Tag Archives: Arrogance


One thing a writer needs to learn is how to write concise but interest promotional materials for his/her works. It’s tough; how do you condense 50,000, or worse, 300,00 words of epic story into a one-page summary that is at all satisfying? Almost any work of fiction is going to be better than it sounds.

Yet this is a must-learn skill for developing writers. In one sense, you’re a salesman pitching a product to agents and editors. If you can’t motivate them to sample your product, you won’t get far.

Here’s my draft for FRAGILE GODS. Feedback welcome.

When protectors become killers…

For thousands of years, elemental titans known as the Drim have guarded and served the Dolmec people. Now, for the first time in history, they have turned violent, and not even the priests who follow them understand why.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Damek is annoyed when his older brother, Azai, advises him to abandon a quiet scholarly life for the chance to help Azai to stop a war. Though Damek does not share his brother’s ambition and arrogance, he realizes his existence has become tepid and stale. But when Azai instead incites lifelong pacifists to take up arms, Damek is forced to question his brother’s motives.

The penalty for success…

The proud general Shoji has won every battle he’s ever faced, and is determined to spend what’s left of his life quietly with his family. But the Emperor-god he serves has other plans.

At every turn, the lives of mortals are driven by the deities they love or fear. But what happens when the gods themselves fail?



Writing is rewriting. And rewriting. And rewri— well, you get the idea.

This is about the 11th attempt at an opening for FRAGILE GODS. Feedback welcome.


When someone knocked at his door for the first time in weeks, Damek reached out instinctively with the Sight, and found nothing. That itself was unusual. Normally, Damek found that minds wandered considerably outside someone else’s home. When people visited each other, they had a thousand ideas and concerns. Often they mentally rehearsed their intended conversation.

This visitor’s thoughts were as silent as dead.

Which meant that it had to be Azai.

Suddenly Damek wanted very much to be somewhere else; anywhere else, in fact. He set down the book he’d been reading, lit a second lamp, and pulled open the door.

“That’s a poor way to greet your older brother,” Azai chastened, responding directly to Damek’s thoughts. Azai was so gifted in the Sight that he would know every thought and feeling of Damek’s, but Azai was the one person in the world Damek himself couldn’t read.

“It isn’t personal,” Damek answered. “I promise.”

“I already know,” Azai said. “But I guess that only makes it worse, doesn’t it?” An apologetic smile flickered on his face. Azai had a strong jaw and clear blue eyes that Damek had learned women found attractive. He was also taller and broader of shoulder than Damek, leanly muscled and tanned from constant travel. His only visible flaw was an angry scar across the left temple, a souvenir from a fight gone badly, half covered by Azai’s customary white headband.

“Please come in,” Damek said with a gesture, ignoring the question. Azai entered with a casual air just shy of outright arrogance.

“You could do so much better than this,” he said, glancing around at Damek’s mesa dwelling. The main room was tiny, even by humble Dolmec standards. There was a cedar dining set just wide enough for two and a single reading chair in a corner. What little walk space remained was further crowded by shelves and shelves of books. There were only two other doors; one for the privy, and one to Damek’s even smaller bedroom.

“It’s home enough for me,” Damek insisted, trying not to be defensive.

Azai looked at his brother curiously. “I guess it is,” he said wonderingly. He took Damek’s reading chair as if it were a marble throne.

Damek shifted uncomfortably and said nothing.

“Look, I’m sorry to use the Sight so relentlessly on you,” Azai said. “It comes as natural as breathing to me.”

Damek snorted. “You’re not sorry. I don’t need the Sight to know that.”

Azai grinned conspiratorially. “Damn right,” he said. “You’re sharper than you let on. That’s why I need your help, Damek.”

“My help?” Damek was mystified. Azai had served as MindSeer and advisor to the most powerful chieftains and Drimmi priests of Dolmec, negotiating trades, treaties, and solving disputes. And he was stronger in the Sight than Damek would ever hope to be.

“Your help,” Azai confirmed with the barest incline of his head. “You’ve always been the smart one. I know you’d probably be content to live out your days in this little hovel reading your books. And if I could, I’d let you. But I’d likely end up hacked to bits by an Asoki blade. But I’m not content to let that be my fate.”

“You’re going to Asoko?” Damek asked, still not understanding.

“By Drim or by death, I hope not,” Azai swore. “But it may soon be necessary.”

“Then what exactly is it that you want my help with?”

“Little brother,” Azai said with a smile as though he’d found a pot of gold, “You and I are going to stop a war.”

The other poll and a quick update

airmailSecond thing first:

I’ve changed the progress bars on the right to reflect the new priority of current projects.

First thing second:

Of the three people who voted whether to resubmit Woman’s Best Friend immediately or to first edit it some more, 2 voted it good enough to immediately send to another magazine.

My ego wanted to assume the third vote was made by someone who hadn’t read the full story. (“Well, obviously if they think it needs work, they just haven’t experienced it to know how good it is.”) That’s the arrogance of a writer about his latest and [possibly] greatest.

Well, today I spoke to the one dissenter (so far), and guess what? It was someone who hasn’t read the full story.

/insert maniacal laughter

Tonight I will e-submit Woman’s Best Friend to the Intergalactic Medicine Show, which is a bit less painful than the full printed manuscript deal. In the past, it’s taken them a good three months to respond to me, so hopefully this time my plan (to have more stories done long before I hear back) will work.