Saturday, November 30, 2013

Reading a Book for a Friend

In the tumultuous affairs of recent memory I regret my lack of posting of Friday. It was an oversight, forgive me!

How was your Thanksgiving? My was fine, thank you. It's one of those holidays I relish for it's bounty of free, high quality foodstuffs. I am a simple man, and food is simple enough, my Freudian muse.

The following Friday, yesterday, the day that I should have posted this, was occupied by something far more sinister. I offered to read a book for a friend, by my own volition and enthusiasm, because I genuinely wanted to offer feedback to him for the project. The book is entitled Journey to Rainbow Island, and is the product of a trust fund baby with more money than I or you (reader) could ever hope to achieve in our lifetimes. I actually enjoyed the book, but in no way that one finds favorable. My friend, whom I love dearly is the one who actually wrote it, or at least 85-90% of the book. What is funny is that I can tell which sections of the book are his, and what the remaining 10-15% comprised the mad scrawlings of a depraved, egomaniac that bought a production company in Taiwan, allegedly, just to turn this contrived tale into a Harry Potter film Goliath.

My heart goes out to my friend though. Nay, a medal should be minted by the finest jewelers of Tiffany & Co. for his efforts. He was able to take an awful, horrendous, shell concept (likely to have been written on a napkin at Starbucks during a fleeting moment of inspiration) and make it readable! God save the Queen!

Anyways, I read all 383 pages of it. It took me 8 hours. Was is worth it? Anything for a friend, as I always say.

What kills me is that so much of the book was actually good fantasy, or had the glimmering instances of one anyways. I will spare you a plot summary but the book primarily is a platform for New Age Spiritualism, which preaches more than George Whitfield at Cambuslang Scotland. Every book preaches mind you. (Isn't that why we write books?) I've just never read a book that includes an entire end chapter, that has no greater purpose than advocating some hippy, masturbatory fantasy of what Taoism is.

My hat is off to my friend though, who was paid handsomely for his effort. It is proof that even a rich wannabe, with all the money in the world, can't produce good fiction. Fight to good fight brothers. Write on!



SW  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Laufey's Treasure - Chapter 16

Trembling, Kaun woke his brothers. Kaupi and Keli began to weep as he revealed the news about Amma. Anke was still and quiet, murmuring words best left unspoken. Ragna pulled at her hair and Geira began to panic, becoming filled with fear. But Laufey did nothing. Absolutely nothing. He felt the weight of responsibility crush him, the heft of expectations deflate his ego. He had let Amma disappear, right out from under his nose.

It was his fault.

Geira screamed, "Amma! Amma where are you!" into the woods hut to no avail. Eventually Ragna slipped out of her  stupor and came to her aid. Laufey watched this transpire in his mind. The surreal moment passed by, vaguely apparent that he was related to it. It was like watching someone from behind them, speculating how they perceived the world. Stooping down into the tent he took the switch that was strewn across the ground. Along it's stem were three red berries packed into a tiny cluster near the base.

"This is evil," Kaun whispered nervously.

"What are we going to do?" Geira said her voice feverous and shaky. Ragna came in from behind to calm her.

"Everything is going to be alright, okay?" We will find your sister no problem.

Geira began to whimper. Her eyes turned red and she wept throwing herself into Ragna's arms. Then, she shot a glance at Laufey, filled with anger and indignation.

"This is your fault!" She growled. "You wanted this stupid treasure, and look where it's gotten us!"

Laufey held up his hands in innocence backing away.

"Me?" He said incredulously. "How is this my fault? What did I do?"

"Were here because of you!" She screamed, her voice shriveling at the end into a hoarse cry. She sobbed hard into Ragna's breast, the latter helplessly looking at Laufey, unsure of what to do.

The triplets huddled together as one. Kaun, holding onto his other brothers heaved a heavy sigh.

"Okay," he started," what are we going to do?"

They all looked at him, including Laufey, who felt obligated to answer, though nothing came to mind.

"We need to find her," he began, "she couldn't have wandered off. Maybe she walked off to just go ti the bathroom and got lost." Though plausible, the idea didn't go well with Geira and Ragna, who mutually cast him a look of disdain.

"That's what happened?" Ragna said.

"It was just a guess okay? I'm trying to help."

Laufey looked at the ground, then at Kaun who he noticed rather still. Curious he walked closer, and saw that Kaun's gaze was affixed to the darkness. Something was moving in the bushes.

Laufey took out his construct and powered on it's illuminator and shinned the light when an old man covered in ferns appeared then disappeared. The rest had seen it too, who were now frozen in place, unable to move. Laufey couldn't either. Something evil dwelled near him now, and he could feel it's breath coming down of him.

"You. This is your fate. Why are you in my wood..." A low, rumbling voice boomed behind him.





Monday, November 25, 2013

Establishing a Visually Striking Character

So last week I built a character. That was fun. In continuation of our series, I want us now to look at the nuances of character designs that incorporate into the final character concept. Like my previous series on World Building where I discussed often details often overlooked when build immersible worlds, there are dimensions that can be missed or not considered integral to the process. Here I will discuss apparel, clothing, and iconic accessories that go into creating a likable, iconic character.

Clothing can vary in one or two ways I've found. There could be other ways but, suffice to say, let's assume that Genre and Period setting narrative are the most common ways to establish who a character is and how they are important to the story.

There are many genres and sub-genres of fiction and non-fiction. Each genre distinguishes its self from another by tropes and moods. A detective fiction would be moody and dark, whereas a comedy would be light. Notice how in films like Sherlock Holmes the titular protagonist wears darker colors, like browns and blacks. Also there are a lot of reds to emphasize the color of blood. On the other hand, in comedies, like 40 Year Old Virgin and Step Brothers, the colors are vibrant and expressive. They help to enhance the facial expressions and routines the characters run through to help the audience know when to laugh. So when considering your genre that you are writing, understand the psychology of your characters and their parent genre. It will help your character's apparel and exterior appearance stay in line with your work.

Clothing in Period setting narratives is much different for a number of reasons. If your story is set in the 1100s, it would behoove you to understand the contemporary styles of the time. Immediately you will be limited in what you have to choose from as far as clothing already. Peasants of the time looked the same more or less. Where you can help to make a distinguishing character stand out, clothing wise, in a period setting, is in how they wear the clothing, what it's made out of, or have them be an outsider. There's a cool comic book called Northlanders where one of the protagonists is an outcastes son, who was run out of the kingdom when he was young. He didn't visually fit the viking look at all, and the clothing he returns wearing is arabic in design from his stint in Constantinople, and the Near East. Using this, the writer of the comic helps to create a visually striking character by playing to the cultural biases of the time. Another interesting example was from the Robin Hood movie put out by Ridley Scott. In this movie we see the King of France in a particular scene, dirty, bent over next to a stream, eating oysters. He looks repulsive and dirty, but at the time that wasn't all too uncommon. They didn't have showers, and baths were highly luxurious. Nevertheless the character is iconic because he is this high figure in society, but visually unappealing.

Now these two dynamics are two of many approaches. For now, I will leave you with these understandings. They serve as a good starting point for most narrative work.



SW

Friday, November 22, 2013

The One Where I Contemplate Going Mad

I'm getting tired. Maybe it's just because I keep working. In my mind I think to myself, "oh, the end will come," and I hope this is the case. I still go to the gym, maintain an active, healthy lifestyle on the weekends. Despite all of this I feel fat, constantly. Maybe I'm just reading too much comics, and my musclebound role models never had a food associated coping mechanism? But then I remember, "Oh, I haven't had time for recreational reading for the last two months." That figures.

The holidays have, for myself, been a testing ground of mental fortitude since I could remember what a Christmas tree looked like. Maybe it's just because I  have (or think I have) S.A.D.? All I know is that I have mounting projects with little time to accomplish them in. My life more and more is like a long distance race without a finish line, and every body around me is from Kenya.

To give you an idea I've begin to proofread for Authentic Publishers, a publishing company based out of Australia. That's actually not too bad. I get paid to read books and change them. I feel like a Time Lord, almost, getting to re-write future history in real time. Sequart has similar needs as well, which I gladly take as well. Those I don't get paid for really. But everyone has to start somewhere. Then there's always the next project, a Sandman Sequart book. This is underway, and my books are soon to be ordered.

In all of this my hope is to not go mad, which I wouldn't mind come to think of it... Don't mad people get free room and board in a calm, non-stimulating environment for the rest of their lives? It's not a bad prospect when living in the state of California, or as I like to say, "in utter poverty." Things are looking up though. They always are. I have my sanity to thank from my relationship with Jesus and my wife, both of which are tested, strangely, on a regular basis.

Very soon I will be having another meeting with my designer and illustrator for another sit down, I'll give you updates when I hear back from them on their progress.

Until then, well, don't go nuts. I'm already there!



SW

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Laufey's Treasure - Chapter 15



"When are we going to get to the end?" Anke moaned. "This story is soo long!"

Laufey squinted his eyes, pulled out  from the story by Anke's entreaty. Looking around him. His sister was looking into the fire, unmoved by the interruption, calm and wistful.

"Why would they have failed?" She asked, turning her head to Kaun. The boy shrugged.

"Dunno'" he said, "I like stories with mysteries though."

"And why mysteries?" Anke spouted incredulously.

Kaun leaned back then. He didn't hasten to answer as he did before, pausing a moment. Weighing the options that presumably entered his mind, he bobbed his head here and there. Finally he another piece of wood into the fire. 

"Mysteries give us a reason to keep listening, I think. My dad told me that , sorta'. He's always better at talking than me."

"Is that why we don't know the woman's name?" Ragna asked. Before Kaun could reply Laufey laughed at the question. 

"It's because she's a woman," he said with sarcasm. "Obviously! Geira here sounds more a woman than her anyways."

Geira perked up. She didn't say a word, though her cheeks turned a rosy color. But it was hardly noticeable under the dim light of the fire. 

"Oh, shut up!" Ragna retorted. "I want to know."

Kaun nodded leaning back into his brothers who had fallen asleep, folding his arms playfully.

"And know you should, Ragna," he replied looking at Laufey rebelliously. "You never know if it's her power, or a deeper trait of hers that will come back. The best stories are the ones we have to keep hearing, over and over. Those are the ones that we memorize and pass on." 

Laufey laid back and looked up into the night sky. He gave up. Contending with them wasn't worth the salt. As he did though, a chill passed through him, one that he had not felt before. Rubbing his arms didn't do much for it. "Probably a bad wind he thought."

Geira raised her head shortly after, suspiciously scanning the outskirts of the campground. She grew exceedingly uncomfortable after that. 

"Amma is gone," she said flatly, paralyzed. 

Ragna shot her a look of disbelief.

"What?" 

Laufey found himself rising up first, dashing over to the tent laid out behind him. Panicking, he ripped open the canopy and saw her blankets lifted up, and vacant. Then, his heart pounded. Loudly. On the ground was a switch of lingonberries. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recap! Let's Make a Character!


So this week for our lesson I had some difficulty coming up with other dimensions of character development. There's certainly a multitude of ways to approach this topic, so I wanted to recap then on what we've learned, rather than explore unfamiliar territory. What we shall do today is create a character using the three dimensions of character development that I have offered thus far.

Coming up with names for characters I haven't touched on yet. It's really up to you how much you want to emphasize this stage of characterization. It's important to decide on a name before hand however, only because names are foundational to the character; they establish the basis of a character's personality. In the past it was common for Victorian age literature to create characters that had names that were symbolic to their function in the narrative. You can still do this today, but, because you are not Virginia Wolf or Thomas Hardy, I would sweat the details. Only famous people can do it and pull it off without sounding really cheesy.

So the name of our character will be Reinaldo (and yes, I am going to pull a character out of my ass on the fly. Prepare yourself.)

Reinaldo needs to be distinguished in order to be a leading protagonist. The genre of literature we are operating in will determine what characteristics Reinaldo will possess as they pertain to the general narrative progression of the story. For argument's sake, I will select the Age of enlightenment.

And now for the silhouette...

Reinaldo is a Spaniard, but his family hails from a bordering region that aligns itself with France. His French blood distinguishes himself from his Spanish countrymen, but he is still a man who loves his country. What this backstory tells me is that Reinaldo is upright, proud, but may possess at times too much pride, bordering on hubris. His occupation is that of a royal printer. He is well fed, in shape, his chest is out as he walks and his hands are sensibly dirtied, being the kind of man who likes to be intimately involved in his work. Therefore, his beard will be trimmed but always subtly haggard. It covers his jaw, offsetting his undefined cheekbones. He is still handsome in the classical sense, wearing a cravat over a well buttoned Italian vest. His sleeved are rolled up exposing his strong arms, which are covered in black hair, though not overly hairy. His skin is olive, being a man of his country, and it pairs well with his richly adorned and finely dyed clothing (mauve with yellow accents and polished black leather shoes). His hair is scraggily being a man of work and not pleasure, but the back is neatly tied nonetheless. His nose is slightly large, making his words nasal, and appropriate for his modest French. Using this rough outline we now have a characteristic description of our protagonist. It relies on stylized stereotypes of the era, but Reinaldo himself will be just distinguished enough to stand out as unique in this period. He will be a byronic protagonist, a man seeking success in a rapidly changing world. His decision making will not ruin him but bring him down low, and his new state will return him to his family, but at the cost of his social standing and personal fortune. Using this, now, we can move on to the description style.

Tell Me, or Show Me.

For the sake of simplicity I will describe Reinaldo using the "Show Me" style. So here below is a sample description from the narrative that would be an introductory description of Reinaldo as we first meet him in his printing room:

"In the early afternoon, Reinaldo brooded over the typeset asked by her majesty's interpreter. Scratching his rough chin with the back of his knuckles, he approached the press. Xavier, his assistant stood behind him, a small brown man from Naples. Together they watched the apprentice smear the tar like ink across the metal grid with a hefty brush. Reinaldo shook his head, grabbing the brush impetuously and scolded the boy for using too much. Lightly he set the brush down and smeared the excess ink from the header with his hands and backed away, nodding with approvals The sun lit up the room now, as he stood shielding his dark, eyes from the light. His other hand was covered in the pasty ink, which hung at his side. The day had proved productive, the cover page for the royal address nearly complete. Satisfied, he raised his hands proudly, and backed away from the press. In the corner his coat hung on a wooded peg, which he retrieved after he washed the remaining ink from his hands. His boots, unsoiled, would make Sophia pleased with him, who spoke her mind often about him needlessly ruining his clothes. Behind him Xavier returned to the press beside the boy, and Reinaldo left to go for a walk to think."

Attitude...

Reinaldo's attitude should be emphasized by his actions. Notice how I made him a bit self absorbed and a perfectionist in the way he takes the brush from his apprentice and how he wipes away the excess ink on the press without any concern to his expensive clothing. When expressing attitude in characters and developing their personality, placing them in proximity with other minor characters helps further define them as well. So we get to understand Reinaldo by watching him work around Xavier, his assistant, and also through his interaction with the young apprentice. His wife, briefly mentioned does not supply us with enough information to know if Reinaldo is kind or indifferent towards his wife's opinions, but the added detail shows that he is aware of how people perceive him. The final detail, in which Reinaldo turns around and observes his fine work, shows the pride he takes in his work.

These are the details that give our characters a soul and personality.

So, with this information, create a character sometime this week. Experiment and have fun with your work! Next week I will continue the series once more. Until then, keep writing!



SW



Friday, November 15, 2013

That Moment When You Feel Helpless

This week I found myself in an odd position. It involved me and one of our new dogs that we are fostering for the Escondido Humane Society. A dog got out, and I had to find him. I eventually did, but the whole process of getting to that moment still causes me to reel.

When I saw my dog running down South Center City Parkway, I knew that I would have to run out into the street and hail down the cars to stop. I did all of this, surprisingly, but for the first time in my life I felt absolutely helpless. This was the aforementioned "odd position" I was referring to. I don't have kids yet, but that moment after you've lost them at Disneyland and you find them and they are safe and you are screaming and crying at the same time, I think I understand now...

That's what I had instead of coffee on Tuesday morning.

Slowly, but surely I've also been going back through my book to do the character dialogue revisions, per the advice I received from the advance copies I sent out. I know I mentioned it before previously, but I've been encountering interesting pieces of wisdom from my characters since I started. I would share with you a quote or two but the book is at home, and sadly I don't have access to it. Suffice to say, I'm coming to sections of dialogue that are oddly wistful. It's really fascinating when you are reading the advice from a sage in your story and suddenly realize that those words came from you.

Very soon I will have samples of the cover art for my book. My illustrator, Phil has completed 8 proposal sketches. One was selected and now we are moving to the initial design phase. I'm super excited to share it with you guys so keep your eyes peeled for that.

I don't usually say this but also, if you haven't seen it yet, check out the Bioshock: Infinite DLC! It's incredible!


See ya,


SW

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Laufey's Treasure - Chapter 14

"'I want you to get up this instance,' she said, placing her hands on her hips. 'There's work to be done.'"

"Minophus frowned, shaking his head spitefully."

"'Work? You still dream... Lovely. I kindly restate my original sentiment: sod off! That was a long time ago.'"

The woman was taken aback. 'Minophus,' she thought. 'You were such a gentleman once.'" A foul smell suddenly wafted to her nose, causing her to cringe.

"'Oh, you've been drinking,'" she exclaimed waving the smell away.

"'Aye,' Minophus replied, 'I do that now, drink that is. You ought to try it sometime. Really takes the edge off.'"

"'But our oath,' she entreated. 'have you forgotten our purpose, our fate?'"

"'Fate? For god's sake, get a hold of yourself...'"

"'Us meeting here, that is fate.'"

The man begrudgingly conceded that it was indeed somewhat odd that he would see his sister once more, after having walked the midday realm of man for something equaling a rough five hundred thousand years. And were his sister to have guessed at the remaining alcohol in his flask, her tenacity would have broken his stubbornness. Fortunately for him. He was rather apathetic about the whole thing still. Bitterness was a far better friend than conviction.

"'Fate, coincidence, same thing. Gods, do you know how long its been since I've seen you? I couldn't even recognize you. In fact, my mind is so wearied I don't imagine that I ever would have recalled why I was here in the first place. So, if you would be so kind, I need to drink, forever, alone.'"

"'No,' she said firmly, laying her hand on him. 'I'm not losing you again, not to this. Get up or I will make you get up.'"

"The man smiled a little then. He would like to see her try..."

"And try she did."

"She grabbed the man by the hand and threw him high into the sky. That was his theory he imagined. It explained why he was in upper orbit. Feeling his lungs begin to burst, she was there again right in front of him, floating like an angel. With a swift blow, he found himself rocketing to the ground once more. All over him, his clothing burned and singed, until it disappeared altogether."

"And then he was back, on the ground, and all around him the forest was on fire."

"'See,' he began to say, 'Look at the mess we have made. That was your fault.'"

"She smiled and looked around her. She was floating over a crater that encompassed most of the forest. all around, trees ages old, were disintegrating and vanishing from the world. Hundreds of animals lay dying, hidden away or out in the open. It was an ugly sight. Nevertheless she pointed at him scathingly."

"'Then do something about it,' she said in a cold voice.

"The man, torn in his soul, looked around. He saw what she did, and it broke his heart. She made him do this. He had gone so many years since his last summoning. He nearly forgot, even. Opening his hands, he stretched his powers over the earth, and everything was renewed. The trees were no longer on fire, the animals restored to health, and what once was the crater was replaced with a field, then a road, as if nothing had happened."

"'So this is the part where I believe in myself, eh?' He said sarcastically. 'Shown me the error of my ways have you.'"

"The woman glowered over him. 'He had his due,' she thought to herself. 'Why must I keep reminding him?'

"'Come here.' she said to him, picking him up again. 'I just want us to be friends again. I want to find Cerebus, solve this mess, go home... Why can't you come with me?'"

"Minophus gritted his teeth, looking away feeling shamed. Patting down his silken garments, fully threaded once more he stepped forward into the road and put his fingers in his mouth. He blew but no sound came."

"'So you two have been up to no good, haven't you?' She said, hardly surprised. 'That explains why it took me so long to find you.'"

"'Perceptive,' Cerebus said, emerging from the trees. He was in his hidden form, merely a small dog at first glance but underneath his coat a rumbling power surged.

"'And you had something to do with all this?' The woman said with a frown."

"'Aye. I think it's time we've had a talk.'"


(To be continued...)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Character Development: Defining Attitudes

So we've been talking about character descriptions these past few weeks. The first lesson was on silhouettes, building a character with key distinguishing characteristics that make them unique and iconic. The second lesson (which was broken up into two parts) focused on the initial description of the character, specifically concerning what they look like and how their behavior factors into their appearance.

Today is different. Developing a character goes only so far if the visual aspect is the focus. I just saw Thor 2: The Dark World for instance the other day and there was a character just like that. It was a bruiser that was just a bruiser and that was it. Sure he looked cool, but was completely interchangeable with any other character.

Attitudes, that is where I'm going with this. The demeanor of a character is important to focus on, and the best way to develop a good demeanor for a character is to imagine two people talking to one another. Which one talks? Which one listens? Which one gesticulates? And so on... That's just the basics though. Which one has a strong sense of justice? Which one is empathetic? Which one is conservative? Which one is the libertine? Once you've decided that, how does one feel about the other?  Imagine an interplay between your characters and slowly their personalities will begin to gestate.

Another thing to consider is the level of detail that is possible in a personality. It's easy to fabricate a team dynamic between two people, bit what about six? Pick your battles, because at a certain point you just can't create bold and realistic character when a handful of others have to share the page.

From here I usually make sure the attitude of the character matches the personality. You can certainly be creative and play with convention a bit. Can a fat character be giddy and enthusiastic? Certainly! But to what degree? How giddy? How will you retain their visual appearance without conflicting with a incongruent personality? Think about that for a moment.

Lastly with attitudes, I caution you all to take special care for your character development at this stage. The worst thing you can do is lean on character stereotypes or shell characters (the jolly Scotsman or a brooding Frenchman). It makes your book one dimensional and certainly less creative.

And have fun with this too! Let me know what you come up with in your brainstorming. I'd be curious to see what you can all create!



SW

Friday, November 8, 2013

Testify!

I've been around the Christian subculture for a while now. I think the dynamics within the group are fascinating, though elusive. Still, I don't rightly know what to think of it now. Occasionally, I wonder at things. It allows my conscience to rest easy, knowing I've probed the depths of my faith. Talking about faith and religion is something most of us steer away from. Let's call this a reflection then. It's better that way.

Have you ever heard of a "testimony?" (Don't answer that.) It's something we do as christians to share how we came to believing in God. There comes a certain point, a sudden illumination, an epiphany, and we are there, accepting the death of Jesus as our sole saving grace.

Theres a whole culture that's emerged from the testimony. They bring in a kid who was slinging meth when he was four, or a woman that had sex with everything that moved, each reflecting the extremities of human depravity. Personally I hate it when people ask me for my "testimony." The next words out of my mouth are, "which version?" Is it the one where I was molested by my cousin's gay friend? Is it the one where I skip over the whole of High School to save myself from revisiting the awful depression and anxiety attacks I had to endure because everyone was leaving the faith at the time? Or is it the one where I smile and go, "Well, I knew some friends at school and they were christian, so I jumped on board because I was lonely..."

Ideally we should all have "boring" testimonies. Where are those guys? Why does it always have to be weird?

Why doesn't anyone spend that time focusing on people who still are christian, despite it all? Christianity, to me at least, has become an expression of endurance not, an exercise in decision making. My friend's son is in seventh grade and is thinking about getting baptized. You know what I told him? It wasn't my "testimony!" I wasn't trying to present the Gospel as the next logical decision in a sequence of life events. I told him exactly what I wished someone had told me all those years ago,

"Being a christian will be the hardest (though rewarding) thing you will ever do, including getting married, having kids, dying..."

That's what we miss, the details.

It's not adding a notch to one's belt in celebration of a catechism. It's introducing someone to a life of awkwardness and derision. It's all worth it, don't get me wrong, but it's a battle to the finish.



SW



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Laufey's Treasure - Chapter 13

The following is my new short story series entitled "Laufey's Treasure." It is an action adventure series featuring minor characters from my upcoming novel in their own lighthearted journey. I hope you enjoy it, and be sure to catch my previous short story featured in the same universe called "The Adventures of Reynard Olfsson." 



"You don't know them. They are those that slither away into the night after all have gone to bed. 

"A dog, a man, and a woman. 

"They go by different names, different than what you might expect. They have watched since man could remember. Their names are lost to them now. Only the dog remembers the first master they swore to. For the others, it is a dim memory shrouded in mystery. 

"Before it all began each of them had a sword. These were swords unlike any other. They were avenging blades, given to them by the powers of heaven to break the will of those that would practice evil. This particular evil they did not know, for it had hid well from their sight. Watchful they stood upon the perch of their fortress, gazing contemplatively out into the world. But one day they met an evil that they could not defeat. This evil broke their spirit and will. Their immortal, beautiful forms were cast then into shallow bodies, let alone to stray into the wilderness, with only the promise of fate to reunite them once more. 

For eons, they waited. 

One day, not too long ago, in a land that many no longer rightly remember, it is said that the woman was wandering, pondering where it had all gone wrong. Her mind mulled over the final blow, the disbarring from her home, and her wretched fate when she struck a man, tripping over him.

"'Gods! What was that for?'

"I'm so sorry, oh dear. Are you alright?' She said hastily. 

"Leaning down she picked him up, careful not to reveal her strength, and dusted him off with the back of her sleeve. 

"'What on earth were you doing down there?' She asked, hoping the poor man was not hurt or dying. 

"'I was thinking,' the old man replied, slightly irritated. 'Can a man think without some mad woman interrupting him?'

"The woman raised her hand to chide the man but thought it best not to. He was awfully cross, and he probably didn't mean it. Sometimes people, when they are mad, release their anger onto another out of spite. This is what she had learned at least in her time walking in the world of Man. 

"'I'm sorry to have injured you, sir.' She replied kindly. 'Wherefore do you go, and I will see you there?' 

"'Bah!' Replied the man. 'I have no need of any help, thank you. Besides, I hail from a faraway land that you, nor the gods did they so please, cannot return me to. I am old. Let me die in peace.'

"The woman felt terrible about the way the man felt. He looked so alone, and yet, so familiar.

"'Where do you hail,' she asked, 'that I may give word to your brothers should I find myself there someday?'

"The old man laughed. His body rumbled, quaked, and quivered, so much so that she had thought that he could be ill. 

"'That is not for you to know, girl,' he said shaking his head. 'For goodness sake go bother someone else. Off you go!' 

"'The woman felt rather offended by his words then, folding her arms with a scowl. But the remark was typical of a man she once knew. It took her a while to recognize him. And when she did, she knew him well indeed.

"'Minophus,' she said, 'what fool do you take me for that I  would not recognize my own brother?'

"Minophus paused a moment, lifting his hand, then putting it down, then lowering his head in shame.

"'What do you want?' He said."

(To be continued)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Character Foundations: Descriptions (Continued)

I never got around to adding those descriptions last week of either category. That was my bad, but I figured actually showing you a few in depth examples would by far make up for the exclusion.

So we had two styles of description. Show Me was a style that followed the traditional methodology of describing characters, but with the added spin of creating personalities out of the descriptive process. The Tell Me style was conducive to eliminating character description altogether, but this was to give freedom to the reader to build their own conception of the character. The trick here is forcing the reader to come to your conclusions though! I mean this in sort of a lighthearted sense. You don't them to think that a fat person is thin, or a greedy person is generous.

So here are a couple exampled of Show Me descriptions. Your goal is to picture what the character looks like and from that description isolate what their personality might be like.


Examples:
"How many day Jack Whims is gonna' steal from me I don't rightly know, but that lazy pompous bastard can't wash his own jacket to save his life. His loathsome smell and mottled face, reek of Irish Whiskey and shiftless dreams. I saw him the other day, takin' great care to lift his shoes up, out of the mud, on Birtchdunne Court. 'Told me that they were new, and I couldn't believe my eyes. That child's limp, soft arms couldn't lift a shovel, let alone the bag of pennies he had to spend on those loafers. He still has brown hair mind you. Never worked a day in his life at the coal winds in Wrenhaven. I ne'er trusted a youth that couldn't work."
"White gown, six stars, a crescent bow. There she walked with poise like no other heiress. Pristine shoes as white as forge iron, sparkling like emeralds and walking on clouds, she had me. I had never seen an empress before. How I thought I was dead. Six of her attendants took post at her trail, wide as a man and long as a sloop. They kept us back, pinned to the alley. Each one was her barrier between the filth of the city and her crystalline aura. When she came to me I saw her face. O' how pure it was, like cool milk and soft as goose down. She said no word to me, nor my companion, but strayed her gaze a moment. Her cerulean eyes, like the clearest lake of my childhood were the most treasured sight I ever beheld."   
   
Do you get the idea?

Now here are a couple of Tell Me descriptions. Try to visualize what I am trying to convey here.

Examples:
"Sixteen hours. Three matches, one cigarette refuses flame in the cold, drafty loft of my New England apartment. My answering machine has no calls. Work is always slow this time of year. Crime goes into a lull, a bad one. No work for a freelance detective anyhow. My hands shake, turning the nob of my television up. Electric snow fills my apartment. I feel tired suddenly. I want to sit, but there is nothing to sit on. I'm empty. Scratchy voices fill my dreams, tell me what could've been, and I listen, only for a moment. I like what I hear, then remember it's a dream. Four of my friends from the force show me a good time once a week. I haven't heard from them in a while since the falling out. They don't want a geezer like me around no more. I'm just a rusty gun."
"Gary sells things. He calls them that to help him sleep. I knew him for only a short while. He knew his way around a product. Where he gets them I don't know. Every product has a past, some more bloody than others. He is pristine, precise. His figures are always in line. I remember the way he talked, the way he smiled. Every syllable finds it's way. There is nothing he says that comes across other than how he meant it. His products know why Gary is who he is. They know that he will never let them go, never make a mistake, never drop the ball. Sometimes I regret what I did, but Gary made it so easy. He made the perfect transaction, the perfect experience possible. It was all because he was Gary, pure, distilled Gary."
   I want you guys to looks at both sections of each style, and figure out what these characters look like. Who are they? What kind of people do they remind us of? Next week we'll move on, but for now meditate on these descriptions. As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment.



SW
 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Oops, A Dog Happened

Yeah, I forgot yesterday's post. Big whoop! Wanna fight about it?

I had a feeling this day would come. What do I do? What can I do?

This past week has been pretty hectic. Why? Good question. I don't rightly know. What I do know is that I might be getting a dog, which presents it's own line of complications.

I've always been around dogs growing up. Even though I was the cat person, and the dog was something cool that my friends had, I knew that there would be a day when I could get a dog for myself. I longed to go to a park and throw a Frisbee, or go on jogs along some kind of tributary in the North East sequestered in an urban jungle of homeless people and minorities. Alas, my mom knew we couldn't handle the responsibility.

What about now though?

It's funny trying to go out and find a pet. Often the process to me is very arbitrary and the ultimate pick often ends up being what you least expected. Even what you were expecting doesn't work out! I walk into these shelters, faced with a myriad of furry inmates praying for death, and I am their savior, their redeemer from the cruel hands of fate. Even after getting the pet, all the other things come into play. What kind of food do you get? What kind of toys do you get? Flea medication? Jesus Christ! I just wanted a dog...

The first thing that popped into my head wasn't any of these questions. What happens if it dies? Do I bury the dog? What are the protocols that come out of a furry death? I don't rightly know, but it was a question that needed answering, dammit.

Maybe now you realize why I didn't make a post this week on Friday. I forgot, but that's besides the point!

I also got a proof reading gig! Maybe I mentioned that... I should probably get back to work.

See you guys Monday!



SW