From the web: Make unbelievable stories feel real

Strolling through the LinkedIn’s  Writers Hangout group, I found a post by C.S. Laskin, on her blog Live Write Thrive.  How Novelists can make unbelievable stories feel real, is a guest post by Michael Hauge.

He discusses how it is best to create a story where characters act like real people, even if in a fantasy setting. This will increase the believability of the story, as people can relate to the characters or problems they face. Even if the bully is a 15 foot giant.

The major points I got are:

1) Ground the normal character actions in stuff we would do even if surrounded in fantastic elements.

2) Never have an all powerful hero/character because hard for anyone to get connected and of course, what does the story really tell, if there is nothing he/she can not do.

3) Try to keep the fantasy items to a minimum to allow the reader/viewer to follow and understand these things without becoming overwhelmed.  Too many fantasy items all going on at the same time tends to confuse the audience and this add to the disbelief in the story.

A very good read, please check it out and use for your own stuff.

From the web: One group of scientists look at vimana

http://www.cnet.com/news/ancient-indian-aircraftspaceship-on-agenda-of-major-science-conference/

Vimana, or flying craft, mentioned in the ancient Hindu texts were considered, by many modern scientists, as creations of myth. There is no proof that they existed, other than the documents that mention them. But wouldn’t it be interesting if something was found?

What if these myths were real, long ago. There would probably be those that had no idea what the technology was. Like today, many of the users of the Internet don’t know how it works, just that it works. If the world went into a global disaster, then years later when the old ones were reminiscing about how wonder life was, they might talk about the Internet to those around the camp fire.

How they were able to order things and have them delivered to their home. How they could see movies and pictures of places they have never been to. Listen to people speak from the other side of the world.

How would those young people that never experienced anything like that react? They might be awed. Then tell others that they know, maybe those of the village that were not present at the fire. Or were out fishing or hunting. We know through the classroom experiment, grapevine, that the story told through many people changes.

Being that these people probably struggled to survive daily, then a tale of something so wondrous and magical would probably remain in the minds. When the old ones died, no one would be there to correct the story. It would be a story about the time before the great <put favorite disaster here>.

Men were gods, they called up magic and moved faster than a horse could carry them. They could travel to the stars and go from one part of the world to another in one day! They cured most diseases and lived more than 80 winters. They run for enjoyment not to survive.

Eventually, the people would try to codify the stories of the First Time, the Golden Age of Man. When gods walked amongst the people. They had vast power at their disposal but also great and savage weapons of power. The gods waged war on each other with flying craft that shot arrows of massive power. They sailed the oceans and could sail under the oceans.

Why did beings of such power die? It had to be the great <put favorite disaster here> was the punishment by the Father of the gods. Still the name of the tools of the gods might not be remembered but some of the things they could do, explained as the people could explain.

Is this the future of mankind if we get one of the <put favorite disaster here>? Is this the past of mankind?  We do know that we get certain disasters over and over and of course man just loves killing his fellow man.

Is this true? Who knows, until we search more underwater, I will hold out hope. Is this a possible future of ours? Possible, we don’t really know what the peasants of the Dark Ages used to say about the times of Rome. It would be interesting to know though.

 

 

When Atlantis Fell book 2: To the Death (working title)

Hello,

Working on summary of book 2 (follow on to Wall of Destruction).  Here is the summary of the first few chapters.  Please let me know what you think.

–  Modern times with winged spear found in southern China.

 – Air battle between Alta’s forces and Luxa forces, with Alta winning with 3 craft left. Risor was left to recuperate still and was not told of the battle to come.

 – Epilogue info from WoD where they tell Risor what is happening.

 – Risor goes to the council as he is still the acting military leader. He talks about how that Luxa lost all 8 of their craft, it would just be a matter of time before they rebuilt their force and came back at Alta. How Alta could scavenge the downed craft to see what they can recover but they might not be able to get more than 3-4 craft in the air. That something else has to be done. The council debates the issue.

 – Risor with Demara talk with his family about what this might mean. The scholar states how they could not go further north because the weather is too crazy and how they could not really go west because of the same thing. They could go east over the mountains to reside along the river valleys there but it would be hard and long.

– Risor comes up with the trying to get allies from the Asian rebels or Rama to see if they can join in an attack to destroy Luxa’s ability to make new aether weapons. He explains this to the council. The council figure they have a few years before Luxa can rebuild a large enough force to come at Alta again without leaving themselves vulernable in Luxa. They decide to cross the mountains and build a new hidden city amongst the river valleys of the northern coast line. They would use the vailixi to scout a way and then start building there as they did in New Alta. Risor convinces them to  let him and his crew take their vailixi west to find the allies.

– They spend a month recovering the downed vailixi and find they can repair one of them plus top off the energy for each vailixi and some of their power suits. While they can not keep all three combat effective, they can use them for transports. Risor and his crew are joined by 6 trooper in power suits. His old team from WoD joins as his crew. They say their good byes to friends and family.

– Risor’s vailixi flies first south towards old Alta to see if Luxa was there. They find signs that someone was there not sure if it was Luxa or Atlantis from before. They advise Alta to send a team down south to scavenge if they can.

– Heading south over the Gulf, Risor notes the continued change of the Gulf and how the barrier islands to the inner seas have disappeared beneath the waves. They turn west to cross over mexico and head north along the west coast. There the gently slopping coastal regions have been inundated and in many regions it has run up into the foothills. Going further north they run along the glaciers heading west. Eventually they come to land again and start following that south. They noticed that large regions that were grasslands or forests near the glaciers have been covered with water. The seas are rising and have started to flow between the trees.

– As Risor’s team goes along the eastern coast of Japan at night, they notice distant lights in the hills above the water. Risor cant find mention of villages this far north along the coast. They believe this is either some of the Raman allies way further east than previously thought or refugees from X, which might have finally succumbed to the rising sea levels. They land a good distance from the lights so they can try to approach the next day.

– Risor goes with his trooper friends to see who these people are ..  as they get closer they are ambushed by a power suit armored force. Before all the shooting starts Risor gets the enemy to stop and talk. They find out that these are indeed refugees of X and friendly. They go to the refugee encampment.

– Risor learns that the rebellion against Atlantis had gone badly. That initially the rebels did okay but they had the majority of their vailixi and infantry mauled in a major engagement a few months before. This strike was about the time that the split between Atlantis and Luxa occurred but not in time to save the rebels. With the defeat, the Atlanteans attacked their city and forced the rebels to flee into the wild. Those that could were gathered up and brought to this location. Many were killed by the Han allies of Rama, once they figured out that X and Y were rebellion against Atlantis.

Another passage from the book

Hello here is another piece of the book.. Would love some comments.

 

The day after the return from Kanesa, the council decided on a river valley as the new home, in the vicinity of what is now Nashville. Of the seven vailixi, five were used for airlifting of workers, equipment and supplies to the new valley. The idea was to build out long houses as used by many of the local tribes and then start moving the people. This will keep the majority of the people in relative comfort, in Altai, while the new homes were being built. The people of Altai still had enough aether tools and the knowledge to move objects to build these structures fairly quickly and with limited manpower.

Altai made the report of the Kanesa colony’s situation and Atlantis said they would look into it.

“My Lord Tolloc, will Atlantis be able to spare a Mother Stone for us and Kanesa? As well as the priests to maintain them? It would greatly speed up the stabilizing of our colonies.” Rosan said.

Lord Tolloc was First Minister of the Empire and the ear of the Emperor. He was also a leader of the Shigar party and not very friendly to the Tarnor family or the Nalos party. “I am sorry my lord, we can not spare any Mother Stone at this time. Between the rebuilding of Atlantis and Aiini, it is taking all we have left. Surely you understand the importance of these two cities over some of our remote colonies?”

“Yes Lord Tolloc, we understand and will make do with what we can until we can receive help from Atlantis. How is the Imperial family, my Lord?”

“The Imperial family is fine, the Emperor does wonder why Altai has not sent more of the vailixi to supplement the defenses of Atlantis. I assured him it was no slight to the throne, that you and your council believe they are needed to help Altai survive.” With a very serious look on his face, “I do not know if I can keep saying that for long Rosan. Eventually he might order that you and the council come explain yourselves to him directly. That would really be a shame.”

The threat was understood. “First Minister, should we abandon our colonies on this side of the Home Ocean and return to Atlantis? This would ensure the vailixi and troopers are available for reassignment quicker as they just have to ferry all the people to Atlantis.”

A look of disdain came over Lord Tolloc’s face as he realized the disruption that a large number of additional Nalos supporters in Atlantis, would cause. “No I do not believe that is necessary Rosan, I will work on the Emperor. The colonies of Altai and Kanesa are important to the Empire, we do not wish to abandon them.” Fidgeting in his chair, “You shall have your time. Another ten days should suffice. Since we have destroyed the Rama we can take apart their allies at a more leisurely pace.”

“Thank you First Minister, what of the news of our other colonies, have they suffered as we have?”

“Some have and some haven’t. I am sorry Lord Tarnor, matters of state await me. Please file your report on the status of rebuilding Altai. Your people need not worry about Kanesa any longer, we will send support and then deal directly with them.” As he vanished from the viewing screen.

Why is Wall of Destruction my first book?

DSC02606A few years ago I picked up a book by Graham Hancock called “Fingerprints of the Gods” that changed the way I thought of history. I have been a history nut since my school days but in this book Mr. Hancock challenged the orthodox views of how civilization progressed. I was hooked.

Many of the arguments made sense to me and I started reading more from Mr. Hancock and others that wrote of similar views. One of the biggest challenges to these views was, “where is the evidence?” Many things mentioned by these writers had little corroborating information or not enough to stir the archaeological community to further investigate.

Where is the evidence? Maybe in the ocean. Since the last ice age, sea levels have risen over 150 feet globally. Large swaths of land that used to be shore side are now under tens or hundreds of feet of water. The Persian Gulf used to be a river valley, Florida used to be about twice its size, Sundaland was a landmass that included large swaths of Southeast Asia and the Gulf of Mexico was half its size and more a bay with small waterways connecting it to the Atlantic Ocean.

Then you look at human nature and you notice that we really love to build cities near the coast or along rivers. We always have. Almost all ancient cities were near bodies of water because we need water to survive. Especially nice places were river deltas, building a city as close as you can to a delta really gave you an advantage. The land is more fertile, you have access to the seas and trade. Just a sweet place to put down some roots.

Until the sea levels rise that is. Once the seas start flooding your crops or even your house, it tends to make the place uninhabitable and less desirous. Storms cause more damage and water gets caught in tidal pools that, due to stagnation, might cause disease and all that other fun stuff.

If you do have cities, you have specialization of skills. I myself am an IT engineer, not a farmer or hunter. I might have some of those skills or learn quickly but what if I am dropped into an area without more than I can carry? If I left in a hurry, did I bring an axe? food? water? clothes? If I did, did every one else? Will I have to fend off other starving people for the food and tools I did bring? If I am fending them off, can I continue to feed myself?

Leaving the environs of a city quickly might also cause the loss of industry and the devaluing of specialization. Can you make the tools you need or did the tooling systems you require sink with the city? Could you even stay in large, organized groups? Might you have to break up into smaller and smaller groups to have a chance to feed your group? Non-survival skills then become unused and eventually forgotten.

How could a civilization die? I think these could be causes of an advanced society reverting to hunter gatherers. Just need to find some evidence of city remains. The cool thing is they are starting to look in the oceans and are finding things that are questioning the current story of man.

This is one of the premises in Wall of Destruction, a “When Atlantis Fell” saga. Something happens to cause the cities to be abandoned and the survivors need to learn to “go native” to survive. As this is a book of fiction, I also took the liberty of using stories of Atlantis and other ancient  tales to build my civilizations.

I will add more about it in the coming posts.