Question about the Stories

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Author's Corner: Question about the Stories
   By Cheryl on Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit Post

Someone asked me once if I got the whole story when I started attempting to write this story and I wondered if I had. I think it's in images and I don't get it all, but some really seem to stand out. I got the beginning, middle and end but filler ins need to come in sometime. I wondered if Janny or other writers here got the whole story or pieces of it? This convention made me wonder this. It's seems like a puzzle to me and you have to put the pieces together. It's very interesting how it works. Thanks Janny and others here who write.

   By StarGazer72 on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit Post

It's all about bits and pieces with me. The whole story? <laughs> The only time I know the whole story is when it's finished. :-) I tend to get what they call the 'two-thirds' problem - you're writing along and you know what you want to happen farther ahead, but you got nothing for that middle section between 'now' and 'then.' It just happens to me far more often than just at two-thirds of the way through hehe.

   By Selene on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 07:50 am: Edit Post

Definitely pieces :-) Sometimes, I have no idea where I'm going even. On other occasions, I have some ideas about the future but no idea how to get there. I write from beginning to end and things tend to fall into place when I get there. I know other writers who just write in chunks--a piece here, a piece there, in no particular chronological order. Then of course, you can do it with an outline (doesn't work at all, for me, though if you can make it work, that does seem efficient). I doubt even those who follow an outline know everything beforehand though.


   By Cheryl on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 09:01 am: Edit Post

Thanks sounds like me too. I have the beginning, middle and end. The end is very clear to me but the slow parts seem to give me a problem. I think I have some things in mind to keep it going till the big moments. It's like a puzzle to me that you have to figure out where all the parts go. Sounds like I'm doing things like everyone else. Just hope I keep the story flowing smoothly and hope it's not too cliche. I wrote last week and something came out of it I didn't expect to and it better then what I had in mind. It was fun to read it and find something had come out that I wasn't expecting to come. I have an outline and try to follow it but if I get told something better I'll go with that. Seems like I'm doing it right that's good to know. I miss Janny already.

   By Blue on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 03:30 pm: Edit Post

Does anyone ever have what I call "The Snags" where you know what is going to happen, but it just doesn't flow right?

I have a point in my own story, where one of the people responsible for the Prince's exile has fallen in love with his wife. This antagonist [for want of a better term, he was as much a victim of the plotting as the Prince] conveys the information to the Princess about the conspiracy against her husband and his own role in it. But HOW does he come to give her the information?

The Princess is taking cover in a hospital with her children, [she and the children are targets for assassination if they don't hide] and is learning to become a physician so that she can blend in better. The antagonist is the head of this hospital.

HOW would you resolve this? The antagonist is aware of her identity, and could easily betray her and her children to the real enemy, but because of his burgeoning love for her, will not do so. The possibilities I have seen are as follows:

1. In an attempt to warn the Princess of the danger she is in, confesses all, knowing he will sacrifice any credibility in her eyes.

2. In a fit of remorse, attempts suicide, and it is his deathbed confession that conveys the information.

3. Angry at her refusal, he snaps that her husband is a weakling who deserved all he suffered prior to his exile.

4. Being as much as victim as the Prince in this case, the very vulnerability that allowed him to be used as a pawn in the conspiracy also allows him to confess once the Princess hardens her questioning to the right degree.

Have I written myself into a corner?

   By Auna on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit Post

Have the plotters find out where she is and have the head guy have to reveal why he knows these people are coming for her and that she has to try and trust him long enough for him to get her to safety?

   By Memory on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:40 am: Edit Post

I'd say go for number 1 - generally, the other options seem too make him too wishy-washy and ineffectual, but it's your story, Blue - do what you want! :-)

I think I'm the worst of all of you - I just start writing, with no idea of where I'm going, what the firm plot is, or how things are going to end. My on-going main project is my most disorganised. I would write random scenes for that as the mood took me, so I've ended up with a jigsaw or scenes spread throughout a story I wasn't entirely clear on. This has been going on, on and off, for years now, and I finally sat down and tried to draw an outline of the entire plot this summer. I managed to draw all the threads together, and I actually think it might work!

I write how I compose music - very instinctively, and the shape seems to form itself. I started another story last year, which is being serialised in our college magazine. This means I have to at least write in order this time, which is good for me, but I still didn't do an outline before I started. I'm the kind of person that lets it grow organically, but it always seems to work out in the end.

My current dilemma is how to stop a tramp from continuing to beat up and drag off one of my main characters. After breaking his arm and hitting his head when knocked off his bike, the character himself is in no state to get away, but having random passers-by come to his aid is a bit of a cop out... need to think about it some more. :-)


   By Cheryl on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 09:05 am: Edit Post

Your character is in dire straits Memory. I've got mine in a cellar in chains. Now I wonder how he'll escape either by magical means from a sorceress or a knight errant and his men. Need to think what they want to do. The villain gets away. lol I think it works best to let the characters tell you what to do in the end. Listen and think seems to work best for me from what I've learned. I think romance would be the hardest thing for me to do. Since I don't read much of that and go for the action more. But I hope the characters tell us the stories in the end. I'll have to think about that Blue I don't want to give you a bad answer. I think Auna sounds right though.

   By Blue on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 04:19 pm: Edit Post

Memory, Auna, thanks very much for some food for thought. The Chief Healer [still haven't decided on a title for this guy, but he is very high ranked] was initially kind of a throwaway character. You were right, Memory, I did NOT want him wishy washy.

The Princess eventually questions what happened to her husband, and the role the Chief Healer played in his exile. The realization that the Chief Healer was as much a victim in this conspiracy, further gives her impetus to help destroy the villain's agenda.

Long and short of it, the Chief Healer is a very distant cousin to one of the chief villains, both of whom descend from a family of mentalists [those with psychic abilities such as telepathy, telekinesis, etc.]. Unfortunately, they also suffer various forms of mental illness in conjunction with their abilities, due to misuse of said gifts by their ancestors. The villain uses the Chief Healer's particular illness ruthlessly to help persecute any threat to his own personal power quest.

   By Auna on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 05:03 pm: Edit Post

Sounds interesting, and you are welcome. :-)

   By Cheryl on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit Post

Thanks for sharing your story Blue it sounds good hope I get to read it soon. I hope I keep mine going.

   By Memory on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 08:00 pm: Edit Post

Sounds complex, Blue - great!


   By Blue on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 11:55 pm: Edit Post

Memory, just looked over your story dilemma... could it be that the Tramp just gets bored after beating the snot out of the protagonist? Did he get what he was after? Passers by stopping to help might be a bit of a cop out, [BAD PUN AHEAD!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!] but what about a police officer walking a beat, or driving past, seeing the situation, and putting a stop to it? What about a buddy of the Tramp, seeing his friend beating the snot out of a stranger and intervening? The character's lunch date seeing what is going on and either intervening, or getting a cop to help? Have you considered that though the character is not in any shape to get away, s/he still has lungs that work, and s/he can scream for help?

Perhaps the biggest question you should ask yourself: WHY is the Tramp beating up the character?


As for chronological disorder, who cares? Half the time, I have the scenes come out whenever THEY feel like it. What I have is an unconnected jumble of scenes, and I figure the WHEN can come later, when I get a better idea of where the story is going.

Have any of you ever come up with a great idea for an end of a story, before you ever come up with the beginning?


Janny has mentioned in the past that characters have hijacked scenes and improved them greatly. In SoM, for example, Talith was supposed to get to Avenor from Erdane. So was Pesquil. Rather than just cutting to the chase, both of them showing up in Avenor, the scene with Talith stealing Pesquil's clothing and towels, and essentially blackmailing him into taking her to Avenor came about. Not something Janny planned, and yet, it is still one of my favorite moments with both Talith and Pesquil.

In my case, a character who was supposed to die, simply refused to do so. The Captain of the Prince's Guard, he had just returned from taking the Prince into exile, and was very unhappy with the circumstances, especially since he disliked the new King. Instead of obeying orders and staying aboard ship, he slipped ashore for some leave time, trying to find some decent booze to drown his sorrows, in a puritan-like country that frowned on decent brewing. After spending futile hours trying to get drunk, he returned to the harbor, to find his ship afire, but no one attempting to leave it.

Originally, he was supposed to die with his shipmates, and a bottle with a message was supposed to miraculously find its way to the Prince's allies. BORING and a cliche to boot.

   By Selene on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 03:36 am: Edit Post


I've never come up with the end first, but then I tend to write from beginning to end with no idea where I'm going :-). Sometimes I do write scenes in no order at all, but they're still usually in the first third (At least, I think so. I haven't completed any of those. Yet :-)).

Characters hijacking scenes: Yup, that's happened. I had one character hijack the story, at one point. It was my intention to let him appear only briefly and though I knew he had a rather complex back-history, I didn't think he actually had much to do with this story. Instead he went and became one of the major characters and caused lots of complications I had never anticipated.

I was not displeased :-)

I suppose that I frequently have characters hijack scenes because I often have no idea where the plot is going. Characters always appear first to me, together with some type of conflict. Then I just sort of put the characters together and, well... they act like themselves and things happen :-)


   By Memory on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 05:48 am: Edit Post

Thanks for the suggestions, Blue :-)

Said tramp is beating up character because the tramp is in league with the Otherworld powers who wish to violently invade our world, and my character is part of a student cell trying to prevent this. The tramp is ultimately wanting to take my character to one of the leaders of the Otherworld - someone who detroyed one college a year ago and murdered the then leader of the student resistance (nb: not all on the Otherworld wish to invade). As he's suffering from concussion, a broken arm and shock, I don't think my character's even in a position to shout for help! Hmmmmm... policemen are an idea....

Ahaaa! Just thought of something! Thanks Blue - you got my little brain working. Two other characters are at this very moment sitting in the college chapel (actually about 300 yards from where the tramp situation is). The character being beaten up was only recently musing that he had little protection against attack - Otherworldly or not. These two, however, do. They are two of the few who are able to 'waken' these stone pendants that originate from the Otherworld, and 'use' the power within them (more complicated than this, but would take too long to explain). However, what they don't yet know is that they're not using power from the stone; the stone opens the barriers inside themselves, and they are using their own natural talent. They also don't know yet that all this has happened before - the Otherworld invaded several hundred years ago, but eventually was repulsed somehow. Some friendly beings stayed and interbred with humans, and those small number who can 'awaken' the pendants are descendants of these pairings.

Right - to get back to my issue. This is the chance for the two characters in the chapel to demonstrate (to the reader and themselves) what the power the pendants gave them access to can do. They will save my character from the tramp and his planned fate! It will be a kind of mental magic at this point rather than something physical. It will also serve to draw the two chapel characters closer together, as they've been having disagreements over some things.

Yes! Thankyou :-)

   By Blue on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit Post

Other possibilities, Memory, are that perhaps the two in the chapel who come to the rescue have either overheard the action against their colleague, or somehow, these talismans [talismen?] serve warning as to an Otherworld presence? Possibly even to hostility against those who defy the evil of the Otherworld?


Anyone ever have a dream spark a story idea? The one I am working on did. My best friend's hubby Brian [AKA Bree] loves seals, especially harp seals. I had a dream of him in the arctic, his sketch pad in hand, drawing pictures of the pups. All of a sudden, a bunch of seal hunters start clubbing the pups for their fur, and Bree sprang into action. He dragged one pup out of harm's way in the nick of time, and as the hunter raised his club to clobber Bree, [a feisty Irishman], he pulled out a large caliber pistol and told the hunter, "Get away from here or I'll blow your $#@&ing brains out!"

I told Kat and Bree about it the next day, and both got a laugh out of it. Bree, who hates guns, said that otherwise, I had the sentiments and the profanity right on the money. Kat gave me some flak that I was having erotic dreams about HER man, but I told her that full arctic protective gear is not exactly what I would call a great turn on. Then we both ganged up on Bree, and made him turn funny colors for the rest of the day about my "erotic" dreams.

He is about the only the direct inspiration for the unfortunate Prince in exile mentioned above. This Prince befriends seals, sea lions, dolphins, orca, whales and sea otters. The rest of the Prince's persona, characteristics, and appearance are purely imaginary.

   By Memory on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 02:39 pm: Edit Post

I've often thought that a lot of my dreams could be turned into stories. My friends always comment, when I tell them about them, that I have very involved, imaginative dreams that usually follow some kind of complex story totally unrelated to my life! I'm quite often not 'me', and am usually the central character in some action adventure (quite often fantasy) tale.

Blue - The chapel is a place where it is possible, if you know how, to make contact with beings in the Otherworld. One character (A) used to do this to communicate with a being (E) friendly to their cause, but who probably died when another college was destroyed the previous year. The other character (T) is just learning how to do this, and didn't know that A knew how. They argued about it (A told T that he didn't realise just how dangerous it was), but A just had a thought that with their combined strength, they might be able to reach far enough in to contact E if she's still alive, but being held somewhere. When they open their senses to reach out, they will become aware of what's happening with the tramp and their friend, and use the power they're tapping into to override the Otherworld's influence on the tramp's mind and save their friend.

Now... just need to find the time to go write this!

   By Cheryl on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 05:51 pm: Edit Post

I get ideas during the night when I can't sleep or before sleep. I got a heroine that was Egyptian or of the Greek Isles. She had her arms crossed over her shoulders. I know that meant something. She had a huge pet cat. Her name was Isis. I'm wondering what we'll come of this and I think oh no research on Egyptian cultures. Seems like a lot of work in that story for someone new at this. I like her though and will keep her in my mind. I'm sure it's historical fantasy.

   By Auna on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit Post

Just add a hunky guy called Shazam and you got it! *giggles*... sorry couldn't resist.

I have very bizarre dreams at times. I have scraps of paper with what I remembered scrawled on em. Never tried writing a story on them since they are really nonlinear in time and disjoint.

   By Cheryl on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 07:13 pm: Edit Post

I remember Shazam LOL I'll keep her in my mind though. She was a strong image and those are the good ones. This won't be Shazam mark my words LOL These are like images it's weird not really dreams but like Janny calls them visions.

   By Frank T Davis on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 07:18 pm: Edit Post

There used to be a TV program, I believe it was a series though it may have been a made for TV movie or it could have been a Star Trek episode, in which the lead character was a guy with mystical powers. His sidekick was a black slinkly female cat that he called Isis. From time to time Isis turned into this absolutely georgeous lady. I believe she was a brunette. I seem to recall that one episode had Terri Garr in it.

   By Frank T Davis on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 07:24 pm: Edit Post

Please be careful Auna, when mentioning Shazam, a huge thunderbolt could come down from the sky followed by the appearance of Captain Marvel (I think he was the guy from comic books of many years ago).

   By Cheryl on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit Post

I remember that show Frank I think I will change her name from Isis to something else. I didn't know it would be such a fuss about it LOL I remember the Teri Garr Star trek show one of my favorites. I looked up Egypt in the dictionary this morning and it said their was a large cat called a nua or mua. It was interesting to read. I didn't realize Shazam was so popular who'd have thunk it LOL She looks like a serious heroine I don't think she'd appreciate the humor. She's glaring at us LOL I'm ducking!!!

   By Frank T Davis on Saturday, November 13, 2004 - 03:24 am: Edit Post

Cheryl, no fuss intended. It just fired some nuerons when I read the names Isis and Shazam. You are probably much too young to have read the Shezam related comic books of my childhood.

   By Cheryl on Saturday, November 13, 2004 - 09:36 am: Edit Post

Oh Frank thanks for saying much too young makes my day. I know of Shazam but I think it's through a cartoon that use to be on Saturday Mornings and I watched it. lol I liked the hunky guy that did the lightning LOL Comic strip heroes are big now maybe it's a new version of Shazam I got LOL I don't read comics so I probably did miss those. I know I missed some great comic books. I love all the superhero movies and tv shows they are doing now like Spiderman and Smallville. I loved Daredevil too. Who knew we'd get into comic books here. Batman was the best. Maybe we should start a thread in miscellaneous of comic strips. lol I was thinking more on the lines of Judith Tarr's books on historical fiction. I know she's done some on Egypt. I need to read her later books. I renamed Isis to Irena lol

   By Auna on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 06:39 am: Edit Post

The Shazam / Isis hour of power - I watched it religiously.

   By Cheryl on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit Post

LOL I did too after breakfast every Saturday. LOL I loved that hunky guy. If I never get this person written at least she got attention here lol I dreamt about Batgirl last night LOL

   By Frank T Davis on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 09:43 am: Edit Post

You ladies have nade my day!!

   By Cheryl on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit Post

Last night I was going through my fantasy reference book and in one section it described some Gods and Godesses. I came across one that was Egyptian Goddess Isis, was that the character from the Shazam shows and Isis or is this a different Isis? I about freaked out when I saw their really was a myth of an Egyptian Goddess Isis I guess her name is Isis after all lol

   By Trys on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit Post


That cartoon character was very loosely based on the Egyptian goddess Isis... I always cringed when it came on. Why...

I've had an interest in mythologies for nearly all my life, in particular Norse and Egyptian. Rarely have I seen a portrayal of one of these gods or goddesses as a cartoon character that did the originals justice. Even the Thor comic book wasn't really close.

I've had cats named Isis, Sekhmet I, Sekhmet II, Anubis, and Osiris. When I first got Isis she was about 3 months old and I tried a few names on her and she pretty much ignored me. Then I tried Isis. She stopped what she was doing. Sat up with her tail curled around her feet (classic Egyptian pose of Bastet) and looked me in the eye as though to say, "So what took you so long to get it right?".

According to T. S. Eliot, cats have three names (paraphrasing here): the name you give them, the name you call them, and the name they tell no one at all (some may recognize this from the movie "Logan's Run" or the musical Cats). I would say that Isis was all three of her names.

Isis is the Egyptian Earth Mother, the goddess of the Moon and sister/mate to Osiris, God of the Dead, Lord of the House of Life. When you died, you went before Osiris and he placed your heart upon a scale opposite a feather (memory fails me as to what bird). If your heart weighed more than the feather you were held for a while in the House of Life and then sent back into the world. If not, you were sent to the House of the Dead to dwell with Anubis, God of the Dead, Lord of the House of the Dead, forever.

BTW, I also had a cat named Kali after the Hindu goddess of Chaos. And one named Nebuchednezzar and another named Nebuchednezzar II.

A couple of suggested reads for some insight into gods and goddesses. Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness. These are both SF/Fantasy novels. The second deals with the Egyptian pantheon. The first with the Hindu pantheon. One of my favorite lines from a book is from Lord of Light. (paraphrase)"His name was Mahatsamatman
(yes this character was the Buddha of the book). But he preferred to drop the 'Mahat' and the 'atman' and go by Sam.


   By Frank T Davis on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 03:12 pm: Edit Post

"Shazam!" was the word spoken aloud by the mortal, don't remember his name, to cause his being to be converted into Captain Marvel. The conversion was accomplished via a huge thunderbolt that came down from the sky. There was also a crippled teen aged boy and a teen aged girl who had the connections that enabled them to be converted to super heroes when they called out "Shazam!". Don't remember either their super hero names or their mortal names. Gosh, these comic book characters must have occurred at least 50 years ago.

   By Trys on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 04:22 pm: Edit Post


Not quite 50 years as I pretty much remember them when they came on the scene and I'm only just past 50. Quick check of the Internet shows the first issue of Captain Marvel being published in May 1968. Still a few years. :-)


   By Wayne McCalla on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 04:40 pm: Edit Post


Actually came out in the '40's Whiz Comics #2. by Bill Parker

Think the '68 version you are talking about was when DC brought him into their universe. They would buy out other companies and introduce them in their books.

So '68 is the first "modern" appearance of him

   By Wayne McCalla on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 04:58 pm: Edit Post

hey found a few sights on Shazam and Isis tv show and comic history of Shazam
the tv show
comic history
CBS on 9/6/75 - 9/3/77(as part of the Shazam!/Isis Hour),
9/17/77 - 9/2/78 (as part of the Secrets of Isis).


   By Blue on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 05:04 pm: Edit Post

I remember reading that SHAZAM was the power word the boy used to gain his great powers. It was an anagram of the various beings who were, in effect, his sponsors.

S Solomon
H Hercules
Z Zeus

The As and the M, I cannot remember who they stood for. I know M did not stand for Mars [Roman god of War] because it was negative, and they did not want that sort of thing in a comic book.

   By Wayne McCalla on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 05:36 pm: Edit Post

The wizard SHAZAM's name is an acronym of those deities who grant the wizard, and the Marvel Family, a portion of their powers. The deities involved appear to vary from character to character

Captain Marvel
Solomon wisdom
Hercules strength
Atlas stamina
Zeus power
Achilles courage
Mercury speed

Black Adam (Used Egyptian Deities)
Shu Stamina
Heru Swiftness
Amon Strength
Zehuti Wisdom
Aton Power
Mehen Courage

Mary Marvel
Selena Grace
Hippolyta Strength
Ariadne Skill
Zephyrus Speed
Aurora Beauty
Minerva Wisdom

In the 1995 version, SHAZAM(The Old Wizard) draws his powers from six gods whose names form the acronym "MARVEL".
I guess it would be silly to call out your own name. :-)

Marzosh Stamina
Arel Speed
Ribalvei Power
Voldar Strength
Elbiam Courage
Lumiun Wisdom


Everything here was from one of the sites I have found.

   By Trys on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit Post


Ahhhh, interesting. I didn't even know about Whiz Comics. Thanks for the info.


   By Cheryl on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 06:09 pm: Edit Post

That is all very interesting. Guess comics are with us even as adults. Thanks Wayne and everyone.

   By Blue on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 11:22 pm: Edit Post

Who here is an adult? I hope you're not applying that dirty word on me, Cheryl ;^)

   By Cheryl on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 08:05 am: Edit Post

LOL Blue I know that is a dirty word isn't it for fantasy and comic strip hero fans. Pretend I had a blank space there that will make us feel better. lol I know I'm a child at heart when it comes to fantasy books.

   By Frank T Davis on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 12:07 am: Edit Post

I am in your debt, thankyee sai, for doing the research and sharing the results with us! My wife and I remember reading Captain Marvel comics when we were in 2nd and 3rd grade, around 1950-51. Your info supports our long term memory which has become shakey at best.

   By Trys on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 05:30 am: Edit Post


Just out of curiosity and because sometimes I find mine to be shaky, how's the short term memory? <grin>


   By Cheryl on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 06:33 am: Edit Post

Thanks Wayne from me as well it was great info to read loved it. Trys LOL my husband says I have CRS moments. It's Can't Remember and the S word I can't say here. You can adlib that one lol but it's true I forget things more and I'm in my early 40's lol

   By Blue on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit Post

Can't remember Shirt?
Can't remember shoot?
Can't remember Shazam!?

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

   By Cheryl on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 09:11 pm: Edit Post

hahaha Shazam that's it but I can say that here lol haha thanks for the laugh Blue I needed it. It's closer to shirt hahaha

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