Importance of first readers

Darkness. It is ever so dark. The magic is ebbing; the magic is dispelling. It fades into the void and the darkness grows. As the blackness increases, we decrease. We begin to fade away. We are bound to the magic without it we cease to exist; without magic, we die. Perhaps…

Jenna slumped to the floor, her head laid within the palm of her hands. This could not be allowed to happen; the dragons must not die. She lifted her head speaking up, “Lendaw is not the only thing dying,” she paused, fighting back the tears, “The dragons are in peril too.”
…our time has come.

As opposed to:

Darkness and cold. The magic is ebbing. As it does, we depart too. Perhaps…

Jenna fell to her knees. Her face cradled in her hands.

Kur! I will never allow it. You must not die.

Jenna gathered herself together. She held up her hand to fend off the others from approaching. “I am alright,” she stated, as she rose; mumbling, more to herself than to anyone else, “I will never let you die. You have my word on this.”

…Our time has come.

Although this is still rough, one gets the point: The importance of critical first readers cannot be overstated if one is to produce good story telling.
-Robert Confiant 21 July 2018

 

 

I am having difficulty completing this book series

Another bus ride into work. I get a few days off in July, but other than that I don’t have vacation until October. It isn’t so bad. The months seem to be passing fast (too quickly).

I am still reading which ends up triggering writing ideas. Although this is more not the case. I just felt like writing instead (I am getting bored with the final two books of the “Maze Runner” series – prequels). Five books in one make for a difficult read. It is not the series itself per second. I discovered that I get bored with series if I try to read them (sort of) back to back. It was the same withe the seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia, or The Outlander Series, or The Game of Thrown five book package, or A Wrinkle in Time Series. But to be honest, I didn’t get though the first book of The Outlander series, nor GOT. I will try again in the future.

books

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I read a lot. I just get bored sometimes. It happens I guess. I think there are only a few books where I got halfway though and that was it. No offense to their writers, but Stanley Park and Girl on a Train come to mind. I just didn’t care how the books ended (and I read at least half the book). It’s funny how book reading can be. One can either love or dislike a book. Some books one just cannot get into even when that person has given the book an honest try.

I can read pretty much any where. In a crowded pub, on a crowded bus or train, while watching TV (well, it’s on in the background), or with the radio on.

What are some of your reading issues, habits, etc.? Let me know in a comment below.
—Robert Confiant 26 June 2018

I have been doing a lot of reading lately

I have been doing a lot of reading lately. Currently, I am on the fourth book of The Maze Runner series by James Dashner, although I have read other novels between each book. Gone are the days I could read a whole series in one sitting. I cannot even binge watch on Netflix without a bit of a break (after two episodes, I need a break). Anyway, the point is I am reading a lot.

The Maze Runner Complete Series

It amazes me how authors come up with these stories. As an author myself, I have a better insight as to how these ideas manifest themselves. Authors write what we know, what we like, what we observe, what we think or feel, or believe; we write what gets triggered by those around them, or the environment, or their interactions with others; or we write about our dreams/nightmare. When one writes, almost anything can trigger an idea. Reading, I found, can be a valuable asset when one is a writer.

Reading can trigger writing ideas (what ifs scenarios). Reading re-enforces grammar. Reading introduces one to different writing styles. And reading can be enjoyable for its own sake.

Reading is fun; reading is good.
—Robert Confiant 21 Jun 2018

Laughing through trying and difficult times

I just completed Lindsay Wincherauk (“Seed”) “Driving in Reverse – the life I almost missed.” What a compelling read; it’s witty, sarcastic, and very funny. The style of writing is different than I am usually used to – very back and forth-y; a unique style of writing – very much characteristic of its writer.

Driving in Reverse - TLIAM

If you cannot laugh at trouble, there is something wrong. My laughing during very difficult times is what aided me through them. I know, it seems strange to make jokes and laugh during very trying and difficult times in life but laughing certainly helps one get through them. I cannot not explain it, but it does help one to cope and to keep one’s sanity intact.

Like the author mentioned above, I have experienced many trying and difficult times. I have cerebral palsy a dis-ablility (sic) which affects mainly my legs and which I cannot hide. I stood out from the crowd. As a kid, this made things difficult at times. I wasn’t always accepted. I didn’t always fit in. Luckily, I lived in the projects. The kids there did not care. It was the other kids at school that made things more difficult. As I aged, I was teased by children – they made fun of the way I walked or pestered me on why I walk so funny. I usually just ignored them but sometime the teasing stung – I was hurt; even until today, the kid teasing can still hurt; I guess some scars just run too deep.

When I hit my teens and it became time to decide which areas of high school course I wished to pursue for my career path some teachers stirred me on the easier path because they believed I could only do so much. These “professionals” only wanted me to be more realistic about my career path, looking back on it now. I see that they had my best interest at heart and at the time, I did follow their advice. When I returned to school seven years later to upgrade for university. I proved to myself that I could do it. Although, my success at university wasn’t that great; I should have pursued a writing or social science field instead.

I did continue with my education taking computer programming which allowed a six and a half years stint in the IT field before the bubble burst and I could not get a job if my life depended on in (which it did).
I am a survivor and I am not ashamed to start over, or at the bottom. I landed a secure government job. It was nothing fancy, but it was stable, and it allowed lots of free time to resume my writing. The re-introduction to writing saved me. Writing made my life joyous. I found my passion. I found my goal. If one must do something in life, one should find one’s passion; discovering one’s passion makes all the difference.

I used to write when I was in my mid-teens but gave it up at twenty-two. I suffered from depression, and as a result, my writings were very dark. Unfortunately, I no longer have these writings – unfortunate because it would have been interesting to go back now that I do not suffer with depression as much and I can handle going back to review the writings without getting depressed again. Oh well, I guess losing these writings was meant to be. I rediscovered writing about ten years ago. At first, a lot of my writings were amateurish. Am I there yet? Not likely, but I have improved immensely over the years – every year I see improvement.

Look, most of us have it hard in life. No one ever said that life would be easy. Like Seed said (and I am paraphrasing here), “If you can survive difficult times in life with the person you are (the “ME” as I say) intact, if you can be happy, if you can find that which makes you happy, if you can love yourself, then that is everything you’ll ever need.” I concur. I have had my share of difficulties. I may not be a perfect person, but I think I am a good man – I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I found that which makes me happy. My life is good. What more can one ask for?
—Robert Confiant 2 June 2018

The demons in our lives

We all have demons in our lives. We all have our peak points and our low drops.

Driving in Reverse - TLIAM

I am currently reading: Lindsay Wincherauk “Driving in Reverse: The life I almost missed.” It is a fascinating story. In the story, the author discusses “Vices.” We all have them. My biggest is drinking. Most of the time, I am a happy drunk, but alcohol (beer specifically) magnifies my mood. If I am in a good mood, then l feel better, if sad then I get more depressed, and so forth…

The “demons of our lives,” I have made poor choices; I have hurt people (never intentionally, but I have). I act on my emotions (sometimes I still do, although I have curved this as I have aged). My emotions betrayed me leading me to make poor decisions. I am better at this today.

My drinking has led me to act poorly toward others, but mainly I have hurt myself (physically, by falling down a lot – cerebral palsy and drinking don’t mix well). As I said, other than lower my inhibitions and acting on my feelings, the harm that results is usually self-inflicted. Although, once it a while I have unintentionally cause hurt in others. My actions cannot be undone. I could only ask forgiveness and move onward in life.

I know all about the highs and lows in life. I suffered from depression earlier in life. For the most part I am over it, although one never fully recovers from depression. It occasionally rears its ugly head – I have had bouts of depression, but I have learnt methods of dealing with them when I eventually realize I am experiencing a bout of it – it takes about a week to come to this realization and I just do the opposite of what I am feeling. For example, I get up instead of sleeping in; I go out instead of shutting in, etc. I curve my drinking, “Hello coffee shops.”

I have recently curved my drinking. I do so only if I go out. Usually, once every other week, or so, I feel better for it. I cut back because I am hoping to get healthier and the medicine I take to help me walk better is hard on the liver – I didn’t want to add to it.

We all have our demons. I have spent most of my life in reining them in. I have had some success. I also do not let guilt overwhelm me.
—Robert Confiant 30 May 2018

 

Story outlines

Although I am on Chapter 8 of the sequel to my first YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy series, I had yet to complete the story outline… I just have. I know roughly where the story is going and how it will end.

story outlines

Some writers don’t utilize a story outline, while other writers rely on this tool. For my first story, I created the character Jenna and I had a beginning and an end with nothing to tie the start with the finally. The outline came a bit later. I found it useful.

The thing about story outlines, in my experience, is they are never written in stone. Chapters change or get deleted or rearranged. Characters develop or get deleted, or they are killed off (Yes, kill those little darlings). Plot lines likewise change; they get written, they get rearranged within the story or deleted all together. The craft of writing is a dynamic process (at least in my experience).

I am writing that is the key. It has taken over for the next little while. I am excited. It feels good.
—Robert Confiant 28 May 2018

Lendaw Series Book 2: Dragon Fire

shutterstock_133158410

Prologue

Keri looked contemptuously at Gerek.

It was a mistake to escort the Dwaran. Such a loathe some creature.

Keri called it a Dwaran, for there was no name for a creature such as he before, she hoped she never would again. The half-human and half-dwarf mix was horrible to look upon. A little taller than a lad, his hands and feet were too big for his body. In fact, everything about him seemed wrong he had a crooked nose, a patchy beard, his crooked teeth were yellow and brown, his breath was sour with the rank odor of gouk – a thick leaf weed for chewing. He wore a cap to cover his balding head, he wore travel pants, shirt and tunic. His looks were not the only aspect which Keri abhor Gerek. To make matters worse, he barely washed himself the resulting stench was too much for Keri to bear. Most annoying thing for Keri were none of these. No, she could tolerate his appearance, she had seen many strange creatures in her travels – No, it wasn’t his looks that irritated her most, it constant bickering and droning on and on. Since Keri agreed to escorted Gerek through the Dark Lands three weeks ago, he had not shut-up. His constant whining and bickering began to irritate her. She despised him. For Keri, this was the final insult.

What has become of the world, when creatures such as this are deemed of such importance? Actions and deeds speak louder than words.

Keri shook her head disapprovingly.

Keri’s rough exterior was a result of her being a woman in a man’s world. The cutthroat existence that was customary of the roamers. Her black hair grew mid-way down her back which she often wore up tucking her tresses under her hat; she had an oval face with a small, dainty nose, brown eyes, and a wide mouth with thick lips. She was medium built, lean and muscular, she was stronger than she appeared earning her place as leader of her tribe.

Keri was Chief of her people. For the most part, her people considered her a respectable leader. Her expectations of others where high though no higher than that she placed on herself. She could be quick to temper, especially when irritated, though she held her anger in check. She was not one who acted out of anger. Her people considered her a fair and just leader. One who listened to her people before deciding her next move.

Keri regretted her current decision to guide Gerek and his men through Toirmait, or “The Dark Lands,” as it was known by outsiders. The lands were hers; to her and her people these were sacred lands. The Shaemis kept its secrets.

The Dark Lands, Gerek now knew why people oft referred to this territory by that name. The land was barren, nothing grew in these parts. Charred trees and shrubs were all that remained, they scattered sparsely across the great expanse in a patchy form. The sky was with dark and grey with stratus clouds. Gerek and his men struggled under its gloom. Gerek knew of the dangers within the boundaries of The Dark Lands: Bogs of poisonous gases and water, quicksand and sinkholes, gorgens and snarecaps beasts of man-eating flesh. These traps lay scattered the countryside making their trek to Kirell even more dangerous. This was uncharted territory. Gerek relied on Keri’s lead to guide their way safely through the dangers, and for this, he paid her well.

Keri gazed at Gerek and his men, “Hurry up you slugs. It is almost night; we must be there before sunset.”

You cannot believe what fate awaits us if we delay much longer. You have paid a great price – the loss of half your men. If you do not hurry, we will all surely die.

Gerek shivered, the hair on the back of his neck stood up. He looked to his left, then to his right and next to the rear.

Nothing.

He chuckled to himself, You dunce, why are you being so foolish?

Still he could not shake the feeling they were being watched.

Gerek promised the men a share of the great treasure to secure their services.

Thieves and scoundrels the lot of them.

Gerek cared not whether they survived this quest or not. He only cared only to acquire The Cau.

The company marched cautiously onward. Occasionally, Keri backtracked before continuing in a different direction; she rarely explained herself to the others mumbling to herself before moving onward.

By sunset, Gerek spied a structure in the distance. Kirell, the Temple of Kael: The Destroyer. They had arrived. Gerek shoved his way forward as he raced toward the entrance of shrine.

Keri lit four torches distributing them to Gerek, two hirelings, and herself. Gerek and Keri took the lead, while the other two men covered their rear. Down and down, and down they went. The walls in the stairway were damp and grimy. They slowed their pace lest they fall off the side to their death. Once at the bottom, Gerek ordered his men to stay.

Gerek and Keri weaved through the corridors until the reach the inner-most chamber.

The statue was of two figures; the shorter of whom was struggling to reach and grasp the object in the taller figure’s hand.

Keri witnessed the exhibit.

It is as if they were imprisoned for all eternity. What a terrible way to go.

Gerek rushed over to seize the orb.

“Wait you fool,” hissed Keri.

Gerek snarled, “You only wish the prize for yourself.”

Gerek seized the stone from Kael likeness. The stone flared to life. He cringed in pain; the fire began to burn within the palm of his hand.

Gerek realized his mistake too late. Try as he might, he could not shake the stone loose. The fire continued to burn, and burn. Gerek shrieked with pain. The fire intensified until it consumed Gerek. He wailed a final time.

The stone dropped to the floor, and Gerek was no more.

Keri grinned smugly.

I will be starting Chapter 8 today (I have a few errands and chores to do. It is my Sunday).
—Robert Confiant 27 May 2018