Sunday, July 15, 2012

Character Interview with Xedagh Milkanin

    Yes, I know I said my next post would be a philosophical analysis of "The Road Goes Ever On" but I realized that philosophy is hard, and I don't really care for it, so it's taken longer. So, with some prodding from the League of Extraordinary Scribes, I'm doing a character interview instead. His name is Xedagh Milkanin. He looks kind of like the figure in the two pictures in this post. (The bottom found through hard Google trawling, the second, through Pinterest.) Here's the description of the character. 

Xedagh is an immortal, psionic alien from another galaxy. He can't die because his race, the Llinoq, have the unique ability to recover from all injuries. However, they do go what into they call the Deep Sleep, which is a permanent coma that lasts until the multiverse ends. Xedagh is almost the last of his race because of a decision he made. Eons ago, there was a cataclysmic war back in his home galaxy between the Llinoq and a diabolical race called the Chrue. The Llinoq were the guardians of their galaxy, and they were slowly being beat back, despite their astonishing abilities. He was young, foolish, and in love. So, in exchange for the life his love (and himself, of course) and their freedom, he betrayed his people.  Naturally, she didn't like that, so she left him. Absolutely devastated and and hating himself for his stupidity, he started wandering and ended up in our galaxy where he does mercenary work and the like under the alias Luanqin Tanxia which means "Many Sorrows." He's the best of the best in mercenary work due ti his psionic abilities and advanced armor. He's grieving for his choice, but he can't make himself enter the Deep Sleep because of the thousand star systems he caused to fall beneath the heel of the Chrue. He feels he needs to atone. 

Begin Transmission 
Alpha Query Protocol 779

Me: So, Xedag-

Xedagh: That's not my name. It's Luanqin Tanxia 

Me: Don't argue with me. It's not worth. I know your name is Xedagh Milkanin and your past. Don't worry either. None of your enemies or fellow mercenaries will ever know it, for I am your Author. 

Xedagh: My Author? Very well. Hurry up though. I'm busy at the moment. 

Me: Alright, I'll start with an easy question. We'll get to the harder and more painful ones as we go on. The first is from Nathanael. Do you only take certain kinds of mercenary jobs, as a way of atoning for your past?

Xedagh: Yes, though I don't know how you know all of this. Or how they know all of that. I don't work for pirates, dictators, or criminal organizations. Period. On occasion, I'll pretend to join them under a different alias and toppling them from the inside. Most of what I do involves cleaning up organized crime rings that are to big for governments to handle. Sometimes I join with a defense force. 

Me: Do you own your own ship that is recognizable or do you switch them up to stay anonymous? 

Xedagh: Usually, I use my own ship, the Xrithella, but there are times when I'll switch ships to work in disguise. My ship is what brought me to this galaxy, so I will always keep it. 

Me: Do you have a special diet?
Xedagh: No. Why would you ask that?

Me: Er-

Xedagh: Don't answer that. 

Me: Any plans on taking out the Chrue?

Xedagh: No.

Me: Well, okay then. I see that's not something you like to talk about. So, why'd you stop at this galaxy? 

Xedagh: It's where I was when I awoke from my worst injury ever, and I've not had one bad enough to keep me out long enough to cross the unimaginably vast distances between the galaxies. So I've stayed here. 

Me: Very good then. I think that's an excellent reason. Now, back to the somewhat easy ones. What's your preferred weapon? Why? 

Xedagh: At last, a decent question. I have several, depending on what the mission requires. My standard is a Gralt 55 radjule rifle, modular style, with accessories chosen for each mission. I also carry two Vhrenger 45 radjule pistols, a collection of knives, both regular and augmented. Nothing can disable a piece of sharp metal. My signature weapon is a Llinoq weapon, called the Xang. It's similar to the ancient swords, except much more advanced. Particulars, I will not tell you.

Me: Quite an impressive armory you have. Now, are you a loner? Or do you have some allies?

Xedagh: Mostly a loner. I outlive everyone, and I will outlive everyone, so it's hard to build relationships. No need to add to my hurt by making new connections. However, I've lately 
met fellow mercenary Baklen Desh, and we've been doing some jobs together. Not everyone's happy though, because we can charge as much for our services as any one of the big security firms. As a side-note, we do our job better they they do as well. 

Me: I'm sure you two do. I've known Baklen for along time. 

Xedagh: How? 

Me: Don't worry about it. What's your deepest fear?

Xedagh: Don't change the-what?!

Me: That's from Hannah. Answer it. 

Xedagh: Hrrmph. *incomprehensible grumbling* I think I'm living my worst fear. An exile, a traitor, and alone. Though, I suppose it could be being forced into the Deep Sleep and facing everyone after what I've done. 

Me: Another from Hannah, what keeps you going in life? 

Xedagh: Tell her that her questions are dangerous. 

Me: Answer it. 

Xedagh: Fine. I wish to try and undo some of the damage I've caused, and compensate for my evils. 

Me: Not from Hannah-

Xedagh: Good.

Me: Have you built yourself a metaphorical shell or mask? If so, what is it?
Xedagh: It's more of a literal shell. Nobody sees me outside of my armor, and the face plate is reflective, which I suppose, if I was an Evil Author, could symbolize my isolation and stony image. 

Me: Yes, I suppose it could. I'd not thought of that before. Good idea. 

Xedagh: Finished yet?

Me: Last question. Have you developed a cynical view of love?

Xedagh: Xyeg. That's hard. I suppose I have. I shy away from it now, and especially its mind-altering effects. 

Me: Excellent! That wasn't so bad, was it?

Xedagh: Like wrestling a Helefgh. 

Me: Huh? 

Xedagh: You're the author. You're supposed to know what that is. Now, this is over. I've waited long enough. The gunships have stopped shooting at me. 

Transmission Terminated 

And there you go, an interview with Xedagh Milkanin. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Once in a 4-Year Event

  It's Leap Day today, as you all know. This day won't return for another 4 years, so make the most of it and write a blog post.
  The next Leap Day, in 2016 seems like so far away, doesn't it? Yet, 2012 seemed like a long time away from 2008, but here we are, and it seemed to fly by so past. We're already to March of 2012.
  Interesting how time zooms by, isn't it, even though it seems to go slow?
That's the end of my musings on time, and I 'll just start being kind of random and saying what my top 3 movies to see this year are.

  1. The Hobbit

  How could I not want to see it? It looks like it'll be awesome. Alas, I must wait until December though.

2. The Avengers 

I am a big superhero fan. Captain America is my favorite, with Superman in second. I approached the Marvel movies a bit skeptically at first, but I changed my mind. The ones I've seen so far are good. Now we get all of them working together, which will be even better. 

3. The Hunger Games 

Yes, this comes in third. I know people will find that odd, or perhaps insane. Still, it's on my to see list. Why? Because it's The Hunger Games which is one my favorite series. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out in the movie compared to the book, and if the next two books will have movies as well. 

 What about you? What are your top movies?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: Sword in the Stars by Wayne Thomas Batson

 So... this is my first review, basically, so this will be a very experimental post. So bear with me.

Back cover summary: Haunted by memories of a violent past, Alastair Coldhollow wagers his life on the hope that a sword will appear in the stars and the foretold Halfainin, the Pathwalker, would come. Meanwhile, tensions simmer between Anglinore and the murderous Gorrack Nation, threatening war on a cataclysmic scale. The fate of all could rest on an abandoned child and the decisions of those who desperately seek to identify him. (Sword in the Stars is the first release in The Dark Sea Annals series.)

 Now, that sounds suitable epic with a grand scope, and what-not, but it doesn't capture Alastair's inner conflict. He's seeking, like all of his, for something we can't find in our world. Forgiveness, and being free from our past. He's also trying to figure out his relationship with Abbagael, the female main character.

 This book is about him, and how he changes and matures. But it's also a set-up for the rest of the series. He's not a perfect hero (Nor should heroes be perfect. It's annoying) by any means. He has doubts, guilt, and an addiction. He rages. He makes selfish decisions in the name of being selfless. But in the end, he does what's right.
The rest of the characters were similar. None were perfect, and all had motivations of their own. They were all memorable, and different than the others.

Pros: It is a well-written fantasy that focuses on the characters, doesn't have anything objectionable, and for those who like Christian symbolism, it's there.
The world building is also fantastic. It's  rings of Middle-Earth, but doesn't actually copy any of it. It's much different. There are seven races, all different. Different kingdoms, of course. The story also focused on the characters, and didn't go up in a helicopter to follow the course of a river like LotR.

Content wise, it's clean. The only exception might possibly be some blood, and violence if you're sensitive about that.

It didn't have the sacrifice that truly great books have, but it is the first book of a series. It also doesn't expand on everything in detail.

I am fully satisfied with this book, and I strongly recommend it. It's sweet. So, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Woe is me! A Morality Tale

 So, if you don't like tragic stories, don't read this post. It's full of tragedy and sadness. Joy, and crushing despair. And it's all true. I'll give you the not as bad news first.
Rejected! No, this isn't a story of personal heartbreak of mine, just a rejection email from a publisher. It was actually pretty nice, not having to wonder any longer. I got personalized feedback on the short story. The tension was good, the pacing was good, but there wasn't enough backstory to become emotionally engaged in the characters. All true. All I'd have to do is expand on their characters and the backstory, then Presto! But it was not to be so.

I lost my flashdrive.

Read that again, and you'll know just about everything else I'm going to say in this post.
All my writings, gone. Vanished. Including one of the best pieces of writing I've ever done that I was almost ready to send to Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. All my started novels. Gone. So that's what I've been doing most of today. Looking for it. No luck so far. But on the plus side, my room's a lot cleaner.
But, yeah. Always back up your stories somewhere where they can't be lost. Like GMail. Or a private GoogleDocs. Or something.

So, farewell on this one. I'm off to continue tearing my room apart, salvaging whatever pieces of them I have on the internet (Most of them, except the one I really need).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What if...

Okay, I'm reading through K.M. Weiland's book Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success and I'm finding it very helpful.  (Check out her blog for writers at Yes, I was a panster, but it just wasn't working for me. So, I got this one for Kindle.
 I also got it, because a new project I'm working on easily has the potential to be absolutely brilliant, and I want to be able to give the magnificence it deserves.
 So I'm in the chapter on premise sentences, and there's a section on asking the famous question "What if?" to generate new ideas and possibilities for the story. She used her novel Behold the Dawn as an example.
I use these because I can see pencil on the pages. Old school, I know
I took it a step further, and asked What if... and then on the next line in my notebook, I asked another question that led from the previous question, for half a page. This isn't a small notebook either.
The process helped come up with a whole lot of new ideas compared to what I started with. It's fast, fairly easy (For me), and shows whole new paths the story can go.

I'll do an example here. Let's do something fairly generic.

What if there were aliens in outer space? Now we have the question that sends us on our path of discovery, but it's the answer that will give us conflict and plot.
What if those aliens wanted to conquer Earth? More of a specific idea, than anything that can help us, but it suggests conflict.
Wait, what if there was another group of aliens fighting to defend Earth? Now the pot is boiling. Why are the two fighting over Earth? What makes Earth special? Why does the one want to conquer it? Why does the other want to defend Earth? How long have they been fighting?
What if Earth holds a very important secret? What's the secret? Who put it there? Why Earth? What makes it so important that war would be fought over it?
What if someone from Earth discovers the secret? Now we have a main character. Now, how does the keeper of the secret respond to the secret, and the responsibility that comes with it? What does he/she do with it? What forces the protagonist into the conflict between the alien forces? What inner conflict does he/she have to face to succeed? What's the goal? Who is the protagonist?
What if the villains find out and seek to capture the secret holder or someone close? Now we have the antagonists actively seeking to thwart the hero, which leads to more questions. How do they do it? Who is the person kidnapped? What can you do unexpected?

 Getting the picture of this method? It forces you think about your idea in more specific terms than usual, and reveals new pathways.

 Can you think of any answers or other questions? Will you use this for one of your projects?

Remember, always ask the question "What if?".

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

 Late again, I know. I hadn't actually planned on making one, but KathrineROID convinced me over on her blog Scribbling on the Computer to write it anyways. So I agreed, for accountability is good. Granted, it won't be anywhere near as long as hers.

 First, I'm going to try and write 500 words a day. It doesn't matter as much what I write, just as long as I write. You might get flooded with blog posts now. I'm also doing it because writing skills is a muscle, and inspiration comes while writing.

  I'm also going to try and do either a minimum of 15 push-ups, or a minimum of 30 push-ups a day. Or maybe work up to 30. Why? To build arm strength and general fitness. Why 30? It's the most I've managed to do in a single minute.

Thirdly, I'm going to attempt to finish the first draft of The Dying Words of Dick Elden, Galactic Gumshoe by the end of the year. The reason is that I have yet to finish a draft of a novel. A shame, I know. And an annoyance.

 Oh, I'll also be working on something titled Secret Project 001, something that has me more excited about writing fantasy since I finished reading LotR for the first time.

So, what are your resolutions?

Friday, December 23, 2011

NaNoWriMo Conclusion & Update

 Yes, this post is extremely late. Almost a month late, to be precise. However, I've taken the past 23 days off of writing, and done nothing but brainstorming, world-building, etc. Having a bad case of writer's block helped with that.
  Right, on to NaNoWriMo YWP. I won, yes. but painfully. I had two essays to work on during that period, so it got to 9300 words (About 2/3s of the way to my goal) and gave up. My research paper was more important. So, I worked on that. Then, it was November 30, and everyone else was working frantically to finish. Me, I was watching and cheering.
  Then I changed my mind, and decided to give it one last, glorious, kamikaze style attempt to get in as many words as I could. Not to win, of course, but to be close.
 It ended up lasting 5 1/2 hours, ending at 11:45 PM, and having 140 more words than my word goal. My hands hurt for two days afterwards.
 Since then, I've been hit by a bad case of writer's block. A short story that needed backstory brought me to a screeching halt. So I've spent almost a month thinking on that. Then I decided two days ago to just start writing, SotP style. It's worked, for a bit.
Now I've switched gears to get inspiration from writing. I'm aiming to finish part 1 of Hunter Romero and the Atlantean Curse by January 1st. Why? Just to finish and not worry about editing and finishing it at the same time. Then I figure out where to go from there, and how to add a dieselpunk underwater adventure, breaking into Area 51, a conspiracy, and going to Atlantis into the mix. The characters just have to find the idol first.

So, that's what I've been doing/will be doing. What about you? How did your NaNoWriMo go?