A big welcome to Andrew Q. Gordon as part of his re-release of The Last Grand Master.
I’m very happy these books are being re-leased as they’re one of my favourite fantasy series.
Writing the Ultimate Antagonist.
Conflict is an essential part of a story. No matter how well defined or likable characters are to the reader, a story still needs gripping tension and conflict to keep the reader engaged. Tiny Tim was sweet and loveable, but without Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, where would A Christmas Carol be? Similarly, Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry were a wonderful, fun bunch, but it was Sauron that made the story compelling.
As we know, conflict can take many forms. Sometimes, it’s Sauron, or Lord Foul—god-like creatures who seem to have no rivals to their power. Other times, it’s less godly, but still dangerous, really powerful humans, like Voldemort or Ma’ar, the dark wizard in the Valdemar series. And then there are those times when the sun is going to explode, or a new disease turns the world into zombies. Each of these has its own issues when trying to write the conflict in a way that is believable.
For me, there can’t be a ‘Star Trek’ resolution to the problem. You know what I’m talking about; the ship’s going to explode, there’s no hope and suddenly, this brilliant idea comes into someone’s head and the impossibly dead warp engines that Scotty needed thirty minutes to restart, comes on line in the last two minutes of the show. The resolution has to be as engaging as the conflict. If it isn’t, the tension ends up contrive—nothing more than filler in an attempt to make the story seem interesting.
I’m not sure which type of ultimate bad guy is harder to write. Each comes with its own set of difficulties. Personally, I eschew the godlike creature that has no equal but is stopped by some weapon another godlike creature left behind. Every time I try, I end up with manufactured limitations that feel forced.
I prefer the antagonist who is just like everyone else, but becomes powerful and threatens to take over the world. In these cases, the protagonist at least has a fighting chance. Just like in sports, Roger Federer looked unstoppable until Rafael Nadal took over. Novak Djokovic in turn challenged Nadal. Same with Golf. Once Tiger Woods seemed destine to rule forever. Now? Not so much. Point being, the rise of one superstar doesn’t preclude a rival from rising as well.
On the other hand, the everyday guy versus the god doesn’t quite work for me. Keeping to the sports analogy, this isn’t the underdog U.S. Hockey team taking on the mighty Russians in the 1980 hockey gold medal game. This would be akin to the Smithville Pee Wees squaring off against the New York Yankees for the World Series. Sure it’s fantasy, but still.
It will probably come as no surprise that I didn’t use the ordinary Joe versus the god conflict in the Champion of the Gods series. Although the greater conflict in the series is between the gods, they can’t act directly without destroying the world. Each side gets a Champion—hence the series title—and through those Champions, the two sides fight it out. The idea of two relatively evenly matched adversaries duking it out to find out who comes out on top appeals to me. Having chosen that back drop, all that remains it to flesh out the characters, work in the conflict in an entertaining way, and keep it all consistent. Piece of cake, right? (You can all stop laughing now.)
I’ve no illusions that I had an easy path to ‘the end,’ but the journey was part of the fun. I hope you’ll hitch a ride and come with me as I set the field and let the Champions fight it out. May the best side win.
The series was originally published by DSP Publications. With the return of my rights, I’m re-editing and re-releasing. There are no material changes to the story. I will be releasing one book per month until Book 5, When Heroes Fall, is released in May.
Right now, the series is only available from Amazon. My plan is to release it everywhere in the future.
In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, God of Evil. For 3,000 years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin’s evil was nearly forgotten.
But then Meglar, wizard-king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.
Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar – or it could destroy the world.
Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns, and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell’s mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin’s evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost him and Miceral their lives.
Bio and Books:
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
Since devouring The Lord of the Rings as a preteen, he has been a fan of all things fantastical. His imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic. He also writes the occasional contemporary story.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband of twenty-four years. Together they are raising their daughter and three dogs. Andrew tries to squeeze writing time in around his most important jobs, being husband and ‘Papa.’ Along with teaching how to kick a soccer ball or ride a scooter, he has become fluent in cartoon characters and children’s books. To find out more about Andrew, his writing and his family, follow him on his website or on Facebook.
You can also sign up for his monthly newsletter and get an exclusive short story only available to subscribers. Use the link below to join:
January 16, 2020: The Last Grand Master: (Champion of the Gods–Book 1)
February 15, 2020: The Eye and the Arm: (Champion of the Gods–Book 2)
March 15, 2020: Kings of Lore and Legend: (Champion of the Gods–Book 3)
April 15, 2020: Child of Night and Day (Champion of the Gods—Book: 4)
May 15, 2020: When Heroes Fall (Champion of the Gods—Book 5)