the pilgrimage begins

The Pilgrim has the unique privilege of traversing the leagues of open  ocean separating the nations of Eormen.  They have seen countless peoples, the overwhelming majority with no experience of any other society, any other religion, any other culture than their own.

The Pilgrim, for their part, is neutral – merely a collector of stories.

But The Pilgrim understands. They have seen too many monsters not to notice the similarities. The dragons terrorising The Drylands are the same as those threatening the tiny nations who can see every edge of the known world from the one hill their island possesses.

They are at the same time identical and vastly different.

The Pilgrim understands this, and moreover observes that in every case, the isolation of these nations reduces the probability of salvation to almost zero – unless that salvation comes from the people themselves.

And The Pilgrim learns.

They learn how each little world leads its own destiny, how each little world faces up to their part in creating the monsters who threaten them, and how brave but otherwise normal men and women go about vanquishing them.

And those that do not?

They sink into the endless sea of Eormen.

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John Falconer is nothing special.  When he was born he was the wrong sort of person.  At school he was the wrong sort of person.  When it was time to make something of himself he was the wrong sort of person.

John Falconer will never be great.

What he is, is curious. He is open.  And he knows what is right and what is wrong.  Despite being the wrong sort of person, he is the sort that is treasured by the right people: a good, honest, and dependable man.

With Falconer, you know where you are.  Geniuses appreciate this.  Royalty prizes this.  Even evil has to respect this.

And so it is that even the wrong sort of person can have great adventures..

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Go to the top of the page and click ‘Menu & Widgets’ to navigate the site if you don’t fancy trawling through the entire blog.  The ‘Stories’ page is precisely that, stories written by The Pilgrim or by John Falconer.  The posts are arranged alphabetically, and right at the bottom is the option to search by category.

Read, spend some time, relax, shoot me a line.

Peace,

J

jack london’s three paragraphs

A lie, really, because it isn’t by Jack London, and it isn’t even three paragraphs.  I was looking for inspiration and saw a quote (which London did write).  Immediately, something within me said: flash fiction.  So I got ready to write three strong paragraphs and produced this desperate, clichéd trash*.  It just goes to show that forcing yourself to have an idea, even with all my practice, produces mixed results.

*Author’s appraisal.  Reader experience may vary.

His hunger fed upon what he read, and increased.”

I suppose I should have known by the way his glasses had that opaque kind of shine to them. That’s something that only really happens in comics and films. I know that now. In my defence, I don’t think there was ever any chance for me. From the first moment he opened his little black notebook and began to scribble, that was it.

I saw them all, a whole wall of soft, leather-bound notebooks. When he wasn’t writing them he was reading them. I saw his chair, the upholstery almost worn through but the seat as firm and proud as if the springs were put in that morning. I don’t even know what I was doing there; I just was. I don’t know why I put my hand on that particular notebook but I did.

I should never have begun reading but, when you think about it, how could I not?

Because there was everything in there. Everything since I first looked into those opaque glasses at the park. Everything including breaking into that house and seeing the notebooks. Everything except what I do next.

Even this thought process – these exact lines – it was all in there. But I can see out of the corner of my eye that the writing will stop soon. And then what? Do I have to wait until he comes back and writes more? What happens when he closes the book forever and puts it on his shelf?

I already know the answer: it will be the end of me.  After that I’ll exist only for him. After everyone who ever knew me is dead, there he’ll be, reading the story of me in the same chair, and when he’s sucked every last breath of me from my story I expect he’ll throw the book out.

He’s got plenty more.

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as long as

“You can make your character kind, caring, generous . . . as long as he stays the top toy

As long as certain conditions are met.

After that, all bets are off.”

Thus spake Andrew Stanton, the writer behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and others.

It’s widely agreed that every character needs a flaw to make them interesting.  For Woody, it’s that he’s selfish.  But what happens if you make him just selfish?  Well, according to an abandoned storyboard, he doesn’t across very well.  In fact, you find yourself not liking him at all.

I mean, do you like anybody who’s just selfish?

Probably not.

But that’s the beauty of the story: Woody is a really great guy – as long as he’s the top toy.  Do you know anyone like that?  Someone you can’t decide whether you like them or not?  Someone who’s only nice as long as?  The chances are you do.  In fact in all probably you are someone like that.  There has to be some point past which all bets are off.  That’s what makes us human.

That’s what Stanton’s stories teach us.

But what about your stories?  Have you made your character likeable and relatable or simply detestable?  Are they a person you would like to know or is their flaw just too visible?  We’re all trying to hide our flaws.  The great moment in your story is when you choose to reveal your character’s flaw.

When will they reach the point where as long as no longer cuts it?

When are all bets off?

That’s the magic.

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believe or die

When the fictional world colonises the real world, magic can happen.  No, it isn’t just lying; it’s something else entirely.

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A fictional world, yet familiar . . .

Let’s start at the beginning.

The way my mind works is, at times, painfully logical.  Infuriatingly logical, if you ask friends and family, with no room for compromise unless those compromises are just as logically presented.

Then there are the other times.

For example, when I first announced my crusade for didacticism, my plan was to present first the clearest arguments for, and the clearest examples of, before working my way outwards to show that, at its essence, everything is a lesson.  That would have been logical.

Instead I got inspired, and then it didn’t matter what was logical any more, I only knew that I had to show you this thing, and I had to show you why I thought it was great and interesting, and then I had to think about why I found it great and interesting, and in the end it all came back to teaching and learning.

OK, watch it now.  It’s long enough to eat with, and a better lunch partner than most.

When Nico grows up and realises he probably didn’t talk to a real whale, he’ll be reminded of a beautiful childhood memory.  What he probably won’t realise is that by perpetuating myths of faith, such as Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or [insert preferred fictional figure from your faith tradition here], he’s actually helping himself, and society.

Take justice, for instance – or Justice, if you like.  Way back when, such concepts were understood as real things of substance, truly existing somewhere we couldn’t see them.  The phenomena we experienced were simply reflections of those forms.

Nowadays, we can believe in concepts without having a potential physical manifestation somewhere; we can believe in Justice for Justice’s sake; we can believe in Goodness for Goodness’ sake.

We can believe in Father Christmas for Father Christmas’ sake.

Because if a child can believe in keeping a pet whale in a fjord in Norway, maybe as adults we can believe that somewhere out there, there really is Truth, and Love, and Justice, and Law, and everything else that lifts us out of our primal instincts.

Where would we be if we didn’t truly, firmly believe in those?

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how do you stay relevant?

If you’re dynamic, you’re moving. You might be moving forward or you might be moving back, but if you’re not dynamic, you’ll be irrelevant pretty soon.

Julian Stodd’s advice to listen to “stories of dissent” can be adapted to many situations.

When i’m asked “how will we know if an organisation is Socially Dynamic“, my off the cuff answer is that it will be able to hear stories of dissent. Perhaps i should add, “and it will recognise that it can learn from them“. Too often, stories of dissent are driven out of earshot, hidden, or […]

via To Hear Stories Of Dissent — Julian Stodd’s Learning Blog

i’d like to know what she bases these predictions on, but having never thought about it before, i have to say i thought it very interesting – a clear winner for PoE in the ‘longest-title’ category

by Lauren Sapala About ten years ago I worked for a startup that launched a social media site for published authors. This was the first place where I really started to meet writers and come in contact with people in the industry. In the spring of 2008 one of the topics being bantered about […]

via The Future of Books: 3 Audacious Predictions for the Next 20 Years — A Writer’s Path

WRITING LESSON SECTION 2 Part 4 BY DAVID KUMMER

Nice tips here, but the thing I love most is David’s passion. You can just feel how much he enjoys writing.

It got me thinking this early morning and I think that’s excellent. I’ll be back to read the other parts presently…

Mystery Thriller Week

Welcome to this lesson of David Kummer’s writing course. That’s me, by the way. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, success stories, or just something fun to say, email me at davidkummer7@gmail.com. I’d love to talk about anything and everything, especially if that everything has to do with books, basketball, or Chinese food. I am a teenager, after all. So that’s that! Head on down and read what might be the best writing course of your life, but also might be the worst 😉 You won’t know until you try!

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be in my club

I just read on a literary devices website that didacticism is very old hat.

The word is even pejorative in most literary circles.

I can’t believe it.  Especially in light of what I wrote BACK HERE on how much Stephen King’s The Talisman meant to me.

So I decided.  I am on a quest to BRING BACK DIDACTICISM.  Sure, there are clumsy, awful ways to do it, but there are also wonderful, subtle, genuinely life-changing, genuinely world-changing ways to do it.

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Good enough for this guy; good enough for me.

If you’re a writer, there’s nothing more worthwhile you can do than teach your readers something real.

Is there?

Well, no matter what happens, I’m going to push the merits of didacticism until the wheels fall off.

Watch this space to see how crazy it can get.

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