Limits in Magic Systems

In fantasy, you tend to have magic all over the place. Often times, it is used by elves and wizards, while regular people don’t tend to use it unless there’s some kind of magical object. But in a story, what kind of magic system works best? How do you know the magic isn’t too overwhelming but at the same time know it has a purpose in the fantasy world. Well, today I’d like to answer that.

One of my favorite authors has developed a set of rules for how he makes his magic work. One of these rules is fundamental to my writing, and that is that your magic system should provide the character with some kind of power, but it should have limitations, costs, and weaknesses.

In my novel Kingslayer, the main villain possesses a ring that grants immortality and prevents all injury, with one exception. There is also a magic sword that can cut through any object, including the flesh of immortals. This means that the magic ring has a fatal flaw: the one who owns this sword can still kill them. This is a weakness and a limitation to the magic that works quite well in my opinion (though I’m biased).

Another example of how this works is in Lord of the Rings. The Ring of Power can do all kinds of crazy things, but there’s a terrible cost involved. Eventually, the person who owns the ring goes mad and becomes addicted to the intoxicating power. If that’s not a cost, I don’t know what is.

The bottom line is that, when making a magic system, you have to create some kind of balance or your readers won’t be able to suspend their believe in your fantasy.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

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A Review of CreateSpace’s POD Services

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I received a package in the mail on Thursday that contained 4 copies of my novel, Kingslayer. This post will basically be a review of the printing services offered by the company I used, which is CreateSpace. Before I get to that, however, it is important to view the video of me opening the package. Sorry in advance if I seem a little awkward. I’m not much for cameras.

Assuming you’ve gone an watched the video, let’s just cut to the chase. I’m very pleased with the experience. As I said in the video, I’d say it’s 4 1/2 stars out of 5. In other words, I’m 90% pleased, which is pretty good. At first I said that as a bit of a random number, because it’s not going to be perfect; then I realized there was a bit of glue on the backs of a couple of the books.

So in other words, I’m still 90% impressed, only for a different reason. The binding is good, the matte cover is professional looking. Even the Canva cover I made for the book looks flawless. The bottom line is that if they had managed to print the 4 books, I’d give them a full 100% on this. I’m sure they’ll get it right in the future.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

 

Religion in Fantasy

In one of my previous blogs, I discussed the religious structure of my novel Kingslayer. And the truth is, creating an entire religion–whether based on real religions or not–is a huge undertaking. You have to decide what is ethical in accordance with its teachings, and you have to decide how the religion is organized, and so on and so forth.

The truth is, the hard part is deciding what the people of your world believe, because that will ultimately impact how your characters behave. What do they eat? How do they eat it? What do they wear? These are all questions you’ll have to ask yourself, aside from what goes on in the church (or other holy temple).

It should also be stressed that if your fantasy world has religion, there is likely to be disputes over how the religion ought to be practiced. This is a big part of Kingslayer, as a matter of fact.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

The Political Structure of Kingslayer, A Novel by Napoleon Lovecraft

In one of my previous blog posts, I went into detail about some of the world building stuff related to my novel Kingslayer. I mostly went into the magic systems and touched a little on the religious elements of the text; however, I didn’t get into the government and politics of that world. So with no further ado, let’s talk the governmental systems of the Isobellian Empire.

First and foremost, Isobellia is a sovereign state that, like many real Empires, is composed of territories. The Empire is made up of the sovereign state of Isobellia and seven territories. They are as follows:

  1. Cynlon
  2. Cynlu
  3. Hathara
  4. The Gililands
  5. Lychford
  6. Abu Dali
  7. Yorkenshire

Before the events of the novel, Isobellia was a free country, led by the powerful White King Michael Willington. Like the U.S. and other nations in the real world, the Empire was made up of three equal branches of government:

  1. The king
  2. The Royal Council
  3. The courts

The King

Unlike the dictatorship that appears in Kingslayer, the monarchy of the previous decades was very democratic in nature. The king wasn’t elected and his children would have ascended to the throne, but in order to pass laws, the king had to go through the single-chambered legislature known as the Royal Council.

The Royal Council

This council is a body of lords (three from each territory and zero from the sovereign state) that are appointed by the king and voted into office by the people. They pass laws by a 3/5 majority, and by the same margin, they can remove the king and his heirs from power. A new leader is then selected from the members on the Royal Council.

Each lord from the Royal Council serves for a single seven-year term.

The Courts

I won’t explain this one, since it’s pretty much the same as in the real world.

This is how it was until the Black King Tiberius took over the Empire and killed many lords and even his predecessor, King Michael Willington. This event takes place twenty-four years before the main events of Kingslayer.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

The Art of Making Art

As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I have chosen to self-publish my novel Kingslayer. But the truth is, the self-pub community didn’t always have it so easy. It used to be that if you self-published, you were treated as inferior by the elites in the publishing industry. Quite the stigma, if you ask me. But what they never told you is that a large portion of the books out there were writen merely to make money and nothing more. There wasn’t much of an art form with writing in that period.

However, that all changed when the eReader was invented. Now self-publishers can share their work with other writers, but in a lot of ways, the greed of corporate publishers still exist. The problem is, they’re not interested in telling a story that deserves to be read. In my opinion, they have destroyed the notion of creating art in their authors’ fiction. And, also in my opinion, that is why indie writers are in a lot of ways superior to their traditionally-published counterparts.

If you listen to indie music and compare it to mainstream music, the principle still applies. A lot of it is generic, and in some cases boring. So, is it a good idea to “sell out” in the interest of your career, or would it be better to focus on telling a good story, whether it sells a lot of copies or not? I think the second option is far better. Keep in mind that some genres of fiction (like fantasy) are, by their nature, generic. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The point is, write the kind of stories you want to write, and don’t worry about making a career out of it. If you just happen to be able to write what you want and make a career out of it, more power to you. But making money should never be the priority. Doing so would make you a part of the problem in the publishing industry. In other words, focus on making art, and let the rest take care of itself.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Why I Write Fantasy

There are many famous authors–living and dead–who have published wonderful fiction in the fantasy genre. This list, of course, includes J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George R.R. Martin, and even Pat Rothfuss. But what makes writers like this tick? Why do they write fantasy and genres similar to it? Well, the honest truth is I can’t speak for any of them; however, I can speak for myself as to why I write fantasy.

To me, fantasy represents a melting pot of ideas. You can literally write about anything outside the norms of reality and call it fantasy. For example, Star Wars is fantasy from my point of view. You have a princess, a hero, a wise mentor, and a Dark Lord. The limitless possibilities is just one aspect of fantasy that I love. Star Wars, of course, is just one example of how fantasy can be mixed with another genre to create something new. My novel Kingslayer has a lot of thriller elements to it (since the main plot involves a heist for a magic sword), which is why I tell people it’s a “religious political fantasy thriller.”

Of course, you can also let your imagination run wild by combining everyday aspects of life with the unique style of fantasy. What kinds of food do the characters eat? Do the recipes include dragon meat? How does the technology in the fantasy world interact with the magic of said fantasy?

I think you get the point. There are a lot of things that can be done in fantasy, which is exactly what makes the genre so appealing to me. There are zero limitations to what you can do, and with the advent of self-publishing, the limitations that once existed no longer do. You can write the fantasy you want, and you can find the readers who want to read that kind of tale. These are just a few things that make fantasy my favorite genre, which is why I only write fantasy to begin with.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

On Writing: Kingslayer, A Novel by Napoleon Lovecraft

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll know that I recently completed my novel Kingslayer. And to be honest, this was a major step in my career as a writer. I can barely remember the days before I started working on this project, primarily because I’ve been working on it for over ten years. It’s been a lot of work, mainly because this book has been the project that taught me how to be a writer. And when I say that, I really mean it.

Not a day goes by in which I don’t think of the characters, which is likely to continue even though I’m moving on to other projects. I hope some of you will grow to enjoy reading this book just like I enjoyed writing it. Some will not, which comes with the territory of writing high fantasy (or sword and sorcery), but that’s okay considering what my goals for this project are. But now that I’ve revealed what kind of book it is, let’s get into the nitty-gritty about how the novel is set apart from other books in the same genre. There are three things that really stand out: it’s told in first person, it does not have medieval-level technology, and most importantly, there are dozens and dozens of footnotes in the book.

First Person POV

This isn’t too revolutionary, though as anyone who is well-read in the fantasy genre could tell you, first person point of view is something that never happens in high fantasy. The Lord of the Rings is written in third person, as is Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire. But the truth is (in regards to writing in first person), I wasn’t trying to be unique. I was simply trying to write the best story I could, and third person POV just wasn’t working out.

The Technology

This high fantasy has guns, airships, locomotives, pocket watches, and bionic arms. I personally think of the tech being a little steampunk-ish, but that’s open to interpretation. One thing that isn’t up to the reader, however, is the fact that the world I’m writing about isn’t medieval Europe. Think more industrial revolution plus magical world, and you may be getting close.

Lots and Lots of Footnotes

This is a bit of an oddity in fiction, particularly the kind I’m writing. There are a couple famous books with them (including Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke), but none that really stand out to most readers. The truth is, I fell in love with the idea of using footnotes in fiction, which to some may seem a bit nerdy, but it’s the type of art I wanted to produce. With a single viewpoint character, I was limited on what I could do with the book. The footnotes solved that problem. They provided “historical” records of battles that take place, plus simple definitions of made up words and terms, not to mention the fact that they helped me insert incantations and descriptions of spells that are being cast by wizards or magic-savvy characters. The bottom line: they helped me tell a story in a very unique way, and honestly, I’ve never seen a high fantasy written this way before. It’s something I’m truly proud of.

I’ve yet to release a plot description or a cover (which should not be a surprise, considering neither have been put together yet), but I will post updates on Twitter as time passes.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017