Thursday, January 22, 2015

Legends: Prophets and Meditation

"Prophet Simulaen, is it true what they say about prophets? That their ears are pointed so that they can hear the Spirit?"
"No, My Prince. The ears are more of a symbol than of actual purpose."
"Then why do we say that it is so? Are there no prophets who don't have pointed ears?"
"My Prince, ask yourself 'What do ears represent?'
"Listening. Our culture has long thought of the ears as the ability to hear, but hearing is just noise unless we listen. There are some who have perfect hearing but they do not understand what is said because they do not listen."
The prince pondered for a moment. "So the pointed ears help you listen to the Spirit better?"
The prophet shook his head in disappointment. "I said before that the ears are merely a symbol, a visual reminder. Everyone could listen to the Spirit if they wanted to. Do you know what the Spirit is?"
The prince replied, "No. Not exactly I guess. Just the creator of the world, right?"
"Not just that, but the source of all that is good. For it to be the source of good, it must be Good itself. Tell me. Are there times when you hear a thought in your head about an action you should take?"
"Not really," the prince answered trying to recall any situation but failed to do so.
"Perhaps that's because you haven't prepared yourself. Some people don't realize it, but they always do what they are inclined to do. For people like your brother, it is always a good deed and that is called 'Virtue.' However, for people like you and me, we must meditate to prepare our minds. This is because there are good inclinations and bad ones." After saying this, the prophet paused for a moment, allowing these words to sink into the young prince's mind.
"So the good inclinations come from the Spirit, who is the source of good by being Good, right?" the prince finally spoke up.
"That is correct," the prophet smiled, seeing that the prince was grasping at least a little of what he was saying. He then continued, saying "The reason we meditate is to allow our thoughts to reflect whether an action is good or evil. The more you contemplate by emptying your mind of the rubble your senses give you, the easier it becomes to distinguish the good from the evil. When you make the habit to choose the good, you obtain a virtue. When you obtain virtues, then you become like your brother whose thoughts are so quick to recognize a good action he is inclined to do that he does not need to meditate."
"But how do you meditate? I've tried it before. It's so hard."
"Of course it's hard at first. It becomes harder the longer you go without having done it before. This is because if you allow the bad choices to take reign, you don't gain virtues, but instead vices. These are habits you need to break in order to become virtuous but all habits are hard to break in their nature. In order to break them, you need to strengthen your will to overcome them and act in virtue instead."
"I don't think I can do that. Sometimes even if think an action is bad, I feel too inclined to do it." As the prince said these words, he noticed the prophet quietly laughing to himself. "What's so funny?" he inquired, feeling a bit insulted by his teacher.
Simulaen let out a seep breath and regained his composure. "So you have heard the Spirit before but you didn't recognize it."
"What do you mean?"
"If you think the Spirit's voice is something you feel in your ear, then you are wrong, unless you are referring to someone speaking on behalf of the Spirit. The Spirit speak through your conscience first by reminding you what is wrong. What I have mentioned before is only another step towards communication."
"Now I'm confused."
"Alright, I'll try to explain it again in a proper order. All things that are good come from the Spirit, which is the source of good because it is Good. That means that when you feel inclinations towards doing good, you can say it comes from the Spirit. The first way the Spirit tries to communicate with you is reminding you what you should not do. After you make a habit of trying to avoid evil and start searching for what is good, then the Spirit will try to communicate by inclining you to do good deeds. However, because you still have inclinations to do non-good actions, you need to start meditating to help your mind be able to correctly identify the good from the evil. If you continually choose the good inclinations, then you obtain a virtue. The more often you practice, the easier it is to distinguish right from wrong."
The prince sighed. "I'm definitely going to need to think about all of that for a while."
"As you should," the teacher smiled again. "It is always a good practice to reflect on what you have been taught."
"So how should I start meditating?"
"Well, you must recall that a purpose of meditating is to clear your mind of distractions. Find something that helps calm your mind and allow you to focus. I personally found focusing on a ball of light above either a field of grass or calm water inside my imagination helped me a lot. It's also important to realize you do have to start small. You won't be able to focus long, but you should be able to do a minute or two. If you set aside time everyday to meditate, you will eventually be able to meditate longer and easier." The prophet then looked and saw that his pupil's mind was near exhaustion. "That will be it for today. You should go and let your mind rest."
The prince bowed with respect and appreciation, saying "Thank you, teacher Simulaen," and left to ponder their discussion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writer's Notes: Diversity

Hello Readers,
    When people hear of diversity, they think about different skin colors and genders. However, that will not be the case in my next novel. I'm planning on not indicating the normal skin color so no one can tell if it's white, asian, middle-eastern, or hispanic based. Also, there won't be any female characters in the main party, though at least one will be introduced for future epics and legends. Even then, her part may not be as you have come to expect in the traditional or liberal sense. It may be a fantasy story, but it's not Final Fantasy (which I have not played), so don't expect heavy magic users in the main party. The story will be about the quest of a prince and his company of knights, like an old Arthurian legend or fairy tale (not the Disney variety). Lastly, there will be no romances portrayed. I don't think we have enough stories that are romance free so there will be some talks about the women they love, but not much detail and you won't see it.
    So you might be wondering how I'm going to include diversity in a such a party. The point is character and city diversity. I don't know how well the characters will develop, but I want to make sure they have distinct personalities that play off each other. The cities will get some diversity thanks in part to the different kingdoms or governments that possess them. The plan is for the quest to take the company through at least seven different villages or cities. Hopefully that won't be too overwhelming a goal for my 24 chapter novel. Otherwise I might have to cut out a few cities and save them for Legends.

J. D. Nyle

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Writer's Notes: Developing the World

Hello Readers,
    Writing the next story for Neostriker has been a challenge. My story outline has been ready for 4 years now, but I'm no where close to completion. This is because I'm building a new world. As a result, I need to figure out how to flesh out the world and make it appealing. Some people point out that if the Lord of the Rings movies did not show the Shire in the beginning, we wouldn't care as much for the quest to save the world. In my studies of Tolkien, I do believe he thought that way. Part of creating a story about saving the world is developing a world worth saving. While I could ignore this and just focus on the quest, I feel like that would make the story less fulfilling. Instead, I'm attempting the route of creating legends and mythologies for the societies encountered. The story will be complete, but at the same time, open for further development. I have 8, potentially 10 stories I want to write in this world, with countless short stories. Shining holds hints of a few of those stories in different chapters. I'm personally very excited to tell them, but it will certainly take time. And since I haven' made any money from my creation yet, I can only use the little free time I have to work on it. However, my resolve has not faded as I still get new inspirations and ideas for my Neostriker Universe.

J. D. Nyle

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone!
    Merry Christmas from the Neostriker World! While I do not have any updates for you this week, I did go through and updated each of the episodes to link to the next episode. That way if you want to start from the beginning, you can just click the link at the bottom of each episode to keep continuing. In other news, I'm contemplating obtaining a game development engine and play around with converting Shining into an RPG. Even though Shining was written to be a book, I always had game elements planned and embedded to help keep a solid combat system while writing. However, my plan was that if it were to become a game, it'd be an action rpg. However, if I' the only one developing it, then I'll have to settle for something closer to my skill. No decisions have been made yet as my free time is limited and I don't want to put off my next story much longer. Hopefully I will have my decision made within a few weeks. Until then, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

J. D. Nyle

If you want to start reading from the beginning, you can click this link to go to the first episode.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Details about Legends

Hello Everyone,
    Last time, I posted a little short story that was part of a series called Legends. Legends ties into my next big story by being a series of short stories set in the same universe and time period. As my planned novel focuses mainly on one character and his party as they go on their journey, Legends allows me to flesh out other characters or stories that I can't place in my next novel. For the most part, these short stories will take place after the novel with the exception of the one I posted last time. My hope is to use Legends to help build a world you will be interested in and come to love and expand your imagination. This also provides new stories for you to read while I work on my novel. I hope they inspire you.

J. D. Nyle

Friday, November 28, 2014

Legends: A Knight's Honor

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
    Sure it's actually Friday, but we can still celebrate the weekend as part of Thanksgiving. Now, one of the rules for sending me fanfiction is that you avoid controversial subjects. I also intend to avoid such subjects, but this preview I have for my next series will most likely be distasteful to some people. However, I found this necessary as I required a crime that would require the death sentence and so allow for an act of mercy and a chance for redemption. I'm also using this story to help establish how my next novel will differ from Shining. While there will still be battles, I want to work on establishing a fascinating world more and write for the Adventuring Spirits. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this short story.

Short Story (for Legends): One Knight’s Honor

               One day, a farmer brought a knight to the king’s court for justice. The charges were severe. The knight had raped the farmer’s daughter and the farmer caught him with the aid of one of the loyal knights. The king asked the knight if the accusations were true.
               The foolish knight stood up and spoke, “What of it? She was only a peasant girl.”
               The king grew furious over the remark. “The punishment shall be the same as with any man guilty of this horrible crime. Death.”
               The foolish knight looked up at the sound of his sentence. He then tried to plead with the king saying, “You will kill one your knights? Those who pledged their sword to protect this realm?”
               The just king responded, “I have no place for a knight like you at my table. You do dishonor to the realm. If I were to show leniency to a wicked knight, then the entire kingdom will be destined for doom. If the warriors who are to protect my land are evil, what need does another army need attack us? Rank will not save from the law established long ago. You will die, and all costs resulting from your action shall be taken from your purse.”
               The farmer looked delighted at this sentence. His faith in the king’s sense of justice had rewarded him. But then the prince stood up to speak. He had been in the king’s court that day, listening by his father’s side.
               “Father,” he started, “This man has been condemned. Now let me speak on his behalf.” These words did not resonate well in the ears of the farmer, but he held his tongue, for the prince was well respected among the people.
               The prince continued, “Instead of death, I propose an alternative. Death will not relieve the pain this poor farmer’s family has endured. It is a quick and easy option, but not a complete restitution. I ask that this knight, after being stripped of his rank, be placed under the authority of this poor farmer to work in his home.”
               Both parties looked up in shock and disgust of this proposition, but they allowed the prince to continue, for he was well regarded among the people.
               “Father, I suggest that this foolish knight serve as the farmer’s slave for a year and a half’s time. During this period, the good farmer may maintain the right to execute the fool, but I ask that be held off. Instead, I say that if the foolish knight shall offend the farmer or his family, torture should come first. If he dares attack, then his right arm shall be cut off, but still forced to work the rest of his term. If he continues, then one of his legs as well. He would then be placed out where the people can see him. They will be reminded of his title as knight and see what can happen to those who do such injustice. If he should run, then all the knights in the realm will hunt him down, for he will be branded of his crime.”
               The descriptions of this torture terrified the knight, and the prince could see it. The farmer was still reluctant, but considered it nonetheless.
               In conclusion, the prince then spoke, “However, after this foolish knight has served this sentence, I say give him an opportunity to let him regain his title. All of this, if it is well with you, my father.”
               The king listened to the request of the prince. The queen whispered in his ear and the king heeded her counsel. He gave his verdict, “If the farmer accepts this, then I will grant it. If he does accept, then that proves already he is a far greater man than this foolish knight.”
               There is no need to express the difficulty of a man, who brought another for justice, to receive the perpetrator into his home. What father could possibly accept such a man? He had all the right and intention to demand the previous verdict, but the prince now addressed him.
               “I acknowledge the pain your family has felt and offer my deepest sympathy, but I have given this man’s life into your hand. I implore you to bestow mercy. This act is inexcusable and I will not blame you for having his head now. But what good will it do you? It is quick and simple, but it will not take away the pain. He is a human being like yourself and so I implore you to have mercy. His life is yours to deal with. Please respect it as a human life.”
               The farmer took a breath and thought about it. He could not argue with the prince, for he still held respect for him. While he could and certainly had been just, the prince was more known for his care and sympathy toward his people, despite their deeds.
               The farmer took a look at the prince and then the foolish knight. His hearted ached at the idea of him being near his daughter, but he heeded the prince’s request and accepted the terms.
               When the farmer and the knight were gone, the king called his son over and said, “You know what you have done acts somewhat against what I had said earlier.”
               “Father,” he replied, “What you said is true. If we allow evil to happen in our kingdom, it will surely fall. But what I saw was potential. A potential for that foolish knight to make proper amends with the family and gain something he never had. If we always move to eliminate our subjects with this potential, could we say our kingdom is good?”
               The time the knight served became an important experience. As soon as he arrived, the family was enraged until the farmer had explained it all. Even then, the foolish knight was never unaware of the hatred the family bore toward him. No word of hatred, though, was as powerful as the fair maiden victim’s silence toward the knight. No word from her lips. No smile directed toward him. Only a glare that sank deep into his soul.
Nonetheless, in spite of his pride, the knight worked. He would complain and faced hardships, but he still worked. The promise of the opportunity to regain his post kept him going, but that was not all. As time went by, he saw the maiden’s actions and her kindness toward others. Soon they learned she was with child, and her good deeds never ceased.
               As the knight grew accustomed to witnessing the family’s life, he grew to respect them. His complaints stopped by the third month.
               When the child was born, the family had a mix of joy and sorrow. For since this baby girl was conceived through rape, they were reminded of the incident. However, the knight bore their scorn and did not feel any anger towards them. Instead, as he saw this baby girl, he felt the fatherly instincts. He wished to raise this daughter of his, protect her with all his might, and see her grow to be happy. As he felt love for his child, he felt a greater love for her mother. And so, the knight felt pain inside for having wronged this good maiden.
               After his time of servitude was over, the knight never ceased to work for the family. They grew accustomed to his presence and their scorn had worn off. He had atoned by his good deeds and learned humility. The village no longer bore him hatred either, for he became generous in both gold and action.  Soon, the maiden came to love him as well and they were married properly.

               His story was never hidden from the public. Instead, the knight would tell it himself as to how he came to respect the people and love his wife and daughter. In this end, the prince’s hope was fulfilled. The knight had obtained true honor.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Potential Sequel to Shining?

Hey all!
    So I got two things to talk about. First, I'm thinking that I'm going to start updating this blog once every 2 weeks unless I have something prepared to share. However, With all the things happening around me as of late, I've had little time to write, so I think it will be unreasonable to have you expect an update every week, but hopefully I will have good news soon.
    That being said, my creative mind has not been idle. The reason why progress might be slow is because my ideas tend to be spread out for different series. So sometimes on my run, I think "That would be fantastic for this story" and then while I'm going to bed I think, "I can't wait to put that in that story." I think I have currently planned 7 different novels, and 2 mini series in addition. That's part of why I've relegated one mini-series and one set of stories to until I have help from others. However, if the inspirations keep coming, I might just start writing my sequel to Shining again. Before, I had a problem trying to differentiate my main female protagonists, but I recently came up with a role one could play that would make perfect sense. The only problem is that would change the dynamic and development I originally had planned. So we'll see how it goes.