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.

Enjoy,
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 http://neostrikershining.blogspot.com/p/full-story.html . 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

Friday, March 4, 2016

Seeking Cover Artist and Concept Art

I'm thinking more seriously about publishing Neostriker: Shining as a paperback novel. However, to do that, I need to make a nice cover for it. Is there anyone who is interested in drawing a fantasy, Romantic era illustration for the cover? I would also like a few extra illustrations for the inside of the novel. While I could possibly try my hand at the illustrations, I have been out of practice and I have trouble drawing from my imagination.

Now since I haven't really shared any updates about Neostriker lately, I figure I can at least do the favor of sharing a piece of concept art. This is the concept art for the Rising Armor that is used toward the end of the novel. The interesting thing is that this will likely be the default armor for the hero of the next novel due to its setting and how this armor design fits the best.

J. D. Nyle

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Sea of Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration strikes while on a walk. Just recently, I was doing just that at the beach when I found a broken conch shell. It's interesting because it was broken just in the right way that I had an idea for a Sea Saber (and yes, I actually plan to use that at some point). The shell was broken so that all that was left was the conical base. The made it intuitive to pick up as if it was a hilt. Then I realized that these types of cones have this shape and therefore the rest of the shell is effectively a hand guard.
Seeing the shell as a hilt got me thinking, "I wonder if it can withstand the temperature for the molten steel to form and bond." I don't know the answer yet, but I am eager to find out. However, the inspiration doesn't stop there. I found a lot of shells but noticed that the spiral corresponds to holding it with your right hand. This means that it could be a fantasy quest to find "the left handed Sea Saber." This in turn helps determine the characters that would be in this story as someone either needs to be left-handed, or trains to be so. Also, since the nature is a sea saber, it makes it fitting that it be a pirate story.

So when do I plan to write this story? I don't know. Maybe it'll be part of the Legend I was planning before. Or maybe it will have enough substance to be its own story. The main reason why I sharing this with you is so that you see that inspiration is a spark that you run with. So the next time you get an interesting idea, try running with it before the spark is gone. Perhaps then you'll have the skeleton for the next great epic. Also, I just can't think of seeing the Sea Saber idea anywhere else so I think it's really cool.

J. D. Nyle 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Digital or Print

    So I've had Neostriker Shining available online for free for over a year now. I've had the first 12 chapters available on Wattpad as well. However, I've often considered that it's very difficult to read through a novel on a screen. As a result, I'm contemplating submitting Shining to be edited and then released as a paperback. However, if I release it as a paperback, there's the risk no one will buy it.
     It's an interesting dilemma. By releasing it it for free, it didn't cost me anything beyond time. However, there's the weird thing about free in that people don't care to spend depth looking at something they don't pay for. Add that reading on a screen is not the best environment for a novel, even an episodic one such as Shining, I feel like not many are reading it. In fact, I think I got more views on my one essay on Magic and on the Epiphany than I did on any chapter within 1 week. So should I instead seek advertising with few views, or pay at least $2000 in hopes that more people will read it?

    What do you think? Do you think you would enjoy reading Shining as a paperback novel for $10? At the price of $10, I need to sell at least 2000 copies to cover expenses, which is certainly difficult for a first time. If I do go this route, I would certainly add more content in the form of essays on the process of each episode. Would you consider that worthwhile? Leave your comments below.




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sample writing

This week, my hand has been bothering me. As a result, I can't write the piece I intended to share about some of the reasons for why I consider Shining special. So instead, I'll share a small piece I wrote around the time I wrote Shining. You might recognize some of the themes and feelings from one of the chapters. Hope you enjoy.

Nightmare
I know not the year, except it be the Dark Ages. I know not where I am, except it be not my sweet home. I know not the season, except last I saw it was brilliant summer, yet it be cold and dark enough for winter. I open my eyes only to see darkness and find myself lying down. There be not much light to see if any at all. I can sense the cold muggy air and the frozen hard ground. I can smell a horrible stench but cannot identify it.
            My eyes are now accustomed to the darkness and I see in front of me a terrible figure. In the blackness, I can only see what appears to be an armored Minotaur. I cannot tell, yet my gut tells me so, that this thing be drawing up a sword to attack me and that I should run. The shadowy movements confirm it. I run. I run as fast as I can into a passage between the murky and shadow-filled walls.
            I move inside the path only to see it split. I try the left path only to find another fork, so I try the right one. I then hear something that sends a chill down my spine. My ears convey the clanking of armor and the slow pace of footsteps. However, they come not from just one direction, but all of them! I continue on the same way as before, hastening my step, hoping it be a trick of some sort, but it seemed not. I make some more turns only to find the thing I had been running from in front of me as I make another turn around a corner. I quickly change directions in what be, now plain to me, a Labyrinth of darkness. Oh! How I wish I had the string that saved Theseus! I make another turn and to my dismay find that horrendous thing once more before me!

            I know not what that thing be, except what I have described in the darkness. I know not how many there be, except I appear surrounded. If it be alone, I know not what magic it uses, except it always appears ahead of me. I do know, though, that this be true, that it seems to know where I go though I do not know myself. How will I escape? I do not know.