Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

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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

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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)

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

Today, I’m happy to present a guest post by my fellow writer, Erica Dakin, who took time to write this post detailing her thoughts on writing as an art. As some of you may know, I wrote a call for guest posts earlier and Erica was the first to take me up on my offer.

In this post, she explains what she thinks about writing as a whole more eloquently than I could have. So, I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed reading it. 

When I first read Jian’s post about writing as an art form it actually surprised me a little, because I’ve never thought of writing as art. At least not in the sense of what I think of when someone mentions the word ‘art’, which is paintings and sculptures and stuff like that. However, if it’s a question of a technical craft or art, then I’m standing firmly on the side of art.

Why? Well, I have one main reason for that. It’s because if it were something technical, it would be something that can be learned, and I’m not convinced that writing can be learned. It can be honed, perfected, streamlined, but there has to be that innate spark, that talent, to make it shine. The best comparison I can come up with is a pianist. You can learn to play the piano, follow the instruction books, practice for hours and hours to get it right, but unless you have some innate musical talent, you will never make it to concert pianist, or you’ll never be a composer. It could be drive as well, the will to succeed and to constantly get better, but if you lack either the talent or the drive, you will never be more than a hobbyist.

If you compare that to writing books, then you can learn that by reading all the ‘how to’ manuals. You can read up on how to structure a story, how to build a believable plot, how to flesh out your characters, but I firmly believe that you need something extra if you want to lift your prose to something that doesn’t look like you’ve simply applied all the rules. You will never write a truly brilliant book by simply following all the rules and applying the correct formulas. There is a reason why there is a whiff of derision attached to the word ‘formulaic’.

My second reason for feeling this way is because if writing were a technical craft, I wouldn’t be a writer. Like Jian, I write from the gut. I don’t plot, I don’t outline, I don’t plan. I simply take an idea and see where it goes. It might stay in my head for weeks or months, where it ferments and grows and starts to take shape, but I don’t write down an idea as soon as I have it and then start writing an outline to go with it. I simply mull it over and over until I feel ready to put it down on paper, and once I do the idea takes off.

That’s not to say I’m not aware of the technical aspects of writing. I may not have read any books on the subject, but I have an amazing editor who also happens to be a good friend, and from her I have picked up some of the finer points on the matter which have made a huge impact on the quality of my writing. It’s just that the structured way of writing doesn’t work for me.

My third reason is that if writing were technical, it would be possible for it to be perfect, and there is no such thing as a perfect book. A book may be perfect to someone, but there will always be someone else who doesn’t like it or even hate it.

The only problem I have with the definition of writing as art is that it would make me an artist, and that just feels weird. I’m a writer, not an artist. I don’t sit in a brightly lit studio and wait for inspiration to hit, I sit at my computer desk in my little corner and bash on a keyboard. Every now and then I get disturbed by a cat or two, or I get the urge to make a cup of tea, or get distracted by a site like Cracked or Failbook, or I feel like slaughtering hordes of demons in Diablo, but I’ll always eventually return to what I’m writing. All that just doesn’t feel very artistic to me.

But then, I do have a drive, a compelling urge to write, and I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. It may sometimes go away for months on end, but it will always return, and once it does I have to write, because I’ll get irritable and edgy if I don’t. And then when I do, the words just keep coming. I have had weekends where I started typing as soon as I got home from work on Friday evening and didn’t stop (other than for the usual chores such as shopping and sustenance and stuff) until midnight on Sunday evening, by which point I’d be on a tally of around 22,000 words. I suppose that’s a pretty artsy thing to do.

Sometimes I also look at my own work and think ‘damn, did I write that? That’s pretty bloody amazing!’ Not often, but sometimes. And that’s the beauty of good prose. Sometimes it just hits you where it matters, and you can’t help but admire whoever put those words on paper. I usually get it with other writers, and sometimes they’re so good that they make me want to jack everything in and never write anything else ever, but thankfully those phases never last.

So yeah, I guess that writers really are artists, and if that makes me one too then I’ll have to grudgingly accept that tag. As long as people remember that I’m only a little bottom-feeder, one of those jobbing artists who does it on the side and has a long way to go before being able to live off my efforts.

And actually, I think the most compelling argument for writing as art is this: there have been many books that were so well-written and moving that they had me bawling like a baby. You’ll never convince me that that was because the writer followed all the right formulas; it will have been because the writer knew how to paint with words, and that takes instinct and talent, not the right manuals.

Well, first, I want to thank Erica for taking the time to talk about writing and for doing it as a guest post for my blog. Here’s the link to her blog where you can all Follow her: Theft and Sorcery

You can also follow her on Twitter, her username is: @TheftandSorcery

Finally, you can download her book over here on Amazon. Can’t believe I got a published writer to write a guest post for me, to be honest. But I managed to talk her into this.

Please remember to Like, Follow, and Comment. Hopefully, all three. And yeah. Thanks for reading.

~J.A. Romano

To be honest, I didn’t realize why I wanted to be a writer ’till earlier this morning. Well, I knew why, but before then, I didn’t actually put it into a proper sentence aloud. I was jogging 6 kilometers and… (Jian, was this a ploy to casually slip in the fact that you ran TWO kilometers? Yeah, that’s right, people. He only did two kilometers)

Ahem. 2.5 kilometers, as I said. The person I was jogging with asked me what I wanted to be, and I casually proceeded to tell him my life story. Told him about all my dream jobs – which consisted of being a soldier in World War II (I was five, in my defense.), a surgeon for all the cash, and finally a writer. Being a writer makes sense to me. My hands are too shaky to be a surgeon, and I’m way too pampered to be a soldier in World War II. Also, World War II was over fifty years ago. There’s that.

But even when I wanted to be a surgeon, I still wrote. I remember three stories that I started when I was seven, which I thought was some of the greatest things ever, at the time. My parents, who didn’t have it in them to tell me, said I was a gifted writer. They still tell me that today, but after their deception when I was seven… I’m not so sure. Maybe I’ll believe them when I’m successful.

Maybe.

My favorite of the three stories was this mash up of Lost and Band of Brothers. At the time, they were my two favorite shows. I mean, I can’t say I really understood some of the twists in the plot of Lost… and I couldn’t see the awful things that happened in WWII Band of Brothers was trying to convey. I looked at both shows, and saw the glory in them. So, I wrote about these WWII paratroopers that get stranded on an island, and they end up being forced to fight terrorists.

I didn’t even account for them not being able to contact any other people. I just thought it was a natural thing for people to get stranded and not even try to find a way off the island… Normal.

Second story was a joint project with my then best friend. He was a big fan of the Lord of the Rings, and so was I. So, we wrote a massive rip off of Lord of the Rings. Tolkien would have been crying in his grave with each word I typed.

And the third story, which I consider to be the worst, was a Fantastic Four ripoff. The funny thing is I didn’t even watch the movies or read the comic books. I just saw a trailer of the first Fantastic Four movie, and thought: “I think I could write a book about that… only with different powers.”

My Johnny Storm ripoff had electrokinesis instead of pyrokinesis, though. And to this day, I still believe that electrokinesis is a cooler ability than pyrokinesis. I mean, you can’t control pyrokinesis. Really, try to fight some bad guys in a dense wooden area. See how far that gets you. But with electro-

That’s beside the point. Anyways, all things I considered, I was a horrible writer. I didn’t have an innate talent for it, but I had fun. Skip to a few years later, and I wanted to do something more with it. I could continue to perfect my fan fiction writing skills ( which was, in all honesty, was abysmal ), or I could write my own book. And four years later, I realize that I really wanted to be a writer because I had fun doing it. With my academic subjects, I didn’t have an innate talent for them, either. I had to work hard on each subject in school.

However, I was even worse at writing, yet I had fun? That did not make sense to me. At all. But nothing, up to that point, had ever given me the same amount of joy that writing did. And I think that’s what started it all. My boredom, and the fact that writing was one of the few things that quenched the boredom. That, and television. But, I couldn’t really make a career out of watching Tv, now could I?

(Unless you’re really good at it, which you aren’t.)

Ignore the parentheses. So, anyways. I wrote an earlier article called Writers Assemble, and that was loads of fun to write. But, while I touched on the subject of origin stories, I didn’t actually talk about why I started to work hard to be a writer. The reason why in that article, I mention a rather different story than the stories above is that I didn’t really start considering myself a writer ’till about three years after I stopped writing terrible stories that ripped off amazing stories.

So, if you’d do me the honor, please tell me below in the comments why you became a writer. Or, link me to a blogpost where you say ( in much more coherence than I did ) why you decided to continue writing after the initial ‘meh’ moments of your writing. That’d be pretty awesome, and I hope you do that. Thanks!

P.S: Also want to say Thanks to everyone that Liked the last post, and commented. Pretty awesome of those people. If you liked this post, please remember to Like, Follow, and Comment. All three, preferably. Thanks! Talk to you later!

~J.A. Romano