Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

2nd Editions – Should Stories Be Changed?

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned in the past couple of posts, due to delays and the desire to re-brand/re-cover the Sword of Dragons novels, I’m planning on releasing what would essentially be a 2nd edition of the first two books in the series.

While talking about this plan with some friends, one of them made a suggestion that I could add in new parts, new sections, new characters to tie in later novels, etc.

I DO intend to do a complete read-through for proofreading and to ensure sentence structure flows (and to make sure there are no glaring errors I missed during all of the other edits.)  However, I hadn’t originally planned to make any story changes.  And I still don’t.  But the suggestion made me start looking at other stories that have done so…

The Hobbit – Gollum Was Not Nasty

Image Source – Wikipedia

What if I told you that in the original version of The Hobbit novel, when Bilbo and Gollum had their little game, Bilbo won and Gollum willingly gave over the ring?  Not only that, but they parted on relatively friendly terms.

“NO WAY!”

It sounds ridiculous, given what we know about that magical ring and Gollum.  But it’s true!  Back when Tolkein first released the novel, that’s how the scene played out.  However, when Tolkein was encouraged to write a sequel and he started developing Lord of the Rings, he changed the nature of the ring, and by extension, changed how it affected Gollum.

So prior to the release of Lord of the Rings, Tolkein reworked parts of The Hobbit to be in line with Lord of the Rings, and his publisher released it as a 2nd edition.

Honestly I have no idea how well this ‘revised’ version of the story was received by hardcore fans, and I’m very curious.  And I can only imagine how valuable the 1st edition of The Hobbit is now.  Anyone who has a copy of it today is beyond lucky!

But did people react to that change back then the way so many have reacted to a particularly popular Sci-Fi today?…

Star Wars Special Editions and Prequels

Image Source – https://theexportedfilm.com

If you talked to someone who saw the original Star Wars trilogy before 1997, there is a good chance that something would become very evident: they hate the Special Editions, and they hate the prequels.  This is not universal, because I for on enjoy the Special Editions (except for one addition in the Blu-ray release of Return of the Jedi…), and I enjoy Episode’s 1 and 3 (but 2 is by far the worst Star Wars ever made…)

A quick search on the internet, and you’ll find that not only do thousands of people despise these, but those who once looked to George Lucas as a great creator now look to him as a reviled destroyer of their beloved Sci-Fi.

Image Source – http://www.techtimes.com

Why?  Because of everything he changed in the Special Editions, and because of how much of the prequels went against what they knew to be the established back story.  There are other reasons, of course, but I’ve noticed that this is the prevailing feeling.  So much so that many people, if you ask them what they think about the prequels, will say, “What prequels?  There are only 3 Star Wars movies.”

Image Source – http://www.geeksversusnerds.com

The most vehement response, oddly enough, was to one simple scene in Episode 4…when Han faces the bounty hunter Greedo.  In the original version of the movie, Han blasted Greedo without Greedo ever seeing it coming.  But wanting to appeal more to children and not to ‘sully’ Han, Lucas changed it, with a bit of ‘movie magic,’ so that Greedo shot first, and Han fired back only to defend himself (rather than cold-blooded murder.)

A great movement began, and bumper stickers started showing up, “Han Shot First.”  To which Lucas replied, “Greedo Shot First.”

Should Stories Be Changed?

All of this brings up the question: can and should an author change their story in a 2nd edition if they have ideas to do so?  To clean up scenes or change the history of a character?

This is a question I seriously have to ask myself when I begin to go through the Sword of Dragons books to revise them.  Should I only clean up typoes and sentence structure, or should I actually add/change things to flow better with future stories?  Should characters from The Orc War Campaigns make brief cameos?  Would those who read the original versions of my novels hate and revile me for doing so?

What do you all think, dear readers?  Is it a sin to change a story after it’s been released to the public?  Today, almost everyone accepts the 2nd edition of The Hobbit as canon, I’ve never heard anyone complain about the changes Tolkein made to it.  But is that because it was published in the 1930’s, so few who read that original edition are still around to complain about the difference?  If so, will that eventually happen with Star Wars?  In 50 years, will the Special Editions and Prequels be accepted as canon and no one will complain except a few old-timers who ‘remembered how it was’?

Thanks for reading!  And if you’re at Anomaly Con this weekend, look for us!  :D

-Jon Wasik

Writing What We Know – From The Heart

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much to everyone who has viewed and supported my first foray into vlogs earlier this week!  It was simultaneously a terrifying and fantastic experience, and based on what I’ve read and been told in person, I think I’ll do more in the near future :)  (If you haven’t seen it yet, click here to check it out!)

In that first vlog, I admitted to something that made me blush on-screen: much of what the characters feel and experience on an interpersonal level came from my own personal experiences…more so than any other story I have ever written.

Doctor Who?
Doctor Who?

Last night, when I was at a friend’s Halloween party, I was talking with some of my friends there and telling them about this, and some of the comments they made started to make me think further about this…

This emotional connection is what draws people in to many stories.  I read an article not long ago about this very thing, too, and I believe I recall the word used was pathos: when you frame anything into a narrative where the people and their experiences are the focus, it causes a reader or viewer to feel empathy for the characters, and feel more drawn to them and their story.

How important is this, you say?  Here’s an example of a story without that element:

A great evil’s power resides within a ring, which is taken cross-country to a volcano where it is cast into the fires and destroyed.

lotr-mordorSound familiar?  It should…I’m pretty sure anyone reading this is likely to know the story of The Lord of the Rings.  Except…if the way I told it just now was all that the story consisted of, it’d be kind of boring.  Tolkein’s writing style aside, that would not have been a memorable story.

frodo-and-sam-mount-doomBut when your story includes a single Hobbit who thinks he can’t make a difference, but still rises up to save the entire world, through pain and hardship and loss, overcoming the most difficult obstacles ever, along with a fiercely loyal friend who never gives up on him…that is a story that connects to the readers.  Not to mention all of the other characters’ stories: Aragorn’s struggle to rebuild the great kingdom, Legolas and Gimli’s friendship, Merry and Pip’s adventures and friendship, and Gandalf’s rise to become the White Wizard.

Image Source – http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/06/28/new-writing-from-j-k-rowling-about-the-north-american-school-of-magic/

I’m getting a bit off topic here…but then I wonder, how much of the emotions evoked in Lord of the Rings came from Tolkein’s own experiences in life?  We know from her interviews that JK Rowling’s own life experiences and emotions were poured into the Harry Potter novels, and they are one of the most wildly popular books out there, for both children and adults!

So I wonder…is this the secret to writing stories that people will love and connect with?  Stories that they will obsess over and write fan fiction about and make fan art for?

Image Source - https://www.pinterest.com/pin/200128777168277635/
Image Source – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/200128777168277635/

It looks like I’m going to find out in the coming years…because as hard as it was to write some of the scenes in The Orc War Campaigns, especially the final episode…I want to keep doing this.  I want to infuse my life, my experiences and emotions, into the stories.  It helped me connect with my characters better, and it is my hope that it will help you, my dear readers, connect with them as well…

Thank you for reading, and for all of your support over the past few years!  <3!

-Jon Wasik

The Stories That Endure

Hi everyone!

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

Do you know what Star Trek is?  What about Lord of the Rings?  How about the Never Ending Story or Labyrinth?

There are some stories out there that endure the test of time, ones that have such a powerful impact on the world that they just seem to never die.

In fact, it almost seems as if some will never die.  Never Ending Story is almost as old as I am at 32 years old.  Star Trek just celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year!  And Lord of the Rings?  It was first published in 1954 as a sequel to the almost-as-popular The Hobbit, published in 1937.  That’s 79 years old, and it’s still just as popular, if not more so, than when it was first published!

And even though I’m not a fan myself, there are even older stories that still exist in our public consciousness: Shakespeare.  Often cited as the origin of the modern story, Shakespeare’s stories are told and retold, over and over and over again today.

Let us not forget the oldest of stories, too, what I recall someone once saying may very well be the first-ever written narrative: Beowulf, said to have been written between 975AD and 1010AD.

Why These Stories?

So what is it about these stories that allows them to endure?  Is it possible to examine these stories and figure out how to write the perfect popular story, which would endure for a thousand years or more?

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

For that matter, will the newer examples endure just as long as the older?  Will new Star Trek stories be told 500 years from now?  That’s an interesting question right there, being a sci-fi series.  500 years from now, further ahead than when Star Trek actually takes place, what new forms of entertainment will exist?  What forms of space-based travel?  Where will our society be?  And will there still be a place for Star Trek?

This is going to sound strange at first, but bear with me – for different, and yet strangely similar reasons, I think Star Trek will endure another 500 years or more.

generationsThe reason that differs from Lord of the Rings or even Beowulf?  Star Trek is a continuing narrative that can evolve.  Look no further than the vast differences between the original Star Trek series and The Next Generation, let alone the retelling of Kirk’s era in the new movies.

In fact, if Star Trek can continue to evolve (stop going backwards, Trek writers, and start moving forward in the story!) I think it might have more staying power than almost any other series out there.

…but then how is it the same?  What qualities does it have that means it will endure as long as the others?

There are many, I think.  But more than anything, I think there are two elements that are essential.

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

The first is wonder.  In this, Star Trek has the greatest advantage.  Lord of the Rings still makes me drop my jaw when I read about Moria or Minas Tirith.  I still get a sense of warmth in my soul when I see the Shire in the movies. I still get a sense of dread when I see Minas Morgul.  But Star Trek can reinvent itself with every incarnation, and show new, amazing places that have never before been seen in human history, limited only by imagination…

The second is perhaps one of the most important aspects of fiction, at least in my opinion, and I know I’ve talked about this before: the characters.

Image Source - l-o-t-r.tumblr.com
Image Source – l-o-t-r.tumblr.com

When I think of Lord of the Rings, I think of Frodo and Aragorn and Legolas, not the One Ring (though that comes in a close second.)  When I think of Beowulf, I think of, well, Beowulf.  When I think of Shakespeare, I think of King Lear or Romeo and Juliet (even though I really don’t like either of those…)  And when I think of Star Trek…well for me, the first thing I think of is Picard and Data, followed by the infamous trio, Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

These are memorable characters, many of whom start out by fulfilling common tropes, but quickly become much more complex and interesting.  Fulfilling the common tropes in the beginning makes them interesting on the surface and help readers or viewers attach to them quickly.  But by itself, common-trope characters alone would make people lose interest fast, and so it is the fact that they quickly become much more complex characters that helps them endure.

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

We become emotionally invested in characters.  Hate or like them, we want to see what happens to them.  We need to see how they overcome obstacle A, and then find out what obstacles B through Z will be and how they overcome them.

That is why these stories endure.  That is why they never die.

Because they spark our imagination, and pull on our heart strings, all at once…

What are your thoughts, dear readers?  Do you agree or do you think there is something else that ensures these stories will endure?

For that matter, what are some of your favorite stories that have already shown an endurance?  (Immediately, Disney characters are coming to my mind :) )

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

WAIT!!!!!!!!

There’s more.  A quick, exciting announcement!

The Orc War returns...
The Orc War returns…

 

Too Many or Too Few – How Many Characters?

Hey everyone!

gallifreyone.com
gallifreyone.com

So last night, I was at the Doctor Who convention Gallifrey One (what a blast!!!) when I attended a panel that discussed sci-fi/fantasy movies in 2014, a ‘year in review.’  And one of the panel members made a good point:

The Hobbit was a technically sound trilogy, well made, a visually beautiful movie, but…it fell short of The Lord of the Rings.  And the reason why?  For the panelist, he felt nothing for the characters.  He wasn’t interested in their trials and tribulations.  When one died, he felt nothing.

When I realized I felt the same way, I began discussing it with my friend, and came up with a plausible reason: there were too many protagonists.  13 Dwarves, 1 Hobbit, 1 Wizard.  Plus in movie #2 and 3, there were two Elves and Bard.  Not counting some of the other heroes that showed up in the 3rd movie, that’s 18 characters we’re supposed to invest our emotions in.

Image Source - blackfilm.com
Image Source – blackfilm.com

So I’m wondering if there is a correlation.  If there are too many characters in a movie, does it become too much for the average audience member and they lose the ability to care about the characters, and therefore do not care for the outcome of the story?  Can the same be said about novels?

For me, at least, keeping track of characters in a novel is easier.  At least, good novels.  That of course gets into another topic all together: some extremely complex novels are easier to follow than others.

In any case, it has me wondering if there is such a thing as too many characters.  Do you, as a reader and/or a movie-goer, find that there is a limit?  Do you lose interest in a story after so many characters?

On the other hand, I also think it is possible for there to be too few characters.  For me, most (not all) stories with only one or two characters in the entire novel is boring.  Yeah it would be easier to invest in those characters, but think about how Harry Potter would be if there was only Harry and Voldemort, and none of the other characters: no Hermione, no Ron, no Dumbledore…

Image Source - starpulse.com
Image Source – starpulse.com

I’m not saying there is a formula: for this type of story, there must be so many characters.  Every situation is unique, certainly.  I loved Cast Away and there were only a handful of characters in that.  So what’s the secret?  Is there a secret?

What do you think?  What are some of your favorite movies or novels with a large number of characters?  Or few?And here is another question to consider: does the length of the story dictate how many central characters you should have in a story?  Would 18 main characters be okay in a series vs. a movie?

I’ve not actually seen any Game of Thrones episodes, nor have I read the novels the series is based upon.  However, I do know that there is a very large cast of characters in there.  Yet that series is insanely popular, and even though characters are killed off left and right, people are getting very invested in the characters.

Image Source - meltybuzz.fr
Image Source – meltybuzz.fr

So perhaps that is the key: the number of characters should depend upon how much time you invest in each of them, making each one a fully-realized character, with emotions and desires and fears.Maybe that is the secret: give all of the characters the time that they deserve.Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Target Audience

Hi everyone!

As many of you read in my last article, agent Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency asked me to send her 30 pages and a synopsis after my pitch at the Colorado Gold conference!  I’m still so excited!  I also promised to tell you all more about what happened in that pitch, so here we are, as promised :)

The story actually started the day before my pitch to Ms. Diver.  Saturday, when I attended a class she hosted called “When is it YA?”  I discovered something: in my attempts to write a Young Adult novel, I had actually written an Adult Fantasy.  (She recently posted her presentation on her blog, check it out!)

Before anyone gets the wrong impression (too late?) I want to clear up some definitions here.  In the publishing industry, an adult fantasy does not mean it is a sexually-oriented novel.  That would actually fall under erotic literature.  Adult fantasy means the fiction is targeted for an audience 18 years or older.

As I sat in the class, one thing started to become apparent: Chronicles of the Sentinel was not, by the industry’s definition, a YA story.  The most obvious reason was that the 3 main characters are 22 years old.  While a 22 year old person is actually considered a young adult, in the publishing industry, YA ends at 18.

University of Colorado - Denver campus
University of Colorado – Denver campus

More than that, it’s also what the story covers.  While Chris, Emmi and Alycia are college students, the majority of the story does not take place at school.  In fact you only see the college campus in chapter 1, and that’s it.  They are very much college-age individuals dealing with personal and interpersonal issues you might expect from college students, but these issues also easily bleed through into the post-college realm.

After discussing this with Ms. Diver during my pitch, I was surprised when she told me that marketing CotS for adults rather than YA was a good thing.  It has become difficult to sell YA Fantasy in the current market, but Adult Fantasy is selling.  In other words, it would be easier to get CotS published as an Adult Fantasy at this time.

From Just Right to Too Short

This has one unfortunate side effect: at just over 72,000 words, CotS:Legacy was just the right length for a YA novel.  But for adult fiction, it falls short of the generally accepted minimum of 80,000 words.

That means I have some work to do.  Ms. Diver pointed out that it could still work at 72k, but if possible to expand on it before sending her my 30 pages and synopsis.  So that is what I have set out to do!

For starters, I’m reading through the novel chapter-by-chapter and, where I feel it is needed or appropriate, I am enriching the language.  While I’m only 4 chapters in as of last night, I’m already realizing a mistake I had made: thinking that I needed to keep the language super simple for YA readers.

Image Source - lordsofanthair.com
Image Source – lordsofanthair.com

The fact of the matter is, young readers read up in age (a fact I learned at the conference.)  I know I did, I was reading adult-targeted fiction since before I even started writing.  I remember reading Lord of the Rings at age 11, and while I found it excruciatingly boring in parts (which I still do, even though I love it!), I devoured it and finished very quickly!

I should have never written down in the first place.  So in all honesty, going back through CotS:Legacy now, I’m really glad to be able to make the small changes and additions.  I don’t know that doing so by itself will make the novel reach 80k words, but it’ll be worth it, and so far in 4 chapters I’ve increased the word count by about 500.

Alycia’s Development

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

One thing I’d like to do is increase Alycia’s character development.  Like Emmi and Chris, she does go through a change in book 1, but it is much less pronounced, and I felt in the end that I hadn’t given her as much attention as I should have.

So that is something else I’ve been doing as I’ve gone along.  I’ve given her more attention, let her come alive as all good characters do, and this will be an additional focus throughout the novel.

I do not want to add anything arbitrary, but I want readers to have the chance to fall in love with her!  So instead of massive sections here and there that would ruin the flow of the story as it stands, I’m adding tidbits here and there, little character nuances to give her life.

Deadline?

Ms. Diver did not give me a deadline for when I should submit the pages to her, but this is my life, and just as I did while I first wrote CotS, I’m treating it like a 2nd full-time job.  So I’m giving myself a deadline of completing this revision by Sunday.  I don’t know that I’ll actually succeed, but it is an attainable goal.

I’d like to try to then read through the novel one more time, to ensure I didn’t mess up the flow.  Right now, it seems like it flows very well, and beta readers seem to agree with that!  I don’t want to sacrifice that flow just for an extra thousand words.

Final Thought – I’m Relieved It’s Not YA

Some of you might be surprised to read that, but honestly I’m glad to be writing in Adult and not YA, for one important reason: as I’ve started developing book 2, I’ve realized that fitting that story into a YA-length novel would be difficult at best.

But with 80 to 90k words to work with, I think book 2 will fit the bill perfectly, and will leave me room to develop all 3 of the protagonists as deeply as I want :)

As always, I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 1st Draft Completed!

Hi everyone!

Today I finished the 1st draft of Chronicles of the Sentinels!  :D

I have been so very excited about this new project from day one, and I have worked on it at a pace I never thought possible.  However, the pace didn’t come just from how excited this story has made me, it came from a desire to prove to myself that I could write every day, and treat writing like a full-time job.  (Which means I’ve essentially been working 2 full time jobs over the past two months.)

The really awesome part is this puts me exactly 1 week ahead of schedule for my deadline!

Journal for developing Chronicles of the Sentinels.  Purchased from Barnes & Noble
Journal for developing Chronicles of the Sentinels. Purchased from Barnes & Noble

11 June 2014 was when I started this project, the very beginning when I first came up with the idea, bought a new journal for it, and started development.  I developed not just the story, but the entire background for what will be at least a trilogy, and wrote the novel.  That’s an incredible amount of work for just 2 months!

Of course, my work isn’t done yet.  I still have proofreading/revisions to go through.  Plus this novel will not be seen by any other eyes until I’ve finished proofreading, so beta-readers won’t get their hands on it just yet.

I will say this, though, I feel incredible about this entire experience!  And I am so glad that I’ve been able to share it with you all from day one.  Creating this blog when I did seems to have been inspired timing :D  And the journey is not over yet!

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

After proofreading, I’ll be sending the novel out to beta readers.  Once they give me feedback, I’ll make changes as needed and perform one last read-through.  And then I get to pitch my novel at the Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference!

I feel absolutely confident in this novel.  The plot, the characters, the writing style, everything came together so well, and I’m so excited to share this with the world.  More than that, I just have this feeling that this will be what gets my career going.  I think this could be my breakout novel :)

But, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.  There’s a long road ahead of me yet!  I hope you’ll all continue to stick with me along the way.  It’s like the song in one of my favorite novels and movies, “The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.  Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can…”

Searching for a Title

“But wait, I thought you already had a title?”  I do, for the trilogy.  Chronicles of the Sentinels will be the name for the entire trilogy or even the entire series if I decide to write stories beyond the trilogy.  However, each individual novel will also need it’s own names, starting with this first novel.

As has been the case recently, I am struggling to come up with a good title.  I’ve toyed with some ideas, like “The Shattering” or “Shadows of Babylon” but I’m not sure I like either of those.  What do you all think?

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 1st Draft by the Numbers

After my proofread/revisions is complete, I have no doubt that these numbers will change, but the completed first draft is as follows:

Chapters: 25
Word Count: 72,526
Page Count: 224

This is right where it should be for a YA or YA-Crossover novel, so I am especially pleased with that :)

I know today is Sunday and I promised you all an excerpt every weekend.  So I’ll keep that promise.  Keep an eye out for later today, I’ll be posting an except from Chapter 10!

Write What You Know – Response to Jodie Llewellyn’s Blog

Hey all,

Today’s blog is in response to Jodie Llewellyn’s blog (click here to read it) regarding writers and the rule-of-thumb about writing what you know.

If you’re not familiar with that ‘rule,’ it basically states that a writer should only write what they know in order to make the story believable.  Writing what you don’t know is, at least in some circles of writing (like my college classes,) a taboo.

But when Jodie wrote about that very topic on her blog, she stated, “I generally like to pen something as far removed from my life as possible.”  I found that to be fascinating and, frankly, really cool :)  But it brought up an important point for me – when writing genres like Fantasy and Sci-Fi, you have no choice but to write about things you don’t have personal experience with.

Image Source - http://www.wikipedia.org/
Image Source – http://www.wikipedia.org/

If I’m wrong about that, and someone does have experience living in Middle Earth and fighting trolls, I’d love to meet you!  For the rest of us, however, we have only our imaginations to fall back upon for those experiences.

Does this mean genre fiction writers don’t need to have real life experiences from which to draw upon?  Should they avoid drawing upon real life experiences altogether?

No, in fact if anything, I think it means we should draw upon life whenever we can.

Building a Fantasy with Truth

Image Source - Google Images
Image Source – Google Images

I’ll never slay an orc (video games don’t count.)  I’ve never stepped foot on a spaceship.  And as much as I wish I really, really could, I’ll never encounter a dragon (unless you count a Komodo Dragon :) )  But I have fallen in love, and then had my heart broken.  I have hiked through the mountains.  I’ve taken ballroom dancing lessons.  I know how to handle a firearm, and I even have some limited experience with wielding a sword.

I’ve found in my own writing that while all of the action takes place in a world often far removed from ours (not counting my newest project,) if I write what I do know mixed in with those fantastical elements, I created a much richer, much more believable story.  The characters come alive with their own experiences, the world feels believable because of my own experiences in similar environments.

Take for instance the second chapter of The Sword of Dragons, one of the antagonists is hiking through the desert on a quest.  When I initially wrote this scene, I had never actually personally stood atop a sand dune.  Which is ironic since I lived in a desert environment for 15 years.

Photo taken by Lonnie Rednour
Photo taken by Lonnie Rednour

After I had already written that chapter, I took a trip to White Sands National Monument, and learned what it felt like to actually climb up and down large sand dunes.  I saw the breathtaking view of standing atop a dune with hazy mountains in the distance.  And I learned that climbing dunes was an extraordinarily tiring experience.

So when I went back to that chapter, I realized mistakes and assumptions I had made about traversing a massive desert, and I corrected it, hopefully making for a more believable story.  Now no, I never encountered giant scorpions in the desert or met an exiled Wizard, but with that bit of realism, readers won’t be jarred out of the story, and their suspension of disbelief can continue unhindered.

Research Can Work Too

Last year, I found myself wanting to write about something I could experience, but at the time I had neither the money nor the time to do so – sailing.  Now granted, no matter what, I would have needed to do some research.  I don’t think anyone around here provides sailing lessons on old square-rigged ships, and this was for my novel The Sword of Dragons – Burning Skies.

Since I couldn’t even take modern sailing lessons, I hit the books.  Or rather, the internet.  I studied terminology, methods, technology of square-riggers and clipper ships, and even asked people who had been sailing before about their experiences.

Image Source - http://moonwolves.wordpress.com/
Image Source – http://moonwolves.wordpress.com/

It was extremely valuable knowledge, but it wasn’t quite enough for me, so I turned to a movie that I knew was fairly accurate in its rendition of square-rigged sailing: Master and Commander – The Far Side of the World.  I watched it, not for the first time mind you, but this time I paid close attention to the experiences the crew seemed to have, their emotions and the conditions in which they lived and worked.

Of course, since the novel didn’t focus on the sailing, I didn’t go into great details.  Plus it was from Cardin Kataar’s PoV, and he’s never been a sailor or even stepped foot on a ship before that journey.  So I didn’t inundate the reader with mundane details.  Never-the-less, I believe all of my efforts paid off, and the scenes aboard the Sea Wisp turned out great :)

Random Ending

Totally unrelated to this post, I recently posted a question for everyone on my facebook and I’d like to ask it here as well: I’ve been encouraged to participate in something called the Weekend Writing Warriors.  This entails what’s called an 8Sunday post, or in other words, posting 8 sentences from my current work-in-progress on Sunday.

My question to everyone: how many of you would be interested in reading snippets and excerpts from my novels?

Thanks for reading!
-Jon