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Sword of the Moon

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About Sword of the Moon

  • Birthday April 21

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  1. As an author, most of my characters tend to some shade of gray but I must recognize that there are those who are truly evil. They exist in life and so they should exist in fiction. The man or woman next to you may not be able to act in a logical, rational, moral manner. They might be a sociopath, a psychopath, a malignant narcissist. These people are found everywhere — they might be in our government, they might be our nasty next door neighbor. The thing is we should not be afraid to include them in our writing. Evil is real. It should be noted that many of these people do not see themselves as evil (though some do not recognize the concept) but feel justified in what they do. The narcissist can convince himself of the rightness of his actions. That makes him no less wrong, no less evil. It is difficult, I think, for a ‘normal’ person to recognize this. It is hard to see it, often, in our daily lives, and it is hard for us to get into that alien mind set and write convincingly of it. I know I tend to shy away from that sort of thing. Trying to think like a psychopath is hard and actually succeeding at it is scary! Fortunately, most people are reasonably normal and their failings tend to be petty — they are thoroughly gray.
  2. Reading, especially non-fiction and more particularly history. Some small bit of historical info can be the first link in a whole chain of inspiration. Mindless work, like mowing the lawn, can sometimes open the way for useful ideas, things that might not come to me if I were 'thinking.' I've come up with more than a few lines of dialog while working on the yard or biking or some other physical activity. Whole poems too. The problem is remembering them until I can get inside and write them down!
  3. I don't exactly do 'one' universe, in that all my stuff is based on the concept of infinite universes (and magic is largely a matter of knowing how to navigate them). This does allow me to tie things together though, in that anything and everything exists 'somewhere,' including whatever takes place in my stories. But most take place in just one of those worlds with only occasional side trips (including visits to our own universe). I do have characters to tie things together some, however, and those characters are for the most part gods. Each pantheon has its own universe—they do not live in the primary world, the world of mortals. So I can let this god or that god pop into a story and then use him or her again in one set millennia later. Are they immortal? They aren't sure themselves but they do last immeasurably long. Nor are they necessarily very powerful when they leave their own worlds, so they tend more to be advice-givers and teachers than participants in the action.
  4. Looking at my stuff, I realize I almost never use 'as' that way. More likely to divide the thought into two sentences. That doesn't mean there is a darn thing wrong with it though—unless, of course, over-used.
  5. This is something I needed to touch on in my latest (now completed) novel, which has a number of two-year-olds, human and otherwise, as characters. The little monster friends of my MP's son pop in to play with him and his toys from time to time. I regret a little that I didn't explore what sort of playthings they have in their own somewhat more primitive world/home, but it wasn't relevant to the story. I did explore a little the 'baby-sitting' arrangements of their monstrous moms. The human child has fairly normal toys for a well-to-do family of a pre-industrial society, carved wooden soldiers and animals and that sort of thing. I also set up a birthday party for him not a great deal different from those of our own time. But the cake, of necessity, had somewhat different ingredients, being closer to gingerbread (no refined sugar available!). And they sang a birthday song for him but I doubt it was the familiar one we know. 🙂
  6. Facing death is facing death and that happens frequently enough to many of my characters. What's worse? The loss of the soul, perhaps — though strictly speaking my stories do not allow for a 'soul' as many understand the word, ones physical essence might be trapped eternally in another world, which comes to much the same thing. My Donzalo character faces that threat at least once, and it is implied that is the final fate of the sorcerer who tried to inflict it on him (to be explored in the sequel, of course). And then there is poor Saj who faces a fate worse than death when he is threatened with marriage.
  7. Loads of inexpensive paperback books, the greater part of them science-fiction, and especially all the re-releases of Edgar Rice Burroughs's stuff that coincided with my youth. That led to a great deal of wider reading and eventually fantasy (though I didn't get into--or maybe 'get'--Tolkien till I was older). The Ballantine series of classic fantasy novels was definitely big, and introduced me to William Morris, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, etc. Incidentally, the paperback rack was right down the aisle from the model airplane shelves in the local hobby store and I always had to make a choice of which to spend my money on. Those models definitely stimulated my imagination too and I could follow a thread from them to my shortly-to-be-released non-fantasy adventure 'The Dictator's Children,' which has it's share of 'vintage' airplanes. 🙂 If I go back a little further, books on paleontology and archaeology first evoked a sense of wonder in me. Especially paleo-anthropology (i.e. prehistoric man) eventually. That has stayed with me and I have not hesitated to drop a few 'cave men' into my stories.
  8. I use a four act approach quite a lot. In the majority of my fantasy adventures, in fact. It lets me put a twist at the end of act 2 and introduce new problems/conflicts/subplots in act 3. I also try to have each act bring its own little plot arc with a bit of a resolution (or apparent resolution) before tackling the next one. It's nothing I hide, btw; many of the novels are formally divided into four named sections.
  9. I've gone more the opposite direction when it comes to pantsing/plotting. I don't write out near as much ahead of time as I used to and rely more on the story in my head. I think this might be a matter of greater confidence in myself to improvise, and not worry so much about the world-building. Not that my world-building isn't extensive anyway! And the writing certainly flows easier. Less editing is necessary. It's the old practice makes perfect thing, I guess, though I'm far from perfect. I'm also far more confident in my descriptive language. I've always tended to be spare with that sort of thing but now I can better see the places I need to drop in a few words to flesh things out.
  10. If I've gotten more than a couple pages in I will probably finish, More than a few have only taken those couple pages (or even a couple paragraphs) for me to say 'no way' and put them down. Or thrown them across the room. Very infrequently I might drop a book I've gotten further into. I'm usually too invested by that time, even if I've concluded they aren't very good and/or interesting. That is entirely likely to be something I've been assured is a good story so I keep looking for evidence!
  11. I have to admit I find it hard not to drop humor into my work, even when I attempt to be so, so serious. I might blame it on Edgar Rice Burroughs. Most folks don't realize he would slip all these witty and sometime sarcastic bits into his genre adventures. James Branch Cabell too. That, i realize, is a somewhat different direction for humor than that taken by Pratchett (though I do appreciate both). A darker humor, perhaps, though it needn't be. Stepping outside of Fantasy, my 'idol' has to be Evelyn Waugh when it comes to incorporating humor into novels.
  12. I don't quite do a 'moodboard' and certainly not online, but I do have folders on my own PC with images that seem relevant to story creation. In particular, photos of people (actors, sometimes) who might resemble my characters. I find it easier to visualize and describe them that way. And landscapes and buildings and weapons and so on. It is long since I had a Pinterest account. It really never seemed that useful to me but then I'm not connected constantly to the internet as so many are these days (that is a result of living out in the boonies, with a satellite hookup and spotty cell coverage).
  13. I am perhaps less into any period of history than I am into prehistory. So much happened before we started writing things down—so I figure, why not write 'em myself? 😉 Especially the cultures of Eurasia going back as the late Paleolithic, but also the Neolithic and Bronze Age. In several of my stories we are essentially at a Neolithic level of development. But I am a lover of history from any period (after all, I have a degree in it). I might be particularly fond of the Renaissance, with its new dynamic as the Middle Ages transitioned to more-or-less the Modern world. And I do intend to return to it and write a sequel to the tale I already set there (or in a fantasy analog, I should say).
  14. I am found HERE. I, as many of you, do not socialize at GR but do put up reviews. And, of course, make sure all my own books are up.
  15. Though it is certainly possible to bring something new to any setting, including a medieval-like world, I have avoided it so far. Maybe I'll find a reason to use that setting someday, but I think maybe I feel a little uncomfortable walking that much traveled terrain. I might fall into one the very deep ruts. It's that cookie-cutter medieval that bothers me. Probably bothers a lot of us. Shoot, it bothered Cervantes enough to spoof it hundreds of years ago. But people keep writing it, don't they? I have set tales in periods that would correspond to those just before and after the middle ages, so I can get a little of the flavor without being strictly medieval. My Donzalo books would correspond to the late renaissance, so there are still men riding about in armor but they are more likely to carry wheel-lock pistols than lances. My WIP and those related to it are similar to late antiquity, just before the dawning of the medieval. Ha, maybe I'm zeroing in...
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