A Very Sad Update.

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.

Gabriel, out.

Getting Out Of A Writing Rut

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.

The Votes Have Been Cast

Some of you may have been interested in the debate that was going on via Facebook, Tumblr and WordPress. Basically, we were choosing between two types of steeds for a group of cold weather people in the book I’m trying to get published next year. It was a battle between moose and reindeer.

Well, the votes have been cast. Good points were on either side, but the votes for one simply devastated the other.

The soldiers of Jevruun will now be riding a fantasy version of caribou/reindeer. As it turns out, large as moose are, they are near impossible to domesticate and just not very good war animals.

All hail the new great Jevruunite steeds!

And to that one guy that suggested Kodiak bears… holy crap. That is indeed terrifying and I will probably use that sometime in the series.

Reindeer vs Moose vs Caribou: A Hard Decision

So, I open this question up to WordPress as well as Tumblr.

For the entire time I have written Dark Soldier, the riders of Jevruun (a mountain city in the coldest regions of Vaelora), have always ridden moose. But I am considering changing that for the final draft sent to agents. I now think perhaps it is better that they ride caribou or reindeer.

Just observe how majestic she looks. And comfortable. Seems like a good long-term ride and companion to me.

But moose are also very large and intimidating to those they would do battle with. And just imagining that is cool.

EVEN MORE MAJESTIC. But they probably can't run for long periods in battle. Hm.
EVEN MORE MAJESTIC. But they probably can’t run for long periods in battle. Hm.

So I open this question up to those in Alaska, Russia, and any cold regions where you ride something other than a horse regularly.

What would be a better steed for Jevruunites, a caribou/reindeer or a moose?

All the Swords

Finally, all the swords for the series are in one place… Facebook!

Each blade will make an appearance, but only two (technically three) will be in the first book. Those ones are Enlightener and the Leviathan Killer, or Leviethen Killer, as we are considering re-spelling it. Why? Because we made a typo once and it looked cooler than the original. That’s the thing about fantasy. If you make a typo, you just roll with it.

From 12 o’clock and clockwise, they are: Regal Blade, Royal Elegance, Crescent Moon Blade, Enlightener, Celtic Elegance (working title), Elect’ic Blade, Leviethen Killer and finally, page’s blade. Page’s blade is only referred to, as it was the sword Malkeon – the main character – used growing up. BUT YES! They are all here, and I cannot be more proud of how badass they look.

Also, not all the proportions are up to canon. That was purposeful, so that people could see the detail in each equally. Leviethen Killer, for instance, is 5’6″ long, or 168cm. It’s a very, VERY big sword, so if we’d done it at it’s height there would be much less detail in the rest. And a 4’10” tall (148cm) person wields Leviethen Killer. Kinda fun.

Adding To The Ranks

we now have a model for the character of Zenti in my upcoming novel Dark Soldier! It’s kind of an interesting story.

Now that I’m back in university, I am around far more people than usual. There’s a great amount of diversity at LU. Nonetheless, I told Annika (my good friend and the illustrator) we probably wouldn’t find an exact model for Zenti. She would have to fit a really specific description. Like, REALLY specific. I may do too much detail with character description, I’ll admit.

But as luck would have it, my third day back, I spotted someone who looked exact to her description just walking to class. I was shocked to say the least. She smiled, and I tried to smile back, still in shock. Then she scampered away. It was a bit paradoxical. 

And only two minutes later, I spotted someone who looked just like the main character! He looked at me oddly, frowned slightly and then walked off. This just so happens to be what Malkeon would do. It was a very exciting day for me.

I told all this to the illustrator, who’s immediate response was: “Why don’t we have her be the model?”

“Well,” I pointed out, “It’s a big college. I’ll probably never see either of them again.”

As luck would have it, day four walked around, I was sitting in class, and a certain person was giving her art proposal for the big semester assignment.

I recognized her immediately.

But the simple fact is that I am a very introverted person. Most of my ability with writing dialogue comes from listening, not talking. So it was very unlikely that I would talk to this person, much less ask them to be a model for a book character. For the next week I left it alone. 

Finally I decided it was either act now or get someone who wasn’t as accurate to character.

As it turns out, she not only agreed on the spot but has been wanting to do something like this for some time. And she will probably get to hold that freakishly large sword replica when it’s done. So that’s cool.

Yes, about that size. maybe bigger.

I haven’t seen the Malkeon guy since the first time, though. Here’s hoping…

Now to find Malkeon, Rük, Luc, Sapphire, Crystal, Cedric and Vatrix before the book is published.

That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Returning to YouTube

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 officialgabrielpenn@gmail.com