Aspiring author and random thinker

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On Writing: books and their progress

I’ve come across some author websites where the published books and those in progress are listed. Thought of doing the same just to keep track of things.

  • Book of Kayal (Fantasy series)
    • Book I –  Wolf Emperor: draft 1 completed (Project scrapped and might be turned into a series of short stories)
    • Book II – Strength of Unity (Previously titled Hands of Fate): published-ed2 on Amazon and available on KU
    • Book III – Deliverance Edge: Draft 1 completed
    • Book IV – Grieving Flame: Draft 1 completed
    • Book IV – [Untitled Thalg Story] Draft 1 in progress, roughly 33% completed.
  • Palladium Falls (Sci-fi novel)
    • Introduction and concept completed. Awaiting 1,000,000 word writing practice mark to continue
  • Conscripted (Non-fiction)
    • Chapter 1 completed, book completion estimate unavailable.

I really should have this list prepared in a better way. Perhaps I’ll start another website dedicated to the books only.

PS: Book of Kayal: Strength of Unity will be available for free from August 30-31 on Amazon and Amazon UK.


On Writing: post writing steps – reviews

The re-release of BoK Volume one ‘Strength of Unity’ brings me many challenges. This time I intend to try getting proper lift-off velocity for the book from the promo. Last time in five days I managed to get 750 copies downloaded (all free) and didn’t get a single review from it, which is supposed to be one of the main purposes.

This time, however, I’m looking at having the book reviews actively. In other words, I’ve been going on blogs and forums to ask people for review swaps or offer them a free copy for a review. I’ve also been trying to get to Amazon reviewers, send perhaps a hundred request so far, and I have to say the response rate is pretty low. At this moment I got eight review copies sent, of which one was a swap, for three days worth of work. Although, to be honest, I haven’t been extremely active on these forums before the beginning of this month, so I’ve been kinda under the radar.

I’ll keep you posed with the details of the prmo and the results sometime in the beginning of next month. The promo will run from August 30 to 31 on Amazon and the book should have some reviews by then.

On Writing: the banes of time

I’ve taken the past two months off after finishing my studies and immersed myself in a bout of networking, reading and writing. During that time I managed to kick-in a total of 110k words, surpassing my word count for the year by 37k now (of which 27k was written before this sprint). In two weeks alone I managed to edit a total of 90k words which funneled in to a drastic manuscript change including the plot and characters. I just wanted to contrast between a month of work/study with writing (in which I wrote usually no more than 10k and more often around the range of 6k) and a month of leaisure time (In which I managed an additional 80k of writing and an edit of an entire manuscript).

I’m still not to a level where I want to be, but its been around three years and I’m still writing. Baby steps ought to do it, I hope.

On Writing: Writeon by Kindle

I recently discovered I wonder how useful it will be. I would appreciate any feedback on my current edit-in-progress book.

On Writing: Editing after two years

Its been a long time since I edited any of my books, at least 10 months. In that time I have been busy preparing my masters degree, a process that proved to be quite the writing workout.

A week ago I opened one of my older books, the one I have been posting some of its drafts on here (Book of Kayal: Hands of Fate) and started going through it once more. The improvements I have been doing are striking. Everywhere I look, there seems to be room for editing. A touch here…a touch there, until I ended up re-writing about half of the 40% I’ve gone through.

I have to say that the editing process has been this extensive for two main reasons: (1) I have wrote over 400,000 words in total since then; and (2) I have completed two more stories in the series since then and am working on a third one after HoF. Needless to say, the first has directly improved my writing skill while the second has resulted in me adjusting the world accordingly.

Unlike my former attempts at editing, this one has been entertaining. I can’t get enough of this first go, mostly because I have completely forgotten the story and the characters that have been included in the sequels have significantly developed since then.

So to all those who love to write but hate to edit, think about coming back to your books after finishing another story. It will help with the tediousness of the editing process.

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).


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: 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.


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.


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.