T’was The Second Day After Christmas

Two days late, but Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I haven’t given up on this little thing, I’ve just not had a huge amount of time to write up anything for here. I finished my final school exams a little while ago so I now have a lot of time I can do things with. I’m trying my best to power through the last bit of Wyvern Diary. I’m not going to even try and make an estimate for how much time I think I have left before it’s done, because I’ve made those promises before and I’ve been absolutely lousy about keeping them.

The most difficult part of the current writing chunk I’m busy with is character interaction. I always doubt whether my characters are a) likable and b) interesting, so I’ve been doing rewrites for a while now. The other thing I’ve been focusing on is worldbuilding and localising things. Every single Capetonian speaking English exclusively is slightly unrealistic, even for a work of science-fiction, so I’m putting my knowledge of Xhosa and Afrikaans to the test. In an effort to avoid clumsy translation conventions and pitfalls, all foreign language lines are written as is, with a comment by the narrator that should give a reader unfamiliar with the language an idea of what’s being said.

In a couple of days, I’ll be searching for test readers. If anyone is interested in reading the first half of Wyvern Diary and giving feedback, stay on the lookout for my next post. Until then, thanks for reading and have a nice day.


Rested and Recuperated

Alright, exams are done for now and I’m back on vacation. Work on Wyvern Diary is going well and if I keep up my current work rate, I should be done with the raw manuscript in two to three weeks. After that, I plan on talking to some local publishers here in SA and hopefully get Wyvern Diary traditionally published. Until then, it’s hard work and trying to finish the last lap of this race. I’ll be getting back to usually scheduled blogging shortly.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day.

Twofold Progress Announcement

Wyvern Diary is going well; I’m around a third of the way in and Steve is looking less like a prick than before. Mission accomplished.

On a different note, I’m also starting work on a supplementary anthology of short stories detailing the events and circumstances right after the catastrophic Blackmatter Event. Current storyline ideas include:

Chaos at Nigeria’s impact point
Mutagen outbreak at a military facility
First awakening of telekinesis
The beginning phases of ubiquitous civilian weaponry and ever present warfare

The story, under the working title of The Blackout War, will attempt to give a global picture, so if you have any suggestions on location and subject matter, please contribute.

I look forward to your contribution and I hope you have a good day.

Beta Readers, Assemble

Given that exams are finishing today, I can put my focus back on Wyvern Diary. I’d greatly appreciate it if some of you would volunteer to read a few chapters, as many as you like, so that I can properly tweak this novel for a decent release.

So if you like military science fiction, post apocalyptic science fiction and pseudo-magic, as well as action, email me at s.k.wonza@gmail.com to rate and review.

Thanks in advance and enjoy your day!

Accuracy vs Audience: An Author’s Dilemma

Sometimes, accuracy can be a very helpful tool. It can show that you as a writer are intelligent, gives credibility to your work and gives fewer opportunities for suspension of disbelief to be broken. But sometimes accuracy can be jarring and rather unsettling, as I will now attempt to explain.

When people strive for accuracy, they tend to get all the details correct. That can be a very bad thing in the realm of fiction. A fun action scene in a clear desert can be ruined if a facts lawyer decides to have people’s guns start jamming at random, people passing out from heat stroke etc. A scientific character could easily be derailed by his specific field not covering a certain problem in a story or situation and s/he would need another expert that would in many kinds of story create an extraneous character or multiple. A more extreme example can be found below.

I slowly crouched down beside his head, which was practically unharmed, and waved my hand several times in front of his face. No response. Taking my approach one step further I put my middle and index fingers on his eyelids and closed them. The eyes slowly reopened and I breathed a sigh of relief. Alive, I thought. To clarify my finding, I placed a hand on his stomach. But my quick decision to move wasn’t handled well by my stiff, nervous legs and I accidentally placed nearly all of my weight onto his belly.

My face quickly morphed into an image of horror as I felt a movement of fluid in the man’s stomach and a squishing sound came out from his open mouth. Out of the corner of his mouth came a trickle of orange-yellow liquid, thick and gelatinous, that was forcibly filling his mouth. A bubble formed within what I was sure was bile and popped over the dry, cracked lips. The sight of vomit was the lesser of my two worries as I realised that the looter’s bowels had loosened and soiled his pants. The scent of days-old, still digesting food, halitosis and wet faecal matter crept into my nose and I jumped away in disgust. I held my mouth closed in fear of the contents of my stomach spilling out of it. Dead, decidedly dead. The man’s jaw now fell open more completely and the disgusting liquid splatted on the black tar road, the bubble of mucous splitting and letting the bile loose. Looking at the corpse, I took a minute to breathe.

In real life, dead bodies are disgusting. Aside from the obvious rot and disease problems, a corpse has lost all bodily function and will defecate, urinate and vomit involuntarily (my classmate’s mother encountered a cadaver that screamed). Frankly, this is disgusting and an often avoided bit of information in literary fiction when discussing the deceased. I decided to include this to solidify Steve’s code of not killing people in battle and as a reminder that, however patriotic, glorious and/or cool my battle and actions might be, war is not a game nor is the killing of other humans. But this kind of information, realistic as it may be, is potentially off-putting in places and can be completely out of place in certain kinds of story.

In short, accuracy can be helpful but it must be remembered that the content is dictated by audience reaction rather than the other way around.

Wyvern Diary… 2.0

It has begun…

Chapter 1: The Risk of Calculation

Humanity’s existence had been opulent. Cities sprung forth from the ground as the centuries long population explosion showed no sign of stopping and the wilderness of our green planet dwindled. Industry, technology and the marvels of science tamed Earth with mankind as her master. And mankind was cruel. From the minerals in the depths, we made weapons: cold steel, gunpowder and bullets. As a result of our luxury, there was jealousy and where there was jealousy, there was conflict. Gun propaganda, war posters, training videos and even school education geared towards a future with guns and violence. But no one had any idea how prophetic it all was.

Then it came from the blue, a titanic flash of light in Eastern Europe that could be seen as far as Prague. I don’t know if they were trying to build a new super weapon or defence structure, but the event set off a chain reaction that put Europe in a state of permanent blackouts. They say it was an electromagnetic pulse of some kind that completely shut down the electrical components of every object in the major cities of Europe. But the pulse persisted and when another one hit Abuja in Nigeria, we knew it wasn’t isolated. The world was coming to an end.

Since then, it was like the people had become looters after a natural disaster on an entirely global scale. Every gun and knife found itself in someone’s hands. Man was lawless, man was fierce and man was self-serving. Gangs went from running the streets and evading the law to being the law. Yet, some people had grander objectives than that…