Tag Archives: The Sword of Dragons

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

New Ideas – Don’t Be Afraid to Change It

Hi everyone,

It’s no secret that I love interconnected stories written across multiple volumes.  For me, one story, whether a short story, a novel, or a movie, is nothing more than an introduction to the characters and their world.  It’s when you start to develop follow-up tales that you really get to explore them!

I know that every writer approaches their craft differently, but for me I slowly develop the overall story arch as I work on each tale in the series.

For instance, when I wrote the first novel of The Sword of Dragons, I knew how I wanted the series to end, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there.  By the time I finished the second novel, Burning Skies, I had started to figure out how I would get there, and while writing book 2 I laid several eggs that would one day hatch into the plots that would lead to the end.

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Image Credits: James Altucher

Last night, that all changed.  An idea occurred to me, one that I found exciting and invigorating!  So what should I do?  Should I say “Well that would have been cool, but I’ve already got the story plotted out”?  Heck no!  This, my friends, is not the first time this has happened.

Changing Course

Back in 1999 I started a fan fiction series.  To some writers, fan fiction is a taboo, but I’m not at all ashamed of my series.  I wrote it for many reasons, but one of my primary goals was to simply practice writing and receive feedback from others.  It was a huge help to honing my craft!

I wrote it for 7 seasons, and each season had a different story arch.  When I started developing season 3, I came up with a system where I plotted out the general story of each episode as well as the overall story arch, and this method worked so well that I used it for every season after.

By the time season 3 was over, I had developed seasons 4 and 5’s plan, I knew exactly where the story would go for them.  Then all of that changed when an exciting idea occurred to me right before I began writing the first season 5 episode.  The stories I ended up writing for season 5 have almost nothing to do with my original plans.  The same thing ended up happening for season’s 6 and 7.

The best part was that the changed story plots actually worked better for all of the groundwork I had previously laid.  In that final season, seemingly minor events in the previous stories all came together seamlessly, and made for a fun, entertaining, and moving story!

I think a big reason why this worked so well was that the original connections I wanted to draw between the earlier and later seasons were forced.  What I ended up writing felt more natural.

Follow Your Instinct

My point to all of this is simple: as a writer, I’ve learned to trust my inner voice.  If I’ve got the story plotted out, and then something different and exciting clicks in my head, well that tells me my original plans were lacking, and something in my unconscious mind came up with a new direction to spice it up!

This not only makes writing the story much more interesting and challenging for me, but it also makes the end-product far more entertaining for the readers!  This can lead you in directions you never would have imagined before, and learning to ‘go with the flow’ of your imagination can help improve your writing!

However…yes, that evil word.  This advice can be dependent upon multiple factors.  Every writer is different, their process of coming up with stories and writing them down is as varied as can be.  So if your mind goes 100 different directions at once, it may be wiser for you to stick with what you’ve already decided upon, rather than changing your long-term story plan every hour.  That can lead to intense frustration.

So more than anything, follow your instinct.  It’s been my experience that most writers are extremely passionate about their work!  That means what ever your inner voice is telling you, it probably is telling you exactly what your heart wants you to do.  If changing the story feels right, do it!  If it doesn’t feel right, reconsider.

Conclusion

Well anyway, that’s a lot of advice, some of it may almost seem conflicting.  I’m interested to hear what your opinions are on these topics, so please feel free to leave comments!

Thanks for reading :)
-Jon

Why I Write: Response to Rachel Cauilan’s Blog

Hi everyone!

Back when I first decided to start this crazy blogging endeavor, there were a lot of reasons behind it, one of which was inspiration from a blog I found while searching for information about Dia Frampton and Archis.  That blog was “Beauty Within” by Rachel Cauilan.  While exploring her blog, I came across an article she wrote that really got me thinking about the same topic: why I write.  Click the link below to check out the original article:

Why I Write: Blogs and the Path of Meaning

In her blog, she makes a very bold statement that struck a chord within me: “I find that nothing is worth writing unless you are doing it for yourself.”  The moment I read that line, I realized how true it was.

Certainly we as writers wish to have our stories presented to others, and I believe that everyone who writes wishes to present it to others for their own reasons.  But when you write for yourself, for your reasons, the results resonate beautifully!  Like Rachel said in her blog, people can feel your passion.

While her article was specific to writing a blog, I believe this is a truth in all forms of writing: blogging, fiction, poetry, music, even news articles.  There’s probably a science behind it all, word usage, sentence structure, punctuation, all that jazz, but there is no mistaking that when someone is passionate about their writing, you just know it!

Which brings me to the core of this article:

Why I Write

This question is not a simple one for me to answer, because there is no single answer.   To say “because I love to write” is true, but an altogether too simple of an answer.

There are selfish reasons, to be sure.  I’ve always loved reading other works, getting to essentially live in another person’s fictional world for a time.  So to me, writing is my chance to create my own worlds, my own universes, where I get to make the rules, and what happens is what I want to happen.  I have a very vivid imagination, so when I imagine these new worlds, I can see them as if they were real!

That means I get to explore these new worlds as well.  That might sound strange, you might be asking “But you created these worlds, what’s to explore?  You already know everything about it!”  Well no, I really don’t.  Take for example my novels, The Sword of Dragons.  Not long ago I finished writing the 2nd novel, and I took the characters to two entirely new continents, as well as to cities on the 1st continent that they had never been to before.  When I started the series, I knew the basic geography of the entire world, I knew what major cities existed on which continents, and I knew about the major geological features.

But what I didn’t know were the details, the nuances!  And even more importantly, the people that lived in those new places!  Better still, when I am writing about a character seeing a new location for the first time, I am not only seeing that place for the first time in my mind’s eye, but I am seeing it through that character’s eyes!

Which brings me to another bonus feature: getting to know new people!  …Ok, stop looking at me like my crazy.  ;)  Seriously, though, creating new characters is a fun and engaging activity for me, especially because once they are developed enough in my head, they really do take on a life of their own.  And as I present them with ever-changing circumstances and events, I get to explore how they react.  By deciding how they react, I get to know them better.

All of this comes together to form entertaining stories that one day many will get to read.  But why, you ask?  If I get so much out of writing for myself, why present my works to others?

For starters, because I have to.  I feel compelled to share these stories with others.  I always have, its one of the reasons I created a fan fiction series back in 1999, and ran it for 7 years straight writing 70 short stories!

But beyond just that urge, there is the desire to share with others the gift that fiction has given me.  I know I’ve written about this before, in my “About” page here on the blog as well as in my first article: stories have captured my imagination and inspired me in so many ways throughout my entire life!

When life was tough, I could escape into a novel.  I learned important lessons early in my life thanks to fiction.  And while I had plenty of real-life role models, some of the ones in fiction were equally instrumental in shaping me in my youth (and not just written fiction, Captain Picard was definitely a big influence in my youth!)

I have a gift for writing, and it isn’t one I want to waste.  I want to give back to the world what fiction has given to me!  I want to inspire others in ways I can’t even imagine yet!  I want to instill a sense of wonder, imagination, and creativity within others, to help them to feel hope when they otherwise could not find it, to shine a light on what might otherwise seem like a bleak and dreary world!

This is why I write.  This is who I am.  And while obstacles may stand in my way (such as a recent bout of writer’s block), it will never change.  I write because it is who I am.

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My First Blog – A New Adventure!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my first blog :)  My name is Jon, and I’ll be your tour guide on this crazy writing adventure!

Up front I want to tell you all what this blog is going to primarily focus on, and that is writing fiction, the trials and triumphs of trying to find a literary agent, and eventually getting my first novel published.

I hope that my blog will be helpful to other aspiring writers, but more than that I really wish to start making a connection with everyone out there who’s willing to follow this blog!  I don’t just mean other writers, but anyone and everyone!  I want to connect with my readers, and as passionate as I am about writing, I know that this blog will be a personal journey that I am excited to share with you all!

For starters, I will be writing blog entries on how I go about writing novels and short stories, including telling about my endeavors as I write them.  I also will be discussing the process of finding a literary agent, which includes the (sometimes painful) process of writing query letters and synopses.

Something else I want to do on this blog is write short stories within the same universe as the novels I am currently trying to publish, called The Sword of Dragons, and post them here for all to read!

So while there isn’t much here yet, please subscribe to my blog, because I guarantee you that there is a lot to come!!

I also would like to encourage everyone to feel free to leave comments.  Introduce yourself for starters!  My only stipulation to everyone is to please, please keep things civil.  I want this to be a blog people from all walks of life feel comfortable coming to :)

The Story So Far…

I talk a bit about my writing endeavors up to this point in the “About” section (see the link in the header), but I wanted to cover some specifics about my current project, and where I am right now in my quest for publication.  If you aren’t able to finish reading to the end of this entry, don’t worry, it’s a bit of a long story, full of evil things like writer’s block and dozens of drafts of query letters :)

The Sword of Dragons has a decade-long origin story!  Longer, actually.  When I was in junior high, I came up with a science fiction story called Star Dragon Legion.  While a future sci-fi story, it also involved magic and dragons.  Before you roll your eyes, remember that I was very young and very inexperienced as a writer :)  I never finished a novel for the series, but I wrote numerous short stories.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I was required to do a senior project, and I chose to do mine on writing a short story and trying to get it published.  The short story I wrote was entitled “Star Dragon Legion – Sword of the Dragon”.  In it, the protagonist was required to complete a trial by retrieving a fabled, powerful weapon, the titular Sword of the Dragon.

I never did get it published, and to be frank, it was pretty poorly written, but I learned a lot during my project, especially because I had taken my first creative writing class!

Sometime during my freshman year of college, I came up with the idea to take the basic principle of Sword of the Dragon and turning it into a full-on fantasy novel.  By the end of my sophomore year, I had finished, and that summer I sent it to a publisher.

It was rejected, and before I sent it to another publisher, I decided to do another round of proofreading.  By this time I had moved on to a 4-year college for my junior year, and was in the middle of a great creative writing class!  I had already learned so much, and so when I tried to read Sword of the Dragon, I realized how badly written it was.  I couldn’t even get through the first chapter!!

So I shelved it.  And some time later, I started a rewrite.  Shelved it.  Started another rewrite, and shelved it again.  It wasn’t until 2008 that I began what would become the final version.  By then I had graduated college and had numerous creative writing classes under my belt, so my writing style was considerably better (even today I still think the early chapters are well-written!)  I got about halfway through the novel, when… DUN DUN DUNNNN….  Writers block hit.

Evil, accursed writers block!  For the next couple of years, I struggled with writers block, and between 2008 and 2012 I only wrote 2 chapters in The Sword of Dragons!

2012 was the golden year for me.  Something changed that summer, and I picked up Sword of the Dragons again, right where I left off, and started writing like mad!

Sometime near the end of 2012 is when I finished the first draft, and I spent the next few months proofreading and getting friends to read through it.  During this proofread, I also renamed the novel to The Sword of Dragons, and by extension renamed the weapon that is the catalyst of the novel.

Next came the hardest part of all – finding a literary agent!  Which I am actually still in the process of doing.  By now I’ve gone through at least a dozen drafts of my query letter, and have written a few synposes.  I’ve submitted to only 6 agents at this time, all of whom have rejected my story.  I didn’t feel ready to “shotgun” out my query letter, and have continually tweaked it.  In a future blog post, I will be discussing an extraordinarily helpful website for query letters, and is where I plan on submitting my letter for peer review before I shotgun it out to several more agents!

In the mean time, I have written the second novel in the series, titled The Sword of Dragons – Burning Skies.  It took me about 4 months or so to write this one, I have really found my groove in writing!  I am still going through the proofreading and editing process, which I will discuss in future blog entries as well :)

There’s a lot more to talk about, but I feel like this is long enough for an initial blog entry.  You all will get to know me and my tale a lot better as time goes on, don’t worry!

Thanks for reading :)

-Jon