Month: September 2017

Reality in Fiction: Contentment

I’ve had the idea for this post for months now. And finally it’s happening. I thought it would work well as part of a series. Probably posted monthly. I should be able to keep up with that. What? It’s not like I never have regularity and posting on time here. Just not often enough.

The series is going to focus how certain ideas play out in real life and books in general. I’d like to think it’s got a bt of writing advice, but non-readers should find it just as interesting. Unless you hate discovering the patterns  in most books which make it easier to predict things. (you know, the two leads will end up together if it it’s romance, the hero always wins, that slightly suspicious man is obviously evil unless he’s actually good.  Or on a deeper level you know that the protagonist is going to have to change in a certain way before he can succeed)

There are reasons things play out the same way in many stories. One of those reasons is because it’s real. Stories aren’t always like reality, but if they’re too far off in certain ways, they don’t work.

There’s a truth I’ve discovered that I think is one of the secrets to a good life. If you’re not content with what you have, you’ll never be happy however much you have. Or to look it from a less material perspective, if you’re waiting for things to change before you can be happy, it’s not going to happen. This is something that might be shown in a story, but certainly not every story. However there is a flipside, that I think subtly shows in many stories. It’s possible to be too content.

Yes, you can be too content. you can become complacent. Yes, you shouldn’t rest your happiness in things being a certain way, but sometimes things really do need to change. You must not be content to let evil go past. You must not just subsist even if it’s comfortable.

Just think of a story, any story. Is the protagonist completely happy with the way things are? Maybe they are. But do they stay that way for long? Of course they don’t. Something goes wrong and they’re forced to deal with it. If they were perfectly content to let things happen as they may, they would never get any where. They would be beaten before the fight even begun.

I’m terrible at pulling out examples because I know a lot more obscure stories than popular ones. But I’ll choose The Horse and His Boy. If Shasta had been content, passive, he never would have run away with Bree. He might not have listened at the door of the hut and known he was to be sold. And Bree, if he’d become complacent with his lot as a prisoner, he never would helped Shasta escape. Now you could say that to act differently was besides those characters natures, and you’d be correct. But that really is part of the point.

For another example I’ll pull out Truth by Molly Evangeline (aka Jaye L. Knight). Makilien, the protagonist lives in a little walled village no one ever leaves. She was drawn out by curiosity, but also by a sense that things should and could be better than they were.  She was not content to simply leave things as they were. (This isn’t the best example, because the other villagers were more afraid and down trodden than complacent, but I think it still works)

Now for an example of a passive character, Jane Bennet. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice twice I think and don’t feel all that familiar with the details of the story, but I would call Jane passive. Things happen to her. Mr. Bingley just gets dropped in her lap, so to speak, and when he’s taken away, Jane hardly does anything. She’s just content to let things be. She doesn’t grasp after anything. That’s why she isn’t the protagonist. Lizzie is. And Lizzie isn’t afraid to let people know when she’s not happy.

This isn’t to say you can’t have a protagonist who is content, or that they have to speak their mind. Just don’t let them be passive, and don’t you be passive either. Find your contentment and go change the world. That’s how to be happy. (part of it at least)

 

 

The Relativity of Age

Hello friends,

I have a short, musing post for you today. I’ve been thinking about growing up lately, because it’s my birthday about now. A slightly significant birthday. I’m having a party. I might share something more about it once it’s over.

I remember back when I was nine and mad a new friend. She was almost thirteen and quite mature. In my eyes she was almost too grown up, and I really didn’t have much in common. I played with her younger brothers instead.  (they tried to send me away, but being told she had lot’s of cool music really didn’t matter to nine-year-old me.) We did become friends though, and I figured out that thirteen was grown up. I thought that was when I’d be allowed to do various thing my older brothers did. (despite the fact they were older than that)

When I did turn thirteen, I didn’t feel very grown up at all. I didn’t want to be a teenager. But I did think sixteen (incidentally the age of my my friend) was quite grown up. But the same thing repeated when I was sixteen. I felt a little mature, but not very.

At eighteen and nineteen, I still felt that way. I wasn’t sure who I was. I was beginning to write, and had figured out some of what I wanted to do in life, but I wasn’t very confident. But it was around this time I started to look back. I had friends and brothers a number of years younger, and I had trouble believing how grown up I saw myself at their age. They’re just kids. How on earth would someone have a crush on a fifteen-year-old boy? It seemed ridiculous looking back.

Since then, I’ve started to see them as a little more grown up. I’ve been surprised by the insight-fullness of some pre-teens. I’ve mistaken people’s ages to be younger or older. I’ve had people get my age wrong. And from this I’ve come to a conclusion. Age might be an absolute things, but how it’s perceived and what it means is relative. It’s affected by your own age, the circumstances and personality of the person, and your own experiences.

I’ve got to a stage now, where I might say someone from three years younger than me to about five years older is about my age. If they’re  younger than me, I might forget their age, and group them with the fifteen year olds, but that group mostly consists of people who were fifteen two or three years ago. It’s hard to keep track when you only know people online.

As for myself, I do feel fairly comfortable with the age I am. I’ve realized that just because I’m not as far along in life as someone else, that doesn’t mean I’m not good at acting my age. I don’t need to act my age. I need to be the person God wants me to be.

Beautiful New Covers and a Crossover Ficlet

They’re here. Six beautiful new covers for the books I love to talk about here. Well at least I love talkihng about Rizkaland, and can’t avoid talking about Rizkaland. I cannot recal if I’ve ever talked about The Ankulen. I should have mentioned it because it makes me laugh and I love it.

Kendra’s sneak peeks had given me an idea of what some of the covers looked like. She also had shared a cover she was working on which was nothing like the final product and nowhere near as awesome. Unexpected plot twist there.

The books are also being edited to make them all shinier and add extra special content. Kendra’s first book, Sew, It’s a Quest has already been re-released, and the others are on their way. And if you want a copy of all the new books, Kendra currently is running a give-away of the full set. Head over to her blog to check it out. Any comments on this post count towards the giveaway.

But enough of me yammering. You want to see the covers and then you want to read the mini fanfic I wrote which crosses over with my own stories. (Don’t ask me how I know what you want. I just do. It’s a blogging skill.)

Covers are incoming!!!!

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Sew, It’s a Quest

It’s lovely, and shiny and pink!

Two twins in a fairy tale world must find their Fairy Godmother before their eighteenth birthday, lest they forever be stuck with the other’s gift. (Cause that would be bad, you know, when your gifts are sewing and swordplay.)

Kendra’s Revison notes: I sent this book to my kindle, tore it to shreds, then retyped the whole thing, making every word fight to stay in the book. I completely rewrote one chapter, and added/expanded several scenes, focusing on character development and pacing, in particular Robin’s character.

She did an awesome job too. It’s changed from being a nice story, to a great book.

GoodreadsPaperback – FREE ebook

 

Do You Take This Quest

You know I love the colour purple, right? And incorporating the old cover is awesome.

A prince’s quest for allies against his misery uncle and a madcap race to get home for a wedding. (Also an odd girl looking for a paintbox, and some funny family resemblances.)

Kendra’s Revision notes: This book has one added chapter, a few (potentially) added scenes, and a severe edit. Again, focus is going to Robin’s character development. I hadn’t the maturity to completely handle her emotional situation when I wrote this book, and now I intend to fix that.

I’ve seen the extra chapter and it’s amazing. A lot of emotional depth to it.

Goodreads

 

My Kingdom for a Quest

Prince Arthur’s quest to take back his kingdom, and Casperl’s quest to find out how, exactly, he’s a prince.

Kendra’s notes: This book was mostly clean … but it’s getting a part two. AKA, book 3.5, The Quest for a Quince, AKA, Casperl’s story. There will be a edit to part one, though.

I’m not the biggest Bookania fan out there, but I’ve enjoyed every snippet from The Quest for a Quince that I’ve seen so far. I think something big is going on, but I don’t know what. (common trait of Kendra’s books)

Goodreads

Those first three covers were made by Kendra. The next three are designed by Alea Harper, an excellent aspiring designer. Go over to her website Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings and have a look at the covers she’s made for her own writing. (She made me a rough one when I mentioned the elements I’d like. She’s awesome.)

 

The Ankulen

Jen knows she had an imagination once – how far will she go to get it back?

This is especially a great book for writers. It takes place in an intersection of imagination and reality, makes fun of a few of Kendra’s writing tendencies, and explores the purpose of imagination. It’s also thoroughly fun and has chapter titles like: In Which I Discover that My Imagination is Gray.

Goodreads

 

Water Princess, Fire Prince

When two teens are pulled into another world, fire and water must work together to defeat a dragon.

I absolutely love this cover. The colours fit so well with the book. It give it a much more dignified look than the original cover. It might also help me get over my mental image of Rizkaland as white. There is snow when the book begins, and even when it’s gone, I still picture it. Snow and coloured trees.

Goodreads

 

Lady Dragon, Tela Du

Purple – Red – Beautiful

Only the Tela Du stands in Amber’s way for ruling Rizkaland forever. Petra would much rather find her long-lost sisters than fight a Lady Dragon.

I just dicovered I have a slight attachment to the old cover for this book. Yes, this one is better. Yes, I complained a little about the other not matching my standards. But its gold, and its vibrancy made me love it anyway. The one bit of my mind that wants things to stay the same is fighting with rest over how excited I should be.

 

Check out what everyone says about the covers and comment over there too. Then read my fanfic.

 

As part of the giveaway on her blog, Kendra is asking for crossover fanfics. There’s a number of options, but I choose to pull a few of my characters into Rizkaland. I have Demetrio from Lady of Courage and Cassia from SubM. Demetrio is supposed to be a villain, but doesn’t act like it, while Cassia remains anonymous and is a nuisance. I hope you like it.

 

Just Get Off the Mat

It was still early summer, but there was a patch of red leaves showing through the trees ahead. Demetrio pushed ahead. If the trees were suffering from some blight, he ought to know about it.

Further on were still more red trees. He stepped from the path to see how far the trees extended. They vanished again. Puzzled, he stepped back to the path. The trees appeared again. Demetrio hurried on. There was a loud click behind him and he whirled around.

Impossible. Red trees surrounded him. Yellow grass too. Was he going mad?

“Excuse me sir, What way would I walk to find a town?”

Demetrio scanned the trees and spotted a small golden-haired girl under one of the trees. He strode forward and grabbed her wrist.

“What have you done to the trees?” he demanded.

“I? The trees? They were red when I arrived here. Where they different before?” the girl asked.

“There were green trees here, just a minute ago. And green grass. Not this atrocity. Don’t pretend you know nothing about it.”

The girl’s eyes grew big. “You’re not from here either, I see. And you don’t know what happened.”

Demetrio loosened his grip on the girl. “Where is this then? Because last time I checked, I was very much from Doranto.”

The girl sighed. “It seems there was some reason for me to be here then. You’re not in Doranto anymore. You’re in another world. She said it was called Rizkaland before she disappeared.”

“Rizkaland? World? She?” Demetrio pulled his hat off and rubbed at his head. “What on earth do you mean?”

“I mean you’ve been transported to a place completely disconnected from where ever you’ve come from. Unfortunately, that means you can’t get back all on your own. Neither can I. So, we’re stuck here. And there is magic which just makes it all worse.”

Demetrio raised his eyebrows. He still had no idea what was going on, but his senses said this was real. So presumably the magic was real and could be useful. “What is this magic? I’m not sure I believe you.”

The girl twisted her had from his grip and stepped away. “You really don’t need to know.”

Demetrio took a step after the girl and grabbed her by both wrists. “Tell me. Please.”

She stared back at him for a long moment. “Fine. But I’ll advise you to avoid all of it. Magic is not something to be meddled with and there could be all kinds in this place. Take this for example.” She pointed at a purple mat under their feet. “If you say a special word, it transports you somewhere else.”

“Do you know what the word is?”

“Yes, but I’m not using it. I don’t do magic. That’s why I asked which way the nearest town was.”

Demetrio stared at her. “I don’t suppose you could tell me the word.”

“Nope. I wouldn’t want to have someone else’s use of magic on my mind. We’ll just have to wait for someone else to turn up.”

“You said there was a woman here?”

The girl nodded. “Yep, she went off on the mat to find someone else when I refused to use it. She’ll probably be trying to come back about now.”

Demetrio tugged at the girl. “Look here. I don’t know how these things work, but I’d imagine it’s not a good idea to stand on them when someone else wants to use them.”

She pulled back. “Oh, they just won’t work. But I don’t want her using magic either.”

~The End~

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