Living with Conan

Robert E. Howard (REH)’s best known character is a sword welding barbarian and yet he isn’t. Conan has a code he lives by. His barbarian instincts give him an edge when he deals with the bad guys. Yet he acknowledges that he can not survive on instinct alone.

Conan learns languages, reading, and writing. REH shows us Conan doing this stuff for himself even though he has people to do it for him. In some stories when he wears the crown of Aqualonia, he has people doing stuff for him. Even before he becomes Kings, he learns the customs and languages of whichever group of people he happens to be adventuring with. Most adventure authors focus on the blood, battle, and babes, and less culture.

(Possible Spoiler Alert!)

Hour of the Dragon shows Conan off in both the ruler and the lone individual fighting to take back his country and save his people… If you haven’t read it perhaps go read it and then come back to this post? Or if you have no clue then maybe I can tempt you into giving REH a try. We first see Conan in the middle of a battlefield talking strategies, tactics, and the logistics of caring for an army in the middle of a war. Advisors, servants, military leaders, etc are flowing around him in the tent, he is the focus of their universe. A man in control of his world and his fate.

Later we see Conan (Are you sure you want to read spoilers if you haven’t read the story?) being spirited away by the bad guys. A victim to forces beyond his control, REH gave Conan a strong aversion to magic and the supernatural. He fights to regain control of his person and his fate. Often REH describes him as a lean lone wolf or a lion prowling amongst men. As he is escaping his captors he runs and fights like the cornered wolf. He is willing to accept help from anyone that can aid him, and yet he is willing to protect those same people if a threat is offered.

At one point while Conan is on the run, he questions whether he even wants to go back to being king. And instead go back to an adventuring lifestyle, only the demands of having his kingdom taken from him urge him to fight it out with his enemies.

I believe REH and Conan still have much to teach us in this modern age. And I realize the time period in which these stories are written paint a less stellar view of both women and minorities. Take it with a grain of salt. When we look back at our current literature there will be some cultural differences from now and the norms of then.

Cheers, james

P.S. Go read Hour of the Dragon.

Story Idea: Werewolf/Human Plotting

Hello dear readers. Thank you hanging out with me as I have tried to wander my way through a writing life. Some days are more sucessful than others. I was listening to Writing Excuses, Brandon Sanderson’s podcast. Something they said in Season 1 episode 2 was marry a mundane thought with an extrodinary thought. I tossed it around and looked at it as they were talking and I got hit with an idea.

What if a werewolf was bitten by a human on a full moon night?

Mundane thought: werewolf/human interaction.

Extrodinary thought: human bites werewolf

So next question I asked myself is Why?

Why would a human bite a werewolf? How would the human even have a snowball’s chance in Miami if the bite was delivered? How would the human know they were biting a werewolf in the first place?

So the answers I came up with lead to two different stories. One a comedy, “hold my beer and watch this” kinda of accident, with the werewolf becoming human and trying to fit in the human world while trying to get back the werewolf part. And the human becoming a werewolf and having to figure out being wolfy.

The second one is darker. Dying human thinks health and vitality will be restored by stealing a werewolf’s curse. Then sending henchpeople out capture a wolf, susprise they actually grab a were. The night of the full moon, set up a ritual and the dying person steals the were’s curse/power/mojo. Bad guys releases the former werewolf while the bad guy gets healthy and goes on to do bad guy things. And at some point the werewolf would challege bad guy to get their mojo back.

Still in a plotting/thinking stage, however it is more writerly behavor than I have had in months. Both stories appeal to me. I think the second one would have a better chance of making it. While the first one seems to me to be the more unique.

I belong to the NaNo group on fb, and I posed to the idea to them. Biggest response I have ever had to anything. Most thought it was a sound idea as long as I took a humorous approach. Nobody much commented on my second theory on the idea. Some were completely turned off by the whole idea and some were like “Yeah, I’d read that”.

So now the work begins with seeing if I can cook up an outline for one, both or possibly merge the two ideas in one story. One commenter said to set the tone similar to Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman in Good Omens.

So wish me luck as I go off to plot and see if maybe I can get some writing mojo back. Cheers, james

The Complete Creative

So I signed up for a contest on a website called The Complete Creative. It is the website and brainchild of Russell Nohelty, author such works as Katrina Hates the Dead, Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter and Pixie Dust. If you have read his works congrats, I had to google him.

Anyway long story short I didn’t win a Masterclass with Neil Gaiman. What I did get was the opportunty to try out Mr. Nohelty’s Masterclass, Write a Great Novel. He is offering this course for about $50.

He brakes down his writing process step by step, and I actually created an outline based on his method. I have never managed to create an outline. Not even when I was writing in school and outlines were required. My English teachers would be so proud of me.

I am pretty impressed with his class, I just finished it. He uses power point presentations and uses examples from his own writing journey. I also like that I received emails from him detailing his successes and failures to become an established writer. He didn’t go out and hit it out of the park on the first go round. It has taken time, dedication and trial and error to get to where he is now. I appreciate that honesty and candidness. At the end of his class he gives access to the templates he uses and showes through out.

If you are like me and unfamiliar with Russell Nohelty and his books, I urge you to look him up. He has put together books, anthologies, comics and graphic novels. And is well worth checking out both course and books. He also offers several other classes about networking, publishing, and developing a fan base.

Cheers, james

Broken Writer?

Guys I think my inner writer is broken. I set up this perfectly good outline for a new story, was excited about it and then it died. I have yet to write a single word beyond the outline.

I just read over it before writing this post and it seems sturdy enough to build off of. Yet there must be something wrong with it cause I have no desire to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard as the case may be.

Is my inner writer broken? Is there something wrong with me? I have been writing and I haven’t managed once to put “The End” on any of my projects. Even my blog here lately has been mostly quotes with maybe my thoughts written around it. I haven’t had the energy or the moxie to write anything. My journal hasn’t been written in much either.

I’ m starting to worry if maybe my writing days are over before I feel they really even had a chance. Or maybe my inner writer bugged out cause she was sick of me not writing. I try to keep these posts upbeat and inspire both myself and you guys. Just today isn’t an upbeat cheery writing day.

james

I am attaching a copy of my outline. Maybe a fresh set of eyes will help. Also I have never tried the whole google docs sharing thing.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j3g4sG5sihsspAFMLLzD8FjVtGhpiPZ6JqIT9jabNls/edit?usp=drivesdk