Fantasy thoughts: King’s closest

I was thinking a bit about what kind of people would a king (or sovereign with any other title) surround himself with, to rule the land and to achieve his own goals. That would most likely depend on personal priorities, someone bound on expanding the borders would probably have many strategists among those to listen the most.

Even in calmer times, one would probably have representatives of the army and the diplomats to take care of any trouble, or to prevent it if possible. Those interested in expansion by force would probably hire engineers to create weapons of destruction, while those that would want to build new cities would consult architects.

To deal with the everyday life of the land, I’d say that they’d need someone to relay the problems of common people because it’s always better to solve them before they get out of hand; and representatives of the nobles, who could be tempted to conspire together for a change in leadership, if they felt they are not treated as they deserve.

Of course, the ruler’s personal goals and interests would have a significant role, for which I’d borrow example from history: Rudolf II (wikipedia) of Austrian monarchy (born 1552, crowned 1572/1576, dethroned 1608, died 1612). He was a collector of arts and curiosities and supporter of alchemy and astronomy, and so he brought several experts in those fields to his closest circles.

Thoughts about chapter names

Something I noticed lately was that vast majority of the books I’ve been reading only had chapter numbers, very rarely the chapters were named. During my recent thoughts, I’ve found that quite surprising.

Truth is that in this year, I was mostly reading self-published books that were in the 200-400 pages range and so it was not as important. If a book can be read in single evening, then it’s not as likely someone will try to find a specific passage to look at. I’ve realized that as reader, there might not be much benefit from named chapters.

That changes a lot when I shift to writer perspective, and that’s where my surprise comes from. The idea that I would be going through my draft without chapter names, trying to find a specific moment I needed to have a look on, is scary.

But then I thought about it again. Maybe the reason why it feels scary is on my side again, because of the sheer size into which I let my ideas expand – I am now somewhere around 450.000 words summed across book 0,5 (40k), book 1 (230k) and maybe 70% of book 2 (170k) + notes and bits that were cut already. Sometimes, I need to find a specific scene to look at. I am quite sure that just with chapter numbers, I’d be lost. Chapter names are pain to come up with, but I found them really helpful when I need to find something. And even though I do (and will do more) complete proof-reads myself before going to some kind of beta stage, I know that some parts were trickier to write than others and require several closer looks.

Well, I’ll end this random jumble of thoughts here I guess…

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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November daydreaming

Oh, it’s this time of year again. The wet and dry November, not cold enough for snow, but cold enough to make rain feel more unpleasant than ever. Luckily there was not that much of it. But these darker days tend to take my mind away from the reality.

For the past days, before Blizzcon, they were occupied by speculations about what will be announced, for me especially about World of Warcraft next expansion. Now, a week later, the speculations are dying down, limited to thinking about some more vague statements and what could be true (while there’s still the possibility that it’ll change anyway before beta).

So, my mind moved back where it usually is: my own world. Since the decision I made some three weeks ago to completely change my approach to the beginning of the story, I finally wrote another chapter, and quite a short one. My visible progress is now close to zero, something I don’t expect to improve much in the coming weeks. I am in the stage where more progress is done thinking about how to solve the troubles and plotholes that appeared. I guess I might look even weirder than usually, with the gloomy weather, my wild facial hair and absent-minded neutral face.

I guess that contributes to the fact that I might get to revisit some darker stuff in the coming days, starting with re-read of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ which I plan for the next week. I think with the theme the book has, it’ll be quite nice match for the darker November weather and the brooding mood that comes with it.

“You might like this”

So, today, I am to share my thoughts about one of the things that can be useful, but can also cause you to facepalm hard. recommendation systems. What made me wonder about this more the last days? YouTube.

I was watching metal covers of game and film soundtracks, so as good as it could be, it recommended things to watch next. Since I have some other related things in my watch history (like best-of scenes or videos showing making game/film weapon replicas) it went quite well on pointing me to what I might know. Heck, I found some really good stuff there. Since I was in the rare mood when I felt like actually giving a thumbs up, I was logged in for all of the time.

Fast forward three days. I watch one of those things again. And that’s when the hilarity kicks in. Many of those were in the recommendation with the usual text “you might like this” (in my language). You don’t say? (I was so tempted to insert the Nicolas Cage meme…) Of course I might like this, I played it 10 times in a row the other day…

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Writing thoughts: prejudices

So, it’s a bit over two years since I started working on my story, and well over five years since I went from “maybe one day” to “seriously thinking about it”. I still don’t feel ready to talk about it much, and I do here because of the partial internet anonymity. Even that took time.

Truth is, I am still afraid what people around me might think when they learn the truth, which is the reason that I am still quite picky about those who truly know what I am up to (including that it is me, and by that I mean knowing me at least somewhat). Being gamer and generally shy person who sticks to himself most of the time, I was often considered a bit strange. How worse could that be if those around me knew the truth?

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Various thoughts: Culture overload

In the last few days, I kept myself quite busy. From Wednesday to Sunday, I went for a hike, read two books, went to cinema, visited music festival, wrote two chapters and sorted out my thoughts for several more. I’ll post the book review in the coming days, hopefully.

As for the film I saw, it was Valerian and the City of a thousand planets. Since I have great memories of Fifth element as a great and often quite hilarious Sci-fi by Luc Besson, I decided to go see this. I never saw the comics it was based on, so for me it was just going to have some easy fun with a film that was from trailer very likely to be a lot about shiny graphics and myriad of alien creatures. The intro was touching, the multi-dimensional bazaar chase was interesting and fun. I am not sure if it was just me or if that part was a weak spot, but for some reason I knew who the traitor is when the command room of Alpha was attacked. From there, it was mostly about if/when/how he’ll be dealt with more than about finding out who it is. Still, good one.

I won’t say much about the concert. I will say that my neck and hands are still a bit stiff, something my fellow metal enthusiasts will understand. I was not exactly in the front row all those 10 hours but I was not holding back either. RAISE YOUR HEAVY METAL HANDS!

Anyway, for a person who likes ‘normal’ and quite regular sleep habits, two nights with this disrupted (returned around 23:30 from the cinema and 3:15 the next day after concert) I was quite sleepy the whole Sunday as the sun and heat did not allow me to sleep for long. There was a hint that colder days might be coming – and by colder I mean 22°C down from 30+ but that hope lasted maybe two hours.

Anyway, they were fun days definitely.