Never Heroes 2 Writing Samples

Zhyx-Teeth

Well, yesterday I was able to re-write the prologue of the second book in my Never Heroes fantasy adventure series in the first person. It defiantly flows much better and helps the personality of the lead character come through, something that was sorely missing from the third person narration. It also lengthened the chapter a decent amount, by about 1500 words.

I’m going to do some more writing today, and will have some new digital weapon renders up tomorrow for one of the world building articles, so I thought it would be fun to show off some writing samples. So far we have about 42 pages.

Here are a few segments from the prologue. It’s inspired by the opening of Temple of Doom, taking place in an extravagant night club. It’s told from the point of view of Celice Arietta, a lifelong hardened warrior going undercover as a nightclub dancer to get information out of a shady politician.

Never-Heroes-Major-Celice-Arietta-Illustration

Completed illustration of the character Major Celice for the cover of the upcoming novel, Never Heroes.

          Let me start this damn thing by saying there are few things I hate more than dresses. Even before I joined the Paladin’s Guard and finally got in a good proper suit of armor, I hated dresses. Thank the gods I worked in a butcher shop and never had to wear the stupid things. Those things are as tight as a noose around the neck.

I shouldn’t say that though. At least a noose is comfortable before the drop to the end of the rope.

         The curtains went up and it was time for me to go. I went out onto the stage into the massive circle ball room of the capital building. This festival was always held when all five of the moons were full, so the dress sparkled with the red of the torch fire and the blue of the night sky coming in from the massive glass ceiling. The flashy nature of the rag thankfully made it harder for the people to tell I was about to go into a dry heave. By the gods, this made me sick.

The rest of the ballroom didn’t look much better. It was on a white marble floor with polished redwood tables, with white stone pillars lining the walls that lead up to the stage. The stage was made out of polished black smokey quartz that acted like a giant mirror for anyone dancing on it. Servants walked around serving drinks to all the wealthy lords and fat jackasses who never knew an honest days work in their life. I had a few servant jobs here as a kid, and they always cared more about the suit than you. 

These next bits are from chapter 1, told from the point of view of Zhyx, or ‘Red’ to his companions. In this chapter, he’s alone and bored out of his mind in his lair when Celice and the elven wizard Sparks come to warn him.

Never-Heroes-Zhyx-The-Dragon

Detailed illustration of Zhyx the red dragon’s face in profile for the novel Never Heroes.

         I was about to take myself up on that offer when I heard a noise emanating from the tunnel that lead into my hoard chamber. A pair of footsteps that were all too familiar.

One was lightweight, maybe one hundred and fifty pounds, going from side to sole rather than toe heel to toe. The other was a softly padded step from an elf, and the feet seemed to drag out of protest of going any further. Though the steps were slightly different from when I first heard them, slightly more pronounced and a pinch clumsier, they were still unmistakable.

“Eeee!” An almost effeminate male shriek came from the tunnel. “He still hasn’t cleaned up those bodies?”

“You’ve seen plenty of dead guys.” A gruff female voice answered.

It was Major Celice and Sparks the elven wizard.

I groaned out loud. “This is just what I needed.” Though I was bored out of my skull, that didn’t mean I was eager to have any uninvited guests.

With each footstep sounding like a clap of thunder, I stomped over to the entrance to the tunnel.

“Oh look. He knows we’re here.” Sparks said.

Ahead, the tunnel curved into a corner which they hadn’t crossed just yet. Though they didn’t have to round the corner in order to see the glow. I opened my mouth and exposed my gaping maw. The glow of the fire inside illuminated entire wall of the tunnel.

“Oh shit.” Celice said.

I unleashed the flames into the corner, where they crashed into the wall and raced down the tunnel, straight at my visitors. I heard Sparks scurry for his stick of a staff before the flames hit. 

“Marumous!”he shouted, the incantation for the barrier spell. A protective barrier formed around him and the soldier as my fire washed around them, leaving them unharmed.

I breathed in, igniting my furnace once more.

“Red, wait!” the Major cried out. “It’s us!”

“I know!” I roared, sending out another cascade of flame as Sparks surrounded himself and the verodu major in another protective shield.

That’s a little bit of what we have. Bear in mind this is a rough draft and there is a lot of room for improvement once this draft is finished. Regardless, I hope you all like this first sample of our in progress sequel and feel free to offer any thoughts you may have. Thanks for reading.

Back in the Writing Spirit

Yesterday was a very productive day for my second book. I’ve discovered I’m much more of a morning writer, so I decided to focus my efforts on the second book in my fantasy series exclusively in the morning. It took me a little while to get started, punching the first key on my keyboard at around 9:30. After that though, things took a most productive turn.

I completed the first real chapter of the book.

The sequence I had completed before (which I’m re-writing today), was a prologue that set up the action. The first chapter finds our dragon protagonist back in his lair, contemplating the events of the first book while fighting a hefty case of boredom. A few flashbacks to events in between books spice up the chapter, but it’s not until halfway through that his companions from the first story arrive to tell him something is amiss in the world.

It is an often slow chapter, as per the boredom the lead character is suffering, so I was worried about completing it in a way I found appropriate. But as I said, yesterday was a productive day. I worked for about four hours on the manuscript, from 9:30 to 1:30, and write some 4500 words, adding a total of fourteen pages to the manuscript. Not only did I complete my first chapter, but I started work on the second. I was sure to leave off at an area where ideas were still flowing, as to make it easier to get back into it the following day.

For a first draft, I’m already happy with how things are going. There are plenty of moments that sum up the unique nature of this universe. My hero’s companions seek him out after an undercover operation that required them to wear dresses, so the entire scene plays out with one of the characters in drag.

Also, my protagonist isn’t exactly enthusiastic about another adventure, so he immediately tries to chase his companions away when he realizes they’re coming.

Finally, the reason he joins the adventure is very in line with where the character is now. As I mentioned before, he is going stir crazy after the first novel, and has been that way for over a year. That’s why he joins the adventure this time. He’s just bored.

A week ago when I started this second book, no such ideas were present. Upon looking at the blank page though, the ideas have been coming at a pretty steady pace. Unfortunately I won’t be able to work on the manuscript every day, but at this pace I should be able to wrap up my first draft by the end of summer.

Once that draft is finished, I’ll let the second one sit while the editing for the first book finishes up and give myself a break for a few weeks. That should give me time to at least begin my search for a writing agent. Then comes the later drafts and the editing, which to me is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. It’s a very invigorating to see a work in front of you, know it’s flawed, and have the opportunity to make it great.

Happy Alien Day

Sixteen years ago, I saw my first R Rated film. That experience began my love affair with horror and science fiction, and it remains one of my absolute favorite film series of all, surpassing Star Wars, Star Trek, and James Bond.

That film was Aliens. Both this film and the original 1979 thriller Alien remain two of my favorite movies, standing the test of time as among the most perfectly conceived horror and science fiction films ever made.

Which is why today is a special day. It is the first Alien Day.

Like Star Wars Day (May the 4th), Alien has been given its own day as well, named after the planet on which much of the first two films are based, LV 426. Today is April 26, or 4/26 on the calendar.

When I was young, I didn’t like horror. I could barely get through the original 50s versions of Creature From the Black Lagoon or The Thing, and was most nervous about seeing these at the tender age of 11. Unbelievably though, more than fear, I was excited, thrilled, and engaged in the story from start to finish. This series taught me that sometimes going after that thing that creeps in the dark can be the most fun you’ll ever have.

Please join me in wishing everyone a Happy Alien Day. This series remains a benchmark in science fiction horror, and hopefully its future will be just as bright and bloody.

Alien Day Chestburster

News and a Decision with Book Two

Well, I have reached 26 pages on the first draft of the second book in my series. I seem to write much better in the mornings whereas I have a more editing mindset in the evenings, so that’s how I’ll be spreading myself out for now.

The ideas are coming in, the dialogue is right, and the characters I love are back to speaking. It honestly feels pretty great and I’m a bit sad I haven’t been able to devote more time to them since my weekday work shifts start pretty early at 8 am, but I arrive at the office at 6: 40 so that gives me an hour and twenty minutes, usually enough time to crank out a thousand or so words.

A few days ago I mentioned my issues with prose in the second book. Though the first book is told in first person from the point of view of one character, the later books require the narrative to shift to different perspectives. I had tried writing these sequences in a third person narration in order to make my leading character, a dragon, speak in a more unique voice.

Something just didn’t feel right though. I had thought the story wasn’t resonating with me yet, but that’s not the case. What made the first book so much fun to write was the lead character’s voice, a very snide, proper and condescending tone that threw the occasional jab at the reader and regularly berated and insulted all those around him, but his actions proved he was hiding a side of himself that was legitimately compassionate and caring.

I struggled finding my footing with the first book, but once I started writing in that voice, the story came out.

You all sent in some great comments when I discussed my dilemma a few days ago, and they gave me a lot to think about apart from that the sequence didn’t seem to quite work in spite of the characters and the actions being correct. The voice was wrong.

Upon finishing chapter 1, I will be re-writing my prologue in the character’s voice, and will be doing the same henceforth. That should make this manuscript a much more enjoyable write as well as read.

In other news, I’ve been picked up by a website called PolyMedium. This is a fine platform for talent, dealing with original fiction, as well as editorials on popular culture such as film, video games and books. Be sure to check out the other work by these fine people should you have the time.

PolyMedium

Thanks for reading, and happy writing.

 

Back to Writing and Concerns

Well, yesterday it happened. I got zapped with that writing lightning bolt, and actually was able to turn out some good starting material for book two of my fantasy adventure series. It felt pretty good to jump back into the voice of my giant red protagonist. It was like running into an old friend and catching up on old times.

I wrote a solid one thousand two hundred words in the space of twenty minutes. Yeah, I was going a little nuts. I will likely get much more written this morning.

Yesterday though there were a few concerns I had about this new book. Not that it wasn’t taking shape at last but rather if I was tackling it correctly.

One, the first book in the series is still undergoing final edits. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing jumping back and forth between the two books or if that is wearing me too thin. It does seem kind of silly working on a sequel before the original book is truly bound and ready for publication. Jumping back and forth between the manuscripts can help me re-settle in the writing style of the original since it was written in a very unique voice, but I have my concerns.

Two, the second book, and all subsequent books in the series, will be written in a new format. The original book was written in a first person perspective from the protagonist’s point of view. He was able to deliver all the necessary information and plot points to the reader. In the sequels however, certain scenes will take place which he’s not present for. The entire first act of the final book for example takes place in his absence.

I’m wondering just how to take care of this issue. I have two choices. One, I could write these sequences in third person narration, or two, I could write them in first person as with the hero, just from the point of view of these other characters.

They both have their advantages and drawbacks. For one, writing the sequences in third person would help the audience connect with the hero and his distinct voice much better. On the other hand, jumping back and forth between third person and first person could be jarring, even off putting for a reader.

The simple fact remains that the story has to switch perspectives from the hero at several key points in order for the readers to get all the necessary plot and character details. It’s just the matter of which style would be most appropriate.

A lot to consider, and thankfully I don’t have a time limit to worry about. Well, not yet at least.

Anyone reading, feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear what you think. Take care.

Meet and Greet @ Dream Big: 4/23/16

Hello everyone. Another week, another awesome meet and greet from our friend Danny. My name is Eric Hanson and I’m a writer. Wrote a lot this last year with multiple feature scripts, short stories, a fantasy/adventure novel undergoing final edits and a second novel in the series getting started last week. I blog about my projects and writing tips in general. Looking forward to meeting some of you this weekend and stop by anytime.

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at Dream Big!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet n Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

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My Old Nemesis Returns

Well, I was able to get finished with the  first draft of the prologue of my book, a fourteen page sequence inspired by the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where a few of my supporting characters get into a bit of a skirmish at a ball. The opening of my second book in this fantasy adventure saga is taking shape, but there are some setbacks.

After getting through to my first real chapter, I hit a roadblock. Much of this book is told from a first person perspective from my main character. Writing the first book was one of my greatest joys, because his snide, condescending tone and unique way of seeing the world made it such a joy to write this story. It was like meeting a new friend and being taken on an adventure. It was the best, and there are few experiences I’ve had that have compared to it.

That was my problem. Today while I was trying to write it, I somehow couldn’t get his voice back.

I did a few things to try and get those creative juices going. For one I had Raiders of the Lost Ark playing in the background to set an appropriate mood. It didn’t do much good. In fact, it may have distracted me. Even after I turned it off, something about it just didn’t click.

When I write, there’s always that moment. That moment when working and a line of dialogue or description appears that breaks the floodgates and makes me go nuts with creativity. I haven’t really had that moment yet.

It hurts a lot because I really want to write this book. The feeling of finishing the first novel was one of the most rewarding and life affirming experiences of my life, and this story is only about a quarter of the way done, if that. The idea of going on another journey with these characters, watching them grow and learn about the world, I couldn’t have been more excited. And I already know so much of the story, right down to key moments and lines of dialogue. I basically have the first and third acts completely mapped out. It’s just a matter of stranding them together and making a story out of that gap in the middle.

With so much of it ready to go, why I wonder is it so hard to get that energy back? Especially after I already took a month and a half off from writing?

I’ll try and keep busy. Will continue working on the outline tomorrow, and hopefully hammer out the middle. Then it’s just a matter of waiting. Waiting for that moment to come that when it does, it feels like flying.

Busy Week and Back to Writing

Hello everyone. Sorry for my hiatus from here, but it has been an exciting week.

Last week I met the producer of the upcoming feature film I’ve been following for some time. I’m interested in working on that project in some capacity, even if it’s just a grip or a driver. I sent her an email inquiring about possible positions, so we will see how that goes. It’s cool meeting her regardless.

We also moved the film distribution office where I’ve been working from Valley Village all the way up to Northridge, a full nine miles from our old office. In Los Angeles terms, that ads eighteen minutes to my morning commute, and that’s in good traffic. The move took up pretty much all my week at the studio. A metric ton of heavy lifting was to be had.Even tonight I’ll be doing some ushering work at an event and may meet some people. All in all, it’s been a full couple of days.

I am continuing my work on the second novel in my fantasy adventure series about my big red dragon’s various misadventures. Since we’re still editing the first book, I’ve been balancing the two. Will be showing off some of the new additions to the first book later this week, perhaps even tomorrow. Today, I have a good four hours before I need to take off to that event, and aim to get a lot done on the second book. Catch you later.