Storytelling thoughts: Signature ability

Even though characters might have a wide array of abilities in their arsenal, in the key moments, some might ten to use something they know well, even more if it helped them out of sticky situations in a while. It can also say more about their characters as bad guys usually tend to use ‘instakill’ attacks, showing no emotion or remorse when using them (hello, Voldemort!).

For the good guys, the choice can be telling more about them, especially if they are forced to fight someone they don’t want to kill for any reason. Here, I could even mention the reprogrammed T-800 from Terminator 2 movie who, after being commanded to not kill anyone, was shooting people in the leg to cause non-lethal injury that would reliably prevent pursuit. Of course, this case is heavily seasoned with the cold approach of computers and finding the most efficient solution.

Now, I’ll move to my own experience. These days, it’s around 15 years since my first ideas and as it was not until 2015 I started to put the pieces together, the story went through several iterations in the early concept phases. The main hero and everything about him – skill set, personality, role, friends and family – went through at least four stages before I started writing, each having their own pluses and minuses.

In the early stages, the main hero – who still lacked even placeholder name, fact made easier by the fact I looked at the story through his eyes – was a warrior that somehow learned a few magic tricks, which allowed him to surprise his opponents and enemies. How many and how powerful these skills were changed a lot over time.

Due to his lower age, I wanted to show both the willing to risk by toying with magic (something very rare for a warrior) and unwillingness to kill. The risk element was even more in the fast that his signature move at that time was lightning strike that he learned to use on power that would stun or knock out the enemy, but without fatal damage.

It was much later when I decided to take slightly different approach to his skills (I guess maybe around 2012) and turned him into a paladin instead. Since then to maybe some late 2016, I was solidifying what I wanted his approach and skills to be.

In one of the iterations, he had a skill I later gave working name ‘final judgement’. The effect was that the victim was frozen in time for a split second during which he was judged by higher powers. If he was found evil, his soul was sent straight to hell and the body died while on (mostly) innocent person the effect was only short-term confusion. The reason I eventually scrapped that idea was that with powerful spells like that, it kills variety. When you have something that can destroy demon with a single incantation, why know more?

I’ll still not mention all his skills, but for now only one. It is my take on the iconic World of Warcraft skill, Hammer of Justice/Fist of Justice. The spell creates a spectral fist that he aims for the chest, the result being that the person’s breath is knocked out, leaving him temporarily unable to fight, which is great tool for capturing targets.

If the victim needs to die? Well, paladin is still a warrior, even if empowered by divine power, and he can still use his sword to lethal damage. As time passes, he learns more abilities for both offense and defense, but it’s not the time to mention them yet.

Photography look back: fungi

Even though most of my photos are pictures of the magnificent peaks and valleys I visit, I have a special fondness for taking photos of mushrooms. Some, like Amanita muscaria are greatly photogenic on their own, others need a bit of help from their surroundings, like crouching at a tree’s stump, obscured by the grass or growing from a soft moss.

Due to when most of them grows, these photos are usually limited to late summer and most of autumn, before the temperatures drop below zero. Every year, I stop by and take photos of fungi several times, whether they are edible or not. I rarely collect edible ones, mostly because after the long journey home, they’d be in quite bad state (my general rule is to collect them if I can return within 2 hrs of finishing the hike). So, here are few of the best photos I made this year.

As for this year, my biggest surprise was to find this beauty high in the mountains – by my memory, I guess it was in elevation around 1850 meters ASL.

‘They don’t grow high in the hills’. Myth busted.

That was fifth day of my stay in Slovakia, and I had some nice finds the seventh day as well. Even though they were edible, I could not take them with me as that day, I had quite difficult hike ahead where I would need all my four limbs for progress.


It’s sometimes strange feeling to know that probably hundreds of people use the trail daily during the summer, yet overlook them. I doubt that everyone going through there would go as high as I did. Slavic nations are quite into gathering edible fungi and so seeing this just next to the trail is even better feeling.

I would say that Amanita muscaria is my most photographed mushroom, because it’s probably the most photogenic one, and each year I collect more evidence to that claim.

It’s even better in cases like this, when these majestically looking fungi are seen pushing they way through the foliage.


Or, like the right one, when you manage to capture and insect sitting on it. On mushroom that in my language is called ‘fly killer’.

And likewise majestic are photos of fungi that grow out of somewhere with very little space, yet they manage. And unlike me, they don’t have any problem with spider nets – for which I’ll break my initial decision and post two pictures from 2016.


And that’s the photo show (off) from me for this time.

Back at writing, for a while

I did not do much when it comes to writing since some late October. The reasons were mixed, ranging from lack of inspiration through lack of time to problems with computer. Even my thoughts aimed at the story were utterly unproductive.

That finally changed in the last days. I wrote a bit – a page or so – the last week in a short while. What helped me more was the last Saturday, the walk through the misty and gloomy November forests and visiting a museum when reaching the destination. I had some ideas during the walk, which I wrote down shortly after I returned home, just in case.

Today, I hit it hard. After a month of pretty much nothing, I finished the chapter I started writing in late October and two more right after totaling almost 7000 words in some 6 hours. I guess it’ll be a pain when I get to revising it as I tend to make typos in these situations, but I can deal with that. With a bit of luck, I should be able to write a chapter or two tomorrow and have a bit of time for it two days in the next week. It gives me good feeling, and hope that I’ll be with it where I’d like to be at the end of the year.

And if someone would think that my thoughts were organized and focused only on the part of the story I am just writing… NOPE. Some of them (fortunately, most) were, but as it tends to be, some were about what happens much later and some regarding the backstory that happens much earlier and is classified as ‘potential prequel material’. Curse me, right?

The picture of Dorian Gray, perfect November read?

I don’t even know why I remembered this book, considering I was never too much into classics. But I thought with its content, it might be good fir for the gloomy November days. It was. I took my time with reading it, but enjoyed it all the same. There’s no better time in the year for reading a book about vanity, sinfulness, guilt and regret than it was now.

Since I doubt the point of doing reviews of classics that are well know, this is going to be more like a jumble of highlights and thoughts.

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Look back: A place nice in any season, but best in autumn

This time, I’ll write a bit about a place I like to visit, and one that I found to be great for seeing the seasons change. But as with any mixed forest, it’s autumn when it truly shines. This post will be about the southern part of ‘Rychlebské hory’ mountain range on CZ-PL border, near the Jeseník and Horní Lipová spa towns.

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Seeking the first snow

Autumn is quite diverse season. It starts as slightly colder summer, then moves into colorful art for a while before fading to gray. And in the end, it gets a bit white as well. November, by my experience, is one of the worst months for hiking, at least here. Most of the time it’s cloudy and it lacks the color of October. In fact, those are the months I end up returning with my clothes wet and (almost) no photos taken the most, the only decent competition was April 2017. But sometimes it’s not so bad.

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