity. The Chinese consider this to be “Heaven” or “Sky” but mean “Great Whole” – these are those individuals that are truly following the teachings that will make them great. In my concept they have sworn themselves to serve the people of a nation, but that doesn’t mean they “serve” them in the traditional sense of following every command. These are individuals who work to ensure a people are safe and allowed the chance to prosper. Vandahar is devoted to fighting the dangerous elements in Brodesia making sure the innocent and the meek can live to prosper. You can fully expect a multitude of other Royal Commanders to make an appearance with entirely different sets of skills and paths to meet these goals.

Lastly, if anyone was curious what I imagined Vandahar Gates to look like and how he spoke – You can look no further than Denzel Washington. While I make it no secret I hope my books are received awesomely enough that I could get a movie deal for them (who wouldn’t want that?!?) I don’t know if I will get to be big enough fast enough that Denzel could still be asked to fill the part. Only time will tell.

It could happen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The World of a Fantasy Writer - Early Onset Insanity

This is being posted at  MarcieBrockBookMarketingMaven.com in addition to its home here (edited of course), so some of this might seem redundant to my regular readers. However anything new is still to be enjoyed by all who usually partake in my blog posts. Once I get the "live" link I will update that URL with it.

Today one of the wonderful readers of my book sent me a link to a picture on Facebook with a unique
quote (look to the right), that after a bit I realized had some truth to it.  In some ways being the writer of fantasy can very easily turn into a very dangerous form of balanced insanity. If some random person was walking around your town describing dragons, unicorns and creatures of a magical nature - they would undoubtedly be committed before they hurt themselves or others.

However as an author of fantasy - I am called upon to create a fantastic world that will actually lure people in with its beauty and enticing story. I must create an experience that would be so immersive and engaging to the reader that they will want to leave reality behind for a time. I must create an experience that a reader will love and appreciate as much if not more than they do reality. I must also keep a firm grip on which world is real. That balancing act is exciting, and not entirely without its dangers.

I began writing when I was very young, though I am not sure when I began to compose entire stories. I know for certain I was reading as many books as I could get my hands on from an early age. I was a very early reader - before I turned four I could already read, driven to it by the book pictured to the right. As you can imagine, I had a thing for trains and rail roads. Okay, I will be honest, I STILL have a thing for trains and rail roads. If I ever become as well off as JK Rowling I fully intend to buy my own steam engine - working of course. It will be a Norfolk and Western Class J for those wondering.

However much of my reading was an escape - for much of the first 18 years of my life things were going on that were creating a need and a wish to get away. When I had opportunities - which were few and far between since I moved a great number of times - I would take writing workshops and courses geared to get the insanity inside my mind out onto the page. I even for a time participated in an email RPG. What that is is a creative writing exercise, where you tag multiple people in a story thread and try to push the story ahead while at the same time give them a chance to fill in the gaps, and then they continue to push the story ahead while you then go back and fill in your gaps and tags.

I think during that time, my greatest lessons were both practical and social. I learned great value in working with other creative individuals. Learning to let go is what I think is a very difficult process for some authors. This is no less sacred to them than anything else. My stories are my creations, my work put into the world - having someone change that in a way I can't predict can be frightening! You don't realize how attached you are until you hand something over to another and have no clue what they will make of it, its very hard to get used to that.

The even more important lesson I learned was how powerful words can be for us. Language is our way of bonding with others - friends, family and love is created through language. That person you see every day on the subway or the bus may not mean as much to you as someone you have written with or talked with. Those words and the emotions behind them mean something. One of the writers that I found to be an incredible blast to work with, who I spent probably four years working with, let me and a few close others know they had a terminal illness. Granted, I have never met the man in person, I had emailed and written with them for just a few years - but their presence and their words being gone really struck a chord with me.

"Empires Awakening" is the grandest story I have created yet. This is the largest world, with the most characters, and is a culmination of many different creative threads I have had dancing around inside my head for a decade. Probably the biggest thing I want everyone to know is that I want to bring them a glimpse of something wonderful. I will always take my time and craft a world or a place that will strike a reader with its beauty, its presence and even its emotional toll. Anyone who comes to my table at the Summer Author Event will be guaranteed an exciting and open spoiler-free conversation. I am very friendly and want every reader to have the chance to be given a way out of reality for a short time. Hopefully for not the same reasons I needed to. A few minutes witnessing beauty through the words put to page is something everyone could benefit from each day.