Tag Archives: Stardust

Go For It, Even If You Don’t Believe In Yourself

Hi everyone, I’m back!

Photo by Danielle Lirette

Our wedding was wonderfully geeky, and we were very fortunate to have some incredible people participate in it and help us out!  It turned out to be a perfect day, with weather better than predicted, and nothing major going wrong.

However, I want to tell the story with pictures, and our photographer is still working to get our photos to us (the preview pictures she has shown us are incredible!)  But what I wanted to talk about today crosses from my wedding day to writing, and why you should never give up on yourself…

I Thought I Would Always Be Alone

My best friend (and best man) reminded me of something during the reception: when I was younger, I had a dream of a woman who was perfect for me.  My definition of what that might entail evolved over the years as I grew and changed as a person, but I knew what I wanted…

Image source – google.com

And as time passed, and rejections from women grew in number, I started to despair.  I started to believe that I was unlovable.  This led me to some pretty bad relationships that only reinforced my belief that I was unworthy.

…but I kept trying anyway.  I kept searching, even though I didn’t think anyone would ever think I was worth loving.  As the years and years and years passed, no matter how much I was rejected or how many bad dates I went on, even surviving an emotionally abusive relationship, I kept trying.

Character design and model: Beck Stewart. Photo by WeNeals Photography.

And then she was there.  The one who would one day become my wife.  Of course I didn’t know it at the time, and I remember thinking, even when I asked if I could add her to my Facebook, “she won’t ever be interested in me.”

That led to friendship…which 4 months later led to dating, and six months later led to engagement, and a year and 3 months later, marriage.

After more than two decades of searching and dating and trying and failing and being rejected, I finally found what I had searched for.  Someone who loved me, who believed I was worth loving.  And when I realized this last week, I knew that I had to pass the message on to everyone else…

Keep Going.  Never Give Up.  Even If You Don’t Believe

The same goes for writing.  Hell, the same goes for everything in life, but since this is a writing blog, let’s focus on that.

Writers get rejections, from agents and editors.  But does that mean you’re unworthy, that your stories aren’t worthy, and you should stop trying?  If JK Rowling had stopped trying after her first couple of rejections, Harry Potter would not be the phenomenon that it is today.

Writers get bad reviews, on Amazon and everywhere else.  Does this mean that their novel is really horrible and not worth reading?  If you get a few bad reviews, should you take it to heart and stop writing?  Everyone gets bad reviews.  Every book.  Take a look at your favorite book on Amazon, no matter how good it is, and you’ll find one-star reviews.  Even Ready Player One, which is now a major motion picture making millions, got one-star reviews.

What if you get published, or are self-published, and your books aren’t selling well?  Should you just…stop?  No.  First, harkening back to a blog I wrote about an author who re-branded his books, his initial publication was getting him few sales.  When he learned from his mistakes and re-branded his book, he started selling thousands of copies.

If you don’t believe in yourself, but you’re still passionate, GO FOR IT!  Don’t stop!!!  Keep doing it, if for no other reason than your love of it, your passion, your desire to make it, your desire to write and get readers.

Keep.  Going.

Because even if it takes decades, one day, whether you believe in yourself or not, someone else might.  And then your books will sell.  And you’ll write more.  And more.  And more.  And before you know it, you’ve achieved your ultimate goals.

The other option is to give up.  But then you’ll be left wondering for the rest of your life, “What if?”

Photo by my new Mother-in-Law :)

If I gave up…I’d never have met my Starshine.  Never would have asked for her hand in marriage.  Never cried the happiest tears of my life when I watched her walk down the aisle towards me.

What might you risk never seeing if you give up?

What might you never get to experience if you don’t try?

“What if I fail?”  Rubbish question.  “What if I succeed?”  Now that is a question worth pondering…

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Is Romance in Fiction Always Necessary?

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite movies!!
One of my favorite movies!!

Think about some of your favorite movies, TV shows, or novels, and tell me…is there a romantic plot or subplot to it?  The chances are good that the answer is yes.  Why?

Because just about every single fiction story out there has romance in it.  No seriously, think about it.  Think about every movie you know, ever TV show you’ve watched, every novel you’ve read, and how many of them have no romance in them what so ever?  I’m willing to bet it’s less than 10% (and that number is probably being generous.)

TreasurePlanetVHSSo I guess the question is…is this bad?  I started thinking about this after watching Treasure Planet with my girlfriend recently (psst: check out her author’s blog here!), and she commented how there had once been a plan to continue the story as a cartoon series, but she was annoyed that the series was going to give Jim Hawkins a love interest.  She liked that he didn’t have a love interest in the movie.

When she said that, it took me a moment of processing, and I realized she was right.  There hadn’t been a love interest for Jim.  Granted there was a very small romantic subplot between the ship’s Captain and the scientist (I’m horrible with names) but even that was highly underrepresented.

And yet, at least in my mind, Treasure Planet is a fantastic movie!

Image Source - https://fanart.tv
Image Source – https://fanart.tv

So in my opinion, romance is not necessary to make a great story.  However, some of my absolute favorite movies include very strong romance elements.  Stardust (a movie that has become dear to me :) ), The Princess Bride, and Star Wars (especially The Empire Strikes Back) all have romantic elements, and these are some of my all-time favorite movies.

However, just like any other trope in a fictional story, doing the same thing over and over again the exact same way gets boring.  It gets old.  Romantics like me love a good romance story, but even I get annoyed with the same old version of a trope.  While Prince Bride falls into the category of an old trope (damsel in distress,) Empire Strikes Back and Stardust did not follow the old tropes, and in fact Stardust even played with it a little bit with Tristan’s crush in the beginning.

This is why I love playing with tropes, and couldn’t resist doing just that in The Sword of Dragons.  For instance, a dragon in a cave guarding a precious treasure?  Okay, but instead of it being gold or jewels that a greedy dragon is hoarding, it’s an honorable creature protecting a powerful artifact from being used to wreak havoc. (Sorry, no Smaugs in my books!)

Romance in the Sword of Dragons stories

So, what of romance in the Sword of Dragons novels and short stories?  Did I fall into the same ‘ol fantasy tropes for romance stories?

Image Source - http://s1.1zoom.net/big0/102/318623-blackangel.jpg
Image Source – http://s1.1zoom.net/big0/102/318623-blackangel.jpg

Well in book 1, there was never a ‘damsel in distress.’  In fact, all of the women in book 1 are strong and independent.  So that pretty much eliminates that possibility right there.  No princess waiting for some gallant knight to save her.  Plus, without giving away too many spoilers, the hero doesn’t exactly get the girl (but he doesn’t not get her, either…  You’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens ;) )

What of book 2?  There definitely was a romantic subplot in it, and when I first published Burning Skies, I was a little worried about how people would receive it.  Yet I was pleased to find that all of the readers who’ve read it so far have enjoyed it, and are curious to see if it’s going where it seems to be…or if I’ll turn it on it’s head.

The inspiration for Sira's dress in Burning Skies
The inspiration for Sira’s dress in Burning Skies

There was also a scene that I absolutely loved researching and writing in Burning Skies: The Royal Ball.  Researching medieval formal attire for both men and women was fun.  But it was also a chance to bring Cardin and Sira closer together, giving them one special moment…

So what of future stories in the Sword of Dragons universe?  Where are things going with Cardin and Sira?  With Reis?  With Kailar?

Well, as the good Professor River Song says, “Spoilers” ;)  But I will say this: I seem to have a propensity to torture my characters.  If they ever do find ‘happily ever after,’ it will only be after they have been through hell and back again (a dozen times.)  If they ever get there.

What Do You Think?

So what do you all think?  Should there be more stories without romantic subplots?  Should romantic interests be left out?  Or are they appropriate or even necessary to have in fiction?  Leave a comment below to let me know! :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik