30 Aug 2014

The Necromancer... Covers

Hello Blogosphere:

I, Alex Stargazer—writer extraordinaire and not-so-extraordinaire poet—presents to you five possible covers for my book, known as the Necromancer.

If you are unfamiliar with it, know that it is a High Fantasy novel with—surprise surprise—a Necromancer (that is, a person who raises the dead) and flying zombies, and magic, and stuff. Oh: did I mention our Necromancer is trying to take over the respective world?

Well, he is. That’s what people with 50,000 strong undead armies tend to do. Right? (Note: those 50,000 undead happen to be really fast, and strong, and fearless and all that. He’s kinda difficult to stop. That’s kinda the premise of the book, ya know?)

In any case, here are some descriptions of him:

Neshvetal permitted himself a small smile. It was not a pleasant one: it revealed teeth that were inhumanly white, and a twinkle of madness within those cold orbs of sight.

His eyes are balls of azure light, glowing with deep, unnatural power; his hair is darker than the darkest of nights, yet it reflects the scant moonlight like some fantastical lake. His form is tall – his posture, arrogant. A cruel smile lights up his long, aristocratic nose and handsome (if rather dark) features. He knows he has won.

As you can see, our Necromancer looks as scary as he is.

And without further ado, I present to you these covers. (Thanks goes to Kit Foster for providing them. Yes, I am paying him. Yes, it is still polite to thank those who enable your success.)

You can share them with whom you think may be interested. And please make sure to rate them on the comments below. After all: a good book needs a good cover to get you lot to read it.

22 Aug 2014

Why I Followed my Dreams, and the True Cost of Self-Publishing

A few days ago, I drafted my budget and wrote up the basics of my marketing plan. When the current sum came up, I wasn’t at all shocked; in fact, I was pleasantly surprised. Having made a few hard decisions, I was looking at £660 to effectively bring to market; previously, that figure would have been around £1200.

For those not in the business, this can sound like a lot. But rest assured: it isn’t. Because of some hard decisions, I can get away with spending less than most successful self-pubs—and certainly a lot less than what your typical publishing house pays. (Hint: it’s usually more than £2000, for shorter books than this. Obviously, it varies; but I’ve heard typical figures quoted in the £5000 area for this.)

Some of the decisions that had to be made included editing. At the low end, it would have cost me £650–800; but more likely it would have cost me something like £1200 (to properly work one-on-one and collaborate). I have seen editing firms charge in excess of £2000 for this, and some even more (the latter was a questionable proposition though...)

Editing is considered a necessity for most works. Certainly, it would have improved the Necromancer and given me some much deserved help.

Unfortunately, it was not something I could realistically afford. I have a fortuitous sponsor right now—my grandfather—but since he has worked and continues to earn in Romania, I cannot expect to ask large amounts of money from him.

Let’s put it like this: for every bread you can buy in the UK, you can get five breads in Romania.

And publishing is a risky business. While I don’t seriously believe I can’t sell at least 3000 books—a writer must believe to succeed—it is nonetheless a risk involving non-trivial amounts of money.

‘But Alex: why didn’t you go the more affordable editing route and do all the marketing yourself, plus some of the design?’

It is ultimately a question of value. Editing will improve my sales outlook in the long term—and even in the short term it may pay off—and it will have the priceless value of making my book the best it can be.

But I would end up with a great book nobody will find. Through this method, I can both save money; and I can have a good book people will find.

Nearly half of my budget will be spent on marketing—this will involve hiring a professional and possibly buying some ads (still playing with the possibilities). The other half is concerned with design. I am purchasing a print-ready cover, plus promotional art; in addition to this, I am going to hire out an illustrator for a map (stay tuned!) and also likely buy better wallpaper for this blog.

(I’m thinking of getting an Extreme Blog Makeover...)

Some of these expenses sound frivolous, but upon closer thought you will realise this is not the case. A good cover is a requisite for selling books in real numbers. As it is, there are higher end artists out there; though, unsurprisingly, they charge too much for me at present time.

Promotional art is also very important.A key part of my marketing is going to be physically done by me. I am going to work with libraries, bookstores, and I may even do a school assembly. But to that, I need two things: physical books, and something to tempt passing readers.

A good blog appearance isn’t really important in the short term but will build my name in the long term. And as for the map, well—it’s useful to understanding the book, which means it improves my product. (Yes, my book is a personal work of art but in business terms it is a product.)

So there you go: publishing—even done with saviness and some compromises—isn’t a cheap proposition. To really sell books self-pubbing, you will probably need to pay something in the order of £2500+ for this. If you want to make mega-bucks, well: Little Brown and co. spent about £150,000 marketing Elizabeth Kostova’s the Historian—which went on to sell two million copies.

(Quickly opens up Wikipedia... we can’t be wrong on this Alex... these readers of yours are too clever for their own good...)

And apologies for not posting in so long. I have been busy getting a bank account to fund my endeavour, and still need a UK bank account in addition to an NI number, US tax number, and possibly a pair of ISBNs (I can get them free from Romania’s ISBN office).

I have also received my GCSE exam results. They’re good, but can be better. (I do have a lot of them, and I did move in the middle of year 10 and had to catch up on half a year of Drama.) That said: I will probably request a remark for two of them—one is close to a grade boundary, the other looks suspiciously low—and may resit one RE exam in order to get a top grade.

Enough about that, though. I have started to see a terrible vacuousness in all of these mark scoring and results grabbing that I do. Frankly, if I don’t go to Oxford (or Cambridge, but they’re not as bothered about GCSEs) I will probably be in a better financial situation because I’d be studying abroad and won’t be paying £9000 a year. I’ll be paying anything from £2500 (inclusive of health insurance) to £0.

And yes: lots of Oxbridge alumni don’t make that much more than other Russel Group guys or even less prestigious universities. Frankly, going to Oxford is a matter of pride.

And really, I want to succeed writing books. Books bring me a personal satisfaction unmatched by anything else; and financially they can put me in a far better situation than even newly minted bankers. Which brings me on to part 2.

Following my Dreams

When I say ‘and the true cost of self-publishing’ I am in actuality referring to the emotional cost. Self-publishing is like trying to go through a very thick, very hard wall. For that matter, traditional publishing is like trying to get a very fearful, very covetous individual to believe in something he sees as little more than a product.

And book-selling? It’s like trying to shine in a sea of fake jewels. (Or not-so-fake crap.)

But let’s leave all these metaphors behind. The basic idea is: publishing a book is hard whichever way you take. And indeed self-publishing has that extra difficulty of marketing and outsourcing to design professionals and editors... but trad publishers don’t do a whole lot of marketing for most authors these days, and the latter is merely a question of logistics, money, and a little patience.

(Patience, as you can guess, is a virtue every writer comes to possess.)

No: what I am trying to say is that my dreams are no longer that of great university prestige or being some CEO of something or other. Granted, I still dream of that quintessential erudite writer, with charms and a lot of money. But really, it’s the pleasure of being an artist that is my greatest dream.

I do not proclaim to say this book is the culmination of this dream because, frankly, it isn’t. It’s a beginning. It’s a way to earn some money, inspire some trust in those who would fund me, and ideally provide a comfortable budget for the next book.

I am learning how to publish, and will soon learn how to market. I am learning monetisation. Even if this book doesn’t succeed, I will have gained valuable skills (and indeed already have)—skills that can be put to good use in my next books—for there will be more, a great deal more—or, if need be, in earning some cash freelancing.

If this book does gain some success, it won’t be the money that’ll be the biggest pay off. I do not crave wealth, and neither do I want to spend this money on anything constituting a ‘luxury’, or a frivolity. I see money has far better uses than in buying jewellery or designer clothing.

Honestly, the biggest use I’d have for the money is in buying a house. The only houses that are mine are in Romania—a country which no longer interests me, if ever it did.

But even better than a house would be the feeling of knowing I succeeded. It would be... the euphoria, the taste of future possibility. For what greater a quest is there than to live your life the way you want to live it?

‘Alex: what if it bombs?’

This is a question I have thought over carefully; it is, after all, why I am not spending large amounts of money.

But it doesn’t worry me. My writing is getting better and better; my stories are getting greater, more powerful... more defined. If this one don’t succeed, I’ll write another! And it will be so much better. And I hope—perhaps a little naively—that, through indefatigable effort and determination, somebody would believe it in like I do.

The most difficult part is over. I wrote the book, and improved my writing skills until I could turn it into something worthy of attention. I got over my self-doubt and fears. I learned the important skills that any writer must have these days—perspicacity, professionalism, research skills, marketing—and with that the rest will be a matter of continued determination, belief in myself, and lots of hard work.

The wall is in front of me now. But it is a wall that can be broken through so much more easily than the one I couldn’t see.

All I need to do is to continue believing, and to continue hoping.

16 Aug 2014

Why Modern Poetry... Sucks

A contentious title, is it not? But unfortunately, I believe it a true one. Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against modern poets (I mean, I technically am one) and indeed some—like Carol Ann Duffy, to name my favourite—produce some excellent works.

And yet I cannot deny the fact that, reading most of today’s poetry—be it online, in a few books, or in literary journals—I have the powerful impression that there really aren’t many real poets out there. What gets classed as ‘poetry’ today possesses a certain… vacuousness, that would make poets—even those of a few decades ago—turn in their graves.

I’m not trying to be hyperbolic. Allow me to elaborate…

A Look Into Today’s Poetry

I shall not be naming and shaming; I don’t consider that kosher. Mostly, I shall be using examples created by myself. Take this one:

In my house
The song of radiators
Echoes into television dreams.

Actually, that’s a little too good for what I’m referring to. Let’s try again, this time with a poem by Anonymous:

So I want
To leave
A deep scratch
Of my mind
On the screen
Of the world
And walk along
With all bards
After my death
Hundreds of years
On soiled paths
And metal streets
Without my limbs
Blood and flesh
In haunting houses
And Joyous classes,
Make them feel
My hovering spirit
In emotional moments
In acts and deeds
Soothing souls
And agitated minds.

This actually isn’t bad, in the general standard of things. It’s biggest mistake is in being too long, having overly short lines, and overly bulky stanzas. (Let me paraphrase: it’s god awful hard to read.)

Closer examination, however, reveals a deeper problem. It’s meaningless. It has neither rhyme nor reason; and with that it no longer becomes a work of art—an expression of emotion, a creation of inherent desire—and instead becomes a vapid caricature.

Let’s delve into some specifics:

On soiled paths
And metal streets
Without my limbs
Blood and flesh
In haunting houses
And Joyous classes,

Does the adjective ‘soiled’ have any impact whatsoever on the meaning of the poem? Does it even create imagery? As far as I can see, it doesn’t. Nor, for that matter, does ‘metal’ in streets; for there are no such things, and neither is it metaphorical or used to evoke imagery.

‘Blood and flesh’ literally has no meaning whatsoever. You could remove it, and nothing would change. ‘Haunting houses’? Really? I know alliteration is effective, but this really is very forced. As for ‘Joyous classes’—why the capitalisation, what exactly is ‘Joyous’ supposed to mean in this context, and what type of ‘classes’ are we referring to exactly?

Perhaps Anon is referring to school classrooms? In which case, he is being: a) terribly vague; b) unrealistic; and c) not evoking of the image.

Basically, six entire lines are devoted to nothing at all.

Harsh? Yes: But Not Without Reason

You may think I am being harsh on the author. And indeed, I am: the idea of leaving an indelible mark upon society through art is certainly an interesting and powerful idea.

Trouble is, modern poets seem—on the whole—obsessed with joining words together instead of writing meaningful prose. Turgour is even worse of a problem than it was in the eighteenth century; for now that turgour is devoid of meaning.

And remember: this is actually pretty good for the ones I’ve seen. Most seem to have little relation to anything at all.

The Poet has Killed the Poem

That’s my final message, at the end of it all. There was a time when a poet could bring his work to the masses… and the masses could be expected to listen. They may not have understood everything; but still, the poem would have connected. They would have seen something of their lives, and of themselves. Perhaps they would enjoy life. Perhaps they would reform something of themselves.

At the least, they would feel something.

The killing began with pretentiousness. Poets began writing ever longer and more turgid works. The references to gods became too many and too obscure for the ordinary working class citizen to know or understand. And the structures! Complicated, twisting; difficult to read; harder still to speak.

At least poetry was still read (and enjoyed) by the academics and those of a literary disposition. Now, even writers pay them little attention; and poetry seems mainly to belong to a few niche circles.

This new fall came from the modern era. Poetry is no longer a an art form worth practising: it is now merely a way to express musings. Little snippets of words that just happened to be passing through your mind are now considered serious prose.

At first we stripped poetry of general appeal; then we stripped it of meaning; and now we condemn it to the work of the untalented and poor.

I am giving you two poems of mine to read. They both carry a message—one dramatic, the other subtle. I would submit them to literary magazines, but no one will read them even if they get published. (Which is easier said than done, considering hw pretentious and closed-minded they are.)

I would voice them; but who would listen? The organisations relevant—LGBT rights advocates, reason and science foundations—don’t do poetry. I wonder why. And good luck getting anyone on the street to listen.

Perhaps you, dear reader, are willing to give them look. And maybe you’ll take my message to heart. Don’t pretend they’re any good. Don’t pseudo-analyse and write praise that would seem fake even in an ad.

Repudiate. It’s bullshit, and you know it.

Read The Lover’s Curse—a dramatic fusion of rhyme and hexameter, on false social practice and oppression.

Read God the Sun: a subtle attack on the notion of an omni-benevolent god.

10 Aug 2014

The End of an Era

If you’ve been following my various musings on this blog, you may be wondering: what happened to the Poem of the Week? Is he back from his trip yet—or has something eaten him?

Well, I am not writing this in the stomach of some creature, rest assured; and I am back, too.

The Poem of the Week will restart itself after the Necromancer has been published. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy writing it, and I have no intention to stop altogether; but I have other priorities now. I should begin working with my cover artist from tomorrow. I have a publication date planned—though I won’t be revealing that just yet. And honestly? I need to publish everything, and begin working on something new.

I am a writer of novels before one of poetry. I feel... so much more alive and empowered when writing a book than a poem. I won’t deny the commercial allure—I’m not rich—but writing novels is just more fun and ultimately more satisfying.

That said, I have written two of my finer works while on my retreat. Those, however, I will try to get into higher visibility places. One in particular would be of interest to the likes of Stonewall, though the other may please a great many atheists...

But back to the point. The Poem of the Week won’t come until after the Necromancer’s publication date. I am working with a cover designer; I have planned a date; and most of all: I need to build up some buzz.

That is of incalculable importance. The Sandman has taught me that. It is so important, in fact, that I am not going to be publishing any essays or theoretical works until that date.

You can still, of course, read the poems that I’ve written thus far—there are ten of greater interest, and five more minor ones too—and go through past work using this blog’s archive utility.

This is not to say that I will not be writing anything at all on this blog. I am merely prioritising other venues (for I have decided this venue too crowded to try and gain attention at present).

I will be writing about me. This novel has practically changed my life—in scope and direction certainly, and perhaps even in wealth too (one can only hope). It has altered me as a person. I was a very rational creature before; I saw things too much in terms of goals and logic.

Now I see the subtler things in life. The things that can be, the fullfilment of living the life you desire; and all the small, emotional aspects of this existence. To put it short: I have realised that much of our life does not revolve upon objectivity and logic. We are more than that.

I do not believe my personal tales will garner this blog great attention—but that’s okay, because it means something to me. And I do have other ideas, as I’ve hinted.

When—hopefully when—readers start coming here (and I have taken great pains to tempt them) I will start releasing material pertinent to the Necromancer. Trivia; cuts; previous drafts. Indeed, I have written an entire short history on Arachadia, which I may expand further. So: do stick around—I have no intention of remaining unheard.

But now: to the title of this post.

The Necromancer: The End of an Era, and the Herald of a New Age

Think of me—at fourteen, on a grey October day—and understand my thoughts: I want to write a book. I have been a bookworm since I was five, and books became my life from age eight.

Some history is in order, is it not?

At age five I moved from Romania to England. I had been taught English... but not nearly enough. I struggled—at least for the first year. I was a difficult child. My teacher was... less than congenial. And honestly? I don’t think I would have liked myself then. I was spoiled, in many ways unpleasant, and very, very ignorant. Not stupid—I recall finding a colleague’s inability to correctly write ‘8’ immensely amusing—but ignorant.

Being in what was then a foreign country shook me a little. A lot, even. I had learned of a more difficult reality—and eventually I was forced to accept that, improve myself, and become a better person.

At first, books were a way to learn English. That proved extremely helpful, which instilled in me a great respect for them.

At eight I moved to Holland.

Again a foreign country; and though I now knew English quite well—most of the Dutch speak it, in case you didn’t know—life was difficult all the same. At first I couldn’t participate in the Dutch lessons; and those constituted half the day.

Commence the library. I lost myself there. I read books in a quantity that was really... awe-inspiring, for someone my age. I think I must have gone through 200 books—most of them non-fiction. For an eight year-old, I was the apogee of erudiation.

But more than the facts and the acumen and inalienable logic—books inculcated a wonder in the world. So much I did not know; and so much I wanted to know.

I experienced a personality change too. I was somewhat spoiled, proud and even a little vindictive before. I am still a little spoiled, proud and slightly vindictive—but I am also much more kind. That’s the crux of it all, at the end of the day. Children can be cruel. I said no. I had experienced some of that cruelty firsthand—you get that, being unable to speak a language at such an early age—and most importantly: I had seen its effect on the world.

And yet despite my new self, I still did not know the power of a story. I wouldn’t until two years later—once I’d spent my final year of primary school in England, and entered Secondary.

The Love of that Other World

I read 123 books in year 7—a yearly amount that surpassed even that of Holland. Most of those were fiction.

I believe my most impressive completion time for a book had been picking it up one morning and finishing it in the other. It was about 400 pages. A year later, I would beat that—I read a 500 page book within a day.

My most beloved book was Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. To this day, I still think it the best book I’ve ever read (though Narnia did come awfully close).

I had come to love the other world in which books talked of. My life was terribly troublesome—I had some detentions, problems at home, financial concerns—but in that world I saw a better future. A place far more exciting; a place of wonder, and magic. I had reached the peak of escapism—and boy it changed me.

Tales grew in my mind. They were the most detailed, elaborate fantasies: animal kingdoms, magicians, worlds of myth and magic; and even a certain being of powers infinite, whom I identified with. I have given it a name. I shall not speak of it now; but know that I have been keeping its tale within me for a very long time. I shall write it, eventually. Right now I have less challenging and (almost) equally interesting ones to tell.

Basically: by age ten I was a dreamer.

At fourteen I started to become an artist. A writer.

Writing the Necromancer

My first draft was terrible. You’ll get to see it, after the Necromancer is published.

Why, do you ask? Well, the answer is simple: I was totally unprepared. My teachers had taught me only the most basic of writing techniques; but worse was the fact that I did not know all the rules of punctuation, dialogue, paragraphing, etc.

I didn’t really plan it, either; a grave mistake. And I was a writer inchoate. I hadn’t truly discovered myself, my talent needed experience to grow; and I found it difficult, having not been enured in the difficulties of book writing.

But I didn’t stop.

Don’t get the wrong idea: I thought of doing it. I wondered how and if I would ever finish it. But I didn’t want to stop. I could no longer contain the ideas that bounced around my head—could not deny that itch in my fingers. Honestly, I had to do something about it.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, imagine this: me, the sunless sky above; and me, not seeing the cars, the houses, or the people. Not hearing. Not knowing. Alone in my own world.

Somedays, I’m still like that.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have written a full size novel. I would have created a novella: that would have been a more manageable endeavour, and still rather satisfying. (Especially compared to just writing poems.) And I would have planned it: that makes things so much easier, you know?

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter. I wrote it. And I began to feel myself... growing.

I’m not certain exactly where in the book it became not a struggle, but a natural extension of my consciousness. My writing started to improve noticeably by about chapter twenty, but especially in chapter twenty one—an ironically minor one.

But it was not until chapter twenty nine— nearly three quarters of the way through—that the worlds really started to flow. The relationship between the mage whose life was upside down, and between the elf whose life was to be changed irrevocably... something about that really harmonised together.

The setting helped too. I’ve always been captured by two things: mountains, and forests. The Elven Forest has both. I had always wondered of the elves, too: of the beings unique, in tandem with nature; possessed by the allure of magic, and so different from us... yet so similar.

Not that I was in any way a master of my talent. I still aren’t... at least for now. Maybe I never will, for it is a gift fickle and mysterious and impervious to my acumen.

But I could write stuff people wanted to read.

I wonder if I should have stopped there, and wrote something else instead. The Necromancer was to prove a huge amount of work—and I knew that, deep down, though it took a while to accept. Maybe I was just too enamoured by my first work. It doesn’t matter, anyway.

What matters is that I rewrite most of it, and used my skills—which were improving by the day, having started writing poetry and seeing the extent of my competition—to better it. I dreamed, once more; and this time of the possibilities. I was imbued with a determination, and fire.

I still am.

The End of an Era

I am no longer a child. I have gained ambition that I never had.

It isn’t all because of the Necromancer. I’ve matured, read more books, and experienced the feelings of adulthood. I know of people unpleasant—all must learn of them eventually—and I have started to see that a future other than writing would be both less oportune, and not able to satisfy my imagination.

By age eight, I became a being of that wonderful blessing. By age fourteen, I tried to make it real. At fifteen, I became ambitious. A being of fire.

I am now sixteen. I am more realistic. I know that this work probably won’t make me a best selller, or particularly well off.

But it has given me more than that. It has awoken my talent. It has given me a skill. It has promised a future.

And most of all, it has defined me. Knowledge was an aphrodisiac; logic a comfort; dreams a better existence.

This is my purpose.

1 Aug 2014

Poem of the Week: The Necromancer

If you read the title and thought: ‘Isn’t the name of his upcoming book?’ then you’d be right. This poem is, indeed, related to my upcoming book; and, unsurprisingly therefore, the Necromancer of which it speaks is the one (and only) Neshvetal.

This is a poem about him. His tragedy. His loss. For he, dear reader, is the saddest of them all.

I think I shall be including the poem in the actual book. I believe it captures the Necromancer’s emotions with total perfection—and that reading it will give you a real view into who he really is.

Here is the link.


Let me start, funnily enough, with the beginning. Take:

In a castle
Enmeshed in frozen flakes
Of mountains clear and tall
A Necromancer lyeth thinking.
He sits on the throne of a king forgotten
Of which granite is the only known companion.

Structurally, the poem is a hexameter with lines of increasing length. I like this structure: I feel it reflects the way my imagination works—a spark (a premise) in the beginning, leading to several trees of thought; until, finally, it arrives to some sort of ‘chapter’ (for lack of a better word) in which the next section begins.

The poem also makes heavy use of enjambment—lines unseparated by punctuation, for those of you unfamiliar with literary nomenclature.

This means that the lines flow into one another; a fact which, I believe, is helped by the use of some rhyme and a lot of alliteration. There’s even a bit of assonance, though it rarely occurs.

Now that the structure is out the way, we’ll get onto the story. You’ll have noticed that most of my poems have a strong narrative: I believe this is due to the fact that I am (surprisingly) a logical person with a very linear mind.

Moreover, I think that… I don’t like poems written purely for the sake of words. The best written creations are made in the presence of the best stories, if you ask me.

Neshvetal’s Tale

His eyes
Are the colour of Winter’s
Wind-blown kiss; and his lips
Are firm like unyielding ice, but
Bright, as neon hues. His hair—ruffled
By Northern winds and distant cries of basilisks

—Leaves many an
Autumn’s caress upon
Those who gaze surreptitiously.

I begin with some description. Description in this poem is important: the poem is a most graphical one—that’s how it was created. That’s how most of my poems are formed, actually. I find it strange that I am so unable to convey that through drawing or painting; but so much more easily through words. Perhaps those are not meant to be my calling.

(You’re wishing I would leave the philosophy by the wayside, now aren’t you?)

Regardless, the poem is set in winter; fittingly, therefore, the Necromancer’s eyes are described in terms of such. This incidentally portrays him as a cold character—which he is, ostensibly.

Instead of attempting anything foolish (such as trying to assassinate his lover’s killer) he lay in wait, and so became poisoned by her caricatured memory.

His firm lips reveal his character: a tough one. He did not cry when she died. The alternative—unbeknownst to him—is far worse.

The quote ‘bright as neon hues’ reveals a degree of liveliness to him—but not a natural one.

Also: I hope you’ve noticed my little reference to ‘Leaves many an / Autumn’s caress’.

Some More ‘Interesting’ Quotes

How cruelly
Her life was taken:
By a bitter man with accrued ambition

Now for those of you unfamiliar with us writer’s various odd words, ‘accrued’ means ‘to silently accumulate—especially with regards to finance‘.

Aside from making some nice alliteration, the modifier (that’s the proper term; we don’t use ‘changer’ or even the posh adjective) reveals an aspect of ambition: how very cold, inhuman and… financial it is. (Indeed, how finance is very anti humanist—but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish…)

Life! He thinketh; such foolish tomfoolery!
Only death knows the truest hearts of undying lovers.

The last line reveals what sad parody his love has become. Oh, and did you notice my little archaism? I love archaisms: they make me sound all clever and posh.

(‘Yes, but Alex; you’ve used them inconsistently. And they’re not terribly imaginative.’ Moi: ‘It’s called effect you idiot.’)

Did you even notice the extraneous foolish on tomfoolery? There’s a fancy name for that, but I think I’ll just leave it at ‘it’s cool cos it’s stupid.’

And so love’s evil doppelgänger form
Crowns herself queen of a puppeteer.
The Throne of Puppeteers! How fitting.

Love’s evil doppelgänger form is of course a reference to the madness that plagues him now—a madness that truly invaded him once he became a Lichtr. (That’s the Proto-Zaelic—Old Arachadian—word for Lich, which is forgotten in the time period at which the Necromancer is set. I shall be writing a hopefully succinct intro on the Arachadian language soon, which shall be part of the book.)

(PS: a lich is an undead being; but a conscious, empowered and very much sentient one at that.)

The ‘puppeteers’ is a mockery of Necromancers. They puppet their undead; but like the evil puppets that they are, the undead also puppet him. (Geez, that’s a lot of puppet isn’t it?)

Also, I am making reference to the primary antagonist of the sequel, if I ever get to that.

Oh, and an earlier quote I forgot to mention:

His hands play idly with the toys of tyrants.

The ‘toys of tyrants’ refers to his knife and his spellbook. This is relevant to tyrants because their power is in fear and in political success; their knives are just toys.

His spellbook is less obvious—doesn’t he need it to Raise his undead? Well, he does, but only the more complex ones. And it is the Revenants—the many and the mindless—that form the bulk of his army.


My musings on my poem have been very literary and clinical. The poem, on the other hand, is very emotive. Honestly, I think its meaning is abundantly clear. I am merely drawing your attention to some of the subtleties; there are more, though, so do pay attention.

And I do hope this poem has drawn you in. You don’t think the Necromancer is boring, right? Hello? Are you there?

(Echoes of the uncaring ring emptily, leaving yours truly to work on his book. Thank you for reading.)