Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ah well, life goes on.

Hello Reader.  Today, I'm in a dull mood.  Grades came back, health's down the toilet, and my final query letter was just returned.  Another no from Barer Literary.  I was actually disappointed with this one.  I was really hoping she would be able to represent me.  Her style is so focused and she has an insane amount of dedication.  I've always tried to be an optimistic person, but today just isn't cutting it.  So I'm going to cut this post off short with an excerpt.

The scene is where Tory and Weller, the two brothers who lead the Cross Mafia Family, are awaiting a new shipment of their laser guns.  They are met with a mysterious person that they know well, who brings them news from the frontlines of the war between the Mags and Howlas.

“Do you want to talk or should I deal with the captain?” Tory was glaring at his brother.
            Weller grunted wearily, “I don’t want to talk.  I don’t even know why you brought me here.” He impatiently checked his watch.
            “You’re here because you are my brother.  We built this empire together, we’re going to run it together.”  Tory looked around the shoreline, his eyes scouring for any passersby.  “If you’re not going to talk, at least control your anger.  You look like you’re about to kill someone.”
            “You, perhaps, for dragging me away from my home.” A wind blew through their coats, brushing their beards.  They stood on the pier for a while, watching the boat navigate its way around a series of jetties.  Seagulls cawed behind them, dropping by their silent figures hoping for something to eat.  When nothing came they flapped away, blaring their cries for food louder.
            When the boat came to dock they walked along the pier to meet the captain.  What met them forced surprise onto Tory’s face.  “What are you doing here?” he growled.
            A Howla, diminutive in stature with more of a mouse’s face than a wolf’s, was shuffling towards the gangsters.  Thick-rimmed glasses adorned his face, an odd trait for someone who could heal his wounds at anytime.  A large cloak covered his body, shabby and dull in color.  He wore a patched hat, loose strings following him as he walked.  His fur was a dark shade of brown, with red streaks flitting in and out of sight as he moved.  His ears were intact and his stomach was absent of any scars.  He was the exact opposite of a Howlian warrior.
            “How are you Tory?  Weller?  I’m glad both of you are here,” the Howla took his hat off and held it against his chest.  “Please, if you will follow me I want to discuss a few things with you before you take these away.”
            Tory flinched slightly when the mysterious Howla had put his arm on him, turning away towards Weller with a look of apprehension filling his eyes. 
            “What do you want from us Harry?  We haven’t done anything wrong.” Weller was bristling as well, his frustration showing in his voice.
            “Not yet,” Harry giggled, a high-pitched wheezing sound that scared the birds in front of them, “No, not yet.  I’m here to make sure you never do.”  He took a few more steps past the docked ship and let his hands clasp in front of him. 
            “Did you know that the Holy Prophet Howlamega has killed the twenty-fifth Magna Beast?”  Harry smiled at the awe in both Tory and Weller’s faces, “I see you have yet to hear the good news.  Well, this death we have finally come upon is momentous, as I am sure you know.” 
            Tory’s look of awe turned to anger, “What does this have to do with us?”
            Harry gave a wry smile, crinkling his face into a terrible mask of conceit, “As the ambassador of the Holy Prophet, it is my duty to tell you of the Rewards that have been placed upon us.  Due to Sulfanen the Lion’s death, we have been given the unique opportunity to build our army without hindrance from the Mags.  Obviously, you understand the implications for your families.”
            Weller’s bristling turned to outright rage.  He grabbed Harry by the throat and lifted him with one hand, “How dare you attempt to use us, just after my son dies?  You want to kill more boys for your war?”
            As Harry struggled, Tory looked on with equal hatred.  Restrained as he was, he also stepped towards the dangling Harry, his body tense.  “We have accepted your help from afar as a business transaction.  Not as a favor.  I don’t give a damn about the Howlamega’s dreams.  Your war is not ours. We’re trying to make a living.”  But Tory’s words were lost upon Harry.  Though his life was slowly being ripped away from him, he was smiling.  His wheezing laugh could be heard through Weller’s grunts of frustration. 
            “Stop laughing!” Weller dug his hands deeper into Harry’s throat, “Stop laughing I said, you conniving bastard.”
            It was to no avail.  Harry continued with his giggling fit, his hands now hanging limp at his sides.  He was doing nothing to stop the attack, nothing to stop his life from escaping him.  Tory’s eyes narrowed when Harry looked to the bow of the ship. “Stop Weller!” Tory pushed Weller’s arm down, forcing him to let Harry go.  “The Howlamega’s here,” Tory whispered into his brother’s ear.  He followed Harry’s dark eyes and saw a wisp of smoke slither away.
            “Good boy Tory.” Clasping his throat tightly as he healed it, Harry grinned.  “You are a fine leader.”  He rose unsteadily before glaring at Weller, “Your brother on the other hand is too wild.  Small wonder that his pup went and killed himself.”  Harry had to step back as Weller made another grab at his throat.
            “Where is he?” Weller’s growl was full of menace, unrestrained hatred lacing his voice.
            “As if you could kill him,” Harry straightened his jacket and put his hat back on.  “Back to the Rewards.  You will, young Tory, have your family be a part of our army.  This is your duty as a Howla, this is your duty as a warrior.  It will not be shirked.”  He glared at Weller, “Knowing your anger however, I am worried.  You must remember that there is always a limit to the Rewards.  We are not allowed to harm the Lion’s family, or the country in which they reside.”
            “How would we know where they live?  We don’t know who the Magna Beast is!”  Tory was in disbelief.  The Howlamega was demanding the world from Howlas a world away.
            Harry remained unfazed, “Make a wild guess Tory, use that magnificent brain of yours.”  He turned around to face the Atlantia coastline, “Why else would we build you up here?”  With that, Harry smiled.  “Be careful with these guns Tory.  And Weller, I am truly sorry that your son died.  Next time, I hope we meet under less strenuous circumstances.”  He tipped his hat to the brothers, and left them in shock. 

Until next time then.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hello Reader!  I wasn't going to post today, because I honestly couldn't think of anything to say.  I was wrung dry, and falling off the literary bandwagon.  My third letter, the one to Barer Literary, has probably arrived at school and I'm on spring break so I can't get to it.  Ergo there are no updates.  I've begun the second book of Volume 1, because I'm sick and tired of rehashing Book 1 over and over again.  The second book, titled Rising Action, is not coming along well.

I can't imagine back to five (or is it six now?) years ago when I began this ridiculous project.  How did I stare at the blank canvas on the screen and just pour out my soul?  I had no direction then, and I just wrote.  Six years later, I'm trying to find an agent.  I don't want the second novel or any subsequent novels iA to take that long again.  Yet I fear that my lack of inspiration that has suddenly appeared (can a lack of anything truly "appear"?) is making me lose sight of my life's dream.

Staring at the blank canvas showers me in dread that nothing I write will be good enough.  That I honestly do not know the direction in which I am heading.  So I searched for that inspiration, like a mad dog.  I scoured my iTunes looking for music that will catch my soul, twirl it around for a bit, and then fling it on high towards heaven.  I thought I found it in Placebo's music.  I love them, they are my favorite band.  "Days Before You Came" defined my first heartbreak, and the rest of their body of work continued to shape my adolescence. 

But oh how I erred, fancying a quick fix rather than a solid patch over the leak in my imagination.  So, I watched a movie.  Terrible, terrible movie.  20th Century Fox, if you take another one of my childhood shows and then rape it into anything akin to the caricature that is Dragonball: Evolution I will firebomb your headquarters.  Seriously.  Anyways, that didn't work.  So there I remained with a leak turned flood, my ideas and thoughts pouring off into oblivion as I wasted away into my own obscurity.  Well, it wasn't that dramatic.  If that's my biggest problem right now, I am blessed subhanallah. 

It's still a problem though, and a problem needs a solution.  Herein enters Ashton Kutcher, of all people, with his goofy smile and odd sense of humor.  Did anyone see Valentine's Day?  Did anyone like it?  I ask because I absolutely adore this movie!  There are no suitable words for me to use, I just love it so much.  Some of it's cliche, and other parts seemed disingenuous to me.  But I don't care about any of that, because it left me lighter than before.  It's filled that hole in my head, and I needed that badly. 

Movies have always held a special power for me.  I attribute this to the fact that my father owned a video store from when I was born till I was ten.  And during that time, I spent almost every summer watching movies.  Right and wrong, equating manhood with being a hero, how to treat women, my very image of beauty have all probably been shaped in one way or another by that damn video store.  So when I see an incredible movie, even if it's cliche, the film holds a special power over my mood and thinking.  I start acting differently, I start speaking with more gusto, I start being everything that my laziness usually stops me from being.

And it's always random.  There have been other movies that have touched me just as deeply, movies that probably possess a vastly greater amount of quality than Valentine's Day does.  And each discovery, each refueling of the fires that rage inside of me occur by chance.  I was looking for another movie to watch (I'm on spring break, what?) and I randomly clicked this film.  I immediately became engrossed.  It was celebratory and it took risks with my emotion.  It was normal, yet it transcended normalcy to reach into a deep wellspring of emotion intangible.  I couldn't believe I had missed it so far. 

Now, I am filling up with ideas.  My soul that ached and bled is finally dedicating itself to the work of creating a world filled with rich characters and a fulfilling plot.  Seriously, it isn't that melodramatic.  I just like to fill my language with flowery vocabulary and intricate metaphors.  Or at least, I hope those two adjectives apply.  

Anyways, my question is: if you're writing something, or making music or pursuing any other artistic endeavor, what do you use as inspiration?  As always comments, critiques and suggestions are always appreciated. Until next time then.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life As I See It

Hello Reader!  So this is an update blog, as well as a thought-game blog.  I've been lax to reply, mainly because I've been lazy but finals also contribute to the problem.  So let's get down to the nitty gritty shall we?  I missed you.

Castiglia Literary got back to me.  They were incredibly nice about their rejection, which I expected seeing as how they don't really represent "science fiction".  It's sad that I can never escape that label with my book.  I have, oh, three fight scenes in my entire 80,000 words.  I've only got one spaceship in the entire thing.  But I've got aliens running amuck, in a future world with an alternative history, just about 1000 years into the future. 

Even so, I don't want to be science fiction.  In fact, I can't even be science fiction.  A lot of the "science" I incorporate into my story isn't very accurate.  The ideas I have about what the future will be like are actually all formulated based on the conjectures I've made from what I hear on the Discovery channel.  I'm not a hard science fiction writer, I'm not even a light science fiction writer. 

Those people base their entire stories on technology that can be.  Their stories center around the effects of technology on humanity, and humanity's effects on technology.  Stories like these are intricate, no doubt.  They're tapestries of crystalline cities immersed in their own grandeur, only to be brought to a level, humble ground through even more grandiose technology.  Authors that can spin that kind of web are impressive, to say the least.  But I'm not one of their fold. 

I write about humanity's effects on itself.  I write about the dangers that lie dormant in us, and how when awakened these demons are fought with vigor unparalleled by our own strength of will.  The grandeur of metal and steel twisting themselves around transducers to create a warping effect of reality isn't the kind of theme I'm interested in.  I'm fascinated by the epic that is man (woman too). 

Monday, March 08, 2010

Burnt to a Crisp

Hello Reader.  First a bit of news: I sent out three query letters today.  Exciting?  No, not at all.  It's more a mixture of overwhelming fear and anxiety boiling over into the region of calm that suppresses a wild and intense need to yell and scream out of delirium.  So, on to who I sent these letters to!

Barer Literary: She's known for being incredibly intimate with her authors, and she knows her way around the publishing industry.  Plus, just based on the few interviews I've read with her, she is one of the most passionate literary agents out there.

Meredith Bernstein Literary: Not much has been said about her but she's old school, which is something that I absolutely gravitate towards.  She represents (kind of) what I'm writing so I decided to give it a shot.

Castiglia Literary Agency: Honestly, I've been using Writer's Market 2009 to inform my decisions about who I should send my queries out to.  Castiglia sort've represents what I'm putting out, so I sent out a letter.

I'm really hoping something comes out of these.  If not, well, I'm not going to cry because I've got 30 other literary agents on a nice little list of mine who are going to be bothered by me.  I wish I had more, because there are so many of them out there!  But I can't really spend too much more time fiddling around with my thumbs waiting for this opportunity to plant itself in my lap.  I'm going after this, whether I feel uncomfortable or not.

Which is the odd thing.  I'm usually extremely-passionate-to-the-point-that-I'm-feeling-nauseous about things like this.  I'm not at all nauseous about this.  I'm more nervous and excited and...well, read above.  But I'm not killing myself over it.  Is it because I don't want this enough?  How could I not?  This has been a part of me since I was a child, I can't remember when it wasn't.  This is my life, how could I not be excited for it?

And when I was asking myself these questions, I realized something.  This novel, this idea, this legend I've developed in my head using my overactive imagination truly is my life.  This is who I am, the very essence of my soul, my existence delineated and crammed into the pages of the novel I've written and those I hope to write.  Briok Cwartel's story is my own, and my story is his.  I can't be nauseous and I can't ache for something that is already existing and a part of me.

I think that's been the missing piece in all I've done concerning this book.  I've never had peace of mind, never truly believed I could be published.  And I don't need that when Briok's legend is already published, via my own existence.  He is already here, living and breathing and fighting destiny trying to make his mark on the world.  He's just doing all of those things under a pseudonym: my own name.

Thinking over this, realizing this, and fermenting it in my head for the past dozen or so hours has opened my eyes.  I don't need accolades, I don't need popularity, I DON'T EVEN NEED THIS TO BE PUBLISHED.  Those would be fantastic to have, and my gratitude would be without limit.  Yet I've found a spot in my journey with this book that's let me see it not just as a novel, but as my journey on this Earth too, and that's damn well good enough.  I love this story, I love the grandeur it has given my life.  It's my escape, my wellspring of calm and my constant companion.  It will not go unheard, I know it won't.  But now, even if it does, I'll still be happy.  Until next time then.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Discussion on Theme

Hello Reader.  I apologize for being late with the post.  I've been sick, so my life has slowed down quite a bit.  Anyways, I've never done this before so bear with me.  I've been thinking a lot about the themes and ideas I've been instilling in my novel.  And I haven't been wondering if it was the right thing to do, as is usually the case.  No, I've been wondering why I obsess over these themes.

It's strange not knowing a part of yourself.  Especially a part of yourself that's been festering within for as long as you can remember.  I honestly cannot think of a time when the Magna Beast's battle with destiny was not on my mind.  As a child, I had it in simpler terms.  Can Briok really be controlled or not?  As I've grown, the ideas have morphed and shades of darkness have been added to the canvas.  The overall portrait I've created in my mind is filled with bright patches clouded in swaths of rabid shadow.

Back to my point, I wanted to know why I am so obsessed with this concept of battling destiny.  And I'm not talking about Luke Skywalker fighting the inward pull to become his father.  Briok fights that, but that isn't his test.  I want this character to pit his grandiose personality against the very tides of fate itself.  I want him to break apart convention and become something wholly new, an abrasion on the surface of reality that cannot easily be forgotten.