X-Post… Launch Countdown halted

Well, not halted, just… sigh… just not able to launch like I hoped.  Similar to launching a rocket, sometimes the countdown has to be stopped for some reason, and I hit one of those kinds of snags.

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Before I can use some of the services that would help for getting reviews, I must have the cover complete first, not a temporary cover.

So I guess I’m ready to send it out to those who wish to review it that I’ve found. So, If you haven’t contacted me and you want a review copy in which to brag about, contact me. I will probably be sending them out later today to those I know, so if you did not get one, you need to contact me  through here right away!  Get me your emails so you can be part of the fun!

The Breakers: Mad Max:Fury Road -Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Breakers was the original idea for this series title.  Its more of what I was thinking of but derped when trying to name it.

Just for those who didn’t guess it by the title:

spoilers

 

Originally, I was going to write about only one movie, “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.  A gem of a little film and the first horror film that Disney ever really did.  Sure there are scary parts throughout many other films (The Black Cauldron or Darby O’Gill and the Little People), but this one was devoted to it.

What I was going to discuss was the dissection of story with the Hero’s Journey again, but had an epiphany about it while talking to a friend on what I was going to write.

I realized that Joseph Campbell’s “Clock” denoting the 12 main ideas of the Hero’s Journey were handed extremely differently between Mad Max: Fury Road and SWTWC.  I further realized that this is not an isolated thing, save for MMFR.

First, here’s a reminder for those who don’t remember what the clock looks like.

What is this monster realization?

Well, first off, In SWTWC (and also in T5E I looked at last time) is that if you look at the clock, and treated it as proportional time given to a story, proportionally.  On the other hand, when you watch most movies, the first six steps take up well over three quarters of the plotline, leaving sometimes only 15 minutes of a two hour story  (and in some cases even less… I’m looking at you SW:ANW).  For the last three steps (Return, New Life, Resolution) it is somewhat short shrift IMHO.

Furthermore, sometimes half the movie is spent in steps 1-3 and then spends most of the last half shoving through 4-9, while leaving 10-12 hanging.  I realized that I saw this in many films actually, but this is the first time I realized that Roger Miller did something very different from this in MM:FR.  He flipped it to a certain extent.  Now, the setup (Status Quo, Call to Adventure, Assistance and even Departure) are all crammed into the first 15 minutes, while the ending four slices of the clock take up almost 30-40 minutes on their own.  Even better that it works astoundingly well.

Mind you, Roger Miller got to cheat a little.  He was not establishing anything new.  If you were going to this film you had either seen all of or at least some of the previous movies so you knew what the status quo was.  In such an apocalyptic setting, it didn’t take much for him to get that call to adventure, nor help… though he does get it twice (The first when Nux demands him up front on his car and the second when Furiosa includes him on the escape getting him to drive the war rig)

The best part of this film is that it pays off with an all in royal flush even though a lot of the action occurs after a lovely trick of a “Lesser Reward”.  They are already looking a “New Life” and ready to start their resolution when Max shows them a greater reward and that is to reverse the “Return” and try to stealth by Immortan Joe and the rest and steal the coveted green space from him.  I am not sure if this is a pushing back of the clock to the “Crisis” point again, or an expansion of the Return.

But with them going back regardless of how you look at it, the return, is fraught with its own peril akin to the “Result” on steroids.  Immortan Joe is defeated… messily, they take the citadel and begin their new lives, with only Max deciding to be Max in the end.  Oh well.  Helloooooo new sequels!  (Which apparently are already started).

Such a bad trailer… I mean wow.  Marketing really didn’t know what to do.

 

On the other hand, SWTWC spends almost 30 minutes setting up the Status Quo alone.  Now, this is definitely NOT a poorly spent 30 minutes.  It is immersive and very much a pleasant departure to a pastoral 1930’s small Illinois town that is somehow untouched by the Great Depression.  It’s one of the first times you will see a writer “Chew the Scenery” like Ray Bradbury does, and Disney lets him get away with.  Some of my favorite in cinema.  It sets up the dichotomy between the evil that is coming and what I think so many of us wished we still lived in.  Not only that, the “Call to Adventure”, “Assistance” and even the Departure almost take a full 50 minutes or so into the 90 minute film before the approach starts.  I like to consider the Departure to be synonymous with the breaking of Miss Foley’s window.  Although we have been watching the damage done by Dark’s Pandemonium and Carnival, its been set up for the trials or at least dangers that threaten Will and Jim and Mr. Halloway.

The final conflicts of the movie occur in 2 points, and they are mostly internal in nature.  Heavy on the temptation and the ultimate failure of Mr. Halloway to stand up for the boys in the face of evil, but he is only toyed with as Mr. Dark retrieves his McGuffin (the boys) and is satisfied with having suitably cowed Mr. Halloway into cowardice.  Of course, this fails, and the final confrontation of inner demons happens at the mirror maze in what could be viewed on one angle as cheesy, but on another, it makes a great morality play on the power of love over regret and sorrow.  Even if you call that the “Result” stage which culminates in the freak storm, it has stepped over the “Reward”, which it turns out has become a bitter sweet reward of a new, changed perspective while retaining a lot of what was loved about the first 30 minutes of the film in protecting the status quo.  Yes, it has changed for poor Mr. Tetley, Miss Foley, Ed the Barman, and Mr. Crossetti forever, but that is to be expected, and thank God Disney did not insist that they be saved from their choices.

BTW, the Reward, Return, Result and New Life take place in the final 3 and lasts less than 1:50 of the movie before the credits roll.  But on the other hand, the handling of those final 110 seconds is masterfully done.  In that, the establishing shots reconnect the viewer with the original ideals, explain what had changed for the characters but yet what was still retained.  In this, Ray Bradbury, who wrote this screenplay as well, was sublime.  It takes real skill to provide a satisfying ending like that in so short a time and not leave us feeling cheated.  Of course, having good skill in using the narrator’s voice helped a ton.  The use of voice-over at the beginning and end are well handled and appropriate as it is done by an adult Will.

Now, why do I consider though this to not be bad goes back to a ‘throw away’ piece of set design.  When the Barber, Mr. Crossetti is discovered to be missing, the only indicator is his pole is still turning and a sign in the window saying “Closed due to Illness”.  Now, I find this brilliant because of something I know of history.  The nation had become numb to many horrors thanks to WW1, which is hinted at with Tom Fury walking with his army uniform and Campaign Hat on with chin strap.  But also a sign like that in Mr. Crossetti’s would have been very familiar thanks to the Swine Flu epidemic which ravaged the US in 1918.  That influenza epidemic was horrifically deadly and often killed those who seemed healthiest in society (by a process which we now understand called a Cytokine Storm), and left many a house behind the quarantine sign.  Which made the excuse perfectly legitimate and believable as well being a very subtle touch for authenticity.

Honestly I thought the movie was more into the early 1920’s, but then realized that the bar was operating openly during a time of prohibition.  Therefore, it must have been after, and I doubt it would have been before because of the cars.  Otherwise it goes into that magical Disney era of Walt’s youth that blends the most pleasant aspects of society from a child’s point of view during that era.  Walk down Walt Disney World’s Mainstreet USA and see what I mean.

What this all is teaching me is that there does not be a balance in how much time is devoted to each “hour” of the Hero Journey clock, but rather how it moves the story forward.  Not only that, sometimes the reward is not always what you think it means.

Penultimate Logo Poll!

One more poll after this one I think and that will determine the winner of my logo competition.  The five remaining artists have really stepped up their game.  I mean just wow!  A little tweak here and there for the font, but I think these are it.

So which logo speaks strongest to you?

https://99designs.com/contests/poll/fl534v

Vote for only one, rate and comment on all you desire!

X-Post Fact Toast 161222

I’m just going to date these things now.  LOL

So I have started the 6th draft.  Oh… Emm… Gee!

The 4th and 5th drafts revealed so much technically wrong, but I forgot about some of the stylistic errors too.  So when I decided to listen to it one more time through “NaturalReader”, the fastest way to hear your book out loud I have, you find so much crap that doesn’t sound right!  I mean wow!  I had forgotten that I had loved doing this for the 3rd draft.

I’d also forgotten how drained it made me.  But, I can do around 10 chapters in a day before my brain said “Check please!”

On a side note, my Logo contest is going well after I finally learned how the service I chose works.

A fellow member of the Seraphim started building a major set piece of the novel as a 3d model, and has a video of him working on the rough draft of it that will be coming soon (It’s long and boring but you can hop around to some cool stuff from times.  We’ll have to do a sped up version), and I will be getting ready to go for the cover!  Woot!

And… muhuhahahahhaaa!

I am sending out requests to schedule an editor for final line item and proofread.

This is now happening so fast.

Do You Wanna Build a Logo?

Yep, seriously.  Do you want to try your hand and make some money designing the logo for Akiniwazi?  If so, you can enter the contest here.  Yes, there is real money involved.  The winning design will be paid.

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Enter at 99designs
Click the link and learn what you need to do to participate!

http://99d.me/c/el7f
If the link doesn’t work.

Come on…. replace this bad boy here with something awesome!

Akiniwazi-V4e

You know you want to!

The Next Steps

After the high of completing the second draft and getting some extremely positive feedback from an Alpha Reader, I’m about to embark on the next triad of actions, and I have to say, they scare me more than anything else that I’ve been up to so far.

Okay… well 2 out of the 3.

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First, is prepping to send the book out to beta readers.  I am still looking for a few willing to commit and have fun with the process.  I know I’m making a big deal and possibly getting more input than I might need, but I’m looking for fans of the fantasy genre and if I can find someone in the industry who wants to offer an opinion, I’m really interested in that too.  Forgive me, I don’t know any better.

This means that I am putting together the PDF, after I am done with the 3rd edit where I’m going to sweep through the book using a text to speech program, and another editorial bit of software to catch very difficult/clumsy, icky sections, problematic grammar and all that goop.

Once completed,  and the beta readers are going through it all, I am going to have to start laying out my limited funds for a cover artist.  The importance of having a stellar cover is so hard to understate.  I just look at my own behavior when looking at books.  Crap cover, I keep browsing.  I don’t care how much the reviews say it’s awesome.  Sad but true.  The only time I don’t follow that is when I am more or less researching an author.  Having done graphic design in the past, I have a very good eye for a pro cover, and will have to make sure this hits the quality I want.

Then probably a line editor.  I wish I could get a developmental editor, but that’s too expensive for me and so I’m going to have to just trust my instincts and what my alpha/beta readers feedback provides.  I perhaps waited too long to get one to hit my desired deadline, but that’s okay.  I’ll look into pre-orders to help out with that if I can, once I learn how to set up my merchant pages and everything.  Right now I can’t even handle thinking about that yet because I’m so ignorant of it all and have to learn more fast.

As an enticement for some people who may be interested, I desire to set up a free copy for those who volunteer and complete the beta read (questionnaire and all before the deadline).  I’m also toying with doing a paperback, and possibly hardcover release (if I can find a service that does POD hardcovers… I haven’t researched it.)  Beyond that, I’m just formulating things for my marketing and sales plan.  Lots of ideas to come.

So now’s the time to hop on the bandwagon if you like what you see and think you want to be part of the final celebratory dash of this marathon.  Sign up, and be a part of the fun!

The Strange Dichotomy I Stumbled Upon

Akiniwazi is a complex project.  It’s roots are based in some big philosophical questions:

  1. Can you make a Christian based “magic system”?
  2. What would the world look like if the Vikings discovered the New World
  3. What would a civilization look like if it discovered steam power but not gunpowder?

Number two and three have been possibly some of the most fun while number one has been the most trying.  When laying out the rules of the world in my mind, and on many scraps of paper (I tell you if this thing becomes a blockbuster, there are going to be so many scraps of real source material floating around for collectors after I die if I don’t burn them).  The biggest, even before I realized the alternative history aspects that are many of its roots is that this is based on the philosophy of what I call the “War Behind the Veil”.  The idea that there is a war between God and his rebellious creations following Lucifer and the effects it has on the physical world.

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Now, originally, this was to be a complete fantasy world with nothing in common to Earth and the world as we knew it.  But… I hit upon a huge problem:  How can you have Jesus and Christianity in truth, if you tamper with the the world and make it all fantasy.

I was stuck!

I realized you could not have that if there were any changes done to the “Old World” of Asia, Africa and Europe.  I had to leave them be, untouched and historically the same.  That single realization was a terror to overcome.  How could I have this setting I envisioned with the world being exactly as it was historically?  Then I stumbled upon it,

The New World can be totally different!

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The map was mutable.  I could make the new world and have it all the way I wanted, save for one last issue:  The Skaerslinger.

It is painfully obvious that I have taken heavily from Native American cultures.  The names of the lakes are taken from corrupted translations of Ojibwa words, for example.  But something I want totally divorced from this is to make the Skaerslinger anything like the actual indigenous people.  While the old world medieval Viking culture and related materials have to be at least honestly researched (maybe not perfect, but darn good enough to satisfy all but the biggest nerds/experts who will pick at this), I needed to abandon the same level of research and historical accuracy to the Skaerslinger.

I can’t do this, because I am not going to be accused of hate speech or racism (though some might try it anyway) because they want real world accuracy on their cultures in a fantasy novel.  So there is a big reason why I have thrown historical research for all New World cultures out the window and thrown in multiple influences into the mix from Celts, Cossack to Zulu to Aztec and Inca.  Plus many other ideas I have that make for a good ‘spice palette’ of the culture as it develops.

There are some very strong black and white lines because that is the nature of the novel, but I do not want to have anyone claim I’m saying “insert Native American culture is Satanic”.  I’m not, and will not.  But there is a reason for the structure, what I have to say and what is to come. It will be illustrated throughout the entire series.

So that’s the strange dichotomy.  All things in the old world and before the discovery of Akiniwazi are going to be considered as truthful and attempts will be made to make it accurate.  The New World, its people and geography and events there are a rapidly diverging splinter timeline and world from the base because it is fantasy and it MUST be.  This gives me freedom to create from raw cloth as well as just spice things up a bit from time to time, or even take interesting aspects from those cultures and use them as a template.

Many of these things will not really come about till book 3-4 I think, but you’ll see hints as we go.

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BTW, I am toying with releasing another sample chapter as it passes through the third or fourth edit.  Let me know below if you want to see another chapter out of the book!