Archive for the ‘Details about my books’ Category

I wrote a post earlier on how I was working a bit more on the sequel LoC, and it got me thinking on my current responsibilities as a writer. Jukepop Serials has given me the great opportunity of uploading three chapters a month, making it immediately available for everyone to read. And they have some wonderful incentives, too! Like I said before, I’ve reached a new point in my career as a writer because I’m also concentrating on the sequel to my first book.

So, it’s time to put behind my past as a Panster (look it up!), and adhere to a daily writing routine. Here’s how my current schedule looks like.

5 PM: Write in Radio Silence for forty minutes. Reread, edit, and if necessary, rewrite.

6 PM: Write in LoC sequel for forty minutes. Reread, edit, and if necessary, rewrite.

7 PM: Alternate between other projects, and write in whichever one I choose for forty minutes. Reread, edit, rinse and repeat.

So, that’s my writing schedule. Not as hardcore as some other writers, perhaps, but I’m beginning a slow crawl to, dare I say it, becoming a professional writer? Now, I don’t mean professional as in a bestseller. But I do want to have the habits of a real author.

I’ll be posting weekly updates on how this is going, but I want to talk a little bit on my first few days of following this routine.

Day 1

5 PM: I literally realized I had to follow my schedule when I was three minutes away from 5 PM. So, I stopped watching shows on my computer, and began writing Chapter 7 of Radio Silence. I managed to finish most of the chapter before I got burnt out, and reached the 40 minute time limit. I reread it, edited it, and considered it a job well done.

6 PM: I went through all of the existing chapters, and added a few things to tie up a few inconsistencies. Also wrote half a chapter in the perspective of both Maheus and Ambrose. Deleted a scene or two from the perspective of a new character I introduced, and planned the next few chapters. I reread what I wrote, edited the entire document, and considered it a job well done.

7 PM: I reopened an old project I started with my sister, and I started deleting and writing a few new scenes. I can’t really divulge much information about it, but let’s just say it’s very different from Radio Silence and the Line of Corruption sequel. It was a breath of fresh air, and I considered it less a ‘chore’, and more a break from the two earlier projects.

In summation… It was a good day.

Day 2

11 AM: Started a little early because the next chapter of Radio Silence had to be done. Completed chapter 7. Reread it. And… rewrote it. The ending was just terrible. I don’t know what I was thinking. Reread what I wrote, and I made a massive factual error. I’m glad my mother managed to spot it, and so I rewrote it again. When I finally finished, I was really proud of what I managed to accomplish. Had my family review it, and after some changes, I uploaded it on Jukepop Serials.

I’ll stop right here. I suddenly realized that such a strict schedule was not for me. I couldn’t really stick to times like these, because my mood varies a lot. But, I did realize that I had to have some order in my writing. So, I’ll continue to set apart some time every day to write for Radio Silence, for the LoC sequel, and for one of my numerous other projects.

It’s very refreshing to go back to a daily writing routine, and I honestly feel a lot more productive about everything. It’s difficult. I mean, I’m two days into it, and I’ve already abandoned one part of the schedule.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for my idols. So. Right now, I’m just wondering how I’ll get through Day 3. And Day 4. And Day 5…

If you don’t hear from me for over a week, at least you’ll know why.

Oh, I’d love it if you took the time to comment, and tell me what you think. Do you follow a schedule? I know I wrote a post about schedules earlier, but I’m curious to know if you tried a similar template/schedule to mine, and how you coped with it. I wanna hear all about it. Thanks.

~Jian

Hey, it’s been awhile. Miss me? No? Well, I’ll still chew your ear off with my stories. So, I’ve been kind of busy the past week reading my novel, Line of Corruption. I realized a few things about it while I was reading it. I have way too many run-on sentences near the end of the book (when the fight scenes became very hectic), and I really miss writing in the world of Line of Corruption.

I miss writing about the characters, I miss the magic system, I miss… Well, everything about it. So, I’ve decided to start working on the sequel to LoC a bit more. In the week after I finished the Line of Corruption, I quickly started a new file for the sequel, and wrote eleven thousand words setting up the groundwork.

After reading over the current chapters I’ve already written for the sequel, I have no idea what I was thinking at a few sections. “Who is this incompetent writer?” I shouted. But, I had a ton of fun just reading about the characters that I’d made up almost two years ago.

So, I’ve begun working on the plot for the sequel. I think I have a very rough idea of what I want to happen. I’m no longer fumbling about in the dark like I was with the first book, and now I’m working on the title for the sequel. If I’m working on the first book, I think… The Circle of Insanity would be a great title!

Nah, I’m kidding… No, I’m serious. I’m kidding. I’ve introduced maybe four new characters in the chapters I’ve already written, and I’ve fallen in love with them already. I can’t say they’re great characters, because I feel like that’d be egotistic, but I love writing from their perspectives. I can’t divulge too much, because it’d be spoiling a lot.

But, I just want to talk about both the joy and the meh parts of writing the sequel. I want to make this the Empire Strikes Back of sequels, or the Godfather II of sequels. So, it’s difficult to think of a way to make this a lot cooler, a lot more visceral, yet still staying true to the book I finished almost a year ago.

Most of the characters, at the end of LoC, experienced life changing event. That isn’t a spoiler, because that’s normally a given. Unlike the first book, I need to plan almost everything about this book. I can’t walk blindly in a circle with a blindfold. (Interesting fact: it is impossible to walk in a straight line with a blindfold. See why I’m thinking of the Circle of Insanity? )

I also need to answer a lot of questions I set up in the first book, and make sure I explain anything the reader might construe as deus ex machina. Basically, I need to work a lot harder on the sequel. Sounds miserable, doesn’t it?

Well, weirdly enough, I don’t find any of it miserable. I happen to think it’s very fun, and it’s yet another challenge of my skills as a writer. For Xenon Bane, I also started working on a sequel before I gave up on the series. I wrote maybe… twenty thousand words in the sequel before I stopped writing. It was so much better than Xenon Bane, and I want to do the same with the LoC sequel. I want readers to read the first ten chapters and think: “Well, I won’t be getting any sleep tonight. This is going to be fun!”

It’s like my reaction when I watched season two of the BBC series, Sherlock. I loved season one, but season two episode one was a game changer. Finished the entire season in one day.

Do you have any experience working on a sequel? If so, feel free to comment and tell me about your fun times and not so fun times.

I realize this has been a short post, but that’s really all my thoughts on it. It’s fun and challenging. I’ve had to rewrite a lot more than when I wrote LoC, since I’ve noticed some slight continuity errors here and there already. Like I said, there are some really slow moments, but if you allow it, it will take you out on a really great ride.

~J.A. Romano

I don’t mean going without sleep for 72 hours straight. (Yeah, you only have to go without sleep for 48 hours anyways.)

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However, I want to talk about exercising your creative muscles. I really don’t exercise my physical muscles as much as I should, but people forget that while writing isn’t really physically demanding, you do need to do a lot of work in it, as well.

So, what do I mean by pushing yourself to the limit? A few examples of how I pushed myself in the past will be in order. The first time was when I was still writing the Line of Corruption. This was maybe late 2011, or early 2012. I was writing a massive battle, and it was honestly the first time I’d written something like it. I’d written huge battles before, but it was the first time where the impact of the results affected the main characters so strongly.

In order to keep up the pace and momentum, I wrote it like a reader would read it. Nonstop. I wrote eight thousand words in one sitting. The next day I wrote four thousand words, and on Saturday, I wrote another four thousand words. That was how I ended Part I of Line of Corruption.

I was creatively drained afterwards. Didn’t write a word for maybe a week. But I was done with Part I. It clocked in at around 53k words. Writing eight thousand words is not as difficult as I assumed before I wrote it. It’s really a question of whether or not you want to persevere. See, the reason why we normally don’t write ten thousand words in one sitting is because you will probably hit a creative wall. And there are two things you can do.

1. Call it a day, and see if you can scale the wall tomorrow with the proper equipment.

2. Channel Jackie Chan, and try to jump over the wall and hope for the best.

That’s how I always saw it. And at times, I really wished I took a few karate lessons. Since the grammar mistakes were ridiculously bad, and I immediately removed those mistakes the next day, but the point is that it is possible if you are willing to throw caution to the wind. That’s how I like to write. Make it risky. I like to think it worked, because the fight scenes had an urgency to them. (Because dinner was in thirty minutes, and I had to wrap it up before then.)

So, there’s your first example of when I pushed myself. Second example is when I wrote Radio Silence. I was preparing for NaNoWriMo, and I had a cool idea for a horror story. So, I just wrote the first four thousand words in one sitting. It’s not as impressive, I guess, as the part with Line of Corruption. But I did push myself because I had no idea what I was going to do with the story.

So, what the next hundred words was going to entail was a mystery to me until I was literally a dozen words away from writing it. That’s how I did it. And it worked out. Then, around January, I pushed myself again with an Urban Fantasy story. I wrote five thousand words in one hour. I was chatting with my friend at the time, and every time I wrote a thousand words, I’d send him a message challenging him to beat it.

I liked the story a lot, but I made a lot of mistakes. Mostly with verb tenses. I’d written it in first person perspective, and I hadn’t written anything like that before. I think I may have deleted it, but I may have it on a forum I made with some of my writer friends where we can post our writings and critique each other’s work even when we’re not online on Skype.

So, tomorrow, I’m going to push myself again with Radio Silence. My goal is to get to Chapter 8 by midnight. I’ve got two big fights planned between Gordon and a prisoner, and it’s going to be a lot of fun writing them. I at least need to finish writing Chapter Six because I held off on posting Chapter Five last friday so I can post two chapters next Friday. (No worries – it’ll still be suspenseful. You’re welcome. -dodges a burning trashcan- )

The point is, pushing yourself as a writer is never really a bad thing. Sure, you make a lot of mistakes along the way, and I certainly wrote some pretty incomprehensible things while I was pushing myself, but it’s at times like that when you can test your determination. You get to see just how stubborn you are. I’ll most likely set out an hour tomorrow so I can write Chapter 6 and 7, and as a bonus, I’ll make a video of myself writing it. A few months ago, I learned how to record my computer screen by using this program, Screenflow.

So, prepare yourself for a video after I post Chapter Five and Six. You’ll see a lot of deleting, terrible punctuation errors, and massive factual errors. I know, sounds like a lot of fun.

It’s really a video for the people that are most interested in how I write things (yes, all ten views will be myself re-watching it to see all my mistakes), and I’ll most likely speed up the video on Final Cut Pro X so it isn’t so dreadfully long. Hope you’re looking forward to it.

When have you pushed yourself as a writer? I’d love to hear your stories down in the comments, and I bet they’re a lot less mistake-filled as mine. Have a cool day.

As some of you may know (since I’ve been screaming it from the rooftops), I’ve been serialized. I’m really quite glad about this, but I’ve been getting used to what being serialized actually means. It means being consistent and writing on a schedule. You don’t actually have to follow a schedule. You can post chapters whenever you feel like it, but I prefer sticking to a schedule. I post a new chapter on Friday for three weeks. No chapter on the fourth week because that’s a bit too much, even for me.

I used to write whenever I wanted to, and that actually worked quite well for me. Now, I have to be able to write a whole lot within a week so it can be edited properly before getting published. It’s honestly a dream come true. I like the fact that I now have people looking forward to reading the next chapter of my story. It makes me try a lot harder, and I’m currently working on something for a chapter in Radio Silence’s future where I do something really experimental.

But, there are downsides to this. Like I said in a previous post, I came upon a problem in writing a chapter for Radio Silence. I’ve since overcome that problem, but it still made me stop and think: “What if I wasn’t able to get over it?”

So, I will most likely be writing a lot more vigorously so I’m at least two to three chapters ahead of everyone. Chapter 4 of Radio Silence has already been written, and I’m working on Chapter 5 now. It was really cool to suddenly start writing on a schedule because it made me feel like a bona fide author. It also gave me some perspective on the problems some authors have when writing. I’ve seen and read the complaints of people when a writer can’t reach his/her deadline and isn’t able to get the book out in time (I was one of them, most of the time), but until now, I never realized just how hard it may be for a lot of them. Like I said, I am far from a professional writer.

Yet, I have been writing in the mindset that with a single sentence, everything could come crashing down around me. I didn’t have this feeling with the Line of Corruption because I felt safe with the knowledge that any mistake I made would be spotted and fixed long before it was ever published. Now, there’s a week – two weeks, maximum – before a chapter of Radio Silence is posted. I reread each chapter about five times, even after it’s published. But, I always keep in mind that each chapter has to be at least as good as the last one, and it would be great if each one is better than the previous ones. That’s how I write my chapters lately.

“Okay. So, this chapter’s going to be better than the last one. Oh, wonder how I’m gonna write a better chapter than this.”

It forces me to write beyond what I thought was my limit. I constantly come up with ways to make each chapter substantially better by trying out something I would never have imagined when I was writing the Line of Corruption. So, really, this post is more about how cool being serialized is… and why I think that it’s cool, even with the dangers. One thing I’ve enjoyed immensely since I started writing Radio Silence itself is finding new songs. As some of you may know, each chapter of Radio Silence is named after a song, and while I write that chapter, I listen to that song on repeat.

This has kind of gotten on my nerves when I had to listen to a song on repeat when I wasn’t even a fan of it. But, for the sake of matching the chapter to the tone I’d intended when I started it (and because the song was just perfect for it), I persevered. “Wow, listening to a song you don’t like. How do you do it, Jian?”

Eating healthily, and exercising regularly. Take that to the press. So, anyways. Those are my thoughts on writing on a schedule. I know it’s a really short post in comparison to my old posts, but I hate to try to drag things out to a thousand words when I can easily say it within 700. So, hope you’ve enjoyed this post. This was really a post telling other writers that if they’re afraid of the whole serialized thing… it isn’t bad at all.

For one, I am technically a published writer. So, that’s something to brag about at the Sunday dinner. (Be careful, though, because they might not give you dinner if you do it too often. )

Have a cool day.

~Jian

I love them. I love seeing people comment, I love discussing things with people that disagree with something I’ve said (granted that s/he approached it in a civil manner). And if possible, I try to reply to comments as fast as possible. The people that voted for Radio Silence, for example, have also taken the time to pass on their compliments in the comment sections. This is something that I really appreciate, and it was a lot of fun to read their praises and compliments.

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These are just some of the comments on Radio Silence that I have enjoyed reading, and loved replying to each and every one of them. I can’t begin to appreciate the effort people put in registering, voting, and then commenting for me. It was really inspiring. If you want to read all the comments, you can go to Radio Silence, scroll down, and read them. (Not sure about this, but I think you need to register an account to read them. Not sure.)

I was originally going to talk about comments in general, i.e. on places like Youtube, Rotten Tomatoes. All the usual suspects. I was planning on talking about those people that comment derogatory statements that (normally) make no sense at all, and generally ruin the pleasure of reading the comments for everyone.

But, considering I don’t really have a lot of experience with that kind of thing (fortunately), I’m just going to talk about what I do know. Which is the satisfaction of reading other people’s opinions. Earlier, I wrote a post about drafts that a few people disagreed with, but I honestly didn’t mind them disagreeing with my views on them. I was pleasantly surprised by it, and I had fun replying to their comments.

I mean. I can’t say I would’ve enjoyed it if they’d gone: “YOU’RE WRONG. I HATE YOU LIKE A DOG HATES A CAT.”

But fortunately, my readers are cool. 8)

I’ve also written posts where people agreed with me, and I of course enjoyed reading about those. But, a buddy of mine has told me that the reason why most of his readers don’t comment when they disagree is because they’re afraid the blogger and her/his followers will just rip them apart. Now, I find this very interesting.

See, to an extent, it is actually a reasonable fear. If we’re talking about Youtube (for example), and the subscribers of this person are very… loyal. It’s a normal occurrence. But, it was interesting to hear that people even fear this on intelligent blogs. I think that it’s sad that this happens, so I decided to write an entire post about it. If you disagree with me, please comment about it. As long as you say it in a relatively civil and intelligent manner, I am completely okay with it. I’d be happy to find out why you think I am incorrect, and if your reasons are all right, you may even sway me.

So, just thought I had to get that out there. I don’t think I have to say that it’s cool to comment that you liked what I’ve written, since I think everybody likes to hear that.

I hope that people will continue to comment in my future posts whether or not they agreed/disagreed with the point I made in a post, because I honestly find the opinions of others very enlightening.

Thanks for reading.

~Jian

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The above is a screenshot of my ranking, and it was made by my cool mother. I was studying   and my mom suddenly shouted: “You made the top 30!”

I dropped my pencil and rushed over to see if it was true. And it was! Because of the amazing support of my family, their friends, and the friends of their friends, and the people I’ve gotten acquainted with since I started blogging… I made it. Radio Silence is in the Top 30 with 353 votes. To bring perspective into how momentous this is, I was able to get to the Top 30 in roughly four weeks. And before Radio Silence, the fastest anyone was able to get to the Top 30 had been five weeks.

I was – and still am – amazed when this happened. I started pacing from one side of the room to another. I could not contain my excitement. This marks one of the few times where I cannot find the proper words to adequately describe how I felt when I found out.

Despite this, I still have a ways to go. It would be quite possible for me to be dethroned from the 30th position within a day or a week. So, it would still be a great favor to me if you – the reader – would take the time to vote for Radio Silence. You can also find the links to all the chapters here.

Still, I am just as happy as I can possibly be right now. Thank you to everyone that voted for me, and thank you to everyone that helped Radio Silence be the 30th most voted serial in Jukepop Serials, and the second most voted serial in the entire Horror genre.

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Thanks for everything.

-Jian

I got Scrivener on October 7, 2012. I’ve talked a little bit about it, here and there, but I haven’t really made a post about my thoughts on it. I’ve read a lot of blogposts about it, though. Half of it were raves, and the other half were… well, not raves. (See how eloquent of a writer I am?)

The problem that most people seem to have with Scrivener is that it is very different from a lot of the usual programs that writers use. I know what you’re thinking. It’s all the same. I wish that was true. We all have different reactions to programs that supposedly make our jobs easier. In fact, one of the blurbs of Scrivener is that ‘it all but writes it for you!’

I could tell you all about Scrivener’s features, and I most likely will, but I’ll just tell you what I think about it. First, I’ll start with why I started using Scrivener in the first place. I’d reached a hundred thousand words in the Line of Corruption. It was a momentous occasion, but it also brought a problem. Word count. For some reason, my Word malfunctioned, and I couldn’t find out the word count anymore. I know I reached 100k because I was at 99,997 words when I was suddenly unable to find out the word count.

So, after a quick shout out on a forum, some alternatives were recommended. Then someone recommended Scrivener to me. I was… skeptical about it. I was inclined to believe that it was great, but at the same time, all those praises didn’t sound very real to me. So, I got the trial version, and I transferred LoC into it.

At first, I was a bit amazed by it. And then I was even more amazed. See, I was using a 2008 version of Word (mostly because I always neglected to update it), so I was using a rather antiquated version. At least in comparison to the versions we have now.

So, when I opened Scrivener, and found out I could essentially compile my entire book into whatever format I wanted – Mobi, Pdf, ePub… I blacked out.

I kind of randomly started emailing the ePub to most of the people in my family. My sister has four ePubs of LoC on her iPad. Two of them are exactly the same. (She hasn’t read it, though…)

So, that’s one of the best features. The next feature is simply the organization of it all. When I found out I could put chapters into folders within the same document ( a feature most likely available in plenty of other programs, but it was the first I’d seen of it ), I blacked out. Again. With joy, obviously. So, I made three folders. Part I, Part II, and Part III. Each part has over twenty chapters or so.

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Well. That doesn’t seem very organized, but you should’ve seen my Word document. Not pretty. Not pretty, at all.

I also had the option of downloading pdfs for research and putting it within the same document. This feature is severely underused by me since I normally just bookmark it on Safari, but I normally compensate by using it as a textbook for all the magic systems, and mythical creatures I’ve made up over the course of writing the book.

So, my Uncle bought Scrivener for me as a birthday present. (I had ten days left of the Trial version.)

It actually unlocked a few more features of Scrivener that I was disappointed to see had not been available in the trial version. I can see why they would leave it out, but I probably would have bought it within two days of getting the trial version if I had access to some of the premium stuff. But yeah, that’s business.

So, after awhile, I got used to Scrivener. I was still amazed by some of the simply awesome things it could do, but for the most part, I knew it like the back of my hand. Then… I found out I could write a script, a BBC Radio broadcast, and a play… Guess I never really knew the back of my hand after all.

I went nuts with those options, too. I explored the script writing features, and I like to think that I have that down to a T, as well. I’ve yet to actually start writing a play, mostly because I haven’t a slightest clue how to write one. I haven’t made a radio broadcast yet, either, but I plan on exploring that avenue in the future.

There’s also an option of writing a research paper, but hey. That’s what Word is for. I like to associate Scrivener with fiction writing, and research papers for school… That’s not my definition of fiction writing. I keep telling my sister to install Scrivener on her computer, but she won’t listen to me. To be honest, I’m kind of glad that she doesn’t listen to me. After all, it means I’d have to teach her how to use it when I barely know how to utilize it to a quarter of its full potential.

So, there you have it. My thoughts on Scrivener. It’s all praise, I know, but that’s how I think of Scrivener. I could tell you its faults, but you could easily find that out with a quick google search. I, on the other hand, prefer to talk about all the good stuff. If you want to try out Scrivener, here’s the link to the website where you can download a free trial version of it.

Oh, I forgot. You could also write the script for a comic book. I’ve explored that feature, too. And I like it quite a bit.

I hope you’ve liked this post… or ramble. I like Scrivener a lot, and I just wanted to talk about my experience with it and what I actually think of it. Two posts in one day. Legendary, I know. If only I could keep this up at a regular basis… Hah, I wish…

~Jian