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Blog

Author of the Saga of Ukumog discusses the challenges of being an author, the tools and processes he uses while writing, and sometimes posts something completely unrelated. This blog is the author exposed.

Filtering by Tag: Wrack

Wrack's birthday 2016

Louis Puster

January 14th 2010 is when the first edition of Wracked hit the Amazon Store. To celebrate, the kindle versions of both Wracked and Desecrated are on sale for 1.99 from now until 1/14/2016. Now there is no excuse not to pick them up and read them.

Yeah, yeah. They are dark, I get it. Darth Vader was dark. Conan was dark. Game of Thrones is UZKING dark.

Buy the books, read them, then tell me how awesome/terrible they are. I dare you.

Traveling, Conventions, and More!

Louis Puster

Well, it has certainly been a while since I was here. Sorry for my absence, but I have been a little busy.

Time has really been getting away from me lately. I hear that is a symptom of getting older, even if I refuse to believe that I am getting old, I have to admit that I am not sure where the year has gone.

This year has been rather devoid of conventions for yours truly. I have attended zero. Every time I think about reaching out to a con about being a guest or getting a table, there is either a conflict or time just gets away from me. Don't misunderstand me, I do actually love doing shows. Meeting new people, other authors, and seeing friends and fans is always a great time. I just don't know where the time is going. Perhaps I am getting older. Naaaaaah.

As it turns out, I will be attending Liberty Con again this year. Right now I am schedule for very little during my time there, which means I will likely be wandering around trying to figure out what I should be doing next. If you see me there in the hallways, please feel free to say hello. I might not have time to stop and chat, but who knows - I might be interested in checking out your panel on science, gaming, or stories.

If you haven't attended Liberty Con before and you like books, science, or games: You really should consider it. The collection of people at the Con are very unique and welcoming.

I also just came back from a trip to Charleston. Traveling always has a way of recharging my batteries a bit. Going to cons also includes travel sometimes, so going to shows sounds like a winning proposition to me.

Oh, one more thing!

Here is an excerpt from what I am currently working on, with very little editing (so be kind). I am sure it is nothing:

    With Ukumog in my hand, I walked the stone road up towards the castle in Flay. Behind me the city was on fire, the grand statue in the center had been cracked, the raven cut in half, and the head of the regal man lay in the leaking basin below. In my other hand I held the large bronze crown from the statue. Blood ran from my hand down the crown and dripped onto the hot stones of the street where it sizzled and smoked. There were no cries of panic, no one running for safety. All the people of Flay were either gone or dead, and I didn’t care to know which. Purple flames rose from Ukumog as I ascended through the first gate and into the high city of Flay.
    I saw the banners of all eight of the great houses of Flay, and I knew their names. First came the house called Horn, with the banner of two pairs of antlers. These antlers were stacked, one set on top of the other, and the top ones were much larger than the bottom pair. Next came a banner with three inkwells and one quill. Each of these items was in a separate quarter of the space, with the quill being in the upper left quarter. This was the banner of house Juindar. Next was the banner of house Xyan; it was a simple banner with nothing but a triangle in the center. The banner that followed was of a hammer and shield, and belonged to house Numerum. House Aeochael stood out against the rest, as their banner had wavy lines coming together in the center forming a stylized cat’s eye. The banner of three mountains belonged to house Ruthrom. House Chundai’s banner was of a stalk of wheat and an ear of corn crossed in front of a green and growing tree. The gruesome banner of house Grunnax was that of a hand with palm facing outward, but with a large slice missing between the thumb and forefinger. The white raven on house Ellarin’s banner had rubies for eyes and was carrying a simple ring in its beak.
    I passed each of these houses with their banners flying in the wind, and as they fell behind me, flames consumed first the banners and then the buildings themselves. As I reached the great gate leading into the castle itself, I saw the banner of House Kalindir itself: A mighty sword pointed downwards, with raven’s wings on either side of the sword, as if the sword were the body for these wings. Hovering over the pommel of the sword was the regal image of a crown.
    Without saying a word, I walked directly up to the gate and, casting the bloody crown to the ground, I grasped Ukumog with both hands and lifted it over my head. I screamed in anger, frustration, and pain so loudly that the castle trembled before me. The banner of the king’s house burst into purple flames over my head and I brought Ukumog crashing down into the massive gate of the castle. The gate’s doors and portcullis reacted as if a mountain had come crashing into them. Wood splintered, metal twisted, and stone exploded.
    Before me, I saw two figures wrapped in smoke and dust, each wearing a crown. Rage built in my chest, and I wanted to raise Ukumog again and charge into them, but suddenly there were more figures with them. These were like the shadows I had seen before in my visions. Before I could do anything, I saw them erupt into action, and to my surprise it was not me they engaged in combat, but each other. As I watched these men, women, and monsters dance with violent intent, I heard a soft and subtle chuckle from somewhere behind me.
    The ground erupted, and some giant unseen thing from under us sent the burning ruins of Flay into the air like a handful of dirt.
    These images were so powerful and their sudden end jarred me, and my fear, out of the dream and back into the world.

Moving

Louis Puster

Over the past week I moved from a house with an old friend to an apartment all to myself.  One of the measurable perks to this move is that my commute to my day job has been reduced from an hour to just shy of 30 minutes.  This is great news.  Both for my sanity and for my writing, actually. 

Sitting in traffic on the highway seems to really drain me.  The mind numbing trudge through the ocean of cars day after day really calls to that old saying about insanity.

Now things are better.  Now things are more sane.  All that remains is to adjust my schedule to meet the new timing of things and work in time for writing every day. 

I am really looking forward to spending more time with Wrack. 

Revisions and short stories

Louis Puster

Right.  Since my last post about writing, I have finished my proof of Book 2 and sent it on to a few trusted folks for them to have a go at it.  Honestly, I find the whole revision process the most annoying and frustrating thing about writing.  I didn't realize this when I set out to write a book, but it is actually impossible for anyone to completely proof/edit their own stuff.  It simply cannot be done.  Well, I suppose if you had magical powers or indeed had made a deal with some greater power for the ability to write perfectly with a natural knowledge of how your intended audience would receive said perfect words, then you might be able to do it.  But without magic, it is kind of impossible.  

The problem is that you can't always know what combinations of words mixed with tens of thousands of other words will, with out any chance of failure, tell the story you want to tell.  There is also the comprehension factor, wherein your audience might not completely see all the implied or hidden things where the words don't say what you want to share.  I have found this particularly difficult in a first person story wherein the "author" doesn't exactly know what is going on, like say in Wracked.  Things left unsaid, or tiny problems of continuity that the main character misses don't always speak to the audience.  Sometimes people just get confused.  Whereas when I read it - I know exactly what Wrack is missing or trying to say.  So it isn't easy.

 

Ultimately, my big problem with revisions isn't the making changes part, or the add things to clarify part, or even the this is too much part.  My problem with revisions is the waiting.  I am an impatient person when it involves the things that I am working on.  I want to do them well from the get go and share them or even move onto the next project.  It's the doing that I enjoy, not the waiting.  Perhaps, I just need to learn to be more patient if I want things to be the best that they can be.

 

Ok, so...  Today my intention is to work more on the secret Short Stories that are a tiny thread in the Saga of Ukumog.  I want to finish these up and share them with everyone (again with the impatience).  When I left off, I was about a quarter of the way through the overall story.  My goal is to quickly finish the first half, because the story will be told in two parts, then perhaps work a little more on Book 3.  I just can't seem to stay away from Wrack, Brin, and Avar.

 

Between you and me, I am aching to work on Book 3.  Like you, I can't wait to see what happens next.

First Proofread

Louis Puster

So far I have done my first real proofread through chapter 5 of book 2.  It is interesting how many little mistakes one can make as your fingers furiously try to pound out all the words that come flowing through your mind.  Telling a story is hard sometimes.  

When I am writing, one of the things that I worry about is the pacing of a scene.  I very much want the story of Wrack to feel like you are watching a movie and so the pace is very quick.  I certainly do not spend pages and pages of the reader's time describing things, because the timing doesn't feel right.  Also, writing from the character's perspective is sometimes tricky.  How many things go by in our lives that we misconstrue or completely glance over?  That somewhat imperfect narration is important for me to get correct.

 

I have seen other writers, big writers, say that you should keep your words away from other people until they are perfect.  I don't want perfect - I want perfectly flawed.  It is more important to me that the feeling, the message, of the work be delivered to the audience than that all of the facts are straight.  People sometimes miss the facts, and so too then does a character writing down the broken memories of a mysterious life.  I like Wrack's imperfection.  It makes him real for me.

Music of the Soul

Louis Puster

I am not a musician.  When I was young my parents tried to get me into music by letting me experiment with different instruments.  My natural impatience always got the best of me though, because I wouldn't improve fast enough for my overactive personality.  I have, however, always had a bit of music in my soul.  There are a few nameless tunes which I think are my own that seem to arise within me during certain states of mind and such.  I hear them drumming in my head, and feel the pulse of the strings in my heart.  It can be very powerful, especially when the outside world is quiet.  

It is hard for me to write without music.  Most often when I am writing I have my headphones on and the volume cranked.  Sometimes I even dance and sing a little while at the keyboard, and I am grateful that there is no video of any of that.  Tonight, this musing on music has made me wonder about the characters in my series.  My mind turns to try and listen to the music that runs through their souls.  What is it that Brin hears when there is no sound but he crisp flames of a campfire against the cold air of the Spikelands?  Does Wrack hear violins, or is it wind instruments that compliment the flow of his heart?  And more than anything, what music does the audience hear when they read the words that tells the story of Ukumog?

 

When writing Wracked She Wants Revenge drove the pistons in my fingers.  The second book found me listening more to the likes of Daft Punk in the beginning and then as I came to the end it switched to listening to Adele.  I love how someone else's expression, even if it is focused on a completely different subject, can fuel another person's creativity.  In the absence of the greek gods of old, have our own artistic expressions become the modern Muse?

Short Stories

Louis Puster

Today I am working on a short story that I might tell in two parts.  These particular stories fit between the cracks of Books 1 & 2 of the Saga of Ukumog, but involve a character that has not yet met the characters in the main thrust of the story.  While the main story is written from Wrack's perspective, these cannot be done in that style.  Going back and seeing the world through the eyes of the normal 3rd person perspective is interesting after having written about it exclusively from the eyes of a strange undead man.  Yet, this change of pace is a little refreshing.  

On another note, I am sad to announce that there is no way I will be chosen as the winner of Neil Gaiman's American God's contest on Bookperk.com.  After about the 4th day of the contest I slipped from the top 20 (which was the required bracket for the finals) and was never able to regain entry into that elite group.  I must confess, my primary purpose for entering in the first place was to meet Neil (who is my hero).  The future will undoubtedly hold more chances for that to happen, I am sure.  Congratulations to those people who made it to the finals.  I know that Neil and the nice people at HarperCollins will make the best choice for the new audio book.

 

PS. Some syndication of my RSS is causing links to act funny from my feed.  While I would love to embed them into this post for each of the things I am talking about, I will refrain until I can figure out why they are breaking elsewhere or I decide "Uzk it!" and just put them in anyway.