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Hands of Fate: Chapter 1.5

5

While Ganis was contemplating her training with Asclepius back in Katabasis, she was interrupted by the twins Percival and Dindrane. The two approached her merrily as they shared jokes and giggles. At first, Ganis thought that they were just passing by, but they came and stood beside her as they leaned on the edge of the ironwood deck. The Moroi found herself surrounded by the two twins she knew nothing about.

“That stiff Captain of ours ordered us to talk to you,” Percival spoke.

“Brother, that is a rude way of approaching a lady. Have I taught you nothing?” Dindrane scolded.

“Apologies. You look rather ravishing this evening, my lady. May I offer you a drink?” Percival offered Ganis a sip from a well-abused flask. The steel container had all kinds of scratches and dents, covering some tree-like pattern which seemed to be of some beauty in days long past.

“Careful, whelp! I am not one to be taken lightly and accustomed to this quickly,” rather annoyed by his overly friendly approach, Ganis confronted the young man.

Flicking his red braided hair off of his right shoulder, Percival bowed apologetically to Ganis to atone for his unwelcome friendliness. When he bowed back, Ganis noticed the subtle grey color of his eyes while he looked her straight in hers, “I was only intending to convey a friendly demeanor to our newest comrade. Forgive us, we are not yet accustomed to your likes and dislikes.”

“I hope my brother has not bothered you, for he always assumes that others would not mind his directness.”

“I apologize for behaving with such hostility. I was just dwelling on a painful experience,” while turning to face Dindrane, Ganis spoke. She took the opportunity to observe the woman’s features more thoroughly. The siblings shared the exact same features with a difference in their gender – red hair, grey eyes, and slender frame.

“Would you like to tell us about these memories in hopes of alleviating them?” greatly minding his tone and choosing his words, Percival offered.

Just before Ganis was about to reject the offer, she realized that this was the perfect opportunity for her to test the belief in her refined background story. After a brief pause, Ganis spoke, “I was orphaned at a young age and forced to join the Peacekeeper Core. Ever since that day, I have been making one wrong decision after another. In spite of being a Commander Protector, I was not fit for the responsibilities of command. My final decision to oppose the current Emperor Servak during the rebellion was by far the worst, for it bound me to the Necromancer, Asclepius, and his dreadful Katabasis. The time I wasted there, following some mindless orders, cost me an opportunity to redeem myself during the Behemoths’ war. I can never forgive myself for opposing Servak, unless I make amends for all the harm I have done.”

“Since you shared your story, I believe we owe you the tale of our past. Percival and I were born in exiled Partha to a single mother. We were poor and had to live on the kindness of others, or our own cunning. Since there was no kindness in Partha back in the day, we resorted to theft. One day, a glorious group of warriors passed by our house and inspired us to be more than common thieves. We sought them out and were warmly accepted in their ranks as spies and, later on, assassins. Our mother died a couple of seasons later. When Lyra arrived, our leader decided to join forces with the exiled Gallecian. After becoming renowned for our skills, Lyra invited us to join her own personal guard,” Dindrane narrated while looking at the stars above.

“Our stories bear similarities, but we grew to be rather different from one another. Perhaps your presence in this Ona might help me become one of you,” Ganis spoke. Part of her spoke sincere words, yet most of her just wanted to maintain her identity secret.

“It is truly an honor to have you with us. Can I call you beautiful now?” Percival joked.

“Only if you want to be clobbered to near-death.”

Not knowing whether she was joking or being serious, Percival released a fake laugh. Ganis’ joining in greatly relieved the young man, as it indicated the nature of her comment. Lightly and merrily treading away from Ganis, the twins continued to the lower decks.

The conversation with Percival and Dindrane stirred Ganis’ thoughts. She was confused regarding the mission at hand and how she could complete it quickly to return to Katabasis, where she found comfort. Although she claimed to hate fort Katabasis most of the time, Ganis perceived it more as a home than she had ever perceived any other place. It was truly where she felt most comfortable and serene.

Hands of Fate: Chapter 1.4

4

After waking up from her extended nap, Ganis headed outside the crew’s quarters and towards the alchemy lab where Ninazu created his sinister concoctions. Never having seen the man before, Ganis was quite shocked when he appeared in front of her. The apothecary had long, coarse, black hair coupled with a black beard. Other than his dark skin, Ninazu’s facial features were hidden behind the dense fur covering most of his face.

Once Ganis knocked at the door and opened it, Ninazu’s pitch black eyes met Ganis’. His stare extended past the surface of Ganis’ pupils and into her soul. In spite of being a creature whose life had been unnaturally extended, Ganis felt the coldness of Ninazu’s gaze. It was as if she stood naked with all her true self and intentions uncovered.

The Moroi quickly looked away and pretended to gain a sudden interest in her host’s work. “What are you working on, comrade?” Ganis asked, hoping that the attempt would distract Ninazu from his inspection.

“Your eyes are different,” the apothecary was not fooled by Ganis’ attempt to hide her true identity.

“How so?”

“They are empty. I rarely see anyone with eyes as empty as yours. Usually people’s eyes tell a story or show some significant detail regarding their personality, but your eyes are simply void.”

Growing increasingly uncomfortable with the conversation, Ganis attempted to revert to her originally planned conversation, “Do you have any medicine that would ease seasickness?”

The man picked up a cylindrical vial placed on the table he worked on and handed it to Ganis, “Drink this.”

Ganis took the vial and smelled its contents. The lack of a bitter smell identified it as a safe potion. The Moroi gulped the clear green liquid immediately and thanked the man, while heading out.

“Wait! I want to ask you something,” Ninazu spoke just as Ganis was about to close the wooden door.

She returned inside the room and stood with compliance. There was no need to utter any speech to signal her submission regarding her comrade’s request.

“Pertinax has told me a great deal about your past, but there is a period where the details of your life remain obscure. Where were you during the events of the Ancient’s War?”

“I was by Asclepius’ side, aiding in what little way I could.”

“Surely, there is some interesting story behind the deeds of the hero of Nosgard during his farce with the pale ancient,” with no attempt to hide his suspicions, Ninazu hinted.

“The man used incredible magic generated from the teeth of fallen Dragons. By combining the animating properties of the Dragon teeth and the bodies of the Draugr, Asclepius created a colossal bone golem that stood on a par with the ancient. Although the spell was great, the Behemoth struck at the construct and broke its bones. With his last shred of remaining strength, the Necromancer hurled the shards of broken bones into the weakened body of the Behemoth and killed it. I was there during this duel, watching from a safe distance.”

“Now that I know about your past, I would like to share mine. I came to your lands when I was a child no older than ten years old. Unfortunately, the ship bearing my people crashed, and the few remaining survivors banded together and lived as one nomadic tribe. We built our homes on wheels so we could take them with us to the different kingdoms we went to. Along our journey, we picked up a few skills and traded some items. I learned the properties of herbs and how to combine them into potions this way. When the civil war started and the Council came to power, we were hunted down as outlaws. The final Peacekeeper raid on my tribe cost the lives of all my companions. Once I was alone, there were no morals or rules to guide my actions and I resorted to crime. I used my skills in alchemy to create poisons for assassins and bandits serving criminal organizations in Gallecia. My success alerted the authorities regarding my presence, and I was eventually caught and exiled to Partha. I met Commander Thane in the exile colony and was offered sanctuary by his followers. Thane made use of my alchemy skills to heal the wounded and preserve life. I spent a decade in Partha tending the wounds and injuries of others until I met Lyra, our leader. The coming of the Demigod Servak fueled the Parthan desire for vengeance and allowed me to avenge my Turian brethren by aiding the rebels. Ever since that day, I have loyally served Lyra and her Emperor, for they gave me closure regarding my murdered kin.”

“You are a Turian, like Sigurd?”

“Indeed, but his story is quite different from mine. Circumstances led my life to be one of solitude for a time, but Sigurd led a life of seclusion till he met Thane. In spite of all the pain I have been through, I cannot begin to imagine what he has undergone,” Ninazu sympathized with his fellow Turian and trusted comrade.

“I am glad that you shared your story with me. Thank you.”

“I have only shared with you as many details as I wish. However, unlike your story, mine was all true. I do not know what you are trying to hide from us, but I know that there is more to it than past events. I cannot reveal the truth behind your history if you are not willing to share it. When you are free from distrust, seek me out. For now, the remedy I gave you should be enough,” returning to mix his ground herbs, Ninazu declared.

Ganis excused herself and left the room where Ninazu worked. She made sure to properly close the door once she was outside. Ganis then headed to the main deck to watch the sunset and reevaluate her cover story.

Hands of Fate: Chapter 1.3

3

While Ganis avoided the lunch gathering of her comrades by skulking in the lower decks pretending to look for a misplaced object, she came across Pertinax’s second in command, Hephaestion.

The brown haired man was lying on his hammock reading a scroll when Ganis approached. When he noticed her heading his way, Hephaestion turned his head to face the Moroi. The light revealed his chestnut colored eyes once he gazed at the intruder, expecting her to commence a series of questions regarding her misplaced object.

Realizing that the man awaited her speech, Ganis slurred, “Hail, I am Ganis.”

“And I am Hephaestion. Pertinax told me everything about you, but there is one thing that continues to intrigue me. We set sail a day ago and you have not eaten since. There is no need for you to refrain from informing us about your seasickness. Ninazu can quickly prepare a remedy for you to deal with that.”

“Thank you. I will head to Ninazu after he is done with his lunch. There is one more thing though.”

“What is it?” putting down the scroll in a crevice near his hammock, one designed specifically to hold down scrolls and other cylindrical objects, Hephaestion asked.

“I spoke to Commander Pertinax, and he informed me of the importance of getting to know your comrades. I was hoping that you would share with me some of your history.”

“That is an excellent idea. Normally I would ask you to start with your history, but we have all been made aware of it by Pertinax,” the Parthan spoke. He then took a moment to structure his story before telling it to Ganis, “My story begins after traveling the known lands in search of knowledge from various different sources. When I was fifteen, I decided that my learning had reached a level where there was no need for me to rely on others to gain knowledge. Once I had attained this level of education, I sought a way to apply it in a practical manner and joined the Peacekeeper Core where I met Thane. Although Thane was my age back then, he was already a Commander of a small scouting Peacekeeper group. Impressed by my qualifications and tactical savvy, Thane immediately promoted me to be his second in command. Back then, the Peacekeeper Core was a minor entity which had just been established by the Gallecian authorities to maintain peace in its surrounding lands. It was a group of glorified law enforcers who were about to undergo an identity change. The escalating civil war altered our role to one of bloodshed, and used us as soldiers instead of law enforcers. When the war was over, and Partha was exiled, the Gallecian Council attempted to consolidate their power and be formally named as rulers of Gallecia and protectors of the peace. Although a seemingly fitting reward for the noble Council, Thane and I saw beyond their lies. We knew that the Council was planning something sinister, but we could not identify their intent and prove it. Eventually, Thane conspired with a group of Peacekeepers opposing the Council’s rule, and I willingly followed. One day, however, we were betrayed by one of our comrades and handed over to the Gallecian authorities as rebels and enemies to the peace; we were quickly exiled and sent to Partha. Within the exiled kingdom, Thane and I had to start a new life where survival was based on careful planning as well as avoiding stirring trouble with the hostile gangs. These days were hard, but they made us stronger. It started with Thane and me looking out for each other, and then grew to become a full grown gang of over a hundred members. We managed to gain status among the exiled and survived long enough to attend the arrival of lady Lyra and the Demigod Servak. As a former Peacekeeper officer who had rebelled against the Council, Thane did not need to prove his loyalties to Servak and managed to convince him to allow me to join Lyra’s Ona. However, the true purpose of my task was to spy on the Emperor and confirm the nature of his intentions. Once I learnt that the Emperor was indeed pure of heart, I confessed my role to Lyra who, to my surprise, admired my honesty and insisted that I remain as one of the members of her Ona. That concludes my story so far.”

“What a rather concise and elaborate way of informing me about your eventful history. You are indeed a man of detail, Hephaestion.”

“My past may be eventful, but I never served under the command of a hero such as Asclepius. I look forward to knowing more about this man,” Hephaestion indirectly requested. Before Ganis got a chance to reply to her comrade, he added, “Unfortunately, this story will have to wait, for I am starving and am in desperate need of sustenance. They are serving fish today, again; I guess that I should have my fill before it turns stale as the days come to pass.”

Hephaestion held his right hand out for Ganis to hold and support him while he stood up. Before stepping away from his hammock towards the stairs leading to the upper decks, he looked back and made sure that his reading material was properly secured. With a serene motion, Hephaestion exited the chambers.

Once the man was well out of sight, Ganis walked towards her own hammock and decided to grab some sleep. After all, she wanted to waste time during lunch.

Hands of Fate: Chapter 1.2

2

Aboard Commodore Habitus’ ship, the Siren’s Tear, each of Ganis’ companions was preoccupied with his or her own habit. Ganis, the Moroi, decided to approach her companions and start bonding with them. In spite of her objection to being sent away from Katabasis, her home, she knew that the voyage would be a long one and, without the support of her comrades, time would only pass slower; she had to a method by which the journey could be hastened and made easier.

Naturally, an Ona was as capable as its weakest member, and Ganis knew this fact rather well from her past when she had served in the Peacekeeper Core. To the Moroi, being the weakest member of the Ona was unacceptable and shameful. After all, she was a Protector like her other nine comrades as well as a bearer of the gift of death; making her far stronger than her comrades and better suited for survival. However, the strength of an Ona was determined by the harmony of the group rather than the capabilities of each individual member.

To Ganis, it was logical to start her personal quest with the leader of the group, Pertinax the Second. The former Peacekeeper did not need to look or ask around for Pertinax, for he stood on the edge of the ship’s bow, attempting to get a better view of the sculpted Siren which decorated the ship.

Once she approached him, Pertinax requested from Ganis to hold his hand and secure him if he lost his footing in his attempt. The Moroi agreed to comply and held her leader’s hand while he clumsily hung on the vessel’s wood. Once the air started striking his grease-covered hair and displacing it, he quickly returned behind the carved protrusion and got out a wooden comb from within his cloak.

“Thank you for that,” while combing his straight white hair, Pertinax addressed Ganis.

“No problem. I just wanted to introduce myself.”

“You are Ganis, Asclepius’ companion and former Commander Protector of the Peacekeeper Core. You were captured by the Demigod Emperor Servak, Pax bless him with peace, and sentenced to serve the released Necromancer Asclepius as a punishment for aiding the Council during the farce between the Peacekeepers of the second civil war. Although you were directly assigned to Asclepius, your second and main task was to spy on him,” Pertinax flawlessly recited Ganis’ known history. Once he had finished combing his hair, Pertinax inserted his comb back into a patch he had prepared in the inner area of his grey cloak and continued, “I know who you are, but do you know who I am?”

“Other than being my leader and serving Servak, nothing.” Ganis was shocked by her Commander’s assiduousness.

“As a comrade and a member of our Ona, I believe it is important for you to know about me as much as I know about you. My story began forty years ago when I taught at the Parthan School of Knowledge. Signs of the first civil war started worrying many of the scholars as well as affecting the lives of all the inhabitants of the lands. I was young and felt obligated to do more for my kingdom and king. Fueled by youthful passion, I applied for the Parthan military and was immediately placed as an officer to serve in fighting Parthan division. Due to my rune-bearing capabilities and education, I was given the best training and care to get assigned to a high ranking Parthan unit. Once my loyalties were certain and my training complete, I was carved with the same runes as all Parthan Protectors bore. Shortly after I started my military career, the civil war of man broke and my duties were multiplied. Although the Parthans had the best trained and equipped soldiers, we were overwhelmed by a far larger force with far superior magic. It was not long until the casualties started piling up, that we retreated to defend our kingdom. With all our prosperity and military might, we were incapable of fighting the world on our own. Once we were driven into our lands, the combined kingdoms of men built a wall around Partha to imprison us, cutting us off from most of our lands and the outside world. We then fell into the godless darkness where no light shown, and where I met Lyra and the Demigod Emperor Servak, Pax bless him with peace, who showed me the path to salvation and eternal peace, the path of Pax.” Pertinax looked above him at the clear blue skies and gazed for a moment.

“So you got into Lyra’s red Parthan Ona based on experience and qualifications?”

“No, I got into her Ona because I was known to be one who got things done regardless of the consequences. However, I have forsaken my past actions and found serenity in the ways of Pax, and he commands me to follow the leaders of the Empire. Is there a deity you believe in?” the Ona Commander looked straight at Ganis’ eyes, as if he expected her to respond piously.

“No I do not, for I know that sins and virtues do not affect the path our spirits tread once freed from the physical realm. I know that there is no reward for the just, nor is there punishment awaiting the wrongful. Once we die, we just seize to exist and rejoin the earth once again.”

“Perhaps my actions could sway you to the path of Pax someday,” Pertinax smiled while patting Ganis on the shoulder. “I have told you enough of my past for you to know who I am. The details, however, you will have to pick up during our voyage,” Pertinax said as he walked away from Ganis and towards the stairway leading to the lower decks. Before he disappeared into the darkness, Pertinax looked back and whispered to himself, “It is an honor to serve with you, Ganis of Katabasis.”

Although his final words to Ganis were not meant for her, her keen enhanced senses allowed her to hear them. Ganis watched the skies for a moment, then retired to her quarters in the lower levels of the ship.

Hands of Fate: Chapter 1.1

Today I decided to weekly post parts of my first unedited draft of one of my earlier works. I have not decided on the day of the week in which I would start, but I expect it to be sometime by the end of it, closer to the weekend.

Chapter 1: Assignment to Utyirth

‘It is an honor to be sent on such an endeavor by our Lord Demigod Emperor, an honor only exceeded by death during this endeavor.’ Philosophical Lessons from Utyirth (Volume I: Captain).

1

Within the mighty halls of Partha, Lyra and her Ona have been summoned by Prince Iolcus. The throne room was large and royal with the purple colored Parthan flags decorating its walls. A large purple carpet marked the way to the throne where Iolcus sat. Although it appeared dull in comparison to the Gallecian throne room, the Parthan prince’s seat of sovereignty maintained its awe and royal appearance.

Accompanied by the other nine members of her Ona, Lyra walked into the chamber, expected to meet the returning prince alone. To her surprise, she found her former companion and current Emperor awaiting her as well as the hero, Asclepius. With a joyous smile on her face, she knelt to the Demigod Emperor.

“You do not need to bow to me, not after what we have been through together,” while helping her up, Servak replied to Lyra’s gesture.

“You are an Emperor and I am your Voice in Partha. For that reason I have to bow in your presence, Emperor,” Lyra stood up with the Emperor’s help.

“Regardless of the formalities, I have a request to ask from you. During the Behemoths’ emergence and the events of the resultant war, we have been made aware of a potential rebellion. Unfortunately, we could not spare our resources and had to focus all on fighting the ancients and allowed the rebels to escape our lands with minimal resistance. Anaria offered us information regarding the whereabouts of the entity leading the rebellion, the Cult of Naa’tas. After a thorough investigation, it has been revealed that they traveled to distant lands known as Utyirth. We need your Ona to go and capture Naa’tas,” Servak briefed his Voice in Partha, Lyra.

“We will depart at once, my Lord.”

“The rebellion made us aware that the fight against the Council has not been won yet. To solidify our political influence and my claim to the throne, we will need all political figures to remain within the Imperial lands. As the Voice in Partha, you are required to remain here alongside Prince Iolcus.”

“So you will be sending a nine-man Ona into unfamiliar lands without their leader; that is most unwise,” worried by the reasoning behind Servak’s decision, Lyra suggested.

“You will be replaced by someone more fitting in dealing with matters of unfamiliarity,” a coarse and rugged voice spoke. Asclepius, the Necromancer and hero of the Empire, decided that it was time to join in the conversation and added, “Protector Ganis of the Peacekeeper Core will replace you. She is well-trained in the handling of unfamiliar situations and is the most suitable candidate for this mission. However, I do not suggest she replace you as the leader of the Ona, but as a member of the group.”

“It took me a great deal of training and time to achieve the harmony required to fight within one of the best elite Onas in Partha. For Ganis to reach such a level, it would require her to train along with them for no less than two seasons, that is if she successfully harmonizes with the group,” certain of her logic, Lyra stressed the futility in Servak’s decision.

“I am simply informing you of my decision. Will you accept this assignment on behalf of your Ona, or should I look for another group?” The Emperor often tended to ask his followers about their opinions.

Lyra turned to face the members of her Ona to check if they agreed on the assignment. The lack of response or comment from any of her companions signaled their cooperation, “They would gladly embark on this journey. Regardless of our own desires, your wish is our command.”

“From the moment we met in the Gallecian rune-carving festival, I trusted your loyalty and friendship, but I cannot command you to this perilous mission unless each member of your Ona is willing. Considering the limited knowledge we have regarding the nature of your target or their whereabouts, the mission is classified as one of extreme risk and a low chance of success. We have chosen your Ona because none of them have any ties to the Imperial lands, and because of the group’s composition. Taking all of their skills into consideration, your Ona is ideal for this task,” with brotherly affection and understanding, Servak directed at Lyra’s Ona.

Another moment of silence confirmed their intention to proceed with the task. Impressed by their diligence, Servak headed towards the exit while gently touching the shoulders of the elite warriors. Until the Emperor left the chamber, silence prevailed among the attendees.

“There are a few issues that need mentioning before you proceed. It is crucial to maintain your identities’ secret and refrain from bringing attention to yourselves. Since assimilation into the cultures of Utyirth is critical, you will be given simple clothes consisting of trousers, a leather vest, and a grey cloak. Attempt to acquire clothes and weapons as soon as you can to assure your blending in their societies. Ganis is aboard Commodore Habitus’ ship. They are both waiting for you to start the voyage. Proceed to the armory to drop off your equipment and receive your new gear before heading to the Siren’s Tear, your transport. Good luck,” Prince Iolcus briefed.

With nothing to ask, the nine members of Lyra’s Ona left to prepare for their voyage. In spite of their capabilities and military record, Lyra feared that this would be the last time she would meet with her comrades.

On Writing: Finding Time

It has been a while since I wrote on this blog and reported my progress. That was, unfortunately, because I have not had much time these past two years and I could not write to my hearts content. Two days ago, however, I finally managed to make some time and squeeze in some writing. I managed to write about 12,000 words in these two days in a binge-writing-type phenomena. I finally finished my fifth installment of the series I have been working on. It has been so long that I missed it so much.

The other day I was chatting with someone about writing and he told me that there was this study about writing which made people happier and more productive in their work. I found the article and read it and it made a compelling case. I really do feel that after I write things seem a little brighter, often blindingly.

When we think that we are most busy is when we need to write the most.

On Writing: The Choice Diagram

About a month ago I started working on my new book, a poor choice considering that I have not yet completed my fourth installment of Book of Kayal, because I found myself in a unique position to learn about writing from some incredibly talented writers and professors.

This one, however, is different from all my former stories, mainly because it is an exaggerated and science-fiction version of an interesting former experience of mine, which I chose not to disclose at the moment. Also I expect to improve my skills writing this book at an accelerated rate compared to the other books because of the vast wealth of resources available to me, including mentoring.

Yet I still continue to develop my own writing process and refrain from using that of someone else, unless for exercising purposes, and only pick up elements which I find potentially useful and testing them. One of the new additions I have come to explore is the ‘choice diagram’, essentially a diagram for all the main characters in the story which states the choices they have for all decisions contributing to plot development.

For example, the first chapter/part in my new story, which I decided to name ‘Palladium Falls’, is about a man trying to put together a case stating that robots – specifically a highly, self-evolving type of robots – should have their own freedom. The first set of choices he face is to go through the process through the courts or through the scientific community, he chooses the first. Then he faces a choice of bringing a robot to be questioned, bearing in mind that it would provide both him and his opponent the opportunity to take advantage of this situation, or bring one of the scientists working on the self-evolving program supplied to the robots.

The choices go on as such until the conclusion is reached. At the moment I am experimenting with simple ‘choice diagrams’ considering that I don’t really understand its potential impact yet, or whether it is better to have a complicated/detailed one or a simple one, yet I intend to develop a set of integrated diagrams by which all choices made by the main characters are influenced by one another. Essentially I plan to have this diagram visually depict the perspectives of the characters as they continue to interact and develop.

Maybe this is a completely useless idea, or maybe it is the best idea I have come up with since I decided to pick up writing.

Why I haven’t been posting much

Dear followers and all those who read this post,

I have not had the opportunity to write much lately, thus there was nothing to post about, due to an interesting and unexpected development in my life, I have gotten into Yale to prepare for my second Master’s degree. It has been busy and extremely interesting. Next semester, however, I intend to take up a new sci-fi project that should put all the skills I learnt into good use. I will keep you posted about it when I start working on this piece.

Best.

On Writing: Revision Preperations

It has come to my attention that I have not been preparing for revision enough. Hell, I have not even been trying to learn how to do it write and in a structured way.

A few days ago while surfing Youtube, I came across an interesting video about editing your book. After watching it, I decided to start over and take notes, preparing some sort of checklist about how to edit.

The list, a group of simple errors to look for, so far goes as follows:

Error 1: shifting point of view in the middle of scene. EX: A character cannot know if their cheeks are red without seeing them.

Error 2: painting a scene without knowing whose point of view it is. Make sure it is made clear in the first two paragraphs, if not sentences.

Error 3: describing an experience that no one had. EX: Shouting that no one heard.

Error 4: a character thinking about themselves as a different person. No one thinks of themselves as ‘the boy’, rather ‘name’, ‘he’ or ‘I’.

Error 5: information dumps; when actions stop delivering the information mid action narration. Use different situations and organize them like a puzzle so reader could pick up and later feel proud about ‘getting it’. Did I stop my story to tell?

Error 6: the ‘as’ factor/cause and effect fallacy/order of events problem. In cause and effect, the effect does not follow the cause, as should be. EX: ‘He arched his back as electricity shot through his spine’, this should be, ‘electricity shot through his spine, making/causing his back to arch’.

Error 7: the ‘ing’ factor. Things that happen at the same time but should not. EX: ‘Battling as he drew his sword’. It is not possible to battle while drawing your sword, the latter is the prerequisite for the first.

Error 8: telling instead of showing. Vague adjectives without a visual. EX: Fierce is not a visual, drawing teeth is. Cold is not visual but shivering is. Use colors, textures, body language and visual explanation. Happy to be replaced by smiling, trotting, energetically moving. EX: ‘he was intrigued’ to ‘raised his eyebrows in intrigue’.

Exception: when trying to get to once scene from another it gets exhausting to show instead of telling.

Error 9: changing speakers with no new paragraph.

Error 10: speaker tags problem. You cannot smile, or signal a word, it has to come from a sound. Creative speaker tags make you sound like an idiot. Chirped, hissed, howled…etc. Those are only acceptable in fast action settings with no time for a dialogue because it does not slow down the pace.

Exception: pace is more important than speaker tag rules

Error 11: lack of use of invisible tags, (said and asked).

Error 12: Speaker tags at the end of the speeches used often. Put them at the beginning to try and notify the reader of who is talking.

Error 13: separating dialogue with a bead (description of actions) without a natural pause in the dialogue.

Error 14: foreshadowing something that is not used. Do not mention a weapon without having it being used.

PS: Person first said second is more common in adult books than in children books. It is an archaic method of writing, use it more in fantasy and less in other genres.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKw80FwZJU0

On Writing: Refining The Formula

I finally got some time to go on a writing bonanza and started working on the third part of my current five-part-book. I noticed that as I proceeded,my interests shifted and I forgot what message I originally wanted to send, even though I prepared the semi-detailed outline I previously mentioned, and where I wanted the story to go.

I came across another problem, the chapters started slowly loosing flow – not in terms of the story, but in terms of writing style – and it occurred to me that another formula was needed inside the one I originally followed.

Just to keep things updated, I will say a little about the format I loosely follow:

  1. I start with a ‘golden idea’, a unique message I want to send
  2. Then I move to the outlining of my 5-chapter part system, where each book is composed of parts consisting of five chapters each
  3. After the outline I move to the detailed outline of each part as I work on it, so its simply a module-based way of expanding the first outline that clearly states the goal, characters and obstacles for achieving this goal
  4. Then I start writing the part
  5. When I am done with the part,I start repeating steps (3) and (4) until the book is finished
  6. Finally, I revise the content and update it, trying to add small details I feel are relevant or delete ones not related to the story or of little value

But then I noticed over the past few days that the stories, while focusing on the goal and the general progression of the idea, lacks enough descriptive feel. In short, the story and dialogue proceeds just fine, albeit in a liner fashion of which I do not entirely approve, but the setting is becoming ignored.

I ended up having the last chapter composed of great, meaningful conversations that take place nowhere.

This made me realize that I need to further add to the general formula I have been using on an even smaller, more detailed level, that of each conversation and situation. Perhaps this is simply not my style, and I personally know that many people do not really care about the setting and just want to get the message, but still it bothers me that it is not yet coming to me as second nature.

Good luck and happy living.

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