thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Literature

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: Finished Book II

I just finished the first draft of my second book today.

Unlike the first book which had been written as two separate stories and combined, the second one was planned in a more detailed manner. Before writing this one, I did an adequate amount of research to develop my characters properly and wrote a summarized biography on each one of them – this ended being around 5,500 words and took two days worth of work.

I then prepared a simple outline for the first chapter and started working. This book is three parts and, unfortunately, the process changed significantly during the writing. For the first two parts, I wrote the chapter outline for each chapter separately then finished off the chapter. Going with this method for 10 chapters, 5 for each part, I managed to keep myself interested in writing the story as well as have its events flow smoothly, relatively.

By the time I reached the 65,000 words, I began getting really bored by the story and found that I was pushing through the writing process as if it was a chore. As a result the quality of writing deteriorated in the middle of the story, and it took a rather depressing turn away from the light one I intended it to have, but the sequence of events seemed to be flowing as I intended.

For the first two parts, the outline reached 6,500 words (about 1:10 ratio to the content) and was explaining key events appropriately. As for the third and final part, I decided to tackle it with a different way, one inspired by what I learnt from writing short stories. I spent around a week preparing two outlines. The first was a general outline which included the following elements for the part: (1) Goal, (2) Requirements, (3) Methods, (4) Conditions, (5) Issues/Problems, and (6) Key Explanations. The outline had all the elements I wanted to cover summarized in 1,600 words. This general outline was then expanded to a detailed outline which included all of these elements for each chapter with an exception of (6) Key Explanations which was saved for the final wrap-up chapter. For every chapter a brief summary was written and then expanded into individual sub-chapters for it. I attempted to include a moral concept or an interesting idea in each chapter while linking it to the main plot. An attempt to make each chapter stand-alone was made, but with little success. The detailed outline ended up being 8,500 words.

Overall, I found that the best method for me two write is not to tackle the book as a free-writing discovery type of literature, but to slowly move in short outlined modules. This way enables me to plan a decent outline while keeping the creativity factor alive, hence preventing me from being bored with the project. For me, the trick is to outline a maximum of five chapters ahead and deviate from it with limitations. Most importantly, I found that the quality of writing and interest factor for the author and reader increases the more the content stimulates the thinking process – as long as it does not make either process exhausting.

Starting from tomorrow, I will be proofreading and editing the first draft of the first part to make sure the story remains consistent with the end. Unlike the first book, I will be starting on my second draft immediately and delay the one-month-break process to the third draft, if I decide to continue with it.

I read somewhere that writers start producing high-quality work after their millionth word, and that is the goal I intend to reach within the next two years. So far I have written slightly over 250,000 words of unedited story content.

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. <http://ggmag.net/&gt;

On Writing: Reading vs. Writing

Because writing had never been an important activity in my life prior to my epiphany about half a year ago, I never considered putting an active effort in reading. However, I have come to regret this as of lately and decided to make amends. In addition to writing no less than 1,000 words a day, I decided to read no less than 100 pages a day (starting with 200 pages for the first week to see if it is possible).

My efforts proved successful for the past three days (including this one) and I already feel that the impact on the way I think while I prepare a chapter or write a little. Nevertheless, I do believe that if I read poorly written books, the style might rub off and negatively affect me.

I also came upon this website which gave me a hell of a motivational boost by helping me keep track of the books I read and the books I am currently reading – http://www.goodreads.com/. This website also suggests books based on your rating for the ones which you have read.