Why Swords?

Why do I write Epic Fantasy with medieval weaponry and magic?  Hasn’t this already been done in a plethora of ways?  Certainly, but for me there is a draw to swords and bows that modern weaponry lacks.

I have a deep respect for medieval weaponry.  Sure, the weapons of that time are pretty barbaric and often lead to gruesome and painful deaths, but melee weapons such as swords allow the user to actually see his opponent die. Close combat requires two sides to engage in a way that ranged weapons do not.  A person wielding a sword has to get close enough to see the light leave from the other’s eyes.  Swords required years of training, often a man’s entire life, and a great deal of strength and speed to wield effectively.

These properties of medieval melee weapons are why they fascinate me so much.  While writing, I try to envision how the warrior would not only move, but his inevitable respect for his fellow swordsmen, even the defeated ones.  Every time two swordsmen engage each other, it is a test of skill.  There is no hiding with a sword.  The combatants must face one another openly.

There is also the exotic factor of medieval weapons.  Swords, maces, axes, and bows are not used regularly in the industrialized world.  Since they are so rarely seen, save for maybe a renaissance festival, I find myself wondering what it would look like to have these weapons as a staple for a military instead of firearms.  Ultimately, I chose to write another epic fantasy story using swords and sorcery because they are exotic, and exotic things tend to invoke the imagination.

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Looking for Inspiration

I can say honestly that I write everyday, whether I’m in the mood to or not, because moods are fleeting things that can change quickly. However, I the real challenge is finding the right inspiration.

For me, being inspired and finding inspiration are very different things. All too often I can invision a scene or perhaps the general mechanics of a culture, but how that plays out I’m not entirely sure. It is funny because when I search for inspiration from related topics or genres, they do not always do the trick for me. Ironically, some of my best inspiration has come from utterly unrelated material. Inspiration does not always come from other books, either. Many times movies stir the “what if” questions far quicker than other forms of entertainment. Perhaps it is because there is an entire plot crammed into a two-hour movie, and it is a lot faster to get to the point with a movie than a book. Movies tell a story differently than books do. Books can afford to be slower-paced, but movies cannot due to time restraints. This is probably why most movie adaptions of books are very different, and that is fine by me!

Searching for inspiration as a writer can be downright grueling. It is especially frustrating when writers know where they want to go with the plot but need help with how to carry it out.

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It's Been Awhile…

I know I have neglected posting fresh content lately, but stay with me.  I have more on the way, but in the mean time please sign up for my newsletter here.  That is the best way to stay informed and up-to-date on my writings.  As always, if you are reading this and enjoy fantasy, you can find my first short story free on smashwords to get a taste of my writing style.

What inspired you to write?

When posed with this question, I internally stammer, my mind races, and I feel like a bit of a fool. Such a question should be easy enough to answer right? I mean, after all, I am a writer, and explaining to someone else why I write should be one of the easiest things for me to do, but it isn’t. Sure there are many factors that contribute to my purpose for writing, but none of them are stand-alone reasons for why I write. It is strange, but I cannot answer the question in a simple sentence or two. So here is my lengthy response to what should be an easy question.

The main force that drives me to write every single day is a calling. Even if I do not feel inspired, even if I do not exactly feel like writing, I feel like there is a small hole in my soul if I neglect my writings. Writing is a part of me, like a hand or a nose. If I ignore that part of me, I don’t feel whole.

I have been inspired by Tolkien, Star Wars, random fantasy movies on the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) channel, and a few TV shows. I even found inspiration in areas I did not expect, such as dramas, comedies, and instrumental music. For me, the world is just spewing with inspiration. My inspiration comes from not just from fiction and music, but my faith and relationships as well. My son alone is a source for so much inspiration.

Like many other writers of speculative fiction, I live in the “what if” world. What I mean by this is how many people wonder what would happen if a squadron Laat/i Republic Gunships (from Star Wars) came down and confronted an orc horde. This type of thing makes play time with my son more interesting too because he and I both like to imagine and pretend.

Another reason why I write is that I wish to produce works that I would like to see. When I feel disappointed by certain elements, like a villain with no depth, I set out to correct that problem with my writings. Of course that is rather ambitious, but writing at all is ambitious. I want to make the fantasy genre better, one story at a time, and I hope that others like my works as well.

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Villains

What makes a good villain? I am far from the first person to pose such a question. Maybe Darth Vader comes to mind when you hear that word, or maybe a power-hungry wizard. Villains are a huge part of fantasy. Some are the that demons heroes face internally, while others may be opposing factions. The real question may be who is really evil?  In fantasy there is a wide range of villainy, as there should be.

I prefer a villain to have depth, to struggle with things internally that he/she would never reveal outwardly. Hate and anger may be a driving force behind some of his actions, but he never sees it that way. I see a good villain that is someone as good at deceiving herself as she is at deceiving others. However, these traits just scratch the surface because to make an antagonist worthy of a story, he should be someone with whom the reader can identify if placed in a similar situation. I believe the scariest villains are not mindless monsters or those who are evil just to be evil, but they are the ones we can see ourselves becoming.

In the real-world, people often do evil things while believing they are doing good. This happens for a variety of reasons: perhaps the person’s worldview has changed, or maybe that person’s worldview does not line up with the status quo. It could also be that the person was persecuted in some way, and the pain he/she endured manifested after a long period of time. One does not have to go very far to find evil, and most of them did not suddenly wake up and say, “Hey, today I’m going to do something only an evil monster would.” Instead, they rationalize it to themselves. That is the villain that resonates with the reader. That is the type of villain I strive to create in Goandria.

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