The Elusive Antagonist

My antagonists are often nebulous in nature. They tend to be a prickly Universe or a flaw in my protagonists that needs to be overcome in order to complete their goals.

They don’t often take the form of a person because my style of writing doesn’t lend itself easily to shifting points of view. I’m always experimenting so evolution will be served.

I recently reorganized the Mind Map/Outline for Lights and Shadows and realized that I had the perfect Antagonist already there but in my rush to write the story, I neglected to fully reveal them. Sure, I did a little foreshadowing, but I left them at the train station waiting for the car to pick them up.

The purpose of the Antagonist is to prevent the Protagonist from achieving the goals of their quest. Without the Antagonist, the story has the potential to meander from one mishap to another to hopefully get to a meaningful resolution.

So, give your antagonists some love and let them strut their time upon the stage. They will thank you for it.

If you can locate them, of course. 😉

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Lights and Shadows Progress Update

Yes, yes, I know it’s been a while since I discussed where I am with Lights and Shadows and to be honest, for a while there it was starting to look like I was going to have to put it on hold.

Thankfully, such is not the case although I had to go over the Scapple Mind Map I made with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that I didn’t leave anything out. Which I apparently did which is why the storyline stalled out on me.

I’ve also had to go back over my writing schedule for the year, learning in the process that I don’t particularly like scheduling things that are supposed to be fun. Believe it or not, I’m not in this for the money.

I really want to finish and publish Lights and Shadows by the end of April. L&S will be the first book that will use a purchased book cover so I have to budget not only the funds but also the time to pick the right look. I’m also limiting my Internet Time so I can spend more time on it and other projects.

Onward and upward. 🙂

Interview with a Student

Recently, I got an opportunity to help a high school student by allowing her to interview me for a class project. Here is the result:

Okay, let’s take this one at a time. 🙂

“When and how did you realize that writing was something you wanted to pursue?”

I’ve loved Writing since I was 10 years old. I was raised with books so writing them was a natural progression for me.
“How did you go through the process of getting published, and where did you start?”

I started like most, submitting manuscripts and queries to traditional publishers and agents. I collected a sizable amount of rejection slips for years before I found Amazon and Createspace, which afforded me the opportunity to publish my own content. Everyone involved has been happy with the results.
“When writing, do you plan deeply in detail, or do you write spontaneously?”
I prefer to outline my stories, but when they take on a life of their own, I go with the flow.
“Do you have any tips for overcoming writer’s block?”
Give yourself permission to write badly, try to have more story material than you will actually use, and reread what you already have down on the page. Writer’s Block comes and goes.
“What is the best method you use to develop your characters in detail?”
Characters, although fictional, are people. They love, they live, they work. Creating biographies help a lot because they tell where the character has been, where they are going, and how they go about their lives. I also consider their personalities because how they respond to situations is important to the story.
“Are “fanfiction” type writings often looked down upon in the writing community, and is there any stigma surrounding the “unoriginality” of “fanfiction?””
I think writing Fan Fiction is great as a way to practice your writing. The Writing Community is a very diverse group and the opinions tend to range from positive to negative. I don’t think there’s necessarily a stigma surrounding its unoriginality. I dabbled in it for fun a while back, but I left because I preferred to play in my own sandbox.
“Do you write in a direct storyline, or do you write in segmented excerpts and then join them together?”
An interesting question. I’ll have to go with direct storyline because all of my scenes build upon the next. If I understand your use of segmented excerpts, then no if they involve shifting the POV too often.
“How do you come up with original ideas to write about?”
Original ideas are everywhere. I read, I look at things when out and about, conversations, etc. When you are open to imaginative possibilities, you never run out of ideas.
“What tips do you have for any aspiring writers?”
First off, ditch the “aspiring” label and just write. Aspiring just means getting ready to be and if you are doing it, you are it. Writing is a craft so put in the time. Write, read books on how to write and apply what they teach you. Never give up.
Glad to help you with your project. Happy Writing. 🙂

Death Call

Simon Le Noir stood defiant as a minor official read the charges. They had taken his armor and sword away, leaving him in drab peasant rags as serfs stacked wood at his feet. Even his beloved horse, France’s king had prevailed upon The Pope to brand him and his fellow Templars as heretics and had chosen to burn them at the stake. Heresy, he spat. The King had eagerly taken loans to fund his war against the Arabs and now that it was time to repay them, he had reneged. Oh, if only I had my sword, he thought. Phillip the Fair indeed.

His group, 30 strong, were brought to the public executions in Paris, where a festive atmosphere had settled over the proceedings. A sympathetic guard had allowed him to secrete four small bags of herbs that he explained would cleanse his soul as it departed for the afterlife. At least, that was the story he stuck with as his bonds were tightened around his wrists and feet. He had cut his dark hair short and trimmed his beard in preparation.

A cardinal, wearing his finest clerical robe, made his way down the line of prisoners. At each stop, he asked each condemned man if he wished to renounce his Templar Oath and beg forgiveness. To their credit, his offer was not accepted. Le Noir was the last in line.

“Simon Le Noir, former Marquis of Saint Lazane, do you wish to renounce your heresy and beg forgiveness for your crimes? The King has offered a full pardon and release into exile if you accept. How plead you?”

Le Noir looked down at the cardinal. “Where my brothers lead, I shall follow. The King will get no satisfaction from me this day.”

“As you wish.” The Cardinal made a hand gesture and torches were laid to the wood piles. Rain clouds formed overhead, but even their gentle downpour did little to stem the hungry flames as they feasted.

Le Noir felt his clothes catch fire, then the pouches tied around his waist. As their contents were consumed by the fire, the smoke that arose took on a blue and white color. He struggled against screaming as he heard and felt his flesh sizzle. The smoke thickened around him and he felt his bonds loosen. As the last bond fell away, he felt hands pull him backward as chaos fell upon the ceremony. The rough floor of a wagon met his back and a pair of horse whinnies signaled the escape.

“We are taking you to a ship that will get you to safety, My Liege.” A voice whispered. “We will go on.”

The Paradox Project: Converting The Past

One of the great things about being your own publisher is that you have the final say in what gets published in your name. Unfortunately, that is about the only great thing about it because you have to do everything else…hehe.

That being said, today’s discussion is about converting my 1990 Science Fiction story, Paradox, to a digital format suitable for electronic archiving, editing, and publishing. Yes, it’s really going to happen. As much as I love the idea of that manila envelope from the US Copyright Office sitting in my desk files, I think I would love seeing the story in print and ebook format much more.

Paradox Conversion Project…

The title sounds like I’m planning on something on the scale of The Apollo Space Program, doesn’t it?

Actually, the project will take the following form:

1) Retype the manuscript (in its original form with all its original flaws) into Scrivener. That will allow me to start with a clean draft to work with. I suppose I could just scan the pages but there’s no fun in that and I need to immerse myself back into the story world after being away for 25+ years.

2) Deep Analyze the story and reconstruct the story world using the techniques that I use now. I expect it to be a major pain in the backside, but ultimately useful for the next step.

3) Create a Story Bible using the elements that I have reconstructed in Step 2. I remember Paradox’s story world being very complicated and every documented piece of information would go a long way toward creating sequels.

4) Do a major rewrite of the story and expand it from a 62-page novella to a 400-page novel while maintaining a high story quality.

5) Publish the damn thing.

Obviously, I have a lot of work ahead with this one along with the other three projects I have slated for 2016. The Tobacco, Coffee, and Alcohol Industries are no doubt champing at the bit over this prospect…lol

I’ll keep you all updated as things progress. Thanks for your time. 🙂