The Drunken Hobbit

What would you do with a drunken hobbit?

I have to say, I love The Lord of The Rings Online. For me, it is the total gaming experience. One of the best things about it is the community – and that’s best illustrated by this music video that my kinship, The Lonely Mountain Band, has made.

I plan to call upon the Mountain Band’s friendship when it comes time to make a trailer for The First Light. This had me in stitches, hope you enjoyed as well!

Elvish Lives!

When it comes to world building for a fantasy novel, an important step would be the creation of another language. There’s an entire world being presented in a fantasy novel, which means different, races, cultures, climates and geography.

Elves can be an important part of any fantasy world. I love them, and refuse to create a world without them. However, I am not going to simple take Tolkien Elves and drop them into my world. Sure, they may look the same, but they will not act the same or have a similar history. Therefore they shouldn’t have a similar language either.


Photo Andrew Dobrow (Creative Commons License)

I’m a linguistic dilettante, so I can’t resist. I’ve decided that Elvish (Varnya) on my world will be based on a three letter root system, which is of course the basis for the Semitic languages. The language will also be conceptual, and will use prefixes, suffixes, and infixes to create different words while maintaining the conceptual three letter root.

I took the Russian word for “word” – Slovo and created my three letter root SLF (“V” and “F” are very similar). Next, I thought about all of the words that could be associated conceptually.

Letter – word – sentence – paragraph – book – author – library – alphabet – message – scroll – to write – writing implement

Next it’s just a matter of vowels, prefixes, suffixes, and infixes to create all of the necessary words. I’ve also decided that the infixes “la” and “lu” are only for verbs and “doers” of the concept.  Therefore, the word for “letter” in Varnya would be Salaf, and “author” would be Salulif.

I know that in fantasy novels, created languages can be either a cause for depth or confusion. It’s a fine line to walk. How do you feel about created languages in fantasy novels? Do they help to immerse you into the fantasy world, or do they cause confusion and distance?

Unlucky Chapter 13

I breezed through the first twelve chapters of my fantasy novel The First Light. Two of the chapters weren’t even planned; they just grew as the story took on a life of its own. Then chapter 13 came along.

In this chapter there was going to be a fight scene and we were going to learn something about one of the secondary characters. I’ve noticed that fight scenes (even from best-selling pros) don’t feel visual enough. In a bind I stumbled across Writing Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall.

unlucky Photo by WoodleyWonderworks used under Creative Commons License

I gobbled that book right up and made up a few charts from the information that I gleaned. I wasn’t writing a huge battle scene, or an extended fight-to-the-death between hero and villain. It was just a small clumsy attack by non-professionals.

Thanks to Rayne Hall, I got through it, and it makes sense (to beta readers anyway). This situation was totally different from (gulp) writer’s block. I was still writing and editing short stories. I even wrote FIGHT SCENE GOES HERE and completed the rest of the chapter.

The working title for this chapter is “Assassins”; although, I’ve been toying with the idea of calling it, “Knives from the Darkness”, or something on that order.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a predicament like this one?

Rethinking Some Chapter Titles

For all who read and commented upon my previous post The First Dozen of The First Light, it should come as no surprise that I’ve since renamed chapters 2 & 4. Originally, chapter Two was called “Contemporary Antiquity,” which does fit because it reveals part of the history of Tyrhennia – a history that has ramifications for the current day. Of course, the key word is “part,” and that’s why the title irked me.

I’d love to call the chapter “True Confessions” but alas, that’s the title of a major film from 1981. Horrid thoughts about Robert DeNiro banging on my door and screaming “Are you talkin’ to me” made me drop that idea. I could use the word “Confessions” alone, but it isn’t very descriptive and sort of swipes an ancient title from St. Thomas Aquinas. (Catholic guilt alert) God knows that I don’t want to steal something from a Saint, and have Sister Attila the Nun smack me across the knuckles with a huge wooden ruler.

However, in the chapter, two characters do reveal something important to each other. Therefore, “Mutual Confessions” seems to be the winner.

QM Photo Dennis Hill (Creative Commons License)

I presented Chapter 4 to my critique group this past Saturday, and they all agreed that “The Creeping Shadow” was not a good title. In this chapter we get our first glimpse of the Tenebrae, and learn about how patient they are at implementing their plans.

However, much more is revealed about the personalities of two dark mages, Lamortain and Xymphilia (I think she’s getting a name change as well). They’re twisted, psychotic, and utterly violent. The manner in which their evil is shown within the chapter led a critique reader (Colt) to propose the new title “Lightning and Fire.”  I think I’ll stick with it. Thank you Colt, it’s so good to have author friends.

Do you perform mental gymnastics when creating chapter titles and character names as well?

The First Dozen of The First Light

I thought that writing a novel was going to be an easy task compared to short stories. For the first twelve chapters I seem to be correct. I could almost say that the book was writing itself. The words just came out of me and then they took on a life of their own.

I started by giving each chapter a title, which is a simplistic version of light planning. New chapters and sub characters were created on a whim, as if the story and the characters were directing me rather than me directing them.

Tap Photo: Rennett Stowe Used under Creative Commons License

Chapter 1 got an award from the San Antonio Writers Guild, and it was smooth sailing for the next eleven chapters. Not only is the story building, but also subtexts, themes, Jungian Archetypes, psychology, and relationships, are becoming more complex and subtle.

Also, the most noticeable difference is the amount of editing. Chapter twelve doesn’t need half of the editing that chapter one needed. On top of staying busy with the novel, I’ve been pumping out short stories along the way. I guess writing can be no different from riding a horse or playing a guitar. The more you do it, the better you get.

Here’s a list of the titles of the first twelve chapters. Some are definitely written in stone, but others I just consider working titles.

Chapter 1………… Signs and Portents

Chapter 2………… Contemporary Antiquity

Chapter 3………… A Short Walk, A Long History

Chapter 4………… The Creeping Shadow

Chapter 5………… Secret Delving

Chapter 6………… A Rogue is Born

Chapter 7………… The Stolen Kiss

Chapter 8………… To Pursue a Mouse

Chapter 9………… Parleys, Provisions, and Preparations

Chapter 10……… The Caravan

Chapter 11……… An Identity Revealed

Chapter 12……… The New Apprentice

So the work keeps rolling along. In the meantime, what do you think of these chapter titles?