Writing Samples – A Search for A Voice

As I start to enter the earliest periods of my writing, where I’m copying manuscripts from hand-written notebooks into digital format, I am going to release some early writing samples. Below is what I see as part of an overall experimentation in a much grander “search for a voice”. What do I mean by that statement? To me one of the most important facets of the book is the development and fine-tuning of a carefully congealed writing style, or voice that contains a consistent, gentle and imaginative presence to the reader. Long ago when I started taking down notes for The Phantammeron (some 25 years ago)  that voice was a large part of the book, and originated from my fondness for 19th century romantic English poetry. The use of language and rich descriptive and imaginative and often ephemeral language really appealed me and how the book would be best presented; ie the subject matter. I am very fond of a distant third person, “romantic”, 19th century flowery style. This seems a little strange since here we are in the 21st century and the Age of the Internet where words are consumed like jelly beans. And we are left with 140 characters sound bites at best. To me the art of language is a large part of the success of most fiction. So, in my book, it is no different. Take the following sample taking from the initial chapters of the Phantammeron, called the Amanakra or the Making of the World…

Unmoved by the eons, the solemn forest slept in silence. The ages passed such that even the pitiless Shade that wrapped itself around every bole, eventually faded, consumed by the twilight and half-light that shined out from the forest canopy. Even the Lhirva, the Sacred Pool, who’s shadowy and lifeless waters never moved, old and ageless it too eventually dried up and cracked, its muddy bottom collapsing down into a bottomless black moldy pit of shadows and sorrow. The silent grove grew on alone, till even Time itself abandoned the mighty wilderness, doomed to wither away alone on the edge of the chasm of Eternal Night, and to cry out in one great eternal mourning, like a child abandoned, alone, scared, and forgotten. Ancient and pale the undead trees grew resolute through ages of silence, unknown and unseen by any other living thing, till slowly, their massive roots, gnarled and twisted, wove their way deep into the very corners of time’s limitless waste, uprooting the very pillars of space and splitting open the very belly of heaven.

This is not a complete and polished thought, Im showcasing here. But, I am interested in the imagery and how to withhold enough information to let the reader create their own world, yet use enough descriptive language that the essence of what is seen and felt in this alien place to convey the basic environment and mystery of that place to the reader. Of course, this is a sample of my raw words….nothing polished here. Here is another…

In his moment, when his master was away, Govannon broke free of his of rusty chains, and grabbed the forbidden flame from its dark sepelchre. He ran for the black gates beyond the smoke filled Caverns of Delight at the base of Mount Hagra. He climbed down the sharp cliffs, across the ebony dunes and down to the oily shores of the Sibol River. There he walked aboard the black crystalline craft prepared for him and commanded his grisly oarsmen to push the ship from its moorings and out into the damned river. There he slowly glided out into the maw of the cavernous opening. As he descended into the underground waterway he unshielded the red satin blanket from the Flame of Monadas and it lit the great caverns with an angry orange glow, such that his goblin shipmates dropped their oars and cowered in fear. He held the great prized flame high above his head and cried, ” for your love, Leannon I have captured this fire, and with it I shall forge the instrument of your revenge.”. Then, Govannon disappeared into the Lakes of Woe with the prize of the world in his calloused hands. It’s pitiless glow and evil sorcery followed him deep into the depths and beyond. There, after many ages of toil, the flame guided Govannon and twisted his torturous work with unending days and nights of toil, till it burned a hole in his chest and blackened the soul of the once proud dwarf such that like Bala, only evil and hatred filled his heart. In time, a dark sword was born. Weak and drained of all life, Govannon died and left his work for a handful of apprentices to finish. In time, they completed his work, crafting a great sword no man, God, nor beast could draw. Only the mightiest of Giants had the power to wield it. But when drawn against Bala’s kind and the Children of Shining, the primeval blade would be unrelenting, unforgiving, and merciless.

Again, nothing polished and lots of bad sentence structure. If I can improve the flow and speed, and enrich the plot and entangled complex history that’s unfolding to the reader then I’m getting closer to finding my “voice”. It is definitely not there yet, however. Again this is raw early writing.

– the Author

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