Endfield – World Building – Clouds Part Three

Hi All!

Ah! More fluffy clouds to develop as I further define this new world to write within. Before jumping in with the next subject, I need to take a moment to share a question I was asked. The person wanted to know what I considered important to make these clouds of world building. Perfectly legit question! You can do whatever makes the most sense to you, but when world building, I use a list that you may or may not have seen. The list I use is the 13 (sometimes stated as few as 6) aspects of culture. These aspects are “Food, Clothing, Recreation, Government, Education, Language, Religion, Transportation, Economy, Environment, Culture, Arts and Celebrations.” As you’ve read in a previous post, I started with Environment (Geography) because the “Rendering” was such a major event and one that would affect the others the most (in my mind).  The last post was ‘Transportation’. See? No magic needed. Google ‘aspects of culture’ and use any or all of them to help you set your world apart from the known world. Thanks for the question. Now, on with the next cloud.

Thus far, it has been a struggle not to go over-board in the defining of each clouds that pops up on my to-do list. With each, ideas naturally creep into my mind as I consider these elements that make up the backdrop of the world, but the goal is to layout basic outlines and not make them the subject. That is the duty of the theme of each story. I just need enough information to work from. Later, when I’ve covered the bases, I may go back to each and add more to it, but that is for another time.

Knowing each of these subjects interact like spilled paint of different colors running into each other on the floor, I need to at least know what they were (looked like) before the mixing.

Today, our dart landed on Economy. At first glance, not the most interesting of subject to most, but it is an important part of world building. It encompasses who has what and how they got it. It also will be affected by my first two clouds (geography and transportation). Like the others, it will need to be tweaked as we better define the world. Let’s start.

First, I want to take a few moments, hours, days, or months, to delve into what actually happened in this range of time. How much you need to know is entirely up to you, but since I’m working off a legitimate history (to a point) I want to just jot down what ‘was’ before I start messing with things.

Sifting through the mountains of information on the web, here are the things I’ve noted that I found important. Some events were previous to my suggested 1878 time frame, but that’s what I need to see “where we were” before the Rendering.

  1. Panic of 1873 – The financial crises caused by post-Civil War inflation, over speculation in the railroads, the demonetization of US and German silver, HUGE trade deficits caused by the Franco-Prussian War, property losses from the Chicago (1871) and Boston (1872) fires. These issues broke the bank.
  2. The Long Depression (1873-1879) – Kicked off by the above, the US and Europe suffered a major downturn from their previous success in the Second Industrial Revolution. Afterwards, it is estimated that 18,000 businesses went bankrupt. Sites state that 89 railroads, ten states, and hundreds of banks were bankrupt. In addition, the unemployment rate was estimated between 8.25 to 14%.
  3. Black Hills gold – A debated topic, but some suggest that a major reason the 7th US cavalry was in the Black Hills was to confirming rumors of gold. When these rumors were found to be true, the papers made it sound like anyone could just come and pick it off the ground. The gold dug up did help the economy but the land was held sacred by the Lakota, Kiowa and Cheyenne people.
  4. The ‘end’ of the Reconstruction Era.
  5. Other notes: Coal had replaced wood for fuel, machinery made of iron which increased production of everything from shoes to cultivating crops. Steam power is king. Telegraph system grew with the expansion of the railroads, which in turn, increase business communication. Urbanization with the growth of an industrialization of the world.

 

Without the consideration of the above, plopping my stories in the time period would be really odd. Still, I’m writing fiction and can take bits and pieces of the severely shortened and generalized list and work off of them. Here are the first ideas of playing off them.

As an overall theme, I will keep the economic downturn that really happened. In general, people will suffer economically if there was a sudden splitting of East and West. The geographical separation would certainly impact the movement of goods if not cut it off entirely. However, as stated in a previous post, people will find a way to get things done no matter the cost. It is a matter of life or death, after all. With the economic crisis in play, there isn’t going to be banks (those still in existence) jumping at the chance to offer loans. It will be slow growth with only will power and well planned out goals to make hopes and dreams come true.

The gap in wealth will need to be apparent when thinking of groups within society. This will obviously cause issues as many will struggle to make enough to feed their families and note the difference of the well-to-do. I believe this will also mold the political cloud when I come to it.

The idea of Western expansion will rekindle in the east, but with the geographical change, one can’t simply hop on a train as that tether has been broken. Will people flock to the west? Certainly, many will want to, but the expense of such an endeavor has exploded now that traversing enlarged rivers is a must.

What about the gold and where it was found? Well, since my eraser basically wiped out the west coast, the places where precious metals can be found becomes all the more important. This will definitely play into racial issues with the native peoples as the note of the Black Hills suggests. With the geological separation then make the west wealthier and more influential part of the country? Perhaps. I could certainly play with that idea.

I would also like to jot down a hint that people react to economic crisis differently. If resources are sparse, we generally see people share what they have with others or hoard it like miserly old men. In the Great Depression of 1929-39, it is my opinion that it was neighbor helping neighbor that truly got us through the tough time. With the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War previous to depression beginning 1873, I would like to reflect the kindness of neighbors in my stories. I believe it will contrast the general selfishness stemming from fear of starvation that I believe would happen. Ooops, I touched on the ‘Cultural’ cloud a bit. See how easily that happens?

In terms of where wealth is focused and where it might be found, I believe I will jot a note that it will be in the hands of those with natural resources (coal, gold mines, forests), those with the means of transporting these resources (railroad, ships, wagons, boats) and scoundrels (politicians who have been bought-off.)

So, in broad strokes, we can say that my ‘economy’ cloud will be tinted in the color of struggle. I believe it is safe to say the depression would only deepen with such a world-altering event. I think what I will be more apt to do is comment on the micro economics while hinting at the larger. With this in mind, I think the discussion of how communities survive will prove to be more interesting. But, as seen in the past, the banding together of people will be the thing to watch.

On to the next cloud.

Bless and Keep,

Mac

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Endfield – World Building – Clouds Part Two

Endfield – World Building – Clouds Part Two

 

Having begun to add to my backdrop with a major catastrophe, “The Rendering”, I think it’s only natural for me, the author, to freak out a bit. Something that major would have rippling effects and touch the lives of all that live there. With that said, wouldn’t it be necessary to create ‘clouds’ for every aspect of life? If so, where to begin? And how to begin, knowing how intricately they are intertwined? Such are my thoughts.

To begin, I’m throwing a dart while blindfolded. I know that one aspect of life affects another, but one has to start somewhere. My dart lands on transportation, of all things. Considering my past work in cartography, it wasn’t such a leap and perhaps more manageable than jumping into, say, racial relations.

So, let the brainstorming begin.

Since I’m writing a fictional story or set of stories based off a real planet, I have an advantage of known history and how the landmasses were pictured at that time. Lucky me! Since my dart landed on transportation, I feel a bit more relaxed in making changes because, to my lucky toss, I have maps available to me that show what the US looked like. Huzzah!

With little effort, I began to search for the first mode of transportation that came to mind; the railroads. My jaw dropped at the massive expanse from the very first image I clicked on (http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/19-century/wagon-roads-1860.jpg) and that was 1860. Continuing on, scratching my head in wonder, I started noting major rail lines as I moved from the generic US maps to state maps. Reading a few dedicated pages of the history behind the railroads and the companies behind them, I was quickly overwhelmed with name changes and dates of expansion. It is a study within itself. A very heady one.

Turning back to my map of mass destruction, I quickly noted that the rail system would be severely impacted. Why? In short, hubs. In the most generic of terms, the rail systems have places (cities) where the lines come together. Chicago had the goods from their ports on the lake, its own manufacturing and the cargo moving east to west and west to east to deal with. A hub with spokes. This takes place in many cities across the land. There are cities on rivers that take in the goods shipped up by riverboat and put them on trains to be transported elsewhere. But here’s the problem. I ripped the country apart with earthquakes and floods. Any hub or port within a location along waterways and at a certain elevation are gone. St Louis, Memphis, Chicago are not there, or in the shape that you might expect. To add to this, I basically wiped out the major cities on the east coast. Why is this important? The forges and factories that were in them are gone. Oops.

Now, had I simply had the eastern part of the country slip gently a mile or so away from the rest, one could imagine, with time, effort and resources, the railroad companies would compensate for the wider boundaries of say the Mississippi. BUT, in my choice to really do some damage, there is no way you are going to span twenty-five miles in those days. I had, unintentionally, divided the nation in more ways than geographical. I severed or certainly impeded transportation of goods and, at that time, railroads where built for that very purpose.

“Well done, Mac”, I state sarcastically.

Okay, so I have to deal with this issue. This country didn’t stop moving forward after September 11th. Nor would this country, so fixated on commerce, in the late 1870’s. What would those dependent on trade do in the face of such adversity? Well, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Obviously, not all tracks running across this land would be damaged so fix only what you must. As for the hubs, the stakeholders would vote to rebuild and in safer locations. Turning to the elephant in the room, the expanses of the waterways, funds go into steamships and riverboats to move goods across them to the working rail lines. Will it happen overnight? Nope. But if it’s a matter of coin, you KNOW it will be taken on by someone.

I mentioned riverboats and steamers. Without delving into the ‘economy cloud’, I would say that this would be the time to build boats. With water ways expanded, what other means do you see in history that deals with moving people and things? As hinted above, it seems a natural jump to think that anyone with means is going to see the advantage of filling the gap as quickly as they can. I can imagine that those that may have made money in the past with the railroads across wide expanses of land are going to jump at the chance of being dominate on water. Will such funds come from the very wealthy that have survived the Rendering? Will enterprising people heap their funds into a pile to begin their own companies? Would a cattleman invest in them to make sure his heard made it east? Will the surviving towns along the waterways attempt to have their own boats? Many questions, but I will say ‘yes’ to all of them and let the chips fall where they may. As for these ports being safe, that will have to be addressed later.

It was easy enough to imagine how the railroads might be affected and the possible boom of river transport, but remember that in that time period, the country still was agrarian. True, it was moving full steam (if you pardon the expression) into the industrial way of life, but many lived in small towns or farms. How did they get their goods to railroads? Wagons. Scratching my balding head once more, I looked at maps of the time. Yes, roads are marked on county maps, but is there anything I should address given the change? I will need to wait a bit before addressing cultural and social changes to answer this. You see, it all depends on the safety one can expect when using roads, something we take for granted today. I suspect, given the psychological impact of a changed world that even taking goods to market will be affected. There were stage robbers before, but can you imagine how much worse it might be after your world is thrown into chaos?

I believe, at this point, I can timidly set the ‘transportation’ cloud aside. As with all that follow, it is dependent on others and will change here and there. With the next cloud to address, I will need to look back and see what might need mending.  Basic as this is, it’s a good start and that is what we need to move forward.

Feel free, as always, to comment in the section below or drop me a note using the ‘Contact’ form on the website. Always enjoy reading your thoughts.

 

Bless and Keep,

Mac

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Endfield – World Building – Clouds Part One

Endfield – World Building – Clouds Part One

 

Before jumping in with a continuation of propping up your world building, I just want to say how thankful I am for email and support I’ve been given. I’m happy you enjoyed the last blog post as I wondered if it wasn’t too ethereal in nature. Today, I believe will be more concrete. Hopefully! 😊

In the last post, using generalities of what the world is to your story, I liken to brushing in hints of color on a blank canvas. I could also say it is much like the backdrop on a stage, something that gives off a feeling while framing the action you see before you.

If you had a specific place in mind of where the story resides, I would call it a setting. In what I’m attempting today is larger and possibly not as defined as one would suggest a setting to be. What I’m after is bits and pieces of information that will be large enough in scope to create many settings in many different places. In short, I’m developing a world. I will call these bits on information clouds on our canvas. Some are noticeable while others blend in, but they have some influence on the stories I might write. It can get heady but let’s attack it like we would story plots; jotting down important elements that can be used at a later date.

Each time I develop a world to write in, I have a desire to make it as real as possible. Yes, its fiction but my goal is to have it breathe by itself in a way that is relatable and believable no matter how foreign the world is. In world building, the simplest way to do this is to have a “functioning” world. You and I may not think about the weather until it impedes our goals, but its there none the less. We may not spend time thinking about the rules of the road as we drive because we’ve done it so often, but the laws are there. Politics, trade, society norms, etc. These are aspects of life that effect your daily life, but are not foremost in your mind each day unless there is a drastic change…which later become norms. These things are my ‘clouds’.

To begin, ask yourself questions about your world. Questions posed might be what the physical climate is like and how is it different from what you know. Questions of what the population is made up of and are there issues between the groups. Geography, sociology, politics, trade, factions, transportation and the like are all the cogs in the wheel of the world, but are clouds on the backdrop. They influence what you do and say, but aren’t necessarily noticed or they simply become topics of conversation. Their impact is obvious when you sit back to study them, but often these ‘clouds’ are so familiar they play in the background as we go about our daily lives. Just as you and I have them in our lives, the same should be true for your future characters.

So, time to put a few clouds on my canvas, knowing some may be more pronounced in the first story than other. Fortunately, this is fiction so we will give each a weight as we set fit to tell the tale. For my purpose, I have to start with a very influential cloud. It was one that I was emotionally affected by, much to my surprise.

When considering that I essentially broke the country in half and trimmed the coast lines back in horrify excess, geography is my first cloud to define in my head. To properly define the physical change in a way that would appease my need for visual effects, I took a map of the country around that time period and made the changes I believed suit my purpose. Using the New Madrid Fault as the cause of the mayhem, I separated the country in terrible display choosing to begin at the Gulf of Mexico and worked northward. Making the Mississippi some twenty-five miles wide (larger at the Gulf) has a huge impact as I begin to color in the new borders and note how it has expanded over lower elevations. States and cities are devastated or wiped away completely. Terrible. With the deadly colored pencil in hand, I move northward up until the Ohio River meets the Mississippi. If such an earthquake happened, it would trigger others with their own effects, or so I have it in my head. Following both rivers to their sources, my mind goes into overdrive and witnesses the Great Lakes beginning to fill and combine. Massive seas bubble up in Canada, the eastern half of the US slips further away as if on a barge loose from its moorings in a storm, the West is nearly gone and one can now see the Pacific from the top of the Rockies. The horror. I had to walk away from it for a time as I began to count the loss of life. It unnerved me as it was almost a plausible event.

Keeping with the geographical cloud, I considered if this was a local instance (only effecting the US) or had similar occurrences in the world happen. I weighed my need for that much detail and found it took expansive, knowing that will go unanswered for the time being. I turned my attention to our current neighbors, Mexico and Canada, believing that they too would have been effect by this continental change. Glancing at a larger world map, I made a few notes. It is my current thought that my stories would deal with what is left of the western part of the United States so I let it end with that.

Given the severity of this fictional event, the other ‘clouds’ will react and mold themselves into something quite different from what we know of the world today. Sitting back, I attempted to reconcile the known US history of the late 1870’s with what I had done. Being far from any true student of history, I gathered bits and pieces off the web about this decade and found how inadequate I was to the task. I would have to generalize in some aspects and smudge what has happened and what might have from here on out. I would have to decide what stayed, what changed and what didn’t happen. Though I’m certain to receive email from those who know US history like the back of the hand, it’s at this point a writer needs to nod then shrug. It is fiction, after all.

In the next blog, I’ll continue with more ‘clouds.’ While it’s true I could stop at this point and just begin writing, I feel I have to make some attempt toward answering how this major occurrence shaped society in both realistic ways along with introducing a few new ideas. This will get interesting if not unnerving.

 

Until then, bless and keep.

Mac

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Backdrops – Tinting the Canvas

Backdrops: Tinting the Canvas

 

Back in the day, I enjoyed watching Boss Ross paint wonderful scenes on his tv series ‘The Joy of Painting.’ With his loving attitude toward nature and the desire to show others what can be done with colors and techniques, he share the image he had in him mind, step by step, with his viewing public. To this day, I find myself repeating the phrase, ‘happy little tree’ or ‘maybe nestled in the background’. He was a generous soul and one I found creative and talented. In the same vein I would like to share the process I am going through as I begin to craft a new tale.

Each of the episodes started with a warm welcome, a blank canvas and a list of the colors he would use. I thought perhaps that is something I might do today, though the picture I’m painting would take far more than one episode to cover. I not a painter, but I can share my thoughts as I put stories together in hopes that will encourage you to set your ideas to paper.

Though I will attempt to keep analogies to a minimum, I do want to point out a similarity painting and writing have. Not unlike the blank canvas painters stare at when first considering what he or she wishes to produce, writers stare at a blank page. This blank canvas, or screen in this case, can be intimidating as you question the first words or stroke of your pen. All worldly things have a beginning so we must at least make an effort to prepare our canvas for what is to come.

How to start? Well, we need something to set all other things against so they can be seen.  A backdrop. It can be very unobtrusive if we wish but the background scene is still necessary in order for our themes and characters to show up. In the case of ‘Endfield’ (a working title), I could just start with a fictional town and that would be alright, for a time. But soon I would run into trouble as people moved in and out of the area. Just disappearing stage left, leaves voids. So, I need to step further back from a focal point and paint with broad strokes the world beyond what I will later fixate on.

Avoiding a huge conversation about world building, let me just say that all stories show you only the tip of an iceberg. The rest is comfortably float beneath the sight line, supporting what can be seen. In this, your ‘world’ is the iceberg. It is, in fact, your backdrop. It does not need to be fully described and I humbly offer to you that one should probably avoid trying as it is often boring to read. In full view or not, we still need something to build from. For ‘Endfield’, I started with a continent broken by catastrophic earthquakes. Since I’m a visual person, I will create a map of what that looks like. Will it be shared? Who knows. But the point of this map is only to give me a framed boarder to work within while creating the needed backdrop.

If you consider many of the stories you’ve read, you may begin to notice the backdrop is there. Consider ‘Middle Earth’ in Tolkien’s works, or, more recently, the plains of Nebraska in the film ‘Homesman’. These backdrops give a reader a place to stand in their attempt to comprehend the world. They are not defined in chapters of description. There are other stories that take place in specific places, such as Casablanca. But I would suggest to you that even stories set in a specific town are set against the backdrop of a larger world. Either way, each of these backdrops support the story that is being told. They are a foundation. Sometimes, in cases of ‘person vs nature’, these settings are very important and even become a character in themselves. In others, they are vague in appearance. No matter which is true, the author has in his or her mind what the backdrop looks like and how it influences the characters. And that, my friends, is their purpose.

For ‘Endfield’, as I stated before, I had to decide what my backdrop would be. I decided it would be a fictional history of the United States in a blurred and varied version of 1878-ish. That doesn’t sound very concrete but it’s a start. Like a painter deciding how much Titanium White to add to Phthalo Blue, I’ve chosen a color to tint my blank canvas and begin my painting. All I am doing at this point is painting a sky that people may or may not have seen. It does not need to be the subject or the study focus, but it can be later should I wish it to be. Just like the black curtain behind a subject being photographed, it is to help define the object of importance.

My vague backdrop will become more defined as I add elements. Like painting a shadow of a creature behind the tree, I only need to hint at what is there to the reading public, but I, as the writer need to know. In the case of ‘Endfield’, I brushed my canvas with a general ‘where’. Next, I further define this world, whether or not I add it to my painting, with questions that writers need have in mind. ‘How did it happen?’ ‘How does it affect those in the world?’ ‘What has changed and how have people adapted?’ This, I would equate to painting wispy clouds in your sky. Again, it may or may not be focal point of the story, but it will certainly influence it.

In the next blog, I will describe some of the decisions I need to make in order to create the clouds and perhaps a thought or two as to why I considered them important. Until then, I just wanted to lay down the beginning of something to work from (tinting the canvas). I would humbly advise not to ‘jump the gun’ on your story if you can manage it and give some thought about your backdrops. They are necessary for your upcoming clouds to live in and how the world beneath them react. You don’t live in a vacuum, so allow yourself time to create a world for your characters to exist in.

Until next time, happy painting.

Bless and Keep,

Mac

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Everything New is Old Again: Part One

I believe that it is a healthy thing for a writer to stretch. I’ve done things here and there, but not to anything of the nature I think I need to do. But what to do to stretch? And how do I keep from pulling a muscle at my age?

 

Looking at my twenty plus stories (short, long, published, unpublished), I have a closet full of fantasy. True, some have very little magic, but most have elements of the arcane that overflow the world they are written in. So, sitting on the couch, scratching my bald spot, I began to consider what I might do within the realm of Speculative Fiction while using past writing efforts as a sort of foundation. I asked myself what sort of things are of interest to me but I lack in having a proficient grasp on. History popped into my head and US history at that. I sighed, but this is an exercise in stretching.

 

Knowing my weakness in such an area, I pondered how I might use this to encourage brain activity and grow as a writer (changing genres and such) while still having the fun of just making stuff up (fiction). Certainly, it would need to be an alternative history. Where to start? Well, I thought, I used to do Civil War reenactments when I was younger and had more hair. Perhaps there? I would wager I would get hate mail within a day from enthusiast of that time period once they have read what I would come up with. Such is life.

 

Hmmm, maybe I could use a range of dates and blend them so it doesn’t scream a particular date? Maybe 1875-1885 ish? I know little about the time so that would force me to do a bit of digging and kick start some brain cells. But I don’t want to write a historical fiction piece. I would get bored and wouldn’t finish it. What to do about that? Well, Narnia took a jump out of the 1940’s and the Shannara series is set in a post-apocalyptic United States. Hmm, not working for me. What about an actual occurrence in history but just magnify it to bring on major change? Such as? And then, like most of my ideas, the scene set itself.

 

In short, I started with the post-reconstruction period as a sort of pseudo familiar time period. Then I hopped on the web and looked old maps drafted around that era. Out of the blue, I ran across the global warming sites. As I was reading the more out-of-the-norm “theories”, I found one that fit beautifully into what was forming in my head. The New Madrid Fault (it’s in southern Missouri, if you’re interested). Too small. Now, if I just add a dash of crazy to it and have this sucker crack all the way up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, I have a new US to work with. A big fictional event within itself, but why stop there when you have all these other fault lines? As you probably have guessed, the US map looks very different in my Photoshop. Slice and dice the west coast all the way to the Rockies, mess with Texas (sorry) and the Gulf of Mexico, make the Mississippi and Ohio rivers about five miles wide, and slide most of the east coast into the ocean. You really don’t want to see what Canada looks like. Anyway, that’s my physical world starting point.

 

Now that I have messed up my country, and with no undue concern for the timing, I have to put on my thinking cap and force my attention to define other aspects of life in this fictional world. I KNOW I’m going to get hate mail for not being historically correct, but its time to mess with history in this piece of fiction. But that, my friends, will have to wait for another post.

 

Wishing you all a very blessed New Year. May it bring peace and happiness to the world.

 

Bless and Keep,

Eric/Mac

 

P.S. It would be cowardly and heartless if I didn’t admit that I flinched when creating the map for this story given all the terrible weather events that have actually happened in the US. To look at this map-in-the-making, it was not without a sense of sadness. I honestly apologies to those that have lost so much during earthquakes, fires, floods and, of course, hurricanes who may take offense to this world-build. It is in no way a means to capitalize on such hardship. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

 

 

 

 

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Impatient Writing Cow Says.

There is an epidemic that has struck millions (possibly even a handful) of writers in this little globe we call Earth. This terrifying disease has crept its way along the history of writing since before SNL was good again and has strangled the hopes and dreams of many. The name of this incurable disease you ask? Called “impatientwriterphilia” by people who like big words, those that suffer from it have named it “Get-it-out-of-my-head Syndrome.”

Many, at least two that I know of, suffer from GIOOMH and I fear it may be spreading. To understand any disease, we must look at its symptoms before finding the proper over-priced drug to cure it.

Symptoms include but are not limited to the following.

  1. Hearing conversations in their heads that won’t shut up at night until they write it down.
  2. Writing without care or respecting Literary Nazis as they should.
  3. Writing without plotting!
  4. Having more make-believe friends than those that exist in “the real world.”
  5. Knowing the difficult decision that must be made between peeing and finish writing a sentence, or a paragraph, or a book.
  6. Noting they have used an Oxford comma but can’t stop writing to correct it…or wanting to.
  7. Replying with “What?” repeatedly the day after writing.
  8. Being so prolific that people think they are in a coop publishing group.
  9. Pretending they are having phone conversations when actually dictating a scene into their iPhone.
  10. And finally, and most obvious, they often use pen and paper.

Writers that suffer from GIOOMH are libel to produce works of literature without complaining about being published. As you well know, true writing is only done for the purpose of publishing. To add to this insult, GIOOMH can lead to the most dangerous disease of all; WFF (Writing For Fun).

“I’m scared, Mac,” I hear you say. I know. Me too.

I cannot stress enough how much these people need our help. With their untamed desire to write, there will be too many books that fall short of the Pulitzer Prize winning works and at a fraction of the price. Without your efforts, these people will continue to “self-publish” and enjoy it. I say, “No!” These diseases must be stopped in our lifetime and you can help…kinda.

With small, monthly payments of twenty five dollars or a Starbucks gift card, we will give these poor souls decaffeinated coffee and begin the long process of “writing the correct way.” Won’t you join me and shake some sense into these people? I know you will.

One day, we will look back on this experience and relish the knowledge that we took part in slimming down reading lists across this globe. What a beautiful statement we will make about Freedom of Speech and Self Expression on that fine day.

 

😉

Eric/Mac

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Orphan’s Blade Complete

Hard to believe, but Orphan’s Blade is complete. Here’s the link: http://ericemcclure.com/free-stories/orphans-blade/

I was shooting for 50k and came in just over 47,000 words. Note too shabby for discovery writing.

From the email I’ve received, I agree that this was a change in my normal style but I’m glad so many are enjoying it. This effort to feel out first-person has been a heck of a learning curve. Though I’m certain I have not proved to be good at it, I think I come away with many lessons learned.

I owe you a big “Thank you” for allowing me to try something new in full view of readers. It was a learning experience and I appreciate your patience and support.

Now, I’m off to work on “Winter’s Song”. Wish me luck!

Bless and Keep,
Eric/Mac

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Orphan’s Blade Update: Found and Lost

Hello All!

Obviously behind on updating Orphan’s Blade, BUT I have added to it today. In this segment, I fought this terrible need to kill off this poor sap of a main character and follow what I imagined how things would continue. Given this was supposed to have been a short-ish story, I can’t spend too much time (aka word count) on this next installment. All the better, if you can imagine, as I meant this writing exercise to look at future use of first person…of which, I’m still not convinced.

Anyway, here it is for your reading. It’s is sad, but so is Nithan’s life. Sorry. Will supply tissues upon request, 🙂

Have a great day and thank you for your continued support.

Bless and Keep,

Mac

 

Click here to read the chapter of ‘Found and Lost’.

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Tethered Lives Complete

Huzzah!

Several years ago, I started typing a backstory to some characters I had created for a game. That was the beginning of the “Healer’s Tale Trilogy”. What an amazing ride it has been since hitting the submit button for the first time.

Today, I live out another dream; writing a full-length novel and making it free to read. That’s right. “Tethered Lives” is now available in its entirety.

I can’t describe how much fun it has been to release a story as I write (minus the nerves, of course). Though there are bound to be typos, I hope that is somewhat understandable and hasn’t cause too many disappointed readers. Still, one must take a step to go see what is what behind the hill.

In the next few weeks, I’ll find or create a cover image (always a tricky thing) and look into binding it all up into a downloadable e-book.

Let me also thank you for all the email. They have been so encouraging and I am grateful.

So, there we have it. The first, but not the last of free stories for people to read on computer, tablet, or phone. Just click here to go straight to the story or use the tabs above.

Bless and Keep,
Eric/Mac

 

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Orphan’s Blade Update: Two Priests and Awaken

What does one do to a doom and gloom character? The easiest way to progress would to give them more trouble in hopes that they “snap out of it”. I have high hopes for Nithan to do just that, still, he’s not quite there.

In these next two chapters (read here), I wanted to further the story by using the characters around him. It seems plausible enough as we often reevaluate our circumstances when hearing the opinions of others. Having ripped Nithan from the life he once knew and thrown him into a very chaotic life, that isn’t as easy as it might sound. After all, who could he count as a friend? So, in my own way, I needed to have someone reflect his “life sucks” attitude back to him in a new light. To do this, I will need to put people in his life that he would actually listen to. You will have to judge if that was done well enough.

Bless and Keep,

Eric/Mac

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