Tag Archives: The Shadow War

Thoughts on Writing – Using Music for Plotting (The Wishing Blade series)

When writing and plotting stories, I like listening to music. (Not so much when editing… then I prefer to see how the story is speaking for itself). Listening to music helps me set the tone of the scene, and it provides inspiration while I’m plotting, whether I’m stuck in a scene, or just want something to help convey the tone. Another benefit I’ve found is that if I listen to music while plotting, then listen to the same song again later when writing, I can reintroduce that feeling, that mood I was in when I originally crafted the story. (For this, playlists are extremely helpful).

For example, I’ve used music constantly while writing and plotting The Wishing Blade series. There are certain songs I listen to when I want to be reminded of specific characters and their motives. For example, “The Other Side” by Blackmore’s Night is one I’ve recently found useful when I want to think of Shevanlagiy’s character arc (since there’s a particular character she’s trying to keep from dying again that drives her motives).

As for influences on the world of the story in general, “Shadows” by Gordon Lightfoot, and “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie (I must admit that I’m not a fan of the original recording; I heard a different version of it when I was taking singing lessons that I became a fan of), both influenced the world. “Shadows” inspired some of the longing of Daernan’s character in The Shadow War, who sees that the world is no longer what it appeared, and it influenced how he sees the war affecting Toranih. “Rainbow Connection” pushed me toward the original idea of the Wishing Blade and more importantly toward the idea of there being some unnatural call (in this case, Magic’s Lure) pulling characters in directions they hadn’t expected (though the call in the story is a bit more sinister than that of the song).

But not all of the songs that influence the story and character arcs are ones I listened to in the early stages of writing. Aside from “The Other Side,” which was a fairly recent discovery, I enjoy several versions of “Luna’s Future” that fans have covered from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV series. When I listen to the song, I enjoy picturing it as a dialogue between Madiya and Shevanlagiy (minus the names of the ponies involved, since neither characters would wish to be caught in a musical, or as their equine counterparts…). I also enjoy “Elf Glade” by Meg Davis, which I picture as a dialogue between young Lord Menchtoteale and Shevanlagiy… despite the fact that there are no elves in the story, and that I can’t go into too much detail about why I see this song with those characters without giving potential spoilers.

If you listen to music while plotting, consider the reasons for it. Does it inspire a certain mood for you? Help you picture scenarios between characters you hadn’t pictured before? If you’re stuck on a certain plot point, try putting together a list of songs that have influenced your story, or look for new ones in a similar vein to help inspire you. (Just don’t do like I do and discover that a couple hours have passed with nothing written, but with a host of new songs added to the playlist).

Another joy of plotting while listening to music is misinterpreting lyrics. The first time I heard “The Skye Boat Song,” I heard “Carry the lad that’s born to be king, over the sea to die” rather than “over the sea to Skye.” Though the plot arc that resulted hasn’t appeared in the current version of The Wishing Blade series, it led to a concept that played in the original draft, where a young boy who was stillborn was brought back to life by the high god so that he would later become king. There was no sea involved in the plot, but the character played a large role in the original story. (And who knows… he may later play a role in the world of Cirena, even if he doesn’t appear in The Wishing Blade series). Likewise, “Kingsword” by Heather Dale also makes me think of that particular story arc.

Have you found any songs to have given you story ideas because you didn’t quite hear what was being said? Or because there are variations on the song?

There were certainly other songs that influenced the world of The Wishing Blade and helped shape it into what it is today. Most of the stories I write have been influenced in one way or another by the songs I listen to (and the songs I listen to have been influenced by what I write).

If anyone’s interested, I’m considering looking at how music has influenced the other stories I’ve written and that I’m working on. But, for now, do you listen to music while you plot, and have you found any songs to be helpful in writing a particular story? 🙂

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Book Signing Today (Saturday) at Sedalia Reader’s World!

Isaac and I will be at the Reader’s World in Sedalia, MO, signing books from 2 – 4 pm. Stop by and say hi! 🙂

 

40654-distant-horizon SBibb - Magic's Stealing Cover The Shadow War - Book Cover

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Writing – Trickster God’s Deleted Scene from “The Shadow War”

I’m not much of an April Fool’s Day fan, but it seemed like the perfect day to post a deleted scene from The Shadow War, one which involves the trickster god, Isahna.

While I loved the scene, I ended up cutting it from the book because we didn’t really need to see Isahna’s point of view and it wasn’t quite matching the tone needed at the point in the book where it was relevant.

Be warned, there may be a few minor spoilers in this, but since this scene was cut in mid-edits, a few things have changed as to what is actually happening behind the scenes.

The overall event does still happen, though… much to Isahna’s displeasure.

Deleted Scene from The Shadow War:

Isahna held the precious oil-skin bundle in his hands. He toyed with the fabric, savoring the anticipation of seeing the shodo’charl in its full glory. He couldn’t use the stone, not yet, but once his shadows had killed the minor gods, their combined powers would give him what he needed to harvest the stone’s power—and maybe even figure out how the whole “time travel” part worked.

Or maybe he’d just dangle the stone in front of Shevanlagiy’s nose and watch her throw a jealous hissy fit. Maybe he could even work a blood deal out of her. A little more info about her past in exchange for this handy-dandy all important stone…

He grinned.

That would be worth her rage, surely.

He rubbed his hands together, made sure no traces of shadow magic were on his person, and then tossed the oil-skin back.

His jaw dropped.

He didn’t have the shodo’charl.

In its place was a piece of shiny black obsidian. Beside it, a small roll of parchment tied with a thin, curly ribbon.

Isahna tore the ribbon from the parchment and cast it into the swirling mist around him. The ribbon vanished, lost forever to the fog of the Immortal Realm.

He unrolled the parchment. In Cirenan script, each letter written precisely by a careful hand, was a note penned to multiple recipients:

If Daernan: I apologize for the inconvenience of taking this stone, but it is needed elsewhere. Too easy that a god might trick you for their own nefarious purposes.

If Cafrash: I apologize that I did not stay and guide you from Shevanlagiy’s plans. I realize you must be hurting now, and I shall try to end this as soon as humanly possible.

If Shevanlagiy: Please go back to your realm and leave us alone. You have caused us enough trouble. Thank you.

If Isahna: *See Daernan above. Oh, and I am thrilled to proclaim that I have made the first move.

If anyone else: I highly advise you avoid pick-pocketing powerful mages. On the bright side, you now have a decent sized lump of obsidian which you might sell for a small fortune.

Isahna cursed and shredded the note. He twisted his lips and tapped the table, trying to decide what to do now. The note was obviously written by someone familiar with his work, and if he were to guess, the culprit was one Nihestan Nivasha.

Did the man still have magic?

After the whole chesnathé incident, Isahna couldn’t be sure.

He rapped his knuckles on the table, then nodded decisively. He would “let slip” Nihestan’s presence to Shevanlagiy. That ought to keep her busy. With her out of the way, Isahna would have no one to stop him from taking over Cirena with his horde of shadows.

But he sure would have liked to dangle the stone in front of her nose.

Another time, another time.

Happy April first… and I hope you enjoyed the scene. 🙂

Have you ever deleted any scenes from your stories? If so, why?

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Writing – Developing a Fantasy Language (Interrogative)

For my short story, “Stone and String,” and for The Wishing Blade series, I’ve been trying to develop a functional conlang (constructed language) to add flavor to the world and for use as plot points. However, I ran into a problem… how do I ask questions in my Cantingen language?

See, I’ve been developing this over a period of time. Figuring out potential words and jotting them down for future use… figuring out a grammar rule (researched a whole slew of grammar rules from various languages to figure out the previous grammar rule)… and adding them to the dictionary as I go. I already had verb conjugations figured out (at least for an imperative style phrase in present tense), numbers, possessives (sort of) and adjectives. Apparently I already figured out adverbs, too, but hadn’t realized it. (And so I jotted that down, too).

But then it hit me that I hadn’t figured out how to ask a question in the Cantingen language.

I considered not having them use questions at all… then decided that would be just a bit too bossy for them. While word magic based on the language isn’t likely to use questions (though Isaac has challenge me to figure out how they might make it work) since it’s based on commanding magic to do what they want, the casual speaker is going to want to ask questions.

So I did some quick internet research on interrogative language stuff… (it may become quickly apparent that while I am trying to learn what the various mechanics are, I have trouble remembering the names for those mechanics)… and began formatting how to create the questions.

First off, I knew that I couldn’t use tone to imply that something is a question. That’s because word magic is intended to be read and still be clear… without the use of a question mark. I didn’t want to mess with swapping sentence structure around to make a question. And I didn’t want to inflect the verb in order to suggest that it’s a question.

Somehow, the result ended up reminding of an elementary school English lesson:

How does the dog run? The dog runs quickly. The dog runs how? Quickly.

And thus I decided on these rules:

  1. Questions are to be phrased so that the interrogative portion of the question replaces the who/what/etc portion of the question.
    1. (Ex. The dog runs how? vs The dog runs quickly.)
  2. To form a question, the who/what/etc suffix is attached before the word quéth, thus forming the phrase which replaces the part of the sentence in question.
    1. (Ex. nanlli mean “how,”quéth indicates that the sentence is question. Together, they create nanlliquéth.)
  3. Because the question is indicated in the sentence, there is no need for a question mark.
    1. (Ex. In English, it would look like the person says: “The dog runs how.” It should read flatter, without the rise in tone that a question in English would have. )
  4. Yes/No questions simply attach quéth to the verb in question.
    1. (Ex. hasil is “dog” and nivé is “to run.” “The dog runs,” translates to Hasil nivétra. If you say “The dog runs?” in English, you would say Hasil nivétraquéth. in Cantingen.

 

The questions ended up looking something like this:

 

Who – ka 

Who is that girl? Edyli is that girl.

Kaquéth dratethol ali doran. Edyli dratethol ali doran.

*
What kas

That sound is of what? That sound is of leaves.

Ali runin dratetha so kasqueth. Ali runin dratethtra so inarame.

*
Whenvésa

We leave when? We leave soon.

Yliav vésaquéth. Yliav jano.

*

Whereuru

The scroll is where? The scroll is in the box.

Kev dratethtra da uruquéth.Kev dratethtra da vari.

*
Whyji

She weaves why? She enjoys to weave.

Walol jiquéth. Kaviol wal.

*
How  – nanlli

She weaves how? She weaves quickly.

Walol nanlliquéth. Walol naf.

*
Yes/No Questions

This is the girl I seek?

Éda dratetholquéth doran somaria.

It’s still rough, and probably needs some polishing, but that’s what I have so far. It came in handy while working on The Shadow War. While there aren’t anyone asking questions directly in the Cantingen language, there are a few times when the main characters are speaking to people who are from the Cantingen Islands. Knowing how their primary language worked, I was able to change the sentence structure to add to the voice of those character.

For example, there’s a scene that takes place at the marketplace outside of Ashan.

The merchant bowed politely to the horses. She spoke softly in a Cantingen dialect, nothing Toranih understood, before finally turning to her customers and smiling. “Something attracts your eye?” she asked. Her Cirenan speech was articulate and careful, common among the Islanders. A rich blue sash wrapped around her hips and across her slender, bronze shoulders. Her dark hair had been pulled into loose curls and silver ribbons.

Daernan gestured to a pastry with a flaky, golden-brown crust, apricot paste, and streaks of yogurt frosting. “I’ll have that.”

Though I use the question mark here to mark correct English grammar, note how the question is phrased… “Something attracts your eye?” rather than “Does something attract your eye?” or “Do you see anything you like?” Theoretically, you could read it as a statement: “Something attracts your eye.” But if the merchant were to be speaking in the Cantingen language, she would use “quéth” to designate the question. “Eliaved nicolquéth naenlli.” (Literally, it translates to “Unknown sweet bread attracts your attention.” but the merchant knows enough Cirenan to phrase the question in a more familiar way).

* * *

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂 Have you tried constructing your own language, and if so, what problems have you run into?

If you want to read more about conlangs, I also have a post about Developing a Fictional Language (Cantingen) and Developing a Fictional Language (Maijevan).

2 Comments

Filed under Writing

The Shadow War – Launch Day!

After an extra month of waiting, The Shadow War is finally here! It’s the second book of The Wishing Blade series, so if you’ve been wondering what happens next, that wait is over!

*Squee!*

I’m both excited and nervous with this one. For this one, we get to see Daernan’s point of view for a large part of the story (60%, to be exact), and we get one short scene from Siklana at the end. But don’t worry, Toranih and Shevanlagiy also get their fair share of scenes, too. Not only that, but we get glimpses of both Maijevan and Cantingen cultures, and the bit of rivalry that might be brewing between the various countries and cities. 😉

So, without further ado…

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War

Upper MG / Lower YA

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War - Book Cover

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Though a shadow is as good as a ghost, with no free will to speak of, they may still be saved…

The kingdom of Cirena is under attack from an army of shadows—beings who can only be hurt by magic or fire. Magic has been stolen, and as the shadows spread, infecting all they touch, the last two ribbon mages race to the nearest port city to warn them of the impending invasion. One of those mages, Toranih, is among the few who can see the Trickster-cursed army, and she’s determined to get magic back—no matter how much she distrusts it. When she is captured by shadows and a dark secret is revealed about her future, her best friend, Daernan, is left to defend the city. But his only methods of stopping the shadows are by fire and the devastating magic of the shodo’charl.

With the knowledge that the shadows are innocent townsfolk forced to do a warlord’s bidding, Daernan must choose between saving the shadows or saving those who have not yet turned.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Now Available!

Amazon US ~ Amazon UKBN.com ~ iTunes ~ KoboSmashwords

Paperback Edition

Add to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

A sneak peek…

The roof afforded a smoky view of the burning courthouse and the surrounding mayhem, and here Daernan understood the madness of the shadows. As their victims faded, turning into shadowy wisps, they, too, turned on the crowd. The more the shadows converted, the faster the crowd disappeared.

No wonder they used the explosions. People in the affected areas fled from their homes and the markets, trying to evacuate because the smoke in the distance meant the whole southern side of the city might be burning. But the ghostly shadows waited for them with impromptu weapons, and the refugees fled right into their hands.

“It’s so easy for them,” Daernan whispered. “Lord Menchtoteale found a simple way to conscript his army.”

Siklana frowned as she dug the shodo’charl free from the bag and passed him the stone. “What are they doing?”

“Using the explosions to force people from their homes.” Daernan reached to take the bundle, then stopped. Siklana’s brown eyes were wide with worry, her lips forming an unhappy frown. He quickly turned away and clasped the oilskin tight in his fingers. There were so many shadows. If he released the stone now, he might be killing countless innocent people. But if he didn’t release the stone’s magic, more would be trapped.

“Should we do this?” he asked softly.

Siklana peered over the ledge. “You’re asking me?”

He whispered a soft prayer to Madiya—primarily because she was responsible for taking the dead through her realm—but he fervently hoped he was wrong. Hoped that somehow, some way, the shodo’charl did not kill them.

He hooked his fingers under the oilskin, trembling, already feeling the cold sweat forming on his neck and soaking his back. To do this . . . if he killed them . . . he wasn’t sure how he was going to sleep. How he was going to account for their deaths? But the longer he waited, the more who would die when he finally released the oilskin.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Enjoy! Feel free to tell your friends, or anyone you think might enjoy the book. 😀

4 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wheee! Time flies when you’re having fun… and frantically running around trying to get everything done by a deadline. Either way, February’s almost over, and it’s time for the Infinitas Publishing Status Report!

Book Signing at Reader’s World: On Februrary 25th, Isaac and I went to a book signing with other local authors affiliated with the Writers of Warrensburg. We sold 3 copies of Magic’s Stealing and 5 copies of Distant Horizon, so the signing went well for us. A lot of people stopped by the store to speak with the various authors. I think we all had an enjoyable time. In the meantime, I’d like to give a shout-out to G.A. Edwards for arranging the signing and Reader’s World of Warrensburg for hosting the event. 🙂

Isaac and Stephanie Flint at Reader's World Book Signing (Photo by G.A. Edwards)

Isaac and Stephanie Flint at Reader’s World Book Signing (Photo by G.A. Edwards)

The Shadow War: This is the second book of The Wishing Blade series, and the ebook will be released on March 16th. I’m currently finishing making edits per my proofreading before formatting the print edition.

 

Glitch: Once everything is done with The Shadow War and Isaac and I have finished making preparations for Stealth Con, this is my next big project. The manuscript has been written, but it’s now undergoing edits and revisions.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Isaac and I just placed an order for Battle Decks cards, so we’ll be able to offer the game for sale at conventions and event for the first time since releasing the game. Woot! (Now we just have to finish making the boxes for the games).

Not only that, but we also have expansion cards to start allowing for a deck building mechanic. There will be two expansions… one Prussian (Cogs of War) and one Britannian (Queen’s Pride), which primarily include extra cards from the original set to allow for a range of choices as to which cards to include in your deck, as well as a few all new expansion cards that weren’t in the original deck.

WIP Game: We’ve got the prototype of the game ordered! We’re not ready to release all the details about it yet, but I can say this… it’s a sort of mini RP/board game where you explore and reveal the map as you complete quests and collect treasure. The themes are based on the lore from the world of The Wishing Blade series and “Stone and String,” which is why the game is called: *Drumroll, please…* The Legends of Cirena!

Look for more information about The Legends of Cirena game once I finish formatting The Shadow War. 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I’m working on completing one formatting/cover design project and beginning another. Basically, the same routine as usual.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Hello there! I’ve been super quiet for the past month, but don’t worry, that just means there are plans in progress! (And holidays… that took up a bit of blogging time, too).

So,  here’s the latest news, plus a bit of catch up on the previous month. I’ll keep it short, since I’ve got to get back to editing The Shadow War.

UCM Holiday Market (November 2016): This event went well. We sold a few of our Phalanx boards and a couple of books. It’s a local, one-day event that took place at the University of Central Missouri. It’s a lot of fun, and best of all, the booths are free. A current faculty/staff/student has to sponsor the booth, though, and since Isaac and I have both graduated, we want to give a shout out to Scott for sponsoring us. Thank you! 🙂

Distant Horizon: Distant Horizon has been gathering quite a few good reviews over at Goodreads. Thank you to everyone who has read the book and reviewed it. 🙂

Glitch: This is a spin-off novel from Distant Horizon (it follows Tim as he deals with the Legion Spore… a vessel made from a merging of shapeshifters and technology). Glitch is in the editing phase–tightening up the prose, fixing continuity from the earlier drafts of Distant Horizon… etc. It’s on temporary hold while I finish up The Shadow War.

The Shadow War: Isaac finished reading the The Shadow War and found several plot holes and mix-matched motivations I thought I’d fixed, plus pointed out issues that weren’t flowing along with the plot as I had described it to him. So I went back through and did some major edits, tweaking character motivation and reworking the ending. This is the main reason I haven’t been very active on the blog lately. I’m still making a few changes to the last chapters, but it feels considerably stronger than before. Overall, I’m pleased with how it’s coming along.

The downside of this is that I may be pushing back the ebook pre-orders to mid-March. I’m going to see where I’m at in my edits by the end of this weekend, and then I plan to post an update as to what the updated release date will be. I’ve been debating on whether to keep to the original date or push it back, and as much as I want to release on the original date, I’d rather wait a few more weeks and have time to do the fine-tuning and proofreading that will make for a smoother reading experience. The Shadow War is my major writing/editing focus at the moment.

Stone and String: Stone and String is now available on multiple platforms, so you aren’t stuck reading it on Kindle if you prefer a different format. Enjoy!

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: Still on hold, but I’m planning on returning to edits once The Shadow War is complete. I’d like to edit one episode a week until all of the remaining episodes have gone through a basic polish, and then I’ll send them to our beta-reader before continuing the release of the series online. In the meantime, the first fifteen episodes are up.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Isaac and I have been working towards a special edition of the game that we can have available at local events and conventions. We’ve started moving forward with that project, and we’ve got a surprise planned for that as well. I’m really excited about it, and I look forward to revealing more about that as we get closer to Stealth Con.

WIP Game: Isaac has been hard at work creating the art for a prototype version of our next game we plan to release. It’s still in the beta-phase, however. More information on that once we’ve ironed out a few more of the details.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration:  Working on finalizing a book cover before creating a proof for another.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Now… back to editing The Shadow War!

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing