Author Topic: The First 1987 Words of my Novel Saga  (Read 128 times)

Offline RuneofAia

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The First 1987 Words of my Novel Saga
« on: April 03, 2022, 08:08:08 PM »
This is KARASAIA - Foundations of Eternity - Act 1 - The First Steps, a science fiction saga. There is a little blub as well at the end. Cheers.  :) Thanks for reading.

File: DH0001: The Tanis Account of The Great One and The First Story: Written by Tanis of Ĵăusolaan in the language Aiaca from the Furst Book and other sources. Translated by Kirrik Gorack of the Premonous of Distant History at Kӧr, into Distant English as a tool to teach his students about the life and language of the forlorn age.
   Of further note: Some of the teachings of notable mention have been incorporated directly into the tell of the tale;
Further Attributes may be available.

Before the beginning of everything, there was something … This moment was that something. It was not the moment that sparked the universe into existence, but a moment that sparked a paradigm that shifted the world of the human Earth into the next epoch. There was a human that lied unbeknownst to all of this who would come to be known as The Great One−many years after his death. It is from here that I write.

- Tanis of Ĵăusolaan

T h e   F i r s t   S t e p s


The Augur of the Great One sat in the dim twilight of a lit candle, dreaming of Aia. Within the room of an inn above an old tavern, his dreams were no longer that which lived where he could consciously sense their presence. They shambled away deep in the bilge of his subconscious where he had left them long ago, and now were nearly lost in the ever-colored musings that warred between the wild walls of his skull. Against the torment of all he had suffered, it was a war forged in the mulling of a decade.
   He was the young Earthly age of forty-two, but his pale skin and long luscious, deep chocolate brown locks−nearly hung to his shoulders−felt crackled and grey to him. He felt old, and a tower of a man over ten feet tall, even though he had never quite reached two meters. The feeling was as if he had already lived an entire lifetime, and each year of apparent wisdom, experience, torment, and failure added another centimeter to his height: lumbering over everything, a creature no longer fit for this world, a marker to let the world that viewed him know that he was ancient.
   It was a cold night in the early days of April and a special time of year for him; the journey he was on had become routine. The firelight reached only as far as the mural of a tapestry that hung upon the wall before him, and got lost in the darkness above; it dangled over the back end of an old wooden desk where he worked on a project that comforted him. Two windows at either side, however, had produced their own light from the storm beyond their opened, centuries-old shutters. The wood of the desk had separated from age and he had to continuously adjust his arm to avoid the scrape of it. The corners of a large pendulous sheet of parchment drooped over the edges, inked upon it was a world map that he was in the midst of drawing with a rickety quill pen−the feathers all but gone−which was dipped continually into an old inkpot at the side.
   There was just enough chill in the air for him to see a misting of breath condense into an evanescent fog and get lost in the heat of the flame. Perhaps a closing of the shutters is in order, he thought. Storm entirely too wonderful. Bundled up in Victorian-era clothes, the stitching and buttoning of the workers' red vest, pinstriped off-white shirt, and rich purple cravat tied in a scrunch knot, were authentic to the time period of which they beckoned. Years before, he would have checked his chained pocket watch thrice his age to learn the hour of night, but it was no longer a part of him. If it were, through the reflections of the soothing orange-hued flicker, it would have read twelve-naught-one; t’was the first minutes of a new day.
   Beyond the cold breeze that flitted in from outside, the sky conducted an orchestra of light and canon fire, a choir of clouds that sang the songs of thunderous rain. That scent, he thought once more as he took in the redolence of ozone which draped down from the stormy air and muddled with the petrichor that rose from the rocks and soils of the grounds below … What a scent. They were passing thoughts as his quill flailed, drawing in the borderlines of the world. ‘Year 10’ he wrote in the left corner of the map in an elegant cursive font of his own design, of which he referred to as Corathander. The etymology of the moniker of the font held distinct significance to him, a memory of his; it was of the first night he spent with her.
   Troubled, as he once could track the synapses that led him back to the precise nanomoment in time where the firing of neurons gave birth to the first memories of their love, his neural axons now laid like city streets. Axon City, lost from a golden age into a life of poverty. Broken by time, the axon streets were crumbling and full of potholes, the memories of familiar things were failing, with perhaps no entropic record to ever bring them back to their former glory. Now, the memories sat like a mere set of photographs stacked in his mind, one upon another as if frames of an animation, though with an abundance of them too faded to discern. Only the essence of the images remained, naught but a feeling filled in by the rhymes of bad poetry to desperately try and relive an experience long since gone.
The oven sizzled with the essence of baked bread
Wine shimmered through glasses, a bold red
The rims smudged by lips from olive oil
And fresh black pepper as they coiled.
A feast eaten without a drop of haste.

     “What is that I taste? Corathander?” Maia pondered in the flesh of the Auger of the Great One’s mind.
     “Coriander my dear, the seed of it, not the leaf that some think taste as soap,” he had said, and he remembered chuckling. “Corathander sounds like some kind of elegant font or something!”
This may or may not seem comical
Without the context of her chronicle
For Italian is her native tongue
No, indeed not, she is not an English one.

     “Coriander Italio è coriandolo pronunciato.”
     “Coriandolo,” he had said in an attempted reply to mimic her in a feat of education.
     “Sì. Non ho mai avuto è cotto in pane prima. E 'più delizioso,” Maia said. “What did I just say?”
     “That the bread is delicious.” He truly had no understanding.
     “You are guessing! You heard delizioso, didn’t you?”
     “No. Of course not,” he said with a grin, shifting his eyes with the guilt of a little white lie.
     “You will learn, my love. I shall make you my apprentice!” Maia said.
     “Jot me down. I accept.”
     “Zetuas Romeo Furst, writing you in the calendar.” She spoke The Great One’s birth name.
     “Now it’s official,” he said. They stared at each other in silence, and let the love they felt flow freely between them. With a trembled voice he would speak again. “I may have something else for your calendar as well, my love … A wedding.”
   The quill of The Great One Zetuas paused under the crushing weight of what was left of the memory, and he drifted away, ever deeper. Like all things, memories end in a pail of dust, lost to an ageless moment that took hold and endured for every year there had ever been. Let me stay here. I’m ready. Without you I have nothing left within me. I have nothing left within. I have nothing left. I have nothing. Only in the fortitude of passion can it be found. Even the transcendence of all time sees an end. Only the dust in the pail is forever. His rambling thoughts would shift from the poetic to the practical. The dust of course would be the realms where universes are created, and the pail the greater cosmos, infinitely large, and infinitely old. Wait, didn’t we have the dust as the love felt and the pail− What am I doing? The map! Finish the map. Yes! Quite right. And then he thought about how his practicality may have spoiled some form of grander event should history come to think of him.
   The cannon fire of the real-world storm tickled the stereocilia of his inner ear and a hypnic jerk brought him back to full consciousness. The room had now also become figuratively cold. His eyes locked upon the flicker of the flame, which spired a pillar of black smoke, and he felt the restoration of the warmth.
   Returning to his project, the cracked wood of the desk caught his arm once more, and another uncomfortable adjustment was made to circumvent the area; it was annoying, but he cared for it, for the experience was real, tangible, and storied. The inkpot was also storied. Battered and chipped along its ridge, the ink had stained the exposed areas. It was one of many items he carried in a satchel filled with his writing supplies for the past thirty years. There had been many item changeovers in that time, but not the inkpot, and not the satchel itself. It would only take a moment of knowing him to notice that his comfort with old things was a retreat from the war fought in his head. When he indulged in his old-world paradigm, he could feel the war being covered over by the comfort, like an old house being reclaimed by the forest.
   His quill ran effusively across the stubble of the parchment, charting a course across much of the Continent of Europe. His travels would lead him away from Ireland, through England, France and Switzerland, and down into the sea-bound nation of Italy, where a trifecta of cities were marked: Venice, Florence, Rome. It was there in Rome that the quill’s journey would come to an end, but the nub of the quill was not lifted, rather dug in with an intense vibration of longing and rage that expelled from his hand, which allowed the ink to spread across the parchment like a pool of blood. The emotion subsided a moment later, the quill relinquished from its trench upon the page and returned home to its pot. As his hand hovered over Rome, he buried the tip of his central finger into the new ink plot the reactions of his emotion had made there.
   “See you soon,” he whispered in a voice that bestowed a grand sorrow.
   He rose from the seat of the high-backed chair−ornately carved wood painted flat black with blood-red felted cushions−and gazed fiercely forward beyond the confines of the shuttered window to his right. The cold breeze washed away the sadness for a time as he thought about the need for a drink of ale. His feet stood upon creaky floorboards, the kind imagined to hold secrets somewhere beneath them if pried up in the proper place. He closed the shutters of both widows with a latch, and took with him the lit candle in order to see his way across the darkened room of the inn. Light caressed the space beneath the thick door and furled with a rustling of dust as patrons walked by casting shadows. The candlestick was placed upon the nightstand of a fluffy bed that the door’s under light could almost reach, and he blew out the flame.

We learn that he is a billionaire of the modern age, within a geologically alternate version of our Earth (the map he draws would look different than our Europe). He once gave keynotes on ideas of a world with no money and no political power, but now only wishes to die. Though great mystery and adventure are afoot that will change everything, and come to change the very nature of humanity.

Offline Clarius

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Re: The First 1987 Words of my Novel Saga
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 03:26:35 PM »
Firstly, I like sci-fi, but not the hard stuff. Genre's just a way of framing a story. A good story is a good story regardless of genre. Harry Potter was written for eleven year old boys, but loved by people outside of that demographic. Brokeback Mountain? A conventional story of star-crossed lovers. It's the setting and the premise that made it stand out from the crowd.

There's a few adages I like to keep in mind when I write: omit needless words (Strunk & White), never use a $1 word where a 10c one will do (Twain et al), and write to express, not to impress.

First impressions of this were that it looks daunting. All those solid blocks of densely packed words. Like standing at the bottom of a cliff looking up: do you climb, or go home? If, to a casual glance, it looks interesting then it piques the reader's interest.

There's a lot of description here. A lot of this will end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Writing is editing and sometimes, no matter how much you like a phrase, a sentence, or a paragraph, you have to drop it. Hemmingway (I think), amongst others, referred to it as 'killing your darlings'.

I get the feeling you know what you want to say but are struggling to find the right words. Some of the phrasing is awkward and way too wordy to sit comfortably on the tongue. Is it a first draft, an organic stream of consciousness? Did you read it back? Did you edit this any?

My biggest issue is this. As a scene it accomplishes nothing. If you want to write tight scenes that move the story along there's a way to do it, a tried and tested formula that's been used by many authors for many years. A scene's structure is basically a game of two halves.

1. your PoV character has a goal - not the main goal, but a step goal  (that's why they're the PoV)
2. something/someone intervenes to thwart their achieving that goal
3. the PoV fails to achieve their goal because of the someone/something

You might end a chapter here, on a cliff hanger of an ending, a hook to keep the reader reading. There might be an intervening chapter/scene here, or you might immediately follow on with the second half of the scene. Of you might just do the whole thing in one take, so to speak.

4. the PoV considers their options in light of what's just happened
5. the PoV has a dilemma because their options conflict with their values
6. the PoV chooses a course of action and goes forward to the next scene with a new goal

You say your character wants to die. Interesting place IMO to begin. I don't know your story so I'll blue sky here.

Your protagonist has reached the end of the line, both physically and spiritually. They decide to do away with themselves. There's their goal upon entering this scene. They write their will, fashion a noose, throw it over a beam, and place a chair underneath. Telling us this shows their intention.

Suddenly, someone crashes into their room. A mortally wounded courier for the resistance. That's the something that thwarts the protagonist's goal of doing away with themselves. Dying from their wounds, the authorities hot on their heels, the courier begs the protagonist to deliver a message to the resistance. The courier dies, the authorities arrive. Now your protagonist can't kill themselves. Goal thwarted!

The courier dead and beyond interrogation the authorities want to know if they told or gave the protagonist anything. The protagonist has a choice: give the message to the authorities and get back to the business of killing themselves, or lie to the authorities and deliver the message. Either way it's a dilemma! What will they choose? Go against their grain and plunge headlong into uncertainty, or turn their back on people who need them. You will have foreshadowed these values earlier on so the reader thinks 'ah, ok, that sounds just like what (s)he'd do'.

If it's the former then the story ends here. They have to deliver that message for the story to continue. But why would they choose that option? Characters are people, they have values. Something in your protagonist's values will make them make that choice. The reader will buy into it if, as I said above, something you've already mentioned foreshadows their making that choice.

Having made the choice to deliver the message the protagonist has a new goal to move forward with. Now they're a cog in the machine of the resistance. It's character vs society. But that's an abstract concept. Readers need concrete goals and obstacles. So, let's say the authorities who burst into the protagonist's room are lead by a villainous officer who doesn't believe the protagonist's claims not to know anything of value. How does that character's values drive what they choose to do, and what impact does their choice have on the unfolding plot? Do they arrest the protagonist? If so, how will they deliver that message. Do they let them go knowing they'll lead them to the resistance? Now you have an antagonist. It's character vs character and devil take the hindmost.

One last thought. Don't make your character a billionaire. Makes them rich by all means but don't quantify it. In Star Trek they never cite quantifiable references re memory sizes or processor speeds because it dates the piece. Show us he's rich by the casual way he throws money at the inn keeper when he arrives. This serves the dual purpose of foreshadowing their intention to kill themselves as they have no more use for the money they have on them.

You have good material. It just needs shaping and editing.

All this is just my own opinion. You know what they say about opinions. ;)

Good luck and best regards.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2022, 03:35:57 PM by Clarius »
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns