Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Delicate Art of Torture – A Study in Conflict and Character Building

(A warning to any who read this, this post is rather long so be prepared to sit and really think about what your reading here. ^_^)

Now, if you are a writer, you’ve probably guessed what this blog post is going to be about from the title, right?  And if you are not a writer, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about and have most likely conjured horrible bloody pictures in your head of writers using pens and pencils to stab people, flailing keyboards around like bludgeons, or else something of a similar nature to barbarianism. 

Oh please… *rolls eyes sarcastically*.  Trust me here; the art of torture requires so much more finesse than that.  >:)

Of course I’m talking about the writing process and a writer’s relationship with their characters.  It’s a very delicate balance, you see, that between creator and imaginary creation.  While the people in our stories do not have physical bodies, for say, they are very much alive in our heads.  However, until we start actually writing about them, they are usually floating around in white space waiting for something to happen.

The trick is in making something happen to them that is actually interesting.  In order to do that, a writer needs to infuse their story with conflict.  Personally, I feel that the subject of conflict is a sticky one to approach, but basically conflict is the element of the story that makes reading the story interesting.  Just recently I read a really awesome post on the subject here:

That posts breaks it down nice and simple, and really drives home the importance of conflict – not just in your story, but in every scene of your story. 

Now as many writers already know, there is usually an overall conflict in any story to begin with.  I find that this is normally what the story’s overall plot is based off of. 

For instance:

1)  The girl is in love with the guy but can’t have him. (or vise versa)  

2) There is an evil magic ring that corrupts people placed in the hand of young hobbit, and a dark lord is rising up in the east.

3) A girl finds out that she has inherited the ability to read characters out of their books from her father, but what happens when her father accidentally reads a villain out of his story?


These are all good examples of a conflict central to the story line, but there should also be a form of conflict within each and every scene of the book; something that drives the story forward continually, without leaving the reader in a lag of interest.  This is, I’m finding, not only very important for a writer to adhere to, but it’s also rather difficult to do well because it means that EVERY scene must have a goal… a set point in the plot that you are writing towards. 

If this all sounds confusing, try thinking of every scene as one thread in a tapestry.  A single thread may seem small, and on its own it doesn’t appear to be of much worth: it starts at a certain point… it ends at a certain point, and it doesn’t change colors.  Where that thread is tied off, another thread is tied on, its life span much the same as the previous one.  However, when the weaver is finished with her work, and we finally get to see the tapestry as a full picture, the life span of those two little threads suddenly makes sense.  They were aiding in the overall creation of the tapestry, strung out and woven tightly (which of course means “with tension” or in this case “with conflict”) between other threads in order that the purpose of the whole picture might be fulfilled. 

What wouldn’t have made sense was if these threads were tied on, and then just hung limply down instead of being woven in (like a scene that has no conflict in it… it doesn’t drive the story forward but just “is”).
What my friend Lydia states in her blog post is simply that without a goal, conflict is not possible.   And since conflict is what drives your story forward and makes it interesting to read, you want to have some form of it in every part of your story.  To do that, you must realize the goal of a scene (or, if you prefer, the importance of the scene and how it parallels with your plot) before or as you are writing said scene.  You can be an outliner or a pantster – in this case, it really doesn’t matter – but sooner or later, you are going to have to realize your scene’s goal.

Now, you are probably wondering at the moment what this has to do with the title of this post, but I promise that I’m getting there.

You see, I find that a great way to encourage conflict in my story is through the delicate art of torturing my characters on a regular basis.  Such evil actions can be planned out ahead of time, or they can be written in at a minute’s notice, but in my opinion, torture definitely presents itself as a form of conflict.

For example, the very definition of torture is as follows:

1.  to inflict pain on somebody: to inflict extreme pain or physical punishment on somebody 

2.  to cause somebody anguish: to cause somebody mental or physical anguish

3.  to distort something: to twist or distort something into an unnatural form 

If none of those definitions ring of conflict to you, then I don’t know what will. ;)

However, inflicting torment on a character is a sensitive business for writers.  If done wrong, the reader could be taken out of the story because the situation feels unrealistic, or (in the worst of circumstances) a writer’s characters might turn on him or her and cause a bloody massacre of said writer’s inspiration.

Of course we want to try to avoid such drastic and bloody measures on the character’s part, so it is the writer’s job to learn how to exact their planned persecutions on the character without the character ever thinking for a moment that all of his or her troubles in life become the fault of their writer.  

But how can this be done in a graceful manner?

Well, it is a tricky business to be sure, and to fully do the subject justice, I must touch on a theme that may seem completely off subject.

World and Character building.  Especially Character building, in this case.

For those of you who have been at this for a while, what I’m saying may seem “old hat” to you, but I wonder… have you ever really considered how close your character really is to the situations that you put him or her through?  I mean, of course it is happening to them, but what do you suppose they believe is the reason it is happening?  Obviously we are trying to avoid having characters guess that it is really our fault that they are going through so much trouble, but what is the excuse that their minds make in order to deter them from thinking of us as the writers?

If you think of it this way, it might make sense: the entirety of our world is based off of the rule of cause and effect.  For every effect, there is a cause.  In order to make our stories seem real to our readers, a writer must apply this same rule to their stories and the worlds that exist there.  BUT… just as every effect must have a cause, so must every cause match its effect and vice versa.

For instance… you wouldn’t want your dog character to step into a puddle of water (the cause) and then suddenly die (the effect).  It wouldn’t match up.  If the water was just ordinary water and the dog was just an ordinary dog, as is the case with this example, then there should be no reason for the dog to die by simply touching a patch of random, normal water.

You might, however, have your dog step into a puddle of highly radioactive muck (the cause) and then turn into a super hero (the effect).  This would make sense in a story, both to the reader and to the characters, as radioactive muck is known to be toxic, in many cases deadly, and in the comic books often all-empowering.

To apply the cause and effect rule to people and the dealings of people rather than a dog is a lot more difficult though.  This is because each person has a unique story behind them that may drive their actions in a scene.  

An example would be something I’ve written into my story, “Song of the Daystar”.

In one of the scenes in SOTD, I have a very complicated meeting between Commander Olan and his brother, Caellahn, where they are discussing a movement of believers in the kingdom of Alayia.  My main character, Curron, is listening in and tries to escape without being discovered, but changes his mind when Olan grabs his friend in a drunken state and is harassing her. (Nothing overly drastic, I assure you.)  In that instance, Curron decides to stand up for his friend and gets himself thrown in prison where he awaits his trial and his death.

The question that I’m sure you are asking by now is, why would Curron’s actions warrant him death?  According to the summary above, it would seem that Curron didn’t commit a crime worthy of death… not exactly, anyway.

And the answer really does have to be as complicated as my characters are (besides the fact, of course, that Curron tries to slam a heavy mug over Olan’s head… <_<)

You see, it’s quite obvious by now that by me having Curron thrown in prison and sentenced to die, I am applying a writer’s “torture” technique to him.  But in order to do this and make it feel reasonable to the reader, I have to give each of the characters involved a background that would warrant their actions… and, not just warrant their actions, but also support their actions since it would seem that many different character backgrounds are based on each characters’ unique personality.

For example, in my story Commander Olan is not happy that his brother has returned(as is made quite evident in a fight scene that happens just before Curron is sentenced).  In fact, Olan hates his brother because Caellahn was his father’s favorite son, though he was also the youngest and illegitimate.  Also, Olan has a strong (almost instinctive) sense of following the rules… any rules set… which in this case and sense put my MC in danger.  He also doesn’t like my MC, partially because he feels that Curron’s very presence is a breach of the king’s law (for multiple reasons, of course), and partially because Curron reminds him of his brother, Caellahn. 

Caellahn, on the other hand, doesn’t have trouble with his brother so much as he had trouble with his father.  He recognized the fact that his father’s favoritism was the cause of his brother’s hatred, and once he became a believer in his younger years, he resented his father’s choice of having an illegitimate son, even if he was it.  To that end, he left the fort in an attempt to outrun his troubles, his past, and his heritage, and eventually his adventures gained him a name among Alayia’s believers.  However, he did come to forgive his father in due course, but has not yet been able to win over his brother.  Caellahn is a loner, and much more erratic than his brother, with a strong sense of right and wrong despite what the law has to say about the matter.  He can see what Olan hates about Curron (mostly that Curron reminds olan of him), and so, feeling guilty for at least part of Olan’s hate for the boy, he steps in to protect Curron, thereby furthering Olan’s wrath.

In the mean time, Curron is a young boy who doesn’t yet know where he stands one way or the other.  When he was ten he watched as his guardian was hung for her beliefs, and the event has scarred him deeply, making him doubt the way of Anahdor.  And yet, however clouded his beliefs are, he still has a young and naïve sense about him that makes him sensitive to right and wrong, and ultimately loyal, once a person had actually gained his trust.  On that same note, because of Olan’s hate for him, his guardians awful death, and the terrible treatment he has received since then, his trust is not easily earned… and that becomes both a hindrance and a blessing within the contents of the book.  He definitely has a strong sense of protectiveness that is triggered when he sees another person being wrongly mistreated, especially if he knows and is fond of that person. 

It is during such a moment that Curron decides to step up to protect his friend, thereby triggering Olan’s hate for him (based on his hate for his brother, and his inward need to uphold the law at all cost), which in turn triggers Caellahn’s need to protect Curron (partially because he recognizes the reason that Olan is targeting Curron and feels guilt), which further stokes Olan’s wrath at his brother and at Curron who reminds Olan of his hated brother, thereby causing him to throw Curron in jail and sentence him to death as a punishment to Curron and, by effect, Caellahn as well.

I’m hoping this is all starting to make sense now.  You see, it is the conflict within each character’s life and background that drives forward the conflict within the scene, which in turn ultimately drives forward the conflict of the whole story and allows me to throw in more obstacles and tortures for my characters without having to worry about Curron stepping out of the tale to berate me.  In the same way, it is how the world is built (in this case with the King’s Law driving forward most of the conflict in each of these characters’ lives) that adds to the conflict in both the scene and the story. 

And, because all of these problems are within Curron’s mental and physical background and makeup, I find that he doesn’t often question my motives because he understands the hardships within the context of the story and the backgrounds of the other characters.

In essence, it is the world of the story itself which averts my characters’ wrath from me.

This post is getting a bit long now, so I’m going to try and stop very soon, but I would like to end on this note: the world as we know it is a very complex thing.  Everything within our world, including human lives and our histories, are governed by a set of unspoken and unwritten rules.  Scientists have pondered the nature of these rules for centuries, though of course there is no scientist who ever lived or is now living who could fully understand the complexities that God created and is holding this world together with.

In a sense, one might say that the very nature of humanity is conflict.  We are often fighting each other, hurting each other, even running away from each other.  From sibling rivalry to all out war, one could even say that humans are masters of discord, especially among ourselves, and as complex as the world around us may be, our very nature is even more complex.  After all, you don’t see monkeys or any of the other animals going around building cities and making world changing discoveries in technology.

The point is that while we writers can never hope to make our worlds as complete and complex as God made this one, we still must work to make our worlds as believable as possible.  To that end, we must create and write, not only our worlds, but our characters and the other inhabitance of our worlds with some sort of complexity in mind, including common rules that those worlds and people are built and live by.  Only by following what we know of this world can we ever hope to create our worlds with any sense of reality.  It’s true that we may never be able to hope for our creations to live on into eternity or take on an actual living and breathing life of their own, but that is not our goal after all: a writer’s goal is for the stories that we create to take on only some brief semblance of reality for the few precious hours that readers enjoy our books… and once we have reached that point, that’s when our characters truly step out of the white static of our minds and actually come to life… if only for a moment. 


Galadriel said...

I love how you stated "avoid the anger of your characters." I still need to work out why my one character is so violent, but I feel I'm going very close to it.

Philip Nelson said...

Complexity and discord are enemies. The nature of humanity is conflict because the nature of humanity is subject to entropy.

Entropy is corruption, and entropy may be called the scientific enumeration of sin. Everything wears out, grows old, and dies; the very universe is dying. We die, we return to our dust, our dust decays into simpler and simpler particles, and the end of entropy is maximum uniformity.

So, I say again, complexity and discord are enemies. :)

Corruption isn't interesting; it's fundamentally boring. Boredom is the erosion of interest. Overcoming corruption is interesting, however, and overcoming corruption is the fundamental theme of all good stories in this world: whether it's throwing away an evil ring, or destroying the walls between people. It's what the human race is hungry for on this side of death.

But to only focus on overcoming corruption misses at least half the point. It's like salvation: we're not just saved -from- something, we're also saved -to- something.

If things were only interesting because of conflict, how boring must Eternity with God be? There will be no war or conflict or danger. What could be interesting?

The answer is that God is Incorruptible: he doesn't get old; he is Always New. Seeing something new, exploring infinite worlds, building greater and greater marvels, declaring the glory of God with the uniqueness he gave each of us, and enjoying it all together as one with our friends: all these things hint at what God has saved us -to-. It is the nature of Incorruption to destroy corruption, but once that's done, Incorruption never gets old. There's always something new to see, some new vista to explore.

The best stories are not just about enduring and defeating evil; they also hint at the everlasting wonder of the Incorruptible God. :)

Star-Dreamer said...

Ah! Very good point, Philip. :D

I don't think I mentioned anything about Complexity being akin to discord, but I definitely see your point.

My point, I guess, was not so much that complexity -creates- discord or vise-versa -- and really it's not so much that they are similar at all -- but rather that the human race in itself is complex. And, because of the complicated nature of each human life on an individual level (for instance, we all have different likes, dislikes, tastes in music, color, taste, clothing, beliefs, ideas, mindsets, personalities, etc...) conflict and discord tends to erupt as these differences clash.

What I was referring to when I said that conflict is what makes a story interesting (at least in the case of speculative fiction) is what I believe most speculative readers expect from the books they read. However, I do agree with you very much about how the best stories also hint at the everlasting wonder of the incorruptible God. ^_^ I know of several stories that I was completely enamored by, mostly because of the wonder of God that infused every chapter... but even in those books, there was a definite sense of conflict.

Hmm... now you've got me thinking! I may have to write another blog post on this subject sometime in the future. :D

Philip Nelson said...

It's quite a deep subject you opened! :)

Complexity is not the cause of discord. The human psyche is subject to entropy, and whatever superficial diversity and differences there may be, it all resolves to utter uniformity and emptiness.

And therein lies the cause of conflict, which is simply lust. (James 4:1-3)

Conflict comes from attempting to fill emptiness with anything other than God; conflict comes from desiring things that cannot truly satisfy.

Contrarily, eternal interest comes from desiring that which -does- satisfy. The pleasures of the world are subject to entropy: they wear out; they leave behind emptiness. The pleasures God has to offer are not subject to entropy; they never wear out, and they truly satisfy.

Desire, not conflict, is the real driver of stories and scenes, and it encompasses both the good and the bad. Good desires indeed arise from the diverse and unique, because that's the nature they come from, but evil desires are not complex.

Consider also the cause of the torture for the one who suffered it the most: Jesus.

What did he say?

"They hated me without a cause."

The Pharisees hated Jesus, not because of any complexity in themselves, but because by being himself Jesus exposed the bankruptcy and emptiness of their natures.

They envied him (as Pilate knew); they thought by killing him they could get something they didn't have. "This is the heir, come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours!"

Emptiness hates fullness. (See also Habakkuk 2:5 and Proverbs 27:20.)

Was that a cause for the Pharisees to hate Jesus? It certainly wasn't a good and just reason.

Anyhow, thanks for the discussion. :)

Star-Dreamer said...

I do see your point -- especially if you consider the driver of stories to be desires rather than conflict, which would make sense if you rewrote the basic "idea" of a story -- but there are some aspects of the subject that I believe we are overlooking. :D

Yes, I like your thought that conflict boils down to lust, but what would happen if desire was taken out of the equation? You can't blame "desire" for that fact that your character twisted his leg in a hole and hurt himself, therefor causing a "problem", or a conflicting event for your character. You especially can't blame his desire if he was just walking without particularly wishing to go anywhere.

Also, here is something interesting for you to think on.

Jesus said, "They hated me without a cause," which literally means that he had done nothing to provoke them into hating him. This is undeniably true.

However, the pharisees -did- have cause, but that cause was their own human nature. Their envy was the cause of their hate, and Jesus knew this, though this is not what he was referring to when he made the statement.

Here's another thought (and I mean no offense by this, so please bare with me) but the very fact that you disagree with me proves my point that in fact it is the complexity of human nature in separate entities that is the cause of discord when difference clash.

On that note, I don't believe this discussing is actually discord... in fact, it is quite interesting to me. :D

But my point is, if we -were- actually arguing (which I don't actually believe is the case, btw), it would be our different ways of seeing things that clash to create the argument. And if that is the case, then how is this discord created from lust?

Another point I wanted to make was that the very definition of entropy is, in a very large sense, discord.
In fact, I looked it up to be certain and the definition is "a measure of discord within a system", so, in essence, what you are saying is not really discord but entropy, is, in fact, a measure of discord. :D

With that said, I do agree with you on many of the points you brought forward, or at least see where you are coming from. This is becoming quite the interesting discussion!!! It has given me several idea trails that I would like to follow at some point in time within my writing. Thank you. ^_^

Philip Nelson said...

If we're discussing pain rather than conflict, then we've widened the scope a bit. Desire-driven conflict would be interpersonal, whereas pain doesn't have to be.

On the other hand, the death in the universe came from Adam's desire and decision to eat the forbidden fruit. We've all been born into the consequences of that desire and the decision that followed, so in that sense, all pain logically followed that desire.

Which leads into Galatians 6:8: we reap what we sow. The consequences can linger a long time. Note that the difference in what is reaped is corruption or incorruption.

That verse is also a statement of logic; the universe is a logical place. If A, then B; if C, then D. I got the impression you were saying something like that, and I certainly agree with that.

If we were actually at discord, however, the cause wouldn't be our complexities, it would be this:

Galatians 5:26
Proverbs 13:10

Which also describes the nature of the Pharisees. Note that empty desire is at the root of it. :) (Vain glory is something vain or empty, and pride is saying that nothing is something, which is also empty.)

And see again Habakkuk 2:5 for the description of the proud man who enlarges his desire as Hell, and can't be satisfied, and goes on a world-conquering rampage (typical super-villain!).

As to entropy, yes, it's discord. Entropy is also a measure of disorder, or uniformity. That's why discord and complexity are at odds: discord destroys, it unbuilds.

In another sense, God created people to be very complicated and unique, but as sin destroys that, it may be manifested in many places, not because sin is complicated, but because it's destroying that which -was- complicated. The more complicated the system, the more places it can break down.

In yet another sense, the body of Christ is one body, but many members. That says that unity actually comes from God's diversity and that unity is not uniformity. Unity and complex diversity are a paradox, but with Incorruption, it works. So rather than conflict coming from real, complex diversity, unity comes from it.

And now I'm just thinking out loud. :) Hopefully there's something worthwhile there.

I haven't felt like I've been disagreeing with you so much as I've been presenting something in reply to you and seeing what you think. I knew I agreed with some of what you said, but I wasn't sure about all of it, and I know lots of times apparent disagreements are due to, shall we say, the entropy of human expression (the discord between what we say and what we mean, or between what we meant, and what someone else understood). :)

In what nature we respond to that, of course, determines whether or not conflict comes.

And I'm still thinking out loud. :) I've enjoyed this discussion: hope you have too. I had never thought about desire-driven conflict until this thread, but that verse from James popped in my head, and it was like: "Aha!." :)

Philip Nelson said...

Golly, that was a long post. :) I should add that I rarely find anyone with whom I can talk about this stuff, so when I do, I probably tend to go overboard. :/

I hope I haven't here. Thanks again for the discussion. :)

Star-Dreamer said...

Hahaha! Don't worry. You didn't. ;) Besides, I like to get into good long discussions like this. My mom always said I would be good in politics as a lawyer or debater, but I chose writing and publishing instead. haha! ;D

But in reply to your post...

“That verse is also a statement of logic; the universe is a logical place. If A, then B; if C, then D. I got the impression you were saying something like that, and I certainly agree with that.”

Indeed! :D That was what I was saying when I mentioned that every effect has a cause and vise versa. Basically what we are discussing here seems to actually be the theory of cause and effect, though our outlook on the subject of “conflict” (for say) may differ. ^_^

However, the theory of cause and effect plays very tightly in with the theory of conflict. Conflict would not exist if there was nothing to cause it, human or otherwise. That’s why it’s important for writers to be sure to thoroughly think through the creation of their characters and their worlds. As writers, we have to think through the complexities of our characters so that they have reason and motive to do what they do. It is our job as writers to foresee both the cause and effect of characters’ motives, including the differences within their personalities that may clash to create conflict, or the motive that they have to create conflict. One could even say that the whole of this conversation boils down to the theory of cause and effect, because ultimately it us discussing the work of creating the complexities of a character (the cause) that gives the character motive to carry out whatever it is he does that brings conflict to the story (the effect). :D

Now, what I meant when I said that conflict is central to a story (whether through a scene at a time, or through the main conflict) is that… well, it is. Lol!

Think of it this way: as a speculative fiction writer and reader, would you read something that is only working to describe amazing aspects or views, etc, etc…? Ultimately (and obviously), as a Christian writer, our goal is to include the glory and wonder God within our stories and to hone our craft until we are satisfied with the result, therefore being able to touch lives for the glory of God through our writings. That almost goes without saying, really. But say there was a writer who tried to do this in his or her story, but nothing really –happened- in the story… the writer tried to show the wonders of God within the story, but there were just large blocks of descriptive text, and hardly anything actually happened to the characters at all.

Would you read that novel?

Even if the writer did a good job of describing some of the wonders of God?

My guess is that you probably wouldn’t. (Or even if you would, I know I wouldn't.) And I say that because it is to my knowledge that most readers read a story to find out what is going to happen to the characters… without an event of considerable interest and the cause and effect of that event, there is no realy story. The interesting thing to note is that the event within and of itself is a type of conflict… it “stirs up” the water of what is considered “normal” or “mundane” within the context of the created world. It is, in essence, something –interesting-.

In that way, one could say that what I mean when I'm talking about conflict is the interesting elements or events that drive a story forward. Also known as "plot tension", which is the fourth definition of the word "conflict" in my dictionary. :D

Star-Dreamer said...

Also, I really have enjoyed this discussion as well. :D I'm not exactly disagreeing with you, so much as doing exactly what you said you were doing... replying in a manner and seeing what you have to say on the matter. It's interesting for sure. I've learned a few things and widened my scope a bit. ^_^

I found it interesting that you said that discord can destroy or rebuild. You see, I don't think that discord can rebuild... discord is like chaos... you can't create unity out of chaos... not exactly at least.

Right now I'm comparing our talk about discord to what I know of Music theory (which is not as much as I wish it were, considering I'm only in my second year of it. :P) But from what I know to date, you can realign chords or notes that are in discord to make them sound better, but that requires you actually moving things... moving through the chaos to create something that is not chaos.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that discord is nothing but chaos on its own, unless an outside force (mainly you, as a person, a writer, or whatever...) decides to move past the chaos, and/or turn around what is chaos so that it is not. Discord on its own cannot realign itself, but with a nudge in the right direction from someone that is either within the discord or without (though most often in life it would seem from within) makes a decision.

I have no idea if any of that makes sense. :P In my head I understand what I'm trying to say, but it's so complicated and hard to get it out in the right words. lol! :D

Philip Nelson said...

Your post on discord makes sense, but I said "unbuild", not "rebuild". :) "Unbuild" is a way of restating "destroy".

I don't have much right now on the main topic, except to ask if you've read the Golden Key yet. :)

And if a writer does describe some of the wonders of God, I would read that book. :)

One way that occurs to me to look at desire is that unless the reader desires something to happen (or not happen), we haven't made a story interesting for them (which may or may not be bad, depending on the reader). I'm mostly interested in writing the sort of stories I'm interested in reading. :)

In that vein, I'll reiterate something I said earlier: the human race is hungry for stories about victory over entropy. It's what we understand on this side of death.

To me, however, Incorruption or holiness itself (or himself) is irresistible (for lack of a better word): there's simply nothing like it.

There's a place in Scripture where an angel is asked his name, and he says it's secret. The Hebrew word translated "secret" is elsewhere translated "too wonderful". In other words, the angel's name was secret because it was too wonderful to speak in human language.

So, there's a language of wonder that can describe the things I want to write about, but can't. Those things are are not conflicts, much the opposite, but they are far more fascinating and mysterious. I've tasted those things and glimpsed those things, and I wish I could describe them.

Someday I think I'll be able to. :)

Star-Dreamer said...

Ah! That comment actually makes a lot of sense to me. ^_^ (And no... I haven't read Gold Key yet... in fact, I don't believe I've heard of it before. What's it about? Always looking for a good new read, you know. ^_^)

I like your statement about victory over entropy too. I can see that... almost in "picture" form. :)

Ah! My mistake for misreading your statement on discord unbuilding. :P Oops! *blush*

Also, I like your statement at the end about the language of the angels. ^_^ Now that's really something for fantasy and speculative fiction writers to take note of and ponder. It leaves so much possibility open for Christian writers everywhere. It's truly beautiful. :D

Philip Nelson said...

Thanks. :) I was already planning to use it in my Avayin fantasy series. :)

And not a problem about the misreading: unbuild probably isn't a real word anyhow. :)

Here's a link to the Golden Key:

It's about a boy who finds a golden key in fairyland, and his quest to find out what it opens.

It's my favorite short story ever. :)