When Truth and Fiction Collide

I found myself recently asking this very question and I was actually a shade concerned when I did. Now, I had known I was on a time-limit to get the PRELUDES of Enoch out and ‘live’ as it were. I’d known I had to get them uploaded before the events I predicted (not by magical powers, incidentally, by observation, deduction and experience) came to pass, before I could be accused of simply plagarising reality rather than creating it as I’m supposed to.

UPDATE; I was going to write a scene where Lucifer, working with Penumael, formulates a plan to discredit his puppet, Krampus (mimicking the President), using the outbreak of a disease. He was going to step in as the hero, exposing the intentional mismanagement and inadequacies of the former and take over in a suitably muscular and efficient fashion. Then I decided that this is probably what is going to actually going to happen before I reach that part of the book…also, considering recent events, it would be in rather bad taste…

But a writer cannot copy stuff that’s already happened, right?

I’d like you to stop for a moment and roll that question around in your head a few times; savour it, consider it and taste it well. It’s a stupid question isn’t it? Not a completely, throw someone out of the window stupid but, perhaps, more of a badly worded one. Plagarism. It is a word we have all dreaded since we started writing, back at school. It means we didn’t do the work or, at least, people think that. It means we stole what someone else created and took a shortcut. It means not only did we do that but we got caught and, as anyone who watches the news these days knows, getting caught is the really important part. If they don’t catch you, then it never happened!

Well, perhaps that is true….

A small nugget of interesting here. The Preludes of Enoch have been called, by some, a little prophetic.

Well fill me with radon, connect me to a battery and call me a lightbulb!

Can it be true? Well it certainly wasn’t intentional as such. I may have chosen to satirise, lambast and make light of a certain man who lives, shall we say, in a house of a shade produced by the reflection of almost all colors. That big one in America they make such a big deal about living in for 4-8 year periods! I may have objected to several aspects of him and thought to humourously present them in the PRELUDES. I may also have used certain events related to said fine gentlemen and statesman to illustrate key points Asmodeus was making and provided both examples and contrasts for he and Julian to talk about.

Shock. Horror. Fire. Fear. Foes. Awake. I just ‘borrowed’ from somewhere else right there. Anyone have an idea where?

Ten bonus points to the first correct guess. No I am NOT a prophet of any kind who sees the future. I may look toward the future an awful lot but I tend to not go further than either the coming Friday or my next payday (the one where I get money, not that lovely peanut thing I praise America for inventing). I have written some speculative fiction and wanted to make sure He-Who-Is-Named-After-British-Slang-for-a-fart didn’t self-destruct before I got the stories on the internet! Now of course I may gain some enemies from this course of action but who ever said it was a writer’s job to be popular with the establishment? I may even gain some nice letters on White House stationary. I may well do.

If you ask me, I might even admit to loving the idea of that prospect… How can I write a series of books which have, as one of their background themes, the actual end of everything without at least referencing the real world events which might well bring about such an apocalypse about before I am actually able to get the darn series finished?

The truth is stranger than fiction, they say and I often feel like I’m playing catch up with the real world! I’m not actually sure what I’d do in those circumstances. Probably look for a chisel and nice quiet cave to carve in…isn’t that something a prophet or at least a hermit would do? They ask.

Now, wouldn’t a prophet actually deny being a prophet just in case his prophecies go wonky and people blame him for that? Look at that dead French bloke! Someone claiming to be a prophet these days would be considered nuttier than a squirrel banquet.

Soooo, a real prophet would pretend not to be one in order to throw people off and have them not call him or her a nutter, right? So he said….ohhhh! Winky, winky, eh? EH?

Now, let’s move towards shall we say, the meat (sorry non-carnivores) of the proposal. This is one I see a lot of questions about and also insecurities from many in reference to. People ask me what they should write about for one. They ask me ‘I saw a story which was very similar to mine but I didn’t copy them’, they ask about fan-fic, about conforming to popular genres and tropes. “How to be original, how to be original, how to be original!” Goes the cry. “When it appears to have been done before?”. Easy answer to that one. Do it anyway.

There are truly no original ideas left, none. There may well be several unique interpretations, combinations and representations though. Every storyline is recycled. Every event, trope or situation already used. Some genres thrive on such predictable repetition, others really don’t. If you put your heart, your soul and, more importantly, your honest commitment into it, you’ll create something unique.

How many times has the mousy, overlooked and badly-treated young person shockingly turned out to be the only being capable of supposedly changing the world for the better and saving whatever species that individual belongs to from a variety of terrible things. Four or five allies will dramatically die along the way and many moments of self-discovery will take place but the Evil One will be destroyed and peace/prosperity/a New Order will result. The Chosen One will either fade into the shadows modestly or have an important role in the new government.

Sometimes there is even a twist when said Chosen One realises that the Just Change they fought for isn’t and the New Boss they trusted is just like the Old Boss; so they unexpectedly rebel against the New Boss in a dramatic finale never meant to be resolved.

Don’t write the sequel, please, let it hang!

Take a moment to make a list of just how many books, book series and movies I have just described the basic storylines of. Take ten, go for a snack, smoke, whatever you fancy but make sure you can write while you’re doing it ok? Now go over your list and count the entries. Multiply it by your birth year, add the number of times you were scared by the neighbour’s dog as a child (be honest) and divide the result by the sum of your list minus your birthday. I know what your answer is going to be, I know it exactly.

More of my secret hidden prophet abilities coming into play… Your answer was an awful lot, quite a few or lots. Maybe even loads and loads if you’re ambitious or old. I am truly amazing, right? Thank you, thank you, I know! Thank you.

Joking aside, almost every popular fantasy, YA, Sci-Fi and possibly romance book ever written, right? All those popular movies that start with a weak, ugly, overlooked or maltreated fellow/fellowess who develops godlike powers and…all that other stuff happens.

Most food is made of the same basic ingredients but the number of dishes which can be made from it are truly many! Same with writing. Look at the one with that young bespecktacled fellow who finds out he can do magic and even go to school for it and compare it to the young blonde fellow who harvested dew on a desert planet with two suns. One fights a snake faced fellow with an insecurity complex and the other an asthmatic bloke in a robot suit. Both win (oh crap! Spoiler alert, sorry!) and make their respective lands better places for almost everyone who lives there.

Except most of the ones who fought with or agreed with the bad guy…but we don’t talk about them really, do we? The point is this; people watched the movies, bought the books, became nerds for the story and mythology and so on. Nobody crossed their arms and harumphed about how like that other movie they’d seen the other occasion it was. Well, maybe there was one. There’s always one isn’t there? Are you ready? Here he is;


You can just feel that aura of the easily impressed one, can’t you? That is, indeed, the face of a man well-pleased with his entertainment choices! Or maybe not.

How would you guys describe his expression? He’s probably upset because that thing he automatically hates because young people like it made more money than he can even imagine how to fantasise about while being sure to be accurately representing it in the correct denominations and the right amounts thereof.

We just broke the poor fellow’s brain! He’ll be alright, he’s just gone for a quick lie down, after which he’ll find his box of blue biros, yellow legal pad and the contents of his wallet; currently some old receipts, an expired voucher or two and exactly $17 and 45 cents in mixed currency. Fifty bonus points for telling me what this fellow, let’s call him Earl, has in his wallet. What is the most likely or best combination of bills and coins for a man of Earl’s age and demeanour? What else is hiding in there that he forgot about? See what we’ve just done? We made Earl a person. We invented a character!

He is a stereotype but people like those, especially if you make them funny enough. Think about all the angry old man characters you have read about and seen in movies for a few minutes…they all turned out to be big softies in the end don’t they? Not Earl; Earl is an asshole and will never change.

Only kidding, Earl is decent enough really. Your story might have been done before, in it’s essence. It may have been done more times that Earl has itemised the contents of his wallet since he retired, twelve years ago.

More times than he has saluted the flag in his eighty-five years of life. More times even than he has complained about his left leg in winter. He nearly lost it to shrapnel and actually counts his blessings often. Same as he counts his shoes when he puts them on as well as the fact that he still possesses a foot to place inside each.

Motivations and backstory right there, see? If you wish to develop this budding Earl, I gift him to you. Treat him nicely and please don’t kill him off thoughtlessly, he served and was wounded for his country with honour.

He’s actually not a bad old sort when you get to know him. He loves pistachio nuts and if you bring him some of those or, better yet ice-cream in that flavour, he will regail you with many a stirring tale of his own! Brew him coffee with a pinch of salt in it and he will bless you as a brother. OK, let’s allow Earl his rest for now, we could pass all day learning about him.

Best to leave him with his calculations and his list. He’s going to spend a good few hours on this one! Quite the perfectionist, this fellow. Funny how that happens, right? We don’t so much invent as discover some characters. I have been surprised at least once by how some of them turned out!

Someone wrote a story very like yours before. A lot of someones in fact. Did they have your characters, your setting, your skills and your humour though? Take Earl, I described him one way, you might detail other traits he has that I missed. He’ll still be the same man, only described from different points of view. Just like that man whose skin-tone is often compared to both a fruit and a colour at the same time. Some see him as a hero and great man, the unifier of their land and saviour of their way of life. To sensible and intelligent people, though, he is an idiot.

Ok, joking again, I can’t help it! Every writer tells their own story, I can’t get upset because it’s not the same as mine. In fact, in retrospect, I should be grateful that it is not, right? See how it works now? That’s right, you already knew, you just hadn’t realised it yet.

Off you go, I look forward to seeing you on the shelves. Well, your book at least. If I see you on some shelves I might consider you a little strange, perhaps. Go and write it, I challenge you. Just be nice and respectful to Earl, OK?

The Art of the Storyteller video series

We are soon to be returning with our popular Art of the Storyteller video series. For the time being, we are sharing our most popular episode to whet your appetite;

Art of the Storyteller – Episode 6 


Love. Passion. Excitement. Drama. Engagement.

These are things which can turn your writing from a collection of words into a Story! Make it something you loved writing and are proud of to something which people will love reading and want more of. Of course we are writing for ourselves and writing a style we love but we do want it to sell right? We want to see our vision on the Silver Screen or the TV at least. We don’t write it to leave in a drawer somewhere to desintegrate do we?

No, Alan we do not, we would love ot achieve success with it and have lots of people read and love it like we do! You have many ways to create these but here are a couple;

Fight or pursuit scenes. How can you use style, skill and language to create tension, draw them in and make them want to know how your scene ends. How can you create that ‘edge of the seat’ feeling?

Tension Building Scenes; when the reader has a good idea what is going to happen but you ‘lead them down the garden path’ in a way where they are no longer sure or don’t know HOW it is going to happen.

Death Scenes; If you have not built up a character as interesting and complete, will they care if that character dies? Can you build your scene so that, at least, a tear is shed and a heart flutters? Can you, through your passion and love cause them to feel it?

Conflict Scenes; When two or more protagonists hold vastly or only slight variations of viewpoint and that difference is either a point of conflict or pivotal part of story. Here, dialogue will likely be your friend, internal dialogue also, perhaps.

This is the hardest part that, I believe, no-one can teach because you have to feel it, you have to present it and give them a reason to engage, to emote and to be pulled into the narrative. Today I will be doing things a little differently than I have, with a reading from a key scene in my ultra-secret collaborative project.

A scene entitled “The Fall of Atlantis.” This is an example of a tension and a sort of death scene. It involves sympathy, perhaps, for someone who should really deserve none. It involves a twist of perception and an idea turned on it’s head. The idea of a sympathetic villain and why he chose to act as he did; how he got so angry and twisted up and who he had around as his only allies left to influence him. He’s effectivelty the First Villain too… How can you do this in your writing? More news and reveals on this exciting project to come but look into the style and my perhaps slightly rusty delivery and acting skills. (Alan’s acting skills could perhaps use some work but he’s trying! He has no plans to become an actual actor so don’t worry..he shall not inflict singing on you next so relax) coming soon.

Get ready for some huge changes to the website and also to existing books with the dawn of this new year. I have some very exciting and unexpected big changes coming.   The text I was reading can be found HERE
for those of your who would like to follow along. I made a couple of corrects and changes as I went along; hence my occasional long pauses.

This is a DRAFT not a final one either so there are errors in it. That’s why my project remains TOP SECRET because I am far from having it in presentable form. This is a hint and only here for illustrative purposes. No critique of spelling or word choices please (or observations of me diverging from the text, it is MY text so I can!) as this is a firmly WIP. Enjoy anyway if you like. The essence is true and measurable emotion and we will talk about that in the attached video. How can your words make others feel and how can you make your story huge. By appealing to people’s feelings. The Chronicles of Enoch : Darkness Within is coming soon.

Please be sure to subscribe to our channel for future episodes.

#Holiday #PassionForTheArt #AlanJFisher #Language #Create #Creative #thoughts #ArtoftheStoryteller #Storytelling #WritingTips #Writers #WritingMentor #creativewriting #Dramatic #Conflict #TheRaven #Passion

The Very Dark Art …. Of SEO

“Thou must be Found for success to come thine way!” Goes the cry. “Thou must have traffic and, verily, it needs must be organic and regular!”
Yes, I know that last part sounds like a diet tip but I didn’t invent the terminology.
This Writer’s Journey.
I have pretty much followed three primary Rules in my journey to date;
  1. The Rule of Pocket; or what said pocket contained at the time, what I could afford. I started with what was free and what I could do myself.
  2. The Rule of Discovery; I researched as extensively as I have for my books. I read blog articles, professional circulars, investigated my competitors.
  3. The Rule of Adaptation; I tried everything and altered anything that didn’t seem to work. I improvised often as necessitated by the First Rule, but I put in the work.
That is the secret, by the way. There is no magical formula, only a lot of work which is tedious and feels deeply unrewarding at the time. It is hard and mind numbing work a lot of the time but, once it’s done, some of it is fairly self sustaining.
Let me lay it out, one step at a time, showing the mistakes I made and lessons I learned along the way;
  1. Social Media. Obviously you need a way to communicate with fans and peers, to get known, as it were. Now, of course, the majority of people you will find, initially, are fellow struggling artists but relax. I set up my Facebook Pages, first for my Author persona and then for my books. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. are the go-to basics you need.
  2. Web Brand Presence. I began on wix.com with their free package and built my website myself. My first attempt was…well, a website. It had everything a website needed except presence which we’ll get to later. My website, for which I have now purchased domains on GoDaddy.com , has seen four complete re-designs and numerous less comprehensive tweaks in order to reach its current form. It is not a masterpiece but you can check out the url at the end to see what I mean.
  3. Product Presence. My wise friend, Syl Sebastian, calls this “the cine” of your art; the overriding theme. Others call it the brand. You can look at a cover, a web page, a piece of artwork and know that it belongs to a certain brand. You see a red soda can with a certain logo and can make an educated guess to what is inside of it. Your writing embodies your style, right? So too must everything you produce. Decide on a style and keep it. The last major re-design of The Chronicles of Enoch took place for that very reason.
  4. Regular ‘Customer’ Interaction. You need a blog. You need to maintain an online presence. Retweet writer’s lifts, comment on content you like but do it daily. You need one to two blog posts a day, every day. You need to keep engagement and listen to those you engage with; you’d be surprised how far a good listen goes, it makes people feel important . I recommend a good Social Media Management tool here. I use Crowdfire currently but am shopping for alternatives.
  5. Ways to Monitor and Influence Traffic. Here is where owning your domain comes in handy. You can use things such as Google Search Console and Analytics when you own your domain. You can see who visits, from where, and when and tailor your posts and interactions accordingly. Use your Social Media Manager to queue posts for peak times, cater to your audience demographics, etc.
  6. Devotion of Time and Attention. As I have said, time is your most vital resource and largest investment. You must post to your blog, interact on social media, encourage people to interact with you, every single day. There are days – I know all about these – when you don’t feel like it or inspiration appears to desert you. You know a trick I learned? I wrote about that! Nobody is going to do it if you don’t. Making sure you give the time is the surest measure of how badly you want this.
Sisyphus Had it Easy
Our friend, the Titan punished with the interminable bolder-pushing task at least had no need to adapt, to learn; he simply has to repeat or stop.
In part it’s like that for us but not always.
Let me take you through my journey in more detail, warts and all;
1. I put together and edited the then known as “Alexander Collections” from old short stories, book idea fragments, and poetry. I designed my own covers when I disliked Amazon and CreateSpace’s templates and fought every self-publisher’s hardest battle; the formatting war! It took me many hours, filled with horrible expletives, to make my manuscript files work for my chosen paperback format. My wife found these times hilarious.
2. I added an Author Page to my Facebook account. This advertising took a lot of trial and error; which groups liked and accepted what, what I could post and when. You have been There, you know the pain. I spent a lot of time in Facebook Jail and became frustrated with low engagement, with negative comments. My first efforts were, of course, fragmentary and needed a bit of work.
3. Used Wix.com to create and design my rather generic author webpage. Used my half decent graphic design skills to make it look somewhat professional. This was before I realised that my website is my public face as an author, the first thing most potential readers will see. Still, I was proud of it and excited so I shared the url extensively and added to the content and blog often. I created my Twitter and Instagram for sharing too.
4. Over the course of two weeks, I wrote five novellas and designed covers for them. I uploaded each to Amazon and decided upon a rebrand; retroactively editing the Collection stories to fit the expanded narrative universe I saw emerging. This was, perhaps my first big mistake. I was a new father of twins and they, combined with work, took up a lot of my time, obviously and as it should be. I tended to rush my writing responsibilities. I heavily advertised these works and, I am ashamed to admit, they were riddled with errors of grammar and spelling. I have since pulled them from Amazon but copies were purchased. That stigma will remain.
5. I launched my YouTube Channel and devoted an hour each Sunday to my video blog. This turned out to a good decision. My poor decision was not being able to maintain that commitment. You see, there lies the greatest danger we will face; commitment. We can take on too much, promise too much, and come up with great ideas we utterly fail to deliver on. Our excitement and passion needs to be restrained at times. You’re trying to build a reputation in a very competitive market.
6. I became rather active on Facebook and was often sought out for advice (my channel was quite popular). One such advice seeker was my friend Joe. Together, to cut a long story short, we came up with what was to become the force that dominates my life; The Chronicles of Enoch. Joe has since handed to torch entire to me as he had other priorities and projects he wants to work on. I decided, as I started work on The Chronicles and, with sterling advice from Syl, to use my creative surge to start from scratch.
7. It started with an extensive redesign of the website and ended with the purchase of the chroniclesofenoch.com domain. I decided to build, from the ground up, a new website, Facebook Page, everything for The Chronicles and, with much experimentation, cement a definite “cine” or brand. The artworks I first created we’re, in all honesty, amateurish and awful but I persevered and I realised that there was a clear and obviously persistent style throughout them all. I had to find a way to make people say “Oh! That’s definitely CoE, that is!”…So I fiddled, tried, and mucked about until I found it and translated that style; one that matched that of the writing too, into a consistent image. I made the site mobile friendly too…that’s important.
8. I brought my WordPress, Medium, and Pinterest back to life. I experimented with Metatags and Keywords, I learned how to embed them in my site and so began the Golden Age, I thought…
9. Facebook, it turned out, had other ideas. I detail the struggle in other articles but, in essence, Zuckerberg and I had a falling out and decided to go our separate ways. Take this as the most valuable lesson I am going to reach today; perseverance.
You see, before that…difficulty…I was getting traffic of 50-100 visitors a day to my website and blog, things were taking off but 75% of that traffic came from a source that was, abruptly, cut off.
I had a choice, surrender or adapt. I chose the latter and am gone from Facebook, probably forever. Instead of surrendering, I found other ways, other sources and social media.
That is the lesson; it doesn’t matter of you get panned by a bad review; learn, adapt, move on. Come up against an insurmountable barrier; be as the river and patiently find a way. Never. Ever. Give. Up.
This is your dream and only you can take it away.
So, What Does That Mean?
You have my experiences, my mistakes, my challenges, and my lessons learned. You may have found hints in there but you need, I think, a boiled down and well-presented version to tie it all together, right?
Your wish is my command;
  1. Decide your “cine” or brand early. As you write look at your themes, research any ‘competitors’ and work on the look you want. If you have that talent, look at creating a consistent look in your Social Media presence. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
  2. You’re going to need; Twitter, Instagram, Tumbl (you’d be surprised), Reddit, Pinterest and maybe Wattpad. Look at what you’re going to use each for. I use Twitter for chat and networking (I have a few famous ‘friend’s even), Pintrest for covers and art, Tumbl and Reddit for sharing blog posts, Wattpad for posting excerpts. I duplicate my blog in WordPress and Medium.
  3. You need a website. There are a lot of free hosting services out there but I like Wix. I went for their cheapest hosting package and bought my domain myself. They use a visual ‘drag and drop’ interface which is great for those of us that don’t code. I designed my own but you can find people on Fiverr for that.
  4. You need to learn SEO and web marketing. Search ‘Chronicles of Enoch’s on Google and most of the results will be mine. Add your url on everything you use. Smashwords is a great alternative to Amazon and gets you lots of exposure. I could produce an SEO or web marketing guide but there are already dozens out there. Use your Google, read them all and filter out the bits that don’t fit your needs, time, or budget.
  5. Having decided your look and brand, you can work on keywords. Wix helps you a lot with SEO and Metatags. I followed their SEO Wizard and recommend any of you that decide to use them do that same. Key words determine what kinds of search your page is found under. Metatags hide these inside the code of your website so when Google and the others “crawl” your code, they index these search terms against it.
  6. Google AdWords. You set a budget, create your ad and pay only for clicks. If it gets too expensive (download the app to monitor that) you’re not tied to a commitment so pay off and disable your ad. I reasoned it like this; if Google stands to make money from your website getting clicks, they’re going to help that happen, right?
  7. Blog every day. Use your book title and name (or pen name) as a hastag and include these in every post. I even use those popular inspirational memes as a vehicle. I share it using Crowdfire on Twitter and Instagram with my hastags hidden in the ones it came with. It gets shared and so do my tags = free advertising.
  8. Find your niche. Your book is probably going to fall inside a certain genre (top tip: do NOT make it fit a genre or to a genre that sells, that’ll hurt you long term). You need to allow the same and appropriate voice fill your posts. Post topics your audience will like. Research and find your niche. I have taken the role of ‘O Great Writing Guru and Know-it-all’ because it appears to suit both me and my style. When my YouTube vlog comes back, it’ll be purely about writing.
  9. Work hard. Learn. Adapt. Most importantly; Do. Not. Give. Up..
Conclusion
It is almost impossible to produce an absolute ‘one size fits all’ guide, as I have discovered. I have read dozens and find lots that does not suit my style, my audience, my pocket, or fit into my available time.
I tried to do everything and produced inferior results. I got myself banned from Facebook for not fragmenting my posts and content well enough. I had to pull 9 books down after trying to push too hard, too fast.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way and wasted time, work and, ultimately, my hard-won reputation on it. I’ve had to evaluate and rebuild.
Perhaps by reading this article, you can save yourself some trouble and avoid the biggest ones.
Resources.

Reconstruction of A Shattered History

“History shattered. It was the only thing that could give. Very strange event. There were cracks left all over the place. The… oh, I can’t remember the words… the fastenings that tell bits of the past which bits of the present they belong to, they were flapping all over the place. Some got lost for ever…”

Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time.

This was, perhaps, the area of research which simultaneously offered the greatest challenges and most intriguing opportunities.

The deeper we dug, the further back we looked, the more we realised that a lot of what is considered “established historical fact” is so much guesswork, gossip, and what we might call ‘fake news’ in this age.

We all know the saying that “history is written by the victors” and we know this is true. The apocalypse of the Mayans, the holocaust of the Native Americans, the genocide of Columbus; history tried to hide those stories from us but failed in the end. Sooner or later, it seems, the Truth will turn up, mopping its brow and muttering something about the traffic.

Eventually.

A Hole on History

There is a great deal of History we know nothing about, that we make educated guesses, make educated stab in the dark (first establishing with what to attempt said stabbing and the correct intensity of darkness to attempt to at least wound), hold fingers of investigation to the wind, and so forth.

Up until quite recently, your average person want to school and was taught what we could call the consensus version which, obviously, they accepted without question. Then most people get on with their adult lives after school and leave history well alone. Those who maintain an interest or take history as a profession tend to not attract too wide an audience.

Those ‘In the business’ know which way the trench is dug (or better said, the budget granted) so keep their mouths shut about ‘the secret’, wouldn’t you?

The simple fact is that a lot of the historical record was commited to perishable materials because that’s all they had available at the time. Of the vast cache of documents recovered from Qumran in 1947, it is said that at least one third were used as fuel before someone told the shepherd those foreigners paid a fortune for that stuff.

So much could have been lost that way, or been sequestered away in private collections, locked away in the fabled Vatican Archives or similar hidden vault of Forbidden Knowledge.

We know that many Mayan books and scrolls were burned as “heresy”, Aztec monuments defaced. Early Islamic expansion contributed to the destruction of ‘haram’ or unholy items such as stuff the priests didn’t like or that disagrees with what kept them in nice clothes and palaces.

The library of Constantinople contained a lot of what was saved or recovered from the fire that destroyed the Library of Alexandria centuries before. In 1204 AD., the Library was burned to the ground by crusaders and, we hear, nothing survived.

How much history was lost due to ignorance, war, ideology, brazen stupidity and, perhaps, a bit of intent?

Stitching it Up

The possible irony of that heading is indeed intentional, thank you for noticing…

When it comes to studying the history I needed to in order to properly research both The Chronicles of Enoch and Hegemony, a lot of information was missing. The main source of material, The Bible (various versions), translations of the Torah and midrash, the Qur’an and other works, ancient codices, the Book of Enoch itself, and numerous works of ‘uncertain canonicity’ (apophryca etc).

I noticed a lot of missing information, contradictions, plot holes, and explanations lacking.

Now, I know Sir Terry’s works are as fictional as ours are (we think) but we wonder sometimes…we’ve often heard of something called ‘parallel creativity’; inspiration coming from…ah…somewhere else and fiction accidentally reporting reality. Sir Terry mentioned something called ‘unwritten books’ and has a magical library containing books that haven’t yet been written, implying that information can, perhaps, persist and ‘leak’ as it were.

We wonder whether some of this information and history was intentionally repressed and hidden as The Chronicles of Enoch assert. Has history been filled with individuals or groups that do not want the truth reported; not just Lucifer (and through him, The Vatican and other Church organisations) but others too? In The Chronicles, we have the Unknown Men, the Illuminati, and others we’ll stay quiet about for now.

Hidden History?

Each one of these organisations has an agenda and aims as well as being very keen to hide their existence from the world at large. 

In The Chronicles, we have the example of The Hidden War of 79AD. The world’s greatest Heroes gathered in Meggido valley to face down a horde of monstrous Nephilim led by Lucifer and his Horsemen. Sable, Conan, and Gilgamesh led the charge and, though countless heroes of legend were killed in the battle, Lucifer’s forces were decisively broken; two Horsemen were defeated and the others fled.

The world, however, did not end and the forces of Heaven were conspicuously absent. Everyone, except for the dead, simply pretended that the battle never happened. Asmodeus erased even the vaguest of references regarding the battle from history. They existed, of course, there had been mortals present in the fifty-thousand strong Army of Heroes, there were witnesses, there were armaments and weapons as well as bodies left behind. A great many of those bodies did not look even close to human; there were giants, orcs and goblins, beast-men, and dragons among them and their bones decorated the Meggido valley.

The scale of the operation he mounted in the 1960’s, the disinformation, the sequestration of both information and remains, the neutralisation of those that couldn’t be ‘financially convinced’, and the practical rewriting of some history books is almost impossible to imagine but he did it.

Fragmented accounts remain in folklore, mythical accounts of Heroes, strange legends, they are even encoded in the “Approved Modern Version” of the Book of Revelation. It is odd to think that the great Battle of Armageddon there mentioned refers to an actual historical event rather than a future one or (as many today claim) a more allegorical struggle.

The account in Revelation is said to have been Asmodeus’ greatest gamble and success simultaneously.

Conclusion

History is written by the victor and the most powerful; money and threats have made inconvenient pieces of the historic record disappear almost as well as accidental occuraces such as fire and misapplied zealotry can.

We know there are parts missing, we see repetions, fixes, and inventions applied over some of the holes and rarely do people question them. One has to be looking in order to spot the important ommissions and fabrications. One has to pay attention to the stories and folk tales for explanations at times, the evidence that should be there at others.

Sometimes the evidence or information is glaring in its absence.

We are not talking about those shows seen on a certain channel sharing a name with the field we keep mentioning. We are not talking conspiracy this time, we’re making logical and educated forays into what is so obviously there.

Or, of course, obviously not there but has left a hole like a missing jigsaw piece will…you can imply its shape in its absence.

Maybe not all of our fictional history is as fictional as we think it is…

The Forgotten War

The year 79AD is fraught with mythological significance. There was the destruction of Pompeii, terrible Norse rumours of Ragnarok from the frozen North to stormy Lindisfarne. Several prophecies hinted at dark events on the way.


According to history, the worst thing that happened that day was that two Roman towns were buried in ash, killing hundreds in mere moments. Terrible as this event was, it was not the worst thing that happened that year, it is simply the worst thing that people remember…


Asmodeus did a very, very good job in erasing the most significant historical event since, well since anything, from anything but Viking and Celtic legend, which nobody believes anyway.
On August 25th (modern calendar) AD 79, the world ended but it also did not. It was a very close thing.


This battle, called variously ‘Lucifer’s Folly’, ‘The Harvest of Heroes’, or ‘The Neverwar’ , depending on who you listen to, two vast armies faced one another in the shadows of the Megiddo valley in Isreal/Palestine. In the foremost ranks of one army stood the greatest heroes you have every heard of; Nephilim every one.

Opposing them, the seemingly unending ‘armies of Hell’; imagine orcs, kobolds, trolls, giants, ever type of monster you could imagine and some you wish you hadn’t…


“He was most amazed by the fact that it was a lot quieter than he’d thought it would be. He didn’t really know what he’d been expecting but not this. He heard the gentle ruffle of banners being pulled at by the wind, the jingle of harness as the soldiers around him moved from foot to foot or stretched to keep muscles from cramping on them.


Otherwise, silence, pretty much, which only made the waiting worse.
Across the other end of the valley, they were gathered. It looked like a huge wall of shadow from here, so large was the mass of enemies. Some early calculations based on what their local scouts told them, said that they were outnumbered somewhere between 450-1 and ‘it doesn’t really make much of a difference we’re all going to die anyway’.


Of course, thought Fionn, as he tightened then loosened the grip on his spear, they had almost every hero that had ever lived on their side so those were pretty good odds to some of them…but only if you actually believed the stories…


He smiled as he rotated his shoulders and looked around at the men and women beside him.


There was a knot of big Norsemen over there, all axes and hammers with their winged helmets and shiny armour. Big fella with the hammer had sparks jumping all over the place which was something Fionn considered unwise in the presence of so much nervous metal. They were clearly bonnie fighters though, he’d heard that the big one with hair and beard of the purest white had cut his way out of the dragon that’d tried to eat him. He caught Fionn’s eyes and cocked an snow-white eyebrown in greeting before turning his head back to the bigger fellow with the fancy hammer and sparks.


Fionn’s group of hairy, tattooed warriors stood in a loose knot of aggression, clustered around the Big Man himself, him as had brought them here from the Eagle Isles far away in the Mist.


The Wolf was big. He held a claymore casually over one shoulder, its metal full of strange blue reflections which danced along an edge that was, from certain angles, not entirely there. A large bearded axe, heavy with runes and knotwork designs, was being used to draw patterns in the dead desert dust.


Not a good place for fighting, Fionn spat in the dust and watched the moisture vanish almost right away. Already enough death here but he could feel the thirst for even more blood rising from the barren rocks like smoke.


The Wolf looked down at Fionn, or at least his heavily carved silver wolf mask did. Fionn never had figured out how Cú saw through those blue jewels his war mask had for eyes but on those rare occasions the Big Man felt inclined to speak, he’d said “clearer than you can imagine. Like eagles on the wing and wolves beneath a full moon see, I’d wager”.


The azure gaze lingered on Fionn long enough to cause the wiry hunter to finger his fine beech bow with a barely repressed shudder.


“Big Man likes you, so he does” Bran had said through bright red moustache. “The wee giant is his best mate, sure he is.”


At 5’10”, Fionn was small for a giant, slight of build and sparse of beard. His Da had been the giant that’d built the Causeway to get across to where his mother – daughter of some distant cousin of Bran Boru, a nasty lesser Lord of Ulaid- was being held prisoner as was the fashion of the time and Fionn the half-giant was the result.


The Big Man was near a foot taller than him and a great deal older, folk said. He came from the drowned lands under the Morimaru off the coast of Albion. They said he’d fought these fellas, the Fír Bolg and Bálor’s kin before. They said him and that blue-eyed devil with the two most beautiful swords Fionn had ever seen beside him went way back. Back even before the ice left and the sea came in.


“About bloody time,” the Big Man said to no-one in particular. He gestured towards the storm gathering over the Fír Bolg with his impossible sword held loosely in one hand. He bumped the blue-eyed devil, who appeared to be asleep standing up, on the leg with the flat of his axe. “That uncle of yours has decided to show up.”


The odd significance of those words made the hairs of Fionn’s heavily tattooed arms stand up and he gripped his bow even tighter.


“I know you’re in charge here, Sable,” Big Man continued all nonchalant as one of those priests getting off a boat in his dress to chase of the snakes Eíreann never had anyway. “But I’d suggest it’s time for that signal.


The one called Sable appeared to awake and look towards his friend. Fionn felt his gut tighten as those devil-blue eyes brushed his and fought the sudden wave of terror down with great effort. Sable nodded and waved one of his beautiful silver swords up in the air.


Far off, the deep growling scream of a war horn sounded, setting Fionn’s teeth on edge and his heart pumping harder. Another answered it, this one bright and singing like the way Fionn imagined a swan’s one and only song would sound. Across the valley, answering horns and trumpets winded, their discordant cacophony bouncing off the valley walls.


Big Man nodded and indicated the horizon with his sapphire wolf’s eyes.

“Here they come,” his normally booming voice barely above a whisper. “If you’ve any ginger on you, Atlantan, I think the men’ll be needing it soon.”


Sable nodded and rolled his neck, producing some fine crackles of bone Fionn most approved of. He said nothing and kept those eyes fixed on the black storm-front, crackling with lightning that could not be natural.
It took a moment for Fionn to see how right that assessment was…


The storm was no storm, it was…
In the boiling inkiness of the tortured air he saw them, colossal figures that were nearly not there. They looked like pictures of light projected into the storm…like…like…like ideas trying to take a shape.


They were like the star-creatures dropping from above, trying to become what men said they should be but struggling. He thought he could see four creatures slowly striding through the lightning but they kept blurring and changing like pigment in water, swirling and coming apart before reforming again.
Then, his temples pounding and his eyes threatening to turn themselves inside out, his mind let him see them. His béan sidhe heritage let things hidden from mere men reveal themselves to him.


There were four figures but, seeing them clearly now was not the blessing he’d thought it would be and he prayed for ignorance now.
As big as the sky and each filled with lightning, they strode over the innumerable Fír Bolg.


In robes the colour of the grave drifted the first, his raised hood empty and arm of bones holding a massive scythe whose blade was larger than the sky itself, it seemed. A smoke swirled around it and, as he felt horror knew at his gut, Fionn swore he saw faces in that smoke or, better said, the smoke was faces, millions of them. The scent of long abandoned tomb mounds drifted towards them.


As the second figure moved, the scent became stronger, richer and riper. This figure also bore a scythe in one emaciated hand but it looked normal compared to that which the first carried. The rest of the figure did not look normal. Every inch of its bare flesh not covered by crumbling rags was the deep black-brown of the long and dried up dead yet somehow it retained an unholy gloss to it . Atop stooped and bowed shoulders was the skull of a great ox or steer in place of a head, baleful and sickly fire burning from the eye sockets.


Compared to the bandy, famine-wracked frame of his neighbour, the next creature was a giant. Corroded heavy iron armour covered all but one corpse’s hand and splayed lizard-like feet. In one iron-clad hand, it gripped a vast bow of shining metal and in the pallid, diseased bare one it held an arrow from which unhealthy light did not shine so much as ooze, like pus from a wound. Its face was an outlandish mask of dull material covered in tubes and pipes with an opaque glass plate over its eyes and two great drums either side of where a mouth should be. From these drums a fog of a colour one could only describe as unhealthy huffed in and out periodically as if the creature were breathing it.


But Fionn had eyes only for the fourth figure for it was glorious. Behind it’s heavily armoured body spread vast wings of living flame. Where the other figures appeared to now be waiting and quiescent, this one was in constant motion. In one hand it held a whip which appeared made of broken blades hammered together and ending in a glowing skull of white-hot brass; it coiled and snapped with the sound of a heavy infantry charge with only the slightest movement of the creative’s right shoulder. In its left hand, it held a double-headed axe of molten iron easily as long as Fionn’s father had been tall. Upon its jagged armoured shoulders, brutal fire the colour of burning blood blazed from the dry sockets of the skull of a great ram. The eye wateringly bright fire that filled sockets and skull grew brighter and softer, brighter and softer…as if it were the breath of the creature. As it ‘breathed’, the stench of shit, and blood, hot iron, and fear sweat washed over Fionn and he was certain that the blaze of its gaze fixed upon him and only him within the multitude; weighing him up.


Fionn tore his gaze away, counted, and thought on his impressions of them; they scrabbled at and dug up something deeply primal within him and, when realisation finally broke the surface of his thoughts, the words fell from his quivering lips before he was even aware of the thought that heralded them.


“Oh shit, are those what I think they are?” he wavered. “Now we really are f-“


Sable, who it was now clear had been watching Fionn the whole time, cut in adroitly, his voice level and deep, filled with a confidence Fionn knew his lacked. “That’s them, half-giant,” his voice had a laugh to it for reasons Fionn could not fathom. “This is, indeed, IT”

Fionn said nothing but this time, when he met those blue eyes, it was not fear that he felt, it was hope. He licked dry lips and nodded.

“That one,” Sable indicated the burning whip cracker with one silver sword. “That one is mine, Conan.”


Such was Sable’s quiet assurance that Fionn felt certain that a million Fír Bolg would barely slow a man like that down.


“Everyone’s got to die sometime!” Big Man roared in reply, butting Sable with one shoulder, over the nervous clatter of a thousand suits of armour. “I want to see what colour that big sheepie bastard bleeds for myself!”


It was not even that funny, Fionn reflected as his voice joined the rising roar from the rest of the army, but he laughed along with the rest of them.


“This blue-eyed bugger has killed giants for fun so I’m for getting to that shiny bastard while there’s still big fekkers left to fight!” He roared even louder and stabbed claymore at sky. “Who is with me?”


In a wall of noise; terror transformed into desperate bravado, screams of rage, swords beating shields, and the sounding of horns from a hundred nations which filled the plains of Meggido from end to end, fifty thousand men and women told him that they were.


As they charged forward into certain ruin, the battle at the end of the world began…

The End of All Things

The signs are all there, there is more of this and less of that than there used to be, these people are doing the things this culture or prophet predicted and it is only a matter of time before the rest of the thing he/they predicted will also happen and *poof*…


…..


You can clear all appointments for next week because, well, there won’t be a next week…


Of course, people do rather disagree about the method the Earth will decide upon for her Big Exit or, at least, ours but we all know it’s coming, right? Stands to reason doesn’t it? Bound to happen sooner or later…


I hardly think this is a new phenomenon…


Simpler Times


Back when the world was, at least from a matter of the perspective of most people, a smaller place, the End of All Things could happen fairly often. People did not know anything about other countries; gosh some people didn’t know about cities even! If the river burst its banks and flooded a fertile little valley, killing everyone except a few (who’d die later of disease), that’s the end of the world. It’s certainly the end of it for them.


The Romans were convinced that civilisation would just stop if their Empire ceased to exist to, in a manner of speaking, the world would end because, so they said, all would descend into barbarity and chaos, ultimately ending all people worth thinking about.


Smelly tribespeople who couldn’t speak Latin did not count, apparently.

This raises the question which we think is a vital one to consider and, perhaps, answer;


WHAT WOULD WE HAVE TO LOSE IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE CONSIDERED “THE END”

  1. All the humans die or, at least, most of them.
  2. Civilisation is destroyed and our comforts with it
  3. The internet goes down for more than a day
  4. Our environment is wiped out and there is nothing of natural beauty left

These are, I think, the Big Four. A fitting number, I feel, because we also have the Four Stereotyped Animal-Riders of The End Bit. The role they will play in final events does vary. Will they just ride around and watch? Will they get involved directly? Are they simply good metaphor? Nobody really knows because they only show up the one time and do not, it would appear, carry out drills or rehearsals.

The Big Show is, it would appear, very hush-hush and need-to-know.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; there are countless ways the world could end, is not the above list too simplified?


No. It is not.


It doesn’t really matter how all the humans die out; be it aliens, pandemic, natural disaster, getting dinosaured into fossils; they die out. Gone.


Whether civilisation is ended by a zombie plague, another less virulent pandemic, talking apes with great charisma, different aliens, a robot uprising or any combination of the above, it is also gone.


If rebooting the router or unplugging it then plugging it back in again 30-60 seconds later does not work then it truly is a lost cause.


However the environment is ravaged and destroyed, it will simply be a matter of deciding who is to blame. If they are dead then it makes the process much easier, utlimately.


The fact that there are so many ways, scenarios, and methods it is considered are ‘canon’ or ‘popular’ for the Big Finish should, perhaps, set your mind wandering towards where I think it should.


A Popular Passtime


Take a look inside of a bookstore, on Amazon, on Netflix or similar, at the movies or at videogames. We do love a good apocalypse don’t we? The most popular forms of entertainment all focus around either;

  1. An imminently arriving disaster that only the heores can avert.
  2. A disaster already happened and survivers are trying to rebuild
  3. Clues to a previous disaster ae uncovered and the heroes must tell the world to prevent a similar thing happening again.
  4. The hero knows what’s going to happen but no-one believes them then it either; gets averted dead on time or happens anyway.
  5. Fantasy or Steampunk or Mad Max style world arises from the ruins of the old world.
  6. Vampires or other mythical/magical creatures regain dominance with less humans around.
  7. Totalitarian regime arises “to protect” survivors of said disaster or previously benevolent organisation/government goes that way, drunkon the power of how much humanity needs them.

In essence, we do love a good disaster or look at what might happen to humanity after one. It could be said that humans are rather a dramatic species.


You see, they are rather obsessed with the extinction of their species or, at least, the extermination of a large proportion of it. We wouldn’t really call that a great survival instinct…


Imminent Doom


This past 50 years alone we have had;

  1. Global nuclear war any time now, you wait and see
  2. Terrorist apocalypse and “Holy” war
  3. The Millennium Bug
  4. Predicted year 2000 one-time meteor, magnetic field polarity switch/other
  5. Predicted year 2012 Mayan apocalypse
  6. Various delayed Raptures
  7. Various global pandemics

Yet here we remain. Of course it has also been a period of near constant wars in the Middle East that people do not really talk about any more; the lives and worlds of a great many have ended as a result of those.


The point is that it appears that humanity actually wants some dramatic event with stirring orchestral music to unexpectedly occur to the world in spite of the fact that it would kill millions including some people they know or care about. Seems odd to me.


Either that or that is what “they” want us to be thinking about. As we have mentioned in previous articles, “they” control our governments and our media; they control what we see and even what we think. Of course, we can no more agree on who “they” are than we can on how the world will end.


There is a serious point being raised though; we watch for patterns and concordance and wonder whether any of you have noticed anything recently? We’ll leave it there for now because we do not wish to repeat what we covered in other articles.
However our sense of always living under the weight of imminent but nebulous doom is created, we cannot deny that it is there and could, were someone of a mind, be made use of…


Conclusion


The world is going to end just like everyone is going to die. Sooner or later it is the one fact of which we can be certain. What each of us considers “the world” will end and none of truly know what comes next.

Therein lies, perhaps, the root of our fascination; the potential for our very personal world to end quite abruptly one day.


So, we face that fear by entertaining ourselves with disasters averted or a better life for all on the other side.

Subverting the Genre

The Wordsmith’s Anvil


It is tempting, as a writer, to conform to one of the popular genres; fold together the de-rigeour plotlines, bend and hammer in reader’s favourite character types, heat and finally temper it into a shining example of sure-to-sell. It is so easy to do.


If you do it right then you may have a functional knife, decent sword or even another hammer to shape more words on your anvil. You may well be successful. That is good, do you not think? Maybe. Molten Words Cast Out of the mould it pops. Smooth off the cast lines and flash, polish it into… …into what?


Exactly what the mould tells it to be. You see, you take your mould, fill it with the molten result of your works and leave it to cool. After a time, you crack it open and out comes….an exact copy of what the mould was made from. Vampires who have various existencial crises. Angels who, in spite of having god-like powers, still chase after a much ignored young girl who secretly has reality shattering powers.


The all-powerful evil overbeing who commands legions of fanatical followers and can murder anyone they like with a mere thought with the hidden weakness that everyone had forgotten about, killed by a precocious pubescent… Funnily enough nobody asks what happens once the hero and love interest share a kiss and the final page is turned.
The vast army or empire does not simply shuffle it’s feet and decide that unfettered evilness was a poor career choice. Will the minor villains and henchpeople turn good and they live in the cliche everyone loves? What do you think?


A Mighty Sword Forgéd


Yes, the accent is intentional for we are about to enter into a fantasy-based extended metaphour…(spelling intentional for pedantic accent)
The hero of the tale will often be seeking a weapon of some sort with which to end the Evil One forever.
No simple sword, hammer, arrow or pointy-murder-thing will suffice: a simple and enthusiastic poke into a convenient soft bit will not end the threat which means to end everything that is Good forever! It is never that easy.


A Quest must be undertook, many dangers faced and disparate characters who do not get on will find common ground and form an incredible team. Some of them might die, a traitor will be uncovered, maybe a deathbed (or death rock) redemption or two might take place. All good and fine.


The weapon being sought will be of incalculable power meaning that the Bad Fellow will be utterly destroyed by it. It might be somewhat harmful or devisive to our Bold Adventurers too but that adds to the depth and drama does it not?


A Sword is not Simply a Pointy Metal Stick


Now, not to bore you with the technicalities involved in turning non-sword-shaped metal into edged death, it is a long and arduous process.


One must select the metal, have a picture of the end result in one’s mind. One must bend, fold, hammer, smooth, beat, heat, temper and quench just right or one’s weapon will break the first time you try to beat someone with it.


For this example, too, one must also enbue the item with magic, secret knowledge or really, really fancy ornamentation in order to make sure said Evil One becomes the requisite number of Evil Pieces (none of which will be placed in a microwave oven to burn the hero’s house down and kill his parents).


One can make a sword mould and pour all the right ingredients into it. One can wait for it to cool and free it from its prison. One can tidy it up, polish it, give it a decent edge. One can even make it shine like a mirror.
One can do all of that but the first time your weapon meets a master (or mistress) forged equivalent, it will snap in two with a rather disappointing crack sound. The crack of disappointment, they call it.
Whomever it may be that they are.


Start with the Basics


As the metalsmith starts with – you got it – metal, what does the wordsmith start with? That’s right! With their brain! We got you, drew you right in and played one of those awful context jokes on you! Actually, some might call it inspiration, that ephemerous output of the Muses, others call it research. It is the same thing though, a wordsmith’s base material.


Words are, afterall, simply a process of re-arranging 26 letters into different configurations. This brings us to the First Contentious Moment; writers and storytellers. Anyone can be a writer but few have what it takes to be a story teller.


Five Minute Argument Break…

You clicked on it, didn’t you? I know, it’s an awful joke but it keeps me amused.


Author’s Self-Promotion Moment.


So, of course the author is going to mention his own work here. Why not? This is my Blog, thank you very much! In this case, I am using it as an illustration so please forgive my cupidity.


To those who have read either the current draft or the prequel: Collected Preludes one thing may well stand out. Not just the odd British spelling and strange sense of humour. What might draw the most inquisitive of minds is this; the subversion of assumptions, the twisting of expectations and the fact that the mountains of source material are questioned at each and every point.
All the stories are true, or at least that used to be. One popular genre these days involves the Bible of Christianity, just like The Chronicles of Enoch does.


This, in its way is a subversive genre started by that rather popular series of novels which started everyone wondering about what that ancient Italian Polymath was really up to with his religious paintings.


A whole sub-genre has since emerged, feeding on the doubts and controversy Mr. Brown stirred up. The good ones among therm ask the most important of questions; how did it truly begin and how did it change so drastically?


What would happen if we could prove that the carpenter from Nazareth actually meant something quite different to what was later attributed to him?


The Dramatic License

Oh, it looks like mine expired. That could be embarrassing (also I am not that young, please don’t tell)!

I have mentioned this before because, you might be surprised to learn, it is very important .


Dramatic license; not the terrible mockup I created for a few seconds of amusement but the less physical kind.
Storytellers predate writers because, should we believe the archeologists, speech predated writing. Before people discovered that making symbols mean words was the latest thing (all the other up-and-coming civlisations are doing it!) there was only one place to store all the important stuff and make sure it did not vanish forever.


The Oral Tradition.


Travelling storytellers would move from placed to place and, often for a space by the fire, free food and alcohol, would entertain their hosts with stirring tales about the exploits of some heroic figure or other.


Perhaps they would include religious or moral instruction into the mixture. They would leave but the story would remain behind, now resident in the heads of those who had just heard it.

The Travelling Story Now


Seeing as the storyteller earned their living from the quality of the stories they told, it was not unknown for a good one to…well…add bits to the original they had heard previously. Some local flavour, a bit of cultural relevence, seemingly casual observations made on their way into the village/homestead/farm/tavern as well as their own opinions and biases.

When they left and a copy of the story remained with the latest recipients thereof, the story may well not be the same as the last version told. In fact, the same story could be getting told, in a variety of slightly different incarnations, in a number of different places at the same time.


One day, newcomers would come the village or, gathered around and, lacking decent television and WiFi, the villagers would retell the story. Perhaps they would go to a local gathering and tell it there.


Storytellers being as they are, the urge to stamp their own individuality onto the tale was rarely easy to resist. Lessons and themes important to their culture and society would find their way in.


Names might well change in the process, locations, even the ending. The more the story travelled, from mouth to mouth, ear to ear, the more it changed, the harder it became to recognise the original from the new and shiny version. It is possible that facts were exchanged for the kind of drama which promised food, wine and a warm bed for the night.
Maybe the overwhelming need to ensure that an important lesson was learned or vital information passed on was factored in.


That favourite childhood game of “Ethinic Stereotype Whispers” is suddenly quite a significant learning experience. Gilgamesh became Noah and the list goes on and on.


History is as stable and as reliable as the human beings who study and repeat it.


The Point is Reached


It is easy to conform to a popular genre.


Anyone can, with effort and focus, produce a half-decent tale of what people on certain platforms like to read but will your story, neck-deep in the morass, ever be more than one of hundreds?


The point of this article was to illustrate how seemingly mundane and everyday events may well become something quite different.


A young boy on the way to market sell his family’s only cow returns with a handful of beans and concocts a fantastical lie.


Two children bearing bread through the dark forest get lost for days and agree on a spine-chilling tale to explain their absence and, to their thinking, avoid a good thrashing.


The human race prefers the gentle lie to the hard truth. That is, as writers, our job; to bear them along the path of a fantastical tale towards the final truth, the point.


Along the way, we entertain them, we show they joy, dispair, shock and perhaps horror.

We teach them without their even being aware of it and then, when they arrive at the final page and – in a mixture, we hope, of pleasure and sadness – read the final words they mutter


“Now it makes sense! Now I understand!”


And they smile as they stare off into the space you took them to.
They have accepted the truth without even realising it!

History #Villain #ChroniclesofEnoch #Discovery #PassionForTheArt #AlanJFisher #Religion #Creative #Philosophy #thoughts #Dramatic #ArtoftheStoryteller #Storytelling #WritingTips #WritingTropes #WritingMentor #Writinghelper #WritingCoach #BookWritingPixies #NewWriters #assumptions

Predisposition for Labels

An other short article I wrote many years ago but which I am going to rescue from lost-blogsville and give some modern beauty treatment to.

Oddly enough, many of you might see some of my inspiration for this piece right away, others maybe not as quickly…

I look out on the world today at times, I read the papers, watch the news, surf the ‘net, take my hound for a drag and do anything which involves seeing and meeting people and I often wander if we see the person anymore, or do we see the label? Imagine one of those old fashioned brown paper parcel labels, tied at the corner with string, but man-sized, woman-sized, child-sized, covered in what we are and what we perceived as being.

I am a big brown paper parcel label with words writ upon me, carrying my own identity, my colour, my race, my preferences, the opinions of myself and others. Sometimes others will approach me and scribble or scrawl upon my surface their thoughts – Liberal, Foreign, Poet, Writer, Animal Lover, Nutter, Crazy, Fun, Mad, Straight, Gay?, Posh, Poor, rival, unimportant, Not Required – so on and so on and so on.

But who am I really? What makes me tick, what ties all of my label together? There is a writer’s joke I may just have made up (but how will you know); there are two kinds of book; there are those where words are thrown randomly together and somehow make vaguely interesting reading when one is bored and there are dictionaries. To be serious, though, what kind of story can you make without at least making some attempt to take all fo your scattered words and arrange them into some sort of order? A story is no good without a structure right? So a label just covered in random words….how would that work? Basing me on just what my label says wouldn’t come close to explaining who I really am would it? Maybe if it did, a lot of possible misunderstandings could be avoided… Let’s be honest here; we are very good at being superficial as a species. Of doing just the most basic flying browse of people’s labels, based on the largest or scariest words there recorded, words we are told about but may not adequately understand. Words like Moslem. Chrisitian. Socialism. Universal Healthcare. Freedom. Peace. Nazi. Fascist. Gay. Straight. We understand all of these badly most of the time. Seems we really don’t like to read the dictionary in order to form up a decent narrative doesn’t it?

Those words we have listed above are some of the most misunderstood words in the English language today. Most people are told what they mean and don’t even bother to check in the dictionary for themselves. We truly are in the Lazy Ages aren’t we? People prefer to do their research by proxy yet they sit there all smug and self-important like they came up with the idea all by themselves. My advice; do your research and then come back to me when you are better informed. Use the intelligence God gave to you!

So look, I am supposed to be a Christian because I believe in Yeshua ben Josua (aka Jesus Christ), God and the Bible (although I’m perfectly ready to accept said book is full of confusion, inconsistencies, plot holes, and terrible editing work). However I don’t believe in the need to attend a certain building or to belong to a group of hypocritical people who like to make things up which are not in aforementioned Bible. Techncially I am a Christian but what am I actually? See? Someone might have heard I write about Jesus occasionally and put the same thing on my label as might apear on the label of one of those American Fundie nutters who hate everyone who isn’t white, overweight and seriously into badly designed sweaters.

It’s easy to generalise, right? It’s also an awful thing to do because it leads to a lot of misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts. Compare the two following “labels”; this one for America itself. Two different people wrote about the same thing but how different are the words they used? Am I my label and what it says about me? Do I introduce myself to new people or do i stand there quietly while they read? Do I check what’s written or do I refuse to read and just say what I know?

Hmmmm interesting? What happens if I edit my label myself? What would happen were I to write down what I myself think and pay no regard for what others might say? Now that’s dangerous…deliciously dangerous perhaps? What complicates it even more is that different people read what is written in different ways……to some I am a good person, to others a nut, to some I am attractive, to others well… To some I am a kindred spirit, to others and enemy or an opposite……How am I to keep track of all of these things? I could edit my label maybe? I could correct some of the entries and set the record straight? How long would that take? So the appearance of my label changes over time anyway, the string gets longer or maybe frayed, perhaps it needs changing – maybe the style of the pen changes, from crayon, fibre tips, magic marker, biro, fountain pen(!) and back again……

All this creates the overall, the image….Sometimes people look at the style and look of the label and don’t even bother to read what is on it……How could I keep up? Should I wipe my label clean, change it for one of the nice shiny plastic ones I see here and there, upgrade? It does seem like the cultural nazis on either side of the great political divide want me to live my life one way or another…independant thought is not encouraged but conformity is….you have to freedom to express your individuality within preset templates.

Next I’m sure I’ll be accused of immorality because I let my dog parade around naked and will of course be responsible, in no small part, for the moral decline of some nation or another……Maybe I need a teflon label? Nothing seems to stick to those, I think there are politicians out there that use them……Io what to do with my label? Upgrade? Recycle? Repurpose? Edit? Translate? Update? Too late? Or should I take my label, hold it firmly in both hands and carefully, methodically, tear it into tiny, tiny little shreds?

#Labels #Label #stereotype #thoughts #social #philosophy #writers #outofthebox

Sable & Gilgamesh – Combat Scene

An excert from a storyline which will take place at some point in Book Three of The Chronicles of Enoch but one which shows just how interesting Sable can be in combat, even in today’s modern world of guns.
I chose this piece to share because it also contains so tasty little hints that fans might well appreciate…


Gilgamesh was looking down at the approaching nephilim; there were at least twenty of them now. They were schlepping their way across the rooftops towards he and Sable’s current position, trying to keep low and not present a decent outline. Clearly, they were more modern creatures as they were exercising the due caution of one who knows well how guns and bullets work. They were using cover well and advancing in groups, practise he approved of. Several, he could see, were armed with handguns though none carried a larger weapon. He’d known that they’d been spotted a good ten minutes ago but had focussed on trying to get his shot off. Or shots. He didn’t like the need to kill but with those two down there, wounding was not an option. He had to find a way to get them close enough together so that he could take out Krampus and then hit Lucifer three seconds later without giving that monster time to react or escape.

There was no way that he would let Lucifer be President of the country he had so grown to love, one which had been very accepting of him until Krampus had started stirring the old hatreds up.

He sucked his teeth and looked over at Sable, who appeared to be doing something with the sleeves of his long coat. It was almost like he was looking for something. Sable was clearly unarmed and, his peerless combat skills aside, even he would be unable to take on their soon-to-be-guests barehanded. Well that just about buggers it all up doesn’t it? He thought, considering whether to ghost just one of them and have done with it. Better to take Lucifer with us if this is it…
It struck him as rather odd that Sable appeared so unconcerned by their predicament. He was focussed on his coat-sleeves again, something which was both intriguing and annoying to big Sumerian. He was about to ask his friend what in the name of any gods he may or not may not believe in he thought he was doing when Sable made an ‘ah’ noise. He then proceeded to do something which caused a feeling of more than mild surprise – mixed with a fair measure of terror – in Gilgamesh’s heart.

Sable reached into the sleeves of his long coat and smiled. He took hold of something with each hand and pulled. To Gilgamesh’s genuine awe and terror, Sable pulled his long silver swords out of his coat. Each sword was close to four feet long and curved like scimitars; there was no way Sable’s arms were that long and the coat certainly was not large enough. Gilgamesh had been admiring it earlier; it was a nice brushed suede type thing in a variety of shades of grey which fit Sable rather well. It would not fit the much larger Gilgamesh, but he had been meaning to ask Atlantan where he had gotten it from. He had not expected, however, for Sable to just whip his famous swords out from inside of it, magic coats were not something he wanted in his sparse wardrobe. He stared his friend, face a multitude of questions.

“A left over from whatever you lot did to me in Atlanta. Might be a small surprise gift from our new friend too.” Sable explained in great depth. “I know where they are, I just have to tell them to be here.” he settled his grip before spinning the swords in air-ripping circles and considered the approaching group. “Twenty?”

Gilgamesh nodded with a grim smile.

“Cover me from the shooters.” Sable set his swords down and shrugged his coat off, letting it fall to the ground. Underneath he wore sleeveless black t-shirt with a very faded rock band logo on it. He also had some weird tattoo on his right shoulder which Gilgamesh could not recall him having before, a swirl of angelic script covering shoulder and part of his arm. Unfortunately, the Sumerian was very new to those letters and had no idea where to begin. Sable was already moving towards the lip of their rooftop, assessing the distance to the roof down below. Their visitors were starting to gather bare metres away down below, looking for a way up to them. Sable crouched on the edge, swords back in his hands, reversed upward, and nodded. Gilgamesh nodded in reply and swung his rifle around.

He had a ten-shot custom magazine locked and loaded but there would be a 2-3 second reload time. Still, better than nothing. With a scream which would have made even the dead get up and run, Sable leaped, right into the centre of the crowd. Sable against twenty nephilim armed with knives, machetes and guns? Gilgamesh almost felt sorry for them…

He shrugged and set his eye to his gunsight adjusted the focus all the way out, as far as it would go. Some of the figures were a little fuzzy, the sight wasn’t designed for such close-up work, but he could aim. He had never seen Sable in combat up close before, but he would never forget it. He saw Sable land in a crouch in the middle of the crowd and explode into motion. Gilgamesh had his own abilities; at the moment when he took his shot, he was able to slow time somehow, stretch out those vital seconds to be sure he placed his bullet right where it needed to go. He couldn’t sustain this slowing effect for long, but he intended to push that ability now. In slow motion he watched his friend dance…

Slowed down, Sable was more than incredible, his silver blades flashes and blurs of metal. He seemed to have the entire fight planned out in advance, so fluid and connected were his moves. Instantly his left sword swept out and opened the throat of the man directly in front of him in a carmine spray. Sable did not stop though, pushing the sword along its path to carve open the face of another, his right-hand sword dipped and curved up into the stomach of a third man; dropping his guts onto the floor. Immediately Sable had some space as the third man got snagged in his own entrails and they uncoiled around his feet causing him to fall back into the group behind him, dropping several to the ground. Sable breathed. Swords always in motion, body never still, eyes and senses always active he became a whirlwind of death; blocking, cutting, deflecting and retaliating. Killing.

Whipping his swords left and right, up and down he wove a cage of silver death around him. Where his swords struck, men fell, and blood sprayed out. Even slowed down as Gilgamesh’s perceptions were, Sable was almost too fast to follow.

One of the nephilim with a pistol took aim at Sable’s head and fired as a sword was extracted from a bleeding neck. Gilgamesh felt his stomach tighten to a knot; he could take down the shooter but not stop the bullet. There was no way he could warn his friend or prevent the danger in time. Somehow Sable knew. Faster than Gilgamesh could imagine, Sable arched back at the waist and got his head out of the way of the bullet fractions of a second before it was due to hit, catching the speeding projective with the silver edge of one sword and helping it safely out of the way with an explosion of sparks. He straightened and knifed a blade into the juncture of neck and shoulder of each of the men before him. He twisted the blades out and blocked a desperate machete swipe at his unprotected torso with his left, killing the wielder with his right. Gilgamesh breathed and time returned to normal. There were nine nephilim, aside from he and Sable left; four shooters hiding behind air conditioning units and five standing before Sable. The four shooters appeared to be quite undecided on what to do, two were looking for reloads. They had emptied their magazines without Gilgamesh even being aware of it or actually hitting anyone. Such a waste of ammo offended him for some reason.

His friend had killed ten men in less than a minute! The five men with knives and machetes in front of him were well aware of this fact and were sharing wary glances, looking over shoulder for as long as they dared to see what the shooters were doing. Sable had stood still for nowhere near long enough for anyone to get a decent shot at him after the first. He was not even scratched, and Gilgamesh was sure none of the blood upon him was his own. He could not believe this sight, no- one dared to move and Sable just stood there, waiting.

Sable appeared relaxed and his chest moved regularly and slowly. He rolled his shoulders and grinned at the men in front of him, looking like a demon of war covered in blood and gore; smiling like a maniac as blood dripped from his loosely held swords. Lucifer was on the stage below so none of remaining men dared to be the one to return without Sable’s head, failure could be much worse than death.

I’d be more afraid of my best friend than his Dad! Gilgamesh decided. No-one should be able to fight like that…Clearly, he did not know enough about Lucifer though, he must be terrifying indeed to give a man a reason to fight Sable.

In the end, it seemed that numbers gave the balls unto the man. They shared a glance and attacked at once, thinking this would be to their advantage. Sable kept his swords in close and tight, each hand appearing to communicate with the other. He casually batted a machete aside to pierce the chest of its wielder and used the falling man’s weight to pivot around and almost shear the face off of another. Keeping his momentum up, he took one knife fighter’s arm off at the elbow causing the man to scream and spray blood into the face of the man next to him. Sable finished the disarmed man off with a quick stab to the throat and took down his colleague in the same manner as that one tried to clean blood from his eyes. His right-hand sword was in the chest of the last man before Gilgamesh could even figure out how it had gotten there. The Sumerian’s finger was poised numbly over the trigger unable to neither aim nor fire.

“I know you’re all out of ammo.” Sable told the four crouched men with pistols. “I was counting as the bullets whined past my ears like hot mosquitoes. You can reload and make me come over there and get you or you can drop them, and we talk. You decide.” He let that hang in the silence for a long time. No-one spoke nor made a single move. Gilgamesh found that he was holding his breath again.
The only sound was the soft drum of blood from Sable’s swords striking the metal roof.
“The first man who fires a shot at me dies.” Sable added. There was silence for the longest moment before the first pistol clattered to the ground, the metallic skittering noise followed quickly by three similar sounds.

“Good.” Sable clapped his swords together, blood dripping from their blades onto the hot asphalt. “Because I was getting tired and thought I will probably never get these clothes clean anyway, more blood would just make washing them murder!”
Gilgamesh’s mouth hung wide open as the four nephilim came out of hiding, their hands held empty and high. They were actually laughing nervously at the joke, as terrible as it had been. Gallows humour; men who are scared enough will laugh at anything…anything but face inescapable reality.

“Wise, wise choice boys.” Sable reached down and cleaned his swords on a dead man’s hoodie before sheathing them at his belt; a belt that Gilgamesh could have sworn he had not been wearing earlier and held his empty hands out to the four nervous nephilim. His arms were bent slightly at the elbows, palms upward and fingers slightly bent; inviting. “You know who I am. You know what I am, but you only heard half of the story.” He said. “Here’s the other half.” He gestured around at the organic carnage. “Scram. Now. All of you. Go!” He gestured to the empty rooftops behind them. “Do not force me to kill you because I would rather not.”
To Gilgamesh’s amazement, all four backed off slowly, their hands still held up in front of them, in complete silence. Sable watched them leave and cracked his neck with a sound like breaking light bulbs. “I think you can focus back on Krampus and my father now, Gil.” Sable called up as he set to searching the dead men and collecting their weapons. “They won’t be coming back.”

He found, most curiously, a small hand towel in the pocket of one man and set to cleaning his arms and face with it.
Gilgamesh found no words to respond with, so he simply swung his rifle around on its tripod to face back at the stage with a nod of his head. If he had not seen it, he would never believe it. In fact, he had seen it and he still wasn’t sure that he believed it!

Monsters Under the Bed

Monsters, the human race has been fascinated by them for as long as we can remember. Ancient myths are full of terrible creatures from the other side; ghosts, orcs & goblins, gnomes & pixies, gorgans & gargoyles…
 
We terrify our children with stories of bogiemen and boglins under the bed, monsters in the closet…why?
 
Why do we have creatures all around our house that need to be placated or minor chaos will ensue?
 
The Chronicles seized this folklore with eager hands once the Nephilim started to develop.
 
We realised that we could use something like them, a race of sort of human creatures who possess an extra strand of DNA gifted to them by their angelic forebears. Now, angels, remember, are the precursor, purely spiritual beings with an obviously physical component somewhere that allows them to create a fully working human body around their astral one. That an angel would have DNA (twelve-stranded, no less) might sound counter-intuitive to some but, to us it is both logical and necessary. In order to pass on the kind of traits and problems experienced by the early Nephilim, there must be a genetic component.
 
Why only one extra strand is passed on is just one of those things I am not going to explain, it just seems like the right number.
 
As I said, the angels are the first form of ‘life’ in our universe (that we know of) and existed before our universe, technically, existed. It is therefore reasonable to assume that they were created with the same potential that other life came to inherit. When angels encarnated and took on flesh, their spiritual bodies expressed differences and these differences were passed onto the children they later ‘fathered’ with mortal women. It is safe also to assume that the DNA of the angels somehow ‘learned’ from earlier disasters and refined their zygotes so that they contained only three strands because all 12 meeting human DNA was not beneficial to the offspring’s survival. This idea of DNA learning by itself is real and cutting edge science and, though it is far from being proven, this is a work of fiction isn’t it?
 

Monsters in the Dark
 
So; this human need to have some horrible creature with lots of teeth, claws, and an ugly aspect concealed either under their bed or where they hang their clothes…why?
 
The psychology is simple really, it’s easier than explaining what is actually going on, especially when we don’t actually know what that truly is. Also it might be part of a terrible and traumatising parenting practise which seems to be dying out;
 
“Eat your dinner/go to sleep/tidy your room or the monster will get you!”
 
Humans are, for the most part, quite an imaginative species. If we cannot explain something, then we’ll invent something that can. We have Santa Claus to blame for the children not getting the presents they wanted for Christmas and for ensuring they behave in the run up to said festival. We also have monsters to explain other phenomena we are unable to explain.
 
Also, children are very imaginative, creating iamginary friends and so forth as they learn at a terrifying rate and try to place all of this information in their very limited frame of reference. They love stories so the loving parents make them up for them as they try to add valuable lessons into them. They add witches, monsters, and so forth because nobody minds if something inhuman perishes to teach the dangers of not following the lesson.
 
This is something we call the “Stormtrooper Accuracy Dilemma” which I am sure Star Wars fans will appreciate. One can easily be heroic and mow down dozens of seemingly faceless drones but intentionally ending the life of someone whose face you can see, whose eyes you can see the light fade from is quite a different challenge.
 
Also, it’s easier to blame unseen beings for your misfortunes than your own possible laxness, isn’t it?
 
Plagues were due to witches, Pestilence himself, and so forth.
 
Rare genetic conditions such as haemophilia, serious albinism, hypertrichosis, porphyria, etc. probably gave birth to the werewolf and vampire myths. A love for drama or the inability to recognise common species may have contributed to others.
 
Michael Critchton presented a great idea in his lesser know work called The Eaters of The Dead, his version of Beowulf. It claimed to be the historical origin of that story, based upon the recently re-discovered manuscript of an Arab traveller’s diary of his journeys with Nordic traders and his adventures in their homeland. It was rather good and well done. It posited that the ‘evil’ Grendel of Beowulf were an isolated Neanderthal tribe who has somehow survived into what we would call ‘Modern’ times. When one considers there were still Mammoth in Europe while the pyramids were being built, it is a possibility. They could also explain orcs and goblins, perhaps.
 
Encounters between black and while men, members of the the pictish and aryan tribes, so on and so forth could explain many other stories. It wasn’t racism back then, it was unfamiliarity and, though no acceptable, one can understand demonising one’s competitors for resources.
 
Fear and unfamiliarity, as well as competition, can breed monsters too. Look at the witches and how they were demonised in England, Europe, and Massachussetts, for example.

 
The Nephilim
 
Of course, one cannot write a story based upon the fact that stories cannot be relied upon. That would be, in essence, self-defeating from the onset. We have, therefore, a more dramatic and fictional explanation in The Chronicles of Enoch.
 
We have, as previously mentioned, the Nephilim.
 
Now would be an excellent time, we feel, to familiarise yourselves with the of Nephilim section of our website, it is quite extensive and contains a lot of information we will skip  or gloss over here.
 
We decided to conduct quite an extensive study of monsters, cryptids, myths and strange beasts across the world and throughout history and try to fit them into our universe as confortably as possible. below are a few examples, the website gives others.
 
  1. Werecreatures and shapeshifters. There are various of the Nephilim genetypes that could help here; polymorphic or ‘shifter’ Nephilim can take on much of the responsibility for all manner of myth and monster; from lycanthropes to aliens and cryptids. It seems that the Golden Helix (angelic DNA strand combined with regular human) adds a certain plasticity of form to the Nephilim which makes them useful. The Jeepies, or General Purpose Nephilim shifter can change their physical form at will and appear as pretty much anything they have been shown and or can imagine as long as it is organic.
  2. Aliens and cryptids. As we’ve already mentioned, Jeepies and similar Nephilim shifters have masqueraded as aliens and some of the more exotic kinds of humaoid cryptid in the past for reasons known only to their masters. Asmodeus is rumoured to be the mastermind of this particular enterprise.
  3. Vampires. This is almost exclusely the realm of the Strigoi variety of shifter. As we have seen, Striga such as Lorasta are afflicted with a genetic disorder that makes them both partially mortal and able to access abilities that involve feeding from a human victim’s soul. They do not drink blood and cannot eat or drink anything much at all, being pure energy feeders. They are, however, unable to control their physical form and fury when feeding and, therefore, tend to spill an awful lot of blood in the process.
  4. Zombies. This is a difficult one. There is an extremely rare class of Nephilim, deemed mythical by most of them, known as Isochronals. These extremely rare and powerful creatures can recover from any injury or wound, including almost complete distruction of their physical form. Their body can regenerate from scraps of tissue and, the only change they experience when recovered is a change of face. It is as if their surviving DNA reboots upon regenerating them. A certain fictional time-travelling alien medical professional is said to have been based on an Isochronal encounter.
 

Conclusion
 
So, humans adore invention and imagination, it’s common and obvious, their history is replete with examples. Most of the mosters their history is filled with can easily be explained by misunderstanding, trying to explain unknown species or myopic inspection thereof. Others simply embody our fears or are due to rare genetic disorders.
 
Taking all this into account, one would think that today, in this age of Science, where so many of these things have been explained and Reason is more common, that there would be no monsters left.
 
That is not, however, even close to being the case. Nort only to be have the more ethnic and mythic monsters now but we have cryptids, the local monster or beast of x-town or geographical feature, BigFoot, and so many others. We appear to believe in more monsters than we did before and even think there are conspiracies to hide their presences from us….
 
It appears that our stories have not been disproven, they story has simply changed or been made more complicated.