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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Found a nice solution to Satan having so much power he almost brings the first church crashing down (when he appears to the first cardinal as the dark figure): De Rosa's zombie body will be home to multiple powerful demons, not just Satan, and they can combine their strength when needed.

1,027 (edited by George FLC 2024-03-02 15:40:12)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

I feel like I'm entering this midstream. Why was it a problem to have Satan bring a church down? If there are Christians inside worshipping and praying at the time, then it makes more sense that he needs help. Or if there is much prayer offered up on behalf of the church regularly then it also makes more sense that he needs help. I have a hunch this might be how some Catholics will think about it.

Sorry if I'm getting too cynical but if the church is run by a Catholic in Name only (CINO) and there's no spiritual life there... then take it down! I can say the same for Protestant, too.

And why not just have the extra demons show up when needed? Gather the forces! Attack!

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

I can say the same for Protestant, too

Herein is the problem because I'm bringing a judeo-christian upbringing into a catholic story. It gets difficult to navigate the intricacies.

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Kdot wrote:

I can say the same for Protestant, too

Herein is the problem because I'm bringing a judeo-christian upbringing into a catholic story. It gets difficult to navigate the intricacies.

Ah, good point. That's part of the beauty of this story. It's good to navigate new waters and there's a certain impressiveness in saying that you're group has been around for 2000 years. Too often we protestants have looked at Catholics and judged them harshly. And the opposite has happened as well. Let's look at it as an exercise in archeology/history and we're discovering new things. I've been hanging with Catholics for a while and I'm less at odds with them than I was.

Catholics are Judeo-Christian. They're different! But Judeo-Christian.

1,030 (edited by Dirk B. 2024-03-02 20:59:00)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

The reason I want multiple demons inside De Rosa is that he displays too much power. Although one could say Satan's the most powerful demon, there would have to be others who are nearly as powerful. If that were the case, I would expect them to bring down churches right, left, and center. By requiring multiple demons to accomplish what De Rosa does, it brings Satan's individual powers down to a more reasonable level. Interestingly, though, Connor, as a hybrid, is more powerful than De Rosa, something Satan doesn't realize. Father and son will have a violent confrontation in book two, yet somehow, Connor loses. Can't imagine why. :-)  Neither intends to kill the other, but it will be fun to have them tear St. Peter's Basilica apart as they fight it out.

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

One other admirable thing about your writing is that you have respect for the Catholic Church. So be nice when you tear St. Peter's apart! :-)

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

The beauty of fiction! John Paul II's tomb is up on the main floor, as is the Pieta, and the Chair of St. Peter. And who can forget the Baldaccino, which Connor knocked over in book one? I may also crack the church's huge dome. Should be fun!

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

LOL. Just remember, the last time you "got into it", I pulled the rug out from under you. smile

1,034 (edited by George FLC 2024-03-03 00:29:05)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Dirk B. wrote:

The beauty of fiction! John Paul II's tomb is up on the main floor, as is the Pieta, and the Chair of St. Peter. And who can forget the Baldaccino, which Connor knocked over in book one? I may also crack the church's huge dome. Should be fun!

Yeah! If at night, make sure the moon is full so that moon light falls through the crack onto the rubble on the floor! Sun light will do the trick during the day. Have the shadows form scary teethlike images. Sorry, I'm getting into it...

Oops, I edited my post and you responded before I posted...

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Cool addition for the fight - the Eucharist that's always on display in the basilica (as part of the ongoing charade of Connor being Christ) isn't destroyed during the fight, even though everything around it is. Instead, it begins to glow brightly within the monstrance used to display it, moments after De Rosa defeats Connor. The two of them approach to within perhaps ten meters of it, and De Rosa goes to knock it off the altar but is unable to get near it due to excruciating pain, so he storms off. Curious, Connor tries to approach it and is able to do so. He can even pick up the monstrance. Sometime later, someone notices the sacrament is missing, the implication being that Connor took it.

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Dirk B. wrote:

Cool addition for the fight - the Eucharist that's always on display in the basilica (as part of the ongoing charade of Connor being Christ) isn't destroyed during the fight, even though everything around it is. Instead, it begins to glow brightly within the monstrance used to display it, moments after De Rosa defeats Connor. The two of them approach to within perhaps ten meters of it, and De Rosa goes to knock it off the altar but is unable to get near it due to excruciating pain, so he storms off. Curious, Connor tries to approach it and is able to do so. He can even pick up the monstrance. Sometime later, someone notices the sacrament is missing, the implication being that Connor took it.

Good scene. The important word is "implication". And when you say - took it. I assume you mean he consumed the bread and wine. I have real problems with Connor doing anything with the sacrament except leaving it alone. MAYBE a crumb or drop is okay. If it affects De Rosa then it should affect Conner. BUT I'm getting used to your twists and turns. If it means he simply moved it, then perhaps it's okay. If Conner is half of De Rosa then it should still be somewhat powerful to Conner. This by the way is one of the big questions for me. How can Connor partake in the Eucharist? How did he hide it all along?

1,037 (edited by Dirk B. 2024-03-03 21:28:11)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Several thoughts:
- Connor has received the sacrament many times without having ever confessed he was part of a huge conspiracy; if I could make him sick every time he took the sacrament, I would, but that would give away the surprise at the end of book one, so I have to explain it (two options noted below)
- by the time Connor fights his father at the basilica, he will have already confessed everything to a priest, although he hasn't celebrated Mass yet, but that might not be a bad idea; I might then have Connor take the sacrament away from St. Peter's for safekeeping since his father is sure to want it destroyed
- just as Satan was not inherently evil from the moment of his creation, neither is Connor; he has his mother's DNA, De Rosa-the-zombie's DNA, with changes to the zombie's sperm to give Connor his supernatural powers; the only thing Connor got from Satan was his powers, no predisposition to evil and certainly no demonic spirit; Satan has been trying to corrupt Connor since he was born, and for book 1 and half of book 2, it appears Satan may yet succeed; however, given that Satan manipulated the zombie sperm, I generally refer to Connor as part demon, albeit with almost 100% human DNA and a human soul
- it's Connor's maternal grandfather who reminds him that, as long as he hasn't blasphemed the Holy Spirit, all else can be forgiven, but he has to make a real confession and atone for his sins; he'll receive instructions from the Holy Spirit on how to do the latter; he's told to proceed with the rescue mission for which he returned to Earth, but he's increasingly terrified of the cost to him personally
- I suppose somewhere in the last chapter of book one, the characters could discuss how it is that Connor could take the sacrament for all those years and not become noticeably ill; they conclude what I summarized above; and since he's not inherently evil, the host is as harmless/useless to Connor as it is for any non-believer and those who haven't gone to confession; the other alternative is that the host, having been transubstantiated, ought to make him sick, but it never does; perhaps he's protected by the fact that he bears the soul of a major biblical figure; either explanation would work
- one caveat about his soul: by the time Connor receives the Holy Spirit, his ancient soul will have been changed by Connor's life up to age 16 (his age in book two); so, when his soul does finally fully awaken to who it is and was, his soul is no longer simply that of the biblical figure; it is also by then part Connor, the screwed up, manipulated-since-birth kid who still loves his father; I'll have to figure out how to keep alive the possibility that Connor might yet kill Christ so as to save his father; perhaps he can have recurring nightmares that alternate between him killing Christ and him killing his father

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Dirk B. wrote:

Several thoughts:

- just as Satan was not inherently evil from the moment of his creation, neither is Connor; he has his mother's DNA, De Rosa-the-zombie's DNA, with changes to the zombie's sperm to give Connor his supernatural powers; the only thing Connor got from Satan was his powers, no predisposition to evil and certainly no demonic spirit; Satan has been trying to corrupt Connor since he was born, and for book 1 and half of book 2, it appears Satan may yet succeed; however, given that Satan manipulated the zombie sperm, I generally refer to Connor as part demon, albeit with almost 100% human DNA and a human soul

BUT! Sin enters at conception. Catholics say that Mary had the Immaculate Conception. You really complicate things by having a zombie in the equation. But the zombie was originally full of sin. So, it was passed to Connor... again, the zombie aspect is tricky and I'm assuming a zombie has a sin nature? They're controlled by demons. Satan is obviously bad spiritually. Maybe you can wiggle around the issue saying that zombies have no sin nature. Sin is passed through the man. BUT, the power is spiritual so Satan won't need to finagle the sperm.

My brain is beginning to zone out... tell me what you think.

1,039 (edited by Dirk B. 2024-03-04 18:29:01)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Sin, yes. But not inherently evil from the start (neither Satan nor Connor nor the pre-zombie DeRosa).

De Rosa was a human being. In the first draft, all Satan needed to create zombie-De Rosa was his DNA, so the original DNA source could still be alive. In the next draft, it's a little more sensible. Satan (and the demons helping him) enter the body of a dead man and make it seem that he's alive. I'm fact, I could make it so that it always requires multiple demons to animate a dead man. That would explain how they do it (ie one demon can't by itself).

Since Connor is not inherently evil and Satan does not provide any satanic DNA (there's no such thing), the best Satan can do is manipulate Connor's genes (inherited from the zombie at conception) to give him his superpowers. Granted, there are genes that make humans do all kinds of evil things (eg murderous psychopath), but that makes those humans too unpredictable for Satan. One thing Satan could definitely change through DNA is the way that some animals attach themselves on to another animal as their perceived parent. That's how he could make Connor love him, virtually unconditionally.

I didn't want to go down the route of Connor's powers being spiritual because I consider that a cop out from a storyteller's perspective (eg Connor needs powers, so Satan "somehow" passed on his spiritual powers, but we can't explain how. Yuck.). I think a DNA-based solution is closer to something we can understand and relate to. For example, think about all the powers that other animals have that we don't (gorilla strength, incredible speed, ability to breathe under water, ability to fly, ability to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation, etc.). Is it such a stretch then to imagine Connor could draw lightning from the sky? Just carry a lot of metal in a thunderstorm, and you can do it too. smile

The Bible says that Satan gave the Antichrist his power, throne, and authority (some wording like that), but Satan would never share power with someone he didn't trust absolutely, hence for me, it had to be a son. That made it obvious that Connor's powers should come from his genes.

Also, remember Connor is actually more powerful than Satan (although Satan doesn't know that yet) since Satan has only spiritual powers, whereas Connor is a form of hybrid with superhuman DNA. So, I'm free to decide that Connor is stronger.

I'm beginning to ramble, so I'll stop there.

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

There's mucho info there. I must ponder and then respond. Sorry for my slow response...

One comment. I personally think it's totally appropriate for Satan to have powers and not use DNA. I've heard that one of the storms on Lake Galilee when Jesus walked on water was a spiritual attack. So, Satan (or underlings) was able to whip up a storm on his own.

1,041 (edited by Dirk B. 2024-03-05 17:23:00)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

I have no problem with Satan having spiritual powers. After all, he is a spirit. But I needed an explanation for how Connor came to be and where he got his power from. If Connor could have "inherited" powers from Satan (much like I inherited my hair color from my parents), how would that have happened? Is there an ability to transfer power from a spirit into a human? And how does one get it from spirit to human? Is it sufficient for Satan to simply think it, and therefore it happens (not believable IMO)? Or is there such a thing as "spiritual" DNA? If so, how do you get it from Satan into Campagna and down to Connor?

If not spiritual DNA, how else might Connor get his powers? Some form of transfer of part of Satan's corrupted spirit into Connor's spirit after birth? If I were to use the latter, then there would actually be true evil in Connor's spirit. That would break the story since the premise is that Connor is not evil. He has free will and the ability to turn away from Satan. Connor just needs to have his eyes opened by people who care about him (his family) that Satan is a manipulative SOB who never actually loved Connor, despite what he told Connor throughout his childhood.

I decided for my story, there is no direct transfer of part of Satan's spirit into Connor's since that makes the kid inherently evil. There is also no spiritual DNA. If you prefer some "form" of DNA for the transfer, you might as well accomplish it through human DNA, modified by Satan in De Rosa's sperm. It's much easier to explain without trying to reinvent the wheel to create spiritual DNA. Also, regular DNA enables an additional element about the relationship between Satan and Connor, namely that some of the DNA manipulation Satan made was intended to create a powerful but fake bond through natural imprinting between Connor and Satan. That bond is something Connor will struggle with until the very end of book three, when he has to decide who to kill: Satan or Jesus.

Ultimately, this is all made-up cacas anyway, so I might as well use a simple solution that doesn't break the story.

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

so I might as well use a simple solution that doesn't break the story.

In one of her early battles Lenore used a speed potion (she got from another character) to beat up a bunch of enemy construction workers.

This caused me all sorts of grief because there were other instances where she could have used the potions, but did not. And I further had to use the potions among other characters since it wasn't believable one might sip some holy water and get sixty seconds of x100 speed and strength.

Getting rid of the potion-concept and having her simply shoot her enemies. So simple. Solved so much.

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Kdot wrote:

Getting rid of the potion-concept and having her simply shoot her enemies. So simple. Solved so much.

It's also classic Kdot. Reminds me of that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Arab blocking Indy's path draws his sword and begins to show off with it, trying to intimidate Indy. At which point Indy simply draws his gun and shoots him. Not only a simple solution, but a funny one too.

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Cool. My first ranking against other competing fan fiction stories (on Wattpad). My Dune - Into the Worm is currently sitting at 89 out of 501 Dune fan stories. Naturally, it's because of the release of Dune 2. I know I had posted this piece elsewhere, where I could see the number of readers per day and what countries they're from.

1,045 (edited by Dirk B. 2024-03-07 04:10:35)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Have you ever had so many plot ideas & details flying at you that you don't even have time to organize your notes as you type them up?

I started a Notes file recently for books 2 & 3 of Connor and a few related ideas for book 1 (since books 2 & 3 definitely affect what I had planned for the next draft of book 1). I was too busy with real life to keep it organized, so every time over the past two weeks that I had a new idea, I simply tacked it on to the end of the file before I could forget the details, which happens all too often. Seventeen single-spaced pages and counting, where quite a few paragraphs are each a crushed version of a scene, dialogue and all. There are even multiple versions of some scenes sprinkled throughout the rest of the notes. The fun part comes soon, when I have to organize it all into spreadsheets. Ugh.

Since the above is likely to keep happening (i.e., ideas for one book affecting the other two), I'm thinking of writing the first draft of books 2 & 3 as novellas, which is sure to bring other ideas to mind for each of the other books, including an eventual third (final?) draft of book 1. The result of this will mean I won't finish book 1 for many more years than I had hoped, but in between I get to write fresh material (first draft) for the other books, which should keep things more interesting.

In the meantime, Joseph & Apollo are griping that I'm not working hard enough to finish cleaning up the first act of Archangel Syndrome, at which point I intend to shelve it again and jump back to Connor, hopefully by the start of summer (2 more surgeries and two sets of income taxes may screw up my schedule).

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Another fun idea: In book two, Connor should behave increasingly as if he has multiple personality disorder, but doesn't yet know why. He, of course, unknowingly shares the soul within him with the ancient biblical figure, who continues to slowly awaken throughout book two and increasingly attempts to assert control over Connor's body, thoughts, and actions, but Connor's part of that soul strongly resists those attempts, which causes the apparent personality disorder. Connor doesn't know that he is fighting another, awakening part of his own soul. This will come to a head near the end of book two, when both personalities are fully awake and aware of each other. The only way they can keep going is to figure out how to live with each other. They definitely influence each other, though, since they are not really two beings: they share a body, a brain, a soul, and various elements of a personality that is not truly two separate entities. That's the reason the awakening biblical figure was able to prevent Connor from smothering the pope. That figure will be revealed at the end of the book.

If I'm not mistaken, Christians believe that humans are driven by their souls, which remains when the body dies. But what about multiple personalities, especially ones who don't even know other personalities exist within them? Does the soul have multiple personalities as well, like Connor? My answer as far as the story is concerned is: yes.

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Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Main problem is MPD robs your MCs of agency

Secondary problem (as I'm discovering with my bounty hunter) is readers may side with the wrong entity, creating a false promise that the book has no plan of living up to. I'm kind of okay with it, as the bounty hunter is a relatively minor character, but as a main, it'd be a real problem.

1,048 (edited by Dirk B. 2024-03-07 15:03:58)

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

In the case of Connor and the biblical figure (bf), I think both have agency, although there are clashes. Connor dominates in book one, begins to lose a little control of decisions at the end of book one (failed to smother the pope), continues to lose control as bf awakens throughout book two, a crisis point is reached that probably requires both to settle their differences and work together (details TBD), after which a blended whole can move forward. I had been thinking that each would continue to exist, though, with one or the other yielding control as dictated by the scene/plot, especially when certain unique strengths are called for that only one of them has. Naturally, if there is a switch in the personality in control, I would need to make that obvious to the reader.

In order for them to reach a compromise, I should probably have a scene where they talk to each other directly (via thoughts), although it seems kind of weird at the moment. The other option is to not show it at all and merely have one of the personalities report the agreed upon compromise. I lean toward the former since I think the conversation would be interesting to both read and write. I'll have to write it to see what works best.

Regardless of the exact details, I definitely need to have some form of clash play out since there are two personalities in one soul, where one dominates at the beginning while the other awakens and fights for some level of control.

I don't think readers will side with bf since Connor is the only personality present in book one, and is the only apparent personality throughout most of book two (who looks to be having growing mental health issues, presumed by other characters to be the result of Satan's manipulations of an otherwise decent kid). I probably won't reveal the presence (and identity) of bf until the end of book two. Not sure yet.

Good grief, there is a lot to think through.

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Dirk B. wrote:

I have no problem with Satan having spiritual powers. After all, he is a spirit. But I needed an explanation for how Connor came to be and where he got his power from. If Connor could have "inherited" powers from Satan (much like I inherited my hair color from my parents), how would that have happened? Is there an ability to transfer power from a spirit into a human? And how does one get it from spirit to human? Is it sufficient for Satan to simply think it, and therefore it happens (not believable IMO)? Or is there such a thing as "spiritual" DNA? If so, how do you get it from Satan into Campagna and down to Connor?

I might be wrong, but I imagine that most people would say - Satan has sex with a woman through a zombie man, therefore evilness is passed to the kid. Especially, if the kid is the AC. Are you over thinking this? The spiritual side of Connor should be powerful to manipulate the physical world.

And of course! This is just brainstorming!

Re: The Lord of the Earth - Dirk B.

Dirk B. wrote:

If not spiritual DNA, how else might Connor get his powers? Some form of transfer of part of Satan's corrupted spirit into Connor's spirit after birth? If I were to use the latter, then there would actually be true evil in Connor's spirit. That would break the story since the premise is that Connor is not evil. He has free will and the ability to turn away from Satan. Connor just needs to have his eyes opened by people who care about him (his family) that Satan is a manipulative SOB who never actually loved Connor, despite what he told Connor throughout his childhood.

There was only one immaculate conception, two if you're Catholic. But even Darth Vader had enough good inside him to turn from the dark side therefore Connor would have some good and bad inside him. We all have free will to turn away from Satan and towards God.

Sorry, I feel like I'm missing a point you made a long time ago or recently.