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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Sacrifice

Unseen

A few days ago I blogged about the role of faith in an epic high fantasy story.  Now, if I mentioned faith and sacrifice in the same sentence would you automatically think, “Oh no, here comes a Jesus Christ reference!”

Think for a moment of a soldier.  A soldier is one who goes to battle to protect those he loves from what appears to be of evil intent.  He has faith in his commanders judgment and is willing to lay down his life for what he believes is the highest of chivalric and noble character – to give one’s life for something greater than himself.  Now, this certainly is no reference to Jesus Christ, who died to save mankind of its sins.

Now go one step further.  If a person received a command by the highest authority, his creator, and was supplied with gifts to set off on a journey to free seven enslaved races, knowing full well there will be tests and possible sacrifice, would you still insist the story was about Jesus Christ?

Here’s the setup.  The Unseen, the mythical creator of my universe, pondered the creation of life, both immortal and mortal.  What would happen and which would be more noble?  His first thought is that the immortals would be, so he creates ten to steward over ten heavenly worlds, until he sees very quickly that from free will there are those that will not submit to his authority.  He then creates mortal beings and for the immortals to be their stewards.  He then proclaims that one day from the line of the first prophet, in the seventh line, a seventh son, Arimar, the messenger, will be born and that all evil will attempt to destroy him and his followers.  The rebellious steward, Haggarfuse, unwilling to submit, designs to destroy everything and one-by-one nine worlds fall to complete death and darkness.  It is on the final world, Allivar, which means The One Family, converges with their created beasts and demons.  Arimar at birth is rushed and veiled until he reaches the age of wisdom and is then called to set off on his task.  Having free will he almost commits suicide for the stress is too high with the expectations placed on him from prophecy, which is no more than a test.

Now that you have an idea of the brief history, Arimar sets off on his journey, which is just as perilous as any you have ever read.  There is a journey to the north to confront a possessed king and then there is a journey home through a land where evil’s creations are Bound to Forbidden Lands, with every step being a test of faith.

Then the final battle of good and evil arrives in Last Stand of the Living.  Here all the captains, the seventh son of he seventh generation of each race, rises from the fallen ages, to stand united. There in the battle, that is being lost, Arimar sees all that he loves: his captains and Elissia, whom he hopes to marry one day, sacrifice all they are, but appear to die to in a vain attempt.  When he could easily lose his faith, Arimar is given a choice, to leave with the Unseen and not experience death, or to stay and die with all that remains of his mortal family.  He then bargains with the Unseen that if he gives his own life, would the remaining peoples of the races be saved.  The Unseen asks if he would truly do such a thing.  Arimar offers it freely.

This is where I will tell you no more, because the battle takes a turn you will not see coming, yet was hinted over and over again in the first nine chapters of Rise of the Fallen. All I can say here, is that the battle is the largest I have ever read, which includes those found in the Lord of the Rings.  How is that for a teaser?

The moral is simple, are we the living more worthy of stewardship than the immortals?  Will the pain of loss and death teach us more of racial harmony and the stewardship of worlds?  Are we able to withstand every test and stand for our faith?  Will we, the living, stand against evil in all its forms and do what is right?  Are we worthy enough? We will not see the fleeting nature of life, and the futility of war and hatred?  We will understand the gift of life with all its pains?

This is the gist of the trilogy, then there are the upcoming Chronicles of Allivar, which is a parallel journey of history and events of the nine fallen worlds, the first six ages of Allivar and the final story in the seventh age – the age of light.  When you complete the trilogy you will understand the nature and path of the chronicles.  The first in this series is titled – The Fall of Helloria.

Seven is a significant number for it represents perfect completion.  This is a hint for you as a reader.  All you need to do is take a leap of faith and enter my world of Allivar.  You will think, you will cry, but I promise you this too… you will cheer.

This is a mythology covering creation, life and the end of the ages.  Those who love The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings should easily understand the context and construct of my stories.

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I can, I will and I did

I just finished watching Les Miserables.  Something struck me from the lyrics to the song, “I dreamed a dream” which ended with, ” Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”

This last week I came to the realization that it is not life itself that kills the dreams of dreamers, but people.  I subscribe to various websites, blogs and Facebook pages about writing and publishing.  My sister has a masters degree in creative writing.  Every step of the way I took from the year 2000 to the present was to live a dream of becoming a writer.  I have a vivid imagination. I day-dream of stories that entertain me and I want to share that imagination with others. Over ten years I wrote and completed the epic high fantasy trilogy, The Chosen One of AllivarI can, I will and I did.

Article after article tells the dreamers that if you are not one of them, the highly educated perfectionist in writing and grammar, then you are vain and self absorbed.  When did the simple enjoyment of telling a story become vain?  Who sets the rules?  Self publishing technology has opened the doors for those of us who are story tellers.  We have no goals of becoming a teacher, a doctorate or member of an elite club where people congratulate each other over their own self accomplishments.  Now, who are the vain again?  How many books, other than academic, have many of these people actually written and shared with the world?  I can, I will and I did.

Life is not always about perfection, but the pursuit of perfection.  We will never obtain it.  If you have a story in your mind, it will never be perfect.  Why?  Because their are seven billion people in this world that will have a differing viewpoint that they want to inject into your story.  To compensate for their own inabilities they trash your story, your grammar and anything they can including the easy cop out of calling you a vain author.  Those that do this stand before mirror of self pity and envy.  It is how they compensate for their own fear of rejection because they cannot tolerate how in the world no one can see their perfection.  Let me tell you, I’m not perfect, my stories have flaws, but did they entertain you?  That is truly the question.  Did my stories give you pause to consider humanity and uplift you in a period of history where so much conflict exists, where degrading our fellow man or woman is now considered entertainment?  I want to write different stories.  I can, I will and I did.

Some of you might think that I am a starving writer.  I am CPA, an investment advisor, a technology consultant and now a licensed realtor.  These professional designations is what feeds my family. I have climbed the ladders to the top of the various walls.  On the other side are countless opportunities to experience more in life.  There was nothing to prevent me from experiencing all that I have, because I had the will to do so. I can, I will and I did.

In 1998, I went independent and have been ever since. Has it been a fairy tale?  Hell no. There were those I was employed by who controlled my career, who held me back, who never mentored or offered encouragement.  Why?  Let’s face it, businesses make money when they control those that perform most of the work.  They retain enough knowledge so that you cannot outshine and replace them, or attempt to go independent.  They further justify their agenda by convincing you that their management of your work is what will bring you success.  Does this sound familiar?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read comments and articles by those in the publishing industry, who rant and rave about how poor the grammar is of self published authors and the justification for their services. I chose to be an independent author simply to tell a story and control my destiny.  To date, I’ve made a few thousand dollars from my efforts, which some will say is not a success.  I’ve not won any awards or accolades, or have been patted on the back by fellow writers, including those in my own family.  Who defines my happiness and self worth of accomplishment and success?  Is money the only measurement?  Is a plastic award, a paper certificate, or trophy what you seek?  Is it the inclusion in some monthly newsletter or trade journal that you seek?  Is it the trips to writers conferences in the Bahamas you seek?  Whatever it is go for it!  Just do not belittle those that have a simple dream. Life is hard enough without all the human induced misery. Separate yourself from those that choose to live life dictated by others and those absorbed with the word “Can’t.”  I can, I will and I did.

I dreamed a dream of one day, before my death, of writing an uplifting and inspiring story, because I can, I will and I did.  My success can be summed up in the words of a 14 year old aspiring author,

“I’m a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, but I have to say that this was 100 times better than the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion combined!”

Should I die tomorrow, there is my accomplishment, there is my reward.  I was loyal to myself. I used my own capital and took the risk to live my dream.  So next time you stand before the mirror of self doubt because someone called you vain, remind yourself that it is you who controls your destiny and then boldly proclaim – I can, I will and I did.

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