25 June 2011 0 comments

Blurred: Journey versus Destination

Everyone knows the saying. The philosophy plays out in many forms—so many permutations, that one could almost call it cliché.
Is it, though? After all, the quality of the journey is why one picks up a book. That’s entertainment, though. Not reality.

 In reality, most would say that they don’t care how the Republicans came to the decision to support a formal recognition and legalization of same sex marriage in New York on Friday night. Or why they chose to support it. However the individual politicians rationalized it, the ethical path they each travelled, all that matters is that they did.

As one friend put it, “I don’t care if they supported it because they think married homosexuals will eat fewer babies than single ones. It passed.”

Right. I agree. Politics, thankfully, isn’t a subject matter I write about. It lacks that riveting edge of fascination that the audience would look for, demand even. When the destination you ultimately reach impacts the lives of so many, the journey one takes to arrive at the optimal ethical decision suddenly doesn’t matter anymore. Not to anyone save the individual making the journey. For all others, all that matters is that you reach that destination.
I’m so glad I’m not a politician. Talk about a thankless job.

The discussion got me to thinking, though, about antagonists and protagonists, and the rational logic of a given character’s motivations as presented to the reader. A different approach, so to speak—if one comes to the ‘right’ decision via the wrong rational or motives or ethics, does that make them antagonist or protagonist? And by the same coin, if a character comes to the ‘wrong’ decision but does so with the best of intentions, which should they be classified as? Oh wait. Those damned labels. I tend to toss them out the window more often than not. Wave goodbye to them, quickly now!

Storytellers have been muddying the waters of ‘good’ guys and ‘bad’ guys for a while. It isn’t a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. Doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons is, in fact, the very definition of an anti-hero. And just as we as citizens are permitted to judge (harshly, even) the driving ethos of those we elect to public office, a book’s audience will judge (very harshly) the ethos of any given character. For the sake of discussion, a highly obvious selection: Hannibal Lector of Silence of the Lambs comes to mind. A highly intelligent man, an intellectual on a par of few others, his character was designed to strike fear and loathing in the hearts of both Clarice and the audience. And yet, while simultaneously repulsed and frightened, the audience finds themselves fascinated by Hannibal’s intellect. By the paths his logic takes. So seemingly sane and rational, each step along the way, and yet when one arrives at Hannibal’s destination, one discovers a truly horrifying environment. He helps Clarice in her investigation, but does so for all the wrong reasons. Desperation, then, leads even those of strong ethos to relax their standards, to make exceptions, to journey into the blurred land.

I have been struggling with how to show that descent into Hell, by baby steps of good intentions, from the standpoint of one observing the character in an ethical environment so decisively not a shade of gray. Not even slightly. It is a tricky thing to do, and like most complex pieces of art it will require a few studies and sketches before the final form is decided on, and is set in oil on canvas.
19 June 2011 1 comments

Insert Witty, Engaging Title Here

There are days when, no matter how much I desperately want to sit down and write…I don’t get the chance.
Or, if I do, it is at a point when my brain is so dead that I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to string together “Sally sells seashells by the seashore.”

Thus, sometimes I must settle for a few hastily scrawled sentences in my notebook while I’m at work if I want any modicum of productivity.
Many of the sentences aren’t even complete thoughts.
Some are plot points. Milestones, developmental highlights. Some are character thoughts and perspectives—biases that color an individual’s responses or reactions. Little random pieces of insight that, while useless in and of themselves, help shape the nature of the characters in my head more clearly. So that I in turn can portray them to the reader without info-dumping about the color of one’s eyes, the shape of their nose… really, how much does that matter. A reader decides for themselves what the character looks like. And more often than not, what they see has little relation to what the writer saw, or describes them to be.
15 June 2011 1 comments

And... we have website!

I'm still trying to figure out how to get my blog to cooperate in terms of linking back to the website, but here it is in all it official glory: The Home of Rhianon Etzweiler, Author.

It's pretty. And shiny. I have a new toy to play with. *laughs* Poke around and explore, your comments are welcome as are contributions for the "Want More?" page. Send me your goodies! Contributor credit will be included for all posted links or material.
12 June 2011 1 comments

Been Talking To Myself Forever

Though writing might be an insular task at its heart… inspiration is not.

It comes from the strangest places, the most random associations and interactions sometimes.

Finally, the words have begun to flow. I was up until 2 a.m. with the last hurrah of the sangria wine punch at my elbow (if you don't count the collection of wine-saturated fruit in the bottom of the container) transcribing things scribbled furiously during my hour break at the day job.

Its becoming apparent that I lack the ability to 'balance' things in my life. I'm so thoroughly focused, throwing everything I am in things in an "all or nothing" sort of way, that everything else will suffer.

It is what made FOAT/DEoH what it is. It is what made Black what it is, too.

I don't know if I'd change that, even if I could. Do I want to write half-heartedly? No. Don't want to love my kids or siblings or anyone else half-heartedly, either.

The other things don't cease to exist… they just shift out of focus so to speak, like how objects along the periphery of one's vision don't cease to be… they're just blurry.

Know yourself. Know your adversary. And know victory.

Sun Tzu strikes again.

08 June 2011 1 comments

Wading Through Research

After a fashion, I'm using "research" as an excuse for why I've only written 500 words over the past two days. I complain that my day job gets in the way, and then I let other things do exactly that as well, on my days off.

Ah well, I've begun focusing on the reworking of the Trunked Novel in earnest, and thus some amount of research is becoming necessary. Because one cannot employ blatant aspects of ancient Egyptian mythos in a Latin-influenced society. That just... no. I cannot justify it. Even if the Romans did conquer Egypt. I'm thinking I want to keep it a little more separated than that in terms of period influence. Maybe.

Pantheons in the Mediterranean region became rather intertwined over time. Roman with Greek, and they with Egyptian, one influencing the other, shifting and evolving into something different. I'm trying to stay (largely) with the Triad concept (still debating the merits of the Archaic over the Capitoline Triad, as I rather enjoy the unusual imbalance of female deity representation), as purely Latium in nature as I can in terms of influence.

And as I know nothing of either the pre-Roman Empire time period, nor of Latin as culture or language, the research is interesting. Yes, this is all a fantasy story and as it isn't pure but just an influence, I can take some liberties. Right. Libertas is all well and good. I refuse to maul anything though, if I can help it. Means I'll likely need a few Latin-geek betas at some point in the future.

Curious to know, though, how the general idea of a Latin-influenced fantasy world strikes the readership out there. Or rather... maybe it isn't really that at all. Maybe it is instead a glimpse into the world that, somehow, inexplicably, influenced the culture of Latium. And through it, the rest of known civilization...

I'm such a deviant.
06 June 2011 1 comments

And ... We Have Cover Art!

Um. TADA!!! (Can't really think of much useful to say.)


Oh, the Agony.

Back from my three-day mini-vacation. Which was (of course!) interrupted by an email with the cover art for Dark Edge of Honor. Not the final, just a proof… I'll share it as soon as I can, promise. My first order of the day, since the gears weren't turning enough to actually engage the muses at all, was to take a look at the promo content needed for the release.

Writing a promo blog entry for the up and coming release will be about as pleasant as drafting a ten-part executive report outlining five recommendations for business model improvement. I guess this is where my lauded education will make or break me… About damn time I put the worthless thing to good use, I guess.

I have decided that writing an author bio is as painful as writing a synopsis. Only, I've fewer words to do it with, no idea what will pique the audience's interest… and how many readers will pay it the slightest bit of mind, anyways? It's not like my life story is a riveting plot. I can't even go so far as to call it a stimulating screw. Or a locking washer.

Seriously. Who reads author bios. Who remembers what's in them, five minutes later? There's little about me that's all that interesting, for starters. I could make shit up… does anyone truly fact-checks these things? Maybe I should have a humor columnist ghost-write my bio for me.

"Make them laugh, in a 'Red Green Show' meets 'Princess Bride' clusterfuck kinda way."

Because really. When it comes to this whole authorship thing, I have about as much of an idea of what I'm doing as Red Green does. 'Gimme duckkie tape, aikken fix it, eh.'

Everyone knows duct tape fixes everything.

…You should see my keyboard.