Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: fiction.

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: Project Pause

Yesterday I decided to take a break from the project I am currently working on entitled ‘Deliverance Edge’ so that I can review the first three parts for consistency. So far it reached a total of 80k words and I still intend to write one more part at approximately 25k words – It should end being about 100k word long.

I have posted one of the edits yesterday so that whoever is interested could get to see it, but I doubt you will find it of any use.

This pause, however, does not mean that I will stop writing, or that I will stop working on ‘Deliverance Edge’. I intend to practice editing, a skill I find myself greatly lacking at, by using the first draft of the first three parts.

Today I have begun working on a new project that would be in parallel to the editing of ‘Deliverance Edge’. It is supposed to be of much smaller magnitude, about 40k words, and would require no outline, since I have been thinking about it for a few months now.

Here is the first part of what I wrote so far (It is a first draft and has not even been proofread yet. I would greatly appreciate your comments):

(Stromhaven) was but a small town located in the harshly cold north. The wind blew mercilessly upon its inhabitants, a close and friendly community of simple folk, and brought upon them much hardship, but they persevered regardless.

Located on the peripheries of the Empire, (Stromhaven) was never troubled by the struggles of others. Even traders seldom treaded there and few were interested in the prospect.

Thus in times of war, (Stromhaven) was never disturbed and its dwellers enjoyed their simple and quiet lives. Even the Imperial forces bothered not to recruit from among its few capable inhabitants who could serve in their sinister affairs.

Summer was short and so their opportunity for growing crops that would sustain them throughout the year was never taken alight. For these long days they worked with all their strength to plow and tend the rich undisputed lands. They barely made due and always supplemented their food with the abundant fish dwelling in oceans which surrounded the peninsula, for (Stromhaven) stood amidst three sides of sea and one of land.

Never did one of them leave to seek a life outside their hardship, in spite of their gluttonous and selfish mayor, for they valued the dependence of family above all else. One day, however, a boy named (Da’e) grew curious about the people of the south and their busy lives.

Thus he always waited anxiously for any travelers that would come about. With every visit by a stranger, every two years or so, (Da’e) grew more and more interested in the affairs of this southern kin.

Until one day a bard bearing many stories of heroic deeds came to experience the unusual folk of (Stromhaven) to tell of them tales that none have ever known before. (Shaeer) was his name and he was from the men of Alv. His beard was clean, unlike the native men of (Stromhaven) and his skin was dark. (Shaeer) always had a smile about and carried the most peculiar of instruments which he called the lyre.

He sang of ancient and glorious tales about adventurers long dead, but not forgotten. (Stromhaven)’s folk grew warm in time and valued the company of (Shaeer). They gave him food and a warm bed to rest for as long as he wanted to do so. In return he would write songs about them and sing them wherever he went.

But the day when (Shaeer) came was soon and he left the humble village to seek his fortunes elsewhere. They fold of (Stromhaven) grew blue with his absence, and some even wept at his distancing back.

(Da’e) was most affected by the bard who he spent most of his time with him, unless he had work to do to aid his folk in whatever they required. And a few years later, when he grew big and strong, (Da’e) decided to break away from his people and tread the path of southern heroes. Without informing any of his kin he left amidst the night. His intention was to travel south and enlist in the Imperial force so that he could venture where none of his kin ventured before.

Many years later, when he had been all but forgotten, an old man arrived at (Stromhaven). It was past a difficult war thus it had been along since an outsider ventured there. “Who are thee?” asked a young boy the travelling man. “I am (Da’e), a native of these lands,” responded he.

The boy ran aquick to his folk and said: “Mother, father, ye man of old tales has returned.” And his parents rushed to see he whom their son had spoke of and they remembered him. It was indeed the young man whom they vaguely recalled as children, but this man had grown white of hair and frail of body. (Da’e) was no longer the young man who broke away from his people to join the cause of others.

“Ye hast forsaken us, your kin, for deeds and glory to others,” said the father. His name was (Dwail) and he was a shy man of few words and fewer actions unless work was asked of him. “Why hast ye returned?”

(Da’e) looked at him and said: “I was but a child when I left and sought selfish desires from afar without considering the needs of my people,” – he looked at the young boy with his murky white eyes, – “but the path was not without purpose, it seems, for I have seen he who mightiness follows his wake. I have seen the Divine and he brought me here to spread his word. Boy, what is your name?”

The young boy looked at his father then his mother and knew that he had their consent to break words. He said: “I am (Sageer).” His eyes twinkled with an innocent curiosity and a hint of fear for making his father and mother mad.

(Da’e) looked again at (Dwail) and asked: “Does the mayor (Gaeen) still live?”

“Nay,” said (Dwail), “his son, (Mafgo), hast taken the seat in his stead.”

“And how fares he with the weight of his title? Does he abuse it or exercise fairness?”

But (Dwail) never answered in speech. Instead he looked about and avoided the fierce gaze of (Da’e)’s aging eyes. His twisted face at the mention of the mayor gave away his true feelings, and the fear that has been embedded in him.

(Mafgo), like his father, has also proved to be a greedy and unjust ruler, but the extent of his acts were yet to be revealed to (Da’e).

He looked again at the child and said: “Do not worry, dear child, for I have come to rid you of your agonies and bring forth the word of the Devine.”

On Writing: The Equation

After writing, as most of you who often write have realized, you can never read a book as you did before. The fact is that whenever you struggle at resolving an issue while writing it becomes an overwhelming thought that constantly returns to you when you least expect it until it is solved. And, of course, reading makes your brain often tread into the direction of this issue. That is, most certainly, vague and requires a more elaborate explanation – for I beg your forgiveness in my inability to properly and simply explain myself.

I remember when I first decided to write, I struggled at a very simple and rather embarrassing grammatical issue, does punctuation come before or after speech quotations. This issue was resolved as soon as I looked at the first page of a book, which I do not recall, I decided to start reading. As your writing progresses and the basic elements are, more or less, subconsciously implemented, more issues arise.

To be more specific, it moves deeper into the ‘there’s no one right way’ section. In other words, you start focusing less on the obvious and more on the hidden, such as character development, plot development or writing style. You start trying to incorporate slight twists in the general rules and slowly begin to feel comfortable breaking them. This, however, is a very dangerous and strenuous task for new writers such as myself.

I am very well aware that I have a long way to go before I can produce a considerably decent piece of work. In fact, I intend to rewrite almost all of my stories once I feel comfortable enough to write at an acceptably decent level. This, however, might never come to be, but I keep my hopes up as should you.

After realizing my shortcomings, I started thinking more about plots and writing styles. I have decided that my language is far too weak for decent fantasy, the type of stories I enjoy writing the most, and will try my lick at science fiction once I am finished with my current project. While being preoccupied over writing style, after reading Tolkien and hopelessly trying to pick up a few tricks from him, I started reading and analyzing different authors. I have then realized that more than not, successful authors tend to stick with one specific equation for their stories which almost never changes. This is when I realized that all what I have been doing was but a simple step in a much longer process that was hidden to me. Every author is unique and every author has her/his own writing equation that, if not already so, is anxiously awaiting to be discovered.

So far my writing has been more influenced by the books I read than my inner voice. It is a grim, but necessary, reality that I must endure until I have written enough to discover my personal writing equation. And I believe that the only way to do so is by writing a great deal. I believe that reading, however, will speed this process.

On Writing: Perspectives and Scopes

My first attempt at writing a novel had a bunch of elements which made it extremely difficult for me to patch up. It is not a well written book nor does it have a Golden Idea, but it has enough content to write an entire series about.

There were two big mistakes which I did and failed to learn from at the time, but at the moment, considering my journey so far, I am glad that I have made them – this way I can reflect back on the experience and learn from it instead of guessing what its like.

Errors are inescapable, and mine were many and will continue to be so for a long time. I attempted to juggle a story between no less than five perspectives which crisscrossed together throughout the story. Needless to say, it was a feat too advanced for my baby skills. In addition to having confused the hell out of me when trying to time the events of each character so that it would make sense for them to meet, I had to write a story for each character. The content was immense for a new writer as it is, although I only managed to squeeze about 120,000 words in, considering that a new world had to be created and its rules set.

The second fault was the scope. Epic fantasies have to have epic scopes. At first, and without any research regarding this hobby I had just picked, I thought that writing would be easy as long as my imagination was working. Writing, however, ended up being far less about imagination than about logical deduction and expression. If you cannot express a plot which would lead to a logical conclusion, regardless of genre, then you fail as a writer, or at least perform poorly.

My suggestion to any aspiring authors, or simply someone interested in writing novels, is to avoid writing from more than one perspective until you have acquainted yourself with writing a little more. I would not be so bold as to set the bar at writing 1,000,000 words, considering that I myself am not doing that, but perhaps after writing at least one novel. Although, if you try it and avoid getting quitting due to disappointment of your work, it would surely teach you something, if not initially then later.

I am proud of my first book, unpublished as it will always remain, because it marked a huge step towards my learning of this new craft. I can safely say that without it, I would be less than what I am now.

On Writing: First Work

It has been some time since I returned to reviewing my first written work, and I realize how drastically different it is to the one I am currently working on – the second volume.

As I was deciding how to address this issue, I came up with two alternatives: (1) editing it or (2) rewriting it. I have just decided to go with the latter.

The first thing I need to do is complete the second volume and make myself well acquainted with its events so that it would not contradict with that of the first – about 2/3 into it. Then I will decide on which chapters to include in the second written version of the first story. Once the chapters have been decided on, I will be drafting a general outline which would gradually develop its complicity until it becomes the book itself – a technique which I thought of and grown curious about.

Although I find myself swarmed with a new demanding and unpaying task, I cannot help but smile whenever my mind dwells on the struggles which await me.

On Writing: Hypothoses About Good Writing

I have been reading a lot lately and realized that the ending can turn an average book into a masterpiece, or a masterpiece into [a] useless read. The books I tend to enjoy the most are the ones which conclude by leaving you thinking about one statement that summarizes the purpose of the main plot. While this is relatively easy to do in short stories, it becomes somewhat of a challenge for novels.

If not for reading , analyzing, and writing short stories, I would have never reached this conclusion and appreciation to these types of books. However, this does not mean that all other factors of writing are useless, for I still find a good writing style important, but not critical for all genres.

So far my writing journey taught me far more than I expected, in a far shorter time-span than I anticipated. Again, I would recommend others to pick it up as a hobby, or at least try it sometime.

On Writing: Submitting Shorties

I recently submitted one of my short stories to Guerrilla Graffiti Magazine, the first one I ever officially submitted. Although the story got rejected, because it was not something they specialized in, I am extremely satisfied by their elegant and polite manner by which they responded to my submission. The response e-mail even had a suggestion to another magazine which might specializes in the genre of my story.

That was the only purpose of this post.

I would suggest checking it out regardless if you are interested in submitting a piece or not. <;

A little of my world

I just noticed that I have been writing on my writing process without writing on what I wrote about. In other words, I have not summarized the world which I am striving to create.

My attempt to start writing fantasy started about two years ago when I had just finished my military service, during the time when I was looking for a job. After getting employed, I suddenly stopped writing and started to invest my time in a business a friend and I had planned. Between my full-time job and my personal project, I had forgotten all about the two books that have been marinating on my hard drive.

About five months ago or so, I came across the files and started reading them. After sending them to a few friends to review, I got some comments and decided to work on it further (back then I had written about 5k words). My research and spare time from quitting my job drove me to go on with the writing, although I never thought that I would ever finish the story.

As you see, I get side-tracked easily when discussing a topic. Now the first volume is complete, with a word count of over 115,000, and awaiting an editor to review before being sent out to publishers.

I originally intended to blend different mythical stories, heroes and creature into one world. Having noticed the similarities in many myths across different cultures, the idea of unifying these similar myths into one coherent story appealed to my recently-awakened artistic side. Anyway, a world I called Altivia was born from these circumstances, but then changed to Nosgard.

The first story is set in a fantasy continent which had attracted different races throughout the ages. The story follows a boy which had been born with certain gifts that made him appear as a threat to the authority monopolists. As the young man’s destiny leads him to one disaster after another, he became stronger and more threatening to the rulers. Eventually he becomes a symbol of freedom to the oppressed, and they follow him in a quest to free themselves.

From mighty dragons to fallen elves, the land is filled with different creatures and heroes that fight along and against one another. Different kingdoms and factions who once fought against one another eventually band together to face an enemy which threatens to wipe all civilization on the continent.

The story was intended to be one of pure fantasy and completely unrelated to any real-life events. However, after completing the novel and reading it, I saw how much it was influenced by the recent events that I had just experienced. I read in this story what my eyes saw and my heart longed for. I really hope that this book would be adopted by a publisher so that I can learn about myself through the reaction of others.

I really wish that everyone out there gets a chance to see themselves through the thoughts of their subconscious as I did.

On Writing: Second Book Completed

I finished the second book ahead of my set deadline of one month. The book totaled 40k words. Two days remaining till I can start working on my third and final draft before sending it to an editor.

On Writing: Outline

Working on my second book while I attempt to forget the first one, to properly prepare for the third draft. For my second book, I decided to start with an outline. Not an easy feat as I constantly hold back from writing the entire chapter. So far, the outline makes the story-line flow seem more logical and well thought. Details such as conversations and hidden messages will be left to the chapter itself.

Keep it up folks.