Posts Tagged ‘horror’

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

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I recently started reading Under the Dome, and I’m maybe four hundred pages into it. Out of all the Stephen King books I’ve read, Under the Dome has to be the best so far. It is grand in scale, and I love the characters. So, the moment I found out there was a Tv show, I was giddy with excitement.

I’m going to spend the rest of this review telling you all whether or not it lives up to Under the Dome, or if it’s a good show in general. Like I said before, I have not finished the book. I’m still in the process of reading it, but I just really wanted to review this Tv show. So, please excuse me if I don’t know all the characters, or I can’t tell you all the differences. I’m not a very attentive reader, so there’s your warning.

I will mention this right now. This isn’t an ultra-faithful adaptation of Under the Dome. This is obvious within the first six minutes. (I took notes while watching it.) But you can skip the next nine paragraphs if you don’t want to hear about the comparisons I made with the book and the show. Afterwards, all I’ll discuss is whether or not the show is good. So, feel free to skip to 10 paragraphs from now.

They changed the characters a lot, and I think that they took an interesting change with the characters. For one, Dale Barbara’s/Barbie’s character (portrayed by Mike Vogel) is rather different from the book. In fact, most of the characters are different from the book. Rusty Everett, the physician and husband of one of Chester’s Mill deputies, is a fireman in here. And Chief Duke Perkins actually called him a meathead.

Considering the fact that he was my second favorite character in the book – next to Barbie – I was really surprised by this choice. But knowing Brian K. Vaughan (who’s written for Lost, one of my favorite shows, and also wrote a TON of amazing comic books that I love) was handling this, I had faith it was for a good reason.

I think the changes they’ve done with the antagonists, however, was really for the best. Okay, we all know Big Jim and Junior Rennie were the bad guys. So, I’m not spoiling anything. But, in the book, practically everyone knew they were the antagonists. And they were made out to be amazing fakers and that’s what made them dangerous. I didn’t get the impression of that in the book. Maybe this is because I got to see what they were actually thinking, but this wasn’t aided by the fact that 90% of all of the characters saw Big Jim and Junior for what they were.

In the Tv series, on the other hand, I was very impressed with the way they’ve handled their characters. I could see why people thought they weren’t a threat, and why Big Jim would be a successful car dealer. Big Jim is portrayed by the talented Dean Morris, and I think they casted him perfectly. Dean Morris ( from Breaking Bad ) is one of those actors that can be charming and deadly all at once. I think he should get a lot more lead roles, since he’s one of the few actors I think can hold his own next to Bryan Cranston. (Which is saying something.)

Perhaps the two biggest changes in character, though, is the change in Barbie’s and Angie’s character. Let me explain. Barbie, in the book, is a drifter who became a short order cook at a local diner in Chester’s Mill. He’s former military, highly trained, but when the girlfriend of one of the town’s infamous jerks tries to make a move on him… things start to go by the wayside of things. The friends of said jerk (including Junior Rennie) ambush Barbie as he’s closing the diner, and he manages to kick their ass despite the unfair advantage.

Junior cries to his Dad about it, and his Dad makes life miserable for Barbie. So, the book starts with Dale about to leave Chester’s Mill. His plan goes awry when the Dome drops into place, and a plane crashes into it. And he was so close to leaving the miserable town!

In the Tv series, Dale is… well, he’s not so innocent. The Pilot episode begins with Dale burying a dead body, and we see him yelling into a phone, worried about Chief Perkins catching him. That’s as different as it could possibly be, if you ask me.

The other change is the fact that Angie McAlister is not killed in the first few minutes. In the book, Angie’s killed by Junior Rennie pretty quickly. It appears like she’ll be a main character here, and I thought it was an interesting change. It’s not a bad one, but at the same time, I’m wondering if this is the show’s way of showing the viewers from the get go that it’s definitely not the same as the book.

And I think it’s a good way of doing that. Her character certainly seems more interesting than in the book, and I guess now people have an attractive young woman to look forward to seeing.

Okay. Now I’ll write about the actual show. I’ll try to keep the comparisons to the book out, but no promises. I like it when people adapt books into movies or Tv shows. I know they fail often, but the thing is, they make it a lot faster paced.

And Under the Dome is no exception. Within the first eight minutes, the Dome drops, and most of the main cast knows about it by the twenty-four minute mark. I thought this was a smart decision, and the tension feels truly real here. Since this isn’t an ultra-faithful adaption, I had no idea what could happen.

Another nice touch made by the show is making everyone completely silent from the other side of the Dome. I thought this really ramped up tension, and made everything feel surreal. I mean, you can see people on the other side mouthing words, but you don’t actually hear it. It’s a very creepy feeling, and it only enhances the claustrophobic feeling of being a bug in a jar. (Which is essentially what they are.)

The characterization in this show is honestly quite something. In the first episode, I know these characters. I’ve read the first 400 pages of the book, but you should believe me when I say that most of these characters have been put through the ringer and changed almost completely. And I think they improved some of them. I especially liked the fact that they combined the role of First Selectman Andy Sanders and Chief Duke Perkins. Only readers of the book will understand this. But, it feels a lot more… tight?

I think the director of the first episode, Niels Arden Oplev, knows what he is doing. Everything is perfectly timed, and everything is clear. Precise. And unlike a lot of the modern directors, he doesn’t rely on expository dialogue too much. Tv shows and movies are a visual medium, and it honestly makes me cringe when the director and writers feel that they need to dumb it down for the audience.

I thought that this is a fine example of that, and it was definitely something to smile about. The final ten minutes, to be exact, was absolutely perfect. You’ll see if you watch it. I loved the ending.

Let me talk about the acting now. The two standout actors has to be Dean Morris, Jeff Fahey, and Alexander Koch. I already talked a little bit about Dean Morris, so let me talk about the other two. You may recognize Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus from Lost. I have to say, his portrayal of Duke Perkins is pitch perfect. Duke Perkins in the book was very interesting, but there’s subtlety and layers to Jeff Fahey’s acting that I thought was really great. Alexander Koch plays Junior Rennie, one of the two aforementioned antagonists from the book. (Mind you, Brian K. Vaughan could still throw us a curveball and make one of the teenagers the villain. He could pull it off, too.)

I think that Alexander Koch’s portrayal of Junior Rennie is awesome. As with the character of Big Jim, I think they changed his character for the better here. He’s a really bad guy. Disgusting, even. However, the thing that makes most people disgusting… is the fact that they could put on a facade and fool you. It’s what makes serial killers terrifying. They could be the guy/gal organizing the charity, he could be the guy/gal that serves you your food. You just never know.

And that’s what I like about this character now. I hated this character in the book. Absolutely hated him. But here.. Well, I still don’t like him. But the fact that it made me think twice is really something. The episode starts out with him confessing his life to a girl he’s held a torch for since he was in the 3rd Grade. And he’s dismissed immediately.

I’m not condoning his violent nature or anything like that. But I thought that this made his character a little more… realistic. I don’t think people are inherently evil. I just believe that there are “triggers” for every person, and for certain people, that trigger can be exactly the same as Junior Rennie’s trigger. And let me tell you. It gets pulled all right.

So, I think that portraying this character would be difficult for pretty much any character, and Alexander Koch pulls it off swimmingly. It’s fantastic to watch, and I look forward to future episodes to see how he takes the role to the next level.

So, let’s see the list.

1. Story: Interesting.

2. Characterization: Intriguing.

3. Acting: Top notch.

That’s the main check list I use when I watch anything. There are a few laughs in here, but I’m going to flat out tell you right now that this isn’t a comedy. Maybe a very dark, DARK comedy. But it’s important to know that this is a straight up drama. I came in expecting a drama, and that’s exactly what I got back.

Now, it looks like it’s only going to be a miniseries. After seeing this, I was kinda disappointed. It’s difficult to pack a thousand page novel into thirteen episodes, after all, and I’m afraid it might end up being rushed. There’s fast paced and there’s tripping over yourself and falling down the stairs. I really hope this show doesn’t trip over their shoelaces on this one.

So. This is definitely a show worth watching. It’s important that you know it’s rather different from the book, but really. It’s still quite good. That’s the point. Considering the show selection for summer ( I.E. Keeping Up with the Kardashians ), this is the Holy Grail of television shows right now. (Mostly because I’m not up to date with Mad Men. Catching up, though!)

I’m giving this show an 8.5/10. It’s a spectacular show. Not without its flaws, and I was really annoyed at certain changes from the book, but it is still worth watching. It was easy to forget about the annoyances and just enjoy the show. And that’s what shows are for, aren’t they?

So, if you have some spare time, Under the Dome could be the new show to watch during your summer vacation.

~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

Well, don’t worry if you don’t get what I mean in the title. I’m pretty sure that this is a dilemma that only happens to rebellious writers that don’t plot. Now, I’ve talked on and on about how I don’t really plot things out. I mostly wing it. I have a vague idea of everything that will happen in the next three chapters, and most likely the ending, but I don’t really attempt to organize it.

It has caused some problems ( like now ), but I find that it makes writing a lot more interesting for me, and I’ve improved a great deal in writing. (Well, if you call being able to type really fast and being able to press the Delete button very fast an improvement.)

(Lots of parentheses in this post…)

Back to the point. I was writing the newest chapter in Radio Silence yesterday. I managed 438 words before I got stumped. The problem I had was that the main character, Gordon, finds people that aren’t actually… possessed. They’re all stuck in a room. However, there’s a very big chance that at least one of them is possessed. Now, I need a reason (a Why) for all of them being locked in a room.

Sounds simple, right? “Jian, just write that they’re in that room because a possessed person started killing people!”

That’s what I thought. However, I wanted a change of pace. See, if there’s a possessed person somewhere in the vicinity, the characters would just go: “Sheriff, go and find this possessed person!”

Conversation over. But I wanted there to be a conversation. For the past three chapters, I’ve had a lot of action. In Radio Silence, that is. I love action, but I also like conversations. Especially conversations that crack me up. My family says I’m corny, but I’m more of an orange… Yeah, even I think that’s a bad one.

Anyways, I need to find a good reason for them being in that room without them explicitly saying that there’s a crazed serial killer out there. At times like these, I kind of regret not plotting things out, like a cool writer. But, I’m not one for coolness, I guess. Whenever I consider plotting things out more accordingly, I remember that this was how I came up with the plot for Line of Corruption. I winged it.

I changed a few things, of course, in the editing room. But, I could not have come up with a better plot beforehand. That isn’t to say that I made the greatest plot ever, but for me, it was the plot best suited for my book. For Radio Silence, I have things planned out a bit more, actually. I know the ending, for one, and I know the fate of most of the characters.

So, I’m gonna go and find the Why in this chapter. Hopefully, it’ll be good. But that’s part of the adventure, I guess. I like writing about my problems in writing, because it normally reveals to me a good way to circumvent that problem. Oh, and I also like an awesome excuse to procrastinate. (And I just became even more rebellious…)

Hmm, I just got an idea for this newest chapter.. Off I go!

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

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)