What I have been up to.

You know what the best thing is? It is writing twenty-five pages  for my novel over two days. I can believe my motivation of late, I do know the source. Last week I had my monthly meeting for writing, and it was the first time for a while that I felt that people were looking down at me. I think that just gave me a kick up the ass and get back on that horse! Doesn’t matter the details as I wrote twenty-five pages! Tomorrow, maybe another ten or twenty, who knows 😀 ! I’m on a roll, thank you person making me feel insignificate!

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Unexpected Discoveries

A couple of Saturdays ago, my friend Stephen and I were holding our first lecture; World-building: for Fictional Writers and Campaign settings. After five weeks of work and promotion; this is a lot of hard yakka! The night before I went down, rearranged seats, tables and brought chocolates with notepads for our participants. Even something small always seems to make a little difference. I woke up at four thirty am and apparently so did Stephen, my offsider. When your mind racing with anticipation, it will beat any old alarm clock. Didn’t think a suit was needed as I was wearing smart casual, but Stephen didn’t think so; typical planners, always over preparing. As this was our first lecture,  anxiety seems reasonable but that question niggles your mind. How many people will rock up? My guess was between five to ten.. There we waited. Ten am rolled around, nobody. Ten past ten, still not a living soul. At this point, one walks in… And he was the only one.

Now you see this and think, great here goes another rant about ranting or he will give some speech on ‘I put myself out there and nothing! Why even try?!’. If you think that is going to happen, read the title, Unexpected Discoveries. Shannon Wright was such a discovery.

After introducing ourselves, we asked what about his background is and wow, he was a beta tester for role playing games and had knowledge of many gaming systems. He stated why that our lecture would give some insight into the creating of worlds. First question there, what are you working on so we have some idea on how we could help. He asked me something about my world; I talked about the speed of travelling on a road in Favinonia. Then he asks a question which I couldn’t answer ‘How does know the knowing the speed of the trip impact on your story?’, after mumbling over some pathetic replies, I didn’t know.

Then he recounted a story about doing a game in a traditional system; the first kid wanted to be a typical archetype class, straight from the players handbook and that was it. The boy’s younger sister wanted to play too, and her character was a princess who can talk to animals. As there was no class representing this concept, he chooses something close to it then make up the rest. Then the next youngest wanted to play as the animal companion of the Princess that was no problem. Now it time to roll up the stats and read what all this means. As older players, that is all good but with kids, it is pretty annoying. Then he had an epiphany and this why he was here about world creation, Shannon was creating his role-playing system.

The System is called ‘Enter the Dreamscape’ and the best way to describe it is if you can think it up, you can do it. After hearing this, both myself and Stephen were excited to create characters, as we are used to other systems which could take hours. We were surprised at how quickly it was to create a character and a concept. My concept was Blood Avatar in an exo-suit and Stephen was a Shadow Imperial Chinese Dragon. Both ideas were acceptable and much more. Say if I wanted to be a clay sculpture of a Hercules that had come to life, I could. This concept is similar to the Hero System as you think it can happen. The difference between Heroes and Dreamscape is time and understanding. Took me half a day to read, choose and understand in creating a character. And that is not even understanding on how to play the game. Within ten minutes, I created a character and came up with my concept, then how to play it was instinctual. You have a Mental and Physical attributes, seven general skills, traits and powers which have a connection with these two characteristics. That is it, as they choosen at random, all that stops you is your imagination. Then Shannon levelled us up, and that took no time at all. And if we wanted to we had the option of changing our concepts or evolving them. I choose to develop, so it became Blood Avatar with Rune Exosuit as I was very Physical but lacked in Mental attribute, so the runes part change that and made me more balanced.

I spent nearly six hours with Shannon, most of that was talking about world creation and role-playing, then being excited about play testing his system. I can tell you that I have never once had this complete understanding of a system in mere minutes. As this will be a unique in the role-playing games of today. I know from Shannon that he will be kick-starting this later in the year and I will be not only one of his beta-testers but a supporter of the project.  From the young, inexperienced player to the most veteran gamer, this will be a great game to play in. Keep an eye out for following up blogs on my experience with this system.

Authors that have Inspired Me: Part Two

When I first started this blog I thought I would finish it in part one. How wrong was I. This takes off after that Christmas. My next author that grace my life was David Eddings, I started with his first book. Finding in the public library, and the name of it was Pawn of Prophecy. If it weren’t for Sara, I wouldn’t give David a second look. Later he was joined by his wife Leigh. The lands, people, and history were so precious it made me understand the how a world could be created and I thank him and his wife for that experience. Sadly, David and Leigh have passed from this world and I hope they are reincarnated in their own imaginations as that would truly be heaven.

Around this same time I found two authors Raymond E. Feist and Robin Hobbs, their first books respectively are Magician and Assassin’s Apprentice. With Mr Feist, he is one of my ‘must buy’ authors if I see one of his books I always ask myself is food really necessary. Nearly every time is a no. While Ms Hobbs, is a fantastic read and I love the character Fitz as he is that secret hero, the true underdog which everyone can root for. Due to Eddings and Douglass I found other authors like Feist and Hobbs, again I am glad I was ‘forced’ to read my present.

Now during my twenties, I pick up many authors but only a few ended up on my number one list. First off was Kate Jacoby, Exile’s Return. This is a weird choice for me as when I first read it; I couldn’t immerse myself in her writing style. So there it was sitting in a box for years, eventually, I looked at it picked it up one day, and though why the heck not. And the rest, as they say, is history.  Another particular one, Baker’s Boy by J.V. Jones. I love this series, again an underdog story with a secret hero. This theme is a type of fantasy as I think as the reader you can relate to an underdog story line more than an immortal god-type main character. These characters do have a soft spot in my heart, like Superman but there is always something about the overlooked that appeals to me.

The last two I would like to talk about in this part is Terry Goodkind and Terry Brooks. Terry Goodkind wrote the Sword of Truth series and his first book was Wizard’s First Rule. These series of books strangely became better than the previous book. Each one delved into another fantastic land where there were strong male and female characters, and everything was quite balanced. Terry Brooks Demon series was the first book I read which was set on Earth instead of a different world and another thing it was set over only three days. My own book is using this type of storytelling, it was unusual but great. I love both of these authors and how they showed me again different ways of writing.

So that is it for this part. Hopefully, I finish this series of blogs in part three. See you next time.

Ode to Rant: A History of Rants.

Looking back over the years I had written a few rants about ranting I do have some others, but they are more severe, well not as fun. Each of these rants did help me to find my way through some difficult times. The last one on this blog, I think was my first indication I was meant for better things, but it still took another three years for me to realise the path. Ode to rant!

 

17th of January 2012

What does Sam Like, Sam Like ranting! The rant, a favourite thing of the average person on Facebook. Ode to the rant, such sweet rambling. Only if I could go on such random rant about rants. How can I describe such a nice lovely fixture of words?
But like all rants, this one must end as the ranter is at a loss for words. May all your rants be random and enlightening, be at peace and laugh once in a while, and think of others.

But not too much

15th of July 2012

It’s been a while since I have ranted for the sake of ranting! How can I put this new but continue rant into words? Shall I be formal? Ode to rant, how sweet methinks twas to be frank and straight wilt thee. Could only word perchance be the gift of thine has on this ball of earth? Maybe mine shrift that I am judicious, but shall I then come roundly to thee have acquaintance with my desires as this is mine rant. But enough of this ungodly language let’s be simple and direct.

RANT IS GOOD, ME AM ‘APPPY

9th of December 2012

Good morning to all my friends out there, again I have come to a new rant. Thrice before I have ranted about ranting, I have enjoyed these rants but now wish to make one that has been inspired by a book.

The two books I have just read of recent, are The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I will not go too much into the storyline as it would ruin the book for anyone to read. The main character is a man named Kvothe (pronounced as Quothe). I will not describe him; I will not talk about his history or his happenstance in the book. Most of this are how he has affected my thinking, this, of course, is due to the excellent writing style of Mr Rothfuss.

Some of you might know of me as a cook/chef at Montezuma or some as a student at QUT. Some knew at school, some thru even Facebook. Family and friends, some very dear to my heart, even if we have little or no contact. Knowledge and understanding are my bread and butter, my need to understand all walks of life. Sometimes this is just in passing, others I throw my life and soul into existence! Gaming, cooking, and math are three of examples. Two of them are significant failures; one is an over-indulgence. But again I digress. My curiosity has gotten me in trouble many of times. My of the need to know, this is what truly drive my soul! Knowledge, no woman (or man) touch could overcome this. Even words can not encompass my real feelings. People say that I am smart, intelligent and some think of me as slow, stupid, even mentally retarded. Very few have seen every facade of my personality. Most will as always under or overestimate my abilities. The more I write on this, even I do not quite understand myself. Kvothe and the author are my new inspiration; I need to return to the path which I have zig-zag for most of my life. I need to finish what I have started! I wouldn’t like to push as this would irritate me and cause grief for both parties. Most people who might pick up this book series, will not come to the epiphany I have, some will not quite understand the character ( this is apparent with some reviews). I am 33 years old; life is supposed to begin at 30. I guess I didn’t get the email. My life has remained trapped in amber.

Again lets my life’s journey begin

 

Becoming a Writer: My story journey through Trials, Trepidation and Exuberance.

In these past weeks, I have grown greatly as a writer. I have formally come out as a penman, one on a public page and another my website. There have been times in the past and sure there will be in the future I may fall, but as always I will pick myself up and dust off the negativity. Coming up soon will be my first lecture as a writer. It will be a co-lecture with my good friend Steven Bolin. Finding the time for my lecture, my blogs, my mother, my book and other things has been hard, but in the end, it has all been worth it.

This year did not start off as I wished it to be, my book had stalled and I started to lose my focus. Depression was overcoming my outlook on life, and I was faltering. I have suffered depression on and off for many years and I usually just power through. In the past, this would take between six to eight months to truly move ahead of it. This time, I knew I didn’t have the time to wait and see what happened At the end of February, I decided to look for help and I found it! With the help of my local GP, a great psychologist and the support of my friends and family, I started on the road mending my deep pit of depression. During this time I wrote another thirteen thousand words to bring me to the brink of thirty thousand. This was a great achievement. Never in my life have I ever reached this many words for one of my stories. Then with my treatment, I again started to gain momentum, but I still saw some issues for my book.

Firstly, I am a panser or free-former writer where everything is straight from my imagination to the page. I started to notice that my writing was lacking in the better sense of the word, I became lost in the story line. At this point, Lisa Chaplin walked into Writers Activation, where I volunteer, and after a little chat, she invited me to her Master-Class. In a previous blog is my review of this class, if you want to know more. While listening to Lisa, I learned some important stratagem to help with my writing, I decided to implement them into my creative process. This caused my most precious moment of 2016 (so far), the complete plotting out of my book! I exalt, I jump, I dance all with joy in my heart. This was my best experience of completing something. This helped with another achievement, my lecture which I will co-host on the 23rd of this month.

World-building, for fictional writers and campaign settings, is the name for my joint adventure into the writing world. It has been three weeks since Steve (aka Hobbit) and I started to plan for this. His lovely wife Kami helped us out by writing all our ramblings down so we could have a set plan on what we would talk about. Now it was time to write it! Kami did notice do something that I hadn’t realised before. This was that I have been telling and writing stories since I was six years old and with this revelation I concluded I have nearly thirty-one years of storytelling experience under my belt. This shocked me to the core. I felt that I was a novice and didn’t know better. Now I have embraced this, and it has been reflected in my interaction with other writers and authors. I am looking forward to this lecture, as it has been shown much interest and I am glad to give back to the community.

As I end this blog, I would like to give a shout out to my mother. From the beginning of my journey, she has been there for me. Even though she has issues with her health, this never stops her involvement in my life and writing. Every piece of work I do will be edited by my mum, who has over twenty-five years of experience as an English teacher. As I know she will be reading this, all I can do is thank her from the bottom of my heart and I will be always there for her. I am proud to be her son!

Doesn’t matter what life throws at you, just roll with the punches. Every day make me happy that I am moving toward completing my book.

My Night at Maria Lewis’s Q and A.

Here I am awake at 4 am in the morning, I just can’t shake the event of Maria Lewis I went to last night. So I guess, I have to write about it. Around a week ago, I saw that REaD Cafe has posted three new books based on events over the course of the weekend. As this weekend was also the Gold Coast Supanova, Vicki the owner of REaD secured someone every interesting. Her name was Maria Lewis, and her book is Who’s Afraid? When I read this name, without even knowing anything about it made me think of the ‘Big Bad Wolf’, and as this book is about Werewolves how right was I?

A few little tidbits I learned this night was that at the age of 21, Maria wrote this book and then spent the next six years searching and securing first a literary agent  and then a publisher. With six years under her belt, during this time she continued writing another three books of her five book series. I wonder if it would take me this long and would I try and follow the traditional path of publishing a book instead of my plan to self-publish? But I am not here to talk about my book, this is about Maria Lewis’s Q and A.   Another thing that was provided was small booklets on a fan based  gallery exhibition that showed the passions of her readers and her support of them. I really found some of the drawing and painting moving.

As I have not read her book, I found the session engaging and fun. Even though her questioner, Cath Webber an editor for the Gold Coast Bulletin  sort of little spoiler, it showed her own excitement in this novel. During this event, I found some more interesting questions. Firstly was why did Maria decided to write this. Maria is a journalist and has loved the urban fantasy genre  landscape but had found it to be lacking. Cath asked why did she write this novel and Maria responded by saying that the theme of adult female protagonists  has been   a steady change over the last twenty years. She talked about Buffy the Vampire slayer, Zena the Warrior Princess to name a few very strong and mature female lead roles. Now the landscape is filled with young teenage girls who’s skin rivals Snow White’s pale tone, who go off and   ‘save the world’. Her main character  Tommi Grayson is a twenty-something and of mixed heritage introduces a fresh perspective on this genre.

Originally this book was set on the coast but after talking to Matthew Reily, she changed it to another city which had the same feel as the Gold Coast. It was set in a city in Scotland called Dundee. This was done as opinions of Australian publishers has not wanted to roll the dice for a home based fantasy genre. Maria had procured a publisher  Hachette Australia, and was distributed here , Matthew’s advice was  very sound.

As I am not familiar with her tale, I thank you Wikipedia,  God of Knowlege. At the age of 22 Maria had a stroke. This would impact any other person strongly but, she used it as a drive to complete her work and then have it published. I think many of fans are quite grateful for this fact. Then she gave advice that vibrated to the core of my writer’s soul. As   you write your first book you will need the endurance to see yourself to the end. I hope I have some of the massive fortitude of this woman.

Now I could go on about this fantastic night, but as like everything, good things must come to an end. Listening to her last night showed similarities of her six years ago and me writing today, I’m not alone. If you like to see the Q and A, you just have to look on her facebook page in the below link and you will find the recording there. If you listen closely you can hear my booming laughter at the start of it. All I can say is that I really want to read this book . If it has only 1% of her personality and passion, it’s a must read!

The Authors that Have Inspired Me: Part One

I don’t have a top ten, but I do have between ten to twenty number ones, favourite authors. Each of these books and writers inspired me to love the written word. When I was young, I used to argue with my teachers about reading the ‘stupid’ learning to read books. I saw it a waste of my time as most lunches and recesses I went to the library to read books about dinosaurs and mythology.

It wasn’t till I moved to Tasmania when I picked up my first was a book called Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen Donaldson, I read this book when I was ten. Not a book I would suggest for someone that young but it was a book that opened my eyes to a different world. Before this, I made up stories of exotic lands and ideas, and have been doing this for years but to see that there were other people like me with the imagination and creativity to make a fully fleshed out world I was humbled. In a later blog, I will review this book.

After reading two trilogies of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I felt a bit weird, as an eleven-year-old coping with finding brilliance in literature, in particular, fantasy was hard as I was not exposed to too many different authors in Primary School. It wasn’t till I was 12 years old I discovered Dragonlance Chronicles, the first book was Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman. This lead me to becoming a role-player as well as me exploring this series of books. At the same time, there was another author which I found in my limited High School library was Homeland, by R.A. Salvator, a book set in another campaign setting called Forgotten Realms. I read these type of books throughout my High school years, these three authors created a vast number of books, and I love everyone. The Dragonlance Chronicles inspired my first attempted in writing a book, with a co-writer, my sister Sara. It was a carbon copy of this world with some interesting new ideas. One was the primary type of monster called a Piggy, an unfortunate nickname of a friend of mine during these years.

During this time, I became part of a gaming role-playing group too with my friends at high school. This drove me to only read the dungeon and dragons fantasy based books. I was very closed off to picking up a new author unless it was one of these above archetypes. On a Christmas when I was 16, my parents decided to buy some new author, one I never heard of. How dare they! I am to this day glad that they did this, as it was my first Australian fantasy author by the name of Sara Douglass. Her book was Battleaxe, at first, I look at like it was some sort of diseased rabid pile of rubbish. My mum gives me a look, you know that look, and I said ‘okay, I read it’ and mutter why couldn’t it be a good novel! How wrong I was, this book was fan-bloody-tastic. I devoured it! By 27th, I had already moved onto the second book, Enchanter. Sara opened my eyes that there was more than just d&d novels.

This is end of part one, next is what affected me during in my twenties