New years came and went and still the quest to complete short pieces and that first novel continues. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, I’ve just been soaking up what other writers have to offer and reading a great book on writing fantasy novels that never ceases to amaze me with its simplicity. First off, chapter 18 of “Children of a Fallen Sky” is nearly compete. That gives me about 7 more chapters to wrap-up some loose ends and put these characters out of their misery…or just pile on more misery for the second book. I’m really going to try and keep it below 100K words; something about debut novels and the price of paper and all that publishing voodoo.
Secondly, the book is called “The Fantasy Fiction Formula” by Deborah Chester. The title may sound like a cheap trick, do-it-yourself, paint by the numbers kinda deal, but it’s not. This is a must have for beginning writers and pros. It really opened my eyes to building an epic story from the ground up, starting with a simple idea and spreading out into subplot and layered work. Get this book!
Also, been reading a lot of manga, yes those black and white comics that are so hard and so expensive to find in english. Manga literally has some of the best story telling in all genres, from fantasy to science fiction to horror and slice-of-life. If you ever get the chance to dive into the world of story-telling though the medium that is manga, do it. You’ll have no regrets. The slice-of-life manga titled “Solanin” by Inio Asano will have you in tears as a group of college students struggle to put away childish things and face the lives they have to build as adults. You can fly through this one in 2-3 hours and have its story churning in your mind for days. I highly recommend it.
For those who enjoy the darker side of life, grimdark fans like myself, pick up “Blade of the Immortal” by Hiroaki Samura (the large graphic novels, not the comic). Manji is a blood-thirsty samurai cursed with immortality for the hundred lives he’s taken (he actually ingests worms that glue his body back together every time he’s dismembered, stabbed, or sliced open). In order to redeem himself, and gain his mortality again, he must kill one-thousand “evil-doers.” The story is insane, the battle scenes and art (pencil) are masterful, and Samura even manages to throw in some humor. I’ve only read the first three novels (in a complete set of 31) but it’s enough to keep me reading. Pick it up folks.
And that’s what I’ve been up to. Don’t forget to check out issue #10 of Grimdark magazine, issue #4 of Cirsova, and keep a look out for Cirsova’s Eldritch Earth issue #5 coming soon. Still waiting on writer’s of the future and a couple other submissions that may have gotten lost in the sauce. Be well!