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Topics - Eli_Freysson

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General Discussion / If you could meet ONE historical figure
« on: September 21, 2018, 02:10:43 PM »
I once asked my father this question. If he could have a conversation with one human being from history, what would his choice be? He said "Hitler. I would want to understand how a human being can be this evil."

My own choice is Abraham Lincoln. I would be curious to see how the real man lived up to the legend that has sprung up around him. I would also be curious to see how someone can deal with two dead sons, lifelong depression, public scorn, years of a horrifying war and a lunatic wife, and still keep on functioning.

What about you?

Writers' Corner / Anyone interested in reading my new WIP?
« on: August 24, 2018, 06:12:46 PM »
In between longer novels I'm now making good on an idea I've mention previously, and writing a fantasy novella. It's my chance to explore some ideas I've been wanting to cover, such as mind control and benevolent dictatorship.

In short the story opens with a character being freed from mind control by celestial beings who have taken over a country, and is trying to make it to the border, while reflecting on what was done to her and whether it was good or bad.

I'm already two chapters in, and it all has my trademark fast pace.

Writers' Corner / Idea for a standalone novel. Mind control is fun.
« on: August 11, 2018, 11:59:16 AM »
Because the creative part of my brain never gives me a moment's peace and seems determined to overload my backlog with story ideas, I've recently gotten one for potentially my first ever standalone fantasy novel. It would be my chance to get certain ideas out of my system, such as mind control and the idea of a benevolent dictatorship.

I'd appreciate some first impressions of the basic outline:

During a time of great crisis the mystics of a kingdom summoned helpful entities from another plane of reality. I'm using "Bright Lords" as a placeholder title. Anyway, they are highly magical being with an instinct for order and kindness... but as it turns out not much concern for individual freedoms nor patience for humanity to sort its own problems out.

Rather than leave the Bright Lords stay and take over, establishing a classless society of even distribution and no prejudice of any kind. They are aided in this by humans who have proven strong and resourceful (such as by opposing the Lords), whom they subject to magical slavery. These slaves gain some of their master's power and exist in a constant state of satisfaction, with any thoughts of discontent or anger at their situation being quickly brushed away by the spell.

Meanwhile the Bright Lords do face opposition, such as by the expat ruling class, religious authorities, people who just plain don't want to live under firm control, and neighbouring nations who want more land for themselves.

The story would kick off in the moment one of the slaves is ambushed by a resistance group and freed from the controlling spell, then take off by the group to give advice in dealing with the Bright Lords. This character would be confused, having to deal with the chaos of normal human thought again and the loss of purpose, while being hunted by their former comrades, who want to bring them back into the fold and act genuinely hurt over the escape. The main character would feel quite conflicted.

The general idea is very fresh and therefore vague, but there would be cloak and dagger stuff involving attempts to retake control of the kingdom, as well as musings on whether happiness is worth less when induced. The climax would be about averting war, and the main character having to willingly enter the magic bond again in order to have the power to save innocent lives. They would then reflect on how whether right or wrong their servitude was at least a decision this time, and that it meant something.

As I've mentioned a couple of times I'm in the early stages of planning an epic fantasy series. I'm going to go with an ensemble cast, but the story would ultimately hinge on a hero distantly descended from divine beings (inspired by Aasimar from D&D), touched with certain powers and a painful inability to tolerate other people's suffering.

I started wondering how the other characters would feel about someone with a rigidly black and white definition of right and wrong. As I'm currently picturing it this person would have no tolerance for moral compromise, the allowing of small evils today for the sake of staving off greater ones down the road, and voice a weary exasperation towards humanity for its corruptibility and letting greedy, cruel people get their way.

On the one hand this person would be well-known to be completely trustworthy and reliable, and no one complains about bleeding heart kindness when they're on the receiving end of it. On the other no one likes being moralised at, and then there's the resentment people might feel towards someone with gifts above and beyond the rest of us.

I'm looking forward to doing this character, and experiment with doing a pure good character that still has some depth; such as internal reflection on how, unlike regular people, they don't really have any choice in being "good". There is also the issue of feeling weighed down by people's expectations. But I find I'm having a hard time deciding on whether they'd be treated more with hero worship or frustration at supposed naivety.

Writers' Corner / My query letter
« on: June 19, 2018, 01:20:37 PM »
Oh, God. Query letters. My personal Sauron has returned from the distant past to drive me up the wall.

Anyway, I've decided to give traditional publishing a try, and that's that. I would appreciate thoughts on what I have so far:

The sprawling city of Fluvi is caught in tensions between rich and poor, anarchists and those in power, and the two dominant ethnic groups. Journalist Sam Todd and his team of helpers work to uncover corruption and make calls for peace. Things take a turn for the strange as a seemingly regular investigation starts uncovering annual mass disappearances around the solstice. Odd forces start pressing in on the group as they get closer to an occult secret society. A part of this is Angela Thorn, musician and part-time investigator who finds the dark family secrets her mother supposedly took to the grave suddenly coming for her. Knives lie in wait in the dark and the group finds their worldview breaking little by little, testing their conscience and courage alike. The solstice draws near, and blood will flow.

Writers' Corner / Choosing between my main villains
« on: June 13, 2018, 12:13:13 AM »
Continuing on from my earlier thread, I'm now contemplating my big bad dark lord, the setting's orc expies, and the relationship between the two.

I'd like to hear some thoughts on the two approaches I've come up with.

Option 1: An ancient, primal demon entity, comprised of humanity's uglier aspects. The orcs are essentially tiny aspects of it, and when enough of them are gathered in one unified tribe the demon can manifest in the flesh for brief periods and wreak utter havoc.
This character would be more of a force of nature than a person with complex motives; personality would be left more to his human generals. His sheer simplicity would form much of his persona and dialogue. This is partially inspired by this exchange from Adventure Time:

"You're so evil it's boring! You're basic, man!"
"Yes. While the mortal world doubts and questions, I know exactly what I am."

Of the two, he would be the more powerful, and can't ever really be destroyed for good for as long as humanity remains, well, human. It would be humanity's own fault that he is manifest on Earth in the first place, while other primordial forces are more ethereal.

Option 2: A human from the early days of the world, who sought forbidden, divine power and knowledge, but his basic underlying human frailties caused it to backfire on him and turn him into a twisted abomination in body and spirit. His goal is essentially to drag the whole world down to his level by encouraging mankind's worst instincts of hatred and selfishness. The orcs are contagious; captives he had twisted like himself with dark magic, and are driven by constant rage, paranoia and relentless consumption.

This character seems ripe for dialogue about how he's humanity fully realised, with all the veneers stripped away. However, he'd also be a coward when faced with something that actually poses a threat to him, as he is ALL of our bad aspects cranked up to eleven.

Writers' Corner / Inherently "good"
« on: June 05, 2018, 12:25:54 AM »
I'm cursed with coming up with a new setting/series well before I can actually start working on it. Now I'm 1/3 through my Gothic/Lovecraftian series, and have just gotten the very earliest ideas for my very own Tolkieneque old-style epic fantasy. You know, with lots of travelling, lots of travellers, high stakes and a sense of myth.

Assuming I can pull it off, of course.

I'm currently pondering the basic elements, including the Gifted Hero. In short, I want my next setting to have people gifted with special powers that come with an inclination toward heroics.

I guess I'm going to define "goodness/heroism" as empathy for other people's suffering, and the passion and will to do something about it.

On the empathy thing I think I'll go with them being up-to-eleven sensitive to the suffering of others, possibly to the degree of literally feeling it just by being near them. This would make doing something about it as natural as looking after one's own emotional state. It would also give a "this sucks" angle to the whole thing, and make these people prone to either nervous breakdowns or living as hermits in the middle of nowhere.
I would also make them driven and passionate to the point of often charging in headfirst, and being prone to melodrama and meltdowns. Ie. someone you want leading a charge, but not making plans.

This seems like it would give me characters with a reputation for/tendency towards do-gooderism, while also allowing for a bit of depth.

Any thoughts?

Writers' Corner / Main character without agency
« on: April 07, 2018, 08:25:46 PM »
A little while ago I weathered an idea I had for an enlightened dictatorship, by beings that have a strong sense of compassion but no real concern for stuff like free will or individualism.

The idea has been rolling around in my head for a little while now, and it occurred to me to make the main character a human under their control. Ie, with independent thought but no ability to defy orders. This would be a former hero, one of the party that always brings down the well-intentioned would-be dictators in stories... except this time they failed.

This is still a very young and half-baked idea, but currently I'm thinking of doing a standalone novel, exploring the character reflecting on the situation and whether the takeover is ultimately good or bad, while being put to work in keeping order by the bosses.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this.

Writers' Corner / Taglines
« on: March 22, 2018, 07:03:06 PM »
My blurbs have gotten some criticisms over time, and it's been suggested that I add a tagline at the start of each one. Something to indicate the general tone and nature of each story to entice people to continue reading. But I don't really know how to approach this. I feel I can't write something like "Fast-paced action thrill ride!" or make a comparison to some pop culture hallmark without coming across as an egotist.

I was hoping some of you folks who have read my books might have something to say:



Writers' Corner / My occult ritual
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:32:02 AM »
I'm piecing together the various aspects of my new series, and the first novel will be about a group kidnapping people for use in a sacrificial ritual.

(yes, I know this is almost as heavily used in fantasy as the comma, but whatever)

I feel that if they could just use anyone things would be too easy and simple for the bad guys, and there would be no pattern for the heroes to investigate. So I need to design the ritual to have some kind of internal logic beyond just bloodshed.

Yesterday the thought occurred that maybe they need eight people: Two kids, two adolescents, two parents, and two old people. They are seeking to appeal to a Lovecraftian entity that sees all and knows all (an expy of Yog-Sothoth), and so the internal logic I have in mind is:

Children for their clean slate and potential.

Adolescents for being the bridge between childhood and adulthood.

Parents in the prime of their lives for being those truly tethered to this world.

Elders for looking back on all of life with experience and wisdom.

And one male, one female of each for the full view.

So.... does this sound workable as the offerings to appease an eldritch god? Also, I was thinking the bad guys would start with the oldest and work their way down, ie starting with wisdom and ending with potential.

... which is a very deliberately chosen date, as it's exactly three years after my first English-language novel went up on Amazon. Spreading Fire will be the sixth one.

I am also running a discount on the two previous novels until the 19th.


Writers' Corner / I'm uneasy with my own idea
« on: December 29, 2017, 08:09:05 PM »
I'm sort of cursed with coming up with interesting ideas for a series when I have at least one other whole series to write first. Of course that does mean I have plenty of time to fine-tune my new setting, but I'm having some... I guess ethical issues with my latest one.

(this is all quite half-formed, but please bear with me here)

I don't have a name for this thing, but it is born of my interest in "blue and orange morality", the theme of utopia at the cost of autonomy, the challenge of writing the POV of someone under mind control, and the idea that humans may be incapable of creating a long-term functioning society but maybe someone else is.

The idea is that there are these entities, a species I guess, with monstrous power circa on par with Marvel's Thor, who are benevolent conquerors. As in, they have a sense of compassion that sends them into an instinctive berserker rage at the sight of wanton cruelty, but have no built-in appreciation for individualism or personal freedom, and have an instinct for domination and order. My half-formed way of justifying this is that they were created long ago to serve as custodians of their world, and are expanding little by little.

So they'll take control of a community and establish their way of things, and a character who stayed in one for a while is forced to admit that:

A) They DO keep things safe and stable

B) They really can't be expected to adhere to exact human morality, because their minds honestly do work differently.

My main issue is that "We'll rule them for their own good" is exactly the bullshit excuse used by the colonial powers of yesteryear to subjugate anyone they came across who happened to have inferior technology, and plunder their natural resources. I despise those bastards almost as much as I do Nazis, and here I am creating a situation where this attitude is sort-of maybe justified.


Writers' Corner / I'm facing a bit of an ethical dilemma in my story
« on: November 14, 2017, 10:04:39 PM »
To make a long story short-ish, my protagonist is a princess of a huge space monarchy which is facing a tense standoff with two powerful neighbours. One is democratic, where whichever politician can get the most under-the-table funding for airtime can generally sway public opinion and push their agenda through.

As it stands, senators bought by weapon manufacturers are pushing for war, which every sensible person realises would lead to apocalyptic loss of life. So my princess is having a private chat with a reasonable, level-headed senator during a diplomatic summit, and in the mutual interest of preventing mass death, she offers to arrange for the monarchy to back his anti-war rhetoric.

It was when I revisited this scene that I realised that for him to accept funds from a foreign government is ethically dodgy as hell. And she is very much a Lawful Good shining knight type, and he is very much a straight shooter and scrupulously honest. He has a line about how he can't get his voice heard much precisely because he hasn't sold his soul.

Sooo... any advice here? I've been trying to think of some way for her to help him urge peace that would be both legal and discreet.

Writers' Corner / Uniform: Can I get some opinions?
« on: October 12, 2017, 04:25:50 PM »
I'm about to commission my next cover, using the same fantastic artist as before, and I need to give her an idea for the uniform of a royal guard in my space opera. I've found images of a few designs I like, though the in-universe uniform is mostly red, with the buttons and [I don't what word to use; brim, margins, embossing? the white things on the bottom picture] in gold.

I would love to hear some opinions:

My second space opera novel is now out.


23 years after the War of the Usurper the three great powers face off in an uneasy stalemate. An old space lane has reopened, offering great advantage to whoever claims it. Beyond it lies Lost Space, isolated from galactic societyf or centuries, chaotic, backwards, and host to many things thought lost to time.

Princess Serina of the Realm of the Glorious Dawn leaps at the chance to join a diplomatic mission into this mysterious region, away from her royal mother’s shadow and towards a legacy of her own.

But not all lost things are worth rediscovering, and an ancient enemy thought defeated strikes, leaving her stranded on a barbarous planet. Cut off from servants and bodyguards, Serina must seek out allies and dig deep for the strength to make it back home. With foes both mystical and mundane in pursuit, the princess indeed starts to lay out her legacy,and another of Lost Space’s hidden secrets may prove her only salvation.


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