Tag Archive for literature

Honoring Honor

So I finally picked up the latest Honor Harrington book from David Weber, “Uncompromising Honor,” and finally got around to reading it yesterday and today. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it, and I’d like to talk about it, but there’ll probably be some spoilers, so I’ll put in a break before I start talking about them.

I first read “On Basilisk Station” somewhere around 2000 or so, which means I’ve been following this particular universe for 18 years or so, but the young starship commander that first went into a hellride to protect her people and star-nation appeared on bookshelves 25 years ago. It’s been mentioned before, but she was initially conceived as a Horatio Hornblower analogue, and was originally planned to die, but thanks to one of David Weber’s planned storylines getting moved up the timeline due to some unplanned events, she earned a reprieve.

I’ll admit, I started reading it more for the starship battles than the politics.  I honestly hadn’t been as invested in the last book or two, and the last book before this one I’d skipped because everything I’d heard had basically said it was the ltierary equivalent of one of those “anime series compilation movies,” mostly just reiterating the events of the last two sideline novels. This book though, hooked me in hard, and honestly from reading this one I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything of importance, having read said sideline novels already.  I can say though that it was probably needed for anyone who hadn’t read those books, considering what it leads to in this one.

!!!!!SPOILERS INCOMING!!!!!

 

 

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Worlds of Whimsy #1 – Free Traders Universe

Well, what do ya know!  I didn’t notice until I was going to write this that this was going to be the 50th post, but that’s a rather auspicious start.

Anyways, I’ve noticed lately I haven’t had much to write about, as life is continuing on without major changes, I haven’t had any grand ideas to ponder, and art’s pretty much on hold pending the new reference sheet.  It just so happens I was pondering a world design mixing up dragons with Star Trek and maybe Spelljammer and Shadowrun, and it hit me that I tend to do this on and off sometimes.  I’ll come up with this grand new idea of r a world or timeline or something, maybe start to write a story(or even finish it!) and then end up dropping it.  I don’t really want to be a GM so the only way I can really bring them to life usually would be via story or art.  Art usually isn’t that great for something like this without a bunch of it(which would get rather expensive) and with writing I’ve found I tend to work best with short stories, and I would need a strong story idea to get myself to finish it.

Then it hit me that I could put them out here!  Write out these fancy ideas and flesh them out, and while I may not be able to give them life, maybe someone else later will come along and build off that in their home games, and make it live!

I’m actually torn on what to show off for the first posting though.  I think I’ll start off with one of my more recent world-building attempts, although techncially I suppose it’s actually a couple worlds.

The Free Traders Universe

This was actually the setting(s) for an aborted story series based in the Spelljammer ruleset and setting.  It was supposed to follow the adventure of a small 4-man crew of a spelljamming vessel. They were rather unique though, especially a couple of them that I basically had to (or wanted to) create their own worlds because of them.  First, the ship!

Lazy Sue

Swordfish-class
4xStandard room = 2 tons
Helm room = 1 tons
Galley = .5
basic Engineering = 1.5 tons
5 tons + cargo
10% rigging
10% frame

12 tons
9.6 tons internal
4.6 tons cargo

Heavy Frame – Dark Wood
Dark Woof Hull
Pyre Iron plating
Pyre Iron piercing ram

Maneuver C
AC 25
hardness 12
345 HP

 

I never got as far as making deck plans apart from a general idea of what was where.  She was crewed thoguh as I said by four folk:

The Captain was a standard womanizing rogueish half-elf.  Nothing special at first, though more may have been revealed later.

The navigator was a dragonwrought kobold, giving them a mini-dragon on the crew.  She likewise wasn’t supposed to harbor much in the way of dark secrets, but had been doing this a while at the start. Her homeworld would have been based in the Council of Wyrms setting.

The weapons master on the other hand was one of those two special cases.  He was basically a warforged in game terms, but he was ultimately a proxy Transformer.  So, one of the few worlds I somewhat fleshed out is:

Forged Homeworld
(Cybertron of Universal Stream Draconix 313.16 Iota)

The history of this world mirrors the Primax 984.17 Alpha(G1 cartoon) history, after a fashion, given the presence of magic.  Forged were created to be warriors, like Eberron, and laborers.  The countries that gave birth to them however went to war with one another, and practically destroyed the planet.  The Forged finished the job, and left, their creators and their entire homeworld having been seemingly lost.  They started blaming one another and the war-restarted among the stars, with the Forged taking sides in part based upon their old loyalties, while others left to find their own way.  The other spelljamming races don’t look at the “out-of-control machines” with kindness, needless to say, though their reception could be anywhere from a cool neutral stance, to outright jailing, which would have been a plot point at one of the worlds they would have visited.

 

The artificer and ship’s engineer was the newbie, and the initial audiance perspective member.  She was also rather out of the ordinary, in that she was a felitaur.  In other words, like a centaur except her lower half was fully feline and her upper half was a humanized feline, in typical furry fasion.  Similar to chakats, but without being a herm or any of the baggage that term brings.

I didn’t flesh out her world much, other than it was a Realms-like world, but with more taurs and fewer bipeds.

I did put some thought into the first part of their story, which I originally planned to be from the Transforged’s PoV.

Giasin

This world was intended to borrow from a mix of La Gias(SRW), Panzer World Galient, and Turn A Gundam.  The world itself was meant to parallel the Forged homeworld just before its final war, except instead of self-aware mechanoids they’d uncovered ancient giant piloted mecha and tried to copy it with their magitek technology.  The Lazy Sue would have been seized to be used in their war, but the Transforged character would have broken the “PCs” out and helped them escape onto their next stop.

 

The next stop would have been the Council of Wyrms setting, and there would have been little change if any.  The story would have been told form the kobold’s PoV as she had run away form this world, and was now returning to it, though not entirely of her own accord.

There would have been one more intermediate stop, likely at a space station equivalent, before returning around to the taur’s PoV and their final destination.  I didn’t get far enough along to flesh out this world either, other than the story here would play with a plot along the lines of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” from Star Trek, mixed with a quarantined planet and a dying or dead Spacejammer.

I lost interest as I was trying to start the second chapter, and as no one else seemed really interested either, I let it die at that point and moved on.  I’d still like to plat a Draconix stream Cybertronian at some point, if a GM will let me though.

 

The next entry will probably also be a revival of an old story setting, but unlike this, it’ll be a single world as such.  Like this setting, I only got one story and the start of another written before I lost the thread of the story, though it was more I knew what I wanted in the ending but couldn’t see a good way to get there.

Also, as a reassurance this isn’t replacing any other ideas I might write about.  This will simply be something else I write about or for now and then in addition to posts about art, life, philosophy, and so on.

The snow never stops!

The snow’s been crazy this year, compared to what it’s been.  As soon as it starts to go away, another storm blows through and drops more on us!  It’s like the weather rolled back to the 90s or something.

Nothing much else been going on.  Seems like there was a bunch of furry drama that blew up FA, which is kind of old news now, but it got me to get my FA and Weasyl stuff up-to-date.  So far though seems like all the artists I watch have tried to stay clear of it and have just been posting stuff to both sites.  In fact, I found out an artist that had been on my list was possibly open, but she hasn’t responded yet.  Then again, with how big her backlog is, I’m not too surprised.  From what I can tell she hasn’t really been on in over a week, so at this point I’m just being patient, and if I do see an art update from her without any response, I’ll send a polite follow-up to see if the lack of response is a “no” or a “needs more info” or simply a “forgot about it.”

On the other side of the coin I’m caught up in writing again, though this’ll be a shorter story – only 2 parts, if I even break it up into parts this time.  In this case it was a combination of a mental image I wanted to put down on “paper”(and I can’t draw worth crap IMO) and the opportunity to finally write a scene I’d been itching to write for ages.  And neither of the scenes are adult, funnily enough!

….and I just brain farted an idea that’s either crazy or awesome(or both): MLP Trombe.  I blame SL and the proliferation of pony avatars therein.

Anyways, the story is over half done.  I just need to figure out armaments, write the space battle, then wrap it up with the “victory dance.”  I’ve got a feeling I know how it’s going to work out, but I have to write it to see.

Funnily enough, there’s almost no dragons around usually at IoW, just tinies, and lately I’ve seen an influx of ponies.  Where have all the dragons gone? *insert “I need a hero” montage*

Oh, and gamer Luna is best pony. 😛

*strokes ego*

Llewelyn by Leilryu

 

Leilryu wasn’t originally on my “to get art from” list, but after his great icon, I just had to get a real piece when he opened up again.  Look at me, aren’t I awesome?  To paraphrase a quote I came across elsewhere, confidence is sexy, and what’s more confident than a 20′ tall, scaled, X-breathing, flying creature, full of teeth and claws?  (I say X-breathing because the original quote was fire, and if I did breathe anything besides air, it definitely wasn’t fire.)

There’s still a couple other artists on my list, but they haven’t opened up yet since I started watching.  At least I think they haven’t…. Asyd Rayn’s been posting some stream sketches lately from Tigerdile, but it looks like those were folks may have already been on her commission list.  Aaros recently got a new tablet, so I may get something from him too, in the near future.  No open CITMON slots yet though from Rastaban. :<

I’m also making decent progress on the story I’m writing.  I just uploaded the first part to SF, the second part is complete, and I’ve started on the third.  I’ve got a fairly good idea where that one will end, and vague ideas for at least 2 more after that – one of those being the ending I’ve had in mind pretty much since the start.  I’ve been making a point to write at least a bit each day so I don’t lose steam, and it seems to be working.  If I complete them all, it’ll be the longest story part-wise that I’ve written so far.  I don’t know about page-wise though, and each part is coming to about 8-9 pages in OOo when I throw it in there to spellcheck.

But now that the first part’s up, we’ll see if it becomes as popular as some of my other series.  I’m still a bit surprised that my stuff made it up to within the top 250 most popular stories of its type on SF!  Even more amusing, one of my stories that has 2/3 the favorites(67 compared to 99) has almost half again as many views(3.2k vs 2.3k), and it’s one I wouldn’t have expected to be that much more often read.

If only I could draw like I can write….

Living Stories

I once read somewhere that some author’s worst challenge is fighting their own characters for control of the story.  As the author writes, the characters tend to take on a life of their own, which can end up changing major plot points.

One example of this(though it shares equal blame with one of his planned plotlines getting moved up) happened in David Weber’s Honorverse books.  At once point in the series, the titular character Honor Harrington was supposed to die in a naval battle.  The story then would have picked up with her children a ways further on in the timeline.  However, when he got to writing that book, he realized that his original plans didn’t fit anymore(not to mention a short story that had come out not too long back had accellerated one of the plots her children were supposed to address) and so she still lives on.

I’m currently in the middle of doing some writing myself, and I’m finding the same thing happening.  In this case I started with a general idea of where I was starting and where it would finish, with the middle mostly nebulous.  I also originally intended for it to be a single stand-alone piece.

As I started writing however, events that I originally hadn’t planned started happening, because it’s what the character would have done.  One part became two, and now I’m thinking it may go for several parts.  Heck, I started the second part with one plotline in mind, but it decided to take a wide swerve to the right and the major event I had planned for it got shelved for an entirely different, but related, one.

When I realized this today, I went back and thought about the previous short series I had written, and the ones I’d started but lost motivation and interest on.  Pretty much almost every series that went to a conclusion(planned or otherwise) are ones where the character came in, kicked me in the shin, and said “Do this.”  In fact, thinking about it now and ignoring the nature of the content, pretty much everything I’ve enjoyed writing has been fairly character-driven rather than plot driven.  The ones I had grand plot plans for but not as good a grasp on characters, such as the story of the mismatched Spelljammer crew, petered out pretty quickly.

The current story I’m writing has a in-universe time limit, and at this point it’s already a few days into the two weeks the whole thing will take place in.I’m not sure how many parts I’m going to end up with yet, but at this point I have to admit I’m probably just as curious as any prospective readers on where this is going to go next.

Speaking of readers, I had been planning to sit on it until I completed it just to make sure I don’t leave any half-finished series floating around.  I hate it when that happens(especially with series I like, such as the “My tutor had six tails” or whatever that series was called).  Now that I’ve figured out what’s driving my writing though, I’m thinking of posting each part once I have the following part completed.  That way it’s still out there, and at the same time I know there’ll be a next part until its done.

I’ve also been asked before to write more about a couple characters here and there from one-shots I’ve written.  I’ve never felt any desire to continue in those cases, and I think that’s why:  their stories are told, and the rest…. is silence.

My muse is a tease

A long while ago, I realized I didn’t have that great a talent for drawing, and mostly gave it up(with a few exceptions here and there under special circumstances).  On the other hand, all the RPing and such I had done online had shown me I was pretty good at being descriptive, so I went that route for the most part and stuck to stories.

I’m really beginning to think now that I should just stick to short stories – when I try anything longer, it tends to die out.  Twice now I’ve had a great idea for a story series, with 4 or 5 at least planned out in advance.  I created characters, worlds, timelines, the works.  In the first case I got two stories done before my muse went chasing after other shinies. On the bright side, the two together come to a decent conclusion of their own, and the ending was “Star Trek episode ending” level of open-ness, so it doesn’t look half-finished unless you’re already aware of the plans I had at the time.

After a couple half-hearted attempts at trying to start the third story, my muse latched on to a different idea.  But this one would be different!  I limited the characters, nailed down an idea of events for each story that were a bit more concrete, even wrote a timeline and enough details about the world that a RPG campaign could be set in it.  I knocked out the first story, but sat on it this time to see if that would help get me to finish it.

So far, the second story has yet to make it past two paragraphs.

Then I write another short story, and knock it out in one shot over a couple hours.

What makes having a muse with ADD even more annoying is I DID wrote a couple series of short stories a few years back that went for 4-5 installments – but in both of those cases none of it was planned out in advance.I did a fairly decent job I think of tying them up too, though I did consider continuing one of them. And again, once I planned it, it never happened. (Two of them did cross over once though, in the form of a quick cameo that someone who’d read both would catch.)

It seems like I do my best when I don’t plan and just let my muse chase her tail.  Any time I try at all to direct her, everything goes to pot.

It doesn’t even seem to happen with series either.  I had a neat idea after I finished my last story, but I still haven’t hit on a good way to put the concepts into play, and my muse is staying stubbornly silent.  It seems like she loves to flash, but doesn’t follow-through after.  It’s starting to feel like I may just have to drop this idea and throw it in the dustbin like a few others that this happened with.

Does anyone sell leashes for muses? Or at least leather straps?