Tag Archives: fantasy

Don’t Be Confused – I Changed My Name

Hello all!

So I changed my url name. I’ve talked about changing it before, and now I have. It’s a bit of a funny name, I know, but it has a lot more meaning to me than “Aspirations of Flight,” and is a tiny bit less… corny. Heh.

Dragons have always been highly representational in my life of strength, wisdom, and ferocity; I feel this is important to take with me as I move forward in my writing career. Also, being “awake” also means paying attention, being aware of what’s happening in the world, and actively engaging with it – a reminder to me as much as those who may read what I write. I hope to write to inspire and provoke thought for those who read what I write, and the reminder to stay “awake” is important to me.

There’s a quote I came across a while ago, by Jose Rizal. Perhaps I am belittling the original meaning by applying it to my fantastical, imaginary stories. But it still struck a chord with me, and is something I hope to remember as I continue on my writing path:

“I do not write for this generation. I am writing for other ages. If this could read me, they would burn my books, the work of my whole life. On the other hand, the generation which interprets these writings will be an educated generation; they will understand me and say: ‘Not all were asleep in the nighttime of our grandparents.’ ”

So, as I go forward, I bring my dragons and my sleeplessness with me.

P.S. Also… looking at the url, one could see “Awake Dragon” or “A Wake Dragon.” A wake, which is a ceremony to celebrate life and make sure the dead person is really dead (to make sure they don’t “wake” up), could also play into this. So, a dragon who wakes the dead (or those who are sleeping) … or a dragon who simply celebrates life and what has gone before.

Too much of a stretch?


What is the Genre of your Novel?

Yesterday I was finally been able to sit down to write after almost a week of chaos. Two of the goats on the farm I live at kidded this weekend, leaving me with four cute factories running around the barn. The moms are taking care of them very well, thank goodness, but one has triplets so we’ve been lending a hand to make sure all her babies are doing well. The little girl out of the bunch likes my fiancee’s lap the most:

Bgirl_lap

Yes, I’ve been dealing with that cuteness for the past few days!

Anyway, I am attempting to get back on writing track, and obviously, to blog. I’ve gotten feedback from my first beta reader, and she’s absolutely loving my manuscript: she read it in two days, when usually she’s a slow reader who takes her time. We excitedly discussed plot, characters, and style non-stop for almost two hours straight.

So that was very encouraging, and I have a few more beta readers who are going to get their copies here shortly. I’m pretty motived anyway, but it’s making me feel a lot more encouraged to work on the second book, as well as working on lots of agent/editor research.

In slightly off topic but relatable news, I’ve recently run into a bit of an issue: I’m not sure the genre of my novel. It’s fantasy, for sure, with lots of magic. But then there are decent Steampunk elements; for example, advanced technology in a Victorian-like society. But my story doesn’t actually take place in the 1800’s – I’ve redone history with some big twists so it’s actually “current day” with advanced technology and Victorian era traditions. I hesitate to describe it as “Alternative History” because of the heavy amount of fantasy, and because I don’t think I’m anywhere near someone like Diana Gabaldon’s level of research.

Sooo I’m back to the simple “General Fantasy” genre… I just feel it’s more than that, and doesn’t cover enough of what my story is to really cut it. Currently my query doesn’t have a precise genre, but instead a fancier “a mix between this author and this author, appealing to fans who like their fantasy A, B, and C,” etc. I think it’s working decently well for it’s purposes, but I’m still are little perplexed. Before, when I read about agents complaining about authors who mis-identify their genre, I didn’t think it applied to me because the manuscript I worked on before was more cut and dry. But now… it’s looking like my problem.

What do you think? Are you have problems identifying your genre because of it’s odd little quirks? Do you have an idea of what my novel sounds like? Or maybe some advice on how to tackle this in a query? (Or do you want to squeee over the picture of the baby above?)


Query Help!

I need your help. Yes, you, the one scrolling past my post. No, I’m not asking for money. I need your opinion. Your honest opinion.

Below is my query letter. If you don’t know what is query letter is, it’s a short, engaging clip that outlines your novel and hopefully captures the attention of an (agent/publisher/whatever). It’s been likened to the blurb on the back of a book that gets a reader’s attention.

I would like your opinion on whether this query sounds interesting, or would be something you would read. I’ve spent a lot of time studying Query Shark‘s advice and rules, and cut things even when it hurt, hoping to make a better query. In the end, only one rule remains: does is capture your attention. (If it’s not your genre – well then I guess I’ve struck out immediately. Tell me that too!)

QUERY:

Since the death of her sister by magical means, Fairian has devoted her life to finding answers. But answers are hard to come by when everyone ignores anything even remotely resembling the word magic. With everything from Parliament re-writing history to her mother breathing down her neck with the slightest infraction of propriety, investigation is just a mite difficult.

Luckily for Fairian, the new city she moved to happens to have someone who can answer her questions. Unfortunately, he wants nothing to do with her and refuses her entrance into his dangerous and subversive world. That might have something to do with the fact that he’s the biggest mystery of all.

Nothing is going to end up quite like Fairian expects. Her obstinate search for answers is going to attract the very wrong kind of attention, both magical and human. It’s going to take all of her cleverness and all of his inhumane power to get her through this alive.

Of course, there are things worse than death. And here, they’re everywhere.

Written from Fairian’s perspective, INITIUM is a completed 120,000 word Steampunk.

 

Thoughts? Questions? Criticisms? Please?


Animal Friends and Stick-Stealing

While out on a feeding frenzy by the trees, Sari, my newest dairy goat acquisition, decided to lay her head across my shoulders while I was sitting on the ground and snuggle. It was rather heart heart warming (even if it was after a half an hour of chewing cud in my ear), particularly since she’s kind of a prickly personality and a bit obnoxious at times.

It made me wonder about relationships with animals. Dogs, as we all know, are most commonly considered man’s best friend. They love you, try to communicate with you, (sometimes) listen to you. Even cats, though they’re often more independent than dogs, also create connections and emotional attachments with people. This makes sense because we’re all predators and have common ground to be friends. Trained to not pee on the rug and all that jazz.

But goats are prey animals. They have all these instincts and stuff. And yeah, I get it, my goats were raised with people and learned to trust us and have been domesticated, etc. But me, with clear predator eyeballs and scary bigness, can mess around with my lovely prey friends, grab their faces, pet their throats and near their eyes. Sari particularly was so not into that when she first came here. That she trusts me now, makes me stop and think about friendship and language across species.

Through love (or fear, unfortunately) animal friends learn what to do to please us. Our reasons for returning this affection is often varied. It seems like the more we’re able to understand each other’s wants and wishes, the more attachment seems to form – as in, “don’t poop on the floor” and “oh yes keeping scratching that spot” along with “guard the house” and “feed me” and other various desires. In a perfectly logical way, this symbiotic relationship is about understanding basic necessities and supplying them for mutual benefit.

But in my more existential moments, I wonder about cross-species communication on a different level. We as humans can declare superiority with our big brains and conquering the natural world oh yay, but a lot of time I think we don’t give our animal friends enough credit. If any of you out there work closely with animals, I think you’ll understand what I’m talking about. As much as our animal friends cannot speak our spoken language, I think that we cannot (or don’t spend enough time to) speak their language in return. Their own way of communicating is probably not in our range of immediately comprehension, so we dismiss it as inferior – I think wrongly so.

I think cross-species friendship can tap into understanding of each other that is not just communication of basic necessities. Something more; a not-quite-language created between two species. It might all be my imagination, and I’m not sure we can understand what really happens in their brains (particularly with prey animals), but that moment of other understanding that isn’t quite understanding so much as a suggestion, is rather magical.

Like I said. It’s probably in my head. Or applying my own ideas to actions that mean something else. Who really knows what happens in a goat’s (dog’s, cat’s, rabbit’s, etc) brain. Yet somehow I’ve gained the trust of three animal friends by paying attention and being receptive.

But anyway. In an effort to bring this discussion back to writing, I had this thought: language barriers, especially when dealing with sci-fi or fantasy where there’s aliens or robots or half-animal creatures or things that grew up in the woods, is not a complication to be taken lightly. Their brains  are literally different, complex, growing up with different assumptions and complex reasonings that are all tied back to chemistry, biology (or mechanics), and environment. Like with animals, maybe we just have no way of being able to understand what they’re saying. Or with Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, there’s no real way of being able to access the network in which that species communicates. Or maybe they don’t operate the same way we do anyway. Or maybe being able to communicate means that we have to change the way we think, how we think.

But that might be a little extreme.

Any which and either way, communication problems between simple ol’ humans is bad enough – it’s even worse when you try to add a dimension that we’re, well, making up. However, language barriers, misunderstandings, and half-understandings can also really add spice to a story – and it can be really fun, too. It can add both comic relief (stretching and yawning in their culture is, whoops, actually a come-on) and conflict (delicate negotiations go awry because smiling is actually a sign of aggression), which is the life-blood of any story. Like many things in writing, communication (by culture and language) is something to be mindful of, and also a great tool if wielded effectively.

In other news:

I had a stick that I was using to flick at the goats so they’d back off from stuff they weren’t supposed to eat in the flower garden. The idea was born out of laziness because I didn’t want to get get up from my seat. I put the stick down for half a second and Sari ate it.

NaNoWriMo word count: 17,813