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?
After I found some awesome info on building fictional religions, I thought I would share some of the ones I have planned for the Dark Veil books!
Followers of the True King
The followers of the True King believe that many years ago, a powerful sentient being arrived from the sky along with four other beings: Mother Autumn, Father Frost, Mother Earth and Father Summer. This sentient being, known as the True King, created the planet and placed the four other beings as rulers over the planet. However, many years later, a being by the name of Laecon, Father Frost’s protoge, made war with the True King and took control over the entire planet in a 400-year-war, including the four other beings.
Nobody has heard from the True King since, but the True King’s followers believe that the King will return to make war and defeat King Laecon once and for all.
Followers of the Universe
These people believe that the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars are the body of a giant one-eyed goddess. During the night, the goddess is open to prayer and suggestion. During the day, the goddess begins her work from suggestions the night before or her own will. This goddess is fickle, and it is often hard to tell if she will actually listen to the people’s suggestion. The more open her eye is (the moon being her eye), the more interested she is in listening.
When a person dies, if they are good enough, they will become one of the stars in the sky, a part of this goddess.
They are firm believers in allowing change. Like the tides, they flow with the situations of life, as they do not believe that people can change their situation.
Followers of the Dark Veil
This, depending on who you ask, is either an offshoot or the precursor to the True King religion. The Dark Veil believers believe that there is a being even older than the True King known as the Dark Veil. Their ways are mysterious, their gender and appearance unknown. The Dark Veil, according to this religion, created the True King. The True King wanted to make their own creation apart from the Dark Veil’s universe. Therefore the Dark Veil allowed the True King and four other gods to do their work. But the True King would also reap the suffering of a corrupt world.
Many believe that the Dark Veil has a direct contact with King Laecon, who fought against the True King in a 400-year-war. Laecon has no problem with toting this belief everywhere he goes.
Followers of the Great Void
These people believe that there are gods, but that they are uninterested in their creation after they create them. They believe that all bad things that happen are a result of their feuding amongst themselves. As such, their only consolation in the world is to either accept the bad things of life or to die – to go into the void of nonexistence and never return.
They avoid having children and will often recruit orphans. Angsty teenagers often try to join but the priests insist that they consider their decision a while before doing so.
So I think it’s well known that I hate killing off characters, but if I think it is needed in the plot, then I do so. For the final draft, I will get around to killing off a certain main character that I refused to kill off in the previous drafts. It just seemed ridiculous to me that they stayed alive, really. I only kept them alive because of how scared I was to kill them. It changes the plot of the second book slightly, but it’s important that it happens. Otherwise, it’s not realistic and the whole point of the story is not as compelling.
I REALLY hate myself for doing this. The fans will probably hate me just as much, but I can live with that.
To end this off nicely, for the final draft, I will finally do what I proudly proclaimed I would do initially. Now, half of the book is from the protagonist’s perspective and the other half is from the antagonist’s perspective.
Basically, what I’m telling you is that there is now no antagonist or protagonist. There are just warring sides. And really, that’s what I should have done all along.
I was actually in a writing rut for a while. Bad time to be in one, since I’m on the last draft of a book I’ve been working on for some time. But something brought me out of that rut. Well a few things, really.
The first was the desire just to get it finished: to hold in my hands a hardcover book with a nice ribbon bookmark and a gorgeous cover and realized that all that work meant something.
The second was the thought that maybe someday I would be signing books and that someone would come up to me, place my own book in front of me and tell me how much they loved it, that it was their favorite. I would love to see someone fanboy / fangirl over my book just as much as I do.
The third is really just an extension of the second. I made the things that I’ve struggled with in life a key facet of my writing: depression, rejection, bitterness and loneliness. But though the characters I wrote struggle with many of these same things, I also made a light at the end of the tunnel, a happy ending, if you will. I would love to see someone come up to me to tell me how encouraging that book was for their own personal trials and struggle. I would love to hear that the book gave them the courage to press on even when they didn’t want to.
And finally, I would love to see some people come to faith in Christ through it. Although this is a fictional book in a fictional world, faith and trust make themselves key aspects of the novel. Faith is the very frame, the cornerstone for the entire book. I am not ashamed of this in the least. Now, I suppose you can read the book and see it as just a very nice story about sacrifice and faith and trust. But I would also add that it’s probably not going to be as intricate and interesting a story if you are not seeing it through this light. So hearing someone tell me that it changed their life would be fantastic.
Perhaps I have my expectations too high, seeing as it’s my very first book published. Only about a third of writers get their first books published, maybe less. But I’m obnoxiously hopeful! So I guess we’ll just have to see how big this project of mine gets.
After sending a couple asks on Tumblr, I realized that Neil Gaiman is probably a very busy author person, so I decided to make a post about it so that more people could see my adoration for this author and just how obnoxiously long I can make my sentences.
I was introduced to Neil Gaiman by way of the Sandman comics. I absolutely loved them, but didn’t get a chance to read them often because Barnes N’ Noble is far away and gas money is, well, money. But I loved them. So when my brother told me that he had written word novels as well as graphic novels, I just about pissed myself with excitement.
So, after that, I got started on The Graveyard Book. I fell in love again. He was the first author I had read a book by that actually wrote like someone would speak. I thought that was very comforting, and that the plot was just brilliant.
So I began recommending the Graveyard Book to anyone who would listen. And then since I liked that one, my brother gave me more.
He gave me American Gods. I liked this one too, but not as much as The Graveyard Book.
He gave me Ocean at the End of the Lane. I continue to rave about this one whenever someone needs a new book to read.
He gave me Good Omens, which I am still reading and may love the concept unto death, after which point I will love it all the more.
I would later learn that both Coraline and Stardust are his. I am not at all surprised by this currently. I wasn’t then either, but the point is that I’m still not surprised.
I’m terrible at conclusions, but the point is this – Neil Gaiman is pretty cool, and you should all read his books. He’s one of the most down-to-earth writers that I know. My favorite example of this is the raven scene inAmerican Gods that made the entire book that much better.
The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.
“Say ‘Nevermore,’” said Shadow.
“F— you,” said the raven. [dashes added by me]
I like this one because a) it’s brilliant and unexpected and b) it’s exactly how I would respond if I were a raven… without the dashes, that is. It just takes too long to say “Eff dash dash dash you”.
Also, he’s a dark writer, but not utterly hopeless. Hopelessness is boring and well, hopeless. I like hope. I think perhaps the best term is not “dark” or even “bleak”, but “realistic”. He is very realistic.
Still, he makes the reader think. Simple, mindless gory plots are for boring people. (Well, maybe not boring, but they’re for people I don’t wouldn’t normally hang out with.) Ocean at the End of Lane is the best example. It is confusing, and I like it that way. Sandman is a bit similar to that, I guess.
Anyone who makes a reader both immersed and confused by the plot at the same time is a good writer in my mind. And he inspired my writing to be better than it ever could be before.
(I think that is how I will end this giant piece, mainly because it is midnight as I write this and I have finals to study for.)
I have just come to the conclusion that I will probably not be doing daily blogs anymore. I’ll still do Faith Fridays and Short Story Saturdays, but that’s all I can say for sure. Those I can schedule. The fact is that school is hard and so is studying. But I can do ten-minute videos, because they don’t require very much thought. They are hilariously bad though, so expect that.
In case you need to be certain about what I implied, yes, the second draft is all finished, and just needs some beta readers/editors now. If you want to become a beta reader/editor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I finally rewrote the end of the novel for the second draft. In the end, it’s far closer to what I wanted than what I had originally. It actually feels like the end of a book this time. Is it emotional? Oh yes. Does it leave room for a second book? Definitely. Am I asking too many questions? Most certainly. Should I stop asking them? Ok, ok, fine.
Anyway, I’m much happier with the end product than I was before. I still have tons of stuff to edit. About 50-100 pages, to be precise. It’s actually far less than I’m making it out to be, but it’s a decent sum.
In case y’all want a real emotional trip, here’s link to the song I listened to while writing the end.
It’s a trip to Sad-Mart, where your greeters are Melancholy and Dismay.
It’s pretty sad.
In good news, I have recently arrived at school for my senior year at good old Liberty University! I have an excellent year in front of me, mainly because I never have to wake up before 9:30 for any reason whatsoever. I mean, I still do because they give me bacon if I come to breakfast, but I don’t have to. Technically.
This is the life of a Fine Arts student.
In the meantime, I plan to raise awareness of the awesome Dark Veil Saga by creating the life size version of “Leviathan Killer” in some media besides metal. I don’t want to kill anyone by fake-stabbing them, which is the ultimate purpose of this endeavor.
I also now have an Instagram (sirgabrielpenn) so you should all follow me for cool book/writing/reading stuff! I’m super sorry about those awards and challenges I’ve missed recently, so now that I have so much time I’m going to try to get to some of them. “Try” is the key word. There’s a lot of them.
Expect a revamping of short stories and Faith Friday soon!!
Great news! Because the second draft is now likely going to be done before the summer is over, we may see the novel Dark Soldier be published BEFORE it’s original goal of March 2016!
This is heavily reliant upon us getting the proper publisher, as I do not plan to self-publish. I have nothing wrong with self-publishing, but I think this is a better style for me. The plan as of right now is to get either Baen Books, Gollancz Publishing or Penguin Random House. I’m slightly more worried about Penguin house, as I have not heard great things about their interactions with authors. But no matter! We’re closer than we’ve ever been!
Sorry for the great lack of writing-based posts in the last couple of days. I will fix that issue in the coming week.