Reading Thoughts, and Visiting an (Extremely Possessive) Old Friend!

READING NOW

‘The Gathering Storm’ by Brandon Sanderson (Book 12 of the ‘Wheel of Time’ series)

ONGOING THOUGHTS

The one thing that was regularly levelled at the series was how it seemed to get too involved in the micro-management of the characters.  Yes, the evil is seeping is back into the world, we understand that is affecting everyone.  The cast of central characters is large, without even looking at the first- and second-level supporting characters.

It is still there, but Brandon is doing a wonderful job in balancing the scale.  There are still the first- and second-level characters, but putting them into scenes together instead of giving them their own sections does not make it seem so much like padding.

Enjoying it so far, but there is still over three quarters of the book to go (200 of 824).  Brandon is proving that his choice to complete the WoT series was a very good one =)

– X –

I admit that, due to other tasks having been set, my ‘Big Project’ has been sorely neglected.  Efforts to find a readable and study-worthy copy of Avicenna or Galen’s medical manuals have been fruitless, and caused the complete stall of Chapter 4.

The purpose of my short stories was to give a break from a stalled project, and hopefully connect the neurons through another outlet.  ‘Mune and Mura’ helped to a degree, as ti got me through ‘Big Project’ Chapter 3 and up into Chapter 4.  OVCC#9 got started, and was going great guns until ‘Sayeh and Zia’ popped into my head once Chapter 2 was completed.

And now that OVCC#9 and S&Z are being juggled, the brain has (somewhat) unconsciously returned my focus to the ‘Big Project’.  The weather data tracking is now up to Book 6, and the brain is doing everything it can to keep me focused on getting all the locale weather data up to date RIGHT NOW!

This was a slightly long-winded way of apologising again for my Muse trying to throw many balls at me to juggle.  The data tracking will be completed tonight, in time for the Easter long weekend.  Four whole days!  My solemn vow is that there will be a scene from both OVCC#9 and S&Z posted by the end of this long weekend, and I will do my utmost to get some scenes ahead so my stalled brain does not cause lacking posts.

– X –

Post 146.  Five more to go…

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Reading Thoughts, Ongoing Research, and Writing Self-Analysis

JUST FINISHED

‘Siege of Darkness’ by R.A.  Salvatore (Book 9 of the ‘Legend of Drizzt’ series)

VERDICT

Now THAT is how you do an epic war scene!  70 pages and completely enthralling.  That’s what I love about Salvatore’s writing; the fight scenes are awesome whether large or small.

READING NOW

‘The Gathering Storm’ by Brandon Sanderson (Book 12 of the ‘Wheel of Time’ series)

– X –

The up to date data assembly for the seven locales in my first two ‘Path of’ books have just been completed.  It may seem a small thing, but it helps decide how the character outfits are going to adapt over the course of the series.  It is comforting that some wardrobe changes that were to occur much later in the series (Book 5) can actually begin earlier, and it can feed into one aspect of the wider story to push logically towards the half-way ‘Game Changer’.

– X –

Reading the blogs of my followers, it seems that a common area of pain is the much-maligned proof-reading portion of writing.  Spending all that time listening to the narrator in your head, and only finding out later that its word assembly and thought process can be very illogical and hard to read, is a humbling thing…

Hmm, grammar check did not like that last sentence.

Proof-reading must be done, and it must NOT be done in the wee hours of the morning when you need to be ready for work the next day.

– X –

The last week and a bit were comparatively unproductive writing-wise.  I think there was one lesson learned:  trying to be too faithful to scene setting when it is based on a more recent real-world locale is setting oneself up for procrastination and the emergence of the inner negative voice.  Writing a fantasy novel, however, gives one leeway when the locale is an ancient one and no longer standing as it once did.  Being too close to the real world shuts down your word flow, while a greater degree of freedom makes them flow that much more easily.

– X –

Post 144…

Reading Thoughts, Long-Term Research Projects, Reader Feedback Request, and Inadvertent Spoilers!

JUST FINISHED

‘Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves’ by Matthew Reilly

VERDICT

As with every book written by this man, all the time and sweat and fingertip blisters he puts into his writing leads to a book that is read in two days!  I am not sure if reading a book so quickly is a good or bad thing.  The story was exciting, the exclamation points flying thick and fast towards the end, and a few extremely unlikely escapes (what is called a ‘one-percenter’) has you calling bulls*** while you can’t put it down =)

READING NOW

‘Siege of Darkness’ by R.A.  Salvatore (Book 9 of the ‘Legend of Drizzt’ series)

– X –

It took a very long time, but there is a bit of motivation for the big Project!  It is not in the writing, unfortunately, but in the research to make the world work.  The research can be fully accomplished by one extremely awesome website, called Accuweather.  Not a stretch to figure out what the research entails =)

– X –

In a slightly annoying trend, my science fiction short story seems to keep stalling me.  The religion of the country that Barney is now in is predominantly Christian (80%).  The remaining 20% is split somewhat evenly between Islam and traditional religions.  I hope that the ‘traditional religion’ involves Shamanism, because that would be very handy.

Should religion be brought into a science fiction story?

– X –

The plan for Post #151 seems to have been spoiled by a test run.  Well done to one of my very observant followers who realised what was happening and correctly put two and two together =)

By the way, Post #142.  We edge ever closer…

Reading Thoughts, and the Chronologising of Short Stories

JUST FINISHED

‘Wolf of the Plains’ by Conn Iggulden (Book 1 of the ‘Khan’ series)

VERDICT

Very enjoyable read.  It is hard to treat the protagonist as the good guy, since very few people have not heard of Genghis Khan, and fewer still consider him a ‘good guy’.  The story gives him the ‘shade of grey’ required to treat him as more of an anti-hero, a person hard done by in their early years who triumphs through will and determination.  Luckily, the antagonists of the story are easily considered as such with their condescending attitude and questionable actions.

READING NOW

‘Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves’ by Matthew Reilly

THOUGHTS

Why I love Matthew’s writing:  You can read 50 pages in a sitting, and be thoroughly entertained the whole time.  And how I missed the exclamation marks showing even he is enjoying the story he’s spinning.  I found it annoying originally, as it pulled you out of the story by force of the narrator’s excitement.  After getting used to it, I find it somewhat cute =)

Just checked my book list, and SatAoT is my twelfth book read so far this year.  The record of 26 books read back in 2009 looks to be in serious jeopardy =)

– X –

Looking at the list of eighteen short story folders on my thumb drive, I have found a curious pattern that may be worth pursuing.  The historical fiction and fantasy stories each draw their inspirations from true history, or the myths built from the stories of the past.

‘Mune and Mura’ was primarily based in the late 1500’s AD, tipping into the 1600’s for the final chapter.  My current story is drawing its inspiration from the Egypt and Persia of 400 AD, as alluded to by the split Roman Empire and the revolving door of Praetorian Prefects in the Eastern Empire.

My forthcoming historical fictions are inspired by 1100’s AD, 900’s AD, 100’s BC and 400’s BC respectively.

The fantasy inspirations are from 1800’s AD, 700’s AD, 1000’s AD, 800’s AD and 1200’s AD.

My list may need to be arranged by the century it is inspired by, to help guide my future writings.  But, having 15 stories waiting in the wings before the ‘Big Project’ is even mentioned, maybe it is getting too far ahead…

The science fiction stories speak for themselves, though one particular story is based in an increasingly popular subgenre of Victorian era fiction.  Science Fiction seems to function better when a set date is not placed, since the date always seems to mock you when it finally arrives.  Two years from now, there should be hover boards, but it looks highly unlikely =(

– X –

Post #141.  Nine left…  It does not look like OVCC#9 and S&Z will conclude in time.

– X –

Welcome!, and Curse you research-induced Writer’s Block!

Post #138.  13 more to go…

I have two new followers to my site.  Thank you to hollisplample and aristaeverettjune for your vote of interest =)

Looking back at when the last posts were made for ‘On Venusian Cloud Colony Number Nine’ and ‘Sayeh and Zia’, realising that it has been over a week (8 days) and just under a week (6 days) for the other is disappointing.

The reason for this is due to a virtue distorting itself into a vice.  It has been mentioned that my orderliness is a good thing, and something that I keep to in an attempt for it to flow into the story and make it a cohesive whole.

Orderliness has demonised itself by stopping me moving on until I complete the next scene (Chapter 4 Scene 1) of OVCC#9.  The flight, including stop-overs, between Geneva and Bangui is almost 19 hours.  The previous post mentioned the various places the flight passes over, and I feel that this diversity should be described well in the first scene of the new chapter.  The changes in scenery help flesh out the cultural and environmental differences to Barney’s homes, mentioned frequently but not yet seen.  It also helps to set up the arrival at Bangui, with its environmental diversity similar to two worlds. One Barney is uncomfortable in, and the other the epitomy of his comfort zone.

Once this block is worked through, the new characters are there, waiting to be introduced and fleshed out.  A niggling issue is whether the sense of foreboding is enough, as only one person has been affected so far, and they are in a coma.  Chapter 4 Scene 2 will be the exact half-way point of the story, so maybe that is a good place to start the carnage.

Once that is done, I can get back to Susa and the impending arrival of the renowned merchant and hopeful suitor, Yafeu Babafemi.

I apologise for the delay in these stories, but I promise that everything is being done to ensure that the quality of the writing is on the up and up.  Thank you for your patience =)

Followers Milestone, Reading Thoughts, and Answering The Correct Award Questions!

Last week I reached 25 followers of my WordPress account.

Thank you Mags, shadowoperator, jumpforjoyproject, Emma McCoy, mypenandme, thebettermanprojects, Patrick Latter, Words Fusion, Rick Mallery, onethousandsingledays, Mridubala, beyondthehill45, lilypetal91, galuri85, veronicahaunanifitzhugh, njnapier, Liz Bell, alina, Silk Road Collector, jwarnimo, James Curnow, jessiesmithlit, gianfrancogrande, Opinionated Man, and storytellerdavis.

Even if you do not read everything I post, that you felt my account was worth a Follow is greatly appreciated =)

– X –

JUST FINISHED

‘The Gods of Amyrantha’ by Jennifer Fallon (Book 2 of the ‘Tide Lords’ series)

VERDICT

As awesome as the first book in the series, with the third novel set up well.  Can’t wait for Book 3!

READING NOW

‘Wolf of the Plains’ by Conn Iggulden (Book 1 of the ‘Khan’ series)

THOUGHTS

I looked at the first few pages, which were maps and a family tree.  And it already gave me an idea for another short story!  Thank you Conn, you’re awesome before I even started reading!

– X –

I accidentally answered the wrong set of questions from the Liebster Award kindly sent to me by storytellerdavis.  To be fair, I will answer these ones also.

1) If you could be a supernatural creature, which would you be?

Any that could fly, really.  Archangel and demons fly, and they can be either beautiful/handsome or grotesque.

2) What weapon would you use if you were in a combat oriented novel? Guns, swords, maces, all are welcome.

My novels (plan to) have many fight scenes.  I would have a sword, as everyone else has one in such novels.  Gotta be a fair playing field, where only the best fighter wins.

3) What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy.  It has dominated my reading list, with 56 of the 83 novels I’ve read in the last 4 years being from the genre.  I guess the mix of escapism, the idea of a ‘simpler time’, and legendary characters appeal to me.

4) What genre can you not stand and why?

Horror.  I don’t like the idea of people being ripped apart or tortured in terrible ways, usually for the sake of it.  I can see its appeal, but it does not do much for me.  Die in a pile of your own guts during a fair fight… that’s fine.

5) What do you put on a burger? We’re getting close to lunch….

Barbecue Sauce!!!

6) If you had to pick wealth, fame, or love (from a lover, we’ll say you have a very loving family), which one and why?

Love.  Material things will not miss you, and fame usually loves only one aspect of you.  Family, even when you don’t get along with them all the time, know you and love you (to a degree) all the same.

7) Who is the most influential writer to you and why?

There are many that appeal due to the magnetism of their writing style.  Robin Hobb, Jennifer Fallon, Raymond E.  Feist, Matthew Reilly, R.A.  Salvatore come to mind the easiest.

8) You get locked in a friend’s bathroom and have to wait for a locksmith to get you out. You have an hour. What do you do?

Try to be a contortionist and get out the window.

9) What music do you listen to while writing? Why does that music inspire you?

Either trance or story mood music.  The words and the emotion the music itself inspires helps put ideas and clarify scenery in my head.

10) Who is the most supportive person in your life for your writing pursuits?

Shadowoperator has been a reliable source of encouragement from very early in my blogging pursuits.  Thank you =)

11) What is one word you write over and over again, and every time it sets off spell check?

Any word where the American spelling uses a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’.  Items such as civilisation, customisation, realise and subsidise.

Answering Award Questions and Future Reads!

READING NOW

‘The Gods of Amyrantha’ by Jennifer Fallon (Book 2 of the ‘Tide Lords’ series)

ONGOING VERDICT

Jennifer’s writing style is enviously good.  The world detail is there but not overwhelming, the characters interesting and quirky, and the interactions between the characters almost assured to make you crack a smile.  A personal favourite observation:

(*SPOILER ALERT*)

One of the characters we meet is a hybrid human-canine, who has escaped persecution and wants to help others overthrow their tormentors.  He makes other hybrids change their name from what their ‘Masters’ gave them, as they are usually demeaning pet names.  He changed his own name to …  William Phydeau! A half-dog changing his name so his surname sounds like Fido!  Gold Jerry GOLD!

(*END SPOILER ALERT*)

– X –

 

I promised a substantial post since my last one was rather brief.  This post looks to border on epic!

A pleasant surprise awaited my morning login to check my email.  A new reader had found my account, and was exceptionally kind in nominating me for an award!

As I looked at the questions to answer, I realised that other awards had been provided to me.  These had not been acknowledged because I felt a little embarrassed, receiving such praise for a (at the time) half-baked Feudal Japan saga that followed two young boys over three decades.

First of all, I would like to thank shadowoperator for her two nominations (Next Big Thing and Versatile Blogger), emmamccoy (Very Inspiring Blogger) and storytellerdavis (Liebster Award) for their thinking of me in their nominations.  That people out there in the aether of cyberspace enjoy my work is a humbling and encouraging thing.  The questions below were provided across each nomination, with commonalities answered first:

 

VERY INTERESTING BLOGGER, VERSATILE BLOGGER, LEIBSTER

State (7,5,11) things about yourself.

Averaging the three numbers brings up number eight, so I’ll go with that number.

1) I am an 80’s kid.

2)  My favourite authors in Primary School were Roald Dahl and Goscinny & Uderzo (Asterix series).

3)  My favourite authors in High School were Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.

4)  The author who kickstarted my love for Fantasy was (unsurprisingly) Robert Jordan.  More recent inspirations are Raymond E.  Feist, R.A.  Salvatore and Brandon Sanderson.

5)  The kickstarters for my love of Science Fiction were movies by James Cameron (Terminator 2) and Ridley Scott (Blade Runner).

6)  Blade Runner introduced me to my Sci-fi writing inspiration, Philip K Dick.

7)  I got into Historical Fiction because of my Dad buying me an illustrated kids book of The Iliad and The Odyssey, and because of the Asterix series.

8)  All my home consoles ever have been Nintendo’s.

 

NEXT BIG THING

1) What is the working title of your work-in-progress?

The ‘Big Project’ is a seven book series entitled the ‘Path of’ series.  When I hit road blocks, I write short stories to chip away at the block.  Currently I am working on two short stories, a sci-fi story entitled ‘On Venusian Cloud Colony Number Nine’ and a fantasy story entitled ‘Sayeh and Zia’.

2)  Where did the idea come from for the book?

The ‘Big Project’ started from a particularly vivid dream I had.  The story is told here.

3)  What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy, with inspirations from other genres helping to provide unique aspects.

4)  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The main character’s visual inspiration, Nazanin Afshin-Jam.

5)  What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

What is the power to rule the world worth to you?

6)  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Most likely self-published on a website.  I am writing for love, not money.

7)  How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I am still working on it.

8)  What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

The length would likely be inspired by ‘Wheel of Time’, the worlds from historical fiction studies, and the overall storyline inspiration is a secret due to it being a massive spoiler!

9)  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The words of the song that inspired my vivid dream.

10)  What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The aim is to bring the best of many different genres and mould them into a fantasy world that would be awesome to live in!

 

LEIBSTER

1) If you had to pick a colour that you would no longer be able to see; what colour would it be and why?

Hot Pink.  Because it could be easily be replaced by Persian Pink/Persian Rose.

2) All time favorite villain and why?

Vegeta from Dragonball Z.  Too noble to be a true bad guy, but so one-minded and determined in his aim of being the best that he will go to any length to be so.  The first real ‘shade of grey’ villain I took to.

3) Favorite video on YouTube?

Do not use Youtube enough to give that a decent answer.

4) If you could shift into an animal form, or some hybrid of animal and human (like the therians from my stories) what animal would you change into?

So many awesome options!  For strength and good looks, a snow tiger?

5) What is your favorite sports team and why?

The Wallabies, Australia’s national rugby union team.  Played it in high school for 5 years, and how can you not love a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen?

6) What is your nervous habit?

Biting my nails or bouncing my foot.

7) Who was your favorite Star Wars character and why?

Darth Maul.  Always been a sucker for cool face paint (wrestlers, KISS), and the lightsabre bo staff tops it off!

8) What do you hope to gain by writing your blog?

Give myself a creative outlet that other like-minded folk could find and be pleasantly surprised by.

9) What was your favorite toy when you were a child?

Nintendo gaming systems.

10) Of the four elements (fire,water,earth,air) which best describes you and why?

Earth.  I strive to be reliable, solve problems with logic and practical solutions, risk-averse, and seek balance in all things.  Too much attention to detail has tripped me up many times, especially in story writing where it served as a demotivator.

11) If you had a mutant ability, what would you want it to be and why?

Mind control.  So we could make everyone play nicely and live together harmoniously =)

– X –

 

I am excited for my next couple of books, as I have been waiting a long time to read them.

1) ‘Wolf of the Plains’.  The first book in the ‘Khan’ series by Conn Iggulden, I picked it (and the rest of the series) up because of some historical aspects that would help inspire my story world.

2) ‘Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves’.  The first Matthew Reilly book I will have read in over a year, which is far too long.  The enthusiasm of his story telling is contagious!