This post goes into a bit of background detail about world of my upcoming Red Bargain trilogy.
When beginning work on The Red Bargain I knew I wanted it to be set in a society that was oppressive,
Symbol for the Synod: the Lawgiver’s hand holds the Scales of Justice; thirteen stars representing the High Judges surround the Scales.
chauvinistic and theocratic, but I also recognised the need for it to be believable. Personally I abhor the very idea of an oppressive theocracy, but in fiction I find it can be very evocative. (note, It is not a direct analogy for any real religion or society; while it does certainly allow for certain parallels to be drawn to the real world I leave that down to the reader and am not writing with the intent of making a political or religious statement.)
Civilian expert Lleu Jones is twenty-seven, though looks much younger than his age to many people. Most of that likely comes from the way he acts, his posture, and the way he carries himself. In conversations he can sometimes seem distracted, even to the point that he seems to be ignoring people, but in fact he seems incapable of ignoring anything – that’s just how he is. His mind seems to run faster than others’, but more than that he can think about many different things in parallel in a way that transcends what most people think of as multitasking.
Jones has been part of the team on board PDCI for the past three and a half years, and as such holds the record for the longest period of time spent in orbit. In that time he has grown even more intimately familiar with the platform than before, which is saying something considering he designed a great deal of the station. He is a true polymath, well versed in physics, mathematics and engineering, as well as being able to perform complex mathematical operations in his head. Consequently he has been able to both assist with the platform’s scientific research as well as general maintenance and upgrading of the station systems.
Many within the Program have expressed worries about Jones, citing his personality quirks and suggesting possibilities such as mild Asperger Syndrome or other Autism spectrum disorders, though no diagnosis of such a problem has been performed. In fact others have suggested that it is precisely Jones’ introverted personality that has made him such an ideal member of the team for so long. Certainly any mental health issues he does possess have not been highlighted as causing any worries or issues beyond a couple of minor arguments.
Lleu Jones appears in the short story From Orbit available in ebook form here.
The short stories I’ve published thus far have all featured covers produced by me. I studied computer graphics at university, and have been working on artistic ventures to a lesser or greater extent ever since.
I think Tolkien is probably the most famous author to also illustrated their own work, with many editions of his books featuring his artwork both inside and on the cover.
Roses are red,
Music is cool,
I’ve got ADHD,
ooh look a squirrel.
I grew up as a hyperactive child before any real proper diagnosis of ADD was ever done, and managed to some extent with a restricted diet free of many of the stupider E numbers.
So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve struggled with focus for a long time, and perhaps not in ways that others might. My mind often flits from thing to thing before I’m finished with it… Sometimes it’s almost as if I fear finishing things, fear taking that step.
As I say, I’ve struggled with this issue for a while… So I’ve decided to see what happens if I stop struggling so much. Allow myself to drift from idea to idea, with the added proviso that I at least try to finish things when I can.
Perhaps it should be obvious that I often feel as though I have a bit if an identity crisis. I find it hard to categorise myself; am I an author, an artist, a designer, a web coder, a video game maker, or… What?
Perhaps, for now, I’ll content myself with calling me a nerd.
The first city I designed for my fantasy world was Venn, a city that in my mind’s eye was about the size of Medieval York – a rough circle of about 1km diameter.
For the Great City of Azinor though, the greatest city in my world, seat of the Ministerial Synod… I want to convey a city of great power, and I imagined it being bigger, much bigger.
I decided that now was an appropriate time to make my first short story available on e-readers. So I did.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that rather than a sense of achievement I feel as though I’m foolish instead. Indeed, it’s not as though there is anything really to mark my work as being all that different to anyone else’s. Depression is always quick to smother any illusion of achievement or pride.
I should be proud of my work.. I am, really. I thing From Orbit is quite well written and, if bleak, I think some might find it moving. I just find it such a struggle to be positive about it all.
I’m trying though. This short story is just the first step in my career as an author. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself anyway.
I feel so weak.. But… Perhaps in reading this you find some measure of hope you can hold on to. Perhaps in reading this you realise that you aren’t alone.
At the moment The Harbinger Rises, as I’ve named the first book in what i hope will be considered my fantasy epic, is at the post-first-draft stage.. By which i mean i have a huge edit/partial rewrite on my hands.
I think I’m doing okay.. Though part of me cannot help but think that I’m running blind.
Part of me still thinks I’m fooling myself, even as i make more defined kickstarter plan.
So, over the past several months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my life.. about what I can do with my life. To be honest, part of me would love to be able to go and get a job and just work like a normal person. But I’m not a normal person.
My depression has worsened over recent weeks, leading to me feeling like I’m at a bit of an impasse. I know I want to write. To be a writer. That is at least a start.
Book I of my ‘fantasy epic’ is at draft stages, and I’m working through it to try and get it publishable.. I’m just a little unsure what to do then. I am strongly considering the idea of self-publishing, possibly by using a Kickstarter to raise funds for promotion and for people to do general pre-ordering type stuff. My thoughts here are still in their early stages
The Harbinger Rises, Book I of the Red Bargain
Heh, it almost looks attainable when I make a picture like that.
So, I’m still here, still out of work, still trying to Make Good Art* and keep myself alive
Working on writing things is becoming increasingly difficult, as my depression has caused motivation to be very hard to come by. I stare at a blank canvas and nothing seems to flow.
I am trying to continue to be positive, making little dumb animations – made from CG cardboard for a reason I can’t quite recall but hell, doing something stylistic is reason enough sometimes. I’ve also tried putting my opinion out there a bit in a pixel-art inspired video too.
And yet, I feel like I’m falling at times, like I’m scrabbling up a cliff-face made of loose shale, cutting at my fingers and knees and only succeeding at slipping ever backwards. I try to get people interested but it doesn’t seem to happen, engagement seems always to be so low; I feel disheartened.
There’s no positive twist to this blog post unfortunately; I can do nothing more than explain my feelings and thoughts and then I feel as though nothing more can be done.
* thanks to Neil Gaiman for that one.
My fantasy novel, which is now renamed “The Harbinger Rises” – Book I of The Red Bargain has now been completed. Or at least, the first draft has been. 116265 words including the glossary, which is about at the level I expected it / planned it to be.
So; now I need to get a printout so that the friend who’s agreed to do a readthrough can do so, and I need to go through it myself and edit it; I am n ot wholly sure what to look for and what to do but I suppose I can find guides online. Part of me can’t help thinking to myself.. now what?