Wulfendragon Character Cards

Wulfendragon Character Cards

Well, I’ve changed the name of Book 4 to Wulfendragon. I’ll explain more about how that name came about later, but for now I thought I would give a quick update and share some images of the characters so you could see a bit how I write. I used to use little figurines to help me keep track of all my characters, but that got progressively more complicated and expensive as the stories grew. So now I search for images on pinterest, size them in photoshop, print, and cut them out. Then I put them in collector card sleeves. The images I find aren’t exactly what I picture in my mind, but they work beautifully – and it is a lot of fun to arrange them when I’m starting a new scene, and I can keep other cards grouped according to where they are ‘off screen’ so as to help me keep track of what is going on in the story as a whole.                        You’ll recognize some of the old characters here and as you can see I’ve introduced some new ones. I’m especially having fun with Buttersmere, the assistant to Clive Greyhame Gettlefinger.      But, just as his eyes settled on the document, he was startled by a deep voice, “You, Buttersmere. I had hoped to enjoy some solitude before our meeting.” Buttersmere’s smile disappeared at once. He looked up into the sober frown of Father Scabtree. His hair was streaked with grey, and pulled back from his forehead, and then it feathered strangely out to the sides and down his neck. Deep creases were everywhere...
The Green Archer Intro

The Green Archer Intro

I’ve got the fourth book of the Peleg Chronicles outlined – about 40 pages of notes, and I’m excited. And Nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve written, and the doubts have begun. Especially after two of my readers were a little uncomfortable with chapter one. So, in my weakness, I’ve run to the scriptures to make sure I’m aligning myself properly with His Word, with the mind of Christ. I’m reassessing, but still hopeful. In the meantime, I thought I would post the introduction to book 4, which I’m pretty sure will be called ‘The Green Archer”. Here’s the rough draft:   Mamma, the giant badger, ambled through the den. She checked the main exit, sniffed the air, and turned back into the main run. She paused at her skunks; all three were tucked away into a small chamber. They did not stir for they were in their time of the deep-sleep. She turned at the next intersecting run, and found the rest of her clan, six badgers in all; they too were sleeping. It was the middle of the day, they had eaten much in their last night’s hunt, and so they were tired. But not Mamma. A restlessness was upon her. Ever since the battle with the bright-shinies, she found herself wondering about her very own man-thing. What had become of him? She entered his chamber next, moved among his belongings, and smelled them. In the corner was a wooden chest. She had seen him peering into it at times. Using her paws, she managed to open it quickly enough. Inside were clothes the color...
Conversations on Magic: ‘Learned Larry’

Conversations on Magic: ‘Learned Larry’

‘Learned Larry’ This conversation on magic centers on a very popular argument, not only used for the promotion of magic and paganism in Christian books and movies, but for many other venues as well. You will likely hear it used in some form over the years of your Christian walk. I hope therefore that it will be beneficial to the reader to understand it more fully in light of scripture. ‘Learned Larry’ came to our booth and purchased the Peleg Chronicles along with a talk I gave called the ‘Devolution of a Boy’. The CD is a trumpet call to the Christian to discern and align with God’s will concerning literature, and seek to understand what pleases and displeases Him. Much of the presentation concerned paganism, of which a small proportion was magic. Shortly thereafter ‘Learned Larry’ wrote a response to my talk which he called a brief defense of fictional magic. It was apparent from his writings that he is in agreement with the premise that all books and movies are teaching something, whether we are aware of it or not. Following is a statement he made that I would like to further delve into: “Good authors will put Biblical bounds around how magic is used in their worlds. Using the word magic to teach children the moral law embedded in the universe, is like Paul using the statue to the unknown god to point to the known God. You start with what they know and move to the truth.” Okay, let’s start with the last point first. ‘You start with what they know and move to the...
Conversations on Magic: ‘Leaning Annie’

Conversations on Magic: ‘Leaning Annie’

CONVERSATIONS ON MAGIC People want to talk about magic. When we go to conventions, it is the number one topic that attendees bring up in our booth. Some begin the conversation accusing us, some start off defensive, some are curious, some confused, some joyful … and so begin hours of fascinating discussions with our visitors. I’d like to revisit some of these conversations on magic and paganism, so that you can be an observer, and if you like, a commentator. Perhaps I’ll make it a series. First though, I humbly ask for you to forbear with me. I know this is a touchy subject. Almost all my Christian friends disagree with me, and yet we are brethren who love one another. ‘LEANING ANNIE’ ‘Leaning Annie’ is a mixture of people I’ve met who ‘lean’ towards the notion that God is okay with magic being portrayed positively in Christian books and media. Yet, they are not completely convinced that their position is a right one. Annie, about sixteen or seventeen, perused our books for a few minutes. She seemed thoughtful, and with open countenance she turned to me and asked, “I want to be a Christian writer, could you tell me why I should not write about magic in my Christian fantasy novels?” There really seemed to be a great sincerity behind her question. I responded with my own question, “Do you know what the Bible says about magic?” She answered quickly. “Yes.” I pressed the point. “There are some topics, like wine, that have scriptures which seem to promote it and others which seem to condemn it. Though God...
Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2

Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2

After my twelve-year-old read a few Choose Your Own Adventure’s, she really enjoyed them, but she had two complaints. The first: “In some of the stories, no matter what decision you make, you end up at the same place.” This is known as “False Forking”. For a good technical article on interactive fiction click here. The second problem: “There was never any danger of not being able to finish the story or any danger of possibly losing one’s life.” As soon as she realized this, the sense of urgency and excitement would drain away. Danger, tension, dilemmas … in a word, conflict. Conflict is at the heart of good storytelling. So one way to add more real choices in interactive fiction without making the story impossibly long is to have more of those choices lead to a definite end, a failing end. Something like: The Green Archer, half-starved, decides to eat the moldy bread. Dizziness ensues. Reaching for a chair, he stumbles. He falls to the floor. Arms, legs, even his neck feel like they are weighed down with stones. His eyes also are heavy … so very tired, he lets them close. The story path the reader was on just ended, and it ended badly. Now the reader knows that there is something at stake for making a bad decision — tension and excitement necessarily heighten. Now for a whole new twist. Game fiction! What’s that you say? It’s Choose Your Own Adventure with the added element of solo game play. The reader might need a piece of paper, pencil and a six-sided die. She can keep track...
Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

Many parents of my generation are familiar with Choose Your Own Adventure novels and they probably have fond memories of them. While the stories themselves are not terribly engaging or carry much emotive force, the format is extremely intriguing. Fiction attempts to grab a reader and cause them to leave the world they are in and enter into a story world of make believe, usually through the eyes of one or more protagonists. Most Choose Your Own Adventure’s, also known as interactive fiction, immediately catapult the reader into the story by speaking directly to them. They say things like: You look into the cavern. It is almost completely black, except for two glowing eyes. Do you draw your sword and attack or do you run away? The reader is immediately invested in the main character, because they are in fact that character, and therefore they are, perhaps, more absorbed into the narrative. Not necessarily for the quality of the prose, but because of the format. ie. you climb, you jump, you fight, you run … you, the reader, are transported directly into the story, because the format has placed you there. Another way, but less common, is to write the prose in the standard 1st or 3rd person and then have the reader make decisions for the protagonist: Ebenezer’s muscles cramped. But if he moved, the creature might hear him. The cramp worsened. Should he change his position or keep still despite the pain? I tend to think using the 1st or 3rd person, especially with longer segments, helps pull the reader into the prose better and therefore into...