Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, June 11, 2018

there’s peace…somewhere.. Golden Skies by Juan Zapata


Release Date: June 12th, 2018

A man-god and his army of religious zealots swarmed the South nine years ago. As a child, Malik watched severed heads falling, blood spurting onto concrete, and his dear grandfather run through by a black sword.

But there’s peace…somewhere. At least that’s what Malik tells himself as his body is ripped apart by whips at a religious conversion camp. That’s what his best friend whispers as he frantically creates new force jetpacks to rescue Malik.

Yet when war bursts through the skies, and the sky troopers, assassins, and heroes fall—when the world comes crashing down—Malik Zzoha stands strong amidst the sands, infidel of the state number one.

Golden Skies is the first book in the The New Order trilogy.

From a Gamer to the Writer

Gaming is not far from writing. You have Skyrim and the Witcher 3. Each contributes in its own way. Each tells its own unique story. Each allows you to affect the outcome of what will happen to the protagonist, antagonists, and their respective allies. Dialogue options impact the story, open up side missions, change the dynamic of relationships between your character and others. People play these games from an early age – I did in high school. It might be odd to think about it, but in-depth single player games subconsciously give people the tools for writing, for creation. 

In Skyrim, you start the game imprisoned and on your way to an execution. Shortly after, it is discovered that you are a rare and mystical creature called the Dragonborn. What can one learn from this and apply it to writing? Start your story off with a hook, with a juicy situation. Add a unique element to your protagonist that justifies him/her being the center of the story. 

Fifteen to twenty minutes into Skyrim, your character has dialogue option choices. You’re able to break out of prison due to the appearance of a fearsome dragon. While the monster lays waste to the town/prison, you’re able to decide to either follow fellow prisoners or your captors to an escape tunnel. That simple scenario gives birth to world building. Factions? Conflict? Allegiances?What will be your protagonist’s identity? What will he/she belong to? 

Thirty to forty minutes into Skyrim, your character meets new people. You can now make conversation to gleam information, ask for help, etc. Will your characterbe a prick to people, be kind, confrontational, or a smart ass? Personality isthe key building block for a protagonist in a novel. What will be the highlighting traits? How will his/her speech impact the story and others around him/her? 

I never thought about it until years later, but Skyrim gave me a feel for crafting a good story because of the framework and free rein. Years later, The Witcher 3 developed by CD Project Red gave me the tools for relationships; it was inspired by the Witcher book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski. 

While the game doesn’t offer the same latitude to create a character from scratch such as Skyrim, it intimately entwines you with Geralt of Rivia. It blends cinematic scenes with deeply personal dialogue options and consequences. The facial expressions, mannerisms, speaking style, character quirks, mood – it engraved itself into my brain. I later read the book series and discovered the same magic found in the game, but in a purer form. Indeed, I credit Andrzej Sapkowski for heavily influencing my writing style, especially my vocabulary. 

I finished playing the Witcher 3 August 2015. I began writing Golden Skies (in the beginning, it was called Ever Skyward, terrible name haha) February 2016. I wanted to create something with the same suspension of belief as the Witcher series – I wanted to sound as educated as Andrzej Sapkowski, to world-build something raw like Redania and Nilfgaard, to capture something like the intimate relationships between Geralt, Yennifer, Triss, and Ciri. 

I had a lot of excellence to draw from. The same goose-bump inducing experiences I felt when indulging in Skyrim or the Witcher 3 is what I sought to re-produce. Gaming is not far from writing because the story is at the apex. Immersing oneself into a story is the first step for being able to create one’s own world and be successful. Watch and learn. Virtually live and learn.

About the author:
​I'm a presidential scholar, residential assistant, and senior at Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University. I endeavor to become a police officer and join a federal agency in the future. 

​When I'm not writing I like to play For Honor and pretend I'm a knight, laughing with happiness at my victories and then almost having aneurisms when defeated. Challenge me to a duel anytime :D 

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