New Releases!
  • Upgrader: Adaptation
    Upgrader: Adaptation
    by Terry Tibke, Shannon Eric Denton
  • Upgrader: Re-Engineered
    Upgrader: Re-Engineered
    by Terry Tibke
  • Armageddon: The Battle of Darkening Skies
    Armageddon: The Battle of Darkening Skies
    by Terry Tibke
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the writer's dojo

On Eastern Influence in Armageddon

This is the first article in a series that will focus on some of the concepts, influences, and philosophies that lie behind the fairly straightforward storyline in the first Armageddon novel, Armageddon - The Battle of Darkening Skies.

While I have a few of them, my one liner for when people ask me the question, "What the book about?" is: "Its like Lord of the Rings meets Kung Fu, with a LOT of dragons thrown in." There are several meanings even behind this simple statement, and I want to talk a little bit about them tonight.

In putting together the story, I wanted something that was as close as I could get to classic fantasy and its themes, while still instilling flavor that was varied and diverse. I personally don't believe in just "making up" the entire racial cast in a fantasy story; I don't think it was ever meant to be that way. Myth from the past should influence fantasy and be a clear definer of what fantasy is. This is the reason I cling to racial types like elves, dwarves, men, halfings, gnomes, fairies etc. They all existed in one form or another in mythology, and have all be well defined in the genre.

One of the things I did do though, was to bring in the influence of the east. In the series, we have The Knights of the Hawk, living in the prarie covered lands of Genova. The main character, Turim Gliderlance, the half-elf is a Knight of the Hawk himself, but we also have Meineken Shadowstar, a character Turim meets early on in the book.Meineken is a ninja Master of the Black Talon Ninja clan, and one of four such Masters who run the clan. We discover that the Black Talon Clan lives in one of the cities in the southern part of Genova -- right upon the southern shore in fact -- a city called Tusokan.

Tusokan has an interesting history itself, and that's brought out in the book as well, but essentially its people came from the "western" islands (which are actually more reflective of eastern asian islands) long ago. Everything about Tusokan reflects their culture -- a culture that's remained alive over the last several hundred years of them being there, and a culture that's even pushed its influence into the rest of Genova. Some of the Genovan's clothing styles are a bit influenced by the people of Tusokan including wide headware that's used while on the farms. Its even mentioned that several of the Knights of the Hawk use katana, traditionally a japanese sword, rather than a euro-style broadsword typically expected of knights.I wanted this to be present in the book in various aspects, because when it came time for THE battle (the one I'm sure you already know the name of) to take place, and the various other confrontations throughout the book to happen, there would already be something that made visualize the scenes playing out more like a king fu movie.

I've told myself on several occassions that if ever I was able to adapt this for the big screen (a dream I'm sure plenty of authors have), that I would have knights in armor performing martial arts moves, as well as the ninja. I've always loved the fast paced combat of Hong Kong Cinema and I really wanted to reflect that as best I could.I hope this has been an interesting insight into my influences for Armageddon - The Battle of Darkening Skies, and I hope you'll be interested in taking a look at a few pages at least on LOOK INSIDE! at

Terry Tibke


On the Simplification of the English Language

Over time, as proved by the existence of the fixed and written word, we have watched the English language change. It has merged, it has shifted, it has shortened itself, and it has achieved a more systematic method than ever before as knowledge becomes more and more achievable through sources like the Internet.

Take a look back at books that are widely known: Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, and of course, my personal favorite, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Examine the writing and you will see vocabulary of an exemplary nature, punctuation usage that is far ranging, and quite simply put: shows us what has changed in our language over the century.

One of the primary drivers of this change is the breakdown of genre, and targeting audiences for reading level. In the early part of the century this could never have been achieved, and thus to read a book required the reader to advance themselves to the level necessary for reading the desired piece of writing.

I'll make no solid statement as to whether this fundamental change has been a good or bad thing -- targeting a reading level is certainly beneficial on a number of fronts. Schools have an easier time assigning reading to specific age groups, publishers have an easier time marketing to a specific population, and writers can write in a range of styles and complexities and still sell the simpler works. Heck, those younger reading level books sell like hotcakes.

But what if we're doing a disservice by breaking down the writing to simpler form? Is it preventing younger readers from pushing themselves hard enough to read more complex writing? Are our children even capable of doing so in this day and age? We see each year, changes in the younger generations' ability to speak with expanded vocabulary, and with an increase in text messaging and shortened "acronymical" words like g2g, lol, ttyl, bff; it's very feasible that the English language will only continue to be simplified and mutilated in a widespread way.

I'd love to hear thoughts. As you might have guessed by questions posed in this and former blogs: I prefer interactive discussion, so comment away. Good night.

Terry Tibke


On The Use of the Outline in Writing

After experiencing a significant chunk of days with writers block, it got me thinking about something I initially said to my publisher during some of our first correspondences: they asked if I ever got writers block. At that point, I truly hadn't.

Because I had no idea what I was doing when I first sat down to write Armageddon - TBODS, I was completely free in the way I did it. Good or bad, I'd throw whatever thought came to me down on the page, ignoring all thought and "rule." The book was written all the way through from beginning to end, without a significant deal of backtracking until I was following up with latter drafts (of which I had somewhere between fifty and one hundred on the first book). I went on to add to my answer to the publisher, stating that the outline is what kept me on track, and I realized that I needed to follow that advice again.

Now I know what you're thinking; not every writer uses an outline, right? That's very true, but I can tell you that a good deal of them could benefit from doing so, and that not all genre's have the same pitfalls and hangups. I write fantasy literature. I've always loved it, and while I might one day stray a bit, I've got nice series here I'd like to finish up before considering that. Fantasy fiction is a lot about world-building, timelines, events, locales, and then the more standard, interesting plot threads and characters. With all these former items, there's a LOT to keep track of, and I think that's one of the primary reasons I always recommend using both a timeline and an outline.

Never overlook the ability you have with an outline, to jump forward or backward to a new spot in order to keep the flow of writing going, primarily on your first draft. By your second draft, you should have the overall structure mostly worked out, so it becomes less likely you'll be relying much on your outline and timeline, rather than what you've already put down. I realized that I wasn't fully following my own advice when I was getting stuck, and I realized just exactly what halted people up. I never really understood what professional writers got "blocked" on until I tried to apply some of the rules of pacing and making sure each word counted, right from my first draft. I'll be glad to listen to someone tell me I shouldn't worry about that. Maybe I shouldn't right away, but that's not really my point. My point is, that I should've not let days go by where I didn't write. I should've jumped ahead in the story and took it up from there. In the first draft, who cares if it doesn't quite mesh up with the other writing I'd already done by the time the two seams of writing come together. That's what multiple drafts are for: spit n' polish.

Now that I'm starting to get the hang of this blogging thing, I'm kind of enjoying myself. I hope you are too... or will, once I've attracted any sort of readership, but for now, this is for me.

Terry Tibke


On Literature & Modern Writing Perfections

Long before I first sat down to write Armageddon, I had come to the conclusion that, while there was a great deal of fantasy out in the world, I had come across very little fantasy literature that had been written in the past several decades. Now when I classify something as literary, I tend to exemplify it with the use of simile, metaphor, and a greater use of narrative that falls outside of the characters' own limited perspective. Is that a correct classification? Who can say. I've seen a few places discuss the topic of "literary" writing vs. simple "prose", but it all seems a bit vague to me. I would love to hear those more educated on the topic make any comment upon the subject.

After making this determination about fantasy however, I decided that I wanted to read books that were no longer being written regularly and moreover, no longer being published. The writing itself surely exists out there, but I believe that with the "advances" in writing methods, and the changes in the english language that have happened over the centuries, the publishing and writing business as a whole seem to have bought into these new writing perfections.

The perfections themselves make perfect sense to me, of course, but they somehow loose that flavor that exists in the writings of old by putting them into play. Some of these perfections include the concept of "show don't tell" and "keep perspective limited to a single individual" and "a comma can work just as well as a semicolon." You, I'm sure, can name many more concepts learned by modern writers when they are told what kinds of books sell.

No, what I wanted for my own writing was a feeling that someone was telling me a fairy tale; a feeling that someone ancient and learned was speaking to the children around the fire in his wisened and mesmerizing voice. And though I didn't wholly want the story to be "told" in this fashion (I understand the concept of show don't tell, I did say they make perfect sense, didn't I?) I did want that feeling that I believe should accompany all true fantasy writing. I am a strong believer that science fiction and fantasy should never be written with the same style.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy many of today's fantasy novels to a certain degree. I appreciate new classifications like "Urban Fantasy," which help me to determine what to expect very quickly, and make me feel better about counting it as fantasy. I simply wish that there were more books out there that were written without being afraid of the semicolon, and without the need to stick me inside someone's head and let me listen to them babble their thoughts back and fourth with themselves the whole book, and without brilliant narrative that's filled with poetic language that makes one's heart say "Yes! Now that is an epic!"

Terry Tibke


First Blog

My Blog is up and functional, which is a good start to something previously un-started. Though it's tempting for me to ramble on about my new book (an urge I'm sure many of you first time author's feel) it IS late, and I WILL be heading to bed momentarily.

Tomorrow I'll begin something more substantial than this, but for the time being I'll leave you with a simple statement to ponder, something I consider my own personal quote:

The art of art, is perception of life. - Terry Tibke

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