Source: Update: Mutiny now available on more platforms

It has been a long while since I wrote on this blog. So I am back at it and am also going to finish of my second novel’s first draft.

A friend of mine asked me to write a short story for her birthday, so naturally I started thinking immediately.

“What kind of short story?”

“Absurd.”

I have written an absurd tale in the past, but knowing that she had also enjoyed some absurd stories I did not think I would be able, but out of the blue an idea popped into my head. This time I had no clue where it came from. I took something my friend loved, turned into an antagonist, and figured out a moral of the story.

Then for the first time in a long while I decided to write in the first person point of view. Usually it is something I avoid in favour of the third person limited point of view, however this would turn out to be good practice for me. When I showed her a sample, she thought it was already a short story. That is, dear reader, because most non writers do not use the word short story like writers do. For them it can be five hundred words and perhaps that is true when short is used adjectivally, but I meant the real deal. I would write her ten thousand words about a man who finds himself stranded and who has to make questionable decisions when a “good” Samaritan shows up.

I am almost at a thousand words now and this is starting to entertain me a lot.

Have you ever written a gift for a friend?

The Spine

Posted: October 22, 2015 in Pointers
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Today I will discuss backstory and why it is very important to a story. Very important. Both backstory and lore are the best ways to display honesty in fiction.

Honesty is camouflage that makes the author disappear. It is what makes stories believable and there is no way to make a protagonist more believable than adding a backstory. You must always have a backstory. Always. It is, however up to you to write the backstory or not, for honesty in fiction affects both reader and writer… even when it is not included.

It is easier to tell a lie believing it than to tell the lie and know it for what it is. By adding a backstory it will be easier for both author and reader to connect to a character even though it might not be included in the novel. Adding it may affect pacing, but go on ahead if you feel it is important to the story.

You can add a backstory in implicit and explicit ways. Keep in mind that there is power in subtlety. Backstories have a way of making characters seem more real, because every human being has a backstory. It may not be grand, but we do have backstories. Another thing backstories accomplish is that it establishes motive. When a character acts, the reader will gasp at certain stages and say that it fits in with who the character is.

In other instances it may be better to hide a backstory. The Joker may be the best example of this as this leaves people with questioning his motives. This establishes his anarchism. He lies about his past, because his main motive is not his past. Most stories have their heroes grounded in past experiences. Some may be related to childhood.

This spine is to a character as lore is to a world. Next time I’ll discuss lore.

What are your thoughts on backstory? When would you include it? Is it important to you? Let me know.

I believe in multiple arcs in stories. When doing a story with round characters, one arc is the minimum for a character. This title may be a reference to math, but believe me stories are anything, but mathematical. It was just a cute way of asking whether you wanted to build all arcs from the bottom.

Sin 0=0. You know the curve (it does not apply to most stories) but stories change and only authors know where arcs end. They surely do not end at the same place… mostly. However if a story has multiple arcs, this title becomes very important. For example one arc is a previously ruined romantic relationship and the main arc has the protagonist stepping up as a hero. Now, you may  well want to show the relationship for starting at ground zero, however you have limited time and space your story may not be about that relationship. Here you will be dealing with backstory.

It all depends on the author. If stories’ character and relationship arcs were to be put on a single graph you would have some weird form of modern art. It would look just like a jungle of ups and downs. However if two of these points are dealt with in a story and their difference is great…well we have a new ball game. Say arc A and arc B are both developing, but arc B is rising and arc A s dropping. Here you have some serious internal and external conflict going on. Dramatic kaboom!

When those lines meet. Man get ready for some hard hitting stuff. To most people reading this, what I am saying may not make sense, but that is since I am vague and I am only trying to ramble my journey. Stories can not be put into boxes. That is a lie we tell ourselves to keep us safe. Many authors have a formula and one arc and it works for them. All these terminology are just made up as well.

Maybe I am imagining another dimension, but hey… this is fiction.

Keep on writing, dreaming and plotting. Next up I will discuss the spine of a story. Do not worry…. it won’t be vague like this.

The Fable Ace

Posted: October 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Let’s face it. We remember childhood fables all too well. You may think that it is simple at first, because it is, but it is also a strong tool writers’ can use now and then. The other day I replayed a videogame that used a fable to characterize its protagonist. Now, I don’t mean to spoil any story you may or may never know, but it was powerful. Let me just say that the whole story’s emotions could have been summed up by all the jackdaw’s fables.

The jackdaw fables all depict negative qualities in man: vanity, pride and overconfidence. The bird also loves shiny things which ties in well with the character. Using fables in other stories may seem like a cop out. I mean there surely are more subtler (subtlety is key) ways to show your characters, but here the symbol needs to be revealed slowly. How so? Many people are not aware of the fable of the jackdaw and the eagle and it is never mentioned until the end. The protagonist liked the bird and called his ship, the Jackdaw. So this is a matter of knowledge. People who know the fable would easily see the foreshadowing, but the beauty of this symbol is that it has different meanings and does not have to be applied directly.

Let me put it like this. In the end you may call the protagonist a jackdaw, but you may only be right to a certain extent. Those thoughts of why will linger with you. This is because we easily attach meaning to symbols. What impressed me most was the fact that there are subtle hints at the fables and that this story reminds you of the fables while being a complete story on its own.

Using imagery, both known and personal is a clever way to characterize, period. We use animals in our everyday language. You know the similes.

What are your thoughts on fables and use of imagery? Share if you will.

The Kiln

Posted: October 14, 2015 in Poetry

The alarms had cried wolf
in the past of the city of art.
War waged on the outskirts,
but inside the warm cheers
were for circus men.

Merry songs were drowned out by the sirens.
The sirens sang a horror line,
but joy burned fear.
Then the dark heat came.
With blasts so stark to peaceful town-
jitters and titters changed into screaming.

Doves- phoenixes, shattered glass, crying,
wailing, sulfur cast ruled the air
and broken ground.
People were trapped in the tar cauldron.
Merciless British heaped hellfire on civilians.
Evil Nazis screamed in fear.
Children, orphans. Mothers, childless.
Dead families. Broken ones gathered on the dump, but
the second wave would melt them too.

Royals, chin up.
It is Winston Churchill’s porcelain cup.

Tears

Posted: September 10, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Have you ever wondered why people cry when they are happy? So have I. Some people do not get the idea of crying at all, but certainly it would not be necessary if there is nothing to cry about.

Well, too much, is enough said. Too. That word right there is the key to all imbalance. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Fortunately your body is equipped with state of the art homeostasis which also makes you look like a pansy or a misty eyed warrior when you are too happy. Shocker. How can a person be too happy? That’s probably the only thing that we can not get enough of, but apparently we can.

I am convinced that this is the reason that people embrace sad films or novels. Either they do not want the homeostasis or they suppress it. They then proceed to need a way to combat the happiness. That is also the reason some artists believe they have to be sad to make art. It is not that they need to be sad, but rather that they don’t want the high too high.

I first started my quest of uncovering the mystery of crying when happy, after I had watched soldiers’ homecomings. Many times kids and wives cried. There was this one soldier who’s seven year old daughter got out of class early. Her mother got her out of a math test. She was already on a high. Then around the corner waited a hero.(unbeknownst to her) When she saw him, they embraced. She started to sob. She repeated three times that she had missed her dad.The logical man that he is, he asked a clever question, “Why are you crying?”

“‘Cause I’m happy.”

Why was I even wanting to see this? I don’t know. I wanted to see the bonds that other people had.I then wanted to crush it.  I wanted to write some sad ending.

This brings me to writing. Wow, that took a long time. Writers love to write either happy endings, sad endings or a good old mixture of both. Now you have a good idea why. People love change. Boredom is static. Sometimes happy readers want you to do what their bodies should be able to do. You need to make them sad. Some authors do it too well. Then the work sinks in, leaving a reader in a state of melancholy. This works particularly well with great characters. On other occations you will lift their spirits and if you are real nasty you will drop it again. Maybe I have said it before, but here it goes again. Happiness is speed. We experience it detached. We feel the smile just as we see speed by looking at the road. We just do not feel it in our bodies. Change in emotion is acceleration. That can be felt. That is your rollercoaster. So go make people laugh with sadness and cry with hapiness. That is what we are paid to do.

(I am crying now, because I am not being paid yet, but I’ll laugh soon. You know, because there is one too that is okay. Balance.)

Rusty Steed

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Rusty steed

He had everything his heart had desired,
but now there was a void.
Here he had gathered his wealth.
It was as though he had been foiled,
because of the wicked he was tired.

His body was winding down, but he had good health.
Though, inwardly he felt weak.
His car glimmered in the sun,
but nothing could satisfy or bring a new peak.
He was a prince of greed with skills of stealth.

By the sweat of his neck, his white collar, brown.
Life was fun.
The car was fast.
He could get away and just run.
After much thought there appeared a frown.

He thought hard, because of his past.
Life was fast.
Cars are dead.
Nothing under the sun can last.

Fun era l

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Fun era l

The child doesn’t seem to grasp
that no one can outlast
the curse of death
from the past.

The stone is not a plaything
Daddy is not coming back.
Laugh, while you are young.
Enjoy the fun.

The grass above the bones
look pretty today.
Go ahead and play,
while the men march all the way.

The trumpets calls for the homeland.
Yet, the patriot is home.
Look at the brass band.
Now you will grow up alone.

Hang around and hop from rock
to rock.
Ignore the dark ties that bind.
Be a happy child.

This era will fade like bone.
The world will fit.
The hero is home…
we are in transit.

I don’t quite know what made me do it, I wrote a short story while my second novel was going so well, but I think I just had this idea that had to be addressed. Months before I published my short story, I wrote a poem entitled The Racer. I had this picture in my mind of an old man remembering the glory of his youth.

Glory of youth… that lead to the idea of writing a young adult parody. So I hit the keyboard and churned out the thing in less than a week. I love to mock young adult fiction, but now I have done it in style. It is not that  I believe that writing YA is wrong, it is that I believe that most authors are going about it in the wrong way. Maybe I am just a grumpy old eighteen year old.

“Get of my lawn!”

The End takes place in a clinic at first, but after the administration of a new drug the old man is healing from his dementia. So much so that he is sent to a place where there is Trials. Here he must cope with a bunch of older “lab rats” to survive. He meets a guy who tells him how everything works. He meets a smart guy. He meets a bully guy. He meets a mysterious character. I am not only writing clichés, but I am having fun pointing them out. The story remains unique and funny. If you are interested you can buy it here.

Have you written a parody lately? WThe Endhat inspired you?