On Editing

On Editing

Where I lead, men follow, for great men make their own destiny and I have my pursuit of excellence.

Isacc Tarakai, The Chronicles of Cyralost.

Like all writers, I want everything that I produce to be a work of art. In my pursuit of excellence I need each manuscript to be perfect. Once we have bedded the muse and sated our creativity, the moment comes to polish our potential masterpieces and ensure they are worthy of publishing.

With regards to editing, we are blessed to live in an era where technology can point us in the right direction and time-saving corrective software can be found in abundance. However, we mortals are prone to human error and all manner of mistakes can still be made. Computers, can’t repair everything.

No matter how talented or well educated a writer may be, things like self-doubt, tiredness or even a slip of a finger on the keyboard can lead to an unprofessional looking document. Even the most anal and meticulous writer can err… and, that’s okay, because we all make mistakes. Just ask your folks (not that I am suggesting you were a mistake.).

Fortunately, we writers have a back-up. In my experience, I have been lucky to meet and befriend lots of writers (many of them, published authors) over the years. I have discovered that every writer procrastinates. The most common cause for this is fear of failure. The universally accepted cure for this is to write regardless. We are writers, we must write. The worry that anything we write might not be good, can be assuaged by the simple fact that ‘bad writing’ can be rectified.

The remedy that will ease your mind and make your manuscript the best that it can be, that back-up I referred to – is an editor (they’re human too).

Let me tell you about Steve of Steve Frost Editing (not to be confused with ‘Inflatable Steve’)

Steve Frost (clever bloke, he’s got letters after his name and a certificate to prove it) has been proof reading and editing my manuscript for some time now. His tireless work ethic produces a steady stream of polished writing, highlighting any incorrect punctuation or grammar and carefully reconstructing sentences appropriately.

I poured over my stories dozens of times and still didn’t catch all of the mistakes I made. Sometimes, a second pair of eyes is required. If one hopes for any success with publishing, a qualified ‘pair of eyes’ is necessary. Most writers are not able to view their own work objectively. Steve has pointed out potential changes to my writing, making educated suggestions to make the story flow. He has also removed unnecessary words and content (how many of us have heard the advice about omitting the words ‘very’ or ‘so’ and yet still discovered our manuscripts littered with them?).

Steve has been brutal with it. Brutal is good. Like many writers, I’m emotionally attached to my novel on some level. I need a professional to make the necessary changes that I cannot bring myself to perform. I need someone I trust to edit appropriately.

Mr Frost is that professional I trust. He has made my writing better. Steve is as friendly as he is professional and his correspondence reflects this. He provides a superior service along with constructive criticism. This is encouraging and I value that. His alterations are evident and suggestions are simple. I value that too.

Steve’s efforts on my behalf have given me a keen insight into the mechanics of writing and instilled a new sense of excitement for my project. I am humbled. I am grateful. I think Steve and I will have a long relationship (I’ll tell you about my relationship with ‘Inflatable Steve’ another time).

I encourage you to visit Steve Frost’s website: http://www.stevefrostediting.com

Best wishes,

Kieran Davis (who also writes as Baldypoems)

Pride Denied

Fervour,  fercocious,

Fear fades in the flood,

Ancient art, atrocious,

Banishing the blood,

Ӕshanti rue the river,

That runs red with the free,

And washes wishes of salvation,

All the way to sea.

From Baldy’s mythology (see Baldmythology, The Chronicles of Cyralost), note, the Ӕshanti are humanoids with cat features and nuances, hence the title.

Fantasy Resources

I finally posted a couple of useful resources for fantasy writers on my other blog: The Chronicles of Cyralost.  If you’re interested in seafaring or precious stones, the two new resources may be of use to you here: https://baldmythology.wordpress.com/

You can also find information about the creatures, monsters, gods and interesting places involved in my mythology on this site (as well as fiction and poetry pertaining to my fantasy world).  I hope you’ll take a look and tell any fans of fantasy you know.  Many thanks, best wishes from Baldy 🙂

The Summoner’s Stone

DSCN3063

An original painting from friend and fan, Keith Nimmo.  Art, in all its forms, from paintings to television productions and movies, don’t usually match up with the writer’s original concept.  Whoever a director casts as the main hero, regardless of their talent, will not be exactly as imagined, the same with artwork, but then everyone their own vision of how someone or something should look; we all devour books differently.  Art is an interpretation, and I am immensely grateful for Keith Nimmo’s interpretation of Tark Elspar’s Summoner’s Stone.  I love what his own imagination moved his brushes to produce and am ecstatic to showcase the first piece of true ‘fan-mail’ I ever received.  Mr Nimmo has recently contacted me and asked if he can use the mythology of Cyralost for some portfolio work in his college course (as you can imagine, Baldy did the dad-dance and readily agreed), I really look forward to seeing what he will paint next and will be sure to share anything he sends me with The Chronicles of Cyralost in mind.  Below is the original piece about the Summoner’s Stone that inspired Keith’s painting.  Thank you to Mr Nimmo for reading, and thank you so much for the artwork, I treasure it (it lives on the wall above my writing bags).

 

The Summoner’s Stone

 

These are baubles of magnificent potential pertaining to each of the elements, magical items so rare that a collection is unheard of and so very desirable (for the expensive materials that each is comprised of, the artistry and creativity put in to its forging and the magical wealth held within) that it could likely cost the fortune of a kingdom’s treasury.

Every stone is different (no two are identical), some in obvious ways, others only slightly outsized or given a different shape. Like normal stones, there is no symmetry and no one stone has a perfect circumference or edge.  The only similarities are the materials each Summoner’s Stone is made of.

In the instance of the Elsparran stone intended for the Elves at the Blood-tie ceremony, the stone and it’s brethren (for it is a sentient being, containing an elemental) are forged of slate, stone, agate and silver; these are inhabited by earth elementals (details about other elementals, such as fire, water or air and any Summoner’s Stones that they may be encaged in may be found in later stories or appendices).

Cyralost’s history is only lightly littered with tales regarding earth elemental summoning stones and many of those stories are considered fairy-tales of adventures locating them. Mytharia-Illidure and Keysrai-Nar are the only known two cities to have been spellborn with the aid of these.  But it is not just beneficial happenstance that occurs with the help of these mana-rich beauties, when in the wrong hands – devastation on a scale of catastrophic levels is possible.

It was a Summoner’s Stone that started the series of events that led to the sundering, the terrible cataclysm that changed the face of South-West Kira in the second age when an evil demon overlord rent the large island called Volentar, causing the South and West of it to break away in a horrific quake that cost the lives of thousands and created the islands now known as Rim, Plor, Quern, Gravasinia, ‘O’, Epipe, Hurch, Dra and Cakadar).  This event changed the face of former Usurpia (now called Urvasinia), cataclysmic earthquakes causing mountains to tumble and much of the land to be swallowed by a new sea.

Sadly, The Sundering was largely blamed on the Wytch-Kings, who were (in fact) responsible only for attempting to save the lands from this terrible fate.  The misunderstandings led to the great wytch cull that became known in Cyralost’s history as ‘The Burning Times’.

The silver that is worked in to and around the earth elemental summoning stone is forged in to delicate shapes, patterns and effigies by the most talented silversmiths before being magically welded to the slate, stone and agate by a sorcerer of incredible power. Some patterns contain leaves, ivy or floral designs (all wonderfully intricate and highly detailed) whilst others are gathered in to a lattice or spell-ridden sky of stars.  The silver can take on a face or the form of an animal or magical beast such as a Gryphon or Unicorn and the nature of the artifact makes it possible to change its design at will to confuse and deter potential thieves or people the stone believes are unworthy of wielding it.

It is able to dull the surfaces so that the silver does not catch the light and when free of its container (usually a spell-locked case of some sort) it can roam free, but only as far as it can roll.

The elemental held within is caged with such powerful magic that it must be subservient to its owner for the duration of one ‘wish’ (the wish will only work with the intent of the elemental’s nature for a specific use, to build or destroy something of rock, mud, stone, earth etc in this case).

Once it has fulfilled its intended destiny, the creature will most likely escape to another plane of existence in search of its own prime-material world but it has been known for one or two elementals to seek vengeance on mankind for its captivity and slavery. There is one document that claims an elemental remained in its owner’s service (after fulfilling his wish) of its own free will and caused tremendous harm to an opposing army.