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.

 

Never Heroes Chapter 3 New Edit

As promised, the edit for chapter 3 of our fantasy adventure epic Never Heroes is now availably for reading. This is the final sample chapter that will be posted on our site, and it will be subject to a few additional edits in the coming months. Hopefully these three chapters will give a decent taste of things to come.

As an extra treat, here is the full resolution version of the supporting cast in the novel that was used for the scale pictures of them with Zhyx the red dragon. Left to right with the orc professor Graga ‘Blondie’ Kelpla, Paladin Guard Major Celice Arietta, the elven wizard Hunter ‘Sparks’ Nightshadow, and the reclusive Flatlander orphan River. One of the things we are especially happy about with this story is the rich cast, and Joseph Buehrer’s stunning artwork brings them to life rather nicely.

Never Heroes Companions Size

The link for the chapter can be read below. Hope you all enjoy and thanks for reading.

Chapter 3, The Derd

Never Heroes Chapter 2 New Edit

More news from the front of our fantasy/adventure epic, Never Heroes. One of our sample chapters, chapter 2, has been updated on the website and is now available for reading.

In this chapter, our protagonist, the massive red dragon known as Zhyx, meets with a dragon deity he has a history with after a piece of his treasure is stolen. My editor for the book did a terrific job in streamlining the chapter and helping me to improve the dialogue. The end result is a more more compelling and often comical scene. Hope you all enjoy.

Chapter 2, The First Dragon

Never Heroes Chapter 1 New Edit

Hello all my readers. As promised, I have the new edit for Chapter 1 of my Never Heroes fantasy adventure epic available for you to read. It can be found at the link below.

Chapter 1, The Great Red Wyrm

Also, I have created a few new size charts of our main cast. Seen in these pictures are, left to right, Professor Graga ‘Blondie’ Kelpla, Major Celice Arietta, Hunter ‘Sparks’ Nightshadow, River, and the red dragon Zhyx, known as ‘Red’ to his close companions. I took a lot of time to make this chart, using the scale present in the chapter three illustration with River as a size reference. Hope you all enjoy these.

Zhyx Size Chart

Zhyx Size Chart 2The new edits of chapters 2 and 3 will be posted on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. See you then.

 

New Edits and Festival Submission

Never-Heroes-Zhyx-The-Dragon

Some news from the front lines.

I’m currently going through a bad bout of depression. That has hurt my work a little, but honestly writing is one of the few things that helps me through the day, so I do it whenever I can.

The story for book two in the Never Heroes fantasy epic is taking shape quite nicely. As usual, I have the first act and the third act pretty well figured out. It’s the dreaded middle that gives me trouble. Still, the possibilities are endless and that has me hopeful how it will turn out in the end. This next adventure of Zhyx the red dragon and his companions promises to be pretty interesting. It isn’t act action heavy as the first book, but the planned battle sequences are still pretty spectacular, and the characters go through some interesting changes.

The edits on the first book in the series are going well. I just received the sheets for chapter 7 and will work on those later today. Given that the first three chapters are edited, I will be posting the updated versions of those later this week, likely by tomorrow. I think all of you will agree that the new versions are a much better, much more streamlined version of the story.

Also, had some free time on my hands, so I decided to submit my latest feature script, the ocean horror script for Abyssus, to a horror screenplay festival. This is my first time ever submitting, and it is honestly pretty exciting. Did a few last minute edits on it to make sure it was all ready to go.

I’ll be sure to get those new Never Heroes edits up starting tomorrow. Hope you all enjoy them. See you then.

Our Book Cover and Final Chapter 1 Illustration

Yesterday I had an excellent meeting with my illustrator, Joseph Buehrer, and we completed two more characters for the book cover of our fantasy adventure epic, Never Heroes. Those characters completed were orphaned 15 year old and deuteragonist River, and the tough and brave Major Celice Arietta. Pictured below is the updated artwork which will be added to the final collage.

Cover_River_02Cover_Celise_05

One of the things that greatly impresses me about this artwork is the loving detail Joseph has given the characters’ eyes. He really gives special attention to them, making the illustrations all the more lifelike. Our plans for the cover to be Struzan-esque certainly seem within reach now.

The next character to be completed is the elven wizard Hunter ‘Sparks’ Nigthshadow. After the final touches are put on River and Celice, we will work on Sparks and the background of the cover full time.

Hunter

Also, the full high resolution version of the now completed illustration for Chapter 1 is finished and has been added to the Chapter 1 gallery. This image, depicting our dragon protagonist Zhyx meeting Major Celice for the first time was already spectacular, but Joseph, without any request from me, took it upon himself to tough it up after feeling his skills had improved enough to warrant some revisions. The end result is breathtaking, and a great depiction of one of the novel’s most pivotal moments.

Zhyx Chapter 1

If you’re interested in checking out the step by step creation of this piece, click on the link below to watch it take shape from beginning to end.

Chapter 1 Illustration Concept to Completion

It certainly is a very interesting time for all involved, with the final edit underway and this spectacular cover edging closer to completion every day. All of us have a lot to be thankful for. I certainly do surrounded by talent like this. I’ll continue to post updates as soon as they’re available to me. Hope you all enjoy this artwork, and thanks for reading. Take care.

Unexpected Surprise From My Illustrator

Sometimes the little things in life bring you so much pleasure.

My illustrator Joseph Buehrer is an artist of high standards. He always strives for the absolute best when it comes to his work, even after it is supposedly finished.

The illustration for chapter 1 of the Never Heroes fantasy/adventure series he is helping on was one of the biggest moments in the history of this project so far. Finished last year, it became a favorite piece of ours to show off, and putting it on here greatly aided in the site’s traffic.

I was satisfied with it. Joe wasn’t quite finished.

A few days ago he sent me a message, saying he wasn’t satisfied with the image given how much the quality the illustrations has increased, especially since last December. So, he tweaked the image until it was more up to the standards of the current work and sent me the update. Here it is.

Never Heroes Chapter 1

I must say, the updates were most thrilling to see, the most obvious being the new scale pattern in our dragon protagonist’s neck and chest, and the added detail and color to his great horned crown. I don’t have the HD version of this picture just yet, but will add it to the Chapter 1 Illustration page once it becomes available. In the meantime, I hope this SD version will satisfy your dragon needs.

Updates on the book cover coming soon. Thanks for reading.

The Sequel Jitters: Writing the Second Book In a Series

My break from writing begins today, apart from the edits of my first manuscript that will continue. What? You don’t think I could ever completely give up writing for a full month, do you? While I certainly am looking forward to this period of rest, an obstacle awaits that fills me both with eagerness and dread. At the end of this vacation, I’ll write the second book in my four part Never Heroes fantasy/adventure series.

To write the first book was a massive effort. I finished the first draft of it just under a year ago. Over 130,000 words and one draft later, the first book in the series still remains my most cherished work, but it is only the first part of a saga that has yet to be finished. I can’t help but be a little nervous about measuring up. The story of Zhyx the dragon and his companions going on their adventures in the mythical country of Haiden has become more than a hobby, a passion or even a career prospect. It has become a part of my immortal soul.

There certainly is no shortage of ideas. The earliest draft of the book was so full of information, characters and set pieces, I made the decision to divide the story up into a series rather than try to cram it all into one giant volume. Those characters and set pieces still wait patiently to be reborn by a keyboard’s strokes.

Much will happen, and these future books will expand on and elaborate these characters and their universe, delving deeper into their relationships and their abilities as they continue their adventure. The later books will take place over a much longer period of time. Whereas the first book takes place inside of a week, the final book will span twenty years of their tribulations and triumphs alike. There will be joy and sadness, old characters will be lost for new characters to take their place, relationships will crumble while others flourish, all as these characters continue on an adventure filled with hope and fear.

I certainly won’t be going in completely blind. A decent roadmap has already been prepared. Even while writing my setups, the payoffs were already neatly catalogued in my many pages of notes and ideas. I know how each of the next three books begins, and how each of the next three books ends. Shortage of ideas is not the problem. The problem is organizing it all into a coherent story.

With so much for me to juggle around, I’m not going to fool myself into thinking there isn’t a lot that could go wrong. There’s also the worry that my pre-mapped story may not be the best idea. If I’m dead set on a path, a potentially great alternative may pass me by.

Yes, writing a story is always difficult. To craft a sturdy cohesive narrative can often seem like building a tower of cards. If one little piece of character development doesn’t work, or if one piece of world building is inconsistent with the rest of the story, it could all come tumbling down in a sad heap.

Writing the first book was an exhausting effort. All the days of going to the store hours early just to have the privacy to work, all the times going over the manuscript and correcting each mistake, all the nights staring open eyed at the ceiling trying to figure out how to get my characters out of a bind without copping out. By the time that first manuscript was done, I was about ready to keel over. Now I have no choice but to do it again, three more times.

Three more times, each time being much longer and elaborate than the last.

As the journey for my characters will be far longer and far tougher, I expect it to be the same for me. Yes, Never Heroes is certainly going to be a tough nut to crack.

Still, these characters and their world are closest to my heart out of anything I have ever done. To go on another adventure with them will be a treat. Ultimately, they will not rest until their story is done. Neither will I.

There is the comfort of knowing I’ll be in good company.

Why I Didn’t Read Fantasy While Preparing to Write Fantasy

Never-Heroes-Fantasy-Cover

Watching the cover for my first book slowly take shape has been very exciting. The three characters shown here, (left to right, River the Flatlander, Major Celice and Professor Blondie) appear more lifelike as the days go by. Once they and their fourth companion are finished, it is on to putting in the leading character, creating the background, and add ing whatever other elements are needed. After organizing them into an appropriate collage, that will capture the essence of Never Heroes.

I find it quite interesting that this most precious work of mine is a fantasy story, as fantasy was not a genre that interested me initially. Even when the Lord of the Rings movies first hit theaters, my reaction was one of general boredom. Fantasy never held that great an influence over me prior to high school, where a friend introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons and the rest is history.

I suppose that is one of the more interesting things about this particular pipe dream. Never Heroes was influenced by just about everything but fantasy. As you can read in the Inspirations and Influences article, this series was inspired by everything from the Indiana Jones movies, to Godzilla, to the Cthulhu Mythos, to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Of classic fantasy literature however, with the works of Tolkien, Rowling and Martin, their influence over the adventures in Haiden is relatively small.

This is partially to blame on the media I consumed as a kid. The genres that had the biggest influence on me as an adolescent boy were action movies, science fiction movies, and horror stories. You take all of those in, you start getting certain ideas about how stories work and what they should be. But I could have done research into the genre once I took this project seriously. That was a conscious decision on my part.

I attended a Q & A one of my old professors was in whilst in college. When asked about the originality of stories, said that “The audience expects not only convention, but innovation. You follow certain genre conventions, but also try and do something fresh with it to make your story stand on its own. Everything has been done, but not in every way.”

Convention and innovation. I had once thought the two were mutually exclusive. The idea of using them both in unison was a new and challenging idea, one I decided to test when writing Never Heroes.

I haven’t read all of the Harry Potter books, only read a few lines of the Middle Earth Saga, and have never laid a finger upon the covers of A Song of Ice and Fire or Dragonlance. It is tragic loss that will be corrected in due time, but only after I am sure this story has found a voice of its own.

While it is fun to be compared to artists you admire, art really is about self expression. I didn’t want to write something that seemed like it was trying to be Tolkien or Rowling. I wanted the world of Tygan to be a world all its own, that took inspiration from just about the last places anyone would expect for a fantasy story. It is a move that will hopefully set it apart from the rest of the genre, and create something that is unmistakably me.

Isn’t that what every story is meant to be?

My Protagonist Gets a Facelift and Other News

The saga for my first book continues with the latest illustration moving along nicely and the search for a title ongoing.

Our massive lead got a slight face lift, you might say. A few days ago while I was at work, David Spada hit me up about a tiny issue he had with his design for our fire breathing star. He felt Zhyx’s nostrils were far too high up on his face, so they seemed to not really be connected with anything. Looking at the design now, one can see why he might take issue with it.

Wordpress 7

Because of this, David put forward that we do a very slight alteration of the design. Simply lower the nostril. It certainly wasn’t too much to ask. We have only completed two illustrations and are in the middle of a third at the moment. He sent me these quick doodles to show what he was talking about.

Zhyx Nose

I liked the change a lot and sent it to Joe, who will be incorporating it into his designs from now on.

This sort of thing does happen a lot in art. They go through constant changes that never stop until it hits the presses. A re-design for the book’s villains is also underway, and I look forward to sharing those with you once they are available.

In other news, we are on the home stretch for the illustration for chapter 3. What I really like about this illustration is you get a real sense of Zhyx’s size from it, and it showcases his first meeting with someone who promises to be a longtime companion.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 8.03.42 AM

In other news, work on the villains article has begun. It had been delayed for a while due to other writing projects, life, and career pursuits, but it will be up sometime in the next week, finally rounding out the characters section of the blog.

Also, the illustration for chapter 2 will be altered slightly, with some touch up work being done on Zhyx’s horns and additional color added to Saar’Jya. We should be able to knock that out pretty quickly once the chapter 3 illustration is finished.

Thanks for reading with brief update and I look forward to talking with all of you later.