Desolace Update #1

So this is my first “official” Desolace update post. I don’t expect this to be a regular thing because Desolace is going very slowly, but I figured since I’m happy with where I’m at, I may as well talk a bit about what I’ve done with it, talk about it, stuff like that.

I mentioned a couple times in previous posts that I worked on Desolace as one of my projects for one of my creative writing classes last semester. By “worked on” I mean I wrote an analysis on some of my plans for the novel in the future, and wrote, re-wrote and extensively edited the first two chapters. I also wrote (not fully edited yet) the third chapter after classes ended and I plan on writing another two of three over the summer in preparation for my next intermediate creative writing class.

My final grade on my writing submission (the two full chapters) was a solid A, which was my goal, so I’m pretty happy with that and hope I can keep it up.

Desolace has always been in a weird spot in the grand scheme of things. Sure I’ve had a good idea of where I wanted to go with it since the beginning, but writing a book is so much more complicated than knowing your characters and plot. Things tend to happen without your consent because your characters do as they damn will please and your world evolves behind the scenes. It gets frustrating, but part of all that is learning how to control the reins and keep things from diverting too far from your original purpose (or knowing when it is appropriate to let it continue).

A couple things I’ve determined from writing these first few chapters is that without an outline (as I prefer) I’m being really particular about the details I add in, and how scenes transition from one to another. Usually, I leave it choppy or whatever and go back and fix it later, but for some reason, with this project, it’s been really hard to move on to the next part if the previous scenes don’t set up everything right. The result has been three good chapters that transition really well from one to the next, but that also makes it slow as hell.

Even without an outline, though, I’ve got the help of the novel analysis that I wrote on Desolace. It helped me solidify some plot points that I’d been thinking about, fleshed out some traits for my main characters and helped me figure out a lot of the why for the novel. So I think the difficulties of writing the chapters so they transition well aside, I’m in a pretty good place to continue writing a good chunk of the story.

I’m considering writing a brief outline just to organize some of the events I’ve got in my head. I’ve had a couple instances already (I’ve got to go change the ending to the third chapter so it leads into something else first) where I’ve rearranged the order of plot points because it made more sense to do it in a certain order. But it’s a pain in the ass to write it out and then realize it’s too early for that, so I figure it would be worth it to write out all the events I have planned and properly organize them in correlation to each other. I don’t want to do anything too fancy, just some bullet points that I can rearrange things visually rather than in my head.

Anyway, I think that’s it for now. Next time I might go into more detail on the characters and what the story is about, but I need to work on accurately summing it all up before I can write anything about that.

~Erynn

 

 

Desolace’s First Workshop!

So as I’ve mentioned before, Desolace has been one of my projects for like, ever. It’s a science fiction, kind of dystopia but not really, with some fantasy elements thrown in. Lots of fun.

I wrote out a draft of it when I was in high school, but ultimately I ended up setting it aside. I’ve tried to go back to it multiple times, but there were some big issues with it that I wasn’t sure how to address, and so there were many times where I’d get back into it, encounter one of these problems, and then because I didn’t want to figure out how to fix it, I’d drop it again.

The last time I picked it up was around October last year. I had a solid idea for the new first chapter, so I sat down and wrote all 2300 words in one sitting. I was exhausted after, closed it, didn’t look at it again for a couple days because I got the idea out of my head and then more or less forgot about it. But when I went back and looked at it… I wowed myself. It was most definitely the best first draft of anything that I’ve ever written. I was super happy with it. And so I made plans to start the next chapter.

I had a dozen ideas, of course. From the original draft I wrote, there were two other characters whose perspectives I introduced in the first few chapters of the book, so naturally, I wanted to start chapters for them and get their stories going. So that’s what I tried. It didn’t work, and I ended up getting frustrated and stopped writing Desolace again.

I’m gonna outline some of the problems I had, now, before I go into more detail about the writing of the second chapter (which I’ve more or less decided how it’s going to go, it’s just a matter of playing around with words to get it how I want it to sound).

First of all, the story was initially written with multiple characters who had their own point of view, because that’s how I usually write. But my protagonist, Arianne, has one of the most unique voices I’ve ever written before, and so it felt wrong to write it in the third person. It had to be re-written in third person. There was no other way.

The problem that stemmed from this, though, was that I’m vehemently against novels who have multiple first-person characters. Maybe I’m just retarded when it comes to reading them, but I just can’t stand it, I tend to get confused and forget whose perspective I’m supposed to be reading the story from. So I wanted to avoid that problem with this book by having one clear protagonist who maintains the first person perspective. Now, here’s the real problem. I’d planned the book to be written in the perspective of three different characters, and since I refused to make them all first person, that left me with two options.

  1. I write them as third person perspectives and keep Arianne as the only character in the first person.
  2. I cut them altogether and keep the story completely though Arianne’s eyes

I’ll be honest– the first option is what appeals the most to me because I love these other characters and want to give them times in the spotlight. But I’ve never read a book that’s written in first person and third person, although I know they exist. I’ve added a couple that I know about to my to-read list so I can see how they flow, see if I can make it work. I honestly think this is the right way to tell the story, but writing it like that makes me worried that I’d have trouble finding a publisher for it once it’s done. So I’m not sure what to do.

For now, I’m just writing the story in Arianne’s perspective. I don’t plan on keeping it this way, but for the sake of continuing with the story and keeping up the writing, I’ve decided it’s my best option for now. It’s not like I can’t go back and add the other two perspectives once I read one of those novels and think they read well. And maybe even before I get the chance to do that I’ll break down and write one of these perspectives and just see how well the chapters tie in together. That’s what beta readers are for, right?

ANYWAY, onto the actual topic of this post. That first chapter that I wrote, I ended up cleaning it up a little bit and submitting it to one of my creative writing workshops at school. Everyone seemed to love it and wanted to read more. There were a couple problems with it, of course, but it was mostly stuff that I knew about and didn’t really have time to fix before submitting. Things like lack of definite setting, not enough context (two things I’ve yet to get right in the first draft) and some weird descriptions that were just really confusing.

But I’m really happy with that. I’m super excited to edit this piece and try again, and even better, I’m motivated to keep up with the writing and get the next chapter drafted up. So that’s what I’ve been working on. 🙂

~Erynn

Ender’s Game

I first heard about this book when I was in 6th grade, where I was deemed exceptionally good at reading and encouraged to pursue harder books. I was already pretty big into reading (I took a special interest in the Warrior books), and I’ll be honest… I don’t think I really read what Ender’s Game was about. I was really into pretty artwork, and, well… the original Ender’s Game covers are, quite frankly, crap. And so all thought of reading the book was tossed aside in favour of shinier titles.

Ender’s Game caught my attention in 8th grade or so, I don’t really remember why or how. School, you know? Anyway, I started reading it, finished it, and then forgot about it again because I had too many other books to jump to. The book, of course, came back to mind in 2013 when the movie was released. At this time I was dating my current boyfriend, who was a big fan of all of the books (even owned most of them) and it was he who made me even more interested in the series with all of his knowledge about it. But still, I was very unmotivated to pile another series on top of the many I’d already told myself I would read…

It wasn’t until December 2015 where I finally took the big step into reading the book. Well, actually, I bought it on audible so I could listen to it in the car, but when it comes down to it, for this post, we can call it the same thing. My boyfriend and I started it on one particular boring drive to see our parents back home. This time, the story just clicked and so I obsessively listened to it in every car ride until it was over.

You know, I don’t really have much to say about the story itself. I thought how the plot was handled was pretty magnificent, and it translated into an excellent story to listen to. I enjoyed the characters and everything that happened to them… but one thing that always stuck out to me was how young the characters were. The decisions they had to make, the things they needed to do… I had to constantly remind myself that they weren’t teenagers and while they had full understanding of what was require of them, their entire childhood was essentially re-purposed simply because of how smart they were. Having to reinforce that fact definitely made an impact on how I perceived the story.

I’ve almost finished the second book, A Speaker for the Dead, but that’s a whole other story for another day…

Have any of you read Ender’s Game, or maybe even watched the movie? What are your thoughts on it?

~Erynn

It’s Time to Talk Projects

Some of you might recall that I mentioned some time ago that I’ve put Taichiren’s to the side for now. While putting it aside isn’t a permanent decision, it had to be done in order to make room for some of the other things I’ve been working on. There are only two projects of note, but perhaps they will pique your interest.

The first project is what I refer to as ‘Desolace’, a novel that I wrote in 8th grade or so. Now that I think of it, I’m 100% sure I’ve mentioned it before, but this new version that I’m working on is a much different take on the original story. This is what’s taking Taichiren’s place as my personal project.

Desolace is an adult fantasy/ science fiction novel that is written in the first person point of view, following the character Arianne. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of the first person perspective, but I’ve seen it done well often enough to give it a shot for this story. You see, Arianne isn’t your typical protagonist. She’s the main character, yes, but she isn’t a hero or even an anti-hero. She’s the villain. I think risking the first person POV for this story is well worth the potential that could come out of it.

Talking about Desolace will be my focus over the next couple months, so I’ll leave it at that for now and move onto the second project I’ve been working on. I hinted about this in October last year… it’s a bit of a ‘big reveal’.

Since February last year, I’ve been working on a YA fantasy series with a partner. Isn’t that exciting?! I can’t believe I’ve managed almost a whole year without bringing it up… but, wow, the last year has been incredibly productive. Unfortunately I can’t share any details about the plot or the characters as of yet, but here’s the current status of the writing.

The first draft of the first novel was finished in mid-November, at about 99,000~ words, only around 2,000 more than the original Taichiren’s draft. As of this week, my partner and I are sitting down to sort out the intricacies of the plot, so that I can start on the second draft of the first novel by the end of the month. I’ve done a bit of writing for the second book (about 18,000 words, give or take), but that’s been put on hold because of a variety of major plot changes that have brought on the plan to edit the first book early.

It hasn’t been decided how many books there will be yet– though right now we are thinking between 3 and 5. It will depend on how the new plot changes unfold through the first book and how much of the original book needs to be moved into the second. We also haven’t mapped out anything past where I’ve currently written to (besides several vague thoughts), so the length will depend on what unfolds before the story reaches what we perceive as the ending.

Anyway, that’s all I can share for now. I’ll write an update on the second project, which I simply refer to as ‘Drago’, when the editing for the first book beings. Until then, more posts about books, games, random thoughts, and perhaps a bit of Desolace.

~Erynn

 

2015 Reading and 2016 List Update

Hey everyone,

In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to read more this year, so I thought it might make sense to follow up with a post about my reading list and some other goals/ thoughts.

Last year I read a total of 15 books. They were:

1. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

10. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

25. Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare

30. Alanna: First Adventure – Tamora Pierce

31. In the Hand of the Goddess – Tamora Pierce

33. Heir of Fire – Sarah J. Maas

41. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn – Alison Goodman

42. Eona: The Last Dragoneye – Alison Goodman

44. King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

45. Emperor of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

47. Lauren Ipsum – Carlos Bueno

53. Sword Art Online – Aincrad (Part 1) – Reki Kawahara

54. Sword Art Online – Aincrad (Part 2) –  Reki Kawahara

57. The Heir – Kiera Cass

(not listed) Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

I think there are only three books there that I haven’t written posts about yet, so my first plan is to have that done by the end of February. If all goes well, I’ll have a couple more books to write about by then, too. 🙂

This year’s reading list has an unfortunate start of 54 books. While I wanted to lower the count to 40 or so, I have a long list of books to read and I don’t really want to limit my options. At the same time, I don’t really want to add to the list more than necessary, either. Hopefully I’ve caught most of the books that I’ll want to read over the coming year (adding a couple as the months go on is expected) and next year I can shorten it to something more realistic considering my schedule.

Here’s to a good start of the year; I’ll go pick up a book right now, actually.

~Erynn

 

 

Venturi

Hi everyone!

I mentioned some months ago that I was interested in getting into video games. Last summer I went out and landed a gig with some new, college start-up company that was planning on making some awesome fantasy games. But one thing led to another and that eventually flopped. Sort of. The people I was in touch with literally disappeared off the face of the Earth. Not sure what happened.

Anyway, that prompted me to keep looking. I didn’t have much of a clue where else to search, but I ended up scouring Reddit for something similar to the fantasy rpg I was all excited for. I had no luck in that regard, but I did find something else that caught my interest– a project referred to as Venturi, or the Venturi Effect.

Venturi is a dynamic science fiction rpg with a large focus on player choice, good story, and exciting combat. The project immediately caught my interest because of the key feature to travel back in time whenever you like. Luckily for me, my writing skills were enough to get hired as the newest writer on the team and get to work!

When I joined the Venturi team, I believe in late October, there were about four people on the team. Each of us were incredibly passionate about the game, but there was too much work to be done to have it completed in a reasonable amount of time without expanding. Since then we’ve grown into a legitimate company– Negative Zero Inc.– with three times as many team members, and ten times as much passion and dedication.

We’re still in the early phases of development, but you can read a lot about the game on the official website: http://www.theventurieffect.com/

Weekly blog posts are being written by me and some of the other writers about the game itself, but those alone won’t answer all your questions, I’m sure. If you have any, please leave a comment or send me an email at kisshuquiche@gmail.com and I’ll answer to the best of my ability, as well as refer your questions to the team to make sure you get the answers you deserve!

At last, if you’re interested in the project, please subscribe to the newsletter or follow on twitter/ facebook for regular updates.

Thanks so much!

~Erynn

Altered Perceptions

Last summer I mentioned that there was a campaign I was supporting that’s goal was to spread more information about mental illness and support authors with those disabilities. To do this, an indiegogo was created with the intention of putting together a science fiction/ fantasy anthology that displayed different authors’ work and their take on mental illness in fiction. Most notably, one of the authors is Brandon Sanderson– a respectable fantasy author.

The book was delivered in December, but I finally got a hold of it a couple days ago because it was sent to my old address.

20150108_203052 20150108_203120

As a bonus, you can see my cat sleeping under the book. 🙂

The cover is rather simplistic, but I like it. The colours are pleasant and the image of the house being torn apart can be considered an artistic take on mental illness itself.

I haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but I do plan to take a look at it soon.

For those of you who are still interested in buying a copy or want to find more information about the books creation, cause, and what the proceeds currently support, you can take a look on Brandon Sanderson’s website (where you can also get an ebook version of the anthology): http://brandonsanderson.com/altered-perceptions/

Have any of you read the book, or plan to? What do you think of it? Has it changed your thoughts about mental illnesses?

~Erynn

Writers of the Future

This summer I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to forward my writing career before finally jumping off the cliff with publishing a book. Time and time again I’ve returned to the thought of trying to publish a short story, and each time it crosses my mind, I’m more eager to do so. I’ve come to believe it’s a great solution, and by working to publish a short story I gain experience in areas that I’ve yet to receive any in.

By publishing a short story I would:

– Gain publishing experience, be it minor.

– Have the opportunity to finish something and polish it enough to have it published (for the most part, I’ve never “completed” something, as in, the final stages of polishing).

– I’ll be able to wave a finished piece of work in people’s faces and tell them how awesome I am (for real). Well, rather, I would be able to add a published piece of work to my portfolio. Things like that always look nice to prospective clients, and in turn, literary agents.

– An added bonus, there are lots of magazines and such that accept paid submissions. In other words, they pay you for your work, and quite a few pay pretty well. Even better, there are LOTS of fantasy and sci-fi magazines looking for fiction, so I think I’ll be right at home here…

The only real downside to any of this is that it means I would need to put some time aside to work toward creating another story, which likely means less time to work on Taichiren’s. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made, however, and in this instance I believe that it just might be worth it. So I think I’m going to go ahead and do it… sometime soon. We’ll see.

So I guess it might be a good idea to get to the point of this post. Now that you know a bit about what’s been on my mind, I can tell you about the writing contest that I’ve been looking at. It’s called ‘Writers of the Future’, and is a well established, quarterly writing competition for amateur fantasy and sci-fi writers. Basically, they’re looking for writers who’ve yet to publish anything big, and select a few people each year’s quarter to receive prizes and become published in their annual anthology.

Doesn’t that just sound amazing? A cash prize, publication, a trophy, even, and most importantly… publicity. That’s basically any amateur writer’s dream come true, the jackpot of beginning a writer’s career.

So it’s pretty much been decided for me that I’m going to participate in this, and I’m determined to win. Will I? Probably not, but aim high, I say. Since I would theoretically be competing against people who also have no professional experience, I’d say that I’ve got a chance. I wouldn’t say a large one, but a chance is still a chance… and in this case, that’s all I need to be motivated to try. And really, at the moment, that’s what counts.

At the moment I’m sifting through ideas in order to come up with something great. The idea will need to be ground-breaking, nothing short of phenomenal… and then the writing will need to be equally as good. *sigh*, talk about a lot of work. At least the upcoming quarter accepts submissions until the end of December, and if I don’t have something ready for then, I suppose there’s always next year.

Just keep swimming, eh?

In case any of you other fantasy or sci-fi writers out there are interested in taking a look at the competition, you can find their website here.

And OH, I almost forgot. The contest actually has two parts. There’s a contest for writers, yes, but there’s also another competition for fantasy and sci-fi illustrators! Yes, of course, they need beautiful artwork to go along with beautiful stories. So if you’re into creating fantasy or sci-fi stories, be it via words or art, and have yet to establish yourself as a professional… go check out the competition!

Cheers everyone! I’d love to hear what you think about the competition, or even better, if you know of any similar competitions for different genres.

Do any of you have plans to enter this contest, or maybe do now since I’ve mentioned it? Have you entered the contest before?

~Erynn

So Critique Groups Are Nice!

Well, you know, when people actually critique your stuff. I’ve been in my group for maybe two months now, I remember mentioning it briefly on my blog when I joined it.

So anyway, I’ve got nothing against my critique group… but I think I have the right to be annoyed that other people are getting 4+ critiques in the same amount of time as me, where I’m getting 1 or 2. SO! I’ve decided that I’m going to do something about it.

A lot of you who read my blog are writers, aren’t you? How about we get together and critique each others’ work? I’ve been using the site https://www.inkedvoices.com/, which has just come out of beta. There’s currently a discount on annual and monthly memberships.

Codes:

JULY – 25% off annual membership

BETAFRIEND – 40% off a monthly membership for 3 months.

These codes are usable until July 31st, 2014. So if you want to come join me, do it quick!

Since the site is pretty new, lots of features are still being added and polished. But I like the site a lot, and I think it’s worth supporting. If you’re in the market for a critique group, all the better! I just have a few things I’d like everyone whose interested in joining my group to know about.

– Please, please, please, PLEASE only submit Fantasy & Scifi. I can critique anything because I read everything, but the group is specifically for scifi and fantasy. So if that’s not your thing, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to look somewhere else. 😦

– Be willing to submit at least once per month. Length doesn’t matter, but damn do I get annoyed when there’s nothing to critique. Inactive members will be kicked from the group if it comes to it.

– Critique everything, please, especially if you don’t like it. Personally I like harsh criticisms because they’re the most useful, so the point of view of someone who doesn’t like the piece is oh so valuable.

– Be comfortable with critiquing and reading graphic sex and violence. Although be warned, we don’t want to be reading your erotica, so remember… keep it fantasy/scifi.

 

I think that’s about it. If you’re interested in joining, make an account on the Inked Voices website and join my group! 🙂

You can access the group here: Clicky

All you need to do is request an invite and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

If you guys have any questions I will gladly answer them, and I look forward to writing with anyone who chooses to participate! ❤

~Erynn

The First Book I Ever Wrote

I wrote it in grade 8, and I never showed anyone. I called it “And Then, so Death Took Them”, but I’m not really sure what to think of that name. Sure, it was a pretty accurate representation of the book, but I don’t think I’d ever get away with that kind of name. On a personal level, I’m now fond of novel names that sum up the book in 1-3 words. The second thing is that it seems like more of a horror title, rather than sci-fi.

The first five chapters or so sit at the bottom of one of my dresser drawers. The rest has been lost, though I’m sure if I looked really hard I could find it; the original story somewhat stemmed from an English project, so I’ve most likely got a copy somewhere within the depths of my email.

Anyway, this story eventually merged with a different idea I had, and it’s been reformed into what I’ve previously mentioned as Desolace. I tried to rewrite it a year or two ago, but I had too many other things to worry about and I only ended up writing about 3 chapters. *shrug*

I’m not sure why I took the story idea I had from my English class and morphed it into a story. It originally began as a story about a government oppressed society, who years beforehand evacuated the dying planet of Earth when an alternate dimensional version of Earth was found. On the new earth, the government went “corrupt” and eliminated the use of every day technology, and kept anything advanced in their hands. But that’s not how the story ended up once I changed it into Desolace. Now it’s more of a fantasy/sci-fi mix that is actually the advancement of another “human” race that exists outside of Earth.

I guess you could say that’s when my vague aspirations of being a novelist/author began. I think it’s kind of sad that it took me such a long time (then to now) to realize that there’s nothing else I could want to do more- though I suppose late is better than never.

The first line in “And Then, so Death Took Them”:

Most might consider killing to be a science, I, however, consider it to be an art.

When’s the first time any of you tried your hand at writing a book?

~Erynn