Monday, November 29, 2010

Since the Words 'I am Done' are so Cliched, I Shall Use This Title Instead

(this image is mine--please don't take it!)

Words cannot explain nor express (by this I mean capital letters ;)) the excitement that courses through my veins!  I am done, readers!  NaNoWriMo is finished!  Hallelujah! :D  It is done! 

The Book of Shaldu is finished!  Many plans have ran through my mind regarding the future of this novel--those who have spoken to me in the last couple of weeks know that this is my greatest novel yet in terms of plot, characters, and overall epicness. 

Publishing?  Perhaps.  I am going to try and get The Book of Shaldu ready for publishing before 2011 dawns January 1st.  One month.  Aye, it's crazy--but so was writing an entire novel in a month!  Anyone want to join me? :)

Rewriting?  That too!  My goal word count, by the time my novel is ready for publishing, is 60,000 words or greater.  If only by pure stubborness (which suceeded in NaNoWriMo!) I shall do this.

Many people have helped me on this epic journey.  Very very many.  I'm going to take the time to name a few awesome people (to follow Millard's lead)

1) Firstly, Mom, Dad, and the rest of the 'Sadaar' clan!  Ye guys are awesome, bearing with my irritable attitude when doing a stressful word war. ;)  Thanks so much!  Ye guys are awesome encouragers (particularly Mom and Dad) and for that I am forever grateful.  Breathe a sigh of relief...until next year.

2) Millard!  My most excellent Millard, who word warred constantly--I looked forward to them almost every evening. :)  No matter how terrible my word count was after the word war, ye were ever encouraging!  To the point of capital letters, even. Ye beat me every time. :D  Without those word wars I would have utterly perished in the depths of NaNoWriMo's maw.  Perhaps, (once my typing improves ;) one of these days I shall win a word war.  And congrats on finishing TWO NaNoWriMo novels!

3) YOU!  Aye, you blogger friends!  Ye readers were encouraging as well, and we had that epic five hour word war together, here on my blog.  Twas amazing!  Thanks so much!

4)  And finally, pie.  Thanks so much for being there for me to eat and...wait.  *blinks*  Ah, yes.  This paragraph was supposed to be dedicated to the Elves of the Underground, right?  Oops.  Anyhow, thanks Elves for all that you have done, from word wars to plain old courage and en-courage!  You guys and gals epic.  E&V!!

And with that, this journey across Arowdae is ended!  The quest is finished--whether for ill or for good, ye shall have to find out for yourself, once I get this novel of mine somewhere where ye can get your hands on it. :)  Good luck and the High Lord protect you on your own journeys! 


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Fear!  Fire!  Foes!  Awake!

Word War III is here at last, readers!  Sharpen your swords, and prepare your characters for a wild ride, folks--Word War III is about to rock the world.  Or, at least, the world of your novel.

So prepare the ink!  Sharpen the quills!  Change your flaming pen's batteries!  Hone your writerly's coming.

So here's the deal, readers--here's the fire, the flames, the forks.  :|

Write from 5:00 PM CST to 10:00 PM CST.  This the duration of the word war--yes, it is long. :)  After you have finished writing, post your word count before you started and your word count after you started (in one comment) and then how many words you wrote in the allotted time.  The person who writes the most words in that time WINS the Word War!  :D  And gets this interesting banner thing to post on a blog sidebar. ;)

Now, you must post your word count within one day of the Word War--or else the word count will be void. I may not announce the winner right away, as American Thanksgiving is near. :)

So are you ready?  Is your pen full of ink?  Your novel honed?  Your characters ready to do-or-die?

Then go, and prepare, for the Word War is coming.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Okay, readers--I'm in trouble.  I have to write 10k in the next two days for NaNoWriMo and my creativity is at an all time low, and my writing is at an all-time worst--HELP!  I need word wars!  Something! :O  WW3 is taking place tomorrow, so be READY!  I am in a serious pit and I must fight my way out!  Die, procrastiation, DIE!  *hacks away at pitiful word count*

*signs out with a sword*

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Sword in the Stars

Alastair Coldhollow is a criminal.  A man struggling with memories of a past he has renounced, and yet still haunted with the guilt that has seeped into his life and echoes from his past addictions.  And he puts his very life on the line because of his hope that the Sword will appear in the stars, and show the way for the Caller to find the foretold Halfainin.  And Alastair hangs his life on the hope that he will be the Caller to find the Halfainin to rest his guilt at last.

And then it happens.  The thing he had been waiting for--but what if he isn't the Caller after all?    What if he is just a man who can never be forgiven for the deeds he has done in the past?

But meanwhile, tensions are growing higher and higher between Anglinore and the Gorrack Nation, threatening war on a scale that could devastate all of Myriad.

And the fate of it all rests on two twin kings, an abandoned child, and the decisions of Alastair Coldhollow.

When I first read the description of this book (the above is not that description--I wrote that myself) I felt a shiver of excitement.  When I first saw the gleaming, detailed cover of Sword in the Stars, a thrill ran through me.  This was going to be an adventure to treasure--and when it comes to books, I am rarely wrong.

And it went above and beyond.  Sword in the Stars is a worthy novel.  The worldbuilding is fantastic.  The battles are, quite simply, epic.  The characters are amazing.  And the truths spoken in this novel are deep, impacting, and wise.

This book is Wayne Thomas Batson at his best.  It very nearly rivals Venom and Song in 'epicness', and certainly surpasses all of his books in originality, character-building, and world-building.  The plot is fresh and original.  The description was vivid and detailed, yet it isn't over-the-top.

The allegory, a great element in this novel, is deep, veiled, and thought-provoking--my mind was racing to figure out what each event is compared to, if I really agreed with some of the characters (by this I mean King Ealden), and what do I actually think about this?  It was stock-full of Biblical truths--a regular treasure trove, wrapped in epic battles.

In a sentence, books like these--epics that can be treasured on your bookshelf for years and re-read again and again--are the reasons why Wayne Thomas Batson is one of my most treasured authors.  Sir Batson, your fantastic words accurately reflect your faith and God's amazing love--bravo!  You've done it.

I look forward to the next addition to the Dark Sea Annals--the ending of Sword in the Stars left me breathless, shocked--wanting more.

Rating?  I rate Sword in the Stars 9.1 out of 10.  :)  (see the right sidebar for a point guide)

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Art of Epic

The Charge of the Rohirrim on Pelennor Fields is my favorite scene in the Lord of the Rings movie--and in the book.  Recall, if you will, that scene.

Clouds of darkness hangs over Minas Tirith, from the Dark Lord Sauron--and Minas Tirith is burning, as viewed from atop a hill near Minas Tirith.

A horn sounds, lone and challenging. The Orcs turn at the sound.

Atop that very hill, a host of riders stands defiantly, the rising sun to their backs, shining behind them. "Now for wrath," the king cries, "Now for ruin!  And for the red dawn!"

When you see this part, as the Riders of Rohan cry "Death!" and charge down the hill, though there is little hope against the might of Mordor, your blood is roused--your heart cries "Death!" with them, and you cheer them on as they charge to death.

Twang!  The arrows fire from Mordor's forces, pelting the Rohirrim--and yet they stand.  They ride.  And they do not waver.

The Orcs fire at will, fear showing on their faces, but the Rohirrim, the blinding sun shining from behind them, and a fearless cry upon their lips, do not falter--and the forces of Mordor are devastated by their triumphant assault.

Why are these things so epic?  Why do our hearts rise  up in wonder and awe at the EPICNESS of it all?  I shall attempt to bring ye an answer in this post.

What is the most epic thing you have ever read?  Why was it so epic?

Take a look at this following excerpt from Return of the King (the book):

"A smell of burning was in the air and a very shadow of death.  The horses were uneasy.  But the king sat upon Snowmane, motionless, gazing upon the agony of Minas Tirith, as if stricken suddenly by anguish, or by dread.  He seemed to shrink down, cowed by age,.  Merry himself felt as if a great weight of horror and doubt had settled on him.  His heart beat slowly.  Time seemed poised in uncertainty.  They were too late!  Too late was worse than never!  Perhaps Théoden would quail, bow his old head, turn, slink away to hide in the hills. 
Then suddenly Merry felt it at last, beyond doubt: a change.  Wind was in his face!  Light was glimmering.  Far, far away, in the South the clouds could be dimly seen as remote grey shapes, rolling up, drifting: morning lay beyond them.   
But at that same moment there was a flash, as if lightning had sprung from the earth beneath the City.  For a searing second it stood dazzling far off in black and white, its topmost tower like a glittering needle; and then as the darkness closed in again there came rolling over the fields a great boom. 
At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect.  Tall and proud he seemed again and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had heard a mortal man achieve before: 
Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!  
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! 
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, 
 a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!" 
With that he seized a great horn from Guthláf his banner-bearer, and he blew such a blast upon it that it burst asunder. And straightaway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains. 
Ride now, ride now!  Ride to Gondor! 
Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away.  Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it.  After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them.  Éomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first éored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Théoden could not be overtaken.  Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young.  His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green around the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and wind from the sea, and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them."

Can you see why I love this part? :)

Now, there are several things that I glean from such passages as these that make things epic, which rouse your blood and make you want to charge out and fight for what is good and right.

The Reason

An important thing readers need to know about is the reason why characters fight, why they do what they do.  Do they do it for glory?  Fame?  Or honor?  For their families?  If a reader knows the reason why, they'll understand your character better, and they will understand why the character fights.  And the reader will respect your character for that--providing the character fights for an honorable reason or cause.  But still the reason for the season isn't the real juice of what makes a reader's blood stir.

The Odds

Have you ever read a fantasy book where the good guys outnumber the bad guy ten to one, and win easily?  Of course not.  Readers cheer for the underdog, the character who is at a disadvantage but fights on nonetheless.  This is clearly shown in the above scene: the Rohirrim are vastly outnumbered.  The Orcs are burning Minas Tirith, and for a moment a fleeting thought of going back is set in the minds of the characters: but they do not.  They go ahead and fight for what they believe, fearless and fey.  So make the odds uneven, and the reader will cheer for you and your character even more.

The Description

This is an important, crucial point: if the writer cannot write the description properly, the entire operation will fail.  What if Tolkien wrote that scene like this?

"The Rohirrim thought about going back, but then the king went on anyway, and blew up a horn by blowing into it.  He sang a poem, and then they charged downward and destroyed the Orcs."

Absolutely not!  Rousing description is half of the job.  You can have all of the other elements, but if the description isn't top-notch and as good as it can be, the scene will be worthless--description is imperative.  There is little advice I can give to you on the subject of rousing description, save that you should read as much of it as you can, so some of that might leak into your own writing.

The Moral

The last element that can be put in an epic scene is the moral.  Sacrifice, heroism, light versus darkness--all are a 'moral'.  The moral is ultimately the root of the emotion in an epic scene.  You marvel at the sacrifice and fearless heroism of the Rohirrim as they charge down, crying "Death!" with no heed for their own lives, to try and rescue the lives of others--coming to the aid of Gondor at last.


So now you've learned all of these things about epic writing.  Epic description--epic scenes.  But ultimately, the epic comes from you and from God, through you.  You can write emotion, sacrifice, and epic scenes, but it doesn't come from just writing.  It comes from writing for God.  Through you.  That is the real root of epic, the reason why the Final Storm by Wayne Thomas Batson makes you marvel, the reason why the Bones of Makaidos makes tears well up in your eyes, the reason why your heart soars as the Rohirrim charge.

[Please note that all images in this post are not mine and may be copyrighted by someone else.  *shrug*  At any rate, I just got them off Google. ;) ]

A Death-Blow has been Dealt!

Ding-dong, the thread is dead!  Congradulations to the winner, Gillian! :D  Shoot me an email with the necessary details in order for ye to get yer package. :)  Ye just won V&S! :D  Great job at stickin' with it! 

For those curious, the thread died at 72 comments.  Not too bad, eh?  It went for several weeks until Gillian dealt a death-blow. :)

Again, congradulations!  Over and away,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Woh! Watch out WTB fans! :O

YAOW!  Coming through!  *blazes through the imaginary snow*

UNITE!  A and B of the C of D about TDW! :O  Warning warning get your free pizza here. ;)

Hurry!  Something strange is sweeping the nations!  Danger!  Intrigue!  A terrible secret about to be revealed!  YAAAAHHHH!!!   Pirates, thorns, and a hefty dose of a glimpse into the future shall be revealed!  Panic and be crazy!  Warning!! :O  AGH!

The authorities are coming!  Hurry, email me before it is too late!  I cannot risk contacting you any further on this blog.  I shall not be blogging for another week! :O  Hurry!!  But in all seriousness, this is seriousness. :O  Email me quickly to find out!

*drives away as sirens echo through the halls of Teenage Writer*

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The End of Week Two is Here!: Another NaNo Update

Hey all!  I have shamefully not posted in one week.  Alas.  But I am here, and I have news!

I am actually succeeding at NaNoWriMo.  Gladsome surprise!  I am now standing at 25,000 words--HALFWAY there! :D  Hallelujah, that I made it this far.

I owe this in part to the Elves of the Underground--particularly whisper and Millard--for doing Word Wars at strange hours of the night.  It was only when Mil saw a flash of blue that he stopped--very brave of him to bear with me for all of those words.  May it be known: he won every time.  I stubbornly hold that he is number #1.  ;)  *waves a Millard sign*

Anyhow, the symptoms have faded further, and I have introduced the Dreadman to my novel.  O.o  Beware.  Things are, hasty.  He is not a good dude. :P

I shall not go into a list of more NaNo symptoms this time, as they are numerous.  I shall work on that word count some more, perhaps. 

I shall leave ye now to your writings and your thoughts.  Farewell!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Update from the NaNo World!...Day Seven

Sorry for no updation, folks.  I have been very busy.

Now...let us begin.

At current, my novel's word count is an awesome (for me, at least) 11,720 words!  Aye, the count above needs to be updated... :P

As all NaNo-ers (and some other people) know, in order to write 50,000 words in one month, ye must write a minimum of 1,667 words a day.  Not too bad...but if ye get behind, it is, (as my father put it) "A reverse debt snowball."  Dave Ramsey. ;)  Basically, the words pile up, until ye are hopelessly behind and never able to catch up.

Right now, if one is to make it to 50,000 words, the word count must be 11,669 words on day seven of NaNoWriMo.  Of which I have gratefully surpassed today! :)

As for other things, the plot is going to be longer than I anticipated.  Let us hope that my novel will end up being around 50,000 words, but it's looking like it may very well be longer.  Then again, perhaps not... *shrug*  Only time will tell.

My current symptoms go as thus:
-I have calmed down.  A dangerous sign. ;)
-I am forgetful.  "Where'd I put my book?  Wait, no...I must go and write."  Such things are now common.
-I have yelled at procrastination several times in the past week--hard to do, since it isn't actually a physical thing.
-I have wondered how in the world my character did various things without my permission.
-I have stared at the computer screen.  No, it isn't blank this time, but it might as well be for all the writing I was getting done.  Or the lack of it.
-I have discovered that outlining the entire novel (not just the first six chapters) is much more beneficial.  (I shall do a post on outlining soon, and its part in NaNoWriMo)
-I have consumed much chocolate.  And cake.  Sadly, no pie.
-I ignore alarms/timers/etc.  Not a good thing when ye wish to get schoolwork done, or if yer mom is calling ye. :)
-I am getting PUMPED about this novel!  Whoo!  I am easily excited about this now...though I am tired. :P
-I have been effected by Andrew Peterson's wonderfully wacky books.  Take "In the Age of the Kindly Flabbits" for instance.  Or Oskar's quotes.  This, of course, has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo...or perhaps it does.  :)

Aye, them rabbits keep popping up.  >_>  *shakes fist*

With that, I think I shall be off.  I should probably be writing some extra for one of those days where I am busy beyond belief and cannot write at all. 

Farewell, and take care not to be eaten by procrastination. (This is also a symptom.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Déjà Vu! Kill this Thread...

Here's what's happening, folks.

Hypothetically, I am very busy.  School, writing NaNoWriMo (the word count above is NOT the current word count!), more school, guitar, church stuff, etc.

Let's say, hypothetically, that I win a book in a giveaway.  Pretty cool, eh?

But let's say I already own the book.  Let's say that it's a popular, new book that was published this year.  Hypothetically, I decide to have a giveaway...

Okay, so it isn't really a hypothesis.  It's the real deal.  Yup, another giveaway.  Cool, huh?

But as I said, I am very busy.  Extremely busy, it can be said.  So what am I going to do?  Conducting a giveaway takes time for me.  Quite a bit.

Now, you want to know what book I am giving away, and how you can get in on the giveaway, right?

But wait a second...I once heard of this idea one time that required almost no effort from, blast from the past...

Well, I'm done with the suspense.  Here's what I'm doing:

"Kill this thread and win Venom and Song."

Déjà Vu!  Seriously!

For those of you not in on the 'joke', a 'Kill this thread and win Venom and Song' once occurred to win a signed copy of Venom and Song from one of the authors himself, Wayne Thomas Batson.  And that is almost the entire reason I have followers at all.  I met a lot of other awesome bloggers as a result of that contest (which went for months!).

So here's the rules:

1) All you have to do in order to try and win is comment.

Easy enough, hm?  But there's more.

2) You must be the last person to comment before the thread dies.

Easier said then done!  A thread 'dies' when no one has posted for one day.  24 hours.  You kill the thread?  You win Venom and Song.  But if someone comments before then, the thread lives another 24 hours!  If Bob's comment was the last one for 23 hours and 59 minutes and someone posts, then the thread lives!

But as WTB did, I am adding another requirement.

3) You must post something MEANINGFUL.  You can't just comment and say, "Comment".  Do something meaningful!  Share Bible verses, quotes, daily stuff, how your writing is going, what your dog did yesterday, the terrible financial state of the government (.5 million dollars in debt a minute?!?!), even talk to the other participants!  Just make sure it has something meaningful.  I shall swoop in with my Pen of Doom if you don't do something meaningful--I'm serious.

And, of course, the prize is a new copy of Venom and Song.  :)  Comment away, folks!  Are ye going to be the first commenter again, Squeaks?  ;)

Don't worry, I shall read every comment.  Perhaps I shall join in the discussion as well!  Tis up to you.  And siblings...well, ye can participate, but ye cannot win.  ;)  LOL.

Are ye ready?  Have yer fingers been pruned and primed?  Is your keyboard greased?

FIRE AWAY!...and good luck. :)

Oh, by the way: the other Kill this Thread contest ended with 1,752 comments. ;)  And no one actually killed it, in the end...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Terrible...NaNoWriMo

Yes, it's ANOTHER post about NaNoWriMo.  They seem to be floating all around the blogosphere, eh?

But first...some news.

Star-Dreamer has opened up the voting on the First Chapter contest on her blog, the Pen and the Parchment--which means ye can go read them and vote on your favorite one.  Mine is up as if ye can guess which one it is, then go ahead and read it!

Millard Shining Light is also having a giveaway of the awesome book 'Beyond the Reflection's Edge' by Bryan Davis, a most excellent author.

And now....*drumroll*

NaNoWriMo has begun.

Writers everywhere are scrambling to the NaNo website (which is currently flooded with users and extremely slow), updating their words counts, and beginning to write a 50,000 word novel in ONE MONTH.  Pick up your quill pens, folks!  It's going to be a bumpy and exhilirating ride.

I myself am beginning to write my next novel already--'The Book of Shaldu'. It's a new work, one that isn't affiliated with any of my other novels.  It is, however (surprise!) a Christian fantasy novel.

Time to get out the flaming pen again, folks!  >_>  Hopefully it will catch fire again and burn brightly...but right now *yawn* I am very tired with only a hundred words written in 'The Book of Shaldu'.  *sigh*  What happened to the five-thousand word passion that fueled me to finish my novel earlier? :P

I already show symptoms for NaNo rush, though.  Wanna know what they are?

They include:
-Beating my head against the wall
-Eating copious amounts of sugar-infused items
-Writing (though, regrettably, there has been little of this)
-Staring into the fire
-Wasting an hour of my time trying (and not succeeding) to access the NaNo site
-Staring into the sky
-Staring at the blank computer screen
-Wondering if anyone is going to read this post

Aye, I am done. :P  There may be a lapse in blogging, readers--just a reminder.  >_>  And much of the blogging you will get shall most likely be reading will be incoherent babbling about NaNo.  Be prepared for the worst, readers.

And keep me accountable!  I MUST reach 50,000 words!!

Which reminds of my traits (I hesitate to say 'virtues') will work well with me for this.  At one time it may get me in trouble, but also it helped me finish my trilogy--one of the sole traits that kept me going in that time.  Can you guess what it is?

Stubbornness.  Absolute stubborness.  And perhaps that stubborness will accomplish this 50,000 word goal.

With that note, I shall leave and procrastinate some more.  *sigh*  What happened to "Throw procrastination into a pit?"  I'd be much obliged if ye'd give me some help on this...

Farewell. >_>