Thursday, June 16, 2016

Reflection on the introduction to Shining

With all of the focus on the Legend of Zelda because of E3, I guess now is a good time to share a little bit more about the influence it had. The reason for the prologue is because I like the intro to The Wind Waker. As I look back, it might have had more to do with the music than the actual text. Then again, the stained-glass style was also good.

I find it interesting how the prologue gets received. I tend to hear "It's so simple and not complex," and then once they finish reading that passage they say "Wow! Didn't expect that twist." I'm also surprised when I hear people saying they liked the first chapter. While my first chapter certainly does not compare to How to Train Your Dragon I guess it does do its job. An intro is supposed to introduce what the audience should expect such as the themes, major characters, and style.

So when I think about the prologue and first chapter, I guess I underestimated how well it does its job. One unintentional theme is that things seem simple at first, only to reveal there's a twist at the end. Some are really obvious while others will require some digging. Now that I reflect on it, the first chapter with the prologue really do help set the themes, despite none of them being intentional. So maybe it really is a good one, and my dissatisfaction came from seeing it so often and then comparing it with the first chapter for my next novel. However, since the books are completely different, the introductions should be different as well.

What were your thoughts about the first chapter? For those who read the story, do you see how it established the themes you could expect? How would you think it could have been made to better reflect the story? Look forward to hearing from you.

J. D. Nyle

Friday, June 3, 2016

Games as Storytelling Platforms

If you read through Shining, you may have noticed that it might feel like a video game. That is true for a few reasons. Even though my original intent was to avoid the video game feeling, it still snuck in. More recent edits have trimmed it back to resemble more of a novel, but it did benefit from some game design choices.

When designing something, especially a combat system, it's important to be consistent. By assuming that the story could be a game, I had to determine the power of various attacks and the health of everyone. I was able to determine the rules and this made combat consistent.

Games also allow for more avenues in storytelling because it can make even tedious tasks boring. We might not care to watch help missions in a TV show, but in video games, they are fine and therefore provide plenty of opportunities to expand the world.

Another benefit is the choice system. Even though most video games are linear in their stories, the ability to show different outcomes is amazing. For example, what if David made a different choice in Episode 12? In a movie or TV show, unless time travel is a plot point, this cannot be done often. In video games, this can be done and fully explored if the developers are willing to take up the task.

So are video games the best storytelling format? Maybe for some stories, like what I've heard for Rachet and Clank, but not all. I just wanted to convey that it is a legitimate medium that has its advantages. Would Shining be a good video game? There are things I would like to do if it was, but I think it wouldn't be as enjoyable as a comic/manga. In addition, the novel format also has its advantages, but that's for another time.

J. D. Nyle

Monday, May 16, 2016

What you can expect from the printed edition of Shining

    So I'm still determined to try and get Shining published in print. Of course, since the full story is already published on this blog, do I expect many people to buy it? Perhaps. Something I've noticed is that people don't care for reading novels online. However, those who can actually go through the entire text online probably actually enjoyed it and would like a hardcover copy. If I get my way and make it only $10, then it could work. If people are willing to pay $15, though, that would certainly help cover the fees I had to pay.
    However, I'm not going to simply copy and paste what I posted and publish the book that way. I've already sent the text to an editor and got back the results. Now I am absolutely not changing the story, but I am correcting the grammatical errors present. Since I didn't major in English, I don't know exactly the rules for everything so I'm accepting most of the suggestions.
    In addition, the editor pointed out some wording that would sound insultingly sexist despite no intention to be so. When I examined it, I agreed that it wasn't any good to have them so those have been edited or taken out.
    I've also inserted a mini Episode 10b. It can totally be skipped, but it was something I planned to add to the print version since before I started sharing it online, I just was too tired to write it then. There's no action, only dialog for development purposes. The idea was to show what happened to one of the characters between chapters 10 and 11. It also helps to slow down the pace a little before the action starts up again.
    There will likely be an appendix to help keep track of the various enemies and abilities. Since there are so many enemies, it could be confusing for the reader. Hopefully the appendix will help keep everything straight.
    Something you may notice is some wording has been changed to better reflect my opinion on Magic. The problem is that Shining was written before I fully developed that idea and, even though it wasn't intended to look like that, it does seem like Zel is the source of David's powers. I guess the best way of interpreting that is to consider Zel's nature and therefore Zel is not the true source but the intermediate. I may perhaps try and change the wording more to better reflect the philosophy to emphasize that David was chosen.
    The last thing I've planned is to add notes at the end of each chapter. These notes may reflect on specific characters, ideas, or the development of that episode. There is a lot of details that I could possibly write another book about the development of Shining. However, it'll probably just be 1 page per episode here in order to keep the book a fair size.

    The result is that you can know exactly what you are buying. If you want to sample the work, you can read what I've published here or on Wattpad. That way you can determine if you are interested in the story. If you are and you want more tidbits about the development, the printed edition should be perfect for you.

J. D. Nyle

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Legend: The Wandering Warrior Part 1

It's been a while since I've shared a Legend. Part of it was the development of this one is a pretty big one as it ties to the next novel. As a result, I need to make sure everything is planned well up to the point it ties in. It also means that it may be revised. This is labeled as Part 1 because it is intended to have a 2nd part that properly leads into the novel. However, that one is more critical to get correct so it will probably be a while before I publish it.

J. D. Nyle

Legend: The Wandering Warrior Part 1

               The wind pushed a green cloak against a figure as he traversed the rocky landscape. The figure did not mind as his sights were square ahead and he had grown used to the wind at his back. Eventually, he came across a fallen tree and the wind paused so he sat.
               "Someone's body is claiming to be a hungry and weary traveler"
               The cloaked figure turned his head and found an elderly man with a staff seated on the tree bark. He laughed and stated, "After wandering for days with barely a loaf of bread, I don't blame that said body."
               "If that's the case, how about you hunt for the two of us?" the elder suggested. "I may have neither blade nor strength, but I can pay you well when I reach my destination."
               "Is there a specific thing you had in mind?"
               "A wolf. They are creatures of great strength and I have heard they can survive without eating for days. If we can eat one, perhaps we may recover our strength for days."
The wanderer laughed. "I doubt very much that, but how do you suggest I obtain wolf-meat if I am weak myself. Wolves normally stick in packs. Even then, how should I expect to find any?"
               This time the elder laughed as he said, "I would have thought that a warrior such as yourself would be able to think of something. I can at least assist you with direction. I saw traces of a pack alongside where my back is turned. Perhaps there you may find one we can eat."
               The wind picked up again, moving in the direction the sage-haired man indicated. Taking note of this, the green cloaked figure accepted this quest.
               Soon, the wanderer found wolf tracks and indeed they appeared to belong to a pack. Examining the tracks, he determined the general direction and speed they were moving. He followed them carefully, paying attention to his surroundings so as to not let them get the jump on him. Every crackle of the fallen leaves caught his attention, accounting for the swoosh of the breeze that followed behind him.
               Some time later, the cloaked figure found his prey. A large tree had fallen and laid on top of a lone wolf. He could see that effort was spent and wasted on escaping. The other point of interest is that there were no traces of the rest of the pack.
               The warrior unsheathed his sword and moved toward the ensnared beast. Then after taking a long look, he returned his blade to its scabbard. Carefully patting the back of the wolf's head, he spoke words of encouragement. When the wolf had calmed down, the wanderer assisted in freeing it from its wooden burden.
               Free at last, the wolf gazed at its rescuer and then scattered off. The wanderer then took note of the change in the wind and followed it back to the elder.

               When he returned to the elder, he was surprised to find another man serving him soup. The elder smiled at the confused warrior and instructed, "Sit down and eat some soup. Kind Karlos has brought enough for all of us. The laborer deserves his rest and food."
               "But I failed in bringing what you requested," the wanderer replied.
               "But not in what I had intended you to do."
               Seeing that the elder's bowl was empty, Karlos said, "Prophet Simulaen, would you care for more soup?"
               "That would be marvelous, Karlos. Please prepare one for my friend here as well."
               "Prophet?" the wanderer interjected with a surprise on his face.
               "Ah! Yes, I am indeed a prophet. That is how I knew you would be here. That is how I knew about the wolf. Now how about we make things fair and you share your name with me."
               "Uh, yes. My name is Celram... But you meant for me to save that wolf?"
                "I guess it wouldn't have mattered much if you killed it, but I preferred to see your kindness rather than ruthlessness, despite your desperation. I know now that I can indeed trust you with my mission."
               Celram accepted the bowl from Karlos and waited for the prophet to answer.
              "Karlos, your soup is one of the best I have ever had," Simulaen said before focusing on Celram. "You should try the soup before it gets cold, my friend. You will need your strength for the task I'm about to give. As to why you'll accept it, that's quite simple. You will find what you are looking for."
               "What am I looking for?"
               "You know the answer, and I'm telling you that you will find it. Or rather, it will find you."
               Celram pondered for a moment. "What is this quest you will have me do?"
               "To help some people," Simulaen replied. "Karlos, do you have what I requested?"
               "Yes, prophet Simulaen. I brought it in a bag like you requested."
               Karlos brought over a bag and opened it before Celram. It contained a good amount of gold.
               "This should cover your expenses," the prophet said. "All I want you to do is help those who need it. Your quest is over when you find what you are looking for. One more thing..." The prophet dug his hand into a pocket and pulled out a ring. "This ring is yours to keep. When you find what you are looking for, then you will know what it is for."

               Celram accepted the ring and gave it a quick flip with his thumb. It made a nice ring. "Okay," he answered and took to his meal. The wind had stopped.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Why Shining is Special

To the Reader,
    Neostriker: Shining is a very interesting book from my point of view. When I wrote it, I did not care about it. It was just a little side project to write a story in a parallel universe. Since I did not care about how good it could become, I threw in all of my ideas that could not take place in the current Neostriker Canon. It wasn't until about when I had finished that I realized I could no longer return to the old stories. Shining was the bridge linking the old with the new and I had crossed it.
    After this realization, I began work on my next novel which would tell the story of the Nellenion Kingdom. I wrote the first chapter and then decided that this novel should be the best it can be. This meant I had to determine a writing style and practice. The only story that I had already written that could fulfill this task was indeed Shining.
    I had already mentioned how Shining was like a scratchpad. It contained ideas I wanted to implement and adding writing styles to it was no different. The result is that Shining is perhaps a great book to study when it comes to writing. It may not be great, but because I tried to dabble in different things, there are many story elements to explore. The fact that they appear somewhat randomly kind of works with the theme of Dreaming. Like I said, it's an interesting book because things like that just happen and they work together. When I look over the novel again and again, a new idea pops into my head and I think, "This can be considered far more complex than I had ever planned."
    The novel has grown on me over the past few years. It has a sense of nostalgia but also maturity. It's a hodgepodge of ideas, but they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. It's a bit cliche, but also deep. It's the kind of story that might be entertaining the first time, but better the second and third. Perhaps a good summary of Shining is that it's a novel that shows the creative process from wish to fulfillment.

    I hope you enjoy my book now and when I hope it can be published in print. The fact that it's my first novel means it can also use some editing. However, if you can bear with my lack of writing skills, perhaps you can see how I developed my opinion of topics such as Magic.

J. D. Nyle

P. S. If you want to read the full novel, you can access the page with links to all of the chapters at . There is also half of it on Wattpad for Tablet and Mobile devices.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Nature of Witches

A while back, you may have read a piece I wrote entitled "Magic Confusion, LOTR, and Shining". There I spoke about why the true nature of magic is evil. The funny thing is, when O started writing that essay, I intended to primarily write about witches and how the term has been confused. This is because I occasionally find the oxymoron of a "good witch" in books or games. Again, here I will write based on what I have determined to be the original definition of "witch" and the ideology behind it. This definition is simple: a witch is the antithesis of what it means to be a woman (who generally practices magic). If you prefer define a witch as just a woman who practices magic, I can understand, but I'll get to that later.

Finding the Original Meaning

So how did I determine the "original" definition? In my other essay, I believe I at least hinted that different authors focus on different elements. When we accept the old idea that witches are evil, then we simply look at all of the different ideas and piece together the evil aspects.

First, let's examine Lilith, who is probably the archetype witch. Now since Lilith is probably the personification of an idea, the accounts vary quite a bit as many different ideologies use her for different aims. The part that we want to pay attention is the aspect of Lust, which is probably the best known association. Another is how she kills babies (or somehow prevents conception). These ideas likely stem from her being the antithesis to Eve, who was the "Mother of All the Living". There was an idea of Lilith preceding Eve to be Adam's first wife, but she was evil, so God created Eve. So to be the antithesis of Eve, Lilith must be the source of Death or Inability to conceive.

Secondly, there is the common example of witches practicing magic. Since I already argued why magic in its original understanding is evil, I do not need to reiterate that those who practice magic become evil.

Another example of a witch is in the many variations of Snow White. In the recent movie Snow White and the Huntsman (which I did not see but read the plot summary), the witch steals the youth of the young maidens in order to retain her beauty. In the Grimm fairy tale, she eats the lungs and liver of what she believes to be Snow White, and she attempts murder several times. In the recent movie Tangled, Gothel pretends to be a mother, but is really selfishly stealing Rapunzel's power to maintain her youth as well. The audience knows that there is no love for Rapunzel in Gothel's heart, as she only cares for herself. These portrayals show how witches are the opposite of motherly, as they steal life rather than give it. They are selfish rather than truly loving.

Does this mean that the defining characteristic of a woman is if she is motherly? Yes and no. The no is that our understanding of motherly is likely flawed and it has nothing to do with being able to procreate. If we examine the ideals of motherhood, then we can see how a witch is truly the foil for teaching girls how to become strong and virtuous women.

The interesting thing about Eve is that we only have her motherhood and original status to compare her with Lilith and witches, so we cannot learn anything more about the ideals. Instead, we must examine Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is claimed to be the "new Eve". When we examine Mary, we find a few things of interest. If you consider the development of the idea of witchcraft to be mostly in the Christian world, then it makes sense that Mary is the complete opposite of a witch.

How Mary is the Strong and Virtuous Role Model

Mary is by far more interesting to examine than Eve as we know much more about her. Eve speaks very, very little, but Mary is seen in quite a few places and speaks far more often. Biblical scholars comment that Mary is well-studied based on her Magnificat speech in the Gospel of Luke. She is also humble and accepting of Divine will rather than grasping for power, which is seen in her words "Let it be done to me according to thy word."

Mary is said to only have given birth to one child, but tradition states that she loves everyone in the world and wishes them the best, beseeching them to drop their wicked ways and turn to the light.  It is said that she prays to God on behalf of everyone all the time. So rather than trying to steal any life for herself, she works to give everyone eternal happiness and life.

Something that needs to be clarified is that crying is actually a source of strength, not a sign of weakness. Some people think that crying is weak, but women who cry are able to regain their strength to move on and continue their good deeds. Who is the stronger woman? The one who kills her children when things get difficult, or the one who cries when spoken words of hatred by her children but continues to love them through it all? Let me share a few lines from my wedding pamphlet (which N. D. Moharo shared previously).

Consider this chain of logic. God is Good. God is Love. God created Man in His Image.  God called Man very good.  If God is Good and Love, then Man’s perfection and Happiness lies in being Good and to Love

Is there any better common example of being Good and Loving than a Mother who endures all pains, and continues to do acts of service out of love? Beyond the examples of Jesus and Mary according to Christian tradition, there isn't.

So why do I object to the simple definition of a witch as a woman who practices witchcraft/magic? It's because women don't have to practice to be called a witch. However, the term is used for women who have done something evil. A witch, I claim, could simply be a woman who has only hatred for others. A witch has hatred for life and works to prevent all human life and to kill what exists. This means that witches can actually take many different forms, but that is the common thread to explaining why witches are evil by nature. The perfection of women is to be life-giving in all ways and to love while the antithesis would be to steal life and to hate. Witches should not be emulated. Good mothers are perhaps the strongest people in the world and should be thanked every day because our society depends on them.

J. D. Nyle

P.S. A note as to why I did not publish my own wedding pamphlet here. It's simply because I didn't see it as to tying into the production of Neostriker. This essay, on the other hand, helps establish the fantasy realm I am trying to create. It is a theme I intend to cover again in my stories as it will help the development of my two primary female protagonists (as well as a villain).

P.S.S. When I looked at Wikipedia to research about Lilith, there is a story that Adam and Lilith quarreled about equality. However, this doesn't make sense in the Biblical narrative since Adam and Eve were created as equals. Otherwise God's punishment of making Eve submissive to Adam because of her sin would have been meaningless.

P.S.S.S. While I object to the classic definition of a witch as a woman who practices magic, perhaps that was the original definition. Perhaps the sole reason why witches are evil is simply because they practice magic, which is, by the old definition, evil. Maybe what I have described was the first evolution in the definition. Either way, I hope I made a solid case for not idolizing witches.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The realities of life as an artist

A while back, I indicated how I would be forced to look for a new job. I actually was thinking that in the timeframe that I will be unemployed, I could used that time to write the next novel. However, that does not appear to be happening as I have other housework to deal with and I still need to search for a job. I am pursuing publishing Shining, but that process is actually not in my hands at the moment. There is someone who sounded interested in doing the cover art I requested but I'm also waiting to hear back from the editor in which it has been taking time just to get a quote. So things take time and even when all is done, there is most likely no chance for any income gain.

Art is good and it is beneficial for humanity, but it's difficult to survive off that. There are so many aspiring artists which creates this difficult situation where you cannot survive being solely an artist. That was actually my reasoning when I went to college and picked my degree. I still hold it as good advice to take as it helped me earn enough to take this risk with Shining. So if you want to get into the arts, try to find a stable source of income first so that you can fuel your passion.

J. D. Nyle