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Project Honour

Finally finished the sample for this today. So far, of my three submissions, this has the most dialogue by far. Initial feedback has been quite positive and I am quite happy with how it turned out as well. Like I mentioned previously, picking the the scene I wanted to write for this sample was a real pain but in the end I just picked one and started writing. Actual writing time was perhaps about two hours but I spent about a week agonizing over the scene from start to finish.

But now it is complete and once I get all the proper feedback in, that will short story three sent off to the BL towers. Mission accomplished.

Now that just leaves Project Long Hunt, which is still in flux regarding the synopsis so forget the sample, and Project Salvation, my novel which I haven’t touched in a while because I haven’t had any creative urge for it. Which is slightly depressing really.

I keep wanting to tackle some other short stories rather than my novel which, frankly, is not a good idea. I need to see this through by the end of the month or else it will hang on my head as an incomplete pitch. And I hate incomplete pitches.

So that’s that.

In other news, my second film review is up on 24FPS. I have started a review series that me and Paul are calling the DC Animated Universe Film Reviews Spotlight. Basically I will be tackling the direct-to-DVD animated films starring various DC Comics superheroes as released by Warner Bros. You can find the series write-up here.

My first review in the series is Green Lantern: First Flight and you can find the review here. Paul has already reviewed the film in preparation for the live-action movie Green Lantern 3D, so my review is a second opinion article. You can find my review here and Paul’s review here. Next up in the review series will be Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.

Sarah aka Pyroriffic, our former-and-still Grand Overlord of the Bolthole shared this link today. It is quite an informative piece on what fan-fiction is, its various sub-types and people’s reactions to fan-fiction. I heartily recommend checking out the link. A lot of you aspiring fan-fiction writers will find it quite useful.

A fellow Boltholer, Grenadier has been published! It is a short story titled Heavenbloom from Books To Go Now and I recommend people to give it a go. The direct link is this, and for the Amazonians among you, you can all go here. If you are on facebook, don’t forget to ‘like’ his page here. It’s great to see the folks from The Bolthole getting published, no matter the genre/setting so yaya! If you get the story please don’t forget to review it on Amazon as well! Let’s get the word out there people! Chop, chop.

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Follow Through

Ack, another long gap in blogging! My apologies folks. Went away on sort of a family vacation/attending a friend’s wedding to India and the schedule was quite hectic, not to mention that the first five days of this vacation saw me suffer because I had no access to internet! A travesty I assure you.

But I am back though and I have several things to talk about.

First off, the Black Library spring submission window is now more than two-thirds over. I have yet to finish my novel sub (Project Salvation), or the two short stories that I also want to submit for the window (Projects Honour and Long Hunt). Fingers crossed.

I am pretty sure the novel wil not be picked up, for two main reasons. One, Steve Parker is already doing a Deathwatch novel which means my chances are really slim as he is already an established author. Two, I am an aspiring writer which means that in the era of Hammer & Bolter  and the Space Marine anthologies I am more likely to get my short stories in rather than novels. But as my friend Ben Warren pointed out to me the other day, best case is that I am marked out as potential talent. Which would be sweet as well.

Secondly, as per my earlier mentions on the blog about doodling a second novel, I have decided it will not be submitted in the current window, but whenever the next one opens. I have yet to finish my already scheduled subs and this would add way too much to my workload. I will continue to work on this once the window is over, continuing to plan stuff for it. It is an idea I really like as the majority of the Angels of Retribution chapter will feature in it. It is going to be full of Space Marine action goodness, which is never a bad thing.

I have also started as well to plan out a second set of submissions. These are all with a very specific theme and event in mind, and are inspired in part from Project Honour. I am really excited for this as its very much untapped territory in terms of published material. I have been told not to plan future stuff like this but I love the entire idea too much and I am far too stubborn to give it up. So yeah.

So far, this ambitious idea spans at least five short stories and a novel, with a second tie-in novel that acts as a sort of prequel and will be a Space Marine Battles novel. I have been scouring the background sources for all sorts of canon information and it has been fairly exciting. I think I will simply call this Project Honoured Duty. Make of that what you will.

Next off, my friend Paul Colbourne from over on the Bolthole who runs a movie review blog asked me to join his site as a contributor. After a very careful consideration that lasted all of 5 seconds, I accepted. My first ‘official’ review is now up – Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D. My review does have a minor spoiler so beware. You can find Paul’s original review of the film here as well.

I am also thinking of doing a spoiler-heavy review here not sure yet.

Saw Green Lantern 3D as well last week. It was superb. Typical superhero plot but thoroughly enjoyable. For the unaware, there is a tie-in video game also out, called Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. Movie review incoming within the next few days.

Bolthole’s June RiaR comp is finished as well. The voting and stuff all happened here. The feedback I got for my entry, Initiation was very welcome. No votes for me but ah well. The July comp should be going up soon 🙂

I have now also finished reading Age of Darkness, the latest Horus Heresy offering. It is a superb anthology. Almost all the short stories are excellent and give us a very welcome and intriguing insight into the beginning of what really happened in the seven years between the Istvaan V Dropsite Massacre and the Siege of Terra. Most of these stories take place roughly two years after the former event so a lot has changed. Next up on the reading list is Victories of the Space Marines which features Sarah Cawkwell‘s Primary Instinct. Looking forward to reading it for some super cool Silver Skulls action. After that I have Legends of the Space Marines and Fall of Damnos to read. Hell yeah!

Gotta go now, but see you all later. Got more stuff to mention! Keep an eye out in the links section on the home page as well. It is going to be updated soon.

Shenanigans Abound

A fairly busy few days I’d say.

Things have been rather slow over at the Bolthole, just random stuff and a few fair bits of exciting information:

  • Mr William King returning to Warhammer 40,000 with a trilogy about the Macharian Crusade,
  • A brand-new Dark Eldar short story e-book set in Commoragh,
  • More details about the content of Promethean Sun,
  • GW announcing their brand-new Citadel Finecast range.
  • An amazing guy, Richard Marsden, fellow Boltholer, got his book Travelling Tyrant published a while back and he has been actively promoting it since. Read here for his success and the tips he has shared.
  • Bolthole’s monthly writing comp is currently in its voting phase for the month of May, here. I’ve read some of the entries and they are just amazing. As usual. Unfortunately I missed again on it. Something I’d really like to change.
  • People have been debating the new LOTR film – The Hobbit – here. It is an exciting movie for sure, if the book is anything to go by. And by hell and back it is!

That’s on that front! The shoutbox was quite fun as well for the last few days, especially yesterday. A certain man-who-must-not-be-named predicted Rapture (Christian mythology) was yesterday and that the world would suffer earthquakes in every timezone at a specific time. Fortunately nothing happened, we are all still here even though the prophet himself has disappeared. Perhaps he was the only one pure enough for the Pearly Gates? Got a lot of laughs out of this whole farce. Wonderful time.

Disclaimer: I do hope that people realize I am only joking here.  But I do think it is funny and extremely sad that some people spent their entire life savings over this, or that some parents even used up their kids’ college funds. I find that despicable.

In other news, I have been making serious progress on Project Salvation aka the Deathwatch novel. I got Ch1 and 2 done and they were about 2000-2100 words with about room for 200-300 words more to fill up details. And then I read something from Chris/Phalanx on Twitter and in the shoutbox and I got thinking. I made an excel sheet to figure out my wordcount plan.

I was in for a rude shock.

I had planned initially to have each chapter (10 total) at about 4500 words or so with about another 3000 shared between an epilogue and a prologue. Considering that BLP has mentioned the 100k range, I barely cover half that. So I started to plan it all out that way.

Result: Most chapters have been bumped to 6000-6500 words each. The first three are currently at 4500 words still. My chapter-by-chapter breakdown has so far failed miserably so I am reworking things. The target for now is 91000 words.

Still, progress has been made on the sample since last time. I have written about 6000 words so far, spread across (still) a prologue, and the first two chapters. And I have about ~4500 more to go. Then there is chapter 3 which is another additional 4500 words. Once I get a proper first draft going for the whole thing I am going to go back and pick out where things need to be beefed. And where plot holes need to be filled out. And generally make things flow much more smoothly.

I am still doing that, but yeah. This is a T.R.E.M.E.N.D.O.U.S. learning experience and quite shocking too. I am aghast that my initial chapter plans only result in about 2500 worth of words for the sample. Definitely need to revamp things there. I have stuck with that 500 word a day challenge but it hasn’t been too successful as I haven’t written every day since. But when I have written, I have definitely written a fair bit. So that’s progress yeah?

I also had an amazing week personally. I got to play World of Warcraft again. Sadly, I do not have Cataclysm and I was only using the free week of gametime courtesy Blizzard because I haven’t played in 11 months and they want me back as a customer. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to, I cannot oblige them. Perhaps sometime in the future I can change things around. But it was definitely fun to reconnect with my guild and a few of my friends on the server. A few of them have stopped playing but there are still a few. For those who are interested, I played Alliance on US-Medivh.

Here is my Paladin – Vorianloken. My second toon actually but definitely the first in terms of real interest and my pride and joy.

Here is my Death Knight – Ajeet. Proud of this dude too because He just rocks.

This is my Rogue – Sherana. She barely hit 80 and done a few raids before I stopped playing.

Here is my rookie Warrior – Bulveye. He is only 74 but still awesome.

Have a Druid as well but she is on a separate account which I will reactive for the free gametime sometime this week and post a pic.

I definitely used to be quite the raider when I was still playing. At one time my Paladin was ranked in the top 20 if not the top 15 on the server as a tank. Of course, that was during the infamous Trial of the Crusader era but damn, it was still progression for someone like me who was late to the party for both Naxxramas and Ulduar. I was part of the first wave of people into Icecrown Citadel as well but by then I had moved from L.A to Dubai and couldn’t afford regular hours.

So my Death Knight there and the Paladin? They got geared in ICC through pugs. Some were obviously fail. Some were excellent. I even got some Gold DKP runs in as well and they were massively helpful in that the quality of the players was just generally so much better and I properly learned the encounters. Two months or so before I stopped playing, I had a system in place where I led raids for both TOC and ICC for the 25-man versions. They were fairly successful although not without some drama of their one. Its definitely something I miss. Quite acutely in fact.

So yeah that’s that. (What? I like that phrase!)

And I’ve been tossing around an idea for a space battle involving (suprise, surprise) Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines. I have some doodles and diddlings down. Will see how that goes.

Going up the Evolutionary Ladder

So, within the last month and a half, this blog has really grown to where I am not just talking about the Angels of Retribution, formerly known as the Sons of Corax. But also about other things related to Black Library, Games Workshop, my pitches for the spring submission window, other chapters of space marines and last but not the least, about writing in general!

Like I have said before, I am pretty proud of how far I have come since I started this blog. I found the bolthole, started to actually write fanfic with the intent of going professional, the improvements in my writing, and all the awesome people I have met.

Oh and thanks to all the people who have been visiting the blog!

By the way, just because I am really excited about this, I have started work on my fourth pitch, thanks to prodding from a couple of Boltholers. Its another short story, this time dealing with a multi-chapter force, with particular focus on the Executioners chapter. This is going to be really fun to write a sample for!

And interested parties should check out this thread. The amount of submissions planned by people is amazing, most of all what all that means for a combined word count for finished products!

Trepidation

Today marks a big day in two aspects, and I am proud for both of those reasons.

One, I sent off my two short story pitches to BL today for the spring submissions window. *drumroll* *singing* *dancing*

The first pitch is about the Angels of Retribution while the second one is about the Invictors chapter. I am also currently working on a third pitch involving the Space Wolves, based on a passing reference in their latest codex.

Its like a bittersweet moment. This is my first time submitting work professionally, yet I feel a certain uneasiness and trepidation over the outcome of what will happen. Not a very good place to be at right now but I have my hopes up. Like I said before, the least I expect is that I get on a shortlist and that in the end I do get rejected, one of my pitches receives some kind of feedback from the selectors.

Otherwise, the sky is the limit!

Two, I have been promoted to moderator over on the Bolthole. Its an exciting opportunity, not to mention that it involves quite a bit of workload from what I have seen in the mods’ forum. With no prior experience, this may be an uphill task but fortunately the team over there is quite solid, and there are more than a few helpful forumites around.

Release the kraken!

Oh and warseer is finally back up and running, although it feels like there have been some changes that I quite can’t put my finger on.

Writing and Pitches

Dangerous affair, writing. Even more challenging and devious is writing for a pitch when you want to submit to a publisher.

If memory serves, two years ago Black Library had an open window for submissions same time as this year. The topic was their Heroes of the Space Marines anthology. Having done a little writing before, all unpublished and unfinished of course, I thought why not do something for this.

A month later I gave up. I had no idea of what I wanted to write about. The story was barely a page long in word and utter crap. I forget the plot I thought I was writing then but so far I had written about an impending Chaos Marine attack on some world held by the Imperial Guard. I tried to make it cool with the “countdown feature”.

It really was utter crap.

Fast forward two years later to now.

I finished the 1000-word sample, the summary and synopsis for Project: Angels of Retribution (retconned name of course!) in about two months. It took a lot of effort to get right. I was neck deep in an online dictionary/thesaurus, lexicanum, a few of the novels and loads of codices and rulebooks to check various things so all the references made sense. Had to invent a few words too but that wasn’t too bad.

I chose a very old space marine tradition to showcase in the sample and the pitch is about a conflict between two of the oldest mini-factions in the history of the Imperium. I am quite proud of this pitch as I got to talk about in subtle terms about my favourite chapter/legion and primarch.

Then there is my second pitch, which for want of a better working title is called Project: Temptations. As I mentioned before this one is about the Invictors chapter facing off against chaos daemons. Its going to be a really fast-paced piece (the complete short that is) full of bolter-porn and sacrifices and larger-than-life champions.

And it is done. *drumroll*

Indeed. In a day and a half I have finished an entire short story pitch! And incorporated about three-quarters of critique in it as well. Gotta say that I am very surprised how quickly all this came together and how quickly I completed it, compared to P:AOR. Good things like this don’t happen to me very often.

Response to this was very good, with little in the way of any real critique other than awesome grimdark idea like Phalanx mentions on his blog. At least I think he was talking about me here.

He is not the only one to comment that the idea may be a little over-ambitious for a short story and should be a novel instead. As Chris mentions there are three variables involved with writing either a short story or novel or downgrading/upgrading from one to the other.

Time. Experience. Imagination.

Time, I have enough of. Definitely not in short supply. So I can afford to make the idea either a short story or a novel. That’s covered.

Experience, I definitely don’t have any. I have never written a novel. My attempts at the Kinth Series were sparked off of random ideas during a really boring chemistry class in junior year of high school. The half-novel I wrote was without structure, character, theme or plot or anything really. I wrote as things came to mind. So that  is one vote against writing a novel

Imagination, I have in ample amounts. Even I cannot keep track of all my ideas. So that’s another vote in either direction.

Lastly, I have enough confidence in my fledgling attempts at writing short stories. I fit about a fifth of synopsis plot into dead-on 1,000 words. BL’s page says that final manuscripts for short stories are in the 5,000-8,000 word range. So I am covered there. I am pretty damn confident and I am not going to let anyone say otherwise. Shamelessly I am reminded of a Miley Cyrus song here, Liberty Walk from her album Can’t Be Tamed.

I will indeed be living it up 🙂 And how I approach the story will prove my confidence was not misplaced. Listening to that awesome song has just pumped me even more, hah!

So what were we talking about? Ah yes, writing and pitches.

The weirdly amazing He2etic over at the Bolthole has seen fit to compile this. A list of publishers who are accepting submissions. It is a fairly limited list but I think it is a great idea. I have no interest in any publishers other than Black Library myself.

Once the current BL submission window ends, I will be working on developing my pitches into the full product, whether or not they are accepted. The exercise will be good and as several wise published and unpublished authors say again and again, be prolific with your writing and write, write, write. Truefax.

And in the meantime while I work on those two short stories, to take my mind off things I will also be working on some fanfic for the Bolthole, a Space Marine story that features a DIY chapter fighting against Eldar Corsairs. Perhaps Exodites but not too keen on that stripe of pointy-ears.

My aim by the end of the year is to have completed at least six short stories, which can be anywhere from 45,000-50,000 words all told. Perhaps also start work on a novel idea for BL which I can submit for a window next year. Hopefully there will be one opening up 🙂

I intend to be quite prolific and productive now that I have the impetus and I have my old drive back again. When I was working on The Hunted Prince, the first novel in the Kinth Series trilogy, I had a quarter of a novel and I’d say about 50 pages worth of backstory completed in about half a year. Quite a feat if I say so myself. It was a very good period for me writing wise.

Signing out.

More Names

To continue with what I talked about in my recent post ‘What’s in a name?‘ I had a discussion via email with the awesome Phalanx, one of Bolthole’s resident story-wizzes. The topic was the name I had chosen for the chapter formerly known as Sons of Corax.

It seems that there is a theory related to the name which ties the chapter, having nothing more than the name itself and a really really short blurb in the 3rd Edition Assassin’s codex, with a legion quite dissimilar to the Raven Guard.

The new name for the chapter is Angels of Retribution. And there are wild, very much IMO, theories out there in fandom that they are a Dark Angels successor chapter. The reasoning is that their name fits the convention for other First Legion successors, such as the Angels of Absolution, Angels of Redemption and the Angels of Vengeance. The unfounded theory has proven a little popular among dark angel fans with fanfic and player armies assembled that way.

Its not a bad thing but I am not a fan of the theory either. While there may have been a proper naming convention in place other than ‘oh these names look really cool for these guys’ that hardly should restrict me from picking it as the name for my Raven Guard successors. I considered a lot of names during the renaming process. Some of the ones that really jumped out were –

  • Absolvers – The idea behind using the name that the chapter seeks to help Corax on his quest for redemption and forgiveness for his experiments with the legion’s gene-seed post-Istvaan.
  • Avengers – The chapter is an active hunter of all the Betrayers of Istvaan. These are the Night Lords, the Alpha Legion, the Word Bearers and the Iron Warriors.
  • Crusaders – The chapter has continued the purpose of the Great Crusade, much like the Black Templars have and actively hunts down Traitor Marines.
  • Angels of Retribution – This somehow just fit all the above themes I wanted to get across. Plus, alone among the four names I shortlisted, it really resonated with him. It was a name I could definitely get behind. Not to mention the nice imagery you get when you read that name, particularly in conjunction with the Space Marines’ informal name – Angels of Death. Expect an updated chapter post soon!

As I have said before, names are very important to me when I am writing something.

An old writing project of mine, sparse details to be found here, spawned a madness that resulted in me inventing hundreds of names for dozens of factions. Everything from characters to planets, factions to organizations, weapons to starships and so on. I was quite prolific for that. Sadly the project never really saw much development beyond two large Excel files and about 140 pages in a regular copybook (that’s what us Indians call it). I still have all those files and the terrible amount of research I had to do to come up with names of starships and uniform designs and military rankings and what not.

Then there is the Angels of Retribution I am submitting to BL next month.

Also, the new project I have started. This one is about Space Marines of the Invictors chapter and Daemons. I’ve made more progress on this pitch in one day then I did on the Sons of Corax/Angels of Retribution in two months of focused efforts. My synopsis and summary are done pending review once the sample (currently at 435 words) is complete. And then the rounds of critiques and all.

I really like this pitch. At the moment it is tentatively titled Temptations although the story so far has nothing do with temptations. It was originally conceived as a marines versus Slaaneshi daemons short. I might even develop it into a novel, although that would be a lot of effort which I may not have the time for. Initial response to the story is that it reads better as a novel. I am hoping I can keep it down to a short and still keep it chock full of action and description and conflict.

Oh and the Invictors will be an Ultramarine successor. Although they have little to no contact with smurfies 🙂

Home Stretch

And I am now in the home stretch phase.

The pitch is complete – 1,000 word sample, single paragraph summary and a 600+ synopsis of the short story. I am rather proud of the effort and the result both. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this has been a great learning experience. The critiques on the sample helped me perfect the technicalities of the background. Not to mention the immense help in perfecting the sample as a whole so it doesn’t come across as a juvenile effort.

I still have my first attempt at the BL submissions window from 2 or 3 years back saved on the laptop. It was a Guard against Chaos Marines story. Wrote about six (edit: six hundred) words. Dreadful attempt because I had no idea what the heck I was doing or how to go about it even. The files makes me cringe every time I read it. It has been slightly amusing over the years though.

It is all set to roll on forwards with the actual submissions process itself. BL will start accepting people’s pitches for consideration from the 1st of May till the 31st of July. Ample time for a lot of people, especially some really prolific boltholers, to finish their mountains of pitches 🙂

Once I got this pitch out of the way, it has become a really slow day. I am actually rather bored at the moment, undecided on what to do. I’ve got the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood soundtrack playing in the background and the effects are as interesting and varied as a ride on a roller-coaster.

Contemplating whether or not to start a second pitch. I have the beginnings of a couple of ideas, one of which has been inspired by the just-passed RiaR competition over at the Bolthole. Then I am considering how best to move forwards with the Hesperon Crusade group story I’ve been working on as well. We finally have the beginnings of some superb Inquisitorial involvement featuring the Ordo Xenos and the Deathwatch and its going to be amazing I have no doubt.

Another thing is that I have finally decided what the new chapter name will be for the Sons of Corax. I am sad to let go of this highly imaginative title but alas, sacrifices must be made so that my short story can reach that faint light at the end of the tunnel. 12 Word-doc pages of backstory. A small manuscript book half filled with more technical backstory. 7-8 months of work which was often mind-numbing. Two months of some really dedicated work.

On another note, I have started a competition thread on the Bolthole, ‘In all of Creation!’ Looking forward to an interesting time with this.

What’s in a name?

This is a question that has been bothering me for the last week quite a bit. Mostly in relation to what the chapter name Sons of Corax really means. Ages ago on warseer when someone was posting their own DIY chapter they had some sort of similar name for a different legion successor. One of the posters said it was quite presumptuous of the chapter to name itself after the primarch, somehow indicating that the particular chapter was more favored by the primarch.

Is that necessarily true?

We already have the Sons of Guilliman, Sons of Dorn, Hammers of Dorn, Angels Sanguine, Disciples of Caliban, Heralds of Ultramar, Emperor’s XYZ, Imperial ABC, Knights of the Raven, other Sons of PQR etc etc. What are the significances of these names? The Heralds of Ultramar aren’t even based anywhere in Ultramar! The Sons of Orar aren’t even Orar’s sons in the sense that the Sons of Guilliman are literally sons of Guilliman! Did Dorn ever really carry a thunderhammer (how does the Fist of Dorn fit in here when the Imperial Fists are the ones using it)? Or the Emperor’s XYZ (loyalist) chapters who have been created after the Emperor ascended the Golden Throne and isn’t even aware of them? Are the Imperial ABC chapters really favoured by the Imperium?

Where does the favoritism being and where does it end? Is there really a question of these chapters being favored as indicated by the names of these chapters?

Two other aspects of the question are A, what is the power of these names and B, what is the real significance of these names? Let’s take it one by one.

A, The Power of Names – Fiction is quite literally littered with references and cases to/of the idea that names have power. These are reminiscent of some of the oldest religions on our planet. Knowing the name of a daemon gives you power over him is a concept particularly emphasised in both Warhammer worlds and in 40K we have the new background stating that the names of Grey Knights are parts of the true names of daemons! It is all the same as knowing the true identity of a spy, which allows you to exert power over him/her.

Why else do Inquisitors in 40k operate in subterfuge, particular examples being Eisenhorn and Ravenor. They don’t think twice about falsifying identities.

In Frank Herbert’s Dune series, the name Muad’Dib is a name of power, a killing name that the Fremen soldiers can use to literally kill their enemies with the aid of their sonic weapons.

Perhaps the Alpha Legion, at least pre-Heresy, exemplified this best of all. All Alpha Legionnaires are Alpharius when questioned in the book Legion. The identity of the primarch is hidden from anyone not of the Twentieth Legion and there is even a bigger secret being kept here.

What is the power of a name in Warhammer 40,000 in your opinion?

B, The Real Significance of Names – If names have power, then they also have a significance, a deeper meaning perhaps.

What does the name Blood Angels mean for that chapter? The chapter often has angelic names for its battle-brothers. The space marines were/are the Emperor’s Angels of Death. Sanguinius was raised in the Baalite tribe ‘Blood’. Post-heresy the Blood Angels and their successors have been cursed with a vampiric heritage and the Red Thirst.

Ultramarines, is it significant only in that Guilliman’s space marines come from Ultramar, or is the significance related to the colour of their name or is it a clever pun on both?

Space Wolves, are they really wolves in space because they have larger canines than is the norm among other marines, or is it a reference to Leman Russ’ upbringing, or is it related to the Wulfen curse, or is it another clever twist on all of them?

Alpha Legion, the last legion to be formed and yet designated in an old dead (in-universe) language as the first. Alpharius, the last primarch to be found yet his name has one (of course there are multiple meanings) meaning of the first. His twin’s name, Omegon, in that same dead language is the last letter of the alphabet.

Among the Raven Guard, a lot of their captains are named after birds, just as Corax is. And they are plays on similar words. Korvydae of the Tenth, Kayvaan Shrike of the Third, Corvane Valar of the Fifth. Go to wikipedia and do a search for the word Corax and see the results that come up.

Perhaps the most telling and important from an in-universe aspect is Horus, primarch of the most accomplished legion during the Heresy, the Warmaster of the Imperium, the Emperor’s most favored son, foremost among all the primarchs. And the one who plunged the entire galaxy into never-ending war. Horus, in egyptian mythology, is one of the oldest and most significant gods. What came to be known during the Heresy as the Eye of Horus, and was previously the Eye of Terra, is an ancient egyptian symbol for protection, royal power and good health. What Horus the primarch did during the Heresy is known to everyone.

Where does this all end?

All of this is something that I’ve been thinking about in this last week. I was quite surprised when I found out that the Corvus Mellori is a species of the crow/raven family Corvidae about two weeks back. The protagonist of my short story is Valerius Mellor. I had accidentally come up with a name that tied my character to the primarch and legion his chapter is descended from. And yes, it was quite unintentional.

All this comes down to the collective fact that Black Library does not want its writers, particularly ones who are aiming to get published through them the first time (established writers might be getting some leeway), to invent new chapters. I can see where they are coming from because there is such a large number of canon chapters we known nothing about. Some of them exist as nothing but names, they have no livery, heraldry, home or any kind of backstory.

This put me in a real bind because even though Sons of Corax was a stopgap measure to name the Raven Guard successor, I have become quite attached to it. And now I have to change it. Mostly because using my own chapter name is quite a bit of risk and could potentially work against my pitch for the upcoming submissions window. And I really want to not have any negative points against the pitch, especially ones that are easily controllable by me.

So I am now changing the name of the chapter. I have a short list of 4 chapters from Lexicanum’s list of canon chapters. I am very undecided at the moment because each of them represent some aspect of the backstory I have created for the Sons of Corax and I am reluctant to just abandon any of it. I tried to roll for these 4 names (about 50 times mind you to get a nice average) but I was still unhappy.

You see, the name of the chapter matters a lot. It ties it to the primarch, to the original legion. The Sons of Corax have a rich history of having collaborated with the Raven Guard over the years and they have kept some legion practices alive in their original form. They are also quite close to Corax in a spiritual way from what I have envisioned. And the name should reflect the traditions they have inherited from the legion, even though they are Third Founding, and an aspect(s) of the primarch that they think is the most appropriate for the direction they want to go in.

Perhaps all of this is a little too much for just one short story that may not even get picked up. But I think that that is where the difference lies. The difference between a writer who is aiming for quality and one who is just doing it because he/she wants to do it. I am not the best writer out there by any means. And the quality of the fanfic I regularly see on the good old Bolthole reminds me of that everyday and pushes me to perfect my own work that much more.

Its all about the effort you want to put in. And I believe that the more you can show that in the pitch, the better your (and my) chances of getting that foot in the door.

I have had three great critiques on my sample. They all attacked it in very different ways. Some did it from a background perspective. Some based on their own ideas on how things work in-universe. Some based on the technical aspects of the writing process. Some based on just pure logic from their own experiences. Combined, their review has resulted in quite a few changes to the sample in ways I had ignored because I wasn’t aware of the significance. Much thanks to Phalanx, Raziel and Narry for their help on this. Particularly Narry for his help with the names. And all the other Boltholers who helped in the entire process as well.

Submissions and Bolthole fun

Not much done since I finished the short story sample for the BL submissions. Took a breather by working on the Hesperon Crusade.

Sent out the sample to a few Boltholers for critique and so far the response has been quite positive. Only a few simple things here and there to change. The biggest ‘mistake’ probably has to be confusing US English and British English together. Those damn OUs.

The Hesperon Crusade is finally taking shape. I’ve started writing about some of the conflicts that take place. Currently working on a system assault mission involving a significant Navy battlegroup, guardsmen, space marines and Sororitas. It’s going to be quite fun. Particularly the initial stages where the strike force has to capture a shipyard! Hah.

Other than, things have been quite. Except people complaining about the brand new Limited Edition hardback novella Promethean Sun. Entitlement is all fun and games to talk about but quite impractical. And no fun at taking potshots at the writer or the team or BL itself. They are all in a business. Money-making is one of their top objectives. So chill out people.

Oh and that artwork rocks. Although I am not sure about that Iron Snakes-ish logo on the left-most marine’s shoulder. Someone on warseer pointed it out, was surprised to see it there. Perhaps its an icon of the Promethean Cult?

Its all good fun.

Sons of Corax The Short

So… I’ve been rigorously working on the short story and as things stand, I am on my third full rewrite, not to mention all the minor changes the whole story has gone through in the last month. The problem isn’t that I don’t have ideas on what to write or a lack of material to draw on… its just that I can’t seem to confine myself to the 1000 word sample text that BL editors are asking for.

Whatever I end up writing seems in no way to fit down that fine line and its getting quite frustrating. I wrote a killer opening scene for the the second draft but it doesn’t capture the essence of the plot that the short story is going to be about. It is what it is, an opening scene. So far all these drafts are getting filed away and in reality I’m ending up with some good stuff that can be potentially useful if I extend the short into a novel.

So I’ve started wondering, is it better to submit a novel in may? Or should I keep it small and submit a short story instead? Rather undecided but as of now I am still sticking with the short story.

Good news is that I emailed the good folks over at BL asking about the submission deadlines and the response was 1-May-2011 to 31-july-2011, so even that is ample time to work things about. Hopefully I can get done in the first couple of weeks so when the submissions approval team gets my work, they are not bored of all the different qualities of fanfic.

Oh and another problematic thing with the project has been to write this really awesome battle deployment scene and while I totally see how it happens in my mind (its like watching a video haha) I am definitely struggling to put it into words.

Welcome

Welcome to the Sons of Corax Blog. The Sons of Corax are a successor chapter of the Raven Guard chapter, formerly the XIXth Legiones Astartes. Stay tuned for more information about the chapter as I add more information to my pet chapter.

UPDATE

A little about me, as it relates to the hobby – I was in the hobby for about all of two years from late 2007 to late 2009. In this time I collected quite a few armies – Ultramarines, followed by my own space marine chapter I called the Shadowblades, followed by some dabbling in an Eldar Jetbike army and some Daemons for 40k. I don’t play the game anymore but I am still in it as far as rules theorizing and fluff discussions go. I can be found almost any day, any time of the day, on the warseer 40k forums where I post under the highly unimaginative name of shadowhawk2008. I sometimes dabble in the Black Library forums or the rules development forum or the warhammer fantasy background forums too on warseer but not much. I am much more at home discussing the 40k universe and the good and the bad of it.

I’ve attempted to write short stories and novels over the past eight or nine years but nothing has gone far enough in its development. Concerning 40k my first true attempt was an ambitious trilogy dealing with the proper ‘End of Times’ when the Emperor is resurrected (a billion theories on that one!), the missing primarchs return, the dead/injured ones are whole again and the Imperium has its final battle against Chaos. My aforementioned pet chapter the Shadowblades were going to be a special presence in that. But then I realized that the way I was writing the story was solidifying too many mysteries of the 40k universe, in particular the missing 2 space marine legions, and the whole project was completely over ambitious.

Well then I hit upon the idea of the Mantis Warriors space marines chapter finally ending their penance crusade at the end of the 41st millenium and being a normal chapter. Then I got thinking that I should probably write some shorts first and see where it goes. One of my key ideas in the End of Times trilogy had involved a new founding of the astartes and I was going to feature ten new chapters there. So I started with this idea to come up with some chapters I could use in my shorts. One thing spawned another and another and so on and in the end I finally hit upon the Sons of Corax and their battles in the grimdark universe of Warhammer 40,000.

I’ve been working on the Sons of Corax for about 5-6 months now, mostly developing their background so it can help inform my first true short story. And this short will be submitted to the Black Library for their open submissions in May’11. If it doesn’t get the greenlight then I’ll take it to the next level and develop it into a proper novel and try again next year. I have ideas aplenty in my brain and on paper to last a lifetime so that’s not a problem.

Stay around for some more info on the short story and the background for the Sons of Corax.