mackknopf: (False Gods)

I'm reading books on story structure and having a number of new thoughts lately.

From my cousin Greg in Texas: "I’m more a mystery and sci-fi kinda guy but the summary sounds interesting enough.  You really need to capitalize on the first three words of the summary.  That’s quite a funny lead in the novels title.  No doubt intended.  Sounds like fun to work on."

My response:

Gracias. :)

Yes, it's instant conflict to be the first atheist in a world full of "gods," most of whom take offense at being told off!  The main character gets his own set of powers, so can successfully oppose them.  Some of the same issues come up as in T. H. White's "The Sword and the Stone," namely whether might can be used in the service of right.  Self-obviously (to me), might alone does not make right, though it may impose a twisted sort of order.  This theme, along with order versus chaos, law and civilization versus anarchy, is key to why I can still enjoy (well-done) superhero comics. 

Khamaat, the protagonist, is quite offended that a bunch of people with superhuman powers are claiming to be omnipotent, ominiscient, omnibenevolent, etc., and sets out to oppose them.  The counterbalance to him is the love interest, who also develops powers, but is not quite ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater yet when it comes to belief.  So they have a lot of conflict themselves even as their attraction develops. 

The antagonists are a lot of fun to write, too.  The main adversary of the god Set, for instance, is Machiavellian, sneaky, suave, and with irritatingly good points sometimes.  Set was part of the royal family and was their strategist before being exiled into the desert for wanting to marry his sister, Isis.  See, his brother Osiris got to marry Isis instead...

Read more... )

mackknopf: (False Gods)

Tagline: "Mutant Gods"


Egypt's first atheist, a scribe, and a true believer, a priestess, find their lives troubled by Amun, the Hidden God, thought long dead when the current pantheon took over.  Five thousand years ago, they travel to the capital city of the Two Lands, now one, to ask help from Osiris, king of the gods and pharaoh.  However, Set, god of chaos and corruption, is the true power behind their misfortunes.  Khamaat and Mereyeta must set the gods back on their proper courses, defeat Amun and then Set, and somehow accept that they, too, have become like the gods.  The ability to shape the energy of the sun runs in the bloodline and comes out at the point of death when a person refuses to die.  For the gods are all too human, and their religion is false.  Or is it?  What does it mean to become a god, and what does it mean to be human?

***

I've been in touch with the writing group I mentioned previously, and supposedly they're meeting this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.  However, no one's announced where the meeting place is, so I'm a little concerned.  I hope that A) it hasn't fallen apart already and B) I haven't already been uninvited!  This is a former graduate creative writing class that was taught by professor and author Kerry Madden last semester.  They decided to stay together once the class ended.  I spoke with Dr. Madden at the university party about wanting to improve my writing, and she introduced me by email to this group.  Now I just hope they actually meet.

I've been daydreaming scenes and plotting again, and I need to rework my outline -- not drastically, but trying to fill in holes and places where I needed more of a framework to go off of.  For those who tell me, "Just write," if I do something this big without an outline, I find I spend too much time figuring out where I'm going next.  Having a structure really cuts down on hitting my head on the desk in frustration and frees me to get scenes done that are less likely to need removing for tangency.

mackknopf: (Celtic Cross)
I wrote the beginnings of a novel, called False Gods, about two main characters, an ancient Egyptian reluctant temple scribe and an ardent temple priestess. The scribe, named Khamaat, believes in the gods only because he can't deny that they keep showing up on earth (well, in my book they do) and throwing their weight around.  He certainly doesn't think they're all-benevolent and suspects they're not always watching.  He finds out soon enough that they're not all-powerful, because they can be killed!  The other character, Mereyeta, fervently believes in everything the gods and culture have sold her on believing.  She eventually finds out that the gods are just people with amazing powers, and that they have lost their way, neglected their duties and upset the natural order.  To restore balance to the world, the two have to take up the powers of the deities for their own and struggle against the gods.


I don't know what they're ultimately going to wind up believing in, because I plotted the whole darn book, but I haven't finished writing it yet.  I think they'll probably wind up believing in a sort of natural law, a sense of universal balance, but not necessarily any afterlife or true higher power.  Then again, if I ever finish FG and write a sequel, I may address that issue, or I may just leave it up to the readers.  The point is, nobody really knows for sure what lies beyond the grave for real in my story.  Some have returned from "death," but not with any proof, just vague memories of visions.  Similarly, in the waking dream we call life, no one has shown me proof of an afterlife.  Even though I've seen a ghost.  After all, I don't know what really happened then.  Hmm.  There is a lot of me in those two characters.  I should start writing it again.

I read an article in the Birmingham News today criticizing Richard Dawkins, the famed atheist.  While I think he's a prosyletizer out to convert people to his way of thinking, which I innately distrust in any religion/way of thinking/political view, I disagreed with the critiquer and thought of my friend Lisa.  Of course someone can disbelieve in God and have an ethical system and be a good person.  You can also believe in a different type of god, or gods plural, and still be a good person, at least by my standards. However, if it turns out that only one particular type of God (say, the Judeo-Christian God) sends his followers to heaven, then everyone else is going to be up a creek and possibly in Hell, depending.  Let's hope not.

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mackknopf

March 2012

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