Archive for May, 2013

Chapter 3 of Radio Silence is out!

I also have some news about Radio Silence. It has been chosen for Jukepop Serials’ Editors Picks. I was amazed when I found out because not only did so many cool people decide to vote for me… even the people at Jukepop Serials think Radio Silence is good. So, again, thanks to all my great followers that take the time to read and then vote!

If you haven’t read the previous chapters, I’ll have the links down below.

Chapter 2: Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

Chapter 1: Another One Bites the Dust! 

Enjoy!

~Jian

For this blogpost, I’m going to venture into the realm of gritty and dark fantasy, and my take on when an author should back off or not. Let’s begin!

 I was thinking about the Line of Corruption, and I compared its mood to the first book I ever wrote. In the first book, it was a standard YA story. Village kid suddenly finds out he can use magic. The regular works. The only thing that set it apart from other YA books ( at least, the average ones) was the fact that I put him through the ringer. This isn’t the type of ringer where he doesn’t get the girl.

I drowned him, I gave him third degree burns, a concussion, and put him into a two week coma. It was how I imagined a real farm boy would be like against powerful magic users.

So, I took that concept to a different level in Line of Corruption. In the world of LoC, a Chosen One is chosen (hah, wonderful word choice there) every fifty to hundred years. Now, Larik was the Chosen One, but he was ordered to do the “dirty” stuff. I’m talking mass murder types of things. Before Larik dies, he decides to pass on his consciousness/personality unto his successor so he can guide him/her to do the right thing.

His successor, however, is a hot-headed mercenary. I like the idea of using dark characters and giving them the roles that normally ‘good’ characters would have. For example, in another one of my stories, several convicts are chosen to become cannon fodder for the army in an invasion of another planet. The main character is a criminal. 

So, I wonder, what is dark enough? For Line of Corruption, I set out with the idea that if there ever was a damsel in distress… she wouldn’t get rescued.

The strong get maimed, the weak don’t even register to the strong, and the wicked… well, I won’t say they’re victorious, but they sure aren’t poverty-stricken losers. That’s for sure.

However, there are lines that I don’t cross. (I think it’s important to have your own set of “morals” when it comes to writing.) For example, I would never write a scene where one of the main characters takes pleasure in harming an innocent. That’s too far, even for me. 

Also, rather ironically, I don’t actually have my characters swear very often. I counted, and the number of F-words I used tallied up to maybe around forty. Give or take a dozen.

I just invented new curses that are, in this world, much worse than the F-word. So, my books aren’t very clean, but I wouldn’t say they’re very bleak either. There’s a difference, in my opinion, from bleak and dark. Dark is the fact that the characters have questionable morals, and they may do a few things that most people would never imagine even doing. Bleak is all of the good characters dying… and everyone getting enslaved.

Like the Lord Ruler in Mistborn. Imagine reading about how he destroyed all his friends (or something) and watch him enslave the Skaa. Not too pretty, if you ask me. 

An author that, I think, handles the dark side of things quite well would be Joe Abercrombie. His characters aren’t very nice, but at the same time… they’re not all despicable 24/7. Logen Ninefingers has moments where he’s really quite nice. In the First Law trilogy, we saw Jezal improve a bit as a person. Glokta has… well, he has a great sense of humor. 

One of my favorite authors, Brent Weeks, treads the line of grittiness and darkness in the Night Angel Trilogy. At times, I felt that he may have stumbled over the line a few times, but it’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. It’s the author’s duty to pick a line for himself, and to not cross it. It’s the reader’s job to see if s/he and the author have the same lines drawn in the sand.

So, yes. Please comment on your thoughts about darkness in books. I’m really interested to know what people think. How dark is dark enough for you? Tell me about it in the comments!

Ps: Hit the Like and Follow button if you thought this was a cool blogpost. Had fun writing about this stuff. 

~Jian

Well, I was tagged by Erica Dakin in this new meme that’s been working its way through a lot of writers. It was interesting to respond to these questions because I had to resist from writing a very long complicated answer. (Well… I may not have restrained myself all that well.)

So, without further ado, my answers.

1. What’s the name of your current WIP?

Well, I’m technically working on two WIPs right now. There’s my serialized story, Radio Silence, and there’s the Line of Corruption. I’ve already finished writing it, but I still need to work on it a lot more.

2. Ready to do a cover reveal?

For Line of Corruption? Definitely not. The cover I’m envisioning would be too complicated for my sister to do, so I think I’m gonna wait around and be vigilant for an opportunity to make the cover it deserves. For Radio Silence, I’ve already revealed it. Since my sister is an awesome photographer, I chose from the large assortment of photographs she’d taken the past few years, and picked the one I thought best suited Radio Silence.

3. How many words are you into it? 

For Radio Silence, I’m 7,759 words into it. I still need to write a lot more practically every day if I want to be on schedule for the serialization. For Line of Corruption, I have 112,459 words written. While I consider it finished, I still have a few chapters to add that will tidy it up. Not to mention the editing process will most likely shave off a good couple thousand words. (See, I use a lot of unnecessary words..)

4. Goal word count by the end of the week?

I don’t have one. I tried doing that, but it didn’t work out. I lost all motivation to write. The only goal I have is actually writing. I’m pretty sure that having goal word counts and being able to stick to them would make my life a lot easier, but I specialize in making it more difficult than it has to be.

5. Goal word count for the entire manuscript?

Nope. Don’t have that, either. At best, I have a chapter count, but even then, I rarely stick to it. For Line of Corruption, I planned it as a short story… It numbers over forty chapters. I do know, however, that I won’t go over 110k for Radio Silence.

6. What genre does your WIP fall within?

Line of Corruption falls into Dark Epic Fantasy. Radio Silence falls under Horror. Now, while I’m not very strict in word counts, I am very strict when it comes to genre. Before I wrote a single word, I chose which genre the story would fall under.

7. When would you like to publish this project?

Once I’m done editing Line of Corruption, as soon as possible. Radio Silence is already published, but I think I’m going to publish it as an eBook once I’m done with all the chapters. Each chapter is heavily edited before being posted, so it will most likely contain much fewer mistakes than LoC. (The mistake I had with LoC was not rereading the stuff I wrote…)

8. Go to page five of your manuscript and pick a random sentence to share with us!

From Radio Silence:

“Another one bites the dust,” said the entire band of Queen.

From Line of Corruption:

He couldn’t preserve the look on his eyes as he died now that his eyeballs had been popped.

I copied and pasted sentences that wouldn’t really give away too much of the story. I wish the meme asked for an entire page, rather than one single sentence. I’m tempted to go: “Well, you see, I wrote that because of this, that, and him…”

You can read Chapter One and Two of Radio Silence here, though.

9. Will this WIP turn into a series?

I’m planning a trilogy for Line of Corruption. Radio Silence may turn into a series, but it depends on my thoughts on it once I finish writing the entire thing. I’d originally planned a long series for LoC, but I decided that would be a bit too much. I figured a compact trilogy would be the best option.

10. What has been the hardest challenge in working on this WIP?

The biggest problem I had with Radio Silence was the fact that despite the whole spirits possessing ghosts thing, it was still based in the real world. So, the fighting scenes had to be polished, but it taught me to work a bit harder while writing the fight scenes. For Line of Corruption, I think the hardest challenge was finishing it. At 75k, I wondered when it would finish. I loved writing it, but I was beginning to fear it would be another one of my unfinished stories. So, I set a goal for myself. Finish it before my birthday, and that’s what I did.

11. What has been your favourite part of working on this WIP?

Now that is a tough one to answer. I think my favorite thing when writing LoC was just… the freedom. I freely added characters with questionable morals, I killed off whichever ones I wanted.. This may sound nuts to some of you, but in my first book, I didn’t know I could do that. I didn’t know the author could just grey characters, or kill off all the good characters. (Not that I killed off all the good characters..)

So, it was a fresh change from writing my first book. Definitely. For Radio Silence, it was using music. As some of you may know, ghosts are possessing the people in Sheriff Matthews’ town, and the only way he knows a person has been possessed if a song suddenly starts playing on the radio. It was really fun to listen to songs, use them, and make them eerie.

12. Any special treat planned for when you finish the final draft of your WIP?

I’ll probably take out my entire family for dinner. I couldn’t have written anything without their help, so I figure that when I’m done with my two WIPs, that would be the time to give them all a treat.

13. Tag 3 2 people to complete this WIP meme:

T.K. Trian

Caleb Hill

Louise James

Hope you enjoyed that. I felt like I was actually being interviewed, so it was really fun for me to write. Now, I just need to wait anxiously for them  to accept my tag.

~J.A. Romano

Edit: Added two people to the tags. Decided I should extend this meme to more people. (insert laughter)

Some great thoughts here on the Kindle Worlds business. Considering my humble beginnings as a fanfiction writer, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of stuff people might write. You can read some of my thoughts in the comments section of Mr. Burnett’s post.

mishaburnett

I know I should be writing about James and his undead friend escaping an exploding haunted dollar store, and I’ll get back to that in a minute, but I was browsing the #KindleWorlds hashtag on Twitter, and I’m finding some thought provoking material.  There’s a lot of crosstalk and chatter, and I’m seeing people reacting to having their preconceptions challenged, which is always interesting.  Initial responses seem to fit into several broad categories.

  • “Fanfic is pathetic and charging money for it is stupid.”  It’s usually not stated quite so baldly, but the attitude is there.  I have no doubt that there are bad examples of fan fiction, but, you know, there is also bad landscape photography and bad folk music and bad Mexican food, which does not imply that no good examples of those arts exist.  Condemning works a priori because of the subject matter or origin is sloppy thinking.
  • “If…

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Well, it’s not the names that have problems. It’s more like that I have a lot of problems with names. I’ve talked a lot about names in my previous posts, but I decided to dedicate an entire post about them. Simply put, I’m not very good at making up names. This is especially a problem for me who writes epic fantasy, and has to make up exotic names. (I’m always hesitant about naming mythical creatures modern names like Jimmy, Jake, etc.)

As such, I generally change the names in my books often. I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again. In the Line of Corruption, I started the story with the names: Ryder and Simon. Those were the names of the two main characters. I was okay with them, but when I hit the 10k mark, I stopped and thought: “No… Definitely not a Ryder or a Simon.”

So, I asked my sister for random names, and I took them. They ended up becoming Ambrose and Larik. For one of the other characters, I translated a word into Latin, and used it. I’ve actually forgotten what it means, and I’m rather afraid it might ruin the image that I’ve made up for the character, looking back on it. But yes, that is how I ended up with Esurien. Now, the problem here is that I sometimes need to make up names on the spot. They end up being stereotypical, or too weird. So, the word replacement option on Word and Scrivener is a godsend for someone like me who can’t make up names properly. The reason I bring this up is because I want to know how other writers go about this. I read a topic awhile back about the names of a writer’s characters, and a lot of the other writers mention being attached to a name. Once they change the name, the character changes. So, I am curious to know if this is the same for anyone else, or are they like me. I’m sure I probably wouldn’t have been able to change their names past the 10k mark, since I definitely would have gotten attached. However, does anyone else struggle with names? Does anyone else look at a name of a central character, and think: “This name is so bad that I actually want to turn him into a villain now.”

Here’s a perfect example of how bad I am with names. For a religious figure in my book, I couldn’t think up of a name… so I just called him the Believer. It ended up actually working, but it could have been disastrous. In fact, it could still be disastrous, and I’m simply blind to it. (Lots of italics today, I know.)

So, yes, here’s my question for all of you cool writers: Are names integral to how you write a character, or are they merely dispensable? Another followup question: Are you actually good at making up exotic names?

Now I’m going to move unto the next topic. Titles. I think my problem with titles is much bigger. In comparison, I probably come up with titles a lot easier, however, my thoughts on them are very different. I’m okay with changing names willy nilly. But, when I start a story without a title, that’s practically all I think about. I reread what I’d just written, and while I do that, I see a phrase and think: “Huh. Wonder if I should make THAT the title… or THAT.”

So, before I actually wrote the Line of Corruption, I sat for an entire hour, and thought about the title. The basic outline I had for the story was this: This chosen one kills a lot of people, and is condemned as a villain. His legacy is passed unto a mercenary.

At some point, I actually thought the title should be, ‘The Chosen One that has a mercenary as a successor… Oh, he’s also dead. But because of magic… It’s a long story.’

A bit exaggerated, perhaps, but it really isn’t very far off from the truth. For Radio Silence, I came up with the title when I was thinking about submitting it to Jukepop Serials. The reason why I was able to live with it not having a title is because I planned on it being a story written for fun. I’d just finished writing Line of Corruption, and I wanted to write something for no reason. Just took an idea and jumped off a cliff with it, basically.

So, I’m going to tell you how I came up with the Line of Corruption, as well as Radio Silence.

For Line of Corruption, I planned the Prologue out in my head. You see, the character Larik decides that being the Chosen One is really awful. And in order to atone for many of his sins, he passes on his consciousness unto his successor right before he is killed.

 I will be passed unto his or her consciousness, to never let this person cross the line such as I did. I will safeguard this person’s abilities until I see that this person – the wielder of my power – will be turned away from evil, and from corruption.

Direct quotation from the Prologue of my book. That’s Larik’s final journal entry before he is killed. A lot of people have asked me why I made him seem so strict in his journal, even though he’s actually a sarcastic guy that likes to play mind games on Ambrose. It gives me great satisfaction not to reveal to them the reason why. ( Hehe.)

Anyways, as I thought of the last line, I thought: “Hmm. What about Dangers of Evil and Corruption? Sounds like… No… What about the Line? Sounds like a Richard Bachman novel… Line of Corruption. Doesn’t sound too good, but I’ll just make it the temporary title.”

Well, needless to say, I got attached to that title. But yes, that’s how I came up with the Line of Corruption. How I came up with Radio Silence is most likely a lot simpler. The thing about Radio Silence is that people are getting possessed. The only way the sheriff knows they’re possessed (aside from the whole attempted murder thing) is that stereos or radios suddenly begin to play a song.

So, a lot of the beginning is spent praying for the radio to be silent. Unfortunately for the main character, I’m not so merciful as to leave it completely silent. (insert evil laugh here)

Hence, Radio Silence came to be. I like it because it’s ironic, and there’s actually a line in the story where Gordon says it. (Although, it’s not really said in the same order. You’ll see.)

How do you guys and gals feel about titles? Can you start a story without them? If you can, do you obsessively try to come up with a new title every waking second? Tell me about it in the comments. Hope you like, follow, and comment. Hopefully, all three. Thanks for reading.

~J.A. Romano

As some of you may know, Radio Silence was serialized a week ago. Chapter One received a 142 votes, a near unprecedented amount of votes for a serial with only one chapter. It’s all thanks to my family taking the time to ask their friends to vote for me, and thanks to all of you that chose to vote for me. When I saw I’d gotten so votes, I almost fell off my chair. It’s amazing, really. Cannot thank them enough. However, I still need votes. So, it would be awesome if you guys and gals would take the time to vote for Chapter 2 of Radio Silence. Maybe by next week – with all of your help – I’ll be in the top 30!

Chapter 2 of Radio Silence.

Above is the link to Chapter 2. If you have yet to read Chapter 1, here’s the link: Chapter One.

If you like both, please take the time to register an account and vote for both chapters. I would really appreciate it. Thanks for everything!

~Jian

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The deaths of over a hundred and fifty prisoners in the Northson County Jail due to a fire of unknown causes is not very worrisome for most of the townspeople of Northson, but for Sheriff Gordon Matthews, it was tragic. His younger brother was in that blaze. Drowning his sorrows with alcohol, he is on the verge of committing suicide when his Deputy went on an inexplicable rampage and tried to kill him.

The Sheriff who, just moments before had a death wish, found himself fighting fiercely for his life. Now he also has to figure out what caused his Deputy to suddenly attack him, and what else was out there. He could feel the choking presence of evil and its impending horrors. No clue other than the eerie sounds of music playing on radios that have gone dead.

 

So, I’ve been talking about my story, Radio Silence, for months now. And all this time, I’ve yet to even post the summary. The reason for that being is because I submitted it to Jukepop Serials. It’s a wonderful website that serializes the stories of writers with a good story. So, after months of waiting, it has paid off.

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I don’t know if you can tell, but I am shaking with excitement. I woke up this morning to find that my dream had come true – becoming a published writer – and that I’m going to get paid for it. Now I’m jumping with excitement.

Now, one of the other reasons why I posted about this is because I need all of your votes to keep me in serialization. You can read Radio Silence over here. And if you liked it, I would really appreciate it if you took the time to register an account and vote for my story. That would be amazing.

The benefit of this, however, is that you can read Radio Silence entirely for free. So, if you end up liking the first chapter, you won’t be forced to buy it or anything. You just need to wait for the next chapter to come out.

Finally, I just want to thank my family. Because it literally would not be possible. My family supported me during the time that I was waiting to hear from Jukepop, and I thank them a lot for that.

Next, I want to thank my beta readers. (Yeah, am I reminding you of someone’s Oscar speech? One difference is I don’t have a time limit on my speech. Haha!) The amount of inconsistencies, realistic fighting errors, and terminology that they’ve pointed out in Radio Silence is astounding. It would most likely be unreadable for people that – unlike me – know a thing or two about cars, guns, fighting, etc. So, I owe them a lot of thanks for helping me with Radio Silence and for helping me with my book, the Line of Corruption.

Finally, I want to thank my Followers here on WordPress. Blogging’s been an outlet of mine for awhile now, and it gives me great joy to see that some other writers Like my post. It gives me even greater joy when they deem the stuff I write cool enough that they Follow me.

I definitely enjoy it when they Comment their thoughts on something I wrote about. It’s a lot of fun to discuss things in the comments section, even if our opinions do differ. So, yes. Thank you. I really mean it.

~Jian