Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Hello! 

Today, I share with you, my NaNoWriMo loglines.  These are my loglines for my story, which will be beaten out over the next few weeks in time for a 50k word novel.

Because I really want to finish a novel, not just hit 50k words this time.

Thanks Blake Synder.

I don’t know which to go with quite yet, so here I am crowdsourcing.

To be clear, all of these stories will take place in the Forgotten realms Campaign setting.  It will be very Dungeons and Dragons style.  Here are the log lines I’ve done.

“While sorting through Ancient ruins, a treasure hunter is struck by a geas, and placed on a quest.” – No Title #1

“A pious ascetic receives a ring of wishes from a dying thief.” -The Vice

“An adventuring aristocrat illicits the help of a former slave trader to solve mysterious disappearances in Waterdeep.” -Ghosts of Skullport

“After a violent ambush, a dangerous artifact of a dead god lands in the hands of a penitent bandit.” -No Title #2

“An out of luck, and out of coin, adventurer is tricked into disrupting a high-born Waterdeep marriage through an elaborate and magical kidnapping.” -No Title #3

“While investigating blight on farmland, an idealistic adventurer rescues a male-drow slave only to draw more ire from deep dwelling drow and even the surrounding surface dwellers.” -The Companion

 

Which story is the best?

 

There’s this great little app that a fellow writer friend of mine shared with me.  It is call “I write like” and it compares your writing style (but not content) to other famous writers.  Here’s what I got:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Yes!

…..and now I suppose I should read one of his books…

My blogs have been a little heavy, controversial, and otherwise overly serious the last few posts.  That can be a bad thing.  As a breather for myself, and for readers, the next few posts will be dedicated to Game of Thrones… which I realize is not exactly a light-hearted series as I sit here and type this.  Nonetheless, what I write here will not denounce any sacred cows -unless some new religion has sprouted from this series.  That hasn’t happened right?

Hopefully, other fans of the series will share their thoughts on the character’s alignments here.

So, to show my high school geek stripes, let’s discuss the alignments of the Game of Thrones cast.  You know Lawful Good, Neutral Evil, True Neutral etc.  This will be divided up into three blogs by the modus operandi of the characters, I.e. Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic.

Oh… and just so I’m clear this is pre-4.o alignments.  The 4.0 continuum is far to one dimensional.

If you have never heard of alignments before, please check out this article here.

Without further ado, here is my first.

I'm Lawful Good, so Lawful Good it hurts...

If alignments have Platonic forms, than we’ve found an incarnation in Eddard Stark.  Professor X and Aragorn wish they were as noble as Eddard.  And speaking Platonism, one of his most Lawful Good traits is his reluctance to take up political power and his slow acquiesce to do so.  Many Machiavellian minded readers might think that Eddard is a naive or lacks will i.e. he sees what’s effective, but is too good and honorable to execute.  I disagree: Eddard sincerely believes that doing the good thing is the effective thing.  How else do you explain his willingness to stand-up against his best friend, and the his’s advisers over the issue of assassination plans against Daenerys Targaryen?

Even when Law and Goodness seem to be in conflict, Eddard tries to keep both intact.  During the wolf incident along King’s Road, Eddard reluctantly carries out the execution of his daughter’s dire wolf -by the Queen’s order- but he does it the most good an honorable way.  He even tries (vainly) to make it up to his daughter later.

And we all know the end point Stark’s goodness and duty lead him.  The point at the end of pike.  So Lawful Good.  So lawful good it hurts.

By the way, all of you table-top RPG kiddies who aren’t quite sure how to play Paladin?  Just ask yourself one question: What would Eddard do?

I'll run you through.... after throwing a fit.

I considered King Robert for my Lawful Neutral -and I still fee like he is- but I chose the relatively minor character Sir Barrister Selmy.  Let’s work backwards.  What offended Sir Barrister?  Was it suddenly being on the same side as his former opponent, Eddard Stark?  No, they had a nice and pleasant conversation.  How about working for a King who some feel decry as usurper?  Doesn’t bother sir Barrister one bit.  What about the next coup, when the queen -with transparently vile opportunism- overrides King Robert’s dying wish?  A little, but not much.

The only time Sir Barrister raised a fuss was when he was dismissed from his duty, and I might’ve cried for the guy.  He’s upset because he can no longer serve.  Who is king and what their values doesn’t really seem to register for poor sir Barrister.  He simply wants to do his dutiful role for the realm.

You only *think* you got me cornered.

Blend together Lucuis Malfoy, Scrooge, and Michael Corleone and you have Tywin Lannister.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Lawful Evil character written this well, and they are hard to write.  Tywin isn’t just some angry, bitter, verbally abusive old man -(and there is more than one in Game of Thrones).  He’s puppet stringing master mind who could have you killed as easily as he wipes his ass with gold-foil.

Tywin Lannister is like a mafia don who has spent years and years getting everyone in his pocket until he is completely untouchable.  Even King Robert admits that he can’t move against this guy or his family.  In the monologue before his son Jaime, Tywin explains that Lions need not fear sheep and their house -the Lannisters- is a house to be feared.  It sounds like the worst parts Neitzche and Machiavelli put together.  Furthermore, there’s no way he qualifies as Neutral or Chaotic Evil.  Tywin, as the head of the powerful noble house, is far too invested in the system to disregard it even if it wasn’t working for him.  And just look at that guy!  Do you want to cross him?

Arguably, Tywin has not done anything heinously evil, but he is very concerned with Lannister name.    When Tywin reprimanded Jaime for his fight with Eddard, it was a reprimand for not killing Eddard.  Do you think that Tywin was ignorant of Cersai’s plots against John Aron, or the letting loose of “the Mountain” on peasant villages?  Hard to imagine him not keeping close tabs on his adult children.  Thus, I don’t think the apples fell far from the tree.  He is guilty -at the very least- by complicity.

For the next blogs, I’ll write the Neutral Good, True Neutral, and Neutral Evil characters.  Thanks for reading and commenting.

This blog is for everyone who asks, “How do I become creative?  How do I get ideas?  How do I overcome writer’s block?”

Like many people who began writing fiction, my first attempts were very, very bad.  I was frequently hit by writers block and did not quite understand how to deal with it.  Furthermore, much of what I wrote seldom coalesced into anything worth reading or continuing.  Of course, I eventually learned that there are simple techniques to do get the ball rolling.  I offer this to anyone who is considering writing a novel next month.  If you are having trouble getting inspiration, here are few things that you might consider.

Technique One:  Get the Inner Editor to be quiet.  When we talk about the inner editor we are talking about that very important part of the brain that analyzes, examines, criticizes, clarifies and frequently oppresses.  It is the left half of the brain and it is very important that left brain people learn to shut it off and chill out once in awhile.  (If you google’d something like “scientifically proven methods to write a good novel” then chances are you a left brain person).  The way to train the inner editor to be quiet is to write a certain quota of words or pages at any given time of day.  Try doing it by hand, as that activates a different part of you brain.  When the inner editor starts to analyze, politely tell it to be quiet, and then proceed on.

After all, you don’t want to wind up like IT from the Wrinkle in Time do you?

Technique Two: Ignore the Outer Editor.  The outer editor is any person who is somehow discouraging you from writing either explicitly or implicitly.  This could be the crazy roommate who is interrupting your write time with video game tournament.  It might be your friend or relative telling you that you are not creative.  Sometimes they might even mean well.  They could tell you all the horrible wrong things of your novel so you can “fix” it.

Let them never get to you.  Instead, politely explain that your time is important and that you are a creative person because you are doing a creative work.  Furthermore, take advantage of all the people who will inspire you.  Go to the write-ins or escape to a library, coffee shop, or anywhere else to get the peace and distance you need to allow your ideas to germinate.

Technique Three: Read inside and outside your genre.  This advice comes from Terry Pratchett.  He believes that a good fiction writer must read extensively inside and outside his genre.  Chances are, if you are writing a particular genre of fiction -e.g. fantasy, coming of age, BDSM wish fulfillment. etc – you’ve read quite a bit in your genre.  So go find a blog, a news article, a Law Dictionary, a history book, some Manga or anything else you haven’t read before.  You never know where good ideas might come from!

Technique Four: Get some good music.  This may not work for everybody, but this has worked great for me.  One of my favorite things to do is listen to choral church music, grimy club music, grandiose movie soundtracks, or abstract electronica and let images of places, characters, and so on inspire what I write while doing technique one.  It’s a great way to shut up the inner editor too.  “Hey you, just listen to the fuckin’ music okay?”

Now as you read this, you might be thinking about how to find time to do all these things.  There are, however, some fairly easy ways to get it something done.  Subscribe and you’ll see it in tomorrow’s update.

Go check out the NaNoWriMo website for more ideas and where to find supportive, creative, people.

Yes, I am posing this as a question for everyone here to contribute.  However, please understand this is a question of whether Christians debate over Harry Potter, but at this point the question is why?!

We all know what the debate is.  When Harry Potter first became popular concerned parents started wondering if it was the devil’s work because their kids enjoyed it, but did not get it from the Bible book store.  This is a common recurrence.  It is the same semi-fundie to completely fundie mentality that raised issues over things like He-man, Pokemon, The Smurfs (the Smurfs?!), and Dungeons and Dragons.

Is Harry Potter the Devil’s work?  Well, no quite the opposite.  Harry Potter is Christian literature in the same tradition as Tolkien and Lewis, which the concerned parents typically praise!  The debate really should end with this quote from the Christian Post:

J.K. Rowling wrapped up the final book in the seven-volume series, and finally spoke openly in several interviews about her Christian faith.

She went so far as to say she had hesitated to talk about her faith previously because it would have made the series’ conclusion too obvious to discerning readers.

We know the authors intentions now.  That should close things right?  John Granger has also written a few papers on the Christian themes of the Harry Potter series.

In fact, many of the themes are fairly obvious.  A friend of mine once said that if people simply read the books, they’d see the Christian themes in them.  Perhaps though, prejudice and lack of aesthetic sense prevents people from doing so.

Nonetheless, this blog is for readers of Harry Potter who did notice Christians themes in the book.  Share what you saw in the books that were Christian themes.  Re-post it on facebook.  Share with everyone example after example of Christianity in the Harry Potter series because only when the opposition looks silly enough to be silent.  Let everybody know that this debate needs to be closed.  Be as specific as possible, and cite the books if you have them.

One example comes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  While in the forest, Harry Potter sees a figure suck blood from the body of a slain unicorn.  It is one of the first truly scary scenes in the book.  A centaur, Firenze, comes upon the scene after the dark figure has escaped.  Firenze shares this insight with Harry Potter:

“It is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn,” said Firenze.  “only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime.  The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price.  You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.” -Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Immediately after reading this, the first thing that came to my mind was a passage from 1 Corinthians:

Therefore whoever east the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if does not judge the body rightly.  For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.  But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the World. – 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 NASB

This association is reinforced by John Granger’s observation that a unicorn symbolized Christ in medieval artwork.  This was a remarkably subtle connection to the Bible and a passage that is very important to many Christians in high church traditions.

So what did you notice in Harry Potter that struck you as distinctly Christian?  What in the book looked like symbol for Christ or anything else from scripture?  What symbols did Rowling use that the Bible also uses?  The longer conversatinos like this get, the better the position will be.  Please comment as much as you like, and remember to subscribe for future comments and discussion.