Archive for hercules

Building the Storyline to my Fantasy Novel

Posted in Other Stories, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by Dawn Ross
Guardian of Destiny

The Guardian of Destiny by Dawn Ross (work in progress)

Last week I talked about how I came up with the character for my new fantasy novel, “The Guardian of Destiny”. Now let me tell you how I came up with the other characters and with the story itself.

Although I daydreamed Galavan’s childhood, this was not the story I wanted to write. I wanted an adult hero. So despite having his childhood in my head, not much of that childhood will be written in “The Guardian of Destiny”. I needed story ideas. This is where I could have perused through my journal or did some creative writing exercises. But I don’t think that is what I did to come up with this storyline. In fact, I don’t really remember where I got the idea from. I do know this:

I’ve noticed a trend with the characters in my daydreams. I’ve always developed my characters from childhood. It helps me define who they are as adults. It gives me their backstory and their motivations. So I knew I wanted a child in this book. What if instead of a boy, like Tomis in my Dukarian Legacy series, it was a girl? And what if she was half god? I think I got the idea of half-god from watching “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys“. Such a child would have extraordinary skills. But as a child, she would be vulnerable and she would need guidance. She would need a guardian.

Hercules The Legendary Journeys

Hercules and Iolaus from “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” TV series, starring Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst.

There it was! Galavan would be the hero and the guardian of this girl-child half-god. And “The Guardian of Destiny” would be the title of the book. The title alone inspired the rest of the tale.

Now I had the hero and some of the supporting characters. Who is my antagonist? What is the setting? And most importantly, what is the plot?

Supporting Animal Characters
I was watching an old favorite movie, “The Beastmaster”, and thought it would be great if my character could communicate to animals somehow. I love animals and it sometimes surprises me on how much characters in fantasy novels take animals for granted. Horses are overworked. They perform amazing feats by doing whatever their rider says and carrying their riders wherever they want to go no matter how far or how fast. This is wholly unrealistic. Horses have personalities. They won’t always do what you want them to. And they can’t carry a rider forever. That is where I came up with the idea for Brute, a big flea-bitten gray warhorse with attitude and yet devotion to his master.

Flea Bitten Horse with Armor

Please forgive my photoshop skills. I copied and pasted horse armor onto a flea bitten gray horse.

After some deliberation, I decided there was another animal that could be of use to a soldier. A falcon would be great at scouting surrounding territory. A falcon could see an enemy before they arrive and could alert to dangers ahead. Such a creature would be very beneficial to a soldier who was able communicate with animals.

White Falcon

Wouldnt this falcon make a great assistant to a soldier who needs to scout ahead for the enemy?

The Setting
It’s not enough to know my character is a soldier. I needed to know what he was a soldier for and why. Was he a simple castle guard? Did he work for a particular lord? Was he a soldier for a religious sect? Did he defend against a particular enemy? Did he defend a border or territory? I eventually settled on a soldier guarding a border. The need to defend a border meant there were enemies to protect it from, and therefore, antagonists.

Developing the Antagonist
If one of my heroes is a half-god, then it would stand to reason that her enemy is either another half-god, or even a god. Biblical stories came to mind where fallen angels came to live on earth amongst men. The angels were envious of the lives of mankind. We appeared to be free to do whatever we wanted whereas they were directly subservient to God. And this is where I developed Dorovan. He is the son of a god that had chosen to live among men because he disagreed with his father and craved worship and domination.

Enchanting Dark Fantasy Digitalart by Ramses Melendeze

Enchanting Dark Fantasy Digitalart by Ramses Melendeze – Copied from http://hangaroundtheweb.com/2012/07/enchanting-dark-fantasy-digitalart-by-ramses-melendeze/ Bing free to share and use.

Developing the Plot
It seems now, that I have everything I need to write a story… that is, everything but a plot. If I have a hero who protects a half-god child from a full god/fallen angel, I need to consider how this child is a threat to a god. I needed to consider the god himself, too, the extent of his powers and his motivations.

How can a half-god be a threat to a full god? What could possibly limit a full god from being able to completely annihilate a mere mortal and half-breed with just the force of his will? Obviously, Dorovan had to have limitations. By choosing to live among mortals, he lost some, but not all, of his godly power. His motivation is that he wants his power back while at the same time keeping his status on earth as a corporeal being. Somehow this half-god child, I named her Adella, is the key to his ambitions.

Child Woman Silhouette

This girl-child half-god needs a guardian in order to help her survive while she learns to control her enormous powers.

Continuing to daydream on the plot, I finally developed the story in full. My journal and writing exercises played a key part in coming up with more ideas for this story, as did external stimuli of movies, books, and music. More characters came into the story and the setting came alive. The plot developed and stabilized. I’m not going to tell you that now. You will just have to wait to read the book. Perhaps I will share parts of the story with you later.

The Idea for The Guardian of Destiny – Part I

Posted in Other Stories, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by Dawn Ross
Guardian of Destiny

The Guardian of Destiny by Dawn Ross (work in progress)

In my previous two posts, I gave you tips on ways you can come up with your own story ideas and tips on how you can create your own fantasy world. Now, I’m going to tell you how I implemented my own advice to come up with the story for my novel-in -progress, “The Guardian of Destiny”.

How My Character Came to Be

I was daydreaming as usual. I realized I kept daydreaming the same characters from The Dukarian Legacy and was getting bored with them. I needed a new inspiration and a new story. It was about the time the movies for the Lord of The Rings had come out. I’ve always loved J.R.R. Tolkien and his stories on Middle Earth. So it is not surprising to know I watched the movies with great fascination. No, I didn’t dress up and wait in line in the middle of the night just to see the first showings. But I would have if I had the money for a costume and a friend with the same passion.

One of my favorite characters was Eomer of Rohan. “I would cut of your head, Dwarf, if it stood but a bit higher from the ground.” “I do not doubt his heart, only the reach of his arm.” *swoon* Seeing him, I knew he was going to me the person I pictured as the hero in my next book. Incidentally, I also remembered Karl Urban from the television series, “Xena” where he played Cupid and Julius Caesar.

Karl Urban - Eomer de Lord Of The Rings trilogy

Karl Urban as Eomer in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Karl Urban Caesar

Karl Urban as Caesar in Xena the Worrior Princess series.

karl-urban-in-xena-warrior-princess

Karl Urban as Cupid in Xena the Warrior Princess series.

Developing My Character and His Story

Now that I had an image of a person in my head, I needed to develop his character. I did not use Eomer’s character. I wanted one all my own. Without having an actual story in mind, I daydreamed this character from his childhood. I knew I wanted him to be an elite soldier with humble beginnings, so how does such a lowly child come to be such a soldier? What if he was born into the military somehow? His mom was a camp follower. His father is unknown but can be guessed.

Only two things could give a soldier a high rank… being born into nobility (easy to move up) or having exceptional skill (difficult to move up). Since my character had humble beginnings, only his skill could exalt him. I love it when heroes rise above adversity to become something better. So what were his skills and how did they end up being noticed? I daydreamed my character’s childhood, from his upbringing in a soldier camp, to his love for his mother, to his desire to be recognized by his supposed father, and to his adversaries who did not think it was right for a bastard to be anything more than a camp servant.

Naming My Character

In the process of developing my character, I had to give him a name. I don’t remember how, but I thought of the name Galavan. Perhaps because it reminded me of the phrase ‘gallivanting around’. Although I do not intend for my character to be the kind to ‘gallivant’, the name stuck. And once a name sticks to a certain character, it is difficult for me to change it.

Dragons in Culture

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by Dawn Ross

Imagine living in the Dark Ages and coming across a gigantic fossilized dinosaur bone. What sort of creature would come to your mind? Nearly every culture has some sort of mythology on a dragon-like creature. Some of these monstrous beasts have wings, some don’t. Some have scales while others have leather-like hides. Some have the head of a giant lizard, an elephant, or a bird of prey. Some live in underwater palaces, others in caverns, and others still in deserts or mountains.

One thing the dragons across cultures have in common is they are large and almost always guard something. In most western cultures, dragons were fearsome creatures. Nearly every story of a dragon included a heroic dragon-slayer. Consider Ladon, the dragon-like creature which guarded the golden apples in Hercules’ 11th labour – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labours_of_Hercules.  There is also the hateful Nordic dragon, Nidhoggr – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nidhoggr.  Also, consider the dragons in the ancient Celtic story of Lludd and Lleveleys – http://celticdragonbydawnross.webs.com/index.htm, as retold by myself.

“The Celtic Dragon” (C) Dawn Ross 2010

In eastern cultures, the dragon could be either good or bad. Chinese culture today considers the dragon a creature of wisdom and of high spiritual power. Sometimes these dragons lived in palaces under the ocean or guarded the celestial home of the gods. Some could turn themselves invisible or could even turn into birds and fly away. Consider Wiki for some historical information on the Chinese dragon – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_dragon.

There are also dragons in ancient Egyptian stories, Hindu, and dragon-like creatures are even mentioned in the Bible by Moses and Isaiah.

If you’d like to know where I got most of my basic information on dragons, check out the “The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures“. This book covered several pages on dragons, gave lots of basic information on several more dragons in culture than the few mentioned here, and inspired me to do more research using Wiki.

Legend of the Seeker based on Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , on April 18, 2011 by Dawn Ross

Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  Of all the fantasy novels I have read, it is my favorite.  Needless to say, when I heard it was being made into a TV series, I was excited.  And when I heard it was being produced by the same people who produced Hercules and Xena, I was ecstatic!  Some of the same characters from Hercules and Xena are in the Legend of the Seeker – Michael Hurst (Iolaus in Hercules) was in an episode of the Seeker; Craig Parker who played Darken Raul played a couple roles in Xena; Jay Laga’iai who played Chase also played Draco in Xena; Jeffrey Thomas was Jason in Hercules and George Cypher in the Seeker; and my favorite, Ted Raimi (also the producer Sam Raimi’s younger brother) who was Joxer in Xena had a couple of roles in the Seeker.

While I enjoyed Legend of the Seeker, I don’t think it lived up to the Sword of Truth series.  While I liked the character who played Richard, he just seemed a dimmer version of the Richard in the book.  Zed and Darken Raul didn’t quite fit either.  Kahlan was the closest in my opinion.

Once I got over the fact that Legend of the Seeker wasn’t going to be like the book, I rather enjoyed it.  Season two was more intense and better overall, even though Richard’s beard made me laugh.  He was trying so hard to look mature and more serious, but fell short.  Of all the episodes in season one and two, my favorite episode was Mirror where a magic mirror turned a couple of con artists into Richard and Kahlan.  This episode had a ring of the comedic episodes of Hercules and Xena to it, but it was funnier.

Legend of the Seeker only lasted two season, but people are fighting to bring it back.  I hope they do.  I, for one, would most definitely watch it.  You can purchase Legend of the Seeker, Hercules:  The Legendary Journeys, and Xena:  Warrior Princess on our Amazon site Fantasy/Sci-Fi TV Series.  And you can purchase the Sword of Truth epic novels by Terry Goodkind on our Amazon site Fantasy Authors.