As part of my author guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot. D. Thourson Palmer the author of Ours Is the Storm has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for MightyThorJRS today. I am very excited and I would like to thank Dave for the opportunity to host this Guest Blog. 

Ours Is the Storm

by D. Thourson Palmer

Is Out NOW!

So go get your copy!

It’s a Kindle Countdown Deal at $0.99, from Sunday March 5th through Saturday March 11th. Take a look at Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Ours-Storm-D-Thourson-Palmer-ebook/dp/B01MZFUHSX

 

 

 


Readers and Re-Derps; the Fraught Experience of Diving Back into Old Work

by D. Thourson Palmer

While the world of film and TV is increasingly mired in nostalgia and remakes, sometimes it seems as if fiction and literature are one of the few places to turn when we want something fresh, something we’ve never seen (or read) before. Of course this isn’t true either; every plot can be codified into

six

(Link: http://www.openculture.com/2014/02/kurt-vonnegut-masters-thesis-rejected-by-u-chicago.html),

seven

(link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Basic_Plots),

or thirty-six

(link: http://www.changingminds.org/disciplines/storytelling/plots/polti_situations/polti_situations.htm)

basic stories. Everyone agrees that everything has been done before, although no one agrees how many times. I have a personal theory that Frankenstein is the most recent work of true originality, but even that can be argued to find its basis in stories of golems and in Greek myth. But, as in music, it’s the recombination of familiar words, themes, and motifs into new wholes that we’re here for. Sometimes, however, we’re not after something new; we want the nostalgia of visiting a familiar place, but what we find isn’t always what we set out to recapture. This was my experience when I sat down to re-read one of my old favorites; around the same time, circumstances conspired to give me the opportunity to re-release my own Ours Is the Storm as a true self-published novel, rather than as the hybrid or author-funded or whatever it was when I started out.

The Great Game Trilogy begins with Past Imperative, first published in 1995, and I count the trilogy amongst my major influences. In it, in pre-WWI England, young Edward Exeter has just left boarding school for the last time following his graduation. He’s soon at the center of a murder investigation, being found alone in a locked room but for his dead best friend, who’s been pinned to a cutting board with a butcher knife. Meanwhile, on the coterminous world of Nextdoor, Eleal Singer wants to get over the mountains and get to the festival of the god of art, but a long line of prophecy has ensured that she’s delayed. The prophecy? Amongst thousands of verses is one that has the entire pantheon of Nexdoorian gods in an uproar: That one called the Liberator will bring death to Death.

In my reread, I discovered the best parts of The Great Game are the challenges to some of fantasy’s more time-honored tropes: the orphan, the prophecy, the god of death. We may like to think that the deconstruction of some of these old hats is new, but they’ve been getting taken down to bits of felt and wire for twenty years, and longer before that.

This subversion of tropes was an idea that drove the writing of my first novel, Ours Is the Storm,  as well. Others have had similar aims, or at least outcomes (Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, N.K. Jemisin). Around the same time as I began rereading The Great Game, I decided to leave my old distributor. Without getting into why, I decided the best thing would be to re-release the book as a self-published title, and while I was at it, hey, to add a map and pronunciation guide and some of the things that readers had asked for.

I also decided to do a quick run-through and clean up the book a bit. Thing had changed in the two years since its release, and I was certain I could tighten up a few spots in a couple of hours.

Oh. Oh how wrong I was.

That’s not to say that I made huge changes or rewrote huge sections. The project just took far, far longer than I thought it would.

So here I was, revisiting my own work even as I revisited something I count as a major influence on it. And here was where I realized a couple of things.

There’s a great story I read recently wherein the writer (and I know this is someone I should remember, but don’t. If anyone can find this online please let me know) describes watching the Prince Caspian film and being upset that the filmmakers left out the orrery. You remember: a huge, magical piece of machinery with spinning parts and fantastical, unknowable functions.

Or, you don’t, because it wasn’t in the book. This writer has taken a single mention of an orrery and, in her mind, turned it into a huge and incredible contraption that played a major role in part of the book. Such is the way of memory.

I recalled The Great Game as less nasty than it was. Overall, the book is charming, but the depth of depravity of the Nextdoorian gods is epic. These are, with some exception, monsters, not people. What I did take away from the book was the flawed nature of the heroes, but I was relieved to see they weren’t too much more tarnished than I remembered them (you can catch my full review over at Booknest.eu).

In my own work, I found quite a few little newb-writery mistakes that I swiftly corrected (let’s just move on from those, shall we?). Most importantly, and most tellingly, though, were those “darlings,” you hear all the advice to kill, but you leave them anyway, cuz they really are good. At the time, I thought they were. Really, they’re important and they help establish character or they’re clever or… No. No, they are not good. Kill them with fire and never look back. There were two I found that made the whole book better by their removal, and they amounted to perhaps eight lines of text. These were the reason I’d dived back in, and glad I was to have finally corrected myself. Next time, I tell myself, I’ll wait long enough between draft and revision to notice and excise these little derps. I’ll listen to the conventional wisdom and, like a cruel false god, bash those darlings’ brains out on the altar of better prose.

Here, then, is the crux of what I found digging back into old favorites and old work. There’s always something to learn. A work can always be improved, so sometimes one must leave a work and move forward. What we remember never tells the whole story. Digging back into words half-recalled and books read years ago taught me a few new things about art, originality, perception… or maybe I just remembered them.

(D. Thourson Palmer’s Ours Is the Storm has been re-released in a new second edition, complete with a map, redesigned cover, and more. It’s a Kindle Countdown Deal at $0.99, from Sunday March 5th through Saturday March 11th. Take a look at Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Ours-Storm-D-Thourson-Palmer-ebook/dp/B01MZFUHSX

 When you’ve done that, check out his free, weekly, ongoing epic fantasy web serial RAZE at dthoursonpalmer.com/raze.)


D. Thourson Palmer sheared sheep in rural Ohio, studied in the Appalachian foothills, explored Japan by train and pack, and wandered the Central Valley of California. He is the author of the ongoing free web serial RAZE, published weekly at dthoursonpalmer.com. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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Revik Lasivar knows he is a savior.
He knows he will never be defeated.
He knows he is fighting for good.

Everything Revik Lasivar knows is a lie.

Revik is the last scion of a legendary family, destined to deliver his kingdom. Ahi’rea is the nomad seeress fighting to destroy it. Her powers of foresight and ruthless tactics threaten to undo all Revik’s efforts, so he embarks on a last crusade to destroy her and her people. When the savior and seeress cross swords, however, the deceptions they uncover will change both of them, and their world, forever.

 

(D. Thourson Palmer’s Ours Is the Storm has been re-released in a new second edition, complete with a map, redesigned cover, and more. It’s a Kindle Countdown Deal at $0.99, from Sunday March 5th through Saturday March 11th. Take a look at Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Ours-Storm-D-Thourson-Palmer-ebook/dp/B01MZFUHSX

When you’ve done that, check out his free, weekly, ongoing epic fantasy web serial RAZE at dthoursonpalmer.com/raze.)

 

 

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