thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Books

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: language and syntax feedback observation

I started reaching out to people to read and review BoK:SoU, some of them just samples and other the entire book, and I got a few responses so far. Because of not having gotten the book edited – a grave mistake which I intended to do to test something I will share later – there were a decent amount of spelling and grammatical mistakes, mostly oversights.

Now here’s the fun part, I’ve been studying quite a bit during the past few years and writing a shit-load of reports. When you edit a dozen pages or so, its easy to peal through each word and make sure it conveys exactly the meaning you want, thus in that case you can reduce such mistakes to none, or a mere few, during an entire paper with little effort.

With creative and long writing, however, it’s not as simple a task as it takes time and is extremely boring, especially when you get to the fifth edit. Naturally, some mistakes here and there sneak in, and naturally you’re overwhelmed with grammar, characters, story development and other aspects of the book.

So that’s why it’s important to get an editor if you’re serious about it. Even better if you get two.

Going back to the grammar mistakes that were picked up by the readers. Just going through the latest edit, in the first chapter, I picked up some debatable mistakes, which you can blame on style or so, and a few complex grammar mistakes, namely the ‘Past Perfect’, which very few people use accurately, especially Americans for some reason.

None of the reviewers picked up a single ‘complex’ tense rule error, let alone a ‘simple’ tense rule error, while they seemed to be enraged by the other simple typos (Eg: leapes instead of leaped). Now I find that ironic; grammar Nazis don’t seem to mind the mistakes in the rules they don’t know!

PS: I am grateful for those who point out the mistakes and only wish that everyone would be as constructively critical. If I conveyed any negative tone during that post please know that I had no such intention.

On Writing: Writeon by Kindle

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

https://writeon.amazon.com/read/story/Tarek_Book_of_Kayal%3A_Unity_of_Strength/amzn1.ignite.story.19b4ee305d0a5a04e050007f01004133?ref_=ign_c_rt_st_0

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: 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.

On Writing: Songs and Poems

Now I know nothing about writing songs and poems, and whatever I know about writing in general is fairly limited, save for one thing: they are amazingly effective and keeping a story in mind.

For the past nine months I have been struggling to get any writing done due to time constraint. The one thing I noticed, however, was that I often had free time in no longer than 15-30 minute chunks. While this was not enough for me to write anything, for it takes me some time to get in the mood of writing and get my thoughts straight, it enough for me to write a verse or short song/poem about one of my stories. This did a good job of keeping it in mind and getting new ideas.

My current work in progress is a continuation of my series “Book of Kayal’ and reached a total of just under 30k words at the moment, about a third of its expected completed length, and I tried applying a new outlining method which, unfortunately, is not working very well for me. I found myself deviating from it lately, even more so when I started writing these little songs, and will have to go through several revisions of the outline by the time I am completed with the story. I cannot say if this is a better thing for the story in general or not, but it is certainly distracting me from progressing with it.

I will continue to keep you updated as something new comes about. Perhaps I will share one of my amateurish attempts at making a relevant song for one of my stories.

On Writing: Difficulty in Multitasking

So far I have been fairly free to write whenever I wanted, but the situation quickly changed during these past three months. Having a busy schedule between studying, working and exercising, I can barely find the time to write anymore, unless it is part of the studying or working. In other words, my books have been neglected more then I expected them to be.

For the very first time I can truly understand how much dedication and discipline it takes for writers to write, considering that most writers have other jobs. I have not yet reached an equilibrium level of balancing my daily activities to a degree that I have enough time to write 2k words a day, but I will let you guys know how I did it, if I ever manage to overcome this hurdle.

On Writing: Breaking the Streak

Writing has been a somewhat difficult activity to engage in these past few weeks. Thanks to the outline I had prepared earlier, I had no shortage of ideas, just willpower to sit and write.

I still forced myself to write the 1,000 words, brought down from the unreasonable 2,000, I promised myself to write every day and followed the outline as much as I could, deviating whenever something seemed a little too amateurish or simply not to my liking.

Yesterday, when it was time for bed – the good ideas always come then, I decided to force myself to sit for a nice three hours after I awoke and write as much as I could during this time, following the outline for my current book of course. This, however, was an unrealistic prospect once the day began. I woke up, had breakfast and picked up a book I just started reading the other day. Before I knew it, I flipped the last page of the book and realized that it was time for lunch, a welcoming timing according to my stomach. I ate heartily and retired to my desk where my computer taunted me. At that moment, satiated and quenched, I remembered my somewhat informal pledge to myself the other day and opened that aging document titled ‘Deliverance Edge’, a title I intend to change once the story is finished. Four hours later, and 4,000 words too, I found that undesirable feeling of not wanting to write completely withered away. I finally broke the curse.

This poor piece of writing is meant to do one thing, and one thing alone, which is to give new writers an idea on how to break through the willinglessness to write which occasionally preys on us. What happened today was something psychologists would refer to as ‘flooding’, a term usually referring to a method of managing fears. I am not sure if the term ‘flooding’ applies to this particular case, but I would say that, at least, a similar concept exists when trying to break free from a writing stalemate.

On Writing: The Hidden Process

The title of this post is fairly misleading, but I like it and it stays. It has been some time since I had some ‘finished stories’ (do not mistake them for published books or even finished ones) and every once and a while I am forced to return to a section or two of those ‘finished stories’. However, I noticed that the amount of things I wish to change only keep increasing and I am also well aware that my skill so far is inadequate to produce what I want, at least what I think I want.

Amateur writers, such as myself, pick up the hobby and start writing their supposedly brilliant stories, according to them of course, with no regard or idea about how to complete them. Personally, I thought that once the story was written the hard part was over, but I realize now that this is the farthest misconception from truth that I have ever thought of.

I knew that my books were not yet complete although all of the story has been written for these books, but I just realized how far they are from completion once I got a few pages into a book titled ‘The Book of Lost Tales‘ which was written by the great J.R.R.Tolkien and edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. The book is essentially a collection of some of his tales which are followed by some of his notes about them, including changes, maps and poems. Needless to say that Tolkien is one of the greatest modern fantasy writers of all time and, as an aspiring fantasy author and avid fan, his work is unparalleled, so far. While reading his stories, in spite of their complexion, I noticed that they seemed finished products to me, however, they were far from so in Tolkien’s eyes. This led me to reassess my work with a different perspective and give me a sort of a starting point towards the next process which would get them closer to being complete.

So far I have been at a complete loss about proceeding with the next editing phase for both books, ‘Wolf Emperor’ and ‘Hands of Fate’. Although ‘Hands of Fate’ is nearly finished, there are a few edits that I wish to make to further fine-tine the story. And I decided earlier that the book ‘Wolf Emperor’ would be rewritten as a series of short stories which would describe the formation of the First Nosgardian Empire after the Second Civil War of Man. Nevertheless, these ideas were just the tip of the iceberg.

After circulating the book around and getting a few comments from both friends and strangers, I have amassed a somewhat basic idea to as what the readers think of it, but I also realized that to produce a good piece of writing is to listen to one’s inner voice and not that of the ones around them. That, however, does not mean that I should disregard their comments altogether, just that I should take them into consideration and try to see if i ‘feel’ the same way about them.

I know this haphazard writing style of my posts may seem a little annoying this I will try to remember to keep a little summary note at the end of each post, starting from this one, which would be included in the final paragraph unless a note follows it. What I want to say is that when working on completing your book, long after the story has been completed, you should halt for a moment and forget everything you learn about writing and read what you wrote while paying close attention to how you feel. Simply highlight the parts that you ‘feel’ that you don’t like and when the entire manuscript, draft or section – if you work in a modulated method such as I do – is highlighted, then turn on your writer’s brain and make the edits. That, my readers, is the ‘hidden process’.

On Writing: Overflooding Ideas

I have no idea what has been going on differently in my life lately, actually I do have quite an idea, but recently an overwhelming amount of new story concepts keep popping in my head like a fizz in a soda can, one that never goes flat.

Normally I would be happy with this, but I simply can’t keep up with my writing. It has grown far worse than the previous post. I am barely thinking about my current work-in-progress and still have a part and two fifths to write, about 40k words.

Perhaps the solution lies in writing short stories then expanding them into novels once enough thought has been put in them. I am also considering writing these ideas down in this blog, but would not want to burn them by making them public…is that so bad or selfish?