Dealing with Stories You Hate

landing-page-websiteThose who’ve followed along know that I’ve been posting a “The Little Mermaid” like tale for the past few Sundays. Obviously, I’ve pulled that tale, but there’s a reason for it.

I hate it. I mean I really, really hate the story. I don’t like the girl trying to change herself to get the guy, even though, let’s face it, most of us have done it at one time or another, especially when we were young. I hate the attitude of the dwarves, self-righteous little pricks that they are. I hate the fact that I have no idea where it’s going, and I hate the writing. I hate every single thing about the story.

As an author, sometimes we have to kill our babies, whether we want to or not. It can be painful sometimes, but, other times, it’s a justifiable homicide. That’s what it was with the tale that I pulled. Completely justifiable.

Does that mean I won’t revisit the story at some later date and see if it’s salvageable. Well…actually…I probably won’t. I have so many ideas going and so many projects in the works, that the likelihood of ever having time to go back and look at it is small. But I don’t mourn it. I don’t mourn letting the tale go.

Are there any of your stories that you decided just weren’t worth the time needed to turn them into something readable? Did you feel like you were letting yourself down when you let them go? Leave an answer in the comments.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Lethatu…Oops.

Ravyn's LetterI’m one of those people who loves to create worlds, and when I create a world, I want to create all of it. I want maps of everything, cultures to inhabit it, stories, history, religion, magic, and language. And I was well on my way to having all of that.

Then I moved.

Somehow, in the process of moving, the notebook I had written the grammar rules and such in disappeared. It’s a loss, I’ll agree, but it also gives me the opportunity to make some changes to the language and make it more in line with what I want it to be. To that effect, I’m not mourning the loss of the notebook. Instead, I’m going to begin at the beginning and make something that was better than the original. The only down side I can see is that the letter Ravyn Grimsbane left to her daughter Gwennyth will have to be a dialect not spoken anywhere else. But that’s okay, too.

What aspects of world-building are your favorite? Do you relish the opportunity to make changes? Feel free to comment.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Getting Settled Update

2017052295133200_2 (2)The last couple of months have been a bit nuts with my youngest graduating and us moving to another state, one we’d never even visited, but I think most of the craziness is finished, and we’re settling down. I’m hoping this will mean I can get back to writing and getting some kind of regular schedule for the blog.

One of the things I would like to do is work on a new story a bit at a time. This is a YA story with a plot similar to The Little Mermaid, or at least the general idea. You guys will get it in its raw, unvarnished form and are free to comment and make suggestions. I’m also thinking about tossing out a choose your own adventure kind of story. Would anyone be interested in that? Please comment if so.

Any other suggestions of what you would like to see here would be appreciated.

As always, best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

I Finally Found It

One of the joys of packing to move, the only one, is finding things you thought you’d lost. Those who’ve read my interviews know that I got hooked on writing because of a fourth grade project. Well, I finally found the book, as pathetic as it is. I still can’t draw, but I’d like to think my writing has improved since then. 

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Writing Update

E'ma Thalas and the Xaggarene Empire VintageWell, I’m not getting a lot done in the writing department. It’s coming up on graduation, and my youngest is leaving high school. I am, however, getting some world building done. I’ve just about completed the history of E’ma Thalas and will soon start on the Xaggarene Empire.

1486 AOP: Tavrinth of the Moonchaser dragon clan carries King Oberon to a forested land. Oberon approves this as the home of the elves and names it E’ma Thalas, which means ‘sacred refuge’ in the original language of the elves. Oberon petitions the Moonchaser clan to transport the rest of the Fair Folk to their new home.

1487 AOP: Letallatos is established as the capital of E’ma Thalas, and the palace is built.

1500 AOP: Oberon sends an expedition under the leadership of Ashiri Cornflower south of the Borderland Mountains. They discover the human tribes.

1520 AOP: Ashiri, angry that Oberon only has scant patrols along the Borderland Mountains, heads east with a group of like-minded elves. They form a small community at the edge of the land, called O’ntheas, which means ‘escape’. This town later becomes Tradespire. The elves there raise bocearc in the plainland south of O’ntheas and heavily guard the path at the end of the Borderland Mountains.

1768 AOP:  A band of humans crosses the Borderland Mountains and attacks the pixie conclave headed by Odile Snowdrop. The conclave is destroyed, and Oberon leads an army of elves and fairies over the mountains. Oberon is killed, and Oberon’s son Ethalar becomes the new Oberon. Titania helps him choose a new Titania before she dies.

I’m in the process of adding all these to the website, which I’ve redesigned. Check it out at http://www.lissadobbs.com.

Random Updates

sun-and-cloudsA special thanks to The Heggerwood Showcase and Ray Bell, who work tirelessly to promote indie authors. And thanks to those who’ve purchased this weekend. Check it out!

The Heggerwood Showcase https://www.facebook.com/HeggerwoodShowcase/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

 

If anyone is interested, we can start the #sharingiscaring Sundays here. If you have a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter handle, book you’d like to share, etc., feel free to post them below. Let’s share the love. https://www.facebook.com/shadowwalkersofgrevared

 

Check out the new website design. I’m also adding new content. Some of the history of E’ma Thalas is on the page. I’ll add a little bit a day over the next few days. http://www.lissadobbs.com

Writing Update

Now that Aradia’s Secret has released, I’m going to take some time and work on world-building. I want to get the history straight in my head so I know where I’m going and why. I also want to actually make some progress on ‘the story that never ends’.

I wrote a Prologue this week that I’m not sure will make it into the final books, but it was a way to get the story straight in my head. It’s below, but it hasn’t been edited. Even so, I would welcome comments and suggestions.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

Sister Gabrielle Corcoran awoke with a start. She had been dozing in the straight-backed chair that was one of the few pieces of furniture her cell at the Arcana Maximus contained. She stretched, her body aching, and trembled with a chill she couldn’t explain. She moved to the door on tiptoes and cracked it just enough to see if any of the other Sisters, or, worse, the Ibunana, were walking the halls.

The stone corridor was empty. Gabby waited for a moment, just to be sure, for if she was caught sneaking out of the Arcana in the middle of the night, she would be beaten and imprisoned.

With the way clear, Gabby took several deep breaths to steady herself, the she slipped from her cell and out into the night.

 

Detective Timothy Hawkins trudged through the Warren in the city of Freywater. All around him rose buildings of several stories, made of wood and metal, that, though tall, managed to look squat. His feet missed holes in the cobblestone streets out of habit, for the Warren had been his beat for more than twenty-five years. Though he had risen through the ranks of the Enforcers, he had never been able to secure one of the coveted positions outside of the Warren.

“Once a Warren rat, always a Warren rat,” Timothy muttered as he shivered in a sudden icy breeze, one that cut through his cloak and pierced his bones.

Though Timothy had been with the Enforcers for more than twenty years, his role as a Shadow Walker, one of the champions of the gods, had taken him away from his post too many times for true advancement. He cursed to himself again as he realized just how much he had lost by being a Shadow Walker. It wasn’t a secret; the Shadow Walkers were a recognized force in Grevared, but it wasn’t something he flaunted. And his captain took a dim view of those who had commitments outside the Enforcers.

 

Northward, in Sangeron, the capital city of the Xaggarene Empire, Daniel Klesko, too, shivered in a breeze that threated to freeze him where he stood. He trembled, his mind desperately trying to grasp what his instinct already knew.

The city was quiet, at least as quiet as Sangeron ever got, for Sangeron was a city that never truly slept. Ladies of the evening plied their trade in corsets laced far too tightly, while others stumbled from frizz dens, taverns, and dark alleys to make their way home with unsteady steps.

Daniel, too, was a Shadow Walker, though he had lost the Stone of Destiny five years before. Now he did nothing but wander the streets of Sangeron, getting food and shelter where he could, his mind a kaleidoscope of past and present that swirled in un-graspable images that defied comprehension.

 

In the forests of E’ma Thalas, north of the Xaggarene Empire, Illythor, captain of Oberon’s guard, paced back and forth. His elven ears strained for any sound that would explain the disquiet that seeped through his blood, but the only sounds were those of the night creatures moving about the forest. He knew the rumors as well as the next elf; more and more elves were succumbing to the gealtachta na déithe, the madness of the gods. Oberon, himself, had mentioned the rise, and it devastated Titania to see her people succumb.

A rustle to his left brought Illythor’s sword to his hands.

“It’s only me.”

Illythor cursed and huffed out a relieved breath as Ivlisar, his boon companion, joined him on the wall of Oberon’s palace. “What are you doing out here in the middle of the night? Did you piss someone off?”

Ivlisar smiled and shook his head. “Couldn’t sleep.” He stared out over the tops of the trees, their purples, greens, and yellows hidden by darkness. “There’s a fell wind blowing, brother. One that bodes evil for all of us.”

Illythor returned his sword to his sheath and sighed. “Then we’d best be ready.”

 

Far to the south, across the void, on the edge of the Shizzuria Wasteland, Morgan Harper came awake with a cry. The mechanical owl that sometimes housed the spirit of Abraham chittered softly on her beside table. She cursed and climbed from the bed, her eyes gritty from lack of sleep.

She grabbed her coat from its place by the door and pulled it around her slight frame. With another curse, she opened the door to her small cottage and peered out into the night. Before her lay the streets of Grenvor and the edge of the ice sheets that marked the wasteland. Nothing moved. She searched with both her eyes and her mind for the cause of the disturbance, but she could find nothing.

“What the hell?”

Morgan returned to her home and placed her coat on its hook. She grabbed several lumps of coal from the bucket by the brazier and stoked the fire. She stood in her nightclothes and rubbed her arms to dispel the chill, while her heart ached and longed for something that would never be again. After several moments, she shook off her unease and returned to sleep.

 

In the untamed chaos of the void, Arianna Henderson leaned against the rail of the Greydawn Spirit. Her feet shifted, one to the other, with a restlessness she couldn’t quite put her finger on, while her eyes scanned the gray nothing before her. Something was coming, she was sure, and she knew she needed to be ready.

“What’s up?” asked Charity Chance, another of the Shadow Walkers aboard the ship.

“Don’t know.” Arianna raised herself and turned to face Charity. “Something’s in the air. I’m restless.”

Charity laughed, her voice deep and rich. “You’re always restless.”

Arianna bit the edge of her thumb and turned to face the void. “This is different.”

Charity shrugged. “I guess we’ll know when it gets here.” Charity motioned to the hatch behind her. “Get some sleep. It’s my watch.”

Arianna nodded and headed below decks to her cabin. Though she tried, she never did fall asleep.

 

On the other end of Grevared, across the void, in the land of Moirena, Justin Harper shifted in his sleep. He opened bleary eyes to the stone walls of his cell. The chain that bound him to the wall rattled in the quiet of the night, and it took him a moment to realize that he wasn’t in Lemoreal’s bed.

He’d been a slave to the demon Lemoreal for five years now, a slavery he’d entered willingly. Now, he would give his soul, what little was left of it, for his freedom, to regain what he’d thrown away.

He raised himself to a sitting position and reached for the small water skin that was his only sustenance. He took a tiny sip, for he would not be allowed more until Lemoreal chose to reclaim him, and leaned his head against the wall. Something prickled his skin, though he had no idea what it meant. He reached outward with his mind in an attempt to discover what had disturbed him, to sense Morgan and the children they had borne together, but all he could find was the demon.

 

 

Random Ramble

IMG_20160131_181120_975My son is an awesome person. He works at a thrift store while we’re waiting for his brother to graduate this May so we can move a bit northward for them to attend college. He found a trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman at the store and got them for me. It’s a Dragon Lance trilogy, something I haven’t seen in years, and the authors also wrote the Darksword Trilogy, one I loved in my childhood. So far, I’m hooked into the first one, Dragons of a Fallen Sun, and can’t wait to get to the other two. The stories are complex, and I have to pay attention to what’s going on to follow it. I’m hoping it’ll be just as rewarding as the Darksword books were.

I know I’ve mentioned before that it seems like our technological age has created a world where a story with a complex plot and many characters isn’t wanted. We seem to be too busy to curl up with a book and read, and we want something that states what’s happening and moves on, at least that’s how it seems to me sometimes. We want simplicity in our story-telling, something we can read without having to think. But does this do the story itself justice? Does it give us the same escape as the 500 page monstrosities that predate the present age? I wonder.

I’ll admit I’m not a television watcher. I mean, I’ll turn it on in the daytime, but it’s more to have the noise than because I’m watching it. I rarely, if ever, just sit back and watch TV, so I don’t think in hour long segments. I don’t know if this really impacts what I like in a book or not, but I’ve noticed that the people I know who do watch a lot of TV want shorter, simpler books.

For myself, I want a fantasy world that’s complex. I want to know about the cultures, the history, what kind of plants grow, what kind of animals roam around. I’ll admit to not caring too much about what the aristocracy and government are doing, but I want to know about the daily life of the people who live there. What does an average merchant do in a day? What challenges do the farmers face? Are there a lot of street urchins running around picking pockets?

Weis and Hickman do a good job of creating a world like this, as does Raymond E. Feist. I know there are newer authors and newer books that also do this, but there’s something about the fantasy literature of the 1980’s that’s in a class of its own. Maybe it’s just me getting older and feeling nostalgic, but it just seems like we’ve lost something, not just in our stories, but in our lives. It seems like we’ve lost the desire to sit by a fire and talk or to take a walk in the woods or to play a game with our family. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the ever-present cell phone (I know I’m guilty; mine never leaves my side). Maybe it’s the face-paced world of the internet, the idea of anything we need to know an ‘ok Google’ away. I know I could talk to World Book all day long, and the only way it was going to tell me what I wanted to know was for me to pick it up and turn the pages. Encyclopedia Britannica was the same way. And don’t even think that the card catalogue was giving up its information without flipping through a billion little cards.

So, which world is better? Is one better than the other? Have we lost substance to gain speed and ease? (If the chips in credit and debit cards are any indication, we certainly aren’t going faster. Sheesh! Those things take forever!) Have we truly lost anything? Have we really gained anything?

And the biggest question of all – what comes next? (I really hope it’s lightsabers.)

Asing – The Flora and Fauna of Grevared

Asing Vintage BorderAppearance: The Asing is a creature that possesses the traits of several species. It has plant-like attributes, such as roots and leaves, but it also possesses a somewhat reptilian shell and head. There are parts of its body that are covered with fur, and it is believed that the Asing bears and suckles live young. Adults are rooted creatures without mobility.

Habitat: The only known habitat is in the depths of the forests of E’ma Thalas.

Diet: The Asing eats small birds and animals as well as insects. There is some fear that it will also eat humanoid creatures, though this has not been verified.

Threat: The Asing is a stationary being once it reaches adulthood, so its threat level is considered low unless one is within its reach. The young, however, are mobile and will attach themselves to anyone or anything that passes by. They possess small, sharp teeth and produce a poison. They are considered dangerous.

The asing is one of those creatures that came from my love of documentaries. One of my favorites is Blue Planet, which explores ocean life. Seeing some of these creatures, especially those from the deeper area of the sea, spark imagination like nothing else.

Gwennyth Grimsbane runs into an asing when she first leaves Crowrest on her journey. Its one of the first times she realizes what is really bothering her about the journey and Vonner:

We came across the asing on our second morning.

Vicious creatures that would consume any who stepped within their reach, the asing were the most bizarre creatures I’d ever come across in either study or reality. Tall and treelike, with a reptilian head protruding from the base of their trunks, the asing’s roots kept them anchored in place. That didn’t prevent snapping jaws from clamping onto one’s leg, and the young, born live, had no such restrictions on their mobility. It was the young with which we, or, rather, I, came in contact.

It began as a slight sting just above my ankle boot. I looked down, but the robe I wore – I was close to home, after all, and saw no point in donning the warmer trousers I’d packed for later in the journey – prevented me seeing my legs. I dismissed the sting as nothing more than a briar’s prick and continued through the forest. It didn’t take long for fire to pulse through my blood and pound its way into my head. I stopped, the trees spinning around me, and leaned against a broad-leafed tree, one I knew was innocuous.

 

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com