Blog Header

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Practical Use of Magic

A Practical Use of Magic

The seven men and the wizard had battled Goblins all day. After stealing the gold right out from under the Goblin’s noses they tried to sneak away only to be spotted and then chased. That had been several hours ago by this time and the men had been running and fighting ever since. The sharp clanks of steel on steel echoed in the tunnels and caverns of the Gremlin’s home as the men tried to make their escape.
It seemed to the wizard that they were only going deeper and deeper into the mountainside. When the men turned that last corner and shone his torch down to the end of the passageway they had just entered he saw that it was a dead end.
“Back, we need to go back!” the Wizard yelled, but it was too late, the other end of the passageway was quickly filling up with angry Gremlins. The Gremlins had their swords at the ready and were smelling victory.
The Evil laugh of the Gremlin King echoed down the narrow tunnel. “Now you will die for your insolence. Thieves and murders.”
The Wizard just turned to the men and said, “Enough of this.” He snapped his fingers and he and the men were instantly transported to Daytona Beach where they bought a condo on the water with their ill gotten goods and lived happily ever after.

One of the premises I like to follow when using magic in my stories is always state what the magic can do but also what it can’t do. Like the example above a reader feels cheated when you create a suspenseful situation in a story and then *poof* everything is all better because of the use of magic.
As a reader I like to know if the hero of the story is actually in trouble or not. What are his chances of surviving, what is he going to do.
I once read a story where a man single handedly attacked a castle and through the use of magic, killed all of the guards and captured the King. There was never anything in doubt. It was just a matter of waiting until he finished killing the guards. There was nothing exciting, to me, about that story.
So as an author and a reader, I like to see magic used within practical limits.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Do I Write?

Why Do I Write?

I got asked about a year ago how much money I had made from selling my books. At the time I had just started out on this long road as an indie author / publisher. I told him that I had made around $300.00.
He looked at me and said, "Do you feel satisfied with that amount of money?" It was obvious that he was not impressed by the sneer I detected in his voice.

"Yes," I said. I had done my research and I knew that the average indie author made only about $500.00 their first year. I was actually ahead of the game by being only a few months into it.

I had tried to get articles and short stories published before and were told that they just were not good enough. All I had to go on were opinions of overworked editors. The market could not judge for itself because I was stifled by a few individuals.

Now that I had published on my own, I was finally making money and getting feedback. Some negative, but for the most part it was very positive. People were willing to pay for books I had written.

That question kept echoing in my mind because I knew that there had to be a better answer than the one I gave. Why did I write anyway? There were always the down days where you get a bad review or go a couple of days without any sales that you wonder what else you could be doing to better utilize your time besides writing. Discouraging times when you want to quit altogether. Was money even the point?

It took a few days before I realized a couple of things. I was going to write anyway whether it paid to do so or not. I had written all my life. Mostly it was short stories about what my kids had done or funny things that happened to the family. So money was not the motivation behind it. It was more of a hobby.

The other thing I thought about is what the guy that asked me the question paid for his hobby. He collected guns. He has around fifty of them. That is about $25,000 worth of guns depending on the type. He could resell them and make more than his money back, but I don't think he would ever do that. Secondly, he went to all sorts of training. He took classes on shooting. He went to all sorts of competitions, each with a healthy entry fee. Not to mention the thousands of rounds of ammunition that he shot on a yearly basis. 

The comeback I finally came up with three weeks later was, "How much does your hobby pay you?"