The End

 

 

Hi Jim,

In an earlier post, you mentioned bringing reality into a fantasy series where it didn’t belong could damage it. You also mentioned how an ending could make or break a story. I’m not trying to be too critical, but that kind of irked me as I finished reading Damnation. The way you chose to end it was really sad. I just was wondering if you could comment on that and how you justify that ending with everything else you said.

Thanks,
Dann


Hi Dann,

Honestly I’m not sure what you mean. From my perspective, I don’t view the ending as all that sad.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ DIVINITY AND DAMNATION AND PLAN TO, SKIP FOR NOW!!!

Let me preface this by saying that there is a difference between realism and believability. 

Realism is real-world elements. They can be brought into a fantasy world appropriately, but often is shoe-horned in either at the last minute or at a time that just messes up the story. Then the writer deals with criticism by throwing his/her hands up and saying that this is how it works in the real world… despite nothing else in their story working that way.

Believability is something within a suspension of disbelief. Basically in a fantasy world, one might get the idea that such a thing would not exist. However those people haven’t done their homework. In Fantasy, the writer creates a world and as such, creates a set of rules for that world to live by. They set up a society, a nature, and a rule of law. Everything has to abide by that, even the supernatural.

Let’s take Star Wars for example. At the end of Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader dies. Could he have survived and been brought back to fight with the Rebellion? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT!!!

Why? Let’s see… he murdered a ton of Jedi, including children, he assisted in turning an entire world to ash, he was responsible for several other confirmed deaths, including men and women under his command, he also assisted the Emperor in pretty much decimating the societies and climates of other worlds that we’d seen in the novels. This is a man whom, if he had survived, would have been brought up on war crimes the moment the New Republic had asserted itself. It likely would have been the first order of business for them. He’d have the families of all he killed crying out for justice, and other worlds reeling for vengeance.

A second reason that he couldn’t survive is because, despite Luke bringing him back to the good side, there are crimes that are irredeemable, even by Fantasy standards. Darth Vader’s death, and the life he wasted that he’d never be able to spend time with his children was his final penance for everything he did. It is likely why he was able to join Obi Wan and Yoda as he did.

Simply put, there is no way Vader was walking away from what he did. It literally couldn’t happen.

Now let’s take a look my characters, Xaphine and Piero. LAST CHANCE ON SPOILERS…

Keep in mind, my story had a much bigger hurdle to overcome. It took place in our history. I wrote it very carefully so that our history could proceed. I wanted someone to read the story and think ‘Wow… this could have actually happened and we just didn’t see it in our history books.’ 

As you can imagine, meshing actual history with a fantasy world wasn’t easy. The story takes place during the War of the League of Cognac, and ends during the final battle. Piero is a soldier for Florence… the war didn’t end well for them. Their army was completely decimated and the city was sacked. In the end, putting Piero in the thick of the fighting of the final battle pretty much spelled doom for him, but it was more than that. He died for a purpose… and I mean more than just the freedom of his country.

What did he die for? Well let’s take a look at Xaphine.

Before she was Xaphine Lorenzi, her name was Xaphan, a powerful tactician and general in God’s army. During Lucifer’s uprising, she turned on God, opting to lead her friend Lucifer’s forces into battle. She believed wholeheartedly in the cause he was fighting for; freeing angels from eternal servitude to a child race (humans). She fought the war for him to a stalemate, resulting in the numbers of angels being drastically reduced. Whole choirs were decimated and/or completely wiped out. After losing the war and being exiled, she helped Lucifer build the Kingdom of Hell out of Sheol went to work plotting a second invasion with their newfound powers. She help set plans in motion that caused most of the problems that take place in Divinity and Damnation.

So ask yourself, is she redeemable?

Honestly, yes… despite having a lot to answer for. One, she fought with honor, attempting to make sure that only the minimum Angelic blood was spilled. She made sure that non-combatants had a chance to get out of the way, and always fought honorably. Yes the war cost lives, but that is usually the case with war, and she believed that their cause was just. She stood by Lucifer for as long as he remained true to the cause. The moment he betrayed it and started vying for power, she turned on him.

So how do you redeem a traitor? 

Well for someone who was guilty of so much, it wasn’t easy. First and foremost, I don’t actually redeem her in the book. Xaphine, attempting to save a human… a creature she at one time despised, nearly at the cost of her own life, prompted God to make her an offer;

“Live life as a human, prove that you can be good and just, avoid temptation, and an angelic role will be waiting for you upon your death. As will Piero.”

Piero’s death gave her something to fight for. 30-50 years alone, doing God’s work as a human female in the Middle Ages, was how she would earn her penance.

That is where I ended the story. Though I hinted at it, I didn’t actually give the reader a definitive answer. She may have redeemed herself or she may not have. That is for the reader to decide, and honestly, I don’t think that there is any other way I could have done it. For someone who had fallen so far, it would have taken a massive hurdle for them to redeem themselves. So I left it to the reader to see if the task I left for her was good enough.

That’s not realism, that’s keeping things within the suspension of disbelief while obeying the rules of the universe I  created. I originally wrote it that Xaphine would be transformed into a human permanently and could only return to the Celestial World as a spirit upon her death, after living with Piero. I hated that ending.

In my second ending Piero dies, and Xaphine attempts to save him, but when she fails, he appears to her, removed the taint from her spirit and takes her back with him to Heaven. Not much better.

I honestly couldn’t see her just being let back in without her having to make some kind of reconciliation for her crimes. This was the best way of doing it as far as I was concerned.

Hope that makes sense and I really hope you enjoyed Damnation.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Magnifica Re-release Q&A

Hi all,

So I got a few questions from someone who had read Magnifica and would like to share them with you. Let’s get started, shall we?

I purchased a hard copy of your book, does that mean I now have to buy another one to read the revisions?

No. I have everything set up so that if you purchase a hard copy, you get the digital copy for free. So basically you have a 1st Edition hard copy, but now you can download the digital version free of charge.

Why did you decide to re-write your book once it was already published. 

Honestly… I reread it recently and while my wife and most of the people who read it that have said that the book is fine… but one particular scene really irked me. At one point, the Enchanter has to fight an elf to free Lia’na from her forced betrothal. In the end, he pretty much gets beaten to a pulp and only wins because he uses his powers to beat the elf. That’s not exactly heroic.

So I basically had to go in and change that. I’d been brainstorming a significant change in the plot. After re-reading it, I decided to go ahead and make the change. Overall the story remains the same and everything ends up as it did in the original, but a lot of sentence structure had to change and that one major seen had to be done away with.

Are there any plans to edit the other books? 

Yes… eventually. Keeping in mind, most of Gravestalker will remain the same. That is my favorite out of all the books I’ve ever written.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Just Start Over…

Hi Jim,

I’m in a major bind… I was working on my latest piece. I’d been working on it for days and… forgot to save it. I was about 140 pages in and suddenly my computer blue-screened. I’ve lost everything and Word didn’t auto-save it. I’m not sure of what to do now. I feel like having to start from scratch is a fairly daunting task.
What should I do?

Thanks,
Terry


Hi Terry,

We’ve all been there. This is a mistake that we’ve all made at one point or another. I personally had to dodge being hit in the head by a laptop thrown by my roommate in college after his 20 page paper was lost when the same thing happened to him.

(Hehe… after writing multiple novels, thinking back on how tough we all used to think a typed 30 page, double spaced paper was… Oh man…)

Ahem… However, seriously Terry, 140 PAGES AND NOT ONE SAVE!? I’m sorry to say this, but you were really tempting fate more than any writer EVER should. Always save… ALWAYS! At minimum, save it at the end of every page, at minimum. Sorry to repeat myself, but it bears repeating.

Look, you’re going to have to. There really isn’t anything you can do. Think of it this way, you remember most of the story and can now really start to add meat to what you had already started on. Think of it as a chance to improve upon what you previously wrote.
Honestly, I myself have completely deleted and started stories over more than once when I didn’t think the story worked well, so it’s not unheard of and starting over is par for the course.

Anyway, that’s the best advice I can give you. Start over, good luck, and start saving!!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Internet Trolls…

Hi Jim,

I’ve been writing for a while, mostly posting my stories on here, but also on Amazon Kindle. Unfortunately as of late, I’ve been getting a lot of rude comments and bad reviews left of my material that I’m pretty certain come from people who didn’t actually read my stories. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I also use my blog to talk about social issues and politics that I often tie in to my stories. I really don’t know what to do at this point as I don’t like my writing being bashed like this. Part of me just wants to take my blog down and pull my stories offline. What do you think I should do?

-Jessie


Sigh… I see this kind of thing happening more and more often. People getting torn down for their beliefs/opinions by narrow-minded groups stemming from either the extreme right, regressive left, or the useless hypocritical social justice warrior crowd… or some combination therein. Because this is the internet… and I hate it so much!

Okay rant over.

Hi Jessie,

I’m really sorry that this is happening to you. It’s truly a terrible thing when someone becomes the target of online harassment. You didn’t provide much detail in the who or why, so I can’t speak to whatever group has taken issue with you. However, I will say that you’ve made one critical error; You’re using your writing blog for more than just writing. Let me put it this way, what do I use my blog for? Do I use it to tell stories? Not really. I do post some of my work that I never intend to get published, but that’s just to give my readers something to enjoy while I focus on my next PUBLISHED work. No, my blog personally I use as social commentary on writing and movie making, and I try to keep the politics to a minimum… I often fail miserably just because politics ruins everything, writing included, but that’s the way it goes.

When I write on my blog, I try to stay balanced and keep my personal biases tucked away… again, not always successfully, but I’m usually passive enough that people don’t know which side of the line I’m on. Look back at my posts and tell me, am I a Hillary supporter, a Trump supporter, or did I feel the Bern? I doubt you’ll be able to figure it out.

So what to do… well honestly I wouldn’t take down your work. Doing so let’s them win. If you want to post your own opinions, without keeping bias in check and restrained, then I would say to create a second blog for that. Keep the two separate and make no way of connecting them. I’m sorry to say this, but it may be the best way to keep yourself out of trouble. That, or use a different social media engine to post your political feelings. As for the trolls, you can control whether or not their comments appear on your blog and you can delete the posts you don’t like. On Amazon, you can report abusive content, so I recommend doing so. Honestly though, trolls will never go away. Internet Anonymity makes sure of that.

Honestly, I was in the same boat as you not too long ago. I came under fire because Mohegan Sun posted that Dane Cook was going to be performing there and I responded with ‘Thank you, I now know not to be at Mohegan Sun that weekend.’

In typical man-child fashion, Dane Cook responded, calling me… well I’ll not repeat his High School language here. I responded, and gave him a piece of my mind for his attack on James Rolfe, an online entertainer that I’ve been a fan of for many years. The result was a slew of insults on my account from his supporters and ‘social proof’ people who claim to know him personally and took offense to my comments, yeah whatever. Then I even got derogatory comments about my book and other posts. Point is, it was my own fault for using my primary twitter account to post that… and expecting Dane Cook to show any sort of semblance of maturity.

Simply put, there is nothing you can really do about these people. The best piece of advice I can give you, aside from what I’ve already said is simple. One rule of fandom on the internet;
20% Will enjoy your work.
20% Will hate it.
60% Simply won’t care.
Disregard the last two and focus on the first one, they’re the people who matter.

So what do you think everyone? Do you agree with my advice? Is there anything more that you would do or do you think she’s justified in wanting to pull her work down from social media. Let me know below!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Loveless Pt. 2

I have been in a relationship since 2 years. But since a few months, something is lacking, something is wrong… He has hurt me quite a few times now… But every time, I think I have had enough of it, and I go ahead to talk to him, I fail in doing so… I don’t have the guts to hurt him. I know he loves me, but something is missing.
This is my first relationship. I don’t know what to do. Will I wait? Or do I go talk to him?

Tris Flynn


 

Did I just get roped into becoming a relationship counselor? I don’t think I’m suited for the job. Writing is my area of expertise…

Having said that, I swore I’d never turn someone away asking for help. Tris, PLEASE UNDERSTAND, I am not a professional. I would never claim to be one. I write romance rather heavily into my stories and have seen the best and the worst relationships have to offer. All I can offer you is what I know based on my own experiences. So please understand the limit of my advice.

Okay… First of all, don’t wait. I’m not kidding, do NOT wait. The worst thing you can do is wait. Waiting means that your thoughts and fears are stewing. It gives you too long to think about things and for you to imagine the worst possible outcomes! Go talk to him. Tell him how you feel, lay it on the line. Preface it by saying that you’re not trying to hurt him. See what he says, see how he reacts, and who knows? Maybe something good will come out of it.

If not… if it turns into a fight or nothing comes out of it, then it may be time to walk. You have every right to be happy and consider yourself in this as well. I’m not sure how old you are, but I can tell you that even if the relationship crumbles, there will be other ones. That I promise you.

Again and as I say to everyone;
If you want to talk about this in more detail, please email me! I’d be happy to talk more.

Thanks friends!
-Jim



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Traitorous Main Character

So you’ve written your story. Your characters are beloved, not only to you, but also your reading audience. Well now you’re writing the next part in your series and are ready to do the unthinkable…

You’re going to have one of the characters turn on the others. One of your main good guys is now to become a villain and not just a villain, but one who was the cause of much of the turmoil that the other characters have gone through.

So how do you do it? Up until now, this character has been close to all of the others. They have become well-liked, and your audience has grown attached to that character. How do you suddenly make them the object of scorn?
Well it may not be as difficult as you think and it may not even be necessary. Let me explain…

If you’re going to paint the person as a straight villain, the shock and surprise alone should be enough to turn your readers against the character. If you’ve written it right, your readers should feel just as betrayed as the characters that they are reading about. Having the ability to make your readers relate, and even feel the same emotions that the characters are is a staple of a truly gifted story teller. Just make sure that you provide an alternate view of the events from the past stories so that everything fits into place. This is absolutely essential if the villain role is going to stick.

Above, I said that it may not be necessary to make the traitor the object of scorn. Indeed it isn’t. If you refer back to my Character Complexes thread, you can read up on how to create a villain that may not necessary be evil. Maybe this traitor has family that they are looking for, maybe they’re turning on their friends for what they perceive to be the greater good, or maybe there is a payoff at the end that is enough for the traitor to sacrifice their friends.
The point is, just because the character is no longer a good guy, or on the same side as the main characters, doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Quite the opposite, it just means that their circumstances have changed. That character can still be relateable and even likable.

Now, does that mean that this character won’t come back to the morally ‘right’ in the story? No, there is no rule in place that a character can’t switch sides.

So just remember when writing a traitor, it may be better and even easier at some points to not paint them as a straight villain.

Thanks and catch you all on the flip-side,

Jim

Free Exchange of Ideas…

Can I just ask… what the heck happened?

When I first published my work, I got a lot of comments from readers, both positive and negative. Divinity in particular got positive and negative comments from die-hard Christians and atheists, and I don’t understand the negativity.

I certainly can’t speak for the rest of the world, so if it’s different outside of the U.S. PLEASE let me know.

I don’t mind disagreeing with my views, in fact, I welcome it! I love it when someone posts a comment on Facebook, here, or on my other pages and tells me that they disagree with my message or my assessment of a certain situation or event. I always enjoy hearing about it from the other person’s perspective and then engaging their talking points. That’s fine…

What’s not fine is when people start calling you names or accuse you of racial bigotry. I don’t get that. Nowhere have I ever used racial slurs in anything I’ve written (unless you count sharpy, which many of my characters call elves), nor have I ever said anything about a specific ethnicity or religion that would portray everyone in any of those groups in a negative light.

I’ll provide a perfect example. The other day I was on a newspaper’s website and one person mentioned on the message board that he supported voter ID laws. The next comment accused him of being racist. How is requiring all citizens to prove their citizens racist? Another comment said that it makes it more difficult for poor people to vote. That is a credible argument, but racist? Is the person making that comment inferring that all poor people are minorities, or that the majority of certain minorities are poor? Isn’t the assumption of racism, actually racism itself?

Anyway, I don’t want to delve into a conversation of semantics, so let me get back on point. Why just sit there, yell and scream, and accuse the person of being racist? Why get mad at that person’s viewpoint? What good does that do? Why not instead of resorting to anger, threats, or childish name-calling, you address that person’s talking points. Tell that person why you think they’re wrong and then hear their arguments. You might learn something and they might actually gain some knowledge in the process too. Why is that not a better solution?

By resorting to childish name-calling, you make yourself look less intelligent.

By resorting to misogyny, you make yourself out to look hateful.

By resorting to inserting race or ethnicity into an argument, you make yourself out to be hateful, you water-down justified accusations of racism, and you spit on everyone who actually suffered from racism and fought for equal rights.

All of this takes a negative toll on society. It get’s to the point where Freedom of Expression and Speech take a back seat to people’s’ sensitivity. The problem is that people don’t see the damage being done by this. Someone showing a different perspective on things, as long as it’s factual and historically accurate, should not be met with scorn. Their talking points should be addressed.

Seriously, why get mad? Why break off contact or remove someone from your contact list? Why resort to stupidity? If someone’s opinion truly upsets you, ignore it. Unless they’re specifically saying it to insult you or a group you’re apart of, why get mad? Why not respond and tell them why you think they’re wrong?

All you’re doing is making it more difficult for someone to express their opinions or their views. By accusing someone who expresses a viewpoint of racial, religious, or ethnic bigotry where none was intended or implied, or calling them names, all you’re doing is making another person fear how they’re going to be portrayed by others, including their employers and family, and thus are making it harder for them to put their views to paper, and that’s a terrible, awful thing to do, when the Free Exchange of Ideas is one of the most important freedoms anyone has.

I really don’t want to spend too much time on this, so I’m going to close with a quote from a TV show I loved as a child:

With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably… The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged. 

P.S. Don’t be afraid to post if you think I missed something or disagree, as I said above, I welcome other viewpoints and would love to address them.