I just watched this lovely animated film that fits my artistic sensibilities.
I just watched this lovely animated film that fits my artistic sensibilities.
I just finished uploading PDF and Rich Text versions of “Dragon Dreams: Paths of the Wise One – Chapter 1”, which is this month’s reward for my $1 patrons. Here is the write up:
“This month’s story marks the beginning of a serialization of the largest single part of my short story collection “Mystics and Misfit” with chapter one of Dragon Dreams. Dragon Dreams is a series of connected short stories telling the life changing journey of Jason Conners, a young man who had no idea what he wanted out of life. However, that changes with a series of vivid dreams that haunt him from youth until death. Are your dreams a reflection of who you are or who you could be? Join Jason as he crosses from his dreams into the dreams of Dragons and find out what is on the other side.”
Have you ever watched a hawk flying against a cloudy sky with the wind blowing past your ears and felt a connection, as if you were there too? Maybe it was flying a kite on a windy day with the tug of the string and the clouds for a backdrop. Your thoughts become filled with magic transcending the silly ideas of duty, responsibility, and life. You feel like you have stepped into a realm between heaven and earth and for that period of time the world is fine. This is what it was like for me so often when I was younger. Too bad life seems to take such magic away from you as you age, because I think the world would be a better place if we could hold onto it.
Although much of my writing seems to be about moralistic problems, the descriptiveness of the scenes and magic comes purely from flying with hawks. I want to have my readers step away from this world and fly with a raptor somewhere just short of heaven. I want to unfetter their imagination as I had in mine in my youth. Making them able to see the magic in a simple bit of reflected light or drifting bit of fog is the goal of my stories. My readers should enjoy savoring all the nuisances of my tales from the imagery to the word play. That is what I have always enjoyed in my reading, savoring the emotions and visuals other authors have given me.
Being able to step outside of the cares of everyday life and yet delve into deep issues is one of the amazing abilities that science fiction and fantasy writing has over non-fiction literature. Even though the main characters can deal with issues as bad as, or worse than, a true person’s past, the uniqueness of the invented world can help readers overcome their preset attitude toward the subject. The flight of their imagination allows them to see it from a different point of view.
So, the next time you read a story, stop and think for a second. Did this author every watch a hawk flying against the clouds and imagine being with it? Did the pull of a taut kite string send them scurrying down some imaginary path? Finally, can you still remember how to fly?
This is the introduction I wrote:
Here it is, the story of a family struggling to survive in a war torn world. A war one thousand years old against an implacable enemy where all other civilized pursuits are almost mythical. Can a civilization find its way after so long? Read and find out.
Also, the story is downloadable as a PDF or a RTF.doc file at my Patreon page .
No, this is not a post about the United States, although, given the threat to our cultural programs, it is oddly appropriate. I am actually posting about next weeks story for the month of March “Lepidoptera”. This is the story of the Sindain, a culturally advanced race that has lost all of their creativity to the necessity of surviving a thousand-year war with a brutal warrior race called the Hadar. Every family bears the scars from generations of fighting.
Hope is an ever dwindling commodity for the children of the Sindain whom will soon face their rite of passage into adulthood through the Forest of Calling. The Forest of Calling is the center of Sindain life and is where all the young of the tribe must go to commune with their God, Sky Father, and learn the place where they are needed. Into these trying times come Diocles and Maia, the children of Androcles and Melina, respected members of the tribe.
Diocles is troubled by his pending rite of passage because he fears having to become a warrior and fight. His dream is to re-learn the ancient artistic skills of his forefathers. Maia is the sister he adores and a gentle soul. How will Sky Father’s need for the Sindain change their and the tribes fortunes? Will their culture survive?
Hopefully, you will subscribe for $1 a month at my Patreon page to find out. Fun fact: the title “Lepidoptera” is the scientific order name for moths and butterflies, which figure prominently in the story.
So, let us talk about magic systems. I am fairly well read, so I have encountered many magic systems in numerous universes. In addition, I have played many fantasy video games that can take these kinds of magic systems and make them usable through button pressing combinations. They range from the simple expressions of inner power to complex rituals requiring particular materials and symbolic gestures. Over the years I have seen great examples of magic systems and poor examples.
For a poor example, I give you Terry Goodkind who has no rigorously vetted system of magic; thus, leaving himself open for inconsistency in applying the rules his characters follow. He makes the rules up as he goes so that you feel that what ever magic rules he has are just created to get the results he wants for the scene. Consistency is left for the reader to rationalize out.
For good examples, I give you Brandon Sanderson who creates some of the most interesting complex magic systems with unique and consistent rules. Instead of making the rues fit the situation, he writes situations that fit his story based upon the rules of his magic system. The use of metals to fuel three different types of magic in the Mistborn series is a joy to read. Each system is well-defined as is how they interact with each other. So far, I have not noted Mr. Sanderson writing scenes that are not consistent with the restraints he created in the magic system.
So, where do I sit on the issue. Well, to be truthful, I am a bit lazy and impatient. While I love the stuff that Brandon Sanderson is doing, I don’t have the patience to work out such detailed magic systems. In addition, all my work to date has been short fiction with little room to spend detailing the magic rules. The closest I have gotten is in next months story “Lepidoptera” where each young Sindain that enters the Woods of Calling are marked with a tattoo by their God Sky Father depicting the need they will fill in the Sindain tribe. Mostly I tend to represent magic as an aspect of the person or the person’s intelligence and imagination. This way they can create almost anything with reasonable consistency. In some cases I source power from the land, which in some ways is how we work in our technological society.
Which ever way you chose to go, magic is almost always an essential part of fantasy fiction, maybe the best part. So feel free to explore the magic in my stories.
There are few times more enjoyable to an artist than to see their art take on a life of its own. You tweak and strive, erase and repaint, sharpen and blur all in hopes of capturing something your brain locked onto then magic happens. You see something more in your artwork then you ever expected to be able to place in there. Maybe the glassy reflection in an eye looks like you need to dry it with a tissue or the bug on a log makes you want to swat it or with a slight tilt of your head the image appears to have extra dimension. What ever the effect is, the world has become that little bit more magical. I have experienced some of these spells in the works of others and on a few lucky occasions within my own. One such for me is the corona around the sun in my painting “Juliette and Josephus”, which at least viewed in gimp changes aspect with the position I view it from. There is a change almost like looking at an embedded hologram. Another image that gave me more than I expected was “Sanity”, the cover for “Mystics and Misfits”. The eyes in the background feel like they are floating in space if viewed right. In each instance I had had no plan to create these effects, nor any idea that I could. However, when I spent time studying the completed images, well …. To me that is one of the best parts of being an artist.