THE VENGEANCE SPEAR: First Look

I am proud to show off the first page of The Vengeance Spear, a new fantasy collaboration between another author and myself. He’s fairly new to writing, but has a incredible talent for making great storylines and fun characters. I’m something of a ghost writer for this endeavor. This is the raw and unedited first page of that project.

There are a few hints to this being a fantasy project rather than an early 1900s era historical fictional piece. See if you can find them while reading.

His hammer clanged hard against the railroad spike. Sweat fell down his face like a rushing brook. He hammered a second and third time before taking a quick breather, and then pounded again until the spike was in place. He grinned before continuing on to the next spike.

Kayd had been working here for some time now. The job was hard and the weather was hot, but the pay was good enough that he had a place to live, so he stayed. He’d been a short but strong boy since he was young, so it didn’t surprise his parents when he left the house saying he wanted to help build the intercontinental railways. It was supposedly one of many steps in bringing all the continent’s diverse groups together. It would make a real nation out of them, the government said.

He hoped they were right this time.

He moved to another railroad spike and began pounding it as hard as he could. This time he got it in in only three swings. He laughed to himself.

“What’s funny?” asked another worker right next to him. Kayd was just amazed he’d heard him over the din of the hammers.

He caught his breath quickly before responding, “New record. Three swings.”

“Near the end of the work day?” The worker laughed. “Maybe you should tell those arms of yours to calm down. You’re making the rest of us look bad.”

“Mikk’s gotten three before,” Kayd pointed out.

The worker sighed before starting on his own spike. “Yes, and you’ve been here about half the time he has.”

Just as he’d finished speaking, Kayd caught a glimpse of his boss walking up to the area. The boss looked out over his crew with a cigar in his mouth and a furrowed brow. Kayd instinctively began hitting his next spike as hard as he could.

The boss took his cigar out slowly. He then blared a trumpet, and the crew slowly stopped what they were doing. His gaze softened. It was slight, but Kayd noticed.

“Don’t know how many of you boys were looking at your stop watches, but it was the end of the work day as of about five minutes ago. Now, normally I would be letting you all go home by now, but we’ve got a bit of an announcement.”

The boss rubbed his moustache profusely before continuing.

“With how long and hard you wonderful gentleman have worked, we are now approximately a week way from completing this area of railway. After our team and the next one meet up, that’s going to mean you fellers won’t be working on the railroad anymore. That is, unless you want to travel about a hundred miles to meet up with the next crew. Basically, you’re going to want to find other work.”

The crew stayed silent.

“You’ve been a great team. I’ll be sorry to see you all go. “

The boss smiled, trying to pretend to wipe away a bit of sweat. Kayd knew it was the beginning of a tear. “Well, that’s all I got. You all can pack up now, no dawdling.”

Kayd put away his things and began walking home. As he entered the outskirts of the town, he looked up at the sign above him. UNION CITY, said the sign, and just below it, THE PILLAR OF THE NEW WORLD. It greeted him every day he came and left work. He wondered how it would feel when he saw the sign for the last time.

The Truth Behind “Strong Female Characters”

Today I got to have a chat with a fellow writer who’s just starting out. She and I had a very fun chat that started with a discussion on superhero films. It quickly changed to a discussion on the “strong female character” trope in television and literature. It was easily one of the most informative and revealing discussions I’ve ever had with someone on the topic. If she stays with this way of thinking, I think she could go pretty far in the writing industry.

This is the slightly edited version of her side of the conversation.

*Warning: Occasional Language*

I think that women in superhero movies are often really dumbed down to either two stereotypes:

1.) Helpless or

2.) “I DONT NEED A MAN I AM WOMAN IM SO POWERFUL AND SEXY YEAH I HAVE NO FEELINGS I AM A BRICK WALL- oh wait I’m gonna soften up.”

Strong women don’t always need to be one of the extremes. Here are some examples of “strong” characters that I honestly hate: Michonne from the Walking Dead, Black Widow, Catwoman. [They’re] the kind of sexy but very stone-faced characters. [Michonne] is one of the stereotypical strong women that doesn’t like to feel emotions outwardly, and I’ve just seen that so much. I love Lori and Carol because they’re so dynamic and not just sexy, strong, and stoned-face. That’s just my opinion.

I just get annoyed when I see females like that, because I think that people try to overcompensate for women. They try to make them as strong as possible, but then it makes them the typical “oh look how strong I am, I don’t need a man, I can shut out the world”.

I like characters who are both strong and loving, especially mothers. Honestly, my favorite characters are usually mothers like Molly Weasley. She’s so caring, kind of cute and sweet, but is extremely strong.

Honestly if there’s one thing I’ll say [about her], J.K. Rowling did an amazing job with female characters.

  • Hermione – strong, smart, physically not beautiful, but so loving,
  • Tonks – kinda scrappy and awkward but a fighter,
  • McGonagle – badass but caring.

It didn’t have to be the modern superhero sob-story, sexy angst-fest.

I feel like it almost adds to the sexual appeal when the “strong women” are really stone-faced and emotionless because then it becomes the man hero’s job to try and make her feel again, which is usually what happens. Michonne and Rick, Gamorah and Starlord, Black Widow and Bruce. And it’s funny, because these “strong” women are usually actually very sexualized. When I see a “strong woman character”, I often cringe. If they’re trying to make her strong, chances are they’re trying too hard. I love mother characters. Extreme love, extreme strength.

A lot of other “strong women” honestly are just bitchy.

I do like Rey, too. She’s a strong female that wasn’t over sexualized and didn’t come off as unfeeling. At first I thought she was, but it wasn’t overly so.

Lori was amazing because although I didn’t like her as a person, she was really complex, and often got faced with a lot of moral choices. I would sometimes say “Oh, she shouldn’t have done that!”, but then [I thought], “Honestly, I may have done that.”

Any female character that is badass and knows it and then continues with it, [she] just seems a little laughable to me. Please chill out and stop defining yourself only by your strength.

I “like” Michonne but, honestly, people are like, “wow, she’s so strong and badass”. I’m sorry, but in a woman, badassery is fine, but if that’s your defining quality it gets old. Michonne is the same but she really just becomes predictable. And [she’s] always so bitchy. I’m just so sick of strong female characters. Just make them characters; complex, not as badass as possible.

The Fantasy Genre Returns

So apparently my blog is very popular over this past week due to a post of mine called “A Little List of Lies about Leprechauns”. It’s gotten over 400 views, something I considered impossible for any of my posts. So with this in mind, I’ve decided to discuss the thing that birthed such creatures in the first place: the fantasy genre.

It seems like the fantasy genre is finally making a comeback. With shows like Game of Thrones, the Shannara Chronicles, and the recent success of The Hobbit, the general public is eating up fantasy as intensively as the upper class is eating lobster. But where does the booming interest in fantasy come from?

Continue reading “The Fantasy Genre Returns”

Christianity Sounds Weird

I have come to realize that trying to explain Christianity to someone sounds like a really intense sci-fi style acid trip.

“We worship an all-powerful otherworldly non-gendered and non-physical being who is split into three persons and exists outside the laws of common physics. This entity has these other weird-looking creatures which are also non-gendered and non-physical, and they all come from this non-physical plane/dimension of existence that cannot be seen through natural human vision. Also, this all-powerful otherworldly non-gendered and non-physical being flies around on a giant glass-like seat in the middle of a glass-like platform supported by four gyroscope things. Oh, but this being is also technically everywhere at once while being on that seat.

“Also, there was a war in this other dimension and now there are two factions of these non-gendered, non-physical beings that came on Earth and now fight amongst each other without you being able to see them.

“And after my body shuts down, my consciousness will travel to another plane of existence, where I will be with this incredible all-powerful being forever and ever. Eventually, this same all-powerful entity will terraform the Earth into a new planet. After this point, we will live in a giant multicolored floating cube utopia about 1400 miles in length, width and height. And we will live in peace for the rest of eternity.”

It is incredibly strange. It’s not going to stop me from believing in God and Christianity, but hey, it’s certainly interesting.