Writers Wanted

Our writing group is looking for writers interested in submitting short stories the our Thieves World additions. If you are interested, please contact Kevin Pajak for more details.

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Thieves World installment #1

Finally, my first offering to the Thieves World universe is done. It took a bit longer than expected. Jim finished his (A Piece of Home), and I think his offering is fabulous. I hope you like mine.

Dance of Swords (Click Here) occurs in book seven (The Dead of Winter).

Both Jim and I started writing our offerings at the same time. However, mine took more revisions, which caused the delay. I actually published it several months ago, but just realized that I could not keyword/tag it as wordpress considers pages to not be tag-able (if that is a word). Jim suggested I make a blog post and use that to get the tags. So, I am.

Should you be interested in joining the other authors who are currently crafting Thieves World stories please feel free to contact me. I am more than happy to add a link to your story — If it is well written and remains true to the spirit set forth by Robert Asprin and Company.

Thieves World is a setting/universe where countless tales can be told within the confines of the twelve published works. These are all tales that should be told. I hope you join us in doing so.

Thank you,

Kevin Pajak

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Waves

How does one capture the sea?  Words have such stasis that they little serve. [i.e. have no potential/ities to *reflect that liquid flux] 

What is it that one finds so fascinating about oceans?  It seems that the mystical nature of the melding between light waves and water waves speak to us as intensities. The medium of water reveals many aspects of light’s nature.  People are forever holding this liquid up to the Li-G-ht. Holding it up into the l/I(gh)-T. The Light.  light.  To let the play of water and light bend and shift so a previously unknown facet can emerge in a way that our vision can see it.  This is not a pulling out of light one character of it.  (Rephrasing that last sentence: This does not pull out of light one of its characters.) No! This is wrong thinking.  Correct seeing understands that, when it is in water, light exists in a completely different way.  Light passes through water BUT it does more.  It plays. It sings. It dances.  It changes.  It bends reality.  It does all of this by immersion and blending, by melding and molding, by standing in the becoming flux/change.  This is the revealing play that water cha chas with light across the dance floor.  

So, how does one capture this with words?  In truth, it is possible to capture their interplay via words. The more depth and breadth covered in capturing either a moment or an aspect that has been revealed causes a **stretching in language.  It is here in this thinness where language has difficulty that light potentially falls out of language.  The mutable everchanging (i.e. Light) can only be discussed and capture in portions via language (i.e. words).  For the more one does so, the more language stretches.  At the limits of communication, language must become evermore incomprehensible to (capture) depict? Reveal… paint The Waves

Yes the waves of light and water through the medium of language can be discussed.  Alternatively, their interaction can be painted.  

Just as Candace Rose Rardon does in her watercolor.  Click Here We see in her water color beautiful, playful, emerging waves of light diving and melding with water.  
But where does that leave the word smith? I return to my initial question. How does one capture the sea? 

First we need to understand light.  Unlike the way light shines on objects natural or man made [refer to Martin Heidegger’s works], light merges and blends with water.  

So, we have to use language in new ways if we are to bring vibrancy and fullness to the sea in the ways that painters can.  It requires re-vision/ing of language.  We writers will have to demand the freedom needed to speak in these new ways. We will have to wash the readers in The Waves of words that are filled with a fresh newness.  The pounding surf echoes across time fluxing in the vibrancy of light giving the ocean depth of being.

As I watch these new rhythms of language unfold in my mind, the vision builds and I am washed away in light and water to be set adrift on the ocean. 

———————————————————–

* more on reflection ala mirror ala reverberation later

** I want to explore the concept of how the stretching language occurs as a result of capturing light.  Its is as if light fills language beyond language’s capacity to communicate. 

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IN-SIDE the Music!!!

It’s all about the music but sometimes you want to hear the music in side the music.  You are in the music. IN SIDE it! Can you see the streams?  Here, take this.  It’s the music music pill. It’s called Leary’s. Freak the shit out!  It’ll let you see the threads so you can reach out and strum ’em.

YEahh dude. There was this one cat who heard the seen music so hard that he died IN-SIDE his own head.

WOW! I want ta go out that way dude.

Dude!

dude….

D….u…d…e….

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Art Meets Motion

I love travel writers.  They move and flow around places while giving glimpses of them to us in their writings so as to fill our minds with images, smells, activity, events, etc..  These little birds of flight peer into the unknown and share their findings.  This we all love about them.  I can sit at home and open the pages of a great travel book, and I’m there.  If it is well done, heck, I don’t ever have to actually visit that place because I have been there.  That is the power of these words that they spin.  Transposition occurs!

I am now standing, sitting, swimming–existing in the place where she once was.  If her writing excels, then I become her.  I move in the ways that she does.  I smell the smells and see everything.  The transformative, translocation, transmogrifying  power residing in the words written by the travel writer amazes me.   Excellent words have this potential.  Just thinking about this aspect of writing illustrates the power of words.

Here, at this moment, I question, What can surpass this aspect of writing for these kinds of effects?  I start to say, “Nothing . . .” Heck, I even almost put an exclamation point at the end of nothing!!!! I never do that. . . tisk.  Then, I magically run across something like this blog and the whole experience is taken to a new level.  I am only able to say this because the travel writer, who also is an artist, draws and writes about places.  No mere feat I assure you.  I could attempt to do so as well, but I don’t think stick figures cut it some how.

So, without further adieu I give you the blog of Candace Rose Rardon and entreat you to think about the blending of art and words, really existing in the same realm of imagination, and how this brings a new depth and breadth to travel writing.

http://www.candaceroserardon.com/

I would end by saying something pithy, but I think I will let her work explain my words.

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Dialogue Tags

What is the function of dialogue tags?  It seems of late there is a trend in writing to drop dialogue tags, or at least the dreaded “said.”  In part, I agree that tags have been overused. The story and the dialogue should reveal those aspects of attitude a character emits instead of tags.  Over reliance on dialogue tags can stem from many factors: lazy, novice, rushed.  We all have faced deadlines.  We convince ourselves to short cut something.  “After all, doesn’t my editor know these things take time,” he groaned?  “That heartless rouge!” he spat.  “Well, I’ll just finish it with tags,” he said, barked, jeered, whined.  “The editor will never catch on.”

Do we need all this said, said, said stuff?  The short answer is yes and no.  Let the dialogue and the scene tell you if it is warranted.  Ask yourself, “Is it clear who said what?”  Ask yourself, “Is the character’s attitude and emotional state clear?”  You can also ask yourself, “Can I write the dialogue in such a way so the tag ‘barked’ is not needed?”  Another thing that is good to know is, “What am I trying to do with this tag/ why am I using it?”

I know that authors cannot agonize over every little word during the writing process nor should they.  This suffocates the writing process.  Also, they should not do this during the editing process.  This is not the function of editing.  However, writers can do it if they are doing so for practice.  Practice makes us all better writers.  So, I argue that sometimes we should slow down; heck, we should stop writing.  During these times, we change gears and practice.  Go back to 101 and relive those moments when we did not know this or that.  Take out those old exercises you did when you were taking that late night “How to Story Craft” class at the local Junior College.  Do these exercises again.  You might find them helpful.  After all, time erases all things, including those bits we want to keep.  If it has been a long TIME since you practiced, you may find that pulling out these old exercises from the attic, blowing off the dust, and going back to 101 exercises actually helpful.  They may assist you in blowing off the dust in your mind, covering up those old bits of knowledge.

So, here is a list of dialogue tags.  Along with them I offer you my 101 exercise.

Kevin Pajak’s 101 Dialogue Tag Exercise:                                                                                             Take these tags (found below) and stick them in a section of something you recently wrote.  You can only reuse each dialogue tag once.  This means that you can use them twice.  After you have done this, look at each line of dialogue and see if you can re-craft it so that what the character says reflects the tag.  If you are successful, then you will be able to drop the tag.  It will have become superfluous.

Below you will find the list of dialogue tags.  Although, it is in no way to be considered complete.  It is just a short list.  “Good luck!” he declared.  Notice: with the use of the exclamation point, I no longer need to say declared.  Ha!

barked
begged
bellowed
blared
bleated
cackled
chortled
coaxed
cooed
coughed
declared
demanded
expounded
gasped
groaned
haggled
harped
hissed
hacked
hooted
jabbered
jeered
jested
joked
moaned
panted
pleaded
pondered
posited
pronounced
protested
queried
questioned
sang
screamed
shouted
sneezed
snickered
sniffed
spat
spewed
spumed
stammered
stuttered
trilled
trumpeted
uttered
waffled
wailed
whimpered
whined
whispered
worried
yelled

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The Potentialities of Distance

Part I – Critique of Pure Judegement

What is critical distance and what is its function?  Critical distance is a mental and emotional aspect that gives one just enough distance so that an object can be seen truly.  This state can only be attained through the placement of limits on emotion and mental activity—analysis.  If both can be reduced to the bare minimum, then the proper detachment from an object allows it to come into focus.  Objects, moments, and events can be viewed in their uncorrupted state when critical distance is attained. Uncorrupted because the meaning has not been defined for it, but it has been allowed freedom to exist in all of its aspects.

Some emotion must remain otherwise all things become spartan, stripped of that aspect called life.  Likewise, the mind that examines and questions must float in awareness but not be engaged.  Some awareness must remain, else it will be invisible.  Should the mind be engaged, then the predetermined meanings of the object lash-out and trap it, leaving it to history and cyclical thought.  In other words, it can only think those thoughts that have already been thought.

But, should the interlocutor be able to use both mind and emotion properly, then a critical distance can be attained.  It is a distance that resides in a universe where the object exists in an uncorrupted state of infinite potentialities.  The proper focus of both act as the gateway to this universe.

Should this be accomplished, then the object, event, or moment can be seen in its true unaltered state.  The possible and probable stand exposed to the viewer.  Now, the infinite potentialities emerge.

Part II – Interface

How does this relate to interface?  Earlier, I discussed the moment of the interface.  This is the event that allows the author to merge with the reader to create a connection that cannot be achieved without it.  Let us turn to critical distance once again.

Critical distance, when created during an interface moment, brings the reader both mentally and emotionally to a state where a merging between the author and the reader occurs.  Remember, the reader has been motivated to attend the book signing moment because of the emotions stirred in the reader by the stories and tales the author told.  The reader attends, in an emotional state, the book signing event.  How then do we create the critical distance required for the interface to work?  As stated previously, the scene needs to be set.  The proper arrangement of books requires that the older works be more prominent.  Although the reader will remember with joy the older books, they will have a dampening effect upon the reader.  It will be a fondness encountered first.  As a memory, the dust has settled.  The edge of emotion has been blunted.  This will lessen the reader’s heightened emotional state.

Proper placement of the new novel requires it to be staged so it is encountered after the author.  I would say at the far end of the table.  I know that most authors place their new book front and center.  They are proud.  I would be too.  They do not understand that the focus of the reader needs to be shifted away from the novel and onto them.  So, we need to lessen the impact of seeing the latest novel by having it encountered last.  This will give the author a chance to increase the effect of interfacing with the reader.

Table placement needs to be discussed.  This concept is difficult to discuss as every location is structured differently.  We have even seen the chain bookstores have different layouts.  If the author is given a choice, the location of the table needs to allow the readers to come upon the author in such a way that it makes the author appear larger than life.  A long wall down which the readers file to the end where the table sits provides a good example of this heightening intensification of the encounter.  Stanchions and ropes act as further separators.  How big should the table be.  This is difficult to discuss.  In general, it needs to be large enough to contain the books, the author, and any signage.  A grouping of items is a good start.  Older novels with at least five inches of separation between the old novels and the author is required.  Then, the signage should be placed to the left of the author.  However, the signage should not be only about the new novel.  Any signage should mainly be about the author and the novels present on the signs should only act as support for bring the author into prominence.  Should there be a covering on the table?  Again, this is situational.  What color should the covering be?  There is no hard fast rule, but the color of the covering needs to compliment the complexion of the author.

Why all of this effort to make the book signing event about the author when we are attempting to create critical distance?  “This is an excellent question–Kevin,” said myself.  “Thank you.  I’m glad you noticed,” Kevin said. We need to make the author the focal point so that we can move away from him i.e. create critical distance.  When the author is too powerful or too prominent, several problems can occur.  The reader can become disenchanted with the author.  The reader can focus on the author and not his works.  When the author becomes more important than his works, the readers tend to fall into fandom.  Now, this is okay to a certain extent as long as the author does not become sidetracked by this fandom.  Altering the focus onto the author allows critical distance to be created.  Why?  The readers are presumably at the event because they love the novel.  They want more from it.  Blogs, magazine articles, and news letters from the author can only go so far.  What the reader wants is a connection.

If we shift the focus onto the author, then this connection can occur.  It needs to be modified so that the readers will still purchase future novels.  At the event, if we have done our job properly, the author has become the focus.  This has lessened the emotion of the reader.  Now we need to lessen the emotion of the reader who is focused on the author.  How do we do this?

To lessen the reader’s emotion on an author we need to generate a cooling down.  This is accomplished by having the author say no more than a few phrases to the reader.  This assumes a line.  The discussions should be about the writing of the book and not the actual story or characters.  This creates the critical distance.  Now, the interface can function properly.

If there is no line or this is a new author with no fans, we need to have the event structured differently.  In this instance, critical distance should not be created.  Any focus upon the author is needful.

Why worry about critical distance?  If critical distance can be created between the author and the reader while the reader’s focus is on the author, then a magical thing happens.  The reader adheres to the author because of the way he writes and not because of this or that novel.  Ultimately, the reader needs to be led to see that the author’s word craft, how his characters come to life, the structures and rhythms of his tales are what make the reader want to read this author.  After all, the fans may not like an author’s latest series.  Heck they may never read it.  Rest assured, if the author’s style is what moves the fans, they will be his readers for a lifetime.

Part III – The Novel

How can critical distance be attained between the author and the novel?  More importantly, what can it do for the author?  Let us begin with a discussion about what it does for the author.  If the author can gain critical distance, then the potentialities inherent in the structure of the chapter, the scene, or even the character become many.  The author sets out to craft a character.  Background is created along with description.  The author begins to see this character.  He is becoming mentally close to the character.  This is good for generating the character, but should this become set in stone?  The answer lies in the dynamic potentialities available to the author if the character does not become fixed until the story is finished.  Won’t the character be all over the place if it is not the same from start to finish?  Emphatically, I answer, yes.  This is the point.  If the author sees the character from this critical distance, then the as yet undiscovered aspects of the character can emerge.  This holds true for all aspects of the novel.   When nothing is fixed until the end, then the author likely will generate multiple aspects of a scene, setting, plot, character, etc.

The house was run a crumbling white two story structure.  No one had lived in it for years.  Chapter two.  The house was in need of repair.  No one had lived in it for years.  Recently, an traveling art community had moved into it.  Chapter seven.  The garish three story house was the residence of the local art community.  They had, over the years, fixed up the house and painted it with a vibrancy to match the life within.

Had the description of the house emotionally held the author, i.e. the author had emotionally been too close to this description, then the house could not evolved.  Had the author been to mentally close to the house, e.g. the intriguing effect of entropy motivated the author to retain the crumbling nature of the house, then it could not have evolved.  This holds true for too much distance.

The town was a northern town in the rustbelt.  It had died the slow death like the rest.  Here we note that the author is detached from the town.  The town is depicted through preset imagery and symbols.  Does the author even care about this town?  Can he?  The answer is no.  The town will always be like this in his story.  The author is too far or too detached from the town.  It will always remain the same in this story.

Let us now discuss attainment of this distance.  After a while, it should happen automatically.  Initially, the author will have to work on letting go of everything.  It could be thought of as analogous to free-writing or in music terms, riffing.  To begin building this skill, the author could have several sentences back to back describing something.

The crumbling house was two stories and new with three stories.  The one story house needed some repair but its green paint was mostly intact.  The roof had recently fallen in which was why only the bottom two stories could be used.  The house had a front porch. The house only had a back porch.  The second story window led to a roof top gazebo.

This dynamic alteration of the house brings out aspects of the plot that could not be explored had it remained fixed.

The best tactic to take is to write without thinking.  Don’t get emotional about that perfect shade of blue.  All things should be liked, even enjoyed, but never loved until the novel is finished.  If the author can do this, then the potentials shine.  They may even lead to multiple novels based on a single item in the story.  When the author shares the telling with the tale all things become possible.

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