The Library has Moved

Hello dear Reader. I just want to announce the move into the new site. Ex Libris will no longer be atbookewyrme.wordpress.com as I have recently found a private host for it. The address is now here athttp://bookewyrme.straydreamers.com. Nothing else will be changing, and I will post Sunday’s article in both places, just to be sure.

Thank you!

The Bookewyrme

The Library has Moved

Hello dear Reader. I just want to announce the move into the new site. Ex Libris will no longer be at  bookewyrme.wordpress.com as I have recently found a private host for it. The address is now here at http://bookewyrme.straydreamers.com. Nothing else will be changing, and I will post Sunday’s article in both places, just to be sure.

Thank you!

The Bookewyrme

The End of the Beginning

“It is not the beginning of the end, merely the end of the beginning.” These words are particularly appropriate this week, as I finish out Nanowrimo. Tomorrow is the final day, at which time I will have my very first finished novel. Of course, I say finished, but as stated above, this is an illusion. My Novel will have been given shape, but it has not yet been given life. That will require several months of intensive editing, re-editing, reading, re-reading, and possibly some re-writing. However, the basic form which it has now will not change.

It will still be a story about a Dragon named Aurelia who collects books, and is a scholar. She will still set out on a a quest to locate an object with several human companions. And she will still narrate the Story for us. So, I thought this week it would be appropriate to give a synopsis of the Novel as it now stands.

The Story is set in an alternate history Europe, with both Medieval elements and Classical elements, as well as some purely fantastical elements. The Narrator, Aurelia, is a Bookewyrme, though throughout the story she, and other bookewyrmes are referred to as “Librarians” as that is usually their occupation. Aurelia’s library is housed in the castle of the Prince of Durham, the younger brother of the King of Brittania. The Prince has three children, a daughter who is the eldest, and two younger sons. Unfortunately, the daughter cannot inherit, though she is the most suited to do so, because the Law of the Kingdom forbids this. The Princess is on the verge of being married to a Prince of another Kingdom, thus separating her both from her Rightful Inheritance and her beloved Lady Marisa, when she comes up with a desperate plan. She decides to set out to find an artifact associated with the Helenic God Hermaphroditus which is said to be able to change the gender of whoever uses it. She is accompanied by several Guards, the Lady Marisa, our Narrator Aurelia, and Aurelia’s plucky maid, Elsie.

They travel through many lands, and encounter many different people and beings, including an ordinary (and very bad-tempered) dragon, a woman who is one quarter Valkyrie, and a Dwarf. One of the places they visit is the Land of the Elves, which is based rather heavily on Ancient Egypt. Here they encounter the oldest living Bookewyrme, and several Elven Gods. At last, they finish their Journey to the Temple of Hermaphroditus in Eastern Helas, returning the Artifact to its proper place, and gaining the God’s gratitude. The Novel ends with the Princess returning to her own Kingdom to claim her proper place as her Father’s Heir.

Of course, there are a few twists and turns, but as I hope to publish this story some day, I will not spoil them for anybody. The novel is actually the first in a trilogy featuring Aurelia, called The Librarian Chronicles. Currently, the title of this work is “Princess” but it is possible this will change over time.

Many apologies for the short post today. I still have about 3,000 more words to chase around the page before Midnight tomorrow, and if I leave them for too long, they start to Escape.

Until next week, Dear Reader!

Thought for the Day: “You can’t wait for Inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

Currently Reading: Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

Science Fiction Vs. Fantasy

Much like the age old questions, “chicken or the egg?”, and “pirates or ninjas?”, Science Fiction vs. Fantasy is one of those unanswerable questions of life. But, while I can see the appeal of the first two questions, I have to wonder why we bother to ask this third question in the first place. I believe Fantasy and Science Fiction are two sides of the same coin, different only in the trappings, not in the actual spirit of pure imagination which I believe goes into both. Furthermore, the line between these two genre’s is blurry at best. Let me explain.

First, a couple of definitions, as gleaned from our friend of the Information Age, Wikipedia.

“Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting” from the Fantasy Page.

Science Fiction – “It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically-established or scientifically-postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation)” from the Science Fiction Page.

I like to think of Science Fiction and Fantasy as two ends of a spectrum. At either end you have the extremes, Asimov at the SF end, and Tolkien at the Fantasy end. In the middle, the exact distinction becomes less clear, with authors such as Anne McCaffrey and Raymond Feist. McCaffrey’s Pern books are a brilliant example of this blurriness. At the beginning of that series (within the timeline), the books are almost pure SF, with space travel to other planets, genetic science and computer technology. Yet as Pern progresses, they become Fantasy novels, with quests, dragons, and in a strange sense magic, or at least communication with what are essentially large animals.

Another prime example of this fuzziness between the genres is actually Robert A. Heinlein. The book that I am thinking of specifically is called The Glory Road, and is one of my favorite works of Heinlein’s. However, I could not consider this book to fit neatly into either Category alone. While there is space travel, or rather travel between dimensions, and technology, there is also a sword-wielding hero, dragons, and in some sense magic. Now, I also think that Heinlein deliberately was blurring the line, as several times one of the characters explains her technology to the less technological Earth-man as “magic”. And indeed, it sounds like magic. But it is also equally clear that to her this ‘magic’ is as simple and straightforward as computer technology is to us.

I feel that I also must touch on the sub-genres of Urban Fantasy, and Steampunk/Cyberpunk and the many variations thereof. Steampunk and Cyberpunk are both technologically driven, though the aesthetic is rather different, yet Steampunk is considered a sub-genre of Fantasy, rather than Science Fiction. Urban Fantasy is another odd example, combining as it does themes such as elves, magic, dragons, vampires, werewolves, and modern day technology. One might almost dub these three sub-genres “Science Fantasy”, for they clearly combine the magic or semi-magical elements of Fantasy, with rational scientific explanations for many parts of the story.

Though I can by  no means claim to be the first to have these thoughts (or else why would the Bookstores shelve the two genres together?), I do think they are important considerations for an aspiring author. I think the question should not so much be “Science Fiction or Fantasy” as it should be a question of weaving your story clearly within the framework of the world or worlds you create.

Thought for the Day: “One man’s magic is another man’s engineering. Supernatural is a null word.” Robert A. Heinlein

Currently Reading: Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs ~ A.G. McDowell

New Beginnings.

I am a student and a wife. But I am also an artist, and as everyone knows, artists crave attention. Hence this Blog. Here is where I will cry out into the great, uncaring Blogosphere (of DOOM!) “See me! See what I can do!” and hope that some of it is read, and more importantly that some of it is both useful and entertaining. In the coming pages I will write on many topics without doubt. However, all of these topics will be connected to my great passion and hobby, reading. Of course, in order for there to be reading, there must by necessity be writing as well. Therefore, this will be both a Reader’s and a Writer’s blog. There will be both unofficial, informal book reviews of my favorite authors, both new and ancient, and commentary on my trials, tribulations, and experiences as an Author.

Though I am not yet Published, this makes me no less a writer. I write many things, most of them Fantasy related, or else Academic papers. My first novel is in its first draft stages, thanks in no small part to the wonderful, wonderful organization, NaNoWriMo. Though it is unfinished, I believe it will be worth sharing with the world once completed, and to that end I am striving. Here-to-fore, I have only written small pieces of Fiction intended solely for my friends, or academic essays intended solely for my Professors and the University archives. This foray into Novelling is both terrifying and exhilarating. I sincerely hope the terror dissipates eventually, and the exhilaration remains eternally.

I hope to update this blog once weekly, currently on Sundays. Of course, as life’s many surprises, twists, and turns ambush me, doubtless this will change. So, I do not promise continuous, endless posts on a fixed schedule. However, I do make it my pledge that should a change in schedule, or a brief cessation of updates become necessary, I will do my utmost to give fair warning, or at least an explanation.

So! Now for some content. As this is the Beginning, I do not propose to dwell overly long on a topic. However, I feel that some mention should be made here of two wonderful organizations which have helped me grow as a writer already in the short period of time I have been associated with them. They have also partially inspired me to create this Blog, and some acknowledgement should be made to them. These two are Nanowrimo, the National Novel Writing Month organization, and Absolute Write, specifically their open forum. Both provide invaluable communities for new writers.

Nanowrimo (found here) is great for helping the great procrastinators of the world (i.e. myself) get a first draft done and done quickly. It forces one to write every day, and meet specific goals. It is also a tremendous amount of fun, and I would encourage anyone who enjoys writing, from the already published author to the absolute beginner who never intends to let anyone read their writings ever.

I found the Absolute Write forums (they are here) through Nanowrimo. It is a community of authors, from fiction to bloggers, to writers of textbooks. They also range in experience, again from the published-several-times-over Authors to the rank beginner just writing their first short story. I would encourage any author, of whatever level, to at the very least browse these forums. For one thing, each individual forum has a number of stickies full of excellent information put together by very kind and generous people. And best of all, you can browse the forums without actually creating an account, though of course in order to post, one must register. I would urge one to register immediately, as it can take some time to get approved by the moderators, so if you register before you develop that burning question, you don’t have to wait around and possibly forget it!

So, I think I have rambled on for long enough now, and will bid you all adieu and say “See you next Sunday!”

Thought for the Day: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” a Proverb

Currently Reading: Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs ~A.G. McDowell