I read once that all characters that are written, have some small aspect of the writer in them.
Whether that may be the case or not, my characters certainly has some aspect of, or at least my idea of myself, in them. But I have also found that as the story progress, those personalities change, they grow, and so they grow away from my idea of myself.
Hemingway once said that; “when writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”
I don’t know, I’d like to believe that the people that I create grows on their own, as I create a scenario or a world for them to live in, they make their own choices based on the options that I give them. It is not I who choose who they become in the end, but I choose how their story begin.
“What is man? but a miserable pile of secrets?”
Truer words could not have come from anyone but Dracula himself.
Secrets is what binds us together,
And sometimes drives us apart.
We all have them,
And sometimes, we let them out because they burn through our being,
Rather than binds it.
Nobody knows this better than Dracula as desire is what drives him.
Whether it is for power or for lust,
It is the very being of a vampire.
This is equally true for man, for the same desires drives him into secrecy.
That which makes us miserable.
I just want to say thank you so much for the followers that I have, and to everyone that have either liked or simply viewed one of my post. They all count, and provide some validity to what I do.
The original purpose of this blog was to showcase the progress that I have made with my book, but as it turns out, it is not easy to post something that you feel you can do better, especially on something that you really care about and have spend a lot of time making.
And despite my reservations, I want to post the prologue of my story so that you may get an idea of what the book will be about. I appreciate any comments that you may have, whether it is about the story, or just my general writing style.
The wind chills through her cotton cloths as she traverse the road on the hill. The stone plates that was laid out hundreds of years ago has crumbled and parts of the road has disappeared. As the path becomes more narrow, parts of the plate breaks under her weight and her body leans over the edge. She reaches desperately for something to hold when a man grabs her by the wrist and pulls her back into the fold. Terrified, and breathing intensely, she looks at her saviour. She smiles, thankful for his intervention, but her smile soon disappears when she sees the emptiness of his eyes, eyes of a man that has travled too far and seen too much. Feelings that she is all too familiar with.
As they continue to ascend, loud noise start to erupt that echoes through the hill. She breaks from the crowed and looks nervously to the front of the caravan a few hundred meters above. A crack of smile forms along her face as she sees people weaving. They have reach the top safely. It will take many hours before she will arrive, and many days before the rest is, she thinks as she watches the snake like line created by hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Ominously, the horizon is covered in a strong orange light, with a thick blackness from the smoke the fire creates. The destruction is unimaginable and it’s getting closer. Images of her town, her whole world burning away floods her mind as a tear falls from her eye.
Even in the cold northern climate she can still feel a faint warmth in the air from the westward wind. Her lips tremble. Realising that she is torturing herself she swallows her emotions deep inside and looks away; letting them out now would break her and this is neither the time nor the place to show weakness, she thinks as her people watch her when they pass by.
The tall grass touches her bare ankles and she cannot resist to stroke the soft green weed as this will be the last patch of green that they, and anyone else will ever see again. She shivers at the though of what would have become of them, hadn’t her brother stepped up as he did.
At the top of the hill the leaders of the different clans gather, discussing the next course of action. Only a decade ago she would not have imagined her people united as they are now. But disaster has a way of putting things into perspective and erode old grievances.
At the cliff below she watches as shattered families prepare their meals and rest for the journey ahead. She raises an eyebrow seeing a blue eyed woman together with a man of red eyed descent, a union that was blasphemous not that long ago. Even though the old society is all but broken, she doesn’t fail to notice such contradiction.
To her left she hears a small child asking his father. “How much longer will we be walking?”
“As long as we need to son.”
“But where are we going?”
The father pauses for a few seconds and then says. “Do you remember back home when we were going to grandmother’s, but we were delayed because of the wind?”
“…and then the ship had mechanical problems and we had to land in a different city but the day turned out well anyway?”
The child nods.
“Well this is kind of like that, something unexpected happened and now we have to make the best of things.”
Another man grunts a few meters away from the family and says. “Except there is no turning back.” Taken by the intensity of the man’s yellow eyes, she cannot but stare as it reminds her of the fiery destruction happening in the background. Realising that she finds beauty in something so awful she looks away.
She sighs heavily and looks towards her brother who is sitting alone at the top of the hill. Even the clan leaders avoids him. The feats he accomplished seemed god like, and fear rests in things people don’t understand. Shameful to admit it, she can feel it as well.
They say it is a gift only one in a million of their people are granted, though her brother sees it as anything but a gift. The clan leaders looks at her and nods in her brother’s direction. She swallows her fears and walks towards him, knowing that he alone holds the burden of their entire existence. Such responsibility would drive lesser men into madness. He glances at her as she approaches. “You don’t have to come up here,” he says, clenching his hands around his knees, as if in pain.
She doesn’t say anything and kneels down next to him, putting her hand on his shoulder. He grunts loudly as she touches him and his eyes starts to glow red, almost burning. She takes a tight grip around his body, holding his arms together with all her might. She knows his pain is internal because she feels the same way, but somehow his anger, sadness and anxiety is manifested. His body is tense but he doesn’t try to break free. Slowly he relaxes. As she feels tears fall on her head she releases her embrace and looks at him as the glow slowly fades. She’d like to believe that what she does helps, but she also knows that her brother is strong.
She puts her hands on his face and presses her forehead against his. “We will get through this, brother. Together we will survive, and create a new future for our people.” He nods and stares into the distance with newly found determination. On the far side of the hill a purple glow illuminates the horizon, a presage for the toxic world that awaits them. She whispers to herself. “…Avos help us.”
Another short story written from the depths of my subconscious. Enjoy!
Light flashed between the tall buildings from the morning sun, blinding him until he knelt down by the cover of a car; his bones began to ache immediately and he grunted uncomfortably.
“Searge!” a man shouted from a distance. He ignore the man and just stared at what was lying down in front of him. As a crime investigator he sees these kind sights on a daily basis, yet, this particular one made his heart skipp a beat, and he didn’t know why.
Feeling dizzy from standing up he leans on the grill of the car next to him. The young man that was shouting at him from before stood respectfully, yet impatiently at a few meter away. A part of him found enjoyment in keeping rookies like him on their toes, especially good looking ones such as him.
Beautiful people always has it easier, yet it doesn’t prevent them from dying, he thinks as he glances at a body to his left. Being the bad guy also provide the rookies with a common enemy, helps them to cooperate. A role that he is happy to provide.
“What is it James?” He finally said.
James hurried across the evidence site and skipped between the dead bodies and weapons laying around. Despite the morbid scene he cracked a smile. As James arrived in front of him he said. “From Isabelle sir, she says it’s urgent,” while handing him a note.
He opened it nonchalantly while looking at James disturbed face. “This is quite the scene, isn’t it? your first crime scene if I remember correctly?”
James’s eyes flickered between him and the note before he finally noded in response. He raised an eyebrow and as he readed the note the cigarette in his mouth dropped to the ground. However, James is quick to grab it, as if he was prepared to. With an open Jaw he stared at the note. The dizziness returned but he forced himself not to lean against anything, instead he kicked a body on the ground and wobbled out into an alley on the opposite side. He breathe heavily while leaning against a brick wall.
After some respite an evil smile soon formed along his face. While crumpling the note he said. “Things just got interesting.”
This is a poem that I randomly wrote, the goal was to make it rhyme and I think I accomplished that. It is a bit of a personal story about a time when I lived in Cambodia and this Cambodian girl showed an interest in me but I didn’t feel the same way. I wasn’t as blunt as in the poem but I think you will get the idea.
In a different world she took me in
her home, her sanctuary she let me in
But her past loomed dark behind her smile
In a new world she wanted to begin
She saw me as a ticket out
Yet I was blinded to her plight
Her heart which was extended to me, I rejected with a loud plea
Her kindness, rooted in fear
I denied her with a heart full of cheer
Down that path I didn’t want to go
To the path of family and stuck at home
Yet another short story has been spawned from the depths of my subconscious. I hope that you will enjoy.
From the cauldron the beast kept rising, like a dragon spawning from the underworld. With all his strength he held tightly around its neck, trying to prevent its continued rise. As the gap of the cauldron began to expand, releasing even more of the beasts giant body, he realised the futility in his struggle and released the creature from his grip. With a dash he ran into what started as a void, but then arose into a land that he did not recognise.
There were great forests and mountains, castles and lakes. As he stared into the unknown, the beast’s long neck crawled under his legs and its face rose in front of him. The beast opened its large jaws and presented the teeth inside. In a quick and terrified motion he tried to push the beast away. But with the simple push, he lost his gripping and instead fell into the ever expanding gap of the cauldron.
His voice echoed in the darkness as he fell, forever it seemed. With a loud thump he landed on his back and, to his surprise, a blanked wrapped around his body, and a bed next to him. Despite this realisation, fear still dwelled in his heart and it refused to settle down. Through the window the moon illuminated parts of the room. He stared at the light source, the only one available, until his breathing finally slowed; he drew a sigh of relief.
He returns to his bed, however still skeptical that he is safe, he glances at the darkness in the corner of his room, that the moon fail to illuminate. But as exhaustion overcame him he is send back, into the land which he was expelled from, to the land of dreams.
Okay so writing regular posts wasn’t as easy as I expected, at least for the original purpose that I had for the blog. So I figured, why don’t I write short stories instead? you know, try to entertain! Because lets face it, nobody cares about my process and thoughts about writing when you haven’t published anything yet.
This will be a mini NanoWrimo where I start with a blank page and write whatever comes to mind. The only rule is that I am not allowed to write more than 500 words. So here it goes;
People used to always say that I was funny looking, something about my nose and the distance between my eyes. But as time went by, these comments became less and less common until they completely disappeared. I don’t know what happened in the time in between but it was great!
People began paying attention to what I said, taking me seriously. Even girls that I fancied didn’t, at the very least, ignore me, and would sometimes even respond and give me a friendly hello back. People say that it is what’s on the inside that counts. That may be true and all, but what good is a fine story if nobody reads it? That the outside counts just as much as the inside, is what I recon.
The question is, am I a good story or just a fancy book cover? I’ve done a few, downright despicable things in my life, and heavens forbid if they are ever found out. But it is not like I have killed anyone or anything, or stolen something for that matter. But… you now, we all make mistakes, don’t we?
While writing a very early draft of the book I realised that I have used the most heinous fantasy trope of all! The antagonist is evil for the sake of being evil… When writing a story you use inspirations from things that you have already read or watched, intentionally or not. That is why I believe when you write a story you really need to understand what you write. Where did this idea come from? Where have you heard this before? It is not wrong by any means because artists steal from each others ideas all the time. But to be successful there must be some measure of creativity to survive as a writer. The easiest way to do this is by identifying the common tropes and try to avoid them.
I decided to keep the antagonist but I wanted to make him more deep. The question that I want the readers to ask, when they are introduced to the villain is, is his actions really evil? Actually, the villain will be introduced very late in the book. The protagonist will have no idea of the identity, or if there is one main villain at all until very late in the story. The only thing the main character knows is that his quest is important. But it is never completely obvious why, or whats at stake. I think this opens up some interesting ways to make the main character doubt his own worth or doubt the journey as a whole.
For all intents and purposes, I wish that I started this blog sooner. At the time of posting, I will have written 45 000 words already. My original intent was that to take you, the reader, along during the creative process of the book. However, just because I have written a certain amount of words, does not mean that I am anywhere near finished with the project. There are still around 20 000 more words that need to be written, and editing will most certainly take as much time as writing the first draft. Anyway, I am going to post these diary entries of the struggles that I had early on, in the order that I remember them. I hope that you will find these helpful when you decide to start a project of your own.
I love fantasy! but I don´t love everything about it. Even though Tolkien´s work, by todays standards, can feel generic, his work is still timeless because even though the books take place in a fantastical world. It was still rooted in reality. For instance, Mordor and Sauron was not generically evil like in the movie, they did not aim to destroy the world but rather conquer it. Orcs need food and other resources as well after all. Simply put, there is one power that desired to expand its territory. Another thing that I respect about the LoTRs books is that magic was always subtle, they was never put at the forefront of the tale. I would like to say that it was also never used in a cheap way to get out of trouble, but we all know about the giant plot hole with the eagles by now. But I am sure there was a reason that they could not use them from the start haha.
Anyway, that is the goal of my book, to be subtle, to be grounded, but still have a fantastical feel, and at the same time be original and not use dragons, orcs and elves. Because, lets face it, they have been done to death! When you think about mythology used in the fantasy genre, real life myths is used as inspiration. Goblins, orcs and elves all stem from Nordic mythology. But, has there been any new invented mythos that are not heavily inspired by real religions and myths? Probably not. Modern myths are instead created by the sci fi genre, which is fitting for our time really. Space is the new mysterious place that we know very little about.
When people created myths in the past, it was mostly to make sense of the unknown. What was lurking in the thick forest? who lived on top of the tall mountains and deep caverns? It is fascinating to to think about. I don´t aspire to reinvent the fantasy genre, but I still aim to, at the very least, be original.
Dear reader. As most of us have a creative spark inside, they at one point in their lives tries to nurture that creativity. Being creative is no more apparent than when we are children. For me, I loved drawing. My favourite things to draw was dinosaurs at an early age. I remember me and my sister, who is two years younger than me, drew on a large piece of rolled up paper that started in the living room and ended in the bathroom at the other end of the house. The drawings were just dinosaurs. I believe my parents still has it tucked away somewhere.
However, as you get older, unless you are one of the lucky few that keeps the spark alive, creativity dies off. I stopped drawing, and I stopped writing in my early teens. What I still had, however, was ideas, hundreds of them! But I had no idea how to express them. It was not until college that I started writing them down. Storing them for future use. The ideas were mostly expressed in political ideas, as that was the direction I took in my studies. However during my master thesis I was allowed to be creative again, for the first time in 10 years I felt that creative spark re-emerge. It was an amazing feeling really. To be given a task and at the same time be allowed creative freedom.
Even though I have spent 5 years of my life studying politics and economics, I decided to try my hands at writing a novel after my studies. I had dozens of ideas to write a story about, and I decided on fantasy as my first genre. I believe that I chose fantasy because it allowed me to be 100% creative. Another reason was that I did not have to be truthful to any source material, so that would save me time doing research.
However, that is not the only reasons…
On this blog I will post diary entries of the progression of my book, called, The Book of Legacy. I hope to involve you, the reader, in the creative process. And I hope that it will inspire you to make your own novel in the future.
If you are interested, I have published a free short story that I have written on smashwords, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/582218