Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Website

This night, I make an executive decision. 

I’m moving this blog to, where it will become part of the grand new official site. Everything that I planned to post on here, I’ll now be posting on there, along with some goodies that I think you’ll like. So instead of coming here to be amused and delighted, you go to the WordPress site to be even more amused and even more delighted.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Crisis

We’re only halfway through the week, and I’ve already taken something precious out of it. You want to know what it is? It’s the tired moments in our lives that are the most powerful. Since Monday, I’ve been pouring lots of hours on my laptop, sculpting the second half of The Kingdom: The Quest. I nearly cracked last night.

Seriously. I was asking myself why I’m still working on this novel. I had to rearrange the map of Arman’s world again. In this second half, he does a lot of running, but I had him going over distances that are not practically possible. That triggered a crisis.

At that point, I was sitting in my office, head drooping from the map problem, and from the weight of another monstrous chapter that needed rewriting. I went to lay on my bed. I’m surprised I didn’t weep. My brain felt like iron. Where did all of the passion go, all of that rapture that got into this in the first place?

Honestly, I can’t put my finger on what exactly got me back up. All I know is that a few hours later, I had gone through my whole chapter. Better yet, I had a clear idea of what I would do next to make it better. I kept hammering, even though I didn’t have the strength to hammer. 

Something else was working there. Whatever it was, I like what it did to my story. It’s tapping into that something that keeps me coming back. It’s why I set out to self-publish in the first place. I just can’t stay away from it. And I’m going to keep on hammering until October 20 comes along, and The Kingdom: The Quest releases to the world. Bring the noise!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Darn Action Movies

I just realized something hilarious. I picked Memorial Day to edit an action sequence. The day where we honor our real-life action heroes, and I’m spending it writing about an imaginary one. Respectful or disrespectful, I’m doing it. Even though hurtling off a stone tower has nothing on defusing an I.E.D.

Did I just say that? Oops. Well, that’s what happens. Arman does indeed hurtle off of a stone tower. What the circumstances are, and what on earth would possess him to do such a thing, is something you’ll have to find out this October, when the whole thing comes out. Right now I’m taking a break to vent how insanely tough it is to make it awesome.

Ever since I got the idea for The Kingdom Trilogy, I knew there were going to be swordfights. And chases, and monsters, and fire, and jumps, and battle-cries, and everything that made Star Wars, Braveheart, and Indiana Jones beloved by audiences around the world.

Well, Indy makes it look easy. If writing action sequences is not the hardest writing I’ve ever had to do, it’s in the top three. Movies have a natural advantage. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what kind of numbers you get when that picture involves a man kung-fu fighting a gang of ninjas and leaping out of an exploding submarine.

Problem is, I can only write so much. When I throw Arman off that stone tower, I only have one terse paragraph to put you in the scene. I want you to be excited. I want you to squeal as Arman plummets to certain death. Every single word has to draw you in, because when things happen this quickly, one confusing word or phrase will halt the flow.

And, of course, everything has to make sense when you think about it later. Realism is integral to what makes stunts exciting. It can’t be so outlandish or unlikely that you don’t believe it. The Kingdom: The Quest may be a fantasy, but if it doesn’t have enough “real” to scare you, then its job has failed.

See what I’m up against? I better get back in the trenches. Thanks for letting me whine. Clearly, you are a kind and patient person.

Speaking of which! Memorial Day may be past, but keep honoring the soldiers of the United States of America. They have it rougher out there than most of us can imagine. They are the knights of our time. Remember them!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Politics in Upper Nola

At long last I have a map of Arman’s world I’m satisfied with. I sketched it out a couple days ago, and it looks great. For me, anyway. I’ll scan it and post it here this evening, so artists can look at it and make fun of me.**

In the meantime, I want to share something huge that hit me while I was drawing this map. Geography has a huge influence on politics. Doesn’t it? Maybe that’s not a revelation for the whole world, but it sure was for me. Resources are integral to both.

It makes things interesting for Arman. He lives in the most dominant country in Upper Nola: Gyrden*. It’s perfectly placed. It's right along the western coast, and includes fertile plains and two big rivers. It doesn't include a little ore-rich mountain range, but with all the mining colonies it's sent there, it might as well own it. 

A long time ago, Gyrden got good at farming. So much good, in fact, that it expanded and became the alpha male in a world constantly threatened by war. With Gyrden’s agricultural dominance came peace, and trade. Two other countries got in on the trading game early enough that they, too, rose with Gyrden: Bolfuir and Horoan. These are the Big Three. They’re going to be very important in The Quest. All the other countries are smaller, less advanced, and trying so hard to be like them.

When Arman sets out to warn these guys about the Nameless One and get them into Menemaeus’ alliance, things happen, especially in Horoan. Gyrden and Bolfuir are big, fat states. They’re not quite as innovative and powerful as they used to be. There’s at least one person who would be only too happy to drive them in a corner and gain power over them. The Nameless One may be on the move, but so is greed and envy. 

*If this, or any other name (or idea) sounds stupid, tell me. You have no idea how important your feedback is to me.
** I am a perfectionist. I didn't put it up the evening after posting. I want to put just a few more details in before showing it off. Sorry if that frustrated anyone.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mr. McGuire Goes To Social Media

It’s been a humiliating week. I am a total novice when it comes to serious social networking. This is an embarrassment for me. You’re reading the post of someone who learned by touch how to work an iPod in less than 5 minutes, and has 750+ friends on Facebook. I consider myself savvy with modern technology.

I knew that Facebook and Twitter are the two gods of an indie novelist, in terms of telling people that he has an indie novel coming out. Well, I’ve spent the last few days in front of the computer, realizing how stumped I am, and how much work it’s going to take. I have to make contacts, and post clever things, and get people to interact with me. In other words, I have spend hours away from The Kingdom: The Quest.

It’s a balancing act, and it’s dangerous, because writing and marketing are polar opposites to me. Writing, especially writing The Kingdom: The Quest, is a craft unlike any other. At my laptop, I dissolve into the words. I squint, and grit my teeth, and clench my forehead. I shape the words I know into things that are greater than the words. I am telling a story, just like generations have done mellenia before me. It astounds me, when I sit back and ponder it.

When I market, I plunge into a whole different world. I can’t help but think of Fahrenheit 451. If you haven’t read it, it’s a science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury. Futuristic America becomes a pleasure park. The citizens are absorbed by games, television, and never-ending stimulation.

It’s eerily similar to how Facebook and Twitter work. It’s not the deep thoughts that get you fans or followers. It’s how appealing the thought looks, when written as a tweet or a status. It does not have to be good, bad, or even logical. It only has to catch someone’s eye. Please correct me if I have misinterpreted all this, but that’s how matters seem to me.

Regardless of what I think, if I want to share The Kingdom: The Quest, social media is where I have to go. And I’m going. I’ll follow the advice of Jay-Z. I don’t agree with the message in his raps, but he’s a good rapper nevertheless, and a good businessman. He talked in one interview about how he’s an artist in the recording studio, and a businessman outside of it.

I like that idea. I can hit that balance. I can bridge these two worlds. I can play this game. At least I can try.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beginning At The Beginning

Welcome to a world too magical to be our own, and too horrible to be anything other than our own.

I am Sean McGuire, and on October 20, 2011, I am self-publishing The Kingdom: The Quest¸ first part of The Kingdom Trilogy. This blog will follow my own quest to perfect what I have been working on for four years. I will share my progress, my joys, fears, and doubts. I will share the history of how The Kingdom Trilogy came into being. Every once in a while, I’ll share some details about the plot.

For now, here are the basics. The Kingdom: The Quest tells of Arman, a timid young man, who discovers three things from an old man. First, Arman is the heir of a royal dynasty that is no longer supposed to exist. Second, an ancient enemy has returned who is also no longer supposed to exist. Third, the old man is no man at all. He is Menemaeus, defender of Arman’s world, and he wants Arman to ride out as a herald to warn everyone about the enemy, the Nameless One.

Arman accepts, and throws himself into a madness that he could never have imagined, not in his worst nightmares. Are you ready to watch a world fall apart?