Hi Everyone, just thought I would do a bit of a blog about some of the stuff I have been doing this week. No video this time round, as it has been incredibly hectic and the recordings I did for the video didn’t work and schedule was too busy to re-record at this time.
So, much of this month has been recording videos for the Youtube Channel, with the rationale being that I get stuff done in advance and I can get a fairly solid burst of writing done without having to worry about it (and as I discovered, the videos are time intensive despite being short). So far, aside from this post, I have videos ready to go for the rest of November, and I will shortly be recording December.
I’ve also spent time on my Patreon Account, creating a channel trailer for it and have started looking at rewards for supporters. This week I will be in talks with my University about doing audio novellas recorded professionally that will be available to patrons. You can view my Patreon page HERE.
When not working on videos, I have been creating background for my novel. It is a fantasy setting that has been knocking around in my head for a long time, in fact I wrote a lot of it years ago. Of course, I wasn’t a particularly good writer back then, and certain ideas I had just weren’t good enough. So, I am going through what I wrote and incorporating what I can into the background, dropping what I need to and modifying the rest so that it works. This project has also provided backstory for a lot of the deities in the world I have created.
Of course, focusing on background is a bit dry (though necessary), so I have been looking at character back stories. In that respect, I realised that I was doing myself and potential readers a disservice with some of my characters, after producing my video on character creation [which you can view HERE]. It occurred to me that whilst I was touching on much of what I was talking about in the video with my character creation process, I was not going deep enough. And as a result, character personalities were not coming out strongly enough. So, I took a new character that I had come up with, and then ran through the process I had discussed in the video. It took a bit longer, as you might expect. But I got a much stronger sense of who I was writing. Every day is a school day for a writer, when you get right down to it.
Over the last month, I have been reading Wit’ch Fire and Wit’ch Storm by James Clemens. They are the first two books in a fantasy series called “The Banned and the Banished”. I read them years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed them and decided to read them again. They are high fantasy, in a world where magic is real, though manifests very differently for different types of people. For Mages, and Witches, it is blood magic, whereas there are also elementals that have gifts more akin to X-Men style mutations (Though some of the darker elementals are quite horrific). I am quite enjoying the story again, as it is entertaining, not too deep but not dumbed down either. It is a quest narrative, like many great fantasies of the Tolkien or Dungeons & Dragons type. And by that I mean a party of people with different skillsets and mystical powers coming together to go to a place to achieve a thing. It is the plot of the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Most David Eddings books and the Banned and the Banished. It is a formula that works. What I find quite interesting is that in the first two books, the main character, Elena, only really does one or two things in the entire story. There is a lot happening in a very short space of time, but only a couple of adversaries are defeated or a couple of challenges overcome. I quite like that the objective in the first book is basically on their doorstep, and the quest is actually quite short geographically but a lot still manages to happen, and it doesn’t feel rushed. I also like that each book has one or two forewords from future historians etc set in the same world passing judgement of the text, framing the narrative and giving you an idea about the world that comes after the story. I won’t say any more, other than you could do a lot worse than get the 5 books in the series and read them.
This month, after two and a bit years of gaming, some friends of mine and I finally got to the end of a long Marvel Heroic Campaign. Marvel Heroic is a roleplay game based on the marvel universe, sadly no longer in print. We started a joint storytelling adventure approx. two years ago, and finally concluded the story. We were all playing slightly skewed or non-standard versions of Marvel Heroes. So, our Spider-Man was 16 years old for the entire campaign, our Clint Barton started as the current Captain America, and my Moon Knight had been abandoned by his god, lost his fortune and was working security for Tony Stark wearing an old Iron Man armour.
Drawn by Barry Martin – Our first heroic entry as a team, this happened just after the halfway point in the story.
Our story was a rough one in the beginning, particularly mine, as the character Moon Knight is not a likeable person, and in this campaign, was bitter at losing the stuff that made him special. For those of you that are less familiar with role-play games, properly done they are a shared storytelling experience. One person writes the overall story and the other players interact with things as they believe their character wood. So, for instance, one of the best scenes early on for Moon Knight was a complete emotional breakdown in the middle of a fight, where nothing was going right for him. The first few games were about him feeling abandoned by his god, and trying to continue being who he was after a loss, but by changing who he was to be able to do what he used to do. He was a deeply messed up character, who actually wasn’t effective for quite some time. Until he evolved. After a few months play, he got an upgrade on the armour and became effective, and his story became “Who am I?” By the halfway point, he had found a connection to his god (Khonshu) and rejected the power armour in favour of becoming a holy warrior of Khonshu. The turning point for him was a battle between him and Doctor Octopus where he shed his armour like a skin, his faith restored, and terrifies Doc Oc into submission with new found conviction and confidence.
The campaign we played was a lot of fun, but for me, the most compelling part of playing the character was his voyage of discovery, picking up his broken life, putting it back together and and answering the character, “Are you the next Iron Man, or are you Moon Knight?” I guess the point here is that, whilst by the end of the story Moon Knight actually became the god Khonshu, he was anything but to begin with. Whilst there was a cosmic villain doing great evil, the best part of the story for me was the character developing. And that is something that writers can take away an learn. Some people write fan fiction, and some folk read it. Some of it is good, some of it not so good. And one of the flaws of a bad fan fiction or that of an inexperienced writer is the “Mary-Sue” character. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, and I was too a couple years back, a Mary-Sue is a character that is writer wish-fulfillment, has no perceptible flaws and is often overpowered. It is a trap some writers fall into that they write their protagonist this way. This is a mistake. First off, no one is perfect. Secondly, even if they are perfect, what is their story? Surely it is much more interesting to know how they got there?
All I know, it took my Moon Knight several breakdowns, being beaten to within an inch of his life several times, a lecture from a 16 year old kid, a trip down a dark road with a demon (Called Hollywood, believe it or not) and two years of discovery before he finally found his destiny. And it was a damn good journey.
That’s all from me for just now. I have to go prep for a grad fair, and write some stuff!