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

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 the mind to reflect whether an action is or was 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 deep 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