Running (NaNoWriMo Practice 2)

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During the month of October I will be putting myself through writing exercises that I shall coin with the name freewriting.  I am doing these exercises to try and get my mind to just write without worry or concern as I psych myself up for this years National Novel Writers Month event.  Then I will post my writing on here for you to check out.  Enjoy!


Azel ran.  The loose cloth of his black outfit whipped out behind him much the same as the long locks of his blonde hair.  Blood pumped with each racing step he took and his heart felt like exploding.

The night was coming alive with more and more shrieks every minute and he saw and felt more and more shadows racing around corners and in between buildings the further he went.  Whoever opened up the door for these monsters forgot to close the damn thing.  Azel knew he was a good hunter, but this was too much even for him.  There were hundreds.

So, he ran on.  Buildings continued to race past in shadowy blurs that hid the beasts that pursued him.  He had just taken a sharp turn down a side passage, trying to shake the monsters off, when he saw someone step out of a doorway.

“In here now, you idiot.”

He couldn’t see the person clearly, but the voice left little doubt in his mind.

Oh, great.

Still he darted into the door the shadow held open without question.  The room was empty except for a simple bed and a table with a lantern resting on it.  His muscles and chest burned with exhaustion and he collapsed on the bed.  He turned his head as has rescuer closed the door, and the light from the lantern confirmed the identity of his twin.

“Cale, you saved my ass,” he wheezed out.

“Isn’t that how it always how it goes?”

Cale walked over and sat down next to Azel on the bed.

“But I guess that’s what brothers are for?  Tell me what the hell you did.”

Azel took a deep breath and sat up.

“It was just a hunt.  Some demon was prowling the shadows and I cut it down.  Next thing you know, I have hundreds of the bastards chasing me through the city.  I think someone opened a gate and left it open.”

Cale gave a wry laugh.  “That’s great.  Any idea what we should do now.”

Azel thought for a minute.  They could wait out the night here in the hovel they were holed up in, but each minute they waited risked the chance of ordinary citizens being hurt or killed by the demons.  No their best shot at ending this quickly lied with making their way back to their temple and meeting up with rest of their order.

“We need to get back to father,” Azel answered.  “Him and the rest of the Night Guardians can help us end this tonight.”

“I knew you were going to say that, but damn,” Cale said with a sigh.  He ran a hand through the same blonde hair that Azel had and looked at his twin.  “Alright, what’s the plan?”

“We take to the roofs.  We’ll be out in the open, but we’ll be able to see the monster’s coming.”

Cale nodded in understanding.  “Are you rested enough to get going again?

“I’ll be fine, besides we haven’t any time to waste,” he said as he rose from the bed.  “Are you ready, brother?”

“I am, let’s go.”

They walked to the door took a check of gear and armor, gave each other one last nod, then with one calm deep breath, Azel kicked the door open.

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Shadows (NaNoWriMo Practice 1)

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During the month of October I will be putting myself through writing exercises that I shall coin with the name freewriting.  I am doing these exercises to try and get my mind to just write without worry or concern as I psych myself up for this years National Novel Writers Month event.  Then I will post my writing on here for you to check out.  Enjoy!


He felt the aberration watching him.  It was hiding in his shadows.  The very shadows that he guarded and was meant to keep safe.  Damn the bastard that let the thing loose.  How many souls had it consumed while it was hiding there?  He shook his head.  It didn’t matter whether it was one or a hundred.  He would finish it.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.  He focused on his connection with the shadows and willed his own shadow to reach out to the murky pool the beast hid in.  He visualized the shaded hands reaching across the well lit alley and grabbing hold of the shadow pit.

What happened next never got old.  He felt his shadow seize it and a terrible shriek rent the air, chilling blood and sense.  He pulled and a ripping noise added it’s own terrible tone to the cacophony.  The monster that was pulled from the shadows was even darker than his hiding place and it the energy of the consumed souls dripped from its jagged mouth and claws.

Once he had it out, the shriek subsided and the monster seemed to grin wickedly at him.  Then it lunged.

“Nice try,” he whispered, “but these are my shadows now.

He focused his mind and body, fell back into his own shadows and reappeared behind the beast.  He leaped forward drawing a dagger from the sheath on his back and grabbed the beast from behind.

“Rest well in whatever hell you came from, beast.”

His voice was as cold and merciless as the blade the tore open the beasts throat.  Once again it shrieked in the night, but this time it was pitiful and seemed to cry for help.  Then its blackened form vanished like smoke on the wind.

He sighed, as he sheathed his blade, and turned to walk away.  But the night exploded with what sounded like a hundred shrieks each as vicious and savage as the beasts.  And one thought came into his mind.

Shit.

The Tension of Tense and Naughty Narrators

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Tense. It has several meanings. Right now it is the pressure in my shoulders. Sometimes it’s that feeling that hangs in the air and lets you know that something is about to happen. And for writers, it’s the tone that sets an entire book.

And don’t get me started about those damn narrators.

You read a book and one of the first things you notice is who the hell is telling the story and when is it happening. When I read the first line of a book, I stop and ask, “God?” But no. It’s not my god, or your god or even Khorak-nazir, patron deity of the humanoid ant creatures.

No, it’s the little guy in the corner telling you about the first day of school, and how nobody wants to be his friend, or it is the god of the book, telling you every detail, every action and every tiny little thought that passes through the main character’s head, along with his girlfriend’s, her cousin’s and that damn humanoid ant in the corner wondering why the hell  he’s about to be stepped on by the kid on his first day of school.

We’ve all read a hundred blog posts about the different tenses and narratives that a writer can use, so I’m not going to lecture for the hundred and first time about it. I’m here to ask you a simple question. What do you prefer?

I’ve read fantastic stories where the narrator helps me truly visualize and live in the moment that is happening in a book. I’ve also read great tales where Timmy Two-shoes tells me about the first day of school, and how he took down the entire alien armada that came to probe all of his teachers (suck up).

I’ve also read two amazing books by a great writer, no names here *cough* Rothfuss *cough*, where the tense and narrator switches around so fluidly, that for a minute you have to stop and say, “Wait. How the hell did I get here?” Yeah, he’s that good.

All of this aside, for my own work-in-not-so-progress, I cannot settle on a narrator or tense. Some days all I want to do is jump into the main character and let you live the day in his shoes and see the world through his eyes. But then, BAM!

The antagonist shows up and its fight time, BITCHES!

Now I’ve got to tell you about a fight scene, a part of the story that should be beautiful and descriptive, only to be held back by the limitations of the narrator’s mind and scope. He knows how he feels about the fight, about how he is doing and about how his enemy is doing, but it has to look way more amazing to the bystanders. Joey Bystander is bystanding in the other corner watching Timmy chop an alien in half with a shank he sharpened out of the ruler in his desk, and he can’t tell you a damned thing, because this is Timmy’s story.

Now, giving you a slight peek into my brainchild of a story, I’ll let you know that on my current novel, my main character has something else inside him that, under the right conditions, turns him into something else.

So I’ve started playing with the idea, like Rothfuss, of having multiple tenses and narrators. I’ve thought about having a Narrator 1 for the back flash chapters that give a sneak peek into the events that led up to current events, and Narrator 2 is my main character telling you the story in the present day. Then, when my narrator turns into something else, Narrator 1 is back to tell you what’s going on, since Narrator 2 is currently indisposed.

(Damn coffee ran right through him!)

But I can’t tell if this is just a nonsensical hoping on my part, or if this actually has potential.

So, that’s your homework. Two simple questions that I want answers for.

What’s your favorite tense and narrative and do you think I’m crazy?

So, feel free to leave your comments down below so I and the handful of other readers on this here fancy blog can read em’ and respond or feel free to hit me up on my stalking grounds.

Ahem, I mean on Twitter.

I’ll just be waiting here anxiously in the corner with my laptop hoping Timmy will get over his whole first day angst and stop this damn alien from probing me…

Flash Fiction: Hellbound

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So, I’m an avid follower of Chuck Wendig.  He cracks me up and he helps make writing make sense (which is amazing given how f*cking crazy he is).  Anyways, so each week he does a flash fiction challenge, check this weeks out here, and I’ve decided to stop being lazy and write one.  So, I did.

‘Nuff said.  Read it now!  And tell me you like it, or hate it, I don’t care.  But tell me something! XD

 

The gravel crunched underneath the weight of his armored body.

Gravel?

His eyes snapped open and he found himself looking up into a blood red sky that glared angrily through clouds of smoke. He pushed himself up and looked out upon a hellish landscape that was little more than jagged, obsidian stone with rivers of fire running through it.

Where in Their great creation am I?

Last thing he remembered was fighting his way across the battlefield. His orders had been simple. Get to the enemy captain, and take him down. Without his leadership, their troops would break ranks and flee, leaving the way clear. He remembered having the captain in his sights, remembered barreling down on the man. Then there was nothing. Nothing save for black stone and fire.

Did I die?

He rose from his seat and grabbed his sword that was lying next to him. It was a giant, bastard of a sword that gleamed viciously against the fires. He strapped it on his back, wrapped himself in the black folds of his cloak. He decided that any direction was as good as another, so he picked one and began walking.

After proceeding forward for an indeterminable amount of time found himself sweating profusely from the heat of the nearest fire river, and his breath became short. He leaned against a large shard of rock and rested in its shadow. He quickly gasped in pain though and wretched back out of the shadow. Looking down at his armored hands he found the steel covered in frost.

So it’s either the heat of the light or the ice of the shadows. Wonderful.

He had little time to consider his predicament though, because he heard something creeping up behind him. He spun around and drew his sword in a single fluid movement and brought it to bare before him. But was brought up short by the sight of the creature standing before him.

It was little more than a girl. But this was no normal girl. Sure, she wore a simple dress, and her hair was tied back cute pigtails, but there was something else to her. There was something in the sharp angle of her smirk, and there was even more in the eyes that stared at him hungrily. Then she spoke and the words that came out in her cute little voice chilled him to the bone.

-Welcome to hell, Nellaf.-

“What do you want, demon? Why am I here?”

It was questions he asked, but there was no masking the snarls that threw them out like demands.

-Oh, that is simple. You are here for my amusement. You are here because you were brought low by the very violence that you lived your life by, and now you will serve me for an eternity with that very violence. You see the lord, whom commanded the armies of you and your savage men, made a pact with me. I saved his worthless hide and in turn… he gave me you.-

“Like hell,” he snarled, before launching himself at the demon girl with a violent swing of his sword, but it passed through nothing but empty space, and her voice floated down at him from atop the rock.

-‘Like hell’. How fitting. But worry not, that arrogance and anger will serve you well here in my games. Have fun!-

She jumped down from the rock and ran off amidst the rocky crags. Nellaf followed her, intent on venting his anger on her tiny body. He ran on and on for what seemed forever, always her voice just around the bend in the rocky terrain or she’d appear just on the other side of one of the flaming riverbeds, until he found himself staring at pool of fire like the large ponds he used to fish in during his childhood.

She was nowhere to be seen but still her voice spoke to him.

-Welcome to Flamegulch, the home of one of my most fearsome followers. Please do give my regards to Baelrok, won’t you?-

He screamed at her and cursed her violently, but she either didn’t hear him or she ignored him. He cursed her once more and turned to walk away. He had taken but a few steps when the fires and lava in the pool erupted and a massive hand reached up out of the pool and grabbed onto the molten shore.

Nellaf turned back around and watched as a giant horned demon began to drag itself out of the fiery depths. He watched as it rose foot by horrifying foot, until it stood fully on two clawed feet. The beast was at least twice the size of him. The lava ran off of its body like rain, but still the monster’s black body seemed to glow with its own inner hellfire. Nellaf’s horror turned to dread when the monster’s eyes snapped open glared at him with burning rage.

-You dare wake my slumber, little swordsman? Perhaps you’d care to battle a real warrior?-

Something in the monster’s challenge stirred up Nellaf’s pride, but something else. He felt his own battle lust rise up.

You’re really thinking of fighting him?

“Sure, why not, you big brute. Let’s see what you’ve got,” he replied to himself and the demon.

The demon let out a violent laugh before it lunged.

For minutes the demon stalked the man, always forcing him to keep moving in order to avoid being ripped apart, yet no swing of his sword could render the beast’s encrusted hide, and Nellaf was forced to retreat into the crags. Baelrok gave chase.

-Give it up, pathetic human! This is a fight you won’t win.-

Nellaf watched as the demon came around a bend in the rocks and as it stepped into the shadows of the crags the glow of its fiery carapace began to diminish under a coat of ice.

Of course!

Nellaf charged forward, swinging his great blade at the monster’s freezing legs, and the sound of shattering ice rent the air and the beast fell to the ground and the rest of it began to turn to ice.

“Goodbye, Baelrok,” Nelaf snarled as he sent his sword plunging into the beast’s chest.

-Human, no!-

Fire erupted violently and engulfed his sword and his right arm. Instead of burning pain though, he felt only power surging into him.

The flames died down, but his arm and sword continued to glow with demonic fire.

-Well done, Nellaf. I knew you would make the perfect entertainment.-

“Silence, demon girl. Just lead me to the next challenge.”

The girl let out a sinister little giggle as Nellaf turned and regarded her with eyes burning red with smoldering anger.

Books that inspire me

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Books. A seemingly simplistic word, that so many in our generations have come to overlook as archaic. Even my best friend, a man I consider a brother to me in soul, admits that he will probably never touch a book in recreation.

“Why read a book, when I can watch the movie if it is good enough to be made into one?”

He has said this to me on more than one occasion. And unfortunately this has creepingly become the accepted norm for books. But to me, this tiny little word means so much more. When I was younger books served as portals to other worlds that took me away from the bullying and teasing of other children as well as from the abuse of my own step-father. At the time, I saw them as a means of escape. Now, in retrospect, I can see them as so much more. They were an escape, to be sure, but now I see them as the entrances to something much grander. They inspired my mind and heart. They taught me that even the little guy like I used to be, could have more, could be more. They showed that there wasn’t always desperation and anguish, and they showed that even those tales could have happy endings.

I watched as children with nothing worth fighting for could become men and women that proved to the world that greatness comes in many forms. I watched as the mightiest heroes fell to evil only to become the greatest champions of the very causes they had so adamantly fought against. I’ve read and observed more tales and souls than I can recount.

But I remember my favorites. I remember the ones that inspired me the greatest. These are the tales that have inspired me to embrace my love for books and have given me the courage to forge my own tales, in life and on paper. Now I would like to share with you the list of books that paved the way for my love for writing. Enjoy.

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

This is the first book I ever remember reading. I remember sitting on my bed, as my mom held me and read this book to me, sometimes over and over. Then I grew up, and the book became lost to me along with the memory. Then, five years ago, I was working at Borders (resquiesce en pace) and I was putting a new batch of children’s books away, when I came across a board book edition of it. As soon as it slid out of the box I was unloading, into my hands, and I found myself staring at the cover into the jubilant faces of the young boy and his bear companion, I found a part of myself that I had lost. I found the young boy that I had been, hidden under a layer of years and a thicker layer of tortured memories from my time as a teen. That book now sits on my own son’s bookshelf and the spirit of that boy lives on in his eyes and forever in my heart.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

This is undeniably the beginning of my love for fantasy of all shapes and sorts. The tale that Le Guin wrote evoked so many emotions in me. It was the first book I remember reading where the protagonist leaves his family behind in order to seek his path in life. I’ve read that book no less than ten times now, but I remember every step and mistake that young Sparrowhawk made along the way, and I remember the fear he felt as he faced his mistakes and sought out his destiny. Given the rather diminuitive size of the book, Le Guin taught me that not all great stories need to be big, and that the value and depth of words is infinitely more important than the amount of them.

The Shannara Series by Terry Brooks

I’ve read this entire series up through the Heritage of Shannara Trilogy. Twice. Brooks taught me how rich and deep fantasy could be, without overloading you with clichés of wizards, heroes and villains. He wrote a series that, at its core was always about the magic of one world, but he showed this magic in powerful ways without having to show you over and over again. Each of his characters had their own depth and dynamic that allowed you to remember and differentiate each of them. Each had their own voice and personality. He also taught me the value of making a series that linked together, book by book. To this day, I remember each of the characters and the way each of them fought through their struggles in order to protect the varied lands and races of his series.

I could continue on about the hundreds of other books I’ve read, and about what each of them taught me, but the ones in this list, those are mine. Those are the keys to the soul of my writing, and why I must continue to write, even when I get frustrated with it and want to just give up. Those books, and the inspiration of their memories, are why I write. They inspire me to write something as half as good, all with the hope that I write something that makes at least one person feel the same way these books made and make me feel.

So. What about you? If you love writing as much as I, if you love books as much me, I implore you to tell me what books make you tick. I have many years left on this planet, and I can think of no better companions than books and lovers of books, so recommend me your favorite tales.

Cheers!

The Soldiers of Linkin Park

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So, as I’m sure I’ve said before, one of my favorite bands is Linkin Park.  The beauty of their music lies in the subtlety of their storytelling.  Most people would just tell me that I’m full of shit, and hell maybe even the band members would, but this is how I’ve come to interpret their music over the years as I listened from one album to the next.  Though it should be noted that I am skipping over concert albums.

If you start with their first album, Hybrid Theory, you see the story unfold on a youth growing up in a dark and painful world where life is a struggle with few people to trust and little to hope for.

With the release of Reanimation, you saw the youth try to change the world around them, or at least change their perception of the world.

Meteora shows us the results of the youth’s failures and the madness that rages within him.  Anger and bitterness poor from him and the other subjects that live their created world.

Minutes to Midnight, shows the youth has grown up and begun his service to a system that won’t let him/her free, but they continue to see the flaws in the system.  From rich and powerful politicians to foolish leaders, each pushes down the masses that sought out these men to make there lives better.  And a rebellion is forming.

In A Thousand Suns, the revolution is in full swing and the youth has become a soldier waging war with all the injustice that surrounds him/her, but the soldier only finds unnecessary bloodshed that ultimately ends with the people of the planet destroying each other and the world around them.

Finally, in the album Living Things, we see the youth struggling along with the other survivors of the war, trying to remake an apocalyptic world into one worth keeping, but people keep making the same mistakes of old, and nothing turns out perfectly.

They have another new album coming out soon called Recharge, that like Reanimation is  a remix album, and I can’t wait to see what they do with it, and can’t wait to see if and how the story progresses!

My interpretation of this story is inspiring me to write a story that shows this epic tale, but I’d hate to feel like I was playing upon an already great story that needs no further telling/explaining.  We’ll see!  Might just make it a side project for fun!

In closing, I was extremely excited that I wasn’t the only person to have a similar thought on the theme of these albums, when I found a YouTube video that was a a collective effort of individuals to make a story from certain songs!  Here it is to check out!

Writing Rebellion

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I’m back!!!  I know I’ve been gone for some time, I know you’ve all met me so drastically and I know, despite the fact that I’m blogging for the first time in a long time, I may disappear for a while again, but such is the way of my life these days.  I want to dedicate myself to one thing at a time but I’m nothing if not the perfect Gemini, bouncing around from project to project, book to book, game to game and wife to wife.  Just kidding about the wife! 😉

My hiatus has not been chocked full of procrastination like usual, but I haven’t had much time for much of anything.  I’ve got a new career, that is going swimmingly, but it is salary pay and therefore I work way more than I ever used to.  Then my time off is spent with my family and trying to find an hour of relaxation.

But always at the back of my mind was my muse, coaxing me, “Justin… Justin… let’s play…”.

But I have so many things that I want to do in my free time.  And all involve creativity and imagination.  Whether it involved playing a game, or working on an interesting character idea for the Skyrim Blog, or just reading the hundreds of books that I am currently in the middle of.  However, through all of that not once has writing been an outlet for my creativity.  I have been thinking of several different story themes and plot, still trying to find one that just clicked in my head and said, you need to write this, but writing has lost its original purpose for me.

For too long, writing has been changing from it’s original purpose of allowing me to create and express myself, and it has slowly evolved into something much more base.  It has become little more than a means for me to save my family from the mundane paycheck to paycheck that our lives have become.  For too long, I have pissed and moaned about not being able to give my family the life I never had, that it has allowed my mind and imagination to grow stagnant from resent.  My ideas lack their own sense of purpose.  For too long, my writing has been living and not-living for me.

It is time for a rebellion.

It is time that I start living for my writing.  I remember the first stories I ever started writing, and how I wrote them simply to tell tales.  I will get back to that.  I will write to write.  I will write to let my stories live, and I will work for them.

If any of you find yourself in the same place, then join me.  Join my rebellion.  Tell me how you rebel against the oppression that is life and the inhibitions it chains you with.  Or if you have broken through this stagnation before, give me your tips, challenge me to write something new.  I’m always up for writing a new short story, so challenge me.  Or just leave a comment or a like in support of my rebellion.  Let me know that my war does not go without notice!