Context & Construct

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I visited with my sister this weekend and we spoke about my trilogy.  She has a masters degree in creative writing.  She has tried to read my trilogy but states all the other authors and editors do not write the way I write.  That you must hook people quickly into your story.  I understand completely her viewpoint, this is what the majority opinion is.  But I have to ask a simple question.  How creative is this? If we all march to beat of the same drums, aren’t we just robots catering to the machine?  Do you ever feel like you are reading the same story over and over again, with just a few new character names and locales?  Don’t you know what sex is by now?  How many ways can you spin eroticism and vampires?  I’m not knocking these authors or readers, but don’t you want a change of pace?

I am a CPA.  I am analytical, linear and logical.  I have done computer programming which must be controlled by logic with “”If this, then this, else this” type construct.  I literally despise stories without context and logical construction.  I have heard people say,

“I want a quick and fun read.  I do not wish to think.”

If this is true then my stories will not appeal to you.  If you like books like the The Shack or the Life of Pi, then you are seeking a book with a deeper meaning of life and spirituality.  Yes, it has to be entertaining, but don’t you want the ground work established first?  Here is how I constructed my trilogy based on my love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful and mesmerizing world of Arda and Middle Earth.

Book 1 – Rise of the Fallen, Chapters 1-9 are the history of the universe and Allivar.  Think of the Silmarillion in a compressed form.  A mythology must have an origin narrative. There must be a narrative on the source of evil and the history to create the myths of immortals and heroic mortals. These chapters establish the construction of all that follows and provides subtle clues to the surprising ending of the story.  If you rush through this, you will definitely miss the point of the story.  Sorry, I didn’t spend ten years just to have battle scenes, sex and a pointless battle over a throne.  My story is much deeper than this.

Chapters 10-16 begins the story of the hero in the dawning of the seventh age of Allivar.   Like the Fellowship of the Ring there is the bonding of characters of various races on a journey the Chosen One was selected for, which is to determine if mortals are worthy of life.  If you wish, just jump to Chapter 10 and begin there.  Then maybe one day you will want to go back and have context of the origin of my mythology.

Now this book cannot be more exciting than book two, nor can book two be more exciting than book three.  There must be a crescendo of action and emotions.

Book 2 Bound to Forbidden Lands ratchets the excitement after all the ground work was established in book one.  The Two Towers gave readers the thought that all would be lost, but that the faith in men would rise to counter the acts of evil.   We were left begging for the conclusion with the Return of the King.

Book two introduces romance and the continued rise of evil, an epic coliseum battle, fighting with dark demons and a journey through lands, guarded by dragons and watchers, the hero has been told to avoid.  But he has no other option.  The ending of the story must compel you to read the third story, so it has a cliff hanger unlike any you will ever read. He lives!

Book 3 – Last Stand of the Living is the culmination of the entire mythology with the greatest mythological battle ever to be written, where the fate of the universe will be decided, and where mortal and immortal alike come to battle. Here you will finally understand all that was written in the first nine chapters of book one.  I recall the Return of The King’s influence on the ratcheting of the battle scenes and emotions with the arrival of the Rohirrim and the eventual defeat of Sauron.  Readers who have taken the challenge to read my trilogy are utterly exhausted emotionally in this third story.  For the creator of the universe makes his stand with the seven mortal races.

I can guarantee you this much; you will laugh, you will cry, and you will cheer.  You may even contemplate life as we know it, for it is allegorical to our times.

But I am not done with you yet.  Forthcoming are the Chronicles of Allivar, sixteen stories, equally as intriguing as the trilogy. It introduces a parallel journey of the Armies of Light and the heroes of the six ages.  Here the compressed history is expanded, laying a blueprint for the construct of an equally exciting series.

You see, I have constructed a mythology using a linear approach from origin to the end of time, with proper context so that you don’t end the series wondering what happened to certain characters who dropped out.

You have a choice. Follow the cookie-cutter formulaic stories and construct that the masters and literary gods tell us that must exist, or take a chance on something new, independent, original, and frankly – creative.

My final point is this.  Many people take life way too seriously.  They seek affirmation from others of their worthiness in this lifetime.  They wish to dominate life by determining who is allowed to participate in the private clubs of industry and intellectual institutions.  They control who will be successful and who will not, through regulation, etc.  The publishing industry loves to bully, yes I wrote bully, to tell you another person’s attempt at writing is garbage because they weren’t involved in the editing, distribution and profit-sharing aspects of your creativity.  They belittle every person or story that reaches success independently.  I do not like erotica, but I applaud E.L. James for dispensing, once and for all, that only the publishing Gods know what stories will interest you.

Self-publishing has provided an opportunity for those of us who love to tell stories, even with grammatical errors, to remain independent and reap the potential success of our own risk. This was once referred to as entrepreneurship, not vanity publishing.  Vanity should be described as the envy of others who have not found a way to piggy-back on your imagination.

In the end, it is you the reader who independently defines what stories are good or not.  I am going to keep writing because one day I can tell them to my grandchildren.  Like Tolkien, these are the stories I want to read, but are not being produced by the publishing Gods.  I hope one day you will find my stories appealing enough to tell to your children and others.

To my sister, I have to say this, do not waste another second of your life looking for the accolades and affirmation of others.  Their aim is profit-motivated and honestly, quite vain.  The only one responsible for your happiness is you.  Life is risk and by not taking any risk, for the fear of the opinion of others, including your own family, is not living.  Stephen King said it best in his story, The Shawshank Redemption:

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

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Character Obsessions

Hamish
The Guardian Saint of All Authors

I read via many sources that people are flipping out over actors and actresses signed on to do parts in Diana Gabaldon’s – Outlander series and E.L. James – 50 Shades of Grey series.  As an epic fantasy author (not ever to be confused with erotic fantasy), I want a reader to enjoy a story, possibly even contemplate life’s great mysteries.  But…  for a fan to go all chicken headless, missile ballistic, nutszoid – well that’s just plain silly.

I often debate (synonym: argue) with my wife about details in my stories.  I contend a reader should use his or her own imagination to visualize what they wish.  An author who does provide such extreme detail almost deserves the literal storming of the Bastille.  I don’t read that much.  Why?  Because there are usually 18 hours of extra filler in most books that add nothing to the story. Some writers love filler, it justifies the price, I suppose.  If I really want that much visual detail, I’ll wait for the movie, they are actually cheaper than the book.  I have a vivid imagination and can play off the simplest of an author’s descriptions.  Now if I wrote a narrative like this:

“Jenny couldn’t get over how much Harvey looked like Stephen King, except for the large wart on his eyelid.”

If the hypothetical story of Harvey ever made it to the big screen – I’d have all the Annie’s of the world wanting to crucify me, because Harvey wasn’t Stephen King, a close resemblance, and the wart wasn’t big enough.  (Annie Wilkes, the obsessed fan in Stephen King’s – Misery)

Authors are actually getting hate mail and death threats over the choices for the parts in movies or TV series.  To counter the chance that readers may ever get overly obsessed with my characters, know this, I have a sword and I will relieve you of your head that contains all those free roaming mixed nuts.  I repeat, I write fantasy, meaning a story completely made up.  It isn’t real.  You will survive…  The characters are immortal.  Therefore I place a little surgeon general’s warning on each of my books:

This story is a work of fantasy. Details have been withheld for fear of retaliation upon the author by nutzoid fans.
It is therefore, respectfully requested, that you take your med’s before the beginning of each chapter.

I was advised, by my attorney, that the legal fine print would never be read, as are an author’s notes or forewards (pronounced: “Four Words”).  Therefore, it had to be written as the first part of the prologue, with emphasis, such as:

Prologue

This story is a work of fantasy. Details have been withheld for fear of retaliation upon the author by nutzoid fans. It is therefore, respectfully requested, that you take your med’s before the beginning of each chapter.

Jenny loved the wart on Harvey’s nose, it was huge and grotesque, just like a Stephen King horror novel.

You are hooked, right?  It was the wart, admit it, you are smitten by the wart.

You also notice these fans never go ballistic over the ugly people in the books, just the perfect people.  So, don’t make them perfect.  Never use words like: godly, gorgeous, kilt, latex, guitar, Knight, sparkling, whips, chains, hubba hubba, drooling, lapdog, stud, Christian, Edward, Porsche, chocolate, espresso, or billionaire.  If you do, you are setting yourself up for the fall.

I am writing this humor piece because I love satire, which is meant to expose the absurdity of mortal life as we know it, and to help us become better nutzoids by exposing said absurdities.  Now that you know what satire is, maybe you nutzoid’s should give satirist  a little taste of your frustration.  We authors would appreciate the break.

So, Diana and E.L., pay attention.  If you need a little protection, call 1-800-IHAMISH.  Where my motto is:

I have blade and

I have my own tartan.

Have a nutzoid fan?

  I’ll be there to go all Spartan!

Diana, just lend me the traveling stones.

E.L., just control yourself, please! Grrrrr……

Countdown to nutzoid ballistic blastoff reader response is 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.