Monday, April 13, 2015

Writer's Notes and Excerpt: Tips on Approaching Your Story

    When it comes to writing a story, a patience is a must. Sometimes it can take 2 weeks or 4 years to plan just a single scene. When it comes down to a crucial scene, it is important to get it right. However, just letting it stay unwritten will not do the job for you. Sometimes you have to change how you think about. It is common to think linearly and write the scenes as they come. However, I do not know of many authors that do just that. Like a director who shoots many scenes and rearranges them later, an author must be ready to tackle a scene from multiple directions.
    I prefer writing things in order, but when you skip around and concentrate on the crucial points first, then you are able to better craft the entire story. This is because you get to think about what needs to happen and when. What must happen for this scene to exist? What impact do you want it to have? I realized that one scene would make more sense and have a greater impact if one small detail was included before. Not only did it help me set the stage, but it gave a better glimpse of the characters and their motives. I hope this advice helps you with your own novel endeavors.
   
    So I do like giving you all something other than my own thoughts and notes. However, I don't have another Legend prepared. On the other hand, I do have a small piece from the novel to share which you are probably more curious about anyways. I hope you enjoy this small taste as well as knowledge what my next novel is about. Keep in mind that this is only a small piece of the first draft. Some details are bound to change and improvements to the writing style as well. Anyways, enjoy!

J. D. Nyle

~during the battle, Zel finally encounters Daelan.~

“I must admit, your skills are far beyond what Celonret and Zenoth have anticipated,” the shadowy figure exclaimed across the cleared area. His purple armor with black highlights took a fearsome shape. Legends spoke of the knaunuhts but even they would pale in comparison to the Daelan king. However, Zel had always overcome his own nightmares and this was no different in his mind.
“So you finally emerge, Daelan,” the warrior prince said, focusing intently on his mighty foe. At least, that is what one Daelian soldier thought as he attempted to assault the prince before being slashed by his holy sword.
Impressed by this talent, Daelan smiled and shouted out in a loud voice that could be heard across the battlefield, “No Daelian soldier shall approach the mighty prince! He that ignores my instruction shall face my wrath!” Then turning his head back toward the prince and said, “No one shall steal such glory from me.”
“Hoh?”  Zel smiled in return. “That pride is going to be your downfall.”
“Enough blabber. My sword will silence that tongue of yours!”
The two royal warriors rushed in crossed blades. One-two, swings were tested. Three-four, speed was observed. Five-six, skill had been assessed. They backed off slowly and rotated clockwise as if in a well-coordinated dance. A feint here and a motion there, the contest of wits had just begun.
“I know you have a few tricks in your set,” the king stated.
“It is rarely wise to reveal your secrets at the start,” the prince replied.
“Your wisdom does not apply to me,” Daelan said as he raised his left hand and a blast of purple flame shot out toward the prince but he quickly evaded it.
“You are certainly a fine warrior. Not even fazed,” the Daelian king complimented.
“There’s not much to be fazed by. I could sense the dark energy emanating from you. So you really did bond with Zenoth.”
Daelan laughed. “Of course! Once I learned of this power, there was no one who could stop me from mastering it.”
“You jest! The Dark Power’s only master is evil. No man could tame chaos like that.”
“That’s where you are wrong. Zenoth recognized my greatness and granted this to me as a gift for me to control.”
“If he is the source of your mighty power, wouldn’t that mean he is more powerful than you?”
This statement enraged the Daelian king and his swings become more ferocious. Nonetheless, Zel was more than capable in fending off his attacks. A parry here, a redirect there, the mighty prince was patient in awaiting his opportunity. When it came, he took it and with a glowing rising slash, he leapt into the air and followed with a strong turn-around kick in Daelian’s face, knocking the wicked king back before any counter could be made.
Daelan staggered as he regained his footing. “I see you have control over the Elements.”
Zel softly landed and readied his shining blade for any movement. “The Elements were used to defeat Zenoth before and they shall be your downfall as well.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Writer's Notes: The World

    When crafting a story, it's important to determine the location. Will it be in America, Europe, or even Mars? The location is important because it can grant you many choices and freedoms, as well as help narrow your path. In my case, Earth is not the setting. Instead, I'm crafting a new fantasy world that may be Earth-like, but free for me to shape.
    In one sense, it's best for an author to write about what he knows. Since I've only lived on Earth, shouldn't I write about that? However, I've also spent time analyzing the imaginations of different authors and animators. When you have all of that, it's hard to write only about Earth and so crafting a new world is the best.
    So what does this mean for my story? Well for one, I'm allowed to craft my own creation myth. I can also play around with the nature of characters and their biology. For instance, I have yet to decide whether or not my characters can be called "humans," just like Tolkien and his predicament with the "elves". However, since it would be too much of a pain to come up with a new term and get my readers to grasp it, I'll just call them humans as the nature will be very similar. There are a couple things I'm want to play with but morality and that side of nature will still be the same. I hope you are looking forward to what I have planned.

J. D. Nyle

Monday, March 16, 2015

Writer's Notes: Not Developing the Villain for the First Novel

Hey Readers,
    When writing a story, a decision needs to be made regarding the narrative. Either focus on point of view of the protagonists or alternate perspectives between protagonists and villains. An example of the former would be The Lord of the Rings books while the latter would be Star Wars: Heir to the Empire. I enjoyed reading both, and considered the latter but I do not feel I could properly write in that style. As you may have read in Shining, most of the story was from the point of view of David and occasionally Jenny.
    While there is certainly an audience for developed villains, I'm honestly tired of it. Sometimes we need stories that really are good versus evil. At least that is what is needed for this first novel as I set up the world it will take place in. It is actually mostly due to having to focus on world building that I don't have enough space to focus on jumping perspectives. While it will be a battle between good and evil, I'm mainly writing this novel to be an adventure and so the focus will be on the protagonists and the world they see.
    So will I never develop the villain? If we are talking about the villain for the next novel, yes and no. In some respects there won't be any development due to one nature of the character. On the other hand, there are plans for legends where he is developed due to a second nature as well as how he connects with our heroes. Yes, it is a fairly complicated antagonist, but his development will be more in Legends than in the first novel as his development is tied to revelations about other character not yet in the spotlight.
J. D. Nyle

Monday, March 9, 2015

Legends: A Duel Between Brothers

    It's been a while since I posted anything with action. So I wrote this short story as a reminder that there will be action in my new novel as well. Also because I was able to imagine it so vividly in the first place. I hope you enjoy this little piece and some revelations about these two characters.

Legends: A Duel Between Brothers

One day, the two princes were dueling inside the castle with wooden swords. They had played many matches, but none of them ever seemed as close as this one.
"Today is my day, Zel," the younger prince exclaimed, not letting up on his swings. His spirit was high today and the look on his face appeared to say he had already won. However, the older brother was not going to yield so easily. Strike after strike, the older brother fended of the younger but his arm was steadily growing weaker.
"If you think you will win without a fight, you are sadly mistaken!" Zel stated, giving a strong push for space and a change of pace. It was not everyday that the other prince would dictate the fight, but this day might have been different.
"What did you eat today?" Zel inquired as his brother rushed in and crossed blades.
"The same as you! Eggs, meat, vegetables, too bad it's not helping you!"
The younger brother seemed to have a point as Zel was showing signs of fatigue. Nevertheless, his sword was always close but never hitting its target. Zel had always been know as the superior swordsman even on his bad days. On the other hand, the younger prince was not unskilled either. One-two, parried by Zel. Three-four, closer but still no score. Five-six, making sure Zel has had his fix. There was no opening for the older prince to attack without being struck himself. Unlike his usually more peaceful brother, Zel would not settle for a draw. In this castle, even if one struck first, as long as the other was in mid-swing and finished with a successful critical hit, the duel would be considered a draw. After all, such a situation would be the case in real combat.
Blades were crossed again, Zel was on the bottom, fighting his brother's unusual strength and weight. Sweat could be seen on his face as he was struggling but then his brother had placed too much weight and so Zel was able to roll off to the side, causing the other to fall to the ground. In most matches, this would have been the end, but the younger had indeed learned from his past mistakes and recovered in time to parry Zel's first attack for a long time. Unfortunately for the older prince, it didn't last. Soon the younger brother had the edge and spirit again.
"I don't think you've ever dueled this well before," Zel commented fending off another slash and thrust.
"Are you admitting I'm better now?" the younger said with a smile on his face.
"Dream on!"
Realizing there was no way to overcome his brother's spirit this way, Zel picked himself up and rushed head on to counter the next attack. After shoving the younger one back, Zel made his retreat, running up the stairs and corridor while throwing down chairs to hinder his chaser.
The younger prince did not hesitate to chase while the prey was in sight. This was his chance for victory and he was not going to let it slip away. His mind honed in on his target and proceeded to pursue. He easily overcame the obstacles and nearly caught up with his brother in the top room when he felt something hit him. He turned to look and saw a trap rigged to fire on him as he tripped a wire on the floor. The next thing he knew, the tip of Zel's sword had successfully poked him.
"That's cheating! You rigged this trap beforehand"
  Zel laughed as he lowered his sword and stepped back. Finding a chair at the table he sat down and sighed relief. "I have to admit, you gave me a harder time than I expected, but I figured it was time to open your eyes to the real nature of combat."
"What do you mean?"
"You can't expect whoever you are fighting to not have some tricks prepared beforehand. Every fight is different. You also can't expect no one else to attack you as you pursue your main foe. If you are in battle, you would be killed by one of the soldiers in your pursuit of their captain if you aren't aware."
"That still wasn't fair. I would have won."
"Really? Try again."
The younger prince did try, but the older easily parried and countered with a successful strike, revealing he was acting the whole time.
"That was your plan the whole time?"
"Of course. Like I said, I figured I should open your eyes to reality. The idea of playing fair is so that we learn the fundamentals. However, if you don't practice more realistic situations, you'll never be able to apply those fundamentals. Swordplay is as much a thinking man's game as well as brute force. You need to develop some strategies."
The younger brother was still upset about the nature of being tricked like that. However, seeing that his brother was not really tired at all helped convince him that he still had a lot of training before he could finally win. As a result, his resolve to surpass his brother in at least something strengthened. Something he did not realize until much later is that this sense of competition had greatly accelerated his progress in many things so that only his brother was known as superior.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Writer's Notes: God's Place in Neostriker

    So you may have noticed in reading through Neostriker Shining, that God is mentioned mainly only in the beginning. In the Legends I have released, there is the character Simulaen, who is referred to as a prophet. However, there are two things at play here. I cannot logically write a fantasy story that makes use of spirits without including a Supreme Spirit and Creator that has supernatural powers. On the other hand, I do not consider myself to be audacious enough to write anything to represent what God might say. Hence, you most likely won't see any "Thus says the Lord!" in my stories, even from the prophets.
    When you read my next novel, you will probably think of Simulaen as mostly like Gandalf the wizard from The Lord of the Rings. Now one thing I will differ from Tolkien on is the use of the term "Wizard" as that is by nature associated with magic and has led to confusion among readers about the nature of magic. More modern series, such as Harry Potter or BBC's Merlin have made it even more confusing. While even Tolkien includes a section in his books about how the "magic" seen was actually science beyond their comprehension, but it never explained what was wrong with magic. Having stepped back and pondered the associations and definition of magic, I now understand why it is evil by definition. I'm not going to into full detail right now as it's actually a planned section in my novel as they discuss the character of a prophet-turned-wizard. Hopefully you will find that dialogue to be interesting as it has had a deep impact on the development of Neostriker.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Legends: The Prophet's View on the Games

    This is a very short piece but I think is important for setting up the characters and some of the culture in preparation for my novel. This small piece references two board games I've designed and hopefully can use to create strategy games. While my main goal would be to create a Neostriker game, I would enjoy being a project lead on the two titles I reference here as I have the rules and structure all set up. I just need some game programming experience and artistic talent.
Legends: The Prophet's View on the Games
    One day, the two princes were playing a game of Tactics before their class with the prophet Simulaen.
    "Ha! I won!" the younger prince exclaimed with joy.
    "Good job," Zel said, happy for his brother.
    "So there is something you can beat your brother at," the prophet stated.
    "Would you like to play a round before class?" the younger prince asked.
    "No, but thank you for the offer," Simulaen politely declined. "I do not care for the game of Tactics. I find it a rather disheartening game."
    "Why? I know you enjoy playing Neman, which is almost like Tactics," Zel pointed out.
    The prophet laughed and pulled out his Neman cards. "It is true that Neman and Tactics are linked. Tactics was derived by removing the customization cards from Neman and adding set units. The idea was to make it simpler and accessible to everyone and not just the wealthy class. Both can have layers of strategy, but the concept of one versus one is my preference."
    The prophet picks up a piece and shows it to the princes. "What is the name of this piece?"
    "The Soldier," the princes both answered. After that, the prophet picked up another piece and asked the same, they replied, "the knight." Then they were asked which was more valuable and they quickly answered, "the Knight."
    "That is why I don't like this game. It assigns value to pieces and tells you which can be sacrificed. While it is possible to win with just the soldier, the tacticians still consider it worth less. No life is worth less than another. Each man is very important, not just on the battlefield, but to the lives of their friends and family. Any man who views war like a game of Tactics deserves to lose. That is your main lesson for today."
    "What are the other lessons?" the younger prince inquired.
    "How to properly play Neman, of course," Simulaen smiled and the young princes gathered their cards with excitement to play against the prophet.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Writer's Notes: Themes

Hello Everyone,
     Themes ted to be part of every story whether the author wants it or not. However, I learned that trying to make a theme work is different than letting the theme develop naturally. Long ago, I tried writing a story and tried to have a different theme for each chapter. As a result, the story was horrible. There are some elements that might cross over to my next novel, but trying to make each chapter a lesson means you under develop every theme. Because of this, Shining is probably my best work so far when it comes to novels because I didn't focus on shoehorning themes. Likewise, My plan for my next novel was to have no themes but one has come up again and again naturally in my development so it will be included.
    Now a question for you. Do you think it's best practice to try and write with no themes? Or do you think concentrating on a main theme is what makes a story and good story? I look forward to hearing your responses.
J. D. Nyle