Side Project

Side Project

I am very excited to be working on a side project. At first, I assumed I’d be working on this with a partner. He asked one quick question about the first step I wrote and it’s been over a week, already. So, I guess I’m on my own.

I’m writing this post to imprint it on my head that this should be a thing. I can’t say how it will succeed, if it will at all. In all honesty, I doubt anything good will happen from it. Still, it’s something I’m excited about.

The first phase of the Side Project is split into two parts to complete 30 drafts. I could probably up it to 31 or 32, because 30 as a number feels off, for some reason. The first part will include coming up with specific themes and research. The second part is actually writing the drafts. I’ve already written the first one a couple of days ago and looking at it now, there’s going to be a lot of work is needed to improve it.

Second phase will be where heavy editing will take place. This is where entire drafts can get scrapped and redone or discarded. New ideas may surface and if so, I’ll have to figure out how to integrate them into the current drafts.

Third phase will see all 30 drafts shipped to a very small group for alpha. I have in mind the people I’ll contact about this project.

Phase four will be about getting feedback from alphas, re-develop the drafts, and then get them to betas. More extensive edits will be applied along the way. And it’s just going to cycle through that until the final drafts.

Phase five is where the Side Project is put out to the public. Have some ice tea.

The objective of this Side Project is to kill burnout, which I’m having right now with my day job as a journalist and as an aspiring author, whose WIPs are starting to bash my skull in.

Do I expect monetization from the Side Project? No. That’s unlikely. This is all for the fun of it. But if money does come out of it, heck, why the hell not, right?

My timetable – because I want to make deadlines and actually fulfill them.

January 16 : Concept Draft

January 27 : This Post

February 17 : Completed 10-15 drafts

March 16 : Completed all 30 drafts

March 30 : Alphas

April 13 : Revisions

April 20 : Betas and revisions

May 18 : The Kraken is released!

Some of the dates may proceed in advance, such as the Alphas and Betas, because of course this will require cooperation from other people. People who are busy in their own careers and some busy in their own special ways. But they’re really all I got, so, oh well.

Also, I feel it’s important to clarify that “The Kraken” is not the title of the Side Project. You all know the movie reference, so there’s that. I’ll reveal the title what the project is all about on its release date itself. No, I’m not really keen on promoting it. I just really want to do this for fun.

If my rotten luck has made any turns this past few months, I am really pushing for the Red Whale Project to be released sometime in May, as well. So, there’s definitely going to be a lot of writing that needs to be done in the coming months. There’s a lot of work needed for that book but I think I managed to trim it down to about 70,000 words instead of the original 120,000-word monster WIP.

So, enough of this, and time to get back into writing.

On Prologues and Epilogues

I love prologues and epilogues.

I never knew people had issues with them. They’re part of the story. A lot of people who dismiss them claim that the story begins at Chapter One and ends at whatever last chapter there is in the book.

If that is so, why do so many authors continue using them? Why do agents and editors allow them? Those are legitimate questions, by the way.

Everyone who dislikes prologues say they’re infodumps. I try to recall books with prologues to check if they are infodump. As much as I can tell, not really.

Some books open up to a prologue of the world’s mythology. Okay, I can see why some people might find that icky. Some prologues show you scenes of a character you might not be seeing again for a while, or ever, but sets the tone and kicks the story off. People are so worried in getting boggled down by a massive wall of explanation, but if it was well-done, why not? One of the excellent examples is “Mistborn: The Final Empire.” The prologue introduced us to the world, about the ash, the skaa, and soon moved toward Kelsier. There wasn’t anything there that slowed the story down. So, some of you might ask, then Sanderson might as well kicked it off with “Chapter One” instead of “Prologue.”

For me, prologues are like those cold openings from TV shows. They are like micro teasers for the entire book (or series). They are part of the story, but at the same time, somewhat detached to the main narrative. The prologue can be about the hero discovering a baby dragon and letting it live. The first chapter begins ten years later when that same dragon is either killed by slayers or had been provoked into burning down the hero’s little Farmville.

I also like to look at the last two Avengers movies. Yes, spoilers, in case you haven’t seen them yet. In “Infinity War” the prologue is when Thanos has Thor beat, kicked Hulk’s ass, and choked the life out of Loki before destroying the Asgardian ship. Then we meet up with Strange, Banner, and Stark. I like this prologue because it formally introduces how much of a threat Thanos is. Two of the strongest Avengers, Thor and Hulk, defeated just like that.

In “Endgame,” right after Captain Marvel rescued Stark, the Avengers sets out to have a rematch with Thanos. This prologue felt massive because this was from the side who lost and living in the aftermath. This was to be their biggest fight ever. The tension was big and the stakes were ever higher.

I am not good at explaining things, which is a terrible trait for a writer. Basically, I’m saying prologues are like looming thunderclouds over the distance. Or you checking the weather and learning that, in two days a storm will hit. The approaching storm is the story moving forward, then the calm, and finally the turds flying in the air.

I like epilogues because they’re the equivalent of post-credit scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They are teasers for next books.

Epilogues aren’t always about conclusions for characters or scenarios. Though it happens more often enough, simplifying complicated situations to help smooth digestion. It is the end of the novel, anyway. But it is also to offer a glimmer of hope in a somewhat gloomy finale. For instance, C. Robert Cargill’s “Sea of Rust” had one of the, in my opinion, most emotionally-powered super punch to the gut. It was perfect in every sense. And then, the epilogue rolls in, tossing around sugarcanes to make things a little bit sweeter.

Of course, this won’t mean personally, myself, I’ll always include a prologue or an epilogue in all my stories. Project Ashes started without a prologue, then it got one, now it lost it again. Project Sword has a prologue but the POV character there is going to make an early appearance, plus the events there isn’t that far off from the first chapter. So, maybe it will just kick off without a prologue. Project Sherlock does not have a prologue. My main WIP, the Project Red Whale, has a prologue. Over months I’ve been contemplating if one is needed as it goes through revisions. And finally, I’ve settled that it will have one.

And I’ll leave it at that.

2020

Days in 2020 and it is already beginning.

An internal rage, I mean. There were plenty of things to be angry about. I’m sure some can relate.

I swore that 2019 was going to be an epic year, and it was, there were many great movies and awesome books that came out. Old stories have concluded and new ones to look forward to in the horizon.

There was also that amazing beach trip with the family last December and the vacation in Malaysia earlier in that year.

There were plenty of things to be thankful for in 2019. But it’s still hard for them not to be overshadowed with all the crap falling from the sky.

Admittedly, it changed me in a terrible way. Small things irritated me and even smaller, more insignificant things can make my head explode.

Thankfully, I am surrounded with people who love me. The Wife and The Child are the forefront in keeping me in check. I am grateful to have them as they keep bringing me out of the dark.

This 2020 I look forward to realigning myself and stripping off as much rage in me as possible. Time to be calmer and observant, to bring back that curious child-like self, to remain optimistic and hopeful in whatever may come. There are many pleasant things to be happy about and I should center to that.

Time to be kinder and compassionate, because these are trying times. We need to be both kind and compassionate to everyone, without prejudice and judgement. Unless, you’re a convicted serial killer and inching closer to me with an intimidating look in your eye, I’d really rather back off and have nothing to do with you.

But don’t think I’ll just abandon all this rage, all this darkness that had pooled around me. And they will keep coming, attacking in every angle, pecking at my skin until I scream out and go berserk. I will have to keep reminding myself that I am an angry person, so I won’t forget and let my guard down. I won’t discard the rage, just, keep it in a jar that I’ll use to draw in power when writing, like breathing in stormlight, because spite and vindictiveness can really grease those gears.

If we’re going to talk now a little bit about my writing, I should say I’ve made some moderate progress.

Project Red Whale is now in its Draft 1.6.7 or something, I’ve lost count. Some major revisions are being made early on. Hopefully this is the last and I can focus in finishing this draft.

Project Sword, one of my latest planned stories, is fighting hard to be WIP 2, instead of continuing Project Ashes. On top of that, Project Ghost, one of my oldest planned stories, have somehow assimilated into Project Sword. They are now one and this led to a world that unraveled itself before my eyes. I am a big fan of pantsing, it’s fun, it’s full of thrills, and is my path of writing. But with how things are turning out for Project Sword, I will need to outline and work on developing a large encyclopedia for it. This past holiday, a lot of pretty neat ideas came to my head and are still vivid. This is going to be a massive project.

If, for some reason, Project Sword succeeds in becoming WIP 2, multiple contenders are now rising for the WIP 3 spot. Though Project Sherlock is leading and might be written alongside either Project Ashes or Sword. Guess it will depend on my mood.

Podcast ideas have been spinning around my head for a while now. I had two before and now I forgot what they were. With good reason, I suppose. Now, there is a new podcast idea. One that has a stronger possibility of gaining traction. I’ve talked about it with a friend, who may or may not be willing, to co-author this. It’s something we can work with sometime in the future.

In the meantime, I will focus on Project Red Whale.

On other news, I might make a Substack account. Something about it sounds good and it’s worth checking out. I’ll still use this WordPress blog, because I am someone who has detachment issues, so I’ll figure out the difference of the two. Perhaps blog will continue its more casual tone while the Substack one will be more formal. We’ll see.

So, have you guys seen Netflix’s The Witcher yet? Right?