Writer’s Achievement Diary- 7 May 17

I forgot to mention it last time but I’ve newly added an email subscription option to my blog which is located at the bottom. Finally! Thought I would point this out to my followers.

Mon 1/05/2017

  1. Made decision on how to proceed with Chap 26

Tues 2/05/2017

  1. Made decision on how to proceed out of too many plot lines and not enough chapters

Wed 3/05/2017

Did nothing for outline today.

Thu 4/05/2017

  1. Restructured scenes for chaps 26-30

Fri 5/05/2017

  1. Made chap 21-25 clearer for alpha readers
  2. Plotted out part of chap 26

Sat 6/05/2017

  1. Worked out the next plot point for chap 26

Sun 7/05/2017

  1. 26 grids filled for Sin Sin, exceeded goal of 25
  2. Completed scene 1 of Chap 26
  3. 10 grids filled for Ip (cousin)
  4. 10 grids filled for Ning Yee
  5. Came up with the seed for a potential future scene between Sin Sin and Lok

Week Goal: 1 achievement on average on weekdays and 2 on weekends
Week Tally: 1 achievement on average on weekdays and 3 on weekends
Sum story progress: 1 scene or half a chap but fair progress on characterisation
Against last week: Woohoo for weekends!

Writer’s Achievement Diary- 30 April 17

Okay, so I’m starting yet another blog series to document my weekly progress. This time, it’s for a brand new novel series and now I’m just outlining book 1. I want to trial doing more comprehensive outlines which means that I’m considering a multi-round progress and I’m still on round 1. My intention is to put no time limits so that I don’t rush but then an unfortunate side-effect is that I end up bludging so I’ve started to create a goal of how many achievements on average to make on each day. That of course gives birth to a writer’s achievement diary where I have to mark down achievement on every single day. This idea came to right at the end of April and what you see below is pretty much the speed I was outlining at:

Mon 24/04/17

1. cleared the debt with earlier parts of the outline, can now concentrate on Chap 25
2. tidied up my idea journal and G drive creative folder
3. Made headways towards Chap 25

Tue 25/04/17

ANZAC day holiday

Wed 26/04/17

1. Restructured the alternating plotline to be every 10 chapters
2. Scene restructuring with cascading effects
3. Finished one new scene

Thu 27/04/2017

1. Plotted out rough sketch of Chap 25

Fri 28/04/2017

1. Plotted out scene 1 of Chap 25

Sat 29/04/2017

1. Expanded scene 1 of Chap 21

Sun 30/04/2017

1. Fully fleshed out scene 1 of Chap 21
2. Finished Chap 25

Week Goal: 1 achievement on average per day
Week Tally: 1.6 achievements on average on weekdays and 1.5 on weekends 
Sum story progress: 1 chapter

Official website for Excursions from the Citadel and closure

I’ve previously mentioned that I’m no longer associated with the publication titled Excursions from the Citadel but for completeness’s sake, I thought I should mention that there’s now an official website for the Excursions: http://www.exftc.com/. It is very unlikely that you have become a fan for this anthology series through this particular blog but on the off chance you are, please refer to this website from now on for official news. There is also a Facebook group for this publication if you are interested.

Progress Tracker on Thread (5)

Firstly, I’m back! And I thought I should sum this mini-blog series up before I move onto something else. The short is that I finished the first draft for this project on time or at least I said I finished on time. By this, I mean that I skipped over a chunk of the section that I was having a block on, the section that wasn’t in my plan but came about due to spontaneous writing. Nevertheless, I proclaim that the first draft is done and this project is now on the cooler.

I can’t say I have a definite timeline for actually releasing it to public eyes. But it will definitely come one day. I’m determined.

On the blog reconstruction front, I’ve now decluttered this blog by removing most of the non-writing related drop-downs. It will be a while before I put up my spin-off personal blog though.

 

All basic questions but hits the nails on the head.

Yes my friends it is #NaNoWriMo2014 and like every year I embark on a month long adventure that takes me to fascinating places without leaving the relative comfort of my writing desk. For those of you new to the game, November is National Novel Writing Month where established authors and newbies alike try their darnedest […]

via Questions to Ask When Writing — Curse Breaker Series

The tale behind Tales (1)- Christopher Lee and Lore of Aos Si

Note from Moonlake: Don’t forget to pre-order on Inkshares if you like this work. There is also a Facebook page for the series. Me and Chris had lots of fun conducting this interview and it got a little long. If the length defeats your attention span, don’t forget to scroll to the end to read the exclusive secret that Chris is sharing with us only *wink*

Moonlake: Hi, I’m Moonlake Ku and welcome to the first episode of The Tale behind Tales. Today, we have Christopher Lee, the author of Lore of Aos Si , with us. Firstly, tell us about yourself and your journey into writing, Chris.

Chris: I’ve always been fascinated by the art of storytelling. From an early age I was enchanted by the vastness of human imagination. Whether it was in books, movies, or being told orally I’ve been captivated by the magic. Stories have been how I learn, how I grow, and these days what keep me going.

Moonlake: I think most humans are fascinated with stories, including myself. Interesting though that your fascination went so deep that you actually consciously recognise learning through stories. So when is it that you first decided to pursue writing in a serious way and what are the circumstances?

Chris: Well, in my teens I wrote a fair amount of absolutely putrid fan fiction. Mostly relating to star wars. Of course I didn’t know it was utter drivel, but hell I was having a blast. That carried me into my first collaborative effort which was a grand Space Opera that a friend and I worked on for over 12 years before I handed the reins over to him.

You see I went to school to study storytelling, and learned the craft but one professor said one thing that really stuck with me. He said, “You can’t tell a story about others, about life, or any of the grand philosophical questions, until you’ve lived.” In other words, we were all too young to take up the craft, because the craft itself had yet to grow within us. His philosophy was that you need to live life before you can really tell others what it’s about. I took that to heart and I put story telling away for many years before it reared its beautiful head once again.

Boy did I live lol

It wasn’t until about 2012 when I started to germinate a grand idea. And that was when I started studying the craft further.

Moonlake:I think that professor is right, speaking from personal experience. I assume this grand idea you are talking about now is the Lores of Aos Si?

Chris: Yes.

Moonlake: Now that you mention it, what is the tale behind Aos Si? What are the circumstances under which this story is born?

Chris: The Lore of the Aos Si is an examination of the human condition at its core. I know every book is in some way, but I wanted to go deeper. For years I sought answers in religions that I studied, in science, in the musings of the science fiction universes. I was concerned for our earth, for our future generations, for our legacy as a species.

I wanted to answer the questions, what was our big oops moment, some call it original sin, the fall of man, the rotten parts of what we are. What is our ultimate purpose.

For years I looked to the future for the answers when, all along I simply had to redirect my focus and look to the past.

Basically the story I want to tell is the greatest story never told

Moonlake: Ar ha, life’s purpose, I have a lot of empathy with that and looking to the past for answers. The past has a long shadow, I think. So what would you say are the biggest inspirations for the Lores of Aos Si during the course of your own introspection on the human condition?

Chris: Somewhere along the long line of the human experience we lost something. It’s sometimes called wisdom, sometimes it’s called magic. We lost a crucial part of our soul that links us to this shiny blue rock. Something came along and severed that connection between us and our mother, leaving us feeling alone and disconnected. Alien even. I wanted to go as far back as possible and examine what it was that we or someone else did that severed our relationship with the magical world of mythology.

Moonlake: I can see that Aos Si is a very internally driven project but have you read up on others’ work and incorporated that into the concept of Aos Si? In what way? When you talk about the magical world of mythology, what specific mythology are you thinking of?

Chris: As far as others’ work, I have to admit that a large part of my world comes from denying the standards that form the pillars of modern fantasy and SciFi. For instance, Tolkien’s mythology dominates the fantasy world. You almost have to use his work if you are going to be successful. This generation’s lack of imagination hampers the creative noose of the writer. Go too far and you’ll hang yourself. So much of modern mythology was influenced by Tolkien’s work, that I decided to dig deeper, and go further back, and fan out.

Aos Si is PanMythological, in that it takes the basis of most western mythological pantheon’s and works and combines them in a new and fresh way. For instance, Tolkien’s elves are freakishly different than those of mythology. Tall, slender, serious. In most mythological cycles they were small, impish, and playful. In Aos Si, they may be serious, but they are of average height, maybe a bit shorter, and share a distinct kinship with the moon and the moon’s familiar the wolf. They are shapeshifters who despise humankind almost entirely. They are obviously more. Complex than that, but the point is, that I bent and shaped my world to resemble the world of antediluvian history, the time before the Great Flood.

Moonlake: Of all your bending of existing work including Tolkien and what he establishes for modern fantasy, sci-fi and antediluvian history, what do you personally see as the most interesting that you’ve done? What is your personal favourite?

Chris: Honestly, it is how I chose to deal with Adam and Eve. In The Lore of the Aos Si, the part of Eve is played by the primordial goddess, the mother of creation. The part of Adam is played by, well Adam, the first man. Entrusted with unbelievable power as the steward of her creation, the keeper of her sacred word. Adam like all men, is fundamentally flawed, his curiosity and nativity drive him to crowning himself Elohim, the God of Mankind, and forsakes his mother, his lover, and thus begins the age old feud between man and fae, and the matriarchy and that patriarchy!

Moonlake: It’s certainly a new twist on Adam and Eve lore. And being a fan myself of Aos Si, I know there is an immense cast in the story. Which character is your absolute favourite, without giving away too much of the story?

Chris: I’d have to say it’s a grand tie, between Falbanach the beggar god, a druid of the first age and the Lord of Time, and what you can call our primary antagonist, Ensi Ubara Tutu the religious zealot and leader of the Cult of Empyrean, a group of exiled mankind that hails from ancient Sumeria.

Moonlake: Ah, I like Falbanach a fair bit too. Well, it is certainly my pleasure today to talk to you, Chris, but I think it’s time to draw to the close. So I would like to ask you whether you could share a little secret with me and our readers today? About current and upcoming project or about some of your secrets of trade?

Chris: Well as all Fantasy series go, The Lore of the Aos Si can’t end with one book. It is a sweeping epic that is meant to cover the breadth of human history. What I think will be the most fun is how I plan to release the tale. As many of the main characters are immortals the storylines will carry through over time. Basically the secret is this, I won’t be following up this book with the chronological next book, I’ll be jumping forward somewhat and I haven’t decided yet, but it could be set during the Crusades, or I might jump to the Gilded Age around 1893. I hope that my readers can hang with the jumping through time.

Moonlake: Wow, that is certainly an adventurous approach to take and I’m caught off guard. But still, I like the occasional surprise and I wonder how I will deal with the time jump. Well, thank you for your time today, Chris. Keep us informed of your progress.

Chris: Will do, I am glad we had the time to talk about the Lore of the Aos Si, I hope everyone else finds it as intriguing as you.

Moonlake: All the best, and hope that our readers have fun today as much as we two have.

Progress Tracker on Thread (4)

I went back to the drawing board this week to plan because it just came up that a loose end from previous chapters of Thread surfaced and I thought I should do something to tie it up. I’m not convinced that I resolved but it did give me an opportunity to further my pre-writing for later sections. I have to admit that I slacked off this week due to the grand final holiday we got for Friday which I leveraged to go shopping (mostly for my best friend) and then I didn’t really do anything on the long weekend. Plus the temptation of getting back into jigsaws, a childhood passion, proved to be too strong for me. It was to be a reward/motivation for me to keep to the schedule for novella conversion but then I told myself that there’s plenty of slack in it so the result is… ahem you get the picture.

The day to day break down is as follows:
Monday 26th September 2016: I just took today off, no sneaky start to the week.

Tuesday 27th Sept – I expanded out the 1st 2 paragraphs of scene 5, minimal work really but my planning week always involves relatively less work compared to writing, especially since I’m effectively working at draft 2 of Thread as a story (I actually wrote the ending already during the course of my involvement with the epub but feedback made me expand the story so basically the current round of writing is to fill in the gap between where the story left off from issue 2 and the original ending which I like and am not changing). In other words, it’s not really a new piece that I’m working on but rather all the character dynamics and plot arcs have been set already.

Wednesday 28th Sept – I had a major breakthrough today which was that I cleared up the clutter that I was originally going to write for the sidecast. But then I realised that it was just clutter, an artefact of the epub where I had to make what is now each chapter of Thread as a standalone even when everything is interconnected. Now that I’m converting into a novella, of course I don’t need to do that anymore but somehow my mindset hasn’t migrated fully away from the “mould of independence”. But I caught myself in time so all good.

Thursday 29th Sept – I quickly wrapped up planning for the week. Originally, I was going to forge back into writing from Friday but then the shopping trip threw me and in particular the temptation to finish the first jigsaw since my childhood (the prospect of conquering my first 1000 pieces) got too strong for me.

Progress Tracker on Thread (3)

This week, I ripped into actual writing, with a limit of 300 words per weekday and 500 per weekend day. The broad writing goal for this week was to get scene 1 and 2 finished (there are 7 scenes in total for this chapter and I’ve written the ending scene already way back when it was just going into the epub as a serial short story). At first I was going to work a straight 7-day week but I had been skimming through self-help books and the advice of leaving a day out of the week for yourself resonates with me so I decided to leave Monday out. Besides, Monday is ever my game-show watching day so I can’t really count on any work being done on Mondays anyway. *big grin with teeth showing*

The day to day break down is as follows:
Monday 19th September 2016: I actually got 236 words down straight after dinner on my home PC which also coincided with the end of the recorded episode of the game-show. This proved decisively to me the virtue of making this a day-off. I can sneak in extra words in case I have a slow day for a specific week.

Tuesday 20th Sept – Guess what? I really needed the sneaky Monday because today I only wrote on the train into work with pen and paper and also uncertainty kicked in from where the story leaves off from Monday. Word count was 184 words exactly.

Wednesday 21th Sept – Met the word count and outdone it by 10 words writing, on home PC a while after dinner. I finished scene 2 already! I had also had tracking my Words per Hour (WPH) and somehow Monday was actually the best speed for me possibly because it was the start of the Chapter and a complete blank slate for me to work on and plus it was supposed to be my day off. My WPH was 516 for Wed which isn’t bad for my standards but then I still had uncertainty dragging down my pace and also I got interrupted half way by Mum. Oh, I also started doing 5 minutes or less pre-writing straight before my writing session (yes, I can always expand my own pre-writings, I’m a bit of a planning freak but truth is I still under-plan always. I think I’m a hybrid planner-pantser in reality even though I self-classify myself as a planner, in that I cannot survive without planning but my planning can always do with more comprehensiveness.)

Thursday 22th Sept – I decided that one bit in scene 2 regarding the sidecast’s reactions didn’t ring true of his feelings at that point and his personality in previous Chapters. So I went back and expanded scene 2 and then I continued writing scene 3. Pre-writing was done at work before I left for the day. Actual writing was done around same time on Wed, just met daily word count and WPH was back on par with Monday at around 675.

Friday 23th Sept- Similar as Thurs in all circumstances but I had now gone up to the first real action scene in the story and I always procrastinate over them so WPH dropped to 463 but daily word count met. At the end of this session, I finally just decided to scrap out the action bits in scene 3 and replaced it with an alternative resolution for the conflict. When I was brainstorming for this chapter at the start, I didn’t know how the characters were going to get out of the fix and the resolution through action scene was actually what someone gave me when I asked for a brainstorming session which I accepted because I was so short of ideas but I knew it was going to be trouble for me in write up. As it turned out, being in the flow of the story this session told me that I could do without the resolution through action so of course I jumped this offer *smiles contendedly*.

Saturday 24th Sept- I wanted to trial a different time of the day to see how it affects my WPH but many things coincided such that I decided to take the day off to go back to planning instead. These things included: the 5 jigsaw puzzles I ordered arrived yesterday (I’m trying to reconnect with childhood passions just for the fun of it but also doing jigsaws increases my intuition skill and I want to further hone it), I had difficulty writing the current events for this session due to lack of personal knowledge, I just had procrastination urges setting in because scene 4 coming up is another action scene AND I told myself that I did well enough for the first week of writing to have gone up to scene 3 already which effectively reinforced my procrastination urge. But at least I stayed true to the commitment of planning out the remainder of scene 3 in further details. I didn’t touch scene 4 because I thought it was pre-written out to enough details and I couldn’t improve on it but maybe it would be different when it comes time. But one step at a time.

Sunday 25th Sept- I did start and stops but in between three sessions I got my requisite 500 word count done.  

Moonlake’s Book Discoveries- September 2016

I didn’t read much between the last Book Discovery post and this one because first I was engaged with the epub and now I am contemplating a slow transition towards being a FT writer on my own. So fiction has been pushed out of the way as you can see below.

Third Girl by Agatha Christie
As per usual, I was tricked and I must say I’m one of the ones who like being tricked by a mystery and that’s part of the reason why I personally think Christie mysteries are purer than contemporary mystery. While they tend to be more character driven than Christie’s, I at least feel that the flatness in some of the plots I’ve encountered goes directly counter to what I really enjoy about a mystery. Then again, that’s just me.

The Courage to Be Creative: How to Believe in Yourself, Your Dreams and Ideas, and Your Creative Career Path by Doreen Virtue
Absolutely what I need if my doubts ever kick in about being a writer, highly inspirational despite the fact that I don’t have any spiritual beliefs and have a need to translate all the author’s references to divineness into something else but that doesn’t harm the value I took out from this book. I gave this 5 stars on Amazon ultimately because this book made me realise that I actually have far more courage than I gave myself credit for.

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron
I’m yet to test all the advice contained here but they speak of common sense to me and I think the overall book has good utility value. I didn’t get this book entertaining notions that it would contain ground breaking advice so I wasn’t disillusioned as one review I read on Amazon seemed to indicate the reader was. Also, I think I share with Rachel a tendency towards planning as opposed to winging it (but I do some winging in my writing, it’s just that I never actually start writing one word on MS word without some planning first no matter how rudimentary) so some of her approach are already part of my own modus operandi but I did pick up procedures that seem more safe-proof against dead corners.

Write The Fight Right by Alan Baxter
This is actually a reference given to me by my friend Darcy Conroy when I was going insane with the revision of the fight scene in Thread part 2 that was published in issue 2 of Excursions. I flipped through it quickly and I think it’s actually more useful for empty-handed combat which wasn’t what I needed but I still took away some useful things about writing fight scenes from this book. Plus, it’s a quick read, contains a list of important points aka cheat sheets at the end and contains an example written by the author.

Angels Astrology 101: Discover the Angles connected with your Birth Chart by Doreen Virtue
I flipped through this and took down descriptions for myself, family and friends on an idle night. It seems pretty interesting to compare what this books says about particular people and my own perception of them. I bought this from Amazon Kindle thinking that it could potentially be useful for characterisation and I think it will be when I’m stuck which I often am for making up characters.

Shared post about Patreon

Thought this may be useful information for all writers and bloggers (upon further research, apparently this is only profitable for those with an established following like most Internet based ventures but it will be a good side project for developing an additional relatively stable income stream if you do):

Making a living as a writer is not easy. In fact, for the vast majority of people, earning their keep with nothing but words is nigh impossible … a pipe dream … a long shot. Even so, we writers are a hardy (read: “stubborn”) lot who tend to dig our heels in when it comes […]

via Patreon for Writers – A Fascinating and Evolving Space — Live to Write – Write to Live