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). 

So here's the thought-game.  I've injected each of my characters with a little bit of me.  Each one has a trait, an emotion, an exaggeration of sins and triumphs I've found within myself.  I'm not going to list them here, that ruins the characterization of the...well, characters.  But I will say a little something about Briok, who's supposed to be the main character.

Because it's always a question in the back of my mind: why is he the main character again?  It's not because he's the Magna Beast.  There have been marvelous books written from the perspective of someone who's not the hero.  They're outside of the box and incisive.  My novel centers around this hero though, and I always wonder why.  I've spread my characterizations so thin, across dozens of players and sinners and warriors.  I strongly believe that investing real, human emotions that exist and that I've seen is the key to strong development of these people I'm writing about.  If they're to take on a life of their own, they must be imbued with life that's already happened. 

So where does Briok fall into all of this?  Does he get my anger?  Not all of it.  Does he get my joy?  That's definitely a no.  Does he get my desperation?  A little bit.  So what does he get?  All of them.  Because he's a synthesis of all that I am, all that these characters are.  Each person playing a role in this novel reflects a little part of me, but Briok IS me.  So he should be a melting pot of all these individual characteristics. 

God, that's a cop out.  It's a pansy way of saying I have no clue what he's supposed to be.  And I bought into it, until recently.  I realized something that I never got to see before.  Briok is my way of dealing with the past.  His burden is mine.  Thousands of years worth of history have suddenly been encapsulated and collapsed into this young man whose identity has shifted, changed, and will continue to transform as he grows past adolescence.  That's a weight heavier than Atlas', requiring strength mightier than Hercules, and resolve unmatched in any annal of history. 

What have I got that's so weighty?  I'm not the last of an unbroken line.  I'm not graced with immense powers that I have to learn to bend to my will, nor do I have a mandate upon me to kill someone with those powers.  They're all nonsense additions to add vigor to the story.  What I've got in common with my main character, the reason why his burden is history is because Islam is my burden.  Not the religion itself, no that's my saving grace.  Islam's history is what I bear upon my back, 1400 years worth of pain, suffering, success, joy, desecration and redemption.  All have come to bear in this century, this twilight of the Islamic Civil War.  And me being me, I've got to hold strong as it tries to crush me and mold me into something I don't want to be. 

So as I try to stop letting the past define me, and as Briok tries to find himself amidst the ruins of his ancestors' exploits I've finally found the character for my protagonist.  The thought-game is: should I invest such a weighty trait into someone, when I've found no answer for my qualm?  I have no real clue how to bear this burden!  I only know to keep walking.  That's the question readers.  Is it right to give someone a characteristic I don't know how to resolve?  Until next time then.

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