Thursday, July 31, 2014

Writing Exercise- Travel Brochure

This was a fun exercise I did for an online writing workshop. The task was to create a travel blurb or brochure for one of the fictional places within one of our WIPs. I chose To Tread the Narrow Path. Specifically, I chose to highlight Sciath's Reach, the Imperial castle. So much of the story hinges on what happens there. To paraphrase Riean from Book I, the Reach is the anvil upon which the Warlord's cannons hammer. It is here that the Ascension Point (the ending of the old age and beginning of the new) happens. It is at the Reach that all four narratives of the novella intertwine.

Please if you enjoy any of my ramblings, or if the travel brochure below intreguies you, please check out the serial novella, currently half-way through its installments.

Without further delay, I present to you the travel brochure for Sciath's Reach-



Photo attribution via Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC By 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
and via Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC By 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

By ESO/F. Kamphues (http://www.eso.org/public/images/lasilla/) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (image altered by user)
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1895_Dictionary_-_Castle.png, From Webster’s Dictionary circa 1900 [Public domain] (image altered by user)

*By using these images under Creative Commons I am not claiming endorsement by any of the original owners of these images.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Update- 7.29.2014

Welcome back. This is my update post, one week early, and I've got some good stuff to share.

For the details of all of my current projects, you can click here to read my initial month one update. That should give you all the info you need to be up to date on my stuff.

As you can see, the site has a new name courtesy of the competition I had last week. Congrats go out to fellow wirter, Peter August, for contributing the winning submission. He will be receiving a free ebook copy of To Tread the Narrow Path. You can check out his Facebook fan page here for his publications. Thanks to everyone that submitted a name!

On the subject of Narrow Path, I have some updates:

To Tread the Narrow Path:
For details on this WIP, you can refer to my Published Works page. The first two books are finished, and work has started on Book III: The Tale of the Boy Who Would be Emperor. Just as the others, its narrative will weave in and out of the first two books and will shed light on the events already covered. I am projecting to have all of the installments out by December. Currently the novella is available on Amazon with all of the installments up to date for only $0.99. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out.

Lighthouse on the Edge of Forever:
As I've mentioned previously, this is my project about which I am most excited. This is a planned first novel in a trilogy that will be named after the first book. As far as progress, I have completely outlined the plot for this book and the sequel as well (tentatively titled The Spire of Eternity, but I'm still playing around with it). I have also made progress in the actual draft of the first book as well (currently about 1/3 of my goal for the novel). The next few weeks, I will be working on outlining the third book (still untitled) as well as adding scenes and chapters to Lighthouse.

Untitled WIP
My new WIP that I mentioned in last month's update post is still nameless. I am continuing to work on it sporadically, but I'm not giving a lot of attention to the worldbuilding process. This one is being written in sprints with a Facebook writers' group that I am a member of. I trying to do this as a freewriting exercise only and doing minimal planning or thinking on this story.

I've also been writing again on my fatherhood blog. Be sure to check that out as well.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts about anything I'm working on feel free to drop me a comment here or on the fan page, or you can always message me on another means of contact.

Thanks for reading, please join me in two weeks, as I talk a little about the publishing process that I am using for To Tread the Narrow Path.

If you've enjoyed this please like, share, +1, follow, etc…

Thanks


-Anthony-

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Naming Contest

Last week's call for name submission for the site was a blast. So many funny, imaginative, and unique ideas. Now that we've come to the end of the submissions, I have had to narrow it down to five picks.


How I feel right now

Below is a poll for readers to vote. I have my favorites but will honor the winning pick. The poll will stay open until next Tuesday, 7/30, and will close at exactly 12:01 PM EST.

Thanks to everyone that participated. The person that submitted the winning title will receive a free ebook copy of To Tread the Narrow Path.

So, vote, read, and share. The future of my site is at stake!

I will announce the winner next Tuesday.

Thanks again.

-Anthony


New Name for the Site:



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Help please! I Need a New Name

Readers,
I need your help. Currently, my site for providing updates about my writing has the auspicious name, the Writing Blog of Anthony D Farr.

I'm considering changing the name to something a little more catchy and fun. I've decided to outsource to you, my friendly and loyal readers, to help me with this.
Please leave your suggestions in the comments section or message me on the contact page. Next Tuesday, I'll take all of the suggestions and will pick out my favorites and provide a poll and once again let you, the readers pick the winning title of the blog.
If you happen to submit the winning title of the blog you will win an ebook version of To Tread the Narrow Path.

So here are the ground rules:
1. Nothing obscene
2. Cannot be a variation of Farrside
3. Cannot be a variation of Best (blank) by Farr
All else is fair game.
So let's have a little fun and give away a book.

Thanks
-Anthony
How I feel right now.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Excerpt- 7.15.2014

Today's excerpt comes to you from my published short story available on Amazon in both Kindle version and a print copy (the ebook is the better buy if you want my opinion).

Entertaining Angels is a short modern parable about faith. Especially, childlike faith. I believe that each of us, in our own way, have to defend against the demons of our past and sometimes trust in the little voice of faith that we try so hard to ignore.

This story was originally written as a challenge. Early in my writing, I tried to force my beliefs into my stories, even if it didn't make sense. To me, I felt like I was being a "bad Christain," if I didn't present the gospel in my writing, and to be honest, my writing suffered because of it.
It is really hard to insert the gosple message into fantasy without coming across as heavy handed. Writers like CS Lewis have done it masterfully, but whenever I tried it came out as a jumbled mess. After that, I decided to not force my stories, but to instead let them tell me how they wanted to be written. It was then that I developed my "Incredible Hulk" writing style that I've previously mentioned.

As I said above, this story was a challenge. Literality. My wife asked me if I could write a story, set in the real world, and incorporate my beliefs. No fantasy trappings. No science fiction backdrop. I took her up on the challenge, and started this story. It was hard because I was used to writing in the vein of the fantastic. Eventually, I started to find the story hidden on the page and it began to take shape. At the end, I was very pleased with what had happened, and I was even able to add in a little bit of supernatural suspense to the story to make it familiar territory for my hands. The end product was not exactely what I had been challenged to write, but all parties involved were pleased with it.

So here the first section of Entertaining Angels for your enjoyment-


It’s one of those nights, Caroline thought, as she stared at the gossamer wisp of smoke flitting out from under the hood of her car. Michael had promised her that when he got home they would take the car into the shop. Stranded out here in the middle of nowhere, the airport seemed an eternity away. Only two hours until his flight landed, and Caroline wanted to be there to chew him out about the car. During the past two years of their marriage they put off servicing the old Roadmaster, and now it came back to bite them. Since the death of their minivan the Roadmaster was their only means of transportation. Caroline wanted to cry, she wanted to kick the car, but most of all she wanted to curse Michael. The only thing keeping her sane was the little girl holding her hand. Elen, only six, looked up to her mother for support
and comfort.

Oh God, please let me make it through tonight, Caroline pleaded. She paused at her invocation of God and chided herself, Yeah, Caroline, as if He is going to do anything… Again, she felt as if she were going to cry. Elen, tugging on her sleeve and her attention, said, “Don’t worry Mommy, God will protect us. He told me that He is sending someone to help us.” Caroline could only grasp her little child’s hand harder. Words failed her.

I can do this without the help of God, Caroline thought and was furious for her moment of weakness earlier. Caroline ushered Elen back into the car as she tried to come to a decision about what to do next. Caroline’s thoughts about her experiences with God intruded upon her planning. Her grandmother’s backwards narrowminded church was the first to come to mind. All those years spent having “Godstuff” crammed down her throat had given her a bad taste and she promised herself that Elen wouldn’t have the same childhood experience.

Elen’s comment disturbed her because the girl had not been brought up in a religious family. Michael also abandoned his roots after they married. The little girl had no reference for God. As Elen circled, catlike, around the back seat trying to find a comfortable spot to sleep, Caroline decided that she would take it up with her daughter once they were through this ordeal. Turning her thoughts away from the past Caroline focused on her present situation. Listening to Elen’s small noises as the girl fell asleep, Caroline thought of the quickest way to civilization: back towards the gas station they had come from or down the road in hopes of houses. Caroline opted to go forward, as the occupants of the gas station looked quite unscrupulous and she did not want to be forced to seek help from them. She decided to let Elen sleep a little before they took off on their trek. Caroline watched her daughter lying
there and found herself amazed at a child’s ability to shrug off troubles and fall into a peaceful sleep. The deeper Elen fell into sleep the more Caroline felt her own weariness. Finally, she felt her eyelids and her mind sliding down and thought, I’ll sleep, but only for a little bit

Then she slept, but not as peacefully as Elen.


Caroline awoke almost rested, but sore as if she had punished her body with one of her workout videos. She looked at the clock to check the time and thought it must have broken along with the car; according to the car’s clock she had only been sleeping for about ten minutes or so. A look at her watch confirmed that the car was correct. Goose bumps crept over her as she looked out the windshield. The woods outside looked much darker and more ominous than they had ten minutes ago. Elen, still sleeping peacefully in the backseat, let loose a giggle at some dream. Caroline looked at her little girl and brushed her mouse brown hair away from her forehead. She whispered softly, “Sweetie… Elen… wake up. We’ve gotta get going. We’re going to go for a walk.”

Elen stirred a little and looked up at Caroline with her lightbluealmostgray eyes. Still recovering from sleep Elen yawned and said, “We should wait here for help, Mommy. They say the bad ones are out there. Help is on the way.” She yawned again and looked as if she were on her way back to sleep.

“Honey, who’ve you been talking to? There is only the two of us in the car.”

Elen just yawned and shrugged in response. She resigned herself to stay awake and climbed over into the front seat to sit next to Caroline. When she was completely over the chair back, she adjusted her rumpled clothing leaned forward and whispered into Caroline’s ear, “We really need to wait, Mommy. There’s the big bad out there.” Caroline turned towards her daughter and kissed her forehead.

Trying not to sound irritated she whispered back, “Well don’t you worry, your Mommy is one tough cookie and we’ll be alright. OK sweetheart?” Elen nodded grudgingly and slid over to the passenger door. With a sour scowl on her face Caroline opened the door and stepped out onto the grassy area off the side of the road. The heavy humid air hit her as she took a deep breath. Thin tendrils of fog wisped randomly across the road making the creepy feeling in Caroline’s gut grow. She made sure to lock the doors of the car, As if anyone is going to steal it, she thought, and then walked around to Elen, who stood looking out into the woods.

“Mommy, I don’t like this. I wanna’ go home.” Elen said as tears welled up inside her eyes, making them glassy. “I wanna’ stay in the car. Please, Mommy, can we stay in the car, help is on the way, he is just having to fight hard to get here.” She was fully sobbing now, much to Caroline’s chagrin.

Caroline, still putting on her best Mommy face, said, “Aw, honey, it is going to be ok. We are just going to walk down the road a little ways and see what we find. If we don’t come to anything then we will come back to the car and rest before we go looking back towards the gas station. C'mon’ let’s walk, that’ll make you feel better.”

Elen reached up and slipped her hand into Caroline’s and they began their walk into the fog. Caroline made sure that she was not setting too fast a pace for Elen. She did not want to tire out the little girl so soon.

We may have a ways to go, Caroline thought.

End.


If you enjoyed the above excerpt, please consider purchasing the short story, either in printed form or for your ebook reader of choice.


Also, if you like the characters of Caroline and Elen, I want you to know that I am planning on having them show up again in other works. Maybe not as main characters, but I will revisit them in the future.

Thanks for reading. Please like, share, +1, follow, etc...

Until next time,

-Anthony-
 
If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out the  copyright page.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Just Keep Writing...

Last week, I teased that I would talk about my the process that I'm using to publish my serial novella, To Tread the Narrow Path.

Well, sorry to say, I lied. Or, maybe that is too strong of a phrase. I didn't lie, because last week I had every intention of publishing a post this week about the process that I'm going through to serialize my novella.

As luck, or my brain, would have it, I found myself coming back to thoughts on how I came to be where I am now, as compared to where I was a little over a year ago. With all that swimming around, I couldn't bring myself to write my original post (oh, don't you worry, we'll get to it eventually). Those that have read from my sporadic posting on my blog about fatherhood will recognize some elements from a couple (or three) of my post over there (specifically, this one, this one, and this one). So, if you've read any of those, or you want to do so now, I apologize if I tread some groud that we've already covered before.

To begin, I'd like to explain a bit about where I'm coming from. A little over a year ago, I was in a job that drained my mental energy. I loved the job itself, but there were other factors at work that were draining my resources, and the hours I worked did not allow me to recharge. Because of the pressure, I could not engage myself creatively. I would sit at my computer or with my notebook and try to squeeze out any little bit of story onto the screen/page, but I was in a rut, and it felt like it was more that writer's block. It felt like my well was running dry.

And, in a way, it was. I poured so much of myself into my job that other aspects of my life were faltering. Family, self, everything.

So, last year, around April, I found myself looking for a new job, but more than that, I found avenues in my mind clearing and rivers of creativity flowing again. Within a month after leaving my previous job, I had found a new one that allowed me to exercise just as much mental energy at work, but did not demand me to give myself to the job, heart and soul. As I relished in my newfound mental freedom, I found myself writing again. I was able to set goals and keep them. My family life improved as well, but you can read about that in the above links if you want.

As I looked at my future with my writing I began to set milestones for myself, increasing in difficulty and word count-
First- Publish a short story.
Second- Publish a novella.
Third- Publish a novel.

So I set about it and lo and behold, last year I was able to finish, polish, and publish Entertaining Angels. Then I set about taking a short story I had written and expanding it into the novella To Tread the Narrow Path. I made the decision to serialize it as a challenge to myself. At the moment, the novella is at its halfway point and I am excited at the direction it is going and the response to it. Once it is finished, I will begin writing primarily on my novel WIP, Lighthouse at the Edge of Forever.  In the past year, I've been able to meet the goals I've set, and it's been an amazing feeling. For the first time, in a long time I'm accomplishing the goals that I'm setting for myself.

The sad part of my story is that I let life and all the accoutrements that go along with it wash over the part of myself that I used to pursue my own interests. In retrospect (always 20/20), it wasn't necessarily the job. It was me. I stopped writing as I found myself getting lost in the pursuit of a job, a career.

One thing I should've kept myself doing was to just keep keep at it. Whatever life, job, ect, throws my way, I need to keep writing. I made the mistake of pushing aside the things in life that truly matter; I sacrificed myself and my family for the job. I traded the wheat for the chaff. During this time, in my life, I should have kept putting words down, continued capturing my stories. Instead, I let that part of myself get lost. 

Thankfully, I've found myself again. I've repaired the parts of my life that were broken, and I'm writing. I'm writing more now than ever before. I've learned that whatever the messed up parts of my life are (job, family, writing...), I've got to make the changes for the better, and keep writing, because that's when the world's makes the most sense.

I need to just keep writing. 

My advice to anyone reading, the one takeaway I would want to impart is this:

Whatever you do to express yourself creatively, just keep doing it. When life threatens to overwhelm and take your outlet away, just keep at it. You will find that the longer you stop, the harder it will be to regain it. Make sure you always give your time and energy to the important things in your life. It may sound cliche or trite or obvious, but sometimes you get caught up in the midst of things and forget what's really important. Don't lose sight of the things you value in life, the things that make you, you. Don't give up.

Just keep writing.

Just keep writing.
Listen to Dory, she knows what she's talking about...




If you want to read more about my personal journey, and how all of this is applied in the fatherhood arena of my life, I would encourage you to check out the links I posted at the top.

Thanks for reading, and as always, if you've enjoyed please take the time to like, share, +1, etc...

Until next time,

-Anthony