Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Downtime

I don't know how some bloggers do it. Once-a-week postings? I could do this daily! But then again, I don't work on The Proxy Wars daily. *I'm in college remember?* So, I've just recently gotten some downtime, and before I go off to pray one of the five daily prayers I think I'll post a little snippet from Book 1: Dramatis Personae. It's from Chapter Five: The Ties That Bind.

A little history on the title, it's a Christian tradition coming from a Protestant hymn that states, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds." I thought it was very beautiful to show in this chapter how love can both bind people together, and drive them wildly apart. I'm only posting a short snippet here, not the whole chapter. Just to provide some context, the scene takes place at a graveyard called The Burial Mound. This place is where the six Magna Beasts who have ruled Atlantis as monarchs since the island's foundation in the year 2555 are buried. Hopefully, I've mentioned beforehand that the whole story takes place from August 3096 - May 3097 (That's to say, the whole of Book 1 takes place during that time.), so considering the Magna Beast's prolonged lifetime it makes sense how there are only six monarchs. At the Burial Mound, Briok is mourning his father with his mother, the Queen of Atlantis Sheba Cwartel. *Sheba is human, while Briok's father is the Mag*

I'll explain how an alien species mated with a human one in a later post. Don't get wigged out, it doesn't involve sex. *Is anyone else still getting shivers from District 9's concept of Nigerian prostitutes and alien suitors? I am*

If you have any criticism, please post/comment below after the jump. I appreciate all criticism and check out my query letter summary from the previous post. Please critique that one as well. Tell me if it grabs your attention, if it seems like a standout storyline different from others you've heard, and if it compels you to read further. Thanks to the two people who read this continuously so far! You know who you are. Until next time then.

Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Days Later

I know, it's not three days later since my original post. The title above is just the name of the second chapter in Book 1: Dramatis Personae.

Everything I've read about writing a query letter - because that's what you do when you finish your novel and reread it, and proofread it, and fix it, and then write it again, and then proofread...well, you get the point - says that I've got to explain my book in 3-6 sentences. So I've got it down to four.

The story takes place in the year 3096, against a backdrop of war between two alien species, the Mags and Howlas. Led by their respective leaders, the Magna Beast and the Howlamega, the two species have found themselves on Earth where they have settled into an uneasy armistice. With the murder of his father, fourteen-year-old Briok Cwartel now rises to the mantle of Last Magna Beast, forced to contend with the trials of adolescence, his half-human, half-Mag ancestry, and the amorality of his ancestor’s war. The task is not easy, and Briok’s early time as the last Magna Beast is marred by gangland warfare between competing Howlian mafias that could become the biggest threat to his life, and the lives of many others.
Does that sound interesting? I'm talking to empty space, I know. I'll try to be brave and post this on Twitter or something, but there's something in my gut that tells me not to. It could be my insecurities, or it could be the fact that my story just isn't worth the time. I think that's the issue of the day. I've been feeling so incredibly pessimistic about this damn book. I understand that, essentially, I was born with this thing rollicking inside my head. I just can't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with the Magna Beast. Everyday, a new facet of his history comes into my head, parts of the story are scratched out, characters are repositioned. I spend so much of my imagination on this, and I still don't have an iota of confidence in it.

That could be because I gave it to a couple people to read, and they just weren't turned on by the first chapter. I've revamped it since then, cut out several awkward parts, changed character's names, whole introductions even. And I haven't gotten up the courage to give that renewed first chapter back to people. Then again, I'm sending my work to my peers, who are going to college and have better things to do than sit in and read someone else's work about a battle between good versus evil. Since when did that become childish? To write about yin and yang, about balance and humanity's constant discourse with our darker side. I'm not sure.

I expect no one to read this, I really do. Because I'm not brave enough to fight for this, I'm not brave enough to face the criticism. Maybe I'm being uncomfortably honest and raw, but that's just how I feel at this moment. I really can't explain it any other way. I remember when I gave the original version to my best friend at the time. She said she loved it. She also turned out to be a chronic liar, but I did feel genuine pride from her in me. But I've been blind before. I also gave the whole original version - which was only 150 pages, whereas this new version is at 300 - to another person who was close to me at one time. She said she loved it, and gave me honest criticism. I've used that criticism since then, but we don't talk anymore, and I can't send it to her. In fact, I'm pretty sure we're not even on looking at each other terms.

I've also had my old english teacher/Yearbook advisor read this. She also gave me honest criticism. So did her brother's agent. Her brother works at a publishing house in Seattle I guess, I'm not sure if it's a publishing house, but it does publish material, and the man was nice enough to give a fifteen year old boy's work to a reader. Both gave me the most honest criticism I've received in a long time, and said they loved it and the potential/ambition. Well, look at me. I can feel my confidence growing. Maybe I will post this on Twitter. Hell, I'll scream about it. Thanks. Until next time then.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Joker and the Thief

So, I used to have several more posts on this blog. But that's changed since I've actually finished the third draft of my novel. I decided to delete the other posts and re-post with new information, updated backstory, and an overall introduction into the world I'm trying to create. Up there, the title, that's actually the name of the first chapter of the novel. Hopefully someone gets the reference, because that reference is the crux of theme for most of the story. I say story, because one novel simply cannot hold all of the story that I want to tell. It's impossible for a writer like me to do it. I'm not sure exactly why, but somehow I always end up with a long piece whenever I write. The finished third draft of the novel is around 300 pages. It's either a curse or a gift, and I'm leaning towards the former.

So, let me introduce you to this story I can't stop writing about. I've had this idea for a character, this quasi-imaginary friend in my head for as long as I can remember. Literally, I have no recollection of a time when I wasn't thinking about the Magna Beast and his adventures. That's the title of the main character of this story, the Magna Beast. It's only a formal title though, sort've like Doctor, or Professor. The protagonist's name is Briok Cwartel. I developed that name from a few short stories I had to write in 4th grade. Every Wednesday, or Tuesday I'm not exactly sure, my 4th grade teacher had the class write a short story using a list of vocabulary words. I created this character called Briok, who would have various adventures, and he was a recurring character over the course of 4th grade. I guess I've developed an affection for the name. Plus, it's the name of a Saint - total coincidence.

So this character, Briok Cwartel, is the Magna Beast. Being the Magna Beast entails a whole host of duties, including leading a race of aliens called the Mags, being a Prophet as well as King to them, and murder. The last part is the driving force for the plot of the story. The Magna Beast must murder the Howlamega. This latter character is another formal title. The name of the Howlamega is Kilik Qwarren. This person performs the same essential, basic duties of the Magna Beast. He - or she - is the leader of a race of aliens called the Howlas, Prophet of these people, and is also responsible for murder. He must murder the Magna Beast. The reason why I say must is because, for both the Magna Beast and Howlamega, the murder of each other is a holy mandate, a duty placed upon them by their Gods, or who they think is God.

These Gods, Tov and Yfel, are supposed to represent true, impersonal, raw embodiments of Good and Evil. You can probably see where their names came from. Briok and Kilik are only the 26th and 25th Magna Beast and Howlamega, respectively. The first Magna Beast and Howlamega were "told" that their duty was to kill each other by Tov and Yfel. I put "told" in quotation marks because when dealing with religion, there is always ambiguity as to whether or not the Prophets were actually told anything by God. Thus, this mandate - or decision - has been carried down for 26 generations, in Briok's case, and 25, in Kilik's case.

After much exposition, the essential plot element of the story is set up. Briok must kill Kilik. But, to add to the plot, there are only 26 generations of Magna Beasts and Howlamegas. So, Briok is at an extreme disadvantage. He is the last Magna Beast, and Kilik is the second to last Howlamega. That's a problem, because even if Briok manages to kill Kilik, he will still have to kill Kilik's son, or daughter.

Crazy thing is, killing isn't easy. It's very, very hard. Save for the few people with actual biological and psychological disorders, but that's way above my level of patience to research. Therefore, an essential character element is whether or not Briok can kill at all. Whether or not he's capable. Anyways, that's the main driving force of the entire story, looking at things in the big picture. Speaking of big picture, I think a rundown of the current, working, names for each novel and volume should be put down so I can better relate my story.

Basically, every novel will fall under the umbrella of The Magna Beast Chronicles. There will be three volumes to the Chronicles. Volume 1: The Proxy Wars, Volume 2: Qasida, and Volume 3: that title isn't worked out yet. :/ Each volume will consist of a certain number of books. Volume 1 will have four books: Book 1: Dramatis Personae, Book 2: Rising Action, Book 3: Climax, and Book 4: Denouement. Volume 2 will have three books, Book 1: Nasib, Book 2: Rahil, and Book 3: Ritha. Volume 3's books still haven't been worked out yet, and honestly it seems a long ways away to give any concrete details on it.

I feel like I should end it here, it's already overly long. I'll try and update this as much as possible. Until next time then.