Month: April 2014

The Liebster Award

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Due to the thoughtfulness of Sarah Virginia at http://svdeaner.wordpress.com/, I have been nominated for the Liebster Award.  Thanks Sarah!

As Sarah stated in her post, here is the information concerning the Liebster Award.

“The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules of the competition are as follows:

The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them. Provide 11 facts about yourself Answer 11 question set by the person who nominated you Choose 11 more people and ask them 11 questions!”

My 11 facts:

1. I’m a redhead (although my hair is getting rather brown).

2. I’m colorblind.

3. My eyes will look a different color depending on what colors my clothes are.

4. In case you didn’t see my “About” page or Gravatar profile, I’m homeschooled.

5. I’m a very philosophical person, especially when it comes to discerning the morality of a situation.

6.  I’ve been writing the same book since I was seven (although my book becomes slightly different as the years go by).

7. I really like snowboarding.

8. I look a lot older than I really am.  Most people think that I’m at least three years older than my actual age.

9. If I had to choose between fighting a bear with a shotgun, spear, or a sword, I’d choose the sword (I’ve actually thought about this!).

10. My favorite TV show is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood….yeah, that’s right 😉

11. I ate two scrambled eggs on a ripped up tortilla this morning…true story.  Here’s an extra fact about myself in case you haven’t already guessed it: I’m a goof.

Sarah’s questions and my answers are listed below:

1. Who is your favorite author? That’s a tough one.  I don’t read gobs of a particular author.  I guess I would have to say that J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author, because I really like The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin.  The Lord of the Rings was good too, but not as well written.  I suppose you could say Tolkien is my biggest inspiration, mainly because his world is so developed and there’s a background story for almost everything and everyone is his series.  I’d like my fantasy series to be like that.

2. Are you a dog or a cat person?  Personally, I’m not an animal person.  But, based on the fact that I have experience with dogs more than cats, I guess I’m a dog person….although that’s not to say that I actually like dogs.

3. If you could have one movie on a desert island, what would it be? I’m not entirely sure what this means.  But off the top of my head?  The Two Towers.  It’s meaningful, epic, and very inspirational 😉

4. Where would your dream vacation be?  I’m not entirely sure! Hawaii, perhaps.  Sorry, lame answer…

5. If you could write for any magazine in the world, which would you choose?  I don’t read any magazines but I’d say The New Yorker.

6. Someone hands you $1,000. What would you do with it?  Tithe, because I’m Catholic, and then find a worthy cause to donate to.  That probably sounds unrealistic…

7. What comes to mind when you think of homeless people?  An old man with gray hair, a walking stick, and tattered clothes on a sidewalk.

8. If you could go back in time and meet anyone, who would you want to meet and why? Jesus.  Why?  I’m Catholic, remember? 😛

9. What is your favorite past time? Writing or writing about my fantasy series (I know, it’s surprising).

10. What kind of music do you love? Well, it depends on what I’m in the mood for.  I guess meaningful rock or pop songs.  Always meaningful…(I’m very philosophical, remember?)

11. If you could be really incredibly amazing at just one thing, what would you choose?  Writing 🙂 .  Unfortunately, I’m only going to become incredibly amazing at writing after lots of hard work!

Here are the people I’m nominating:

http://infiniaworld.wordpress.com/

http://loudthoughtsvoicedout.wordpress.com/

http://erinmccolecupp.com/

http://katsweetcakes.wordpress.com/

http://seangreenblogging.wordpress.com/

http://adshayah151.wordpress.com/

http://universeviews.wordpress.com/

….Well, you can see I’ve got some work to do.

My questions:

1. What book genres do you read the most?

2. Out of any characters from fairly known books you’ve read, who do you think you resemble the most?

3.  Out of any characters from fairly known books you’ve read, who do you wish you could resemble the most?

4. Are you homeschooled, public schooled, or other?

5. If you had to choose between being lost in a frozen tundra or a super hot desert, which would you choose?

6. (I feel compelled to ask this :))If you had to fight a bear, what weapons would you choose: A shotgun, a spear, or a sword?

7. Do you consider yourself “sporty”?

8. What field of science interests you the most?

9. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

10. Why do you blog?

11. Out of anyone you know personally, who do you look up to the most?

Thanks again to Sarah Virginia for nominating me!  I hope that I can find 11 eligible candidates for nomination as well.  If you have been nominated, you can participate by writing a post in which you present 11 facts about yourself, answering my 11 questions, and leaving 11 questions for the 11 people you nominate.  Please leave a link to your blog in the comments so that I can see your post.  Thanks for reading!

Aul

 

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Out With the Old and in With the New?

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(C.S. Lewis) (Photo credit http://www.movieguide.org)

It would appear, in regards to writing that that is just how things seem to be.  Now just wait before you refute that first sentence.  Let me explain.  Old ideas and genres that “old” authors used to write in obviously are present today; many people still write about fantasy (like C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien once did).  Many people still write mysteries (like Arthur Conan Doyle once did).  Many people still write science-fiction (like H.G. Wells).  Many people write about modern times (like Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck once did).

Yet, there tends to be a great barrier that distinguishes us modern writers from the writers mentioned above, and many others around their time, from fifty years back to two-hundred.  What could this be?  Here is the answer:

The writings authors today lack the beauty and disciplinary values of the writings of past authors.  Today, authors tend to write just like they were writing a movie; there is little room for character depth; the depth of the created world (should the story be in one); lack of beauty in the way the words of the text are written; and lack of respect for writing as an art.  Writing is an art.  To make an analogy, think of what normally comes to mind when you think of art: you think of a painting.  And now to complete the analogy: if the authors of old had their written works described by a painting, the painting would be of something beautiful, with every detail thought out, and every part of its design possessing meaning, whether apparent or hidden.  If the authors of today had their written works described with a painting…well I hope you like stick figures.  Stick figures are simple; they possess no depth, no room for detail, and anyone can make stick figures.  Note also that while a great painting that depicts the skill and artistic qualities of the writers of old will live on, and be counted as a “classic”, something that can be looked at again and again for generations, the stick figures of today’s writers will be amusing for only a short time, and then forgotten.

I’m not saying that there aren’t impressive writers out there today.  There are just too few.  How have authors like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Dickens had works that survived so long?  It was because they put true, meaningful effort into their writing.  They made sure every sentence counted; that every word made sense.  They made sure there were no plot-holes.  They made sure they developed their characters.  They knew how to make words flow wonderfully in order to incite the  emotional reactions that they wanted their readers to have.  And they took their time with their books; they allowed themselves enough time to produce excellent pieces of literature and even allowed them to be edited for years.  Today, most publishers like it when authors crank out their books in a matter of months, or at least as quick as they can.  There’s nothing wrong with that; if you’ve got time, you’ve got time, and if your book is short…well, why not?  But time is not equivalent to effort, and doesn’t necessarily contribute to the beauty and artistic value that every piece of writing should have.  Giving effort, and endeavoring to have beauty and artistic value in one’s writing, will indeed take time, however.

So what do we do?  We slow down.  We take our time.  We strive to make our writing have beauty and meaning.  We endeavor to create stories that will last for centuries.  I know I am.  Thanks for reading.  If you have any thoughts, you know that I’d love to hear them.

Aul

“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

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(Quote from Uncle Ben in Spider-Man)

Many books, and many great tales, whether science-fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, or actual historical happenings, consist of the hero starting out as a “nobody”, or a person of low rank.  The hero is a humble farmer, a lowly peasant, the runt of the family, the nerd of the school etc..  These stories create a pleasing and encouraging sentiment that even the smallest people of society can make a big difference, and a difference for the better.  The chances of this happening is slim, but it is still possible, and the stories usually stress that the good or victory obtained by the lowly, humble hero come about through the morality of the hero’s choices.  We can see this in fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings.  Frodo is a hobbit, small and weak in comparison to many off his own allies, and definitely puny in the face of his enemy, Sauron and his forces.  Yet, Frodo’s (and Sam’s) decisions to persevere bring about, in however a roundabout way, the defeat of their enemy.  Frodo is no king, no mighty warrior, and yet still it falls to him to destroy the Ring…and he does.  He is a great example of how the little people of society, and the most unlikely, can bring about the greatest change.

Other stories like The Inheritance Cycle feature heroes that come from lowly ranks of society.  Eragon is a farm-boy living practically in isolation from the rest of the world, and yet still he is chosen to be the next dragon rider and is given the task of defeating Galbatorix…and he does.    Even Katniss from The Hunger Games comes from the poor District Twelve and becomes a hero (I’m still unsure about heroism in The Hunger Games though…).  Luke Skywalker from the most famous Star Wars trilogy is supposed to be a boy, or a teenager, and he too comes from a poor family.  Luke is definitely a “nobody” until Obi-Wan Kenobi finds him.

Perhaps, you might think that my book won’t be any different.  These are all great stories; why would anyone want to divert from the path set by such wonderful examples, which are bound to lead a writer into success?  This is where the catch comes in, a question that should be asked: What about a story where the people in power actually do something for the good of the people?

Despite The Lord of the Rings when the people of power do give aid against Sauron (Aragorn, Theoden, Faramir), more often than not those who hold power in stories are always abusing it.  Look at The Inheritance Cycle, The Hunger Games, Star Wars, and more recently Divergent.  All of the governments, or rulers, are evil, and those in high places stick with the evil governments.

This is an interesting aspect of my book that I would like to proclaim, if I may be so bold.  On the first page of my first book, I state that Terren, the main character, is knight and lord of a town.  He is no lowly farm-boy, isolated teenager, or the weakest of his race (that last analogy relates to Frodo, but I know Frodo wasn’t the weakest of his race; I was just trying to stress the “weak” part, that’s all!).  What he IS is a person of power that endeavors to do the right thing.  He’s not lazy, he doesn’t abuse his power; he uses his power to help others.   Later in the book, beyond the first two chapters given on this blog, you will also learn that many of his friends are also people of royalty, and other figures of royalty help them along the way.  How interesting is it to see that finally, the people of power are doing something to change the world for the better.

Does this happen in our world?  Do our governments reach down to help us?  What are their motives for doing so, if they do?  Is so called “kindness” from our governments just an act?   Are there heroes among us in those that are wealthy or possessing power?

Not all are heroes in my book when they possess power and social rank, but the main characters are.  We discussed how the weak and lowly smite those who are strong when nobody expected it; now I give you the opportunity to see the strong and powerful return the favor, to see them do their part.  It is awesome and inspirational to see the “little guy” do something to change the world for the better, but how much better will society be if our leaders rise to the occasion to become something great for the world; to become heroes.

Aul

The Doctor: the Physician

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Just a poem I wrote in honor of Easter…

In our world, filled with pain and death, doctors do we need,

 Those that can give us hope, those that can give us help, those that will persevere to defend and preserve life.

 Can the doctor heal his patient if he is angry with the patient?

  And can the doctor heal the patient if he is afraid of confronting the patient about his wound?

 No, the doctor that acts with gentleness, and sincerity and honesty, is the one that heals his patient. 

But the greatest doctor is the one that gives his life for his patient;

the doctor who gives his own blood to save the life of his patient.

The doctor that loves his patient beyond all telling, and will do anything to keep him alive—

indeed, this is the greatest doctor.

Mankind is a race that is dying; a race that suffers.

Sin is the disease.

Sin is the disease that urges mankind to cause itself suffering

This suffering is great; it has been present since the beginning.

Who can stop such an illness?  Who will cure us?

Behold, by the grace of our God, a Doctor was given to mankind;

A physician; the Divine Physician

He is the perfect doctor.   He is our savior.

Lo, He came not angry with us, and He was not afraid to confront the wound;

the wound dealt to humanity by sin.

No, our doctor, our Divine Physician, acts with gentleness, sincerity and honesty to heal us

Yet when a greater act is needed, a greater act to stop the blood, the life, that drains out of mankind,

Our Divine Physician, our Savior, gives His blood, His life for us, so that we are no longer dead

but alive.

By our sin we have caused this, our Divine Physician to die; a Physician from God.

He is God’s son.  

We killed our Doctor.  By the outpouring of His blood, He saved us.  Yet He is Dead.

What hope can be given to us?  We killed the Son of God!  Sin has been destroyed.  But our God is dead!

What wrath must follow, now that God’s son has been killed!  What wrath!

What wrath!

Not so.

Not so.

OUR DOCTOR LIVES

Our Savior has broken free of death!

The Divine Physician cannot be held by death!

He lives!  He lives!

And this miracle: what could it mean?

Our Divine Physician, Jesus Christ has forgiven us of our sins.

So let us sing “Alleluia!”

Alleluia!

Alleluia!

For Jesus Christ, our Lord, is risen from the dead

Happy Easter!  I know it has nothing to do with my book, but I thought it was necessary.  If you are not a Christian, I still hope you enjoyed it.

Aul

Five Warning Signs Your Story Needs Revision

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Some valuable advice from Kristen Lamb…

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 11.38.45 AM Original image via Jenny Downing Flikr Creative Commons

We can have the best story ideas in the world, but to be blunt? There’s a lot to be said for delivery. While these problems might seem picky, there are some fundamental errors that can weaken the writing. If our writing loses power, this can become distressing or distracting to readers.

Many readers (not being editors or professional writers) might not be able to articulate specifically why they lost interest in a story, but often the answer is simple. It can be an accumulation of the small things. The little foxes spoil the vine.

Most of us make one or more of these errors, especially when we’re new. Hey, that’s called “being NEW.” No one is born with the natural ability to write brilliant, perfect novels coded into their DNA. It takes time and practice, so give yourself permission to make…

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New Addition to “Montairyus History” and “TSOM Artwork”!

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     Hey everyone!  There will be a new addition to “Montairyus History” and “TSOM Artwork”.  For “Montairyus History” there’s the story of the “Slaughter of Drunu”, which happened before “The First Great Eighteen Tarseain and the First Elven War”.  Like I said before, everything will be arranged in chronological order, so however each historical event is arranged will determine when it happened in Montairyus history.

     As for “TSOM Artwork”, I will be (quite courageously) putting in a picture I drew of Terren, the main character in “I Was Called”.  Please note the most fallible details, the impeccably horrible facial features, and the crappy artistic design overall.  I’m glad that the art of my writing isn’t as bad as the art of my drawing!

Aul

What Is “The Saga of Montairyus”?

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(I know some of you have already read this post, but I think it’s only fair that my new followers get to read it too!)

5% horror.  8% humor.  10% romance.  22% action.  30% epic.  25% ethically inspiring. 100% awesome.

     “Terren,” said Rtoa, “as you know now, Kartrus is the leader of the Gilliks.  He is not a creature of this world, but a spirit in bodily form.  As a spirit, he holds great power, not just as in dominion over others, but a mystical power that all spirits were created with.  Centuries ago, the dark emperor took from the soil of Montairyus steel and fashioned it into a sword.  The steel fashioned into a sword was not an evil thing, but because Kartrus only intended to use the sword to inflict pain upon others the blade itself became evil.  With his own mystical powers Kartrus enchanted the sword to turn his victims into Gilliks once they are stabbed.”

It’s a bold move to openly pronounce my book as “100% awesome”.  Of course, what else would I call my book?  I wrote it, after all.  But why should you also think it’s awesome?  It’s because I’ve combined my love of medieval fantasy with a creativity and imagination that’s home to many home-schoolers, and I’ve worked for most of my life on this story.  The idea for my book was conceived when I was seven (yes, the number after six and before eight!).  I had wanted to write a book at such a young age because both of my older brothers were doing so.  What else would a seven year-old brother do other than try to emulate his older brothers?  I was obsessed with the idea of people changing from good to evil, as if it was the coolest, most exciting and scary idea that anyone could ever think of.  Thus, I came up with the idea of the main bad guy (Kartrus) having a sword that injects evil into people, making them his slaves.  Also, the idea of a knight’s baby brother being kidnapped by a group of evil beasts was also conceived when I was seven.  I’ve come a long way.

      “Lord Terren!” called the messenger.  The boy stood by Stormflash and peered upwards at the knight.  “My lord, it is your mother!”

     Terren dismounted quickly; the ground crunched beneath his feet as he landed.  “Speak quickly, boy!” urged Terren.

     “The baby was stolen,” stammered the messenger, “the remaining guard said that the house was attacked by six beasts, but they were strangely…manlike.”

     “Come with me!” growled Terren, beginning to grow hot and sweat.

     The boy seemed greatly surprised as Terren grasped him beneath his arms and put him on Stormflash’s saddle.  Terren sat in front of the messenger, and wrapped his hands around the reins.  With his feet in place he veered towards his mother’s house and dug the spurs into the brown stallion and the horse galloped forward.  “Tell me more!” shouted Terren over the pounding of hooves.

     The boy’s voice shook as he unsteadily went up and down on the horse’s galloping back, “I had been on my way to deliver a letter to Lady Kaira when it happened.  Four black creatures all standing like men with pale white faces rushed through the front door.  A rider clad with full armor rode towards the house, his right hand a hand of snakes.  Another creature altered its form into various creatures.  Seven guards present among her Ladyship’s home were killed, one remained alive, but the monsters left as soon as they had the child.”       

      Terren remained frozen for several seconds, trying to comprehend all that had been said: six horrible creatures, one who could change his shape, others that were hideous, and another fully armored and ready for battle.  None had been slain and they had stolen Earyis.  “Earyis,” thought Terren, overwhelmed.  His head swelled with anxiety.  

I recently wrote a post talking about how a good villain is immensely important to writing a good, exciting story.  Obviously, you have to have likable heroes, but villains can really add depth to the story and present numerous complexities for the main characters.  I like to mix the pros and cons of my bad guys.  Some of them are powerful, or not easily defeated, because they are physically hard to overcome; they possess mystical abilities that make them invincible to many people.  Others, however, don’t set foot on the battle-field.  They use their mystical capabilities to attack from a distance.  They play with the minds of their prey.  They tempt their prey.  They watch them simmer and burn into a puddle of despair and bewilderment.

     All sounds around Terren still existed, but as he watched the Dishonuz move towards him, swerving like a serpent with eyes full of hatred, he heard a strange noise.  Like leaves on trees waving in the strong updraft of a storm, like the burn of heated iron to flesh, like the hiss of a snake when disclosing itself to its prey, a black mist began to form near the head of the Dishonuz.  The beast seemed to take no notice of darkness that was gathering on its body, but snarled at Terren with its lips curling upward, revealing its white teeth.

     The mist began to clear and in its place riding on the Dishonuz was a demon, one of the seven that Kartrus rarely released, this particular one named Saerevice, but known more commonly as Scream.  Saerevice’s body was the body of a human skeleton, distorted and unearthly with a grin of horror etched on its face.  A long cloak clothed the creature of death, and its color was dead silver, lacking life or radiance.  The demon had no weapon of substance, but what he could do was far more dangerous than any kind of weapon made by man, elf or Gillik.  Saerevice could paralyze his victim, only then to take their life by a dark evil invested in him.  The demon was called Scream because, when he used his dark mystical power, literally grasping his victim and making his magic flow into them through his hands, the pain was so terrible it caused his victim to scream until their voice gave out and they could speak no more.  It was said that Kartrus had done the same to Scream when the demon had been a human, and so Scream had inherited the power to destroy the voices of others in a horribly painful way.   To be fighting this demon was especially scary, for this demon was especially powerful.  Having Gladeus encouraged Terren to be confident, but he was still anxious and afraid to duel such a creature, not mentioning the beast it rode on.

I’m not entirely sure how accurate the percentages are at the beginning of this post, but they create a decent generalization of my book.  “I Was Called”, my first book, was officially finished on January 6th, 2011 (yes, I’ve memorized the date!).  The excerpts in this post are from “I Was Called”.  Three of my family members have read through “I Was Called” after I had thoroughly edited it for about two years after its completion.  My mom really enjoyed it, my older brother (age nineteen when he read it) absolutely loved it (he actually doesn’t like it when I change the story too much), and my dad (who grades papers for college students for a living) is very impressed with it.  I hope with all my heart you get as much enjoyment out of it as they do/did.  I also hope this post didn’t sound prideful!  Perhaps it did.  Don’t get me wrong though, I’m proud of my book.  I’m just trying to not be prideful.  My book needs a lot of work.  But I stand firm in my belief that my ideas, and my characters, are both worth writing about, and are worthy of your most appreciated and gracious attention!

      “I give you courage and strength,” replied the Pure Spirit, his voice reverberating in Terren’s mind.  “If you decide you shall not fail, then you shall not.  It is your decision and has been for a long time.  Make your choice and stay committed.  If you decide that you will carry out your quest, then you will.  It will be the hardest choice that a person will make; the one that decides if he shall accept what he was called to do for those he loves, for the world.  I will be at your side.”

Aul

 

© 2014 “I Was Called” Dominic Sceski