adventures in dysthymia

Monday, April 30, 2018

Hurry, a poem

Hurry

I'm not the sort to saunter nor amble,
to aimlessly stroll nor even to ramble;
I'll always hurry to go nowhere
and never stay once I get there.

I'm easily bored, I must admit,
not at all inclined to sit,
to shoot the breeze, to watch the stars,
to count the headlights of passing cars,

not even when I'm next to you—
I shouldn't say that but it's true.
There's someplace else I ought to be;
You wonder where? Don't ask me.

Perhaps I'll know when I arrive,
perhaps I can no more than strive
and never find the place I'm bound.
Perhaps that place can not be found.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

Pretty much a quick throwaway, facile enough but without much depth. I thought it might be humorous when I started but that didn't work out.

Useful Writin’ Stuff

Recently, I have added a couple new tools for writing. Both of these are free, as well as being useful.

writer2epub

This is an extension for OpenOffice/LibreOffice (alternative search is a another useful extension but we won’t get into that one here) that produces quite usable ebooks in the epub format. If one uses OO or LO for writing — as do I — this is an excellent tool, if only to create a preview of how ones formatted ebook would appear.

However, the ebook itself is completely professional. If one wishes, it could be further edited in a program such as Sigil but I would have no qualms about offering a novel produced in writer2epub for sale. It’s not so good for poetry, I must say — that would require more editing. The ebooks it creates use the reader’s default style rather than imposing a typeface. I prefer this. Smaller files, less to go screwy.

I admit that I continue to use my distributor’s (Lulu) online converter for the ebooks I offer for sale. For now. I am limited to a trio of fonts there, which are specified in the ebook’s style, so I go with Garamond for everything (the alternatives, Arial and Times NR, are not fonts I would generally care to use, though they might be okay for some titling). I don’t like this much but the ebooks look okay and I run into no problems with them.

notepad++

Text editors such as notepad++ or gedit (and a bunch of others) are popular with folks who write code. I have not done that in many years nor am I likely to again. However, an editor that goes beyond (far beyond!) the capabilities of the Notepad app included with Windows is more than just useful for a writer. If nothing else, I can use it to create plain text backups of everything I’ve published, in a format anyone will be able to read on computers pretty much forever — no proprietary software required.

In truth, notepad++ offers all sorts of extras I neither need nor care about. Just being able to drag and drop blocks of text was enough to sell me on having a ‘super’ text editor. Now I find myself using it more and more for jotting down my notes and that sort of thing. To be sure, there are some drawbacks to working with plain text, such as defaulting to ‘typewriter’ style quote marks and that sort of thing. I know the ‘alt/number’ codes to type in, if it matters to me, or I can pick them by double-clicking on a list of characters. Both slow me down a little but sometimes I just need that punctuation.

I would not actually use it to write fiction. Maybe for poetry. Maybe for songwriting. Indeed, I am making sure to have text versions of all my songs, both for backup and so they might be readily shared. I always type out and save my songs, in whatever format, in a monospaced font — the ubiquitous Courier New — so things will line up properly whoever opens the file. Chances are I shall be putting text files of some of my work online for download eventually.

notepad++ can be downloaded from https://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Those Jewels

THE CROCODILE’S SON carried on from the events in the first book of my ‘Sajam Saga,’ THE EYES OF THE WIND, but centers around one of the secondary characters, so I consider it the start of a different series, ‘The Crocodile Chronicles.’ Saj and Marana go off another direction and have their own adventures in parallel.

Those are to be told in the second Sajam book, THE JEWELS OF THE ELEMENTS (the current WIP), while the Crocodile story-line continues in THE CROCODILE GOD. Then we leave both series for a time.

To have them merge again, eventually, perhaps a couple decades later, when Borm, youngest son of Saj, travels north to meet Zedos, the son of Qala the Pirate Queen (and a certain trickster god) and the two have their own tale. Is this the third Sajam novel or the third Crocodile? Not certain — maybe both!

But as it is on Zedos’s home turf, probably it will be called Crocodile Chronicles #3. Not writing that one anytime soon, but am working on both the other books. There are plenty of possible stories of Saj’s descendants on the island of Lorj, too. Their history influences much of what comes later.

Incidentally, the second Sajam novel will also tie into the Wizardry series. THE WAYS OF WIZARDRY introduced the fledgling wizard Im, whose tale will be continued in time. He will reappear a millennium later, near the end of his life, in JEWELS. His fate has always been connected to that of the four ‘magical’ jewels known as the Eyes of the Wind.

Which are also a presence in my ‘Donzalo’s Destiny’ epic, though not actually named. They are the source, so to speak, of the prophecies of Cars that set things in motion there. We may or may not make that clearer when we return to that world. But now you know, anyway!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Asanas and Romance

My latest novel, ASANAS (out June 16, Arachis Press) is not a Romance in the typical genre sense. Anyone who might expect it to follow the established rules for that sort of book would surely be disappointed. But there is romance in the story, to be sure.

It is a novel of relationships, first and foremost. There is no unrelated plot on which to hang those relationships, as in my Cully Beach novels (SHAPER and WAVES), which are, ostensibly, 'Crime' stories. In truth, ASANAS is not too different in tone from those two books, though told from a quite different point of view — the Cully Beach books are first person, with a male narrator and ASANAS is third person, as seen by two female protagonists.

Admittedly, there are some Romance-like touches here and there. I was playing just a tad with the brooding, solitary male romantic lead when I created the character of Jason Bruce. Jay, however, is not a major player in ASANAS but someone on the periphery of the narrative most of the time. If and when a sequel appears, he might just move up to a larger role.

And there is a certain amount of mooning over lovers. That is unavoidable. Also unavoidable, in that the main protagonists are female, is that it is women doing the mooning. Not that the guys aren't too, you understand, we just don't have the opportunity to see much of their inner workings. I do not like and do not use an omniscient voice in my books — we only see into the heads of our POV characters and even there I make no attempt to explain their thoughts. They have to do that themselves. Not surprisingly, they sometimes get them wrong.

ASANAS weighed in at 76,500 words, a pretty good length for a book of its sort. Of course, I used as many words as were needed to tell the story and did not work toward a certain target. I will admit I expected it to turn out around the 70,000 word mark. I've gotten pretty good at guessing how much will be needed!

The files for the print version have been sent off to the distributor and I should have a proof copy in hand reasonably soon. Once that is approved (let's hope it is!) the book can go into distribution. We'll hold off a little while before uploading the ebook version so both will be sent out to retailers around the same time. One could actually buy a print copy right now from Arachis Press but I would advise waiting until I've had a chance to look at it.

So it's time for me to move on to other projects. I am developing two novels at the moment. Or developing one and writing one might be more accurate. The one being written is a fantasy, THE JEWELS OF THE ELEMENTS, sequel to THE EYES OF THE WIND. The one I'm messing about with, working on characters, settings, plot developments, is a mystery set at a folk music festival. It will probably be titled THE DEPOT BLUES. Maybe I'll finally get some recording done, too. And work on the web site. And...well, plenty to keep me busy.

Asanas Cover and Details

The full cover reveal for Asanas. Coming June 16! All the associated files are on their way to the printer/distributor so watch for print and ebook editions to show up at your retailers. Or buy direct from Arachis Press.

For any interested in such things, the typefaces used on the cover are Berkshire Swash, Syntax, and Sabon. Syntax and Sabon are also used for the interior text. The paperback ways in at 76,500 words and 281 pages.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

STOP, a poem

STOP

I've been shown a sign
that the end is near:
red and with eight sides,
STOP written big and clear!
It's good to reach the end;
now all that I fear
is choosing left or right
and going on from here.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

light verse at its lightest

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Unhappy Ending

For those who have not read it ― that would be most of you ― the concluding book of my Malvern Trilogy, ‘Hero from the Sea,’ has a decidedly unhappy (or, at least, tragic) ending. I agonized over that for some time but do not at all regret it now.

I won’t include any spoilers here. I’ll simply say it worked for the story. Tragic events in other novels have worked, as well, but I never ended on that sort of note. They were part of the protagonist finding his way to that more-or-less happy ending. Oh, sure, what happens in ‘Hero’ was also part of that process, ultimately, but it is only suggested that Malvern will go on to find some sort of meaning to it all.

Fortunately, there was another trilogy to follow and, although Malvern is not the protagonist in any of the novels, he appears and hints are provided of how his inner life has played out. The man may just appear as narrator of one more novel, if I get around to a third and final trilogy in the Mora world.

So, have I ― or would I ― do this sort of thing again? I very much intended an ‘unhappy ending’ for the first Cully Beach novel, ‘Shaper.’ It turned out quite differently and that was to the good. There is certainly no tragedy involved in my latest, ‘Asanas,’ (to be released June 16) though many of the plot lines end on an unhappy note. That is as much to set up a sequel as anything else (not that one is actually necessary ― the novel does stand on its own).

I am not out to write feel-good novels. Neither do I wish to turn out melodramatic tragedies that manipulate the reader’s emotions. The goal is to write good stories. Sometimes things end well, sometimes they don’t. The two tales in active development at the moment (one a mystery, one a fantasy) should end happily enough. Some down the line might not. Those will be dealt with I get to them. I will choose and I will not regret the choice.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Corner, a poem

Corner

Too long I’ve gone in circles,
round and round and round;
perhaps I’ll switch to squares
and by four walls be bound.
And if I like one corner,
why should I not stay?
I’ll think inside the box;
I’ll rest there while I may.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

A little throwaway piece

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Mighty Mulberry

Mulberries show up quite a bit in my novels and in my worlds. This is true more of the recent work than the early efforts, but the trees are there even back in the ‘Donzalo’s Destiny’ novels. For that setting, it was primarily a result of my knowing they were important for the feeding of silkworms. That and the climate was suitable.

It was when I began researching for my quasi-Polynesian people of the Malvern and Mora trilogies, that they really showed up. At first, because I was looking into the making of bark cloth. My reading showed that mulberries, in their varied species, were extraordinarily useful. Cloth and paper from the bark, rope from the roots, quick-growing wood, and, of course, fruit.

The only thing that rivaled them was the somewhat related breadfruit. Which also appears, naturally. Both tend to be a bit bland as a food. To be sure, there are comments on this. People eat a lot in my books and talk about it too.

By the way, I have eight good-sized mulberry trees in my own yard, ones I planted soon after moving here. They certainly do grow rapidly and the fruit, if not exciting, is pleasant enough. That is, on the trees that bear fruit; three are males but those are necessary too!

I’ve mentioned the silk connection very peripherally in the writing. It is not important to the ‘Donzalo’ sequence (though I think it is an major industry, one I shall explore when I return to that world). I spoke of silk production being common among the villages of the Ildin in ‘The Ways of Wizardry’ but did not explore the mulberry connection there. Again, when I return to that series, perhaps I shall find reason.

There is no particular need — when such things become important, they are dealt with. Most of the time, a mention here or there is all we want; anything more gets in the way of the story. But I, the writer, should be aware of these underpinnings of my worlds. I should know that this people or that does grow a certain tree, and why.

That’s how we keep our tales ‘rooted.’ :)

Fantasy Worlds

A mention here that I have opened a new blog, The Fantasy Worlds of Stephen Brooke, to focus on that aspect of my writing. The emphasis will be on the world-building, primarily, and there will certainly be some amount of cross-posting with this blog.

But I hope to go well beyond what I do here. Already I have posted a page of sample chapters—the same ones I am giving away as an ebook—and intend to do more of that sort of thing. And, of course, I shall promote the books! Follow it or visit it as you may wish; I am not cutting back at The Lucky Lad and there will still be plenty to read right here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Emperors, a poem

Emperors

After Augustus comes Tiberius
and we all see our mistake. Where now are the knives
of the Senate? All the blood of tyrants
dried years ago, was scrubbed from marble floors

and Caesar made a god. It’s not so hard
to be a god; old actors take on the role
with aplomb. Some even believe themselves.
Can we raise up some new god to be savior?

Young Caligula seems a promising boy.
Maybe he’ll make Rome great again.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ebook Sampler

I created a little ebook sampler (epub) of my fantasy novels, one chapter each for all thirteen of them. Free to download, give away, whatever. And, of course, if you like them, you can always buy copies!


I made this, by the way, with the Open Office add-on, writer2epub. Does quite well, but for my  commercial releases it's probably safer to stick with the converter at my distributor's site.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Holmes and the Sea


I just finished a read of Oliver Wendell Holmes's 'The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table' and was somewhat taken with this passage. So I did a graphic. It's a pretty good book, too.

Wordless, a poem

Wordless

To wordless sing, I go into the day
you leave behind. Beyond this sham of dawn,
beyond the dew yet sparkling on the lawn,
sunrise surrenders, leaving only gray.

All murmured in the dark now fades away
so soon, so soon, still must I choose to sing —
I shall be as a bird, awakening,
and wordless go; what more have I to say?

Stephen Brooke ©2018

I thought at first this was going to be a sonnet. But, as the poem puts it, what more have I to say?

Asanas and Women

There is not a single scene in ‘Asanas’ without a woman in it. As the point of view is always from one of the two female main characters, this is to be expected. One or both will be there to experience the action.

Maybe the novel doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors, however, as their conversations frequently turn to men and, in particular, their relationships with them. But that is what the novel is about, before all else — relationships. Including, to be sure, the relationship between best friends Lynn and Karen.

But it is also about finding themselves. Maybe they search for who they are in the wrong places, maybe they sometimes look to men for answers, but in time they may just find their paths. Lynn, particularly, who is the primary protagonist (with Karen being a strong secondary), makes a start. This sort of discovery is a pretty common theme in my fiction. More than common, perhaps, whether my lead characters be women or men.

After all, though ‘Asanas’ may see some marketing as ‘women’s fiction,’ it is intended to be universal. My ideas about things were not likely to change radically from one novel to another, regardless of the characters!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dragons

Dragons are, to be sure, a staple of fantasy fiction. Typically able to fly and breathe fire, they are also generally fairly intelligent, tend to evil and greed, and look vaguely reptilian. None of these things are obligatory, of course, and there have been many variations.

It has also become somewhat customary for dragons — the flying ones — to be portrayed with six limbs, that is two wings and four legs. Biologically doubtful! Those with a more normal two legs and two wings are often termed wyverns. In my own fantasy stories I have (so far) gone with four limbs total for both.

This is for the dragons of my main fantasy setting, the ‘D-World’ — so named in my notes because my first fantasy novels set there were the four books of Donzalo’s Destiny. (Our own world, perhaps not surprisingly, is the ‘E-World.’) I did consider at one early point making ‘dragons’ wingless and calling those with wings ‘wyverns’ but ultimately chose to make the wyvern a different, less intelligent flying reptile sort of creature. I wanted a dragon to be a dragon, wings or not, and not muddy the water with a different name for some species of the creatures.

Every creature native to the D-World is going to be reasonably logical in its design. This is true not only of dragons but also griffins, mantichores, etc. No impossible hybrids! So, my dragons are pretty much quite large members of the weasel family. They don’t breathe fire but they do, as other weasels, spray nastiness from the other end of their bodies. And they are quite intelligent.

Now an underlying concept of all my fantasies is that there is an infiniverse beyond the various worlds (universes) my stories might visit. In that infiniverse anything can exist. Anything does exist, at least in potential. So we could have those six-limbed dragons, those half-eagle, half-lion griffins in other realms. Such realms would be illogical enough that humans might have trouble existing there, or even finding their way to them. But I do occasionally acknowledge or hint of such things (The ‘Rupa’ of Donzalo’s first book may have originated in such a place. So might fairies, sphinxes — and gods.).

The dragons of my ‘Greenmeadows’ stories exist in one of those worlds, one a tad less logical than our own or the D-World. So they do breathe fire, though I’m not quite sure how! Still four limbs, still mammals, but with a magical ability to shift-shape to human form. Those stories are just for fun and have no relation to my other fiction. Except that they are part of that same infiniverse, naturally.

There are no dragons in the WIP novel. It’s set on a large subtropical island and I think they don’t like warm weather that much. I might just throw in a wyvern, however, if developments call for it. That has not happened in any of my novels yet! I’ll find the right spot for one eventually, I hope.

Which of my novels do have dragons? One appears in the third book of Donzalo’s Destiny, ‘The Sign of the Arrow,’ there primarily to give the escaping wizard Radal a ride. They are mentioned here and there elsewhere in the four books but do not again appear. They are somewhat more visible in the second Malvern novel, ‘Valley of Visions,’ taking part in the war there — and fighting griffins. No appearances in any other Malvern/Mora books but, again, mentioned a few times.

And only mentioned in any of the other novels. Fear not, they will return!

Of course, dragons don’t exist in our own world. I laid out pretty early that the ‘E-World’ is a thoroughly nonmagical place, when Malvern and his companions blundered through a gate to the D-World. But there is an infinite reality out there beyond this world — that’s where dragons are.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Map, a poem

Map

The map bequeathed me proved inaccurate,
  yet I found my way from there to here.

Who wandered with me all that way but you?
  We who lost our way but did not fear

have reached the well-marked road at last, come dusk.
  Walk with me into the night drawn near.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

I must admit, this ended up nothing like what I had in mind when I started.  That, I consider a good thing.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Yellow Cat, a song parody


Yellow Cat
(to the tune of ‘Yellow Bird’)

Yellow cat, up high on the counter top,
Yellow cat, I wish that you would stop,
Climbing everywhere,
Leaving yellow hair,
Knocking over stuff,
I have had enough!
Won’t you play outside?
You should stay outside,
But you keep bothering me!

I once had a kitten cute,
Where is it today?
Turned into a big yellow cat ―
Kittens grow, but still want to play!

Yellow cat! Yellow cat!

Stephen Brooke (c)2018

Friday, April 06, 2018

A Depature

I have stated before that I employ an almost Nabokov-like method for writing my novels. That was perhaps more true of “Asanas” than any previous book.

It also took me longer to write than most. Or maybe any. Admittedly, I took a couple long breaks to write lighter fantasy adventures. In a sense, though, I was still writing it. I was still laying out those notes, both on the computer and in my head.

Some stories simply require more thinking. Now it is done and I can think of other things. Yes, possibly a sequel, though “Asanas” stands on its own. Or I think it does. I guess that’s up to the readers to decide. The publication date is set for June 16 and it will probably show up here and there before then.

“Asanas” was a departure for me. Oh, it has its similarities to my Cully Beach novels, I am sure, but without their ‘crime’ element. This novel depends purely on human relationships to carry the story. I’ve gone full circle to my very first novel, the young adult title “The Middle of Nowhere.” I like to think I’ve improved at least some since then.

But, you may be assured, I have no intention of giving up fantasy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

In Potential

If, as quantum theory seems to have it, things exist only in potential until they are observed, why, we might ask, do we all seem to observe the same reality? Why don’t we all create ‘new’ universes with our observations. My answer would be that we do.

Those who observe/bring into reality the same thing will all exist in the same universe. If we observed something different, we would be in a different universe with all those who saw it that way. There might be infinite versions of us, each observing a different reality.

Or perhaps there are potential infinite versions of us. It does not matter. This is somewhat the underlying principle of the worlds of my fantasy novels. I am certainly not the only nor the first to play with such a concept; indeed, in some form it is rather common. Multiple worlds are a staple. Not explained in quite this same manner, of course, but the end result is pretty much the same.

I have noted previously that Roger Zelazny’s ‘Amber’ novels are an influence in my own ‘infiniverse’ creation. Not his twin poles of ‘order’ (or Amber) and ‘chaos’ — which, in turn, he more or less borrowed from Moorcock. So I give the tradition my own interpretation. If I gave it a different one, I guess I would be in another universe!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Finishing Asanas and Other Projects

It is not surprising that, as I moved closer to finishing the final pages of “Asanas,” I found more and more material that should be shunted to a sequel. That’s okay; the novel needed to be kept tight and, well, now I have material for a sequel.

That sequel will appear sometime. I am in no hurry to write it and will finish at least one fantasy novel before tackling the project. The most likely would be the sequel to “The Eyes of the Wind.” I’ve been making notes toward it — and half a dozen other possible books. When I’m done with editing ‘Asanas!’

As for “Asanas,” it will come out this summer. I would set July 1 as the latest release date. If things fall into place, we can move that up a few weeks. Something will be announced soon on that.

Incidentally, it came out quite close to the 70,000 word target I had set for it. I’ve gotten rather good and guessing how long my books will be before I ever write them! I suppose this title can be considered an up-market mainstream ‘relationship’ novel, aimed somewhat at the ‘women’s fiction’ genre. Hey, I have to market it as something.

I may just edit up another little book of quotes for release before the novel appears, Marcus Aurelius this time to join last year’s Thomas a Kempis. There is absolutely no need for me to hurry on that.

Prison

Prison is not for punishment. Prison is punishment. The question then is, ‘what purpose does that punishment serve?’

Not vengeance. That is up to God, right? We are dealing with practical goals, not abstractions. This is why I cringe at a statement that a criminal ‘deserves’ a certain punishment. It is not up to us to decide who deserves what, only to find a solution to the problem of the criminal.

The purposes of prison are threefold: One, to keep dangerous individuals away from society for a period of time. Two, to discourage others from doing wrong, and Three, to attempt rehabilitation.

The first of these obviously works. Someone in prison can’t harm society. Life imprisonment is just as effective as a death penalty,* if this is our goal. It might well be argued that some people serving long sentences would be harmless if released and some people serving short sentences should never be released. But we can’t be arbitrary about such things; best to follow rules.

Second, discouragement of crime. That certainly works some. Or so we assume — who knows how much more law-breaking would occur without it? And there are those who will never be discouraged by the threat of imprisonment. They just don’t think their choices through nor realize they don’t have the brains to get away with their crimes.** Thousands of years of punishments have not stopped crimes from being committed. There is no reason to think they will in the future. I’ve know career criminals and many seemed to have difficulty assessing the risk of their actions. It is some impulsive act that tends to get them caught.

And then, rehabilitation. It should certainly be available, even if it will never work for some individuals. People do learn in prison, do come out for the better sometimes. Of course, it would have been nice if they had learned before going to prison. Better late than never, I suppose; education is always a good thing. Some people can not be rehabilitated, I believe. They are simply broken. That is not true of the great majority of lawbreakers.

The ‘punishment’ of prison may always be necessary. Human nature is not likely to change.*** It will never be a solution, in the sense of ending crime, but it does help keep it under control. So, admittedly, would changes in society; that, however, is a different discussion!

*If I were faced with a life in prison sentence and no chance to get out of it, I would almost certainly kill myself. Perhaps we could give the sentenced person that choice.

**It would be obvious that smart criminals evade arrest and conviction more frequently, wouldn’t it? It’s not like the average policeman is particularly brainy (no offense intended to those who serve but you can’t all be Columbo).

***Except maybe by tinkering with our genes.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Forgive and Forget, a song

I took a breather from editing the novel to finish this more-or-less country song. Still fine-tuning the tune (so to speak). Not that the lyric is exactly set in stone, either!

Forgive and Forget

chorus (go right into it as intro)
Down the line, I may be fine;
some day I may feel free.
All the same, it’s you I blame
for this misery.
Forgive and forget? No, I can’t yet;
I’m not the man I should be.
So I wish you pain and days of rain,
like you gave to me.


verse 1
Forgiveness is divine, I know,
but I am just a man;
I try hard to be who I should,
do right when I can.
Maybe it’s been this way since
the human race began;
Each of us tries to convince
himself there is some plan.


verse 2
I tell myself it’s no ones fault
when the  feeling dies;
things may just come to an end
and we say our goodbyes.
One day I woke up and saw
no love left in your eyes,
nothing ever hurt so bad
as seeing all your lies.


repeat chorus

verse 3
Now my heart’s grown cold as yours,
more than I should allow,
but it still remembers you
breaking every vow.
Yes, I know I’m just a man,
I know I don’t know how;
Some day I may forgive and forget
but that day’s not now.


bridge
Yes, it’s gonna keep on hurtin’,
that’s one thing I know for certain.
Love’s end holds such pain and sorrow;
who’s to blame when we lose tomorrow?
Who do we blame we’ve lost tomorrow?


repeat chorus and out

Stephen Brooke ©2018

Burn On, a poem

Burn On

This brushfire life burns on,
this errant spark that grew
to consume the world.
One blaze extinguished, cold,

another reignited,
enduring, springing up,
a flicker in the darkened
inert universe,

winding down. We burn
a little longer, you
and I. We burn, burn on,
against what night must come.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

Omniscient

In the “Donzalo’s Destiny” books, I did not quite employ an omniscient narrator but I did use multiple points of view. Generally, only one to a scene though I did not absolutely stick to that. I did not tell what was going on in minor characters’ heads, nor did I explain reasons for actions by pretty much anybody.

I did give the thoughts of major characters, as I said, one at at time — usually. But I do not analyze people in any of my books. I let them attempt to explain themselves, to themselves, to others, and one may or may not accept those explanations. I let other characters try to figure them out and come up with their own theories which, again, may not be at all accurate.

I’ve stated before that I have a distaste for authors who try to psychoanalyze their characters. It will always come off as shallow, simplistic, and quite likely outdated in a few years. Humans are complex! If they were simple, there would not be much point in writing anything about them. I am not even inclined to mention broad personality traits, if possible; I try not to say outright that someone is shy or vain or whatever. It is better to show it or to have some character think or say it.

I suppose I am fond of the unreliable narrator. Everyone sees something differently, interprets it and reports it through their own filters. That includes, of course, the author! I try to keep him out of the way, however, and let the characters do their job. I like the idea of letting them come to conclusions I might not myself. Although, of course, they are alternate versions of me, costumes I put on, roles I act out on the pages.

Admittedly, about half my novels so far have been first person. That changes things — there is only one narrator, reliable or not. Everything goes though his or her filters. Some of the others are third person, as is ‘Donzalo,’ but from only one or two points of view. That is the only novel (or series of novels, depending on how you look at it*) where I have used multiple POVs and approached that omniscient concept. And it is probably as close as I shall ever get to it. There will eventually be a sequel to “Donzalo’s Destiny” and it will be written in that same style, lots of short scenes, going from character to character and subplot to subplot.

It was a lot of work, which may be why I haven’t tackled the project yet! But there is a story and I do want to tell it.

*DD was written as eleven novella and novelette-length pieces, all one continuing story but each with its own arc, and published in four books: “The Song of the Sword,” “The Shadow of Asak,” “The Sign of the Arrow,” and “The Hand of the Sorcerer.” An all-in-one edition has since been added.