Posts Tagged ‘series’

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

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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

I talked about the Way of Kings in my earlier post about Touch of Power, and I decided to write a review about it. The Way of Kings is the first book of a planned 10 book series called the Stormlight Archive set in the world known as Roshar. Roshar is plagued by high storms at a near daily basis, and fauna and flora have adapted to their surroundings and most of them are crustacean of nature. The whole basis of this series is that a thousand years ago, there were these great heroes, and they suddenly abandoned their weapons, and left the people to fend for themselves.

The book was beautifully done and stands at a whopping 1,036 page book. You heard right. And that’s the epub version. It’s probably way longer in the paperback version. Back to the story. There are basically three main protagonists. There’s Kaladin Stormblessed, a former captain in the army that is now a slave working in a bridge team, and has to deal with seeing his comrades fall to the arrows of the enemy as they lay down their bridges to cross some terrifyingly deep chasms. There’s Dalinar Kholin, the brother of the king that is killed in the Prologue, and because he was drunk and unconscious during the death of his brother, he has now taken to following the rules assigned to the army thousands of years ago to the absolute letter. Finally, there’s Shallan, who is trying to track down an elusive scholar/heretic called Jasnah Kholin (Dalinar’s niece) and is planning on stealing a priceless artifact from the unsuspecting scholar.

All in all, the book was just astounding, and I loved every page of it. The book is split up into parts, and in each part, there is a brief intermission or interlude, and you’re introduced to the perspective of an entirely new character and will be shown the rest of the world that’s intelligently crafted by Brandon Sanderson. But, in case this might confuse you, I would suggest you read only the chapters integral to the plot, I.E. the chapters in Dalinar’s, Kaladin’s, Shallan’s, Adolin’s (deuteragonist), and Szeth’s (technically a protagonist, but his chapters are just so few.)

The plot was masterfully done, and I simply loved the magic system that Sanderson has crafted for Roshar. I can’t even begin to think of a description adequate enough to convey the brilliance of the book. You are introduced to entirely new creatures such as the Parshendi and the Parshmen. Two species so alike to each other, yet so different in mannerisms, skills, and intellect. You will become emotionally invested in the characters as they tread carefully around the dangerous political ground of the war going on, as they grieve after a heartbreaking death of their comrade, or as they contemplate the consequences of the act they are about to commit. You’ll be in a roller coaster of a ride.

If I was forced to find a few problems with the book, and yes, this is me forcing myself. I would have to say the problem with the book is that it takes a few more dozen pages than most regular people would like before you’re hooked into the story and taken on an adventure you’ve never seen before. But, if you’re an avid fantasy fan, you’ll have absolutely no problem with that.

I’ve also noticed that some people have difficulty with the fact that you’re not really told what is what in the Prologue, but if you just tough it out, it will all be explained within the next few chapters. If not, then it’s probably integral to the plot of the next books. Here’s another problem that is so minor that I ignored it. The series has a planned 10 books in it, in relation to the fact that 10 is a holy number in Roshar and it takes 10 heartbeats to summon your Shardblade (their almighty powerful weapons).

Some of you may have a problem when it comes to waiting such a long time for the next book, but I don’t regret reading it for a second. It just means that I get to have an excuse to re-read the previous book each time before the next one comes out so I can catch myself up on the story.

Now, go read it now, or ELSE.

Oh, you think I’m kidding? -raises shotgun toward your head- That’s right. Go read it.