Posts Tagged Ezekiel Jones

Your Protagonist Does Not Need to be a Hero

8 July 2011

Really, they don’t. They don’t need to be an anti-hero, either. Protagonist doesn’t mean “good guy,” it means the main character, the lead, the person who does the most stuff. Greek words are nifty that way. Your main character doesn’t have to be likable, either. At least not in a “I’d be happy to sit down at dinner with that person, she seems swell” sort of way. They can’t irritate the reader so much as to be unreadable, but they can be a jerk, or evil, or both. Let’s face it, heroes have gotten boring and a little unbelievable. And in fantasy writing, loosing the audience’s suspension of disbelief is a bad thing. While there is perhaps a need for the better than us all sort of hero there is also a need for the just like me or worse protagonist who comes out in the end not to save the day but just to come out in the end.

 

I have both kinds of protagonists in my writing. On the one hand there is Dr. Ezekiel Jones, exorcist and all around good guy. He, like Harry Dresden, tries to do the right thing, even if it puts himself in harms way. On the other hand there is Marcus Faust, demonologist, sorcerer and assassin. He is officially not a good person. He does what is necessary to live to see the next day, and if he can kill off someone whose been harassing him in the process, so much the better. He’s rich, arrogant and powerful, and he knows it. He’s also a really fun character. Not that Ezekiel isn’t, but Marcus, due to a Grosse Point Blankian moral compass, is capable of doing things Ezekiel isn’t.

Because Ezekiel is a hero. Marcus is a villain.

The story thus far.

21 July 2010

It was a dark and stormy . . . er, never mind.

Alrighty, where are we then? Not existentially, of course, that’s a different blog. In the world of Ezekiel Jones . . . well, let’s not talk about that now. There may, or may not, be news on that in the future. Maybe.

Marcus Faust, then. I have one last set of edits to go through on The Machiavel. It should only take a few days. So far I’ve knocked 500 words off of the book, about 3500 fewer than Ezekiel I, even though I ran them both through the same editing process. Practice does make perfect-ish.

What does this mean? It means I’m getting close to needing some beta readers.

What’s a beta reader you ask? They’re like alpha readers, but get a more polished version of the manuscript. The alphas get to see it in a sorry state, after some rough editing but little else. They get to hack and slash their way through the jungle of my mind, helping me cut out the utterly useless clutter that’s hiding in the corners.

Beta readers, on the other hand, get something a bit nicer, even if their job is essentially the same. A beta reader still looks for the things I’ve missed (spelling, punctuation, crappy grammar, etc.) and is also looking for things like plot holes, continuity errors, etc. Stuff the alphas have looked for but might have missed while wading through the rest of the debris. In theory a beta reader’s job is easier, I should have caught most of the stuff already. So why is beta reading necessary? Because I and the alphas can’t catch everything. Its like reading your own work; you already know what it says, so in your head it makes sense, even if it doesn’t to anyone else.

What is the awesome reward of being a beta (or alpha) reader? There is, of course, the knowledge that you’ve helped your fellow human, but mostly its your name in the acknowledgments. There might be a signed book in the offing, but that’s assuming I sell the bloody thing and I get more than one copy for myself . . . we’ll have to see.

So, that being said, I’m hunting for beta readers. Let’s go with five, because its a nice number, very pentagonal. If you’re insane enough to be interested (i.e. you’re seeing the fnords), please reply here. You know, so I can keep the awe inspiring numbers of fanatical legions all in one place.

Be ay el ay en seee eeeee – Balance

11 March 2010

That’s for the Highlander fans out there. But, seriously, or something, balance is a tricky thing. When I originally sat down to write this, nice mug of gyokuro cha at hand, I meant to write about balancing action with exposition in writing. You need to do exciting things but the whole book can’t just be exciting things. I’ve seen movies like that, where there is no down time, and they always fail for me. Trying to find that balance can be hard, and ever story is different, so the mix will be different every time. That’s why I re-re-re-read everything, to make sure it has what it needs. It even works. Occasionally.

That’s what I originally mean to write about. Now that it’s out of the way, there are probably other kinds of balance to think about. I have a few hours a day to write, in between the things I’m actually paid to do, spending time with a very insistent three year old Chaos and, of course, my Librarian. Then there is business and spiritual life, work and free time, the desire to work on some non-fiction and the fiction I’m currently working on or even the desire to sit and read a book that isn’t research for something else. Lots of dichotomies. Claude Lévi-Strauss would have been proud (assuming I did the full Socratic thing and found some way to resolve the issues), I’m not sure what Catherine Bell (no, not the actress, the ritual theorist) would have thought.

So, how do I solve these? Rather like Ezekiel would, I imagine (he, like many characters, is just a way cooler (or maybe geekier) version of the author, after all); Socratic method. But more than that, sometimes I think the idea of “balance” that we have isn’t always a useful one. One imagines one of those classic scales, like Justice holds. Static balance. The problem with static balance is that if you it off just a little you fall down. I think more of an active, sort of Daoist balance. Things move, you have to move with them. A little more of this, a little less of that. That sort of thing. It’s not necessarily the kind of balance we’re normally looking for, where we get just the right amount of everything we want, when we want it. If your life works out that way, groovy for you, let me know where to sign up. Instead I tend to get the balance I need, which is usually not what I want.

But it works out. Usually. Insert clever closing statement here; I got nothin’.

Moving Along and a Contest!

1 March 2010

Well, after axing 30k words from The Machiavel I’ve almost regained 10k of them. Its been a slow week for writing but things should pick up presently.

So, no onto something you want to read about.

In an effort to get some more people on the Facebook fan page its contest time! For those of you on the fan page already, you know I’ve designed the seals for both the Circle of Harmony and the Circle of the Bridal Chamber, two magical groups that are part of the Academy, the group Ezekiel Jones and Olivia Monroe belong to in Agrippa’s Heart.

So, I will give away a t-shirt to both the 100th member of the fan page and the person (if any) who recommends them to join. The winners will get to pick the design and color from the Zazzle site (which is from where I will order them). Each shirt will have either the Harmony or Bridal Chamber seal on the front and the name of the Circle and “Agrippa’s Heart” on the back.

Once the winner(s) have been determined I, or Olivia, will get in contact with them and make an announcement about it on the fan site and here in the Tome.

So, what do you think? Want a free shirt?

More Queries

20 February 2010

Today (yes, Saturday) I sent out three more queries for AGRIPPA’S HEART. I won’t say to whom, we wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone who doesn’t pick me up when Ezekiel is bigger than that Potter boy, would we? I’ll be mailing out a fourth Tuesday.

Moving along then

8 February 2010

Work continues. All three of the sample chapters of AGRIPPA’S HEART are now up, as is a little profile of Ezekiel. I’ll probably trickle in other profiles through the week and might even get a bit on the Academy up and running. Eventually I want to do some cool-looking map thing that shows where each of the Circles of the Academy are located. You know, something Renaissance looking, ’cause I roll that way. That’ll be about it, then, until I get THE MACHIAVEL finished.

If you have any friends who like Urban Fantasy or occult fiction, please pimp the site, the FB page and Olivia’s twitter out to them!