Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 2017 Update

    February has continued the streak of being a busy time for me, but I did manage to write some dialogue for my next book. One of the issues with writing a book is writing good dialogue especially with more than two people. While some TV shows do a good job of developing it's many characters over the course of time, what is a good way of doing that within one book? One way I'm trying is to give them meaningful dialogue where we learn about their past indirectly and how it's affected them. Other is to see the little things they do and focus on. I'll try to utilize that, but I do know it's important to make sure they aren't flat either. However, that does bring an interesting question. Where do flat characters belong?
    In Hamlet, there are two characters where you can swap lines and not tell the difference. There is certainly a place for these sort of characters, possibly for humor, but I'm still experimenting with where. I'm aware that some characters in Shining ended that way and hopefully my next cast of secondary characters won't follow suit.
    Do I expect to make more progress in the coming weeks? No. I'll be busy with work and other duties, and I want to play the new Legend of Zelda game as well. From what I've heard, they have a nice story so maybe I can learn a few techniques from the game. I am curious to ponder if the story will be nice on its own or if it requires knowledge of the series for its effect.

Take Care,
J. D. Nyle

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 2017 update

I don't have much of an update this month. I can say I am disappointed in that I haven't received an update from my artist and potential publisher. As a result, I am tied of waiting after 6 months and searching for replacements unless I finally hear back.

On the bright side, I now have a new member of my household, though it means I really have no time to write my next novel. I hope to find time and energy to write as one of my hopes is to create a thriving series for my children to enjoy. I often find that I am disappointed with modern series and I would like to create something that my children can enjoy through adulthood. I certainly have lots of stories, I just need the ability to focus on developing then and then to find people who won't take months or years to respond.

On a completely different note to compensate for not having an solid update, here is my initial impression of the new Legend of Zelda game. You are probably well aware that the series has been an inspiration for me. As such, I am excited to play the new game and see what they do. I have only watched the trailers in order to maintain the sense of exploration, but I have to admit that the more I see, the more I am reminded of Studio Ghibli. It just gives me the feeling similar to Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, and Castle in the Sky. To be fair, that would be an excellent match as both Nintendo and Studio Ghibli follow their own ideas apart from their respective industries.

One hope I have is for it to be fun and easy to start. Recent games can take a long time to start. While Ocarina of Time can take about 15 to get to the first dungeon, Twilight Princess can take hours. One of the great things about the Zelda games is that the general enemies normally take 1-3 hits to defeat and they are spaced out so that you don't get bored so easily. This makes the hands fun to replay, but if the introduction is long, then I don't want to replay.

Similarly, the ability to skip annoying sections would be welcomed. The game is supposed to allow you to go about freely a the is hope that I can avoid sections I don't like. For example, in Skyward Sword, I like the general game, but when I think about the Silent Realm and Demise sections, I give up on the idea of replaying. Since it is said that you can fight the final boss immediately, I have some hope for this new game.

As for the art style, I like it. It seems like the visuals should age well, making the game playable for a long time. If my cover art was a similar style, I wouldn't protest, though I would request for it to be less Anime-like. However, I do find Romantic art to be very nice for Fantasy novels. We'll see what I eventually end up with.

J. D. Nyle

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Universe Plan

With the release of the new Star Wars movie, and one that explicitly does not center on a Skywalker, I figured you might be interested in what my plans for writing Neostriker are. Specifically if I intend to follow the same approach as Lucas did in centering on a family. The answer is no. There a few stories that center on a family line, but there are also a few that are planned to be completely unrelated.

As I plan the Neostriker universe, I'm planning it to be just that. That means Neostriker will take parts across the world, even though it certainly has its origin story rooted in a family line. In fact, I would like to write stories taking place before as well as after. I don't know about doing prequels yet, but I think telling stories that take place in the world before Neostriker would be interesting.

As for the end goal, I don't have one yet. An idea about converging everything together for an epic has crossed my mind, but I feel like that would be too ambitious or would basically be redoing Shining. So at the moment, I just want to write stories. Hopefully I can start again sometime soon.

J. D. Nyle

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 2016 Update

Progress has been slow, but it is moving. It appears the artist who agreed to do the art for the book got busy with a local art competition (hopefully he won). In the meantime, I finally heard back from an editor at a publisher I sent the book to. Sounds promising so far especially with a comment that she is loving the world building and would love to watch it as a TV series. There were some helpful suggestions as well for improving how I write some things. I also heard some good feedback from another young girl so perhaps I can land a publishing deal after all.

As for the new book, I've been busy with my new job and life situation and so haven't gotten down to writing for a long time. However, I as I took a walk in nature the past few days, I've been struck with some ideas about world design. For example, I plan a village by a volcano. Might as well have some hot springs there. However, the biggest thing I've been thinking about is the implementation of water and rivers.

Another thing I recently thought about that I don't recall explaining in Shining is how guns are not used in close range combat except for charged shots. Since this is the case with every series I've seen, it escaped my notice, but perhaps I need to add a section where that is made clear. While I don't have to worry about it in the next book, I do take some pride in trying to be a thorough with Shining as possible.

Until the next report,
J. D. Nyle

Friday, September 30, 2016

What makes a Good Story?

People love to hear a good story, but what makes a story great? Over time, established classics are soon considered overrated. Some people try to claim they are great because they were the first to try something. However, others will claim that more recent stories do it better or say the old is boring because it has been copied so often. This is actually one reason why I published Shining when I did. I noticed that even though I wrote that story before so many modern fantasies started to become popular, if I wait longer, people will be tired before I have a chance to publish. In fact, I anticipate it's already too late.

However, even if a story does tread along similar lines as other stories, it can still make a name for itself. Critics will point out that Star Wars offered nothing new but instead was a tribute to many ideas such as Akira Kurosawa. Japanese Role-Playing Games have a stigma of being the same story again and again, but occasionally a game will have a great fanbase because the story was well done. I told someone I downloaded one game even though I haven't had time to play it because critics said the dialogue was well-done and the world is very fleshed out.

Some people like stories that make fun of tropes. However, I feel like those only work for a short period of time. I don't know, but I hope Shining's method of examining ideas rather than just making fun of them will be more charming, even if only to a few people.

Now if only one person in the world thinks a story is great, does that make it great? I would like to think so. When I think about it, what makes a story great is how it connects to the audience. In the case of a book, this is even more so as the reader is essentially the director. He must imagine the scenes and cast the characters. I wrote one story and imagined how the character would speak. I gave the story to someone else to read and was given a completely different interpretation, but they still loved the story. As an author, I can give guidance like a scriptwriter, but it's the director who makes the picture. If the reader can turn a script into something fantastic in his head, then I did my job well.

J. D. Nyle

Friday, September 9, 2016

Planning a Story

When you start to write a book, there are a few approaches you can take. You can write as you go, plan it all out ahead of time, or a mixture of the two. Generally, my practice had been write as you go and let the plot develop itself. Shining followed that approach as well in which only a few chapters were predetermined. For the next novel, however, I'm thinking I'm going to lean more towards the planned route.

The first route is certainly one that seems faster. It also allows you to freely use ideas and actually start writing. The issue is that without guidance, the story and pacing becomes chaotic. Also, if you can't think of anything, then you have a Writer's Block which means you won't write at all either. It might be good for exercises, but not the ideal for writing a novel.

When writing a novel, the book needs some sort of flow. This means that not only does it have great scenes, it needs to build up to the scenes naturally. While it seems counter intuitive to think that planning something is more natural than free writing, there is truth to it.

In order to get the full benefit of free writing to be natural, you need to have complete understanding of the characters. When you write multiple novels with the same characters, this can happen quite well. However, when starting with new characters, like I'm doing, that's not possible. Unless you have the backgrounds and their characteristics established, you will end up backtracking and rewriting far longer than is good. If you backtrack a lot, then you can lose sight of what is still present in your novel. resulting in confusing your reader.

When I started the new novel, I had a lot of things planned, but not enough as I have come to realize. The main characters I had a good idea for, but I neglected the secondary characters. The result is they were essentially nothing but names. While it is important to develop your main character, fleshing out the secondary characters is important as well. They need to have a history, philosophy, relationships, and goals.

The result is simple. For a good story, you need to do a lot of planning, especially if you don't want to rewrite it multiple times. For me, finding the time to write it once will be difficult enough. However, once all the elements are gathered, it should hopefully be as natural as free flow.

J. D. Nyle

Friday, August 5, 2016

Story and Philosophy

If you have read my stories and that of N. D. Moharo's, you might have noticed that the former is influence by the latter and vice versa. This relationship between storytelling and philosophy is quite amazing and natural. Stories often convey ideas and the author needs an understanding about the world and society if he wishes to tell a story about them. In addition, stories provide experiences which form the basis for philosophy. Whether the story is fact or fiction, it does not matter when it comes to philosophy, only that it contains truth, especially about human nature.

The other interesting thing is that if your philosophy changes, so does the story you want to tell. I had a goal for my next set of stories, but now I'm evaluating if that is good or if I should work more toward Moharo's latest series of stories about True Love. One thing I do love about the series is that it points out that True Love is not restricted to only romance. In fact, friendship is probably even greater than romance, which is certainly counter-cultural but makes sense when you think about it.

Now if I do consider changing my approach, it at least shouldn't affect the next novel. However, I still don't know when I'll have time and energy to focus on it. The biggest threat would actually be another novel that I've been thinking about quite often but takes place quite some time after the next novel. While I think it has to the potential to be better, that also indicates that I should write the weaker novel first. But... yeah. Being an author is quite difficult.

J. D. Nyle