Article on Humans and Dwarves is Up, Illustration Meeting Tonight

The latest world building article has been completed, this one dealing on Tygan’s version of dwarves and humans, and the partnership they have shared over their long and rich history.

https://zhyxthenovel.wordpress.com/world-building/humans-dwarves/

Will be having a meeting with artist Joseph Buehrer tonight on the chapter 2 illustration. School on his end is nearing completion, so once that is done there will be a much greater output.

The article on Tygan’s version of orcs is currently in the works and will be available for viewing shortly.

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Chapter 9 Completed, and What the Next Chapters Will Bring

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Today I was able to complete my run through of Chapter 9. Chapter 9 of the book is a pretty mundane affair overall. Our giant protagonist carts his four acquaintances to a museum, and finds the entrance to a thought lost ancient city beneath it. Added some bits to spice up the characters, and deleted a lot of superfluous material.

The chapters that come next have always been challenging for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is the chapter where the characters meet the villain, who up to this point has gone unnamed and unseen. Their presence is hinted at through clues and conversations, but the big reveal is coming up in either chapter 10 or 11. Still deciding on when during these revisions, but the way things are looking, it will probably be chapter 10.

Who is the villain? In this book, they are a dragon. A dragon a bit more burly then our hero.

Zhyx & Heavy Comparison

Being that the hero is quite large, in order for their to be tension or suspense in his ordeal, it follows that his foes should be as large if not larger. This is where the influence of Godzilla comes into play. As it stands now, at the end of each book, Zhyx finds himself in a death match with a very big and very nasty monster, while his compatriots, River, Major Celice, Professor Blondie and Hunter the Wizard, deal with everyone else. It is some of the most fun material to write.

So what is the issue with these next few chapters? They are essentially one long action sequence. The sequence is set up at the end of chapter 10 with the reveal of the villain, Heavy, and from there everything spirals out of control for the heroes as they get separated and have an entire city dropped on their heads.

Of course there comes the issue of how to you separate them without it seeming stupid. The cover more ground gimmick is something no sane person would do in either life or literature. Granted, Major Celice and Hunter the Wizard hatched an idea to blackmail a Smaug sized wyrm into helping them out, so they have their own special touches of crazy. But there is a difference between crazy and stupid. Fortunately, an interesting idea came today that I will try out. It might be pretty fun. Often times, the most interesting ideas come out of necessity, a la the barrels in Jaws, which were created just because the mechanical shark wasn’t working.

There is also the issue of not having these chapters get tedious. With several major hurdles thrown at the hero in rapid succession, it is entirely possible some may find the sequence too much and put the book down. Keeping their interest during the ride will be critical.

But these chapters are among the most necessary in the book for one reason. This is the first time in the story that Zhyx is really harmed. How could he have been harmed up to now? His size alone protects him from weapons that would shred most to pieces, with the only effective attacks against him being magic, certain poisons, and well places slashes over his arteries and veins. But the enemies he has faced to this point have been nothing compared to Heavy, someone who has the power to be his better.

During the first half of the story, Zhyx is still challenged. He is challenged emotionally with his pride wounded by the Major and the Wizard, and his odd interest in the young drifter River becoming increasingly prevalent in his thoughts. These challenged are in the end the most important challenges that any character can go through, and a story doesn’t have a point without them.

But there comes a time to show a character as mortal, even a character as impressive as Zhyx. In these chapters, he takes a beating that doesn’t end until he is too exhausted to fly.

It has been one of the big hurdles in every draft, but it will be better once finished. The prospect of polishing it up is something I look forward to, but my characters will have to dodge falling debris and outrun the ocean. I can’t help but dread it just a little, because I get just as exhausted as they do.

Illustration Progress & Upcoming World Building Articles

For the last few days, I have been unable to tend directly to the manuscript. This is due to my internship. I am currently with a film distribution company and they are getting ready for the Cannes Film Festival. Their orders for little old me were to throw together their sales book. That has taken up a lot of my time.

But just because the manuscript has not been tended to doesn’t mean work is not being done. Ideas have still been coming in for this book as well as later installments.

To hold pace, several world building articles have been prepped. Three to be exact, dealing with the partnership between humans and dwarves, this tale’s take on the orcs, and an article on dragons. The latter of which promises to be the most in depth one thus far. We will start getting those on tomorrow if all goes according to plan.

Joe and I have been working hard at the illustration for chapter 2. Going to try and set a date to get it finished by, hopefully sometime in the next few weeks. Since it is taking a little while, here is the latest version. Hope you like it.

Tomorrow it will be back to the part time, job, where work on the manuscript can continue.

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Manuscript Update and Next World Building Article.

Yesterday I made it through the proofread of chapter 8 and it is on to chapter 9.

This brings the current manuscript up to 169,773 words and 473 pages in 1.5 spacing.

It is defiantly feeling much more organic now, with the issues in plot and character getting slowly dealt with and re-worked. Chapter 8 was also a very fun one to go through, taking place in what is thus far one of my favorite places, the carnivorous jungle of Ankeerea.

Feeling pretty excited considering the next few chapters are where the action sequences really pick up for our heroic wyrm. But character has still been my number 1 focus. Without character, the action doesn’t have a point.

The illustration for chapter 2 is coming along as well. Joe and I have been having our regular meetings and will conduct another one on Thursday. Also expect to see more concept art coming in from David Spada in the next few weeks once his exams are done.

The next world building article, dealing with this world’s take on elves, is up.

https://zhyxthenovel.wordpress.com/world-building/elven-history-culture/

Hope you all enjoy this one, and I’ll be back shortly with more updates.

Next World Building Article and Proofreading Progress

Exciting book news today.

The next world building article, this one on the nomadic Flatlanders, has been completed. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

https://zhyxthenovel.wordpress.com/world-building/flatlanders/

Thanks to our friend Cullen McCurdy of https://mccurdyc.wordpress.com/ for his help and input.

The proofreading of the manuscript is coming along nicely. Just finished the first run through of chapter 7 yesterday evening. Will be going over it again to see if it could benefit from more attention, but so far it looks good. Current word count is 165,945 words.

That leaves 13 chapters to go. Already close to the halfway point and couldn’t be more excited.

The illustration for chapter 2 is moving along nicely as well. Joe’s initiative to take 15 minutes out of each day to work on the picture has helped speed things up around here, and we are already very close to getting the illustration shaded and colored.

Our good friend David Spada of https://monsterlegacy.wordpress.com/ has been swamped at school, but turned in this concept sketch for the re-design of the villainous Citch. Though hair will soon be added to this design, he is already looking more menacing than before.

Citch Re-Design 1

Hasn’t even been a month since the 2nd draft was completed. Can’t say I was expecting to get things moving along with quickly.

Can’t complain either.

Simba’s Day Off

This will be a little of an odd post. It doesn’t relate to the book, and is more just a talk about a hobby of mine.

I was a film major in college. I only graduated in December of 2013, and my commencement was May of 2014. It hasn’t even been a year since I left the midwest to chase my dreams in Los Angeles, and the film industry is the end goal. Time will tell whether it works out or not, but a few promising leads have come up. I am only 26 with a lot of time to go.

One of the most influential films in my life was a little movie in the 90s that took the word by storm. That movie was Disney’s The Lion King. It was by far their most unique film since Bambi. It discarded their usual princess narrative and created a high adventure with some of the most emotionally powerful material in their library. While subject to some debate, it is a top contender for the best film the company has ever produced.

Then, in the late 90s, one of my teachers introduced me to another little movie. A comedy from the 80s that still resonated with kids in high school and college. That movie was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The crown jewel of 80s teen comedies, its humor is unique unto itself. Its characters are timeless, from its charismatic lead, to the boring economics teacher. There is no wasted moment, no missed joke, and no smile that doesn’t land.

Now, aside from both of these movies being f###ing awesome, they do share one key trait. They both share actor Matthew Broderick, who plays both the adult Simba and Ferris Bueller.

Now, The Lion King does share some interesting connections with other films. Mufasa for example is voiced by James Earl Jones, the actor who voiced Darth Vader. Scar is voiced by Jeremy Irons, who portrayed the villainous Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance. And Zazu, Zazu is Mr. Bean.

Obviously the internet would be swarming with jokes about every one of these little bits of trivia. The internet is swarming with Lion King/Star Wars jokes. But do you know how many Ferris Bueller jokes there are?

There was only one little picture.

One.

Internet…Disappointed!

And this brings us back to college. One of our video editing assignments was to take the film Psycho and edit together a two minute clip that changed the meaning of the movie. I took it and gave it a happy ending. That project landed this guy an A. And you know what? It was also very fun to take one of my favorite films and switch it around a bit. Couldn’t a joke like that work here?

It seemed a good enough way to pass the time, so I jotted down a few quick ideas and got to work.

The first was this little number, where the nefarious Ed Rooney makes a powerful enemy when trying to prove Ferris Bueller is skipping school.

Not the best, but a decent joke. You ever wonder how the lionesses felt when Scar confessed to killing king Mufasa? Probably something like Jean Bueller’s reaction here.

Neither one of these were terribly good, but afterwards the jokes seemed to be working much better. Here, Jean Bueller and Scar go at it again in a one on one battle. As it turns out, Scar should have thought better about going toe to toe with someone as skilled as Jean. Afterwards, the self defense master gets some unexpected visitors while waiting for help to arrive.

These next two are my favorites. Mufasa’s death was one of the big shocks of our childhoods. It is still the most graphic depiction of the death of a parent in a Disney film. How did a lot of us feel when it happened? Cameron Frye’s reaction here sums it up pretty well.

And so all of us were thirsty for some blood after the death of one of the most beloved characters in Disney’s library. But didn’t a lot of you feel like that revenge was missing something? If you are going to avenge your father’s death, why not do it in style? Enter Cameron Frye again, who gives his feline friend a bitchin’ set of wheels. This one took the longest to make for the matte shots alone, and was actually a pretty ambitions video.

The last one…you all knew they had to do the parade scene, so here it is.

With that, it seemed a good time to end this series. And if anyone is wondering about the famous “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller” scene, well I couldn’t think of anything that good. For now anyway. Perhaps one of you fine people can fix that.

Perhaps this project was just a waste of time, but it was something that made me laugh a little, and in the end, isn’t that all that matters? For me, the entire point of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was enjoying the little things in life, and that is what every movie is really. Just another one of those little things. Cherish every moment, because it doesn’t last forever.

In a few years I may look back on these videos and cringe, but it was a good time while it lasted.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Oh, and by the way, at least with the Ferris Bueller joke, there was one little meme before I came along. There are none for Die Hard with a Vengeance. Internet, you know what this means.

I want to see Simba and John McClane team up to kick some ass.

Next World Building Article is Up and Proofreading Progress

Proofreading is moving along pretty quickly.

Just got through chapter 6 yesterday. Will be giving chapter 5 the once over again  before moving on to chapter 7. The word count has actually increased, and this is in spite of deleting many of the more wordy and superfluous passages. Right now it stands at 163,561.I do feel this polishing has helped enhance the world the book seeks to create, made the characters more rich and multi dimensional, and given the story more focus.

Next world building article is up detailing the history of Tygan’s version of Paladins, including some pretty nice renders of their temple home by our friend Cullen McCurdy at https://mccurdyc.wordpress.com/

Another shout out to out friend David Spada from over at Monster Legacy for his wonderful creature designs. You can check out his blog here. https://monsterlegacy.wordpress.com/

Here is a link to the article.

https://zhyxthenovel.wordpress.com/world-building/paladins-and-the-mound/

That next illustration is already nearing the coloring phase, so stick around for that.