Friday, March 30, 2012

Simply Saturday: The Powers that Be

I have been working hard on 'The Chrysalis Series' these past weeks; traveling to and from the Butterfly Fields, creating two worlds that exist simultaneously. Creating two worlds that collide every day for many of us. The worlds of good and evil.

Living in the world today is akin to living in the devil's kingdom. It is easy for us to see all the power and might of the evil forces that seem to rule the day. Seem to... Sometimes it is easy for us to fall under the illusions of the evil, accepting them as nothing more than the coolest, newest fad that will allow us to take control of our lives in an unrelenting, unyielding world that always desires to consume us to our very core. To the dismay of many, there are no werewolves, vampires, fairies, or the like in 'The Chrysalis Series'. It is a different sort of fantasy series. It is the type of fantasy that delves into the realities of the powers that be: Good and Evil. It is a battle to the end; from the canyons carved by the great river, through the Butterfly Fields, and straight into the village of Johnsport.
The story follows a young commoner, Elsie McCormick, and her sister, Annalicia, as they struggle to find the thing that will save them both from the autrocities propogated by the inhabitants of Johnsport. Two cultures surviving together; yet separately.

The McCormicks bear the burden of Annalicia's condition. A condition that could bring complete annihilation upon the village of Johnsport and the world. A condition she inherited from her father, Neville, a hideous, violent man - an outsider. 

Elsie's only wish and desire, to learn all the things the world has to offer, is the very desire that will send her down a dark and insiduous path, which only leads back to The Butterfly Fields; to Johnsport. Elsie bears the scars and markings inflicted by the villagers. She is not a warrior, her only strength lies in the confines of her mind.

Sometimes our deepest prayers are answered. Sometimes the answer isn't what we thought it was; or from the source we think it is. 'The Chrysalis Series' a journey through illusion, infatuation, manipulation, and into the battlegrounds of Good and Evil; a battleground where mere humans possess more power and might than any foe.

Coming soon...

'The Chrysalis Series' - Book One: The Butterfly Fields

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musings: Writing with Purpose

Charles Dickens
One of my favorite authors is Charles Dickens. In his life outside of writing, he was a man of deep thought and contemplation. He placed much value on the comprehension of the current events in which he lived.

Although most remembered today for A Christmas Carol, or Oliver Twist, Dickens wrote a much more indepth novel, that many scholars today view as the veiled autobiography of the author, David Copperfield.

Dickens's stories were written with purpose. He used his own life experiences as fodder for story settings, character relationships, and plot development. He had a phenomenal, nearly photographic, memory of people and places that had passed through his life. This is considered a rare trait among authors.

Every story Dickens ever wrote had a purpose. He was one of the few authors of his time who did not fear the retributions of the gentry, or powers that be, in making his point. He was lauded by authors such as Orwell, Tolstoy, and Chesterton for his ability to present realism. The underlying themes of his works were the very events directly effecting the people of the time. His favorites seemed to be: greed and the deplorable treatment of the impoverished in London. It was this realism that captured the hearts and minds of his readers, and caused authors, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, to all but despise him as an author, and a man. They considered his works to be melodramatic, overly sentimental, and most assuredly implausible.

Dickens was not what would be considered a well-educated man of the time. He was forced to drop out of school to help the family rectify the financial woes in which they found themselves. Like David Copperfield, Dickens was forced to work long hours in a blacking warehouse. His father, mother and eleven brothers and sisters were taken to a debtor's prison.

One benefit of life Dickens possessed was the ability to read and write. He was an avid reader from a young age, which gave him an expansive vocabulary; something every author must possess. Although his life was a struggle from the beginning, Dickens identified and used his strengths to improve his situation.

Today, two hundred years after his birth, Dickens  is still one of the most beloved, and read, of the English authors. The reasons are as many as the readers who love his works. Scholars believe the reason is Charles Dickens wrote with purpose; a purpose that elevated the ideals of humanity, which still live on today in the hearts and minds of readers world-wide. His novels present life as it is, as it should be, or could be; but most importantly shine as a beacon of hope in the darkest days of our history.

It is my belief that the most successful writers, in any genre, are those who write with a purpose. Every word, sentence, and paragraph carefully crafted to convey some meaning, or thought provoking idea. Writing with purpose takes courage, time, patience, and most assuredly practice.

Are you writing with purpose?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Butterfly Circus

There are absolutely no words to describe the events that occur in this short film.
 Directed by Joshua Weigel!

The Butterfly Circus

Have a happy rest of your week!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Musings: Comic Relief

The fascinating thing about language is the simple fact there are two languages that transcend any linguistic or other cultural barrier. These being laughter and music.

I'm not a humorist by any means, but I do enjoy reading things that are laugh out loud funny. My favorites are the surprising funnies that come completely unexpected. Neil Gaiman has done this for me several times in Neverwhere, American Gods, and The Anansi Boys. I found myself reading along and suddenly, without warning, in particularly intense moments, Mr. Gaiman will throw in a twist of comic relief right in the middle of it, leaving me giggling out loud.

The element of comic relief isn't limited to Mr. Gaiman, Betty Smith used it several times in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of the most intense books I have ever read. Frank McCourt's, Angela's Ashes, required comic relief due to the tragic nature of the story. Both of these books had me crying and laughing in the same sitting.

Utilizing comic relief requires a certain finesse. The timing in the story has to be just right, or the 'funny' fizzles out and loses its punch. I think we have all experienced a book where the author seemed to have tried too hard to hit funny, and missed by a mile; or used it in the wrong context and morphed the effort into an epic fail.

I do not think authors intentionally try to work comic relief into their manuscripts. Somehow, I think it just happens, and it is just as surprising to the author as it is to the reader. In the end, it can be one of the most important elements of a story. If readers are left with something to smile about, remember for several days, or years, then the technique was well played.

Comic relief, something to think...laugh about.

Enjoy your day and smile; we all smile in the same language.