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Modern Fantasy – Heros and Villains

Hi everyone!

I finally dove head-first into fleshing out the characters for my new novel (I really need to come up with a title…)  And I have to say I’ve started to really get the feel for the story and the characters :)

I started with the three protagonists, including finally giving them last names and some general info about them.  I found myself coming up with ideas for plot progression as I worked on these.  I love it when characters inform the plot, it usually ends up a lot more interesting and engaging that way!

I’ll give a little blurb about the characters, but they are just very basic ones, and I’ll also try not to give away too much of the story!  (The pictures of the 3 protagonists are random pictures taken from the web :) )

Image Source - http://cdn.stylisheve.com
Image Source – http://cdn.stylisheve.com

Christopher Tatsu – Primary protagonist, Japanese-American.  5’8″ tall.  Keeps his black hair fairly short, around a couple of inches.  He often has tried to avoid being physically active, but Emmi doesn’t let him and so he has a fairly toned physical build.

Chris is a 5th generation Japanese-American and finds that he’s not a fan of his parents’ plans for him, but he is unwilling to defy their wishes.  Hence his choice of Computer Science for schooling.  He has felt rather listless in life, not feeling passionate about any potential career field or education path.  He is, however, passionate about his loyalty to his friends, including his long-time friend Emmi, whom he has known since childhood.

Image Source - http://branislavboda.deviantart.com
Image Source – http://branislavboda.deviantart.com

Emmanuelle Dubois – Goes by the name of Emmi.  She is 5’7″ tall and has red hair that she keeps cut relatively short, around the bottom of her jawline.  Her eyes are a bright blue.  She is fairly athletic and is a fan of nature; she goes on several hikes and loves to go camping, often dragging Chris and their newer friend, Alycia, with.

Emmi’s ancestry is mostly French, but her family has lived in the United States since before the Civil War.  She has known Chris since they were both 10.  She has a very energetic demeanor, and is much more willing to do what she wants, and tries to encourage Chris to defy his parents’ wishes and find his own way in life.  She’s gone through a lot of relationships and finds herself fairly jaded about romance.

Image Source - http://mainlineoptix.com
Image Source – http://mainlineoptix.com

Alycia Taylor –  She is 5’4″ tall and keeps her brunette hair long enough to just fall below her shoulder blades.  She has brown eyes and seems to have a natural tan at all times.  She has an average body build, but thanks to taking a movie-style sword fighting class in her last semester, she’s becoming increasingly fit.

Alycia lived in Australia until her family moved to the United States when she was 14.  She is very much a geek, but she is not entirely comfortable showing this fact to the world, so she tries to hide it.  This includes wearing contacts, despite how uncomfortable they are for her, but when she’s around trusted friends, she ditches the contacts and wears her glasses.  She is a very visual person and has an active imagination, which led her to Graphic Design and Animation for her education.  She has had a crush on Chris ever since she met him, but she is far too unsure of herself to admit it to him.

The Villain

Although there are multiple villains, many of them are hidden or unknown initially, and I don’t want to ruin surprises :)  So for this section, I’ll just talk about the central villain of book 1.

Nabu – According to ancient myths, Nabu was a god in ancient Babylon, the son of Marduk and Sarpanit.  It was said that he served his father loyally, but had a large base of worshipers all of his own in the nearby Borsippa.

Nabu is indeed an immortal and powerful being, but his physical form is human, and he is said to be half-human.  When the Barrier was first created, it in essence cut Nabu off from half of the very essence of his being, and it drove him to insanity.  He has struggled for the last three thousand years to demolish the Barrier, but has been stopped every time by the Guardians.

After several centuries of imprisonment, Nabu escaped fifteen years ago.  Though still without magic, he has a natural charisma that draws many to his cause.  Most recently this has included several members of the Guardians from all across the world.  He also is infamous for taking a particular liking to certain women, and throughout the millennia has always had a consort.

I want to make Nabu an enigma.  While his motivations are not entirely a secret, his ability to balance insanity with charisma is intended to be puzzling and dangerous.  Through his charisma, Nabu will lead others to his point of view.  In time, this allows him to begin projecting his insanity onto his followers.  He twists and turns them until there is nothing left of the original person.

Supporting Characters

I don’t want to give too much away, so for now I’ll just give little blurbs about the supporting characters :)

Thomas Walker – Commands the U.S. detachment of the Guardians.  Ex-military, 51 years old.  Usually personable, but impatient with cowardice or stupidity.

Eric Walker – Thomas’s son, and friend to Chris and his friends.  He is brash and rebellious, and has a tendency to help his friends get into trouble.

Shara – An elf who has been stranded on Earth since 1917.  A fluke portal that breached the Barrier through a crack planted her in the middle of a battlefield.  She was rescued by a member of the Guardians and was taken to the U.S., where she has worked with the Guardians to repay the debt she feels she owes them for saving her.  Much to Emmi’s disappointment, Shara has almost fully assimilated into human culture.

Abigail Turner – She serves as the procurement and logistics officer for the U.S. detachment of the Guardians, supplemented by her ability to hack almost any system.  She became involved with the Guardians when a monster, brought to Earth through a minor crack in the Barrier, wounded her and paralyzed her from the waist-down.  She has a very big heart, and is often seen as the spirit of the team.

—————————-

I hope you all enjoyed this peak into the upcoming novel.  I have never developed a story this fast, and find that I’m about ready to start jotting down the full plot progression!  So stay tuned for more updates in the near future :)

-Jon

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The Process – How I Write My Novels, Part 2

Hi everyone!

As promised, here’s the next part of How I Write My Novels.  If you missed part 1, click here!

Writing the First Draft

Photo taken by Laura Earley
Photo taken by Laura Earley

There’s no other way to say it, I love this part more than any other!  With all of the pre-writing done, I pick up my laptop, go to my favorite Starbucks, and I start writing from the very beginning.

Usually what happens is I have two windows up, one with my transcribed plot progression (not sure if synopsis is quite the right word) and the other is which ever chapter I am working on at the time.  As I go along, if I need a reminder about where I am taking the story or characters in that chapter, I look back at the other window, and then I continue writing.

For The Sword of Dragons I also have other documents on my laptop that have basic descriptions of who characters are, major cities or other locations, and descriptions of certain objects.  These files help me to ensure I keep continuity within the novel as well as from one novel to the next.  They are what are called “living documents,” I update them as I go along, they are constantly changing.  I have the feeling I’ll soon have something similar for my new novel :)

This is also the part when I get to know my characters the best.  All of the little nuances, all of the reactions, the emotions, this is when they come out, as I write the story.  I find that I can’t really plan these too well, because then they come out feeling artificial.  They just happen!

When the characters move me and drive me, that is when my best work is done.  I also discovered in The Sword of Dragons book 2 that my chapter outlines are not hard and fast rules.  If I have ideas to change or add things in as I go along, I do not hesitate, because when I do this, it’s usually my unconscious mind saying “this is boring, but do it this way instead, and it’ll be better!”  For instance, book 2 was originally supposed to be 36 chapters (not counting the prologue and epilogue) but when I finished writing, it ended up with 4 additional unplanned chapters!

Since I’m not yet living off of writing (although that has become my goal), I can’t do this every single day, so I usually end up going to Starbucks every Saturday or Sunday (or sometimes both) and I spend at least 4 hours there writing.  This usually lets me get at least 2 chapters done, depending on their length, but when I’m on a roll and the writing takes on a life of its own, I can write upwards of six chapters!

The point is, I write on a schedule.  I do this for a few reasons, first of all because I love to write so I don’t mind writing on the weekends :)  But second, if I don’t write regularly and just treat it like a ‘whenever’ kind of thing, I’ll start to slack of for whatever reasons.  This keeps me going, keeps me from falling behind.  This allowed me to completely write book 2 of The Sword of Dragons in just a handful of months!  Imagine if I could do this full time!  :)

The First and Second Proofread

Note that not once did I mention proofreading while writing the first draft.  I used to do that, I used to write a chapter, and then stop and re-read that chapter to proofread, but I attribute this, at least in part, to the troubles I had writing my first couple of novels (including the one I finished in 2004 and will never see the light of day!!)

That is because it interrupts the flow of storytelling.  Not everyone might experience that or agree with me on this, but I strongly advise against stopping to proofread every chapter.

Once the first draft is complete, I’ll usually let it sit for at least a few days while I allow the high of completing a full novel to wear off :)  My first proofread is done on the electronic version, on my laptop or desktop PC.

Reading something electronically is an entirely different experience than reading a hard-copy, or at least it is for me.  My first read-through of my manuscript usually results in minor changes, some typo and grammar fixes, etc.  But once I print out the manuscript for the second read-through, I go to town on it!  Figuratively speaking…

I don’t actually do this right away, once I finish my first proofread (which I seem to do in a couple of days) I let the novel sit for at least a couple of weeks.  This gives me some distance from the story and characters, so that I can come at it with a fresh perspective.

The Sword of Dragons book 2 page 1
The Sword of Dragons book 2 page 1

When I’m ready for round two, I print it out, and I read it with a red pen in hand.  That red pen also acts as my bookmark, because I find reading the hard-copy takes me a lot longer.  I don’t know why I go slower, but it also means I catch a lot of things I didn’t catch before.  I also write in notes for any additional paragraphs or sentences or scenes I want to add.  Some of the pages look pretty red by the time I’m done with them!

I can’t stress this enough to all writers: don’t be afraid to make big changes to your manuscript during your proofreads!  If your mind is saying something doesn’t work, trust your instinct!

Beta Readers

The final parts are pretty cool, in that I get to have eyes-on it from others.  While I saved this part for last, beta reading can be done at any time after completion of the manuscript.  For book 1, I let friends read it only after it was a polished product.  For book 2, I sent the chapters to my friends as I finished them, and then sent revisions during the 1st proofread.  (I’m still working on proofread #2).

Thank you to my friends Nick and Natalie for being my beta readers for two novels now.  You two are awesome!!

Be warned: your beta readers might have things to say that you don’t want to hear.  But remember that they don’t know the story inside and out like you do, and if they say something seems wrong or is off or is confusing, so will almost every other reader out there.  Heed their feedback!!

When all is said and done, I usually do one more hard-copy proofread, and inevitably find more typos, grammar errors, etc.  Since I don’t have an editor, this is the part when the manuscript is fairly polished, and is ready for query letters to be sent out.

Final Remarks

To be honest, without an editor, you could proofread for the rest of your life and still find things to improve.  There comes a time when you have to call it good and start to try to find an agent.  Don’t let your work become stale or stuck in ‘proofreading hell.’

I’ve heard some folks say that they start to feel down after they’ve finished writing a manuscript, like coming down from a high, but by diving into the proofreading, I find I really don’t have that sensation.  Especially since by the time I’m on proofread #2, I’m already deep into fleshing out the story for my next novel :D

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed these articles!

-Jon

The Process – How I Write My Novels, Part 1

Hi everyone!

I’ve been asked more than a few times about how to write a novel, but when it comes to answering that question with advice, all I can say is that every writer should find a process that works for them.

I’ve known (or recently met via blogging :) ) some writers who write their novels out of order: they write the first chapter first, the last chapter second, the big things that happen in between, and then finally they fill in the gaps.  Other writers write from start to finish.  Some writers write the end first and then work up to that ending.

But that only covers the actual writing part.  For most writers, there is an entire process that starts before you even begin a chapter of your novel (which I have touched on before, I call it pre-writing) and ends with countless proofreads and peer reviews.

Image Source - http://www.superwriterssc.com/
Image Source – http://www.superwriterssc.com/

There are of course legends of writers so creative and talented that they don’t need to go through this entire process, and I say kudos to those who are able to :)  But for the rest of us, it is a development process that makes the novel a part of our lives, sometimes for years!

Tonight I’m going to cover the process I have developed that has worked very well for me with two novels, and is the process I am following for my new modern fantasy novel.  Thank you to my friend Christine for inspiring me to start writing this article tonight!

This article turned out way longer than I expected, so I am dividing it into two or three parts.  That way you all don’t have to read a novel about how to write a novel ;)

The Journal

Once I have an idea for a story, specifically for a novel, one of the first things I do is I buy a journal that I will use for that story.  For every novel I have written and am planning to write, I have a journal dedicated to it!

The Sword of Dragons - Journal 1
The Sword of Dragons – Journal 1

I didn’t start out doing this intentionally.  Many many years ago, when I first started developing the plot for what would become The Sword of Dragons, I grabbed the nearest notebook I had (I was in college at the time, so I had a lot of them) and started writing thoughts and ideas down.

Before I even started actually writing book 1, I liked the idea so much that when I found a really cool notebook with a dragon on the front, I bought it with the intent to use it for The Sword of Dragons book 2!  Since then, I started buying actual journals, all of them so far from Barnes and Noble.  However, this year I intend on going to a leather-binding shop at the Colorado Renaissance Festival to buy a hand-crafted leather journal :)

The Sword of Dragons "Story Bible"
The Sword of Dragons “Story Bible”

I also bought a journal that I use for the specific purpose of writing down the hows and whys of everything in the Sword of Dragons universe.  This includes how magic works, the major cultures, the history of Halarite, and character histories and ideas.  I’ve heard the term “story bible” used for these sorts of things, and even though I’ve had this for probably 8 months now, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Pre-Writing and Plot Progression

Everything leading up to writing the first chapter or prologue of a novel is written in its journal.  It usually starts out with random ideas for key plot elements, characters, settings, and as time goes on the ideas become more focused.

The entire time I am doing this, which often takes days, weeks, perhaps even months, I am formulating in my head the most basic plot progression, and I work that into my ideas in the journal.  Some ideas come together really really quickly, others not so much.  For instance, I started writing down ideas in book 2’s journal in April 2011, which was while I was still working on book 1.  I didn’t actually start writing book 2 until 2013!  My new modern fantasy is coming along a lot faster than that, thank goodness :)

Once I have the basic plot in my head, coupled with the specific ideas I’ve written down in my journal, I begin writing a very basic plot overview.  This is a pretty cool stage for me, because I am blending what’s on paper with what’s in my head and making a coherent story out of it.

For the most part, this is just plot and the most important character development moments, but I usually don’t come up with the little stuff at this point.  That comes much later.

All of my writing journals so far.  From top left: TSOD book 1, TSOD book 2, TSOD book 3.  From bottom left, TSOD Bible, Modern Fantasy.
All of my writing journals so far. The top row is for The Sword of Dragons books 1 through 3. The bottom left is the Sword of Dragons “Story Bible”. The bottom right is for the new modern fantasy story.

Finally once I am satisfied with the general plot progression, I begin the last pre-writing step: I write down the plot of each chapter.  Sometimes these are just vague notes about what I want to happen in the chapter and take a couple of lines, other times it can take up several pages!

When all is said and done, I read over every chapter plot one more time to make sure I’m happy with it, and while I do that, I also transcribe it into electronic format.  Then I begin the best part, actually writing the novel!

To Be Continued

That’s all for tonight, I hope everyone found this interesting.  Click here for part 2!

-Jon

Modern Fantasy – What is Magic?

Hi everyone!

One of the staples of every fantasy story out there is the supernatural, magic.  …and I just heard 30 or so people say “thank you Mr. Obvious.”  But while magic is a common element, what it is exactly and how it works has varied from one story to the next that it almost defies imagination.

Image Source - www.fanpop.com
Image Source – http://www.fanpop.com

From Harry Potter’s wand-waving to Gandalf’s staff-planting to Eragon’s word-magic, it has been one of the most incredible and awe-inspiring facets of fantasy for as long as the genre, in one form or another, has existed.

This year I have exciting task of coming up with my own twist on it for my new modern fantasy novel.  And to be honest, it’s almost kind of daunting!  Why?  Because this isn’t the first time I’ve created a magic-based universe, and I don’t want to create a carbon-copy of my first universe.

The Sword of Dragons

Image Source - forgottenrealms.wikia.com
Image Source – http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com

In The Sword of Dragons, the actual source of magic and the incredible powers Mages and Wizards and Star Dragons use comes from a common source.  While not every human is capable of tapping into that source, those who can, as well as countless other inhabitants of the universe, are able to do so through knowledge.  Knowledge of how to channel that energy into their own bodies, change it to their desired outcome, and expel it in what ever form necessary.

It isn’t as simple as just that, since there are what you might call ‘shades’ to the source of power, which creates diversity in magic.  Mages, in comparison to most others, are weak and can barely wield this power, so their abilities are rudimentary and manipulate raw power.  Wizards, while still human, are much more refined and disciplined.  They have the ability to cast elemental magic, create portals, and many other, higher-level spells.

I don’t want to reveal the actual source of power in the novels, that will be a revelation within the series :)  I’ve only covered the most basic aspects of magic in The Sword of Dragons, but I’ve spent the better part of a decade developing it and figuring out its tiny facets.  It is almost a character in and of itself within the Sword of Dragons universe.

However, the fact that I have worked on it for so long is also a bit of a problem.

Modern Fantasy – How Magic Works

Now that its time to build a new universe with its own set of rules, I find myself wanting to fall back on the existing universe’s ideas.  When I first started considering how magic would work in the new novel, I wanted it to work in much the same way.

When I realized this, I stopped myself and cleared away that idea.  I don’t want to write the same story, after all.  I want this to be a completely unique story with a set of rules all its own.

Where did this lead me?  To research.  Yes, like the geek I am, I started researching magic.  I didn’t go to other fantasy novels, at least not yet.  Where I did start was actual history.  To be honest, I didn’t expect to find so much material on it.

magic-ancient-egypt
Image Source – http://www.love-egypt.com

The idea of the supernatural being real goes as far back as history, and I’m sure beyond even that.  From Ancient Egypt and Ancient China through today, humans are no strangers to rituals or incantations or enchantments.

While I expected the common elements of magic in Fantasy to have its origins in human culture, I did not realize just how much.  Almost every type of magic you’ve seen or read about in fiction has a basis on the beliefs of humans in the real world.  Shamanism, Necromancy, Enchantments, Witchcraft.  While I knew about some of this, I did not know about all of it, or the rich cultural and historical significance to it.

This brings me back to my original question: how will magic work in my new story?  Reading about it has given me ideas, but it will have to be one of those elements of the story that evolves as I continue to work on it.

The Power of Three

What I do know is this: the characters I have been developing over the past couple of weeks are key to solving this.  In fact as  fellow blogger Victoria recently pointed out in her blog, they are the prime factors of a story.

Images Source - http://bramleegwater.deviantart.com
Images Source – http://bramleegwater.deviantart.com

So the three primary characters central to my story, Chris, Emmi, and Alycia, will embody much of the magical ‘spectrum’ in this new universe.  Chris, being the central protagonist, will be the first to gain his new powers, but Emmi and Alycia will follow.

This is a sharp departure from The Sword of Dragons, where Cardin Kataar, thanks to the knowledge he is gaining from the Sword, will eventually be capable of using every power magic can grant.  Chris, Emmi and Alycia, on the other hand, will be limited, and while they might share some common abilities, the greatest of their powers will be unique to themselves.

In fact as I write this, the idea has struck me to give them specific types of magics, not necessarily just one, but again I don’t want them to share their greatest abilities.

Image Source - http://shadowd.pbworks.com
Image Source – http://shadowd.pbworks.com

Chris would be capable of using the more arcane type of magic, raw power, spells.  This would come from his deep connection to his ancestors and their own abilities, magnified through his own soul.

Emmi, being a more physical person, might find herself using spells that affect her physical body, such as controlled animism (so no, not a werewolf.)  I also would tie this in with nature, a strong bond with the natural world around her.

Alycia has a good spatial acuity and a very vivid imagination, and is able to take what is in her mind and create a representation in the real world of some sort (she is a graphic design major in college).  This makes me think of things like sigils and enchantments.  Bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind works in mysterious ways.

So there you have it, the beginnings of how magic works in this new universe.  I hope you all found this interesting, and that the latter half has garnered greater interest in my new story.  Please feel free to leave comments, I’m curious to know what everyone thinks!

-Jon

Pre-writing Process – World Building

Hi everyone!

So the term pre-writing…I’m not sure if that’s a real term or not, I just made it up, but think of it like pre-production in a movie.  It is, in my opinion, essential to writing a good novel.

Image Source: http://www.makingstarwars.net
Image Source: http://www.makingstarwars.net

What do they do in pre-production?  They finalize the script, select their cast, work through and approve things like concept art, set design, costume design.  Then they build the sets and create the costumes, build the props, schedule shooting times and arrange everyone’s schedule.  Production or principle photography doesn’t begin until the majority of these items are taken care of.

Why do they do this?  So that when they start production, it isn’t chaos, everyone knows what they are doing and when and how.  This also means they spend less money.  A lot less.  Sure things will change along the way, script changes, wardrobe redesigns, set redresses to make a scene look or work better, etc, but the groundwork is laid, and any changes become easier to work with within the given framework.

Pre-writing is the same concept, but is more about world building and character creation.  It is important so that you ensure your novel, and any subsequent novels you might make, is consistent, rich, developed, and interesting.  Even if you don’t use everything you create in this stage, it’ll create the universe more clearly in your own imagination.  And while readers might not consciously be aware of your efforts when they read the end-product, it has a very real affect on the quality of the final product, and readers do notice that.

Plus you’ll be saving yourself a lot of headaches in the end :)

World Building

Image Source - Google Images
Image Source – Google Images

World building can include a lot of things, and can be done in many different ways, but there are some consistencies.  For starters, as you come up with ideas, write them down!  Whether you scribble it on the back of a napkin, jot it down in a notebook, or type it up on a computer, get it down as you think of it, or as soon as you can afterwords!

Immediately putting it onto a tangible medium allows you to get the idea down before it starts to become ‘fuzzy’ in your mind.  However, remember that this is still pre-writing.  So don’t treat it like it’s prose or a final product.  Ask yourself questions on paper, answer them if you can or leave them for later, jot down things inconsistently if you have to.  Let your imagination flow freely!

Here’s an example from the journal I’m using for developing my modern fantasy: “The barrier is created to prevent a malevolent force from coming to Earth.  Why does that force want to come to Earth?  For that matter, who or what is it?”

It isn’t developed, it isn’t complete, it was just a couple of lines from the very first inklings I had on the story.  Only more recently have I figured out who that ‘malevolent force’ is.

Research

Which brings me to another important suggestion: Research!!!

No matter what you are writing, research is essential to good world-building!  If you’re writing a ‘typical’ fantasy novel, you need to research proper medieval attire, names and designs of weapons, fighting styles, city/castle architecture, basically anything that you don’t already know about the period your story will emulate.

If you’re writing a science fiction, well that becomes even more important if you want your fiction technology to be believable.  If there’s cybernetics in your universe, make sure you know how that technology might actually work, because the moment a reader thinks something couldn’t possibly be real, their suspension of disbelief is broken and they lost interest.

If you’re writing a romance, where does the story take place?  Have you been to that location before?  Even if you have, do you know everything about that location?  Just like any other genre, if you write something that rips your readers out of the story and into a doubtful mood, like if you say Las Vegas has a marsh just outside the city limits, you’ve lost your readers’ interest.

Or for my new story, a modern fantasy that ties into history, I’ve researched ancient myths to figure out who the bad guy really is.  And once I had an idea for the malevolent force’s identity, it wasn’t set in stone.

My initial idea was a Mayan god, which led me to Quetzalcoatl.  I figured out how I could tweak the legends and myths of this god to fit my purposes, but further research led me to other areas, until I found a Babylonian god who’s mythology and the actual historical characters that worshiped him made him the perfect supernatural being to act as the over-powered villain in the story.

Image Source: www.kadingirra.com
Image Source: http://www.kadingirra.com

Figuring out how this god, his son, and the Babylonian king who had his temple built (or rather, rebuilt) not only gave me a back-story and helped define the goals and motivations of the villains, but it also gave me ideas for how other characters would be motivated or affected by the villains.  It helped me flesh out the world, and gave more meaning to everything that happens in the story.

Setting up ‘rules’ for how fictional facets work is also important.  Very important.  Look at Star Trek, one of my all-time favorite science fiction universes.  Yet it has a consistent flaw of inconsistency with how most of the technology works.

The same goes for fantasy.  Magic is not real (unless someone isn’t telling me something…) but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be rules governing how it works within your universe.  Believe me, changing the rules just to fit the story is not a good idea, no matter how often you see big-name franchises do it!  So figure out the basic rules up front.

One last bit of advice about all of this: remember that until it is in a published story, the rules and history you create are not set in stone!  So if while you’re developing your story, or even if you’re already writing it, or even if you have a completed manuscript that isn’t published yet, if you get an idea to change something to make your stories more interesting or entertaining, don’t be afraid to do it!

Just make sure you keep your universe consistent!

I know I teased you all with some clues about the villains in my new modern fantasy story.  More shall be revealed in due time, don’t worry.

Thanks for reading!  I hope this was of some help to aspiring writers, and was interesting to readers :)

-Jon

Modern Fantasy – The Premise

Hi everyone,

I decided to post the premise of my new story idea, for one big reason: I want to be able to talk about the process of world-building and character development in future blogs.  Doing so without the premise in-hand would probably just frustrate everyone.

river-song-profile
Image Source: coolspotters.com

So from here on in, I’ll try revealing enough to excite and interest you all without giving away too much.  After all, as River Song likes to say, “Spoilers!”

Side note: the premise is not wholly complete, so I’ll add little notes here and there in parenthesis indicating as such.  Remember, this is a work in progress!  I also do not yet have a title…

 

The Premise

Magic is real!  Or at least, it used to be.  In humanity’s earliest days, a small percentage of men and women could connect to magic and use it to bend the world to their will.

When a malevolent entity of unimaginable power threatens to come to Earth (still need to figure out its reason for wanting Earth, and, for that matter, what it actually is), humanity’s most powerful wielders of magic come together and forge a powerful barrier in and around the Earth, blocking all magic.

1934-lochnessmonster
Image Source: thedigitalcelt.com

The Guardians have protected the barrier ever since.  Occasionally the barrier cracks, and individuals gain unusual abilities or creatures from other realms and worlds come to Earth.  The Guardians always clean up after these mishaps, leaving the tales of mystical creatures and super-powered men to become folklore and superstitious curiosities.

Fast forward to today: a young man named Chris, at the end of his college career and finding he doesn’t like where his life is going, is thrust into the middle of the struggle between the Guardians and a rogue faction.

The barrier is badly damaged in an early battle, and all across the globe strange events begin to unfold.  Earth becomes a maelstrom of magic as the void fills with power.  Chris is surprised to find that he is one of the few who can use this new power, but when this makes him a target for the rogues, he quickly wishes he could lose his new-found abilities.

However, along the way, he begins to discover that he has a natural talent for magic, and soon realizes that this was the piece missing from his life all along.  He must decide whether to embrace his new powers, or to repair the cracks in the barrier.  His choice will change the course of humanity forever.

Where I’m At Now

Today I spent a good deal of time creating the characters, or rather just starting out with a couple of paragraphs about each character, their motivation, and their contribution to the basic story.

Chris may not be the name I keep for the protagonist, but I find it works for now.  I’ll post more info on the characters later on, I don’t want to give too much away up front :)

Having worked on The Sword of Dragons for so long now, I’m finding it to be a fun, if daunting task to build a new world.  It might seem easier, since this starts in present-day Earth, but the back-story is a part of all human history, and this means research.

ancient-egypt
Image Source: destination360.com

Honestly that’s turning out to be a fun task, doing research so that I can figure out how to integrate historical events into the story.  It may play a minor role, or it may play a huge role, but I like that tie-in.  That was one of the things I enjoyed about Stargate SG-1, how they tied ancient history in with the story.

So I have my work cut out for me, but I am looking forward to continuing to work on this new universe!!

Thanks for reading :)
-Jon

Modern Fantasy – A New Story Idea

Hi everyone!

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been very excited about a new modern fantasy story idea I’ve come up with!!  So excited, in fact, that I am strongly considering setting aside my current series, The Sword of Dragons, to work on it.  I wouldn’t stop trying to find an agent for book 1, but my work on book 3 would slow down drastically.

I don’t yet have a title for this new project, but I’ve been developing it rapidly, coming up with quick character bios (to be fleshed out more as I go along) and fleshing out the story in some detail already.  Unless something comes up, I plan to spend a good deal of time Sunday working on it.

I would like to ask those who read my blog for their opinion: should I post the premise of the story on my blog for all to read?  Or should I keep that kind of detail under wraps and simply tease readers with tidbits of information as I go along?

In a way I think it would be kind of neat to post about developing the new characters, the plot, etc, but I don’t want to give so much away that no one wants to buy the novel when it hits shelves.

Thoughts and opinions appreciated :)

But to give everyone a teaser, here’s a line of dialogue I thought up tonight that I would like to try to work into the story at some point.  I haven’t named the characters yet, so I’m afraid they’re designated by just “C1” “C2” etc.  C1 is the protagonist, by the way :)

C1: “You say this is real life?  I’m standing next to an elf, I can cast magic, and there’s a freaking gargoyle terrorizing the city.  This isn’t real life, it’s a messed up dream!”

C2: “So, what, you’re just gonna shove your head in the sand and hope the scary monsters go away?”

C3: “No, not sand.  Its shoved up somewhere else, though.”

C2: “You’re not helping.”