Tag Archives: Lucian

Representing Evil in Fantasy Literature (part II)

In a fantasy setting, there are two types of evil: Evil of the individual and evil of the group. The first applies to singular characters of your novel, while the second can apply to entire races or cultures. In the first case, the evil, as noted in the prior post, comes from the individual’s character which is in turn formed by the individual’s personal ideological beliefs and such. In the second case, the evil comes strictly from the ideology of the group. It is the latter case which allows for things like racial alignment in D&D or in a world like Middle-Earth where all the orcs are evil.

 

It is worth noting, that neither individual alignment (we’ll just call it alignment for us gamers) is necessarily dependent upon group alignment, or vice versa. Just because the group alignment of orcs is evil, doesn’t mean this particular orc is evil (although it may be a good bet). Likewise, just because this particular pixie is evil, it doesn’t mean all pixies are evil (that’s not even a good bet). I never read the “Forgotten Realms” novels, but I believe there was a good drow elf named Drizzt Do’Urden running around (I just looked it up on the Net—there was). And that is a case in point.

 

Group alignment provides a simple way of setting up cultural conflicts in your book. The goblins are at war with humans because the humans are good and the goblins are evil. Pretty black and white. The benefit here is that the sides are well-defined as is the preferred victor. Although war in the real world may not always be so morally stark (although sometimes it is—think of WWII), in the fantasy setting there is nothing wrong with embracing such simplicity. Making it more complex (and perhaps realistic) by say dealing with wars between two good races makes it a little more difficult to determine who to root for. For myself, when I read of, say, human on human war, I get annoyed because it just strikes me as unnecessary carnage.

 

Individual evil is a whole other animal. One has to be careful when crafting evil characters for your story. Their purposes should be detailed and specific. They should be ruthless and cruel, but their goals and motivations should be complex and intriguing. One of my favorite evil characters (though I read the series when I was much younger) was Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance series, the dark mage who kinda-sorta-if he’d wanted to-became a god. He was deliciously evil. And, of course (perhaps I should have listed this first), I’m a big fan of my own Lucian val Drasmyr, the master vampire from my book Drasmyr.

 

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject.

Can a Vampire Starve for Lack of Blood?

This will truly go down as one of the critical questions answered in the early twenty-first century: Can a vampire starve for lack of blood. The obvious answer is: It depends on the particulars of the vampire myth in question.

 

Let’s look at “Dracula,” for a moment, a book I’ve recently read. When Jonathan Harker first encounters Count Dracula in his castle he is an old man, although a very sprightly, spry, and strong old man. It is only after he travels to England feasting on the blood of the crew of the Demeter that he regains a youthful appearance. From this it seems to be apparent that he can go without blood, or at least, far less blood than he would like for extended periods of time and the ill effect he suffers is aging. In the book, he’s roughly four hundred years old. What, then, is the logical consequence of him going without blood indefinitely? I think it is reasonable to surmise that he would continue to age until he ultimately passed away, dying a vampire death of old age. So, as far as Dracula is concerned, this may be an alternative way to slay him: keep him confined and unfed for eternity; eventually he will die.

 

Although this is true of Dracula, I don’t think it is true of the vampire queen, Akasha, in Anne Rice’s novel “Queen of the Damned.” It’s been a while since I read the book, but I remember the vampire queen awakens from a slumber of several thousand years. If she can go that long without feeding and suffer no ill effects, it seems likely she can go on forever.

 

I have not read “Twilight” (although I saw the last movie) so I don’t feel comfortable commenting on it. It seems reasonable that they would die a Dracula-type death as well as they do seem to rely on the blood for nutrition purposes.

 

But isn’t that what all vampires do? They rely on blood for nutrition? I’m not sure. When they are undead, do they really need nutrition as we understand it? Or is the act of consuming human blood better understood as an act of horror meant to inspire fear and trembling? That goes with the myths in which the vampires are evil creatures of darkness. In such a case, blood consumption might not be necessary for survival as nutrition might not be its ultimate motivation.

 

Okay, lastly, I’d like to consider Lucian val Drasmyr, from my novel, “Drasmyr.” In the book, he is confined to a library for five hundred years during which he is a vampire thirsting for blood, but forcibly restrained from consuming it. He does not age, nor suffer ill effects despite the fact that he is not feeding. So, it would seem that he wouldn’t die without consuming blood either. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret, this very topic actually comes up in the next book, “The Children of Lubrochius.” More is to be said on this, but I won’t give away what is planned for the book. So, I will have to leave you there, wondering and full of curiosity.

Fantasy Literature: Multiplying Characters

This is something of a problem that cropped up while working on my latest book. The book, entitled “The Children of Lubrochius,” is the first book in my series, “From the Ashes of Ruin.” If you’ve read “Drasmyr,” “Drasmyr” is essentially the prequel to the series (Yes, I wrote the prequel first.) Anyway, the problem is, or was, that I kept running into problems because I had too many characters. I had most of the characters from the first book, and several new ones. Obviously, I had to make some decisions. I had to separate the major characters from the minor characters and determine who would be shadowed in each section of each chapter. (By “shadowed,” I mean, which character’s point of view I tell that section by).

 

It has been called a weakness of my first book that I jumped around too much. I had sections where I shadowed Lucian, others where I shadowed Coragan, others Galladrin, Korina, Regecon, Clarissa, and still more. Although, many of those were just one or two scenes. The major characters were, of course, Coragan, Galladrin, and Regecon. The main antagonists were Lucian and Korina. It all made perfect sense to me while writing, but I can see how someone could be confused, at least, at first. Eventually, though, it all clicks into place and creates a remarkable story. And, I think, if I were to write it again, I would change very little. However, going forward, as I said, the next book adds a few more characters; so many, that if I were to continue in the same pattern, I’m sure I would lose many readers.

 

So, what did I do? I got out my writer’s chainsaw and did some hacking. J From the four major characters I added, I permitted only one to… uh… not sure how to say it: of the four, one is a major major character, and the other three are too important to be minor characters, but not important enough to get very many chapters told from their point of view. I dethroned two of my previous major major characters, putting them in roughly the same position as those previous three… this is getting confusing. Let’s just say, I juggled the characters around a bit so that I was more focused on which character would be shadowed the most, and which would not. As it stands now, I have again, three main protagonists (Coragan, Ambrisia, and Gaelan (he’s a new guy)) and the same two antagonists (Lucian and Korina). And again, there are a number of minor characters of varying level of importance.

 

What is the point of all this? Limit the number of your characters. Quite simple, really. But not. I have so much to say, and one character is insufficient. Plus, I like weaving multiple viewpoints together. It’s fun. But there is a limit as to how many you can effectively do that with. Again, this is another lesson learned the hard way: plan it out beforehand, you’ll be happier for it. Otherwise, you’ll have to rewrite scenes from one character’s point of view to another. And that is a royal pain.

 

Anyway, I think the traditional novel has but one main character. Many modern series’ though (Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” comes to mind) have many more… although perhaps in the case of WoT, Rand is the main character, but I digress. When you have multiple books through which to develop your characters, you can afford to have more than one major character. But again, keep in mind, that what is clear to you the writer, might not be so clear to the reader. Fifty main characters is definitely out of the question. Seven or so, like in WoT… it can be done, but there is a cost. There’s a reason that series is fourteen books long. And though I loved the series, I will probably never reread it.

Reminder: Book Review Blog Tour Approaching

Drasmyr Blog Review Tour

Check out the Drasmyr Blog Review Tour.

Reminder: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” during the latter half of August. The tour will begin on August 20th and will last until August 31st. It will be a Book Review Only Tour, meaning that every visit will be a review of my book. Below is the blog tour schedule, as it stands now: currently 5 slots remain to be filled. Hopefully, we’ll get word on those shortly. I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur. Also, make sure you check out the sponsor of the whole tour–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a small box of metal miniatures from the Vampire Wars Series. It consists of four metal miniatures of vampire counts and vampire slayers. They are excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule

 

Thanks. And hope to see you on the tour!

Upcoming Blog Tour

Drasmyr Blog Review Tour

Check out the Drasmyr Blog Review Tour.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” during the latter half of August. The tour will begin on August 20th and will last until August 31st. It will be a Book Review Only Tour, meaning that every visit will be a review of my book. Below is the blog tour schedule, as it stands now: currently 3 out of 10 slots are filled. Hopefully, the rest will follow. I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur. Also, make sure you check out the sponsor of the whole tour–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a small box of metal miniatures from the Vampire Wars Series. It consists of four metal miniatures of vampire counts and vampire slayers. They are excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule

August 21: Indie books at shardpubs blogspot
August 22: DanaSquare
August 24: White Sky Project

Thanks. And hope to see you on the tour!

Drasmyr Now Available on Amazon

I’ve finally uploaded my ebook, “Drasmyr,” to Amazon. Like I’ve said before I have the business sense of a stone. It took me a while to figure out that it might be a good idea to put my work on the web-site with, oh about, 70% of the market share for on-line books, or whatever it is. Anyway, its up and available for those looking for a good read. From my understanding, Amazon doesn’t do free ebooks, so I had to sell it for a price: I decided to go with $2.99 for now. The book is still available at Smashwords for free.

Drasmyr Interview (Re-Post)

This was originally posted on another blog during my blog tour, but I liked it so much, I wanted to post it here as well. So, without further preamble, I give you:

The Drasmyr Interview:

Today we have with us, Lucian val Drasmyr… warrior, general, and vampire. He’s walked the world of Athron for a thousand years, and is here visiting Earth for this once in a lifetime interview at A Toast to Dragons with esteemed guest journalist and newsman Chris Matthews (not really, but we’ll just pretend).

 

Chris Matthews: Greetings, Lucian. It’s good to see you. I’m glad you agreed to this interview. You look a little pale, but I guess that’s to be expected in your line of work. Your journey here must have been exhausting. How are you feeling today?

Lucian: A bit peckish, actually.

 

Chris Matthews: <pales> Oh, really? Uh… um… That’s a trifle unsettling. I’ll just get going with the… rest of the interview. Um… how would you describe your relationship with Clarissa? Is it romantic?

Lucian: Love is an emotion that vampires—real vampires—cannot fathom, let alone feel. Your kind would do well to put your fanciful notions of devoted, affectionate vampires back in the graves from whence they came, and restore us to our rightful place as heirs of the Damned. As for Clarissa, she served a purpose.

 

Chris Matthews:  Can you describe what it’s like to sink your teeth into a human being?

Lucian: My teeth puncture flesh. Then, I taste blood. A lot of it.

 

Chris Matthews: Can you describe the bloodlust?

Lucian: Perhaps by analogy… not drinking blood is like multiplying your libido by ten, then taking a vow of celibacy.

 

Chris Matthews: Ouch… how about religion. Interested readers want to know: do you believe in God?

Lucian: The god of your world or mine? Or are you going to be philosophical and posit a god of all worlds? It matters little to me. There may be a single God, or many lesser gods, but none have ever served me well. Since I became a vampire, more often than not, I find myself on the opposing side of whichever god is involved in the altercation. It’s a habit I have.

 

Chris Matthews: Do you have any qualms about what you do?

Lucian: No. Do you?

 

Chris Matthews:  My understanding is that you became a vampire by choice. Is that true? And if so, why did you do it?

Lucian: I was a zealot, totally devoted to the man I believed to be a god. I would have done anything he asked me to, perhaps even commit suicide if it served his cause. And, in a way, that is exactly what I did. I died to my old self and my old life, and was reborn as something greater. But there at the beginning, I was little more than a mindless minion.

 

Chris Matthews:  Do you have any regrets about your decision?

Lucian: Life is filled with decisions and regrets. I try not to dwell on my own, because I have a thousand years worth of such deliberations to burden me. It can get tiresome if you spend too much time looking behind. I try to focus on the future, because I have a lot of it to look forward to. <licks lips>

 

Chris Matthews: What separates you from other vampires?

Lucian: My patience for impertinent questions and sniveling lackeys. If the truth be known, it is my personality that distinguishes me. Although the powers of vampires vary from tale to tale, one cannot gain distinction by a clever use of innate ability. It is the vampires inner world that makes him (or her) unique. Pining, love-struck weakling or ruthless killer, it is what he uses his gifts for that determines whether or not he will establish a potent and lasting legacy.

 

Chris Matthews: Do you have any weaknesses?

Lucian: No.

 

Chris Matthews: Surely, there must be—

Lucian: No.

 

Chris Matthews: Okay, moving on. What are your goals in life?

Lucian: Some vampires seek companionship—I am not one of those. Others seek world domination—if the world offered anything of value beyond cattle, perhaps I would be one of those. But as it is, I exist to feed and accrue personal power. Politics, I can do without. Should it ever come my way, though, my greatest desire is revenge.

 

Chris Matthews:  Revenge? On who?

Lucian: On all those who have ever done me wrong. <shrugs> And on some of those who haven’t.

 

Chris Matthews: Interesting. If you could only kill Coragan of Esperia or Regecon the Archmage… who would you choose?

Lucian: Edward Cullen. Because I like to hurt sparkly things.

 

Chris Matthews: What do you do in your spare time?

Lucian: I read books. Philosophy, magical treatises, and historical texts.

 

Chris Matthews: Interesting. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Lucian: My accomplishments are too many to name, too great to be catalogued, and too far beyond the ken of your kind to bear scrutiny. I have walked the world of Athron for a thousand years; that alone is a triumph compared to the feeble existence your kind can eke out. I know more about the workings of the world and the fabric of time than the wisest of men. Don’t insult me by pretending you can grasp even a sliver of my greatness.

 

Chris Matthews: Er…if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Lucian: A tree?

 

Chris Matthews:  Yes. A tree.

Lucian: Is that some reference to wooden stakes? Is that a threat?

 

Chris Matthews: <wets self> Um. No. Readers just want to know these things.

Lucian: Then I pity your authors.

 

Chris Matthews:  Okay. Moving on… It appears you are wanted on Athron for a number of murders. Have you ever considered immigrating to the United States to escape your persecutors?

Lucian: You give my persecutors far too much credit. I don’t fear mortals. I’ve seen nations crumble to dust and demigods meet their undoing. What could a few pesky wizards and an odd warrior or two hope to bring to bear against me?

 

Chris Matthews: Do you have any advice for the modern American teen?

Lucian: Eat your vegetables. You’ll taste better.

 

Chris Matthews: How many people have you killed?

Lucian: One too few.

 

Chris Matthews: Well, that concludes our interview for today. We are glad you could make it, Mr. Drasmyr. We are curious, though, what inspired you to make the trip… it is a long way, and a most difficult journey, I imagine?

 

Lucian: The author and I came to… an arrangement. <licks lips>

Chris Matthews:  What do you mean?… Oh, God… No… Aaaahhhh!

 

Lucian: Blecch! Journalists. They all taste the same.