Tag Archives: Ragnarok

Mix and Match

Before you ask, no, I’m not done with my summary yet. I have been working on it, honest! I’m up to over 3,400 words as I write this, but I hit a snag. It’s not a problem with the story so much as that I had a new idea that has got me thinking about a different, and hopefully better, way to bring some conflict into this tale. And that brings me to the topic for today.

A good trick for many authors is to mix and match things that may, at first glance, not seem to fit together. My idea does this.

My NaNoWriMo story this year is about civil war, as the ramifications of the Republican political platform have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. The backwards thinking of the right-wing extremists that have taken control of the GOP have convinced me that this election is the most important vote of my life. And I couldn’t help but to (literally) demonize the crazies by including a supernatural influence in my story. I also thought that this would be a good way to rewrite the first NaNoWriMo book and include the Valkyries I have been writing about since then.

So since I have tossed all these ideas into the melting pot, you can guess that the resulting plot summary is all over the map. As I was working on it tonight I think that I may have come up with a way to bring all this stuff together into a single, cohesive whole. Either that or I have lost it completely and my story will end up even more of a mess than before.

Before I explain my idea, I need to tell you a little bit about myself. First, I am half Norwegian (on my mother’s side). That heritage is why I chose to write about Valkyries in the first place. I had a basic knowledge of the Norse mythology, and over the last couple of years I have amassed a small collection of books that have helped me expand that understanding into something that I can use in my books.

Second, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons. The same church that Mitt Romney says he belongs to, although I don’t think that he is living any of the principles that the church believes in. But I won’t go into that now. If you watched the debates over the last few weeks you should know by now that he is not now, and probably never will be ready to be a good President. And if you disagree with me then you obviously haven’t been paying attention and I probably wouldn’t be able to convince you otherwise, so we’ll leave it at that.

So taking those two things into account, while I have a great respect for my Norwegian heritage, my faith in the LDS church is also very important to me. My first NaNoWriMo effort included some heavy references to my church, and I do want to include that in this book as well. But that brings me to a problem, as well as a possible solution.

The problem is that if the Valkyries and the related mythology are such a big part of this book, how does my main character resolve the conflict between his introduction to the supernatural world and his faith in the Christian God? (No matter what you may have heard, the LDS faith worships the same God as the Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, etc., etc., etc. We just don’t think they are doing it right.)

My solution was that the Christian God is superior to the Norse gods. If you read the Norse mythologies, deities such as Odin, Thor, Loki, and the others are all represented more as super-powered humans than actual gods. As a matter of fact, I think that there are some experts on this mythology that think that the Norse pantheon is actually a tale of a group of actual people that has been exaggerated way out of proportion over the course of history. They think that these adventurers simply had a really good bard to tell their stories, making them into the stuff of legends.

What this means for my hero is that he can keep his faith while fighting side by side with Thor. He can take comfort in the prospect of going to heaven while he is battling the demons of Loki’s army.

Working with one of the Einherjar (the warriors of Valhalla) may be a little harder to explain, but I’ll figure that out when I get to it.

So here is where we come to the idea that could bring this all together. As I was thinking about the Norse mythology, I started thinking about Ragnarök. The Norse Armageddon was something that I had thought about including before, but now I think that their version of the end of the world could be the one thing that pulls this all together.

I think I can plan the book so that my hero is thrown into one scenario after another from the prophecy of Ragnarök. The parts would have to be changed in order to more include more demons than giants, but I think that this could help to focus the plot into a recognizable pattern. Not too recognizable, as I want it to be a surprise when I pull out the reveal that this s all a lead-up to Armageddon, but I think it could definitely work.

So that’s where I’m going to have to focus my efforts. I’m going to try to finish the summary with that end goal in mind, and then when I break it up into a usable outline I can interweave the Ragnarök theme into it as appropriate.

Please let me know what you think of this plan. Is this a workable idea, or am I way off base? Any input would be appreciated.

I’ll check in again on Sunday. See you then!

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Filed under About Me, NaNoWriMo, Politics, The Writing Experience

Moving Things Along

I don’t have a lot of progress to report today. I am still working on my summary. So far I have introduced five characters from my previous books, but it is still in the beginning stages of the plot.

George is the main character. If I follow my Star Wars analogy, he would be Luke Skywalker. He is an older man with the heart of a hero, and he is introduced when he tries to stop a rape. Eventually, he will be the one that visits the dragon in order to release his untapped magical potential. That magic will be what will save the world.

Miranda is the main Valkyrie. She is the one that discovers George and introduces him to the dragon. She is just trying to do her job and keep the supernatural world hidden from mortal view, but the growing demonic influence is making that more and more difficult.

Kari is Loki’s daughter. She is the one being raped at the start of the book. Despite her penchant for chaos, the rape affects her more than she likes to admit. This pain will cause her to make increasingly dangerous choices which result in more than a few men being harmed and possibly killed. I’m thinking that George and Miranda will have to step in at some point in order to turn her away from this course, otherwise she could easily end up filled with hate like her father.

Nicole is a rogue Valkyrie. She has broken away from the council of “retired” Valkyries that normally lead the supernatural women, and is on her own, enforcing law and order for all creatures, mortal and magical. She has hooked up with some rebel forces and regularly uses her powers to transport fugitives across the border to Canada. George will probably meet her when he goes to see the dragon. Other than the rebel connection, I’m not sure yet what role Nicole has to play in the story, but I’ll try to make it interesting.

The last character I have introduced so far is another George. This guy is Miranda’s dead boyfriend, and he is one of the Einherjar currently waiting for Ragnarök in the halls of Valhalla. I know there’s going to be some confusion with more than one character having the same name, so I’ll probably have to change one of them. My plan for the Einherjar is to have at least some of them be released into the world to help the rebels fight the demons. I might have this grow as the story progresses so that ALL of them are sent out, as this war reveals itself to actually be the start of Ragnarök.

So those are my characters, as well as some of my plans. What do you think? Am I on the right track? Would you read this story?

I’ll be back on Sunday with another update on my progress. Hopefully I’ll have the summary done by then and I’ll be working on breaking it down into an outline. We’ve only got two weeks left before the start of NaNoWriMo, so I had better get cracking!

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, The Writing Experience

Research

As I have been writing I keep finding the need to research. When I was writing my NaNoWriMo project Dragons at Dawn I relied heavily on my old Dungeons and Dragons books as inspiration for spells that the wizard hero was casting, as well as for the demons he was fighting. For my current project Finding Valhalla I checked out several books on Norse mythology as inspiration and reference material. For example, I am currently re-reading the legend of Ragnarok to see how I might fit at least pieces of the mythos into my story. As you might expect, an apocalyptic theme like Ragnarok isn’t something that should be covered in a single book, so this research will help me determine what parts to reveal now and which parts will be included in future books.

The Internet is also useful for research. You can find all sorts of stuff out there if you know how to look. Let me give you a list of some of the ways I have used the Internet to help me with my books:

  • Character description: I had a basic idea of how I wanted my main characters to look. I took one simple feature, the hair color, and did a Google image search. Then I went through the images found and picked a few that I thought best represented my mental image of the character. These pictures (copied into Scrivener for easy reference) have helped me focus on the characters as I write.
  • Setting description: Like with the character images, I figured it would be a good idea to have pictures of some of the primary locations in my book. For example, my heroine works in a bookstore/coffeeshop. So I did a Google search for similar locations and found a few that I liked. My heroine’s house is based on a house for sale in my neighborhood that caught my eye. I went to the realtor’s website and downloaded pictures of the house, inside and out, that I can use to help me as I write each scene. I did a similar thing for a condo owned by one of her friends. Google Maps also helps when finding directions to places or interesting locations in an area.
  • Other descriptions: Characters and settings aren’t the only things that need to be described. My heroine has a magical sword that needed an image. I also needed to find the right car for her rich friend to drive. Each of these things were found after a short Google search.
  • Names: My heroine told me her name was Miranda when she first grabbed me and demanded that I tell her story. The rest of the club didn’t come as easily. My hero is named George after the legend of Saint George and the Dragon, but then I realized I didn’t really know the legend, so I used Wikipedia to find out more. Miranda’s mother was named Amanda because it rhymed. I named some of the smaller characters only after some research on websites that showed the meanings of the names. For example, I found Kari’s name only after searching for popular Norwegian names and finding one with a meaning that seemed to fit the character in my head. The name of the bookstore was based on Norse mythology, and the name of Miranda’s sword was from an English to Norwegian translation through Google Translate.

Please leave a comment on ways you do research for your writing.

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Filed under The Writing Experience

ROW80 Status – Day 6

So we’re a week into ROW80 and so far I’m keeping up with my goals. I have posted to my blog as promised and I have written at least 500 words of fiction every day. With the previously written pieces edited into my Work In Progress, my story is now up to 45,671 words. I had originally hoped to have the story come in at 100,000 words, but I’m starting to thing that it will be more like 60-70,000 instead. My outline was planned for the story to take place over the course of a week, starting at Monday, and I’m up to Friday night already. I’m pretty sure I can add another 15,000 words or so, but I don’t think I’ve got enough for 50,000.

If anyone is interested, the story is intended as a Paranormal Romance about a Valkyrie who falls in love with a mortal. The Valkyrie is a supernatural investigator, responsible for controlling the supernatural world in her area (Madison, WI). I was thinking that this might be a one-shot book, as I had planned for an unhappy ending. However, recent developments in the story are making me think that there may be more going on here than I had originally thought, and even with an unhappy ending there is the possibility to write more books in a series.

As you might expect since the heroine is a Valkyrie, the book is based on Norse mythology. So my idea is that the underlying theme of the series would be the impending threat of Ragnarok. I’m not sure how much of the mythos to include, but it’s starting to look like this is going to be an interesting ride. Please leave a comment if you think this idea is something you would be interested in reading. After all, I’m going to need someone to critique it, right?

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Filed under ROW80, The Writing Experience