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?

X-Men and the MCU

I have read this interesting article on Polygon on how to integrate the X-Men into the MCU. At first I thought all of these ideas are horrible because I assumed the article talked about how to use these storylines to introduce the mutants. But if we’re talking about how the X-Men meets the Avengers, then the ideas are pretty solid.

 

X-Men is a really big thing and it is tricky how to bring them to the MCU. This is why I think the upcoming Disney+ series, “WandaVision” and its supposed pseudo-sequel, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” are going to be important. From the small hints given to us, it isn’t too hard to piece together that Wanda is going to push her powers to limits and cause some sort of an interdimensional rift or warp reality.

 

This can lead to the temporary resurrection and reuniting with Quicksilver, their parents, and Vision. Things will start to fall apart and emotional scenes will follow. Maybe we’ll learn that the parents weren’t really their biological parents but their foster parents because their papa, Erik Lehnsherr, was off with his secret Brotherhood of Mutants.

 

Things are definitely going to fall apart. It probably won’t end too well. And that’s where Doctor Strange 2 will kick in, as the Sorcerer Supreme tries to restore the Multiverse, while evading Shuma-Gorath. (“In the Multiverse of Madness” is obviously a play at words with “In the Mountains of Madness” and Shuma-Gorath is technically Cthulhu in Marvel.)

 

Perhaps as the balance is restored some Multiverses are merged. The current MCU and another where mutants exist. When these two universes collide, realities are forever warped. Things can really can get so much complicated. But given Marvel Studios’ track record, they will likely keep things simple.

 

Mutants are hiding all this time, which doesn’t or wouldn’t make sense as superpowered humans have already been appearing for over a decade. Magneto would’ve acted by then. But you know Marvel Studios, they just often shrug things off, just like what they did with the five-year gap explanation in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

 

A second Polygon article talked about veteran X-Men writers offering their two cents how to integrate the uncanny bunch to the MCU. Most of them said TV series and that makes sense, in a way. Some said movies, which also makes sense in a way.

 

I’m guessing Marvel Studios will do a mix between movies and TV series. They will obviously kick things off with a super movie and then branch out to flesh other characters. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Storm and I think I’m not alone in that aspect.

They will want the X-Men to shine in its own first and that might mean a massive Avengers-style preparation. Would we get movies for Wolverine? A series for Cyclops and Jean? Marvel has this covered.

 

But what I’m more interested in really, is how will MCU introduce the existence of vampires.

The Last Days of NaNo Month

The challenge to write a full novel within a month is about to close in a few days.

I believe many has already embraced the fact that they will never finish on time. That’s cool. You’re still a winner. You’ve probably written more words than you ever did in the past weeks or months before November.

Your 5,000-word story is probably now, what, 15,000? That’s amazing. That’s no easy feat. Keep on writing until the end of the month. Then grab yourself some ice cream or some iced tea or go out and have coffee with friends, or in solitude. Or, maybe just get your Nintendo Switch and play Super Mario Maker 2, Pokemon Sword/Shield, or some Zelda game. You deserve it. 

Or, if you’re up to it, keep on writing. All that pent-up rage you’ve had for years, channel them into your fingertips and punch those keys. 

Also, it will be December soon. Time to spend with the family. If there’s that person who begins to ask: “Is your hobby making money now?” and “Have you published it yet?” and other frustrating things like that, punch them in the throat. Or don’t. I don’t know. You assess the situation. I’d personally definitely go for throat-punching though. 

Keep writing friends. You’ve got an awesome story. Polish it. Write some more.

… Yes, this is what I tell myself when I break down and cry when realizing my stuff is absolute trash.

Strive

I think it’s different for everyone. I know there are those who would prefer to keep their art hidden in the shadows, away from the scrutiny of the public eye. Afraid to broadcast it, terrified to tell anyone they’re working on something.

There can be many reasons for this. But for me, and I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this, is because when people find out, they ask questions. Not the kind of questions that would light bulbs in your head. The kind where you cringe, the kind that loosen your bowels, the kind that would have you slither into a dark cave and stay there until you’ve filled the world with your tears.

You don’t want people to know about the art you’re creating. You don’t want them to know that you’ll fail, that you’ll have nothing to show for. Their constant “cheer ups” and support might feel you’re being patronized, or their comments can be frustrating because they might not know about the industry and so they cannot fathom pressure of it all. It’s like describing someone what a cosmic horror looks like. You’ve gone nuts and they don’t understand at all.

Sometimes they might ask:

“When are going to publish it?”

Uhhh…

“How’s that book you’re working on?”

Uhhh…

The well of confidence keeps running dry. Every time you lower your bucket into it, bats and spiders and maybe tentacles come out. It’s scary. At one moment you’ll feel the 1000 words you’ve written is fantastic. You’d feel invincible. Maybe for a moment, wonder why you haven’t been published yet. Why? Oh that’s right. It isn’t finished. It’s still draft 0.5. The words you’ve written, you realize, is utter garbage. It stinks. No one would want to read this piece of smoking crap. Time to throw the towel. Show’s over folks, thanks for stopping by and let’s forget that I even attempted to write a story.

There’s really a lot of self-negativity. You’ll always doubt yourself and no matter how much you try to improve, it might seem like you’re stuck in one place and the world leaves you behind.

That’s why I think it’s important to always have people who will keep you cheered up. Telling someone you’re writing a story can’t be easy. Not for everyone. Certainly not for me. Especially when they promise to alpha and beta it, and then get back to you after months of following up, and then blatantly tell you “It’s good” or “It’s like Game of Thrones.” It withers down the little self-assurance that took ages to build.

I think I’ve lost my way while writing this. I was aiming to tell you, to surround yourself with positive people. But after everything I’ve written above, I seem to be unable to just spit it out that way. So I’ll just say, you’re not alone, feeling stuck and full of doubts. There are many writers who feel that way. Go out with friends, have some drinks with them, spend time with family, focus on awesome things that inspires. Don’t be afraid to leave the work unfinished. Take a break and then get back to it when you’re refreshed. For others, spite works well. Has anyone pissed you off? Good, use that fury to type away.

Really, I’m lost and I don’t think I have anything actually meaningful to say. Just some random blog post from a random dude.

Those working hard on this month’s NaNo, you guys are ablaze. Keep at it and be beacons that inspire others to strive on.

If I call you a cunt: Darkdawn review

If I call you a cunt, it means I’m afraid of you. I call you a cunt, it means you’re someone I should never mess with. The moment I call you a cunt, I would be digging my own grave — because I called you a cunt and because you are a cunt, you can hurt me and there’s nothing I can do but shrivel into a pathetic cretin backed into a corner.

Calling someone a cunt, means I know you can rip off my dick, snap it in two, and shove it up my ass with so much force it will shoot out of my mouth.

If I call you a cunt, it might mean I don’t like you very much, because you’re an existential threat to everything I am.

Cunts have teeth and they bite.

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That’s why our little Murder Bitch, Mia Corvere, protagonist of the Nevernight Chronicle, takes being called a cunt with so much compliment. She even explains it in detail during the early chapters of Book One, “Nevernight.”

She will tear the world apart just to achieve her goal. This is my impression of “Darkdawn,” the final book of the Chronicle, and if you haven’t read “Nevernight” and “Godsgrave,” get the fuck out of here, stop whatever you’re doing – quit your job if you have to (I’m kidding, don’t quit your job. Jobs are precious) – and read the entire trilogy. Because it is such a fantastic read.

Did it end the way I hoped it would end? In a way, yes. Very satisfying and very different how I’ve envisioned it. But still a beautiful book.

Australian actress and book vlogger, Piera Forde, has recently released the “Nevernight” trailer. A three-part webseries that chronicles the first book, or a part of it, at least. She kept some updates on the production and everything looks good so far.

Behold the trailer!

 

HERE BE SPOILERS

SOME BIG SPOILERS BELOW

FINAL WARNING

As some people might have pointed out, Mia’s attitude toward her brother, Jonnen, is a little bit out of character , especially that part where she sings to him. I’d like to defend that part. Ever since Mia was a child, her life was turned upside down. The series of plot twists that happened in the books can’t be too good for her mental health as well. So, with Jonnen right beside her, her mind clawed deep into her memories. To a time where everything was normal. Just Mia, getting prepped to become some lady, Jonnen, probably to grow up into a soldier or into some politician, and with both parents alive. That’s where Mia was dwelling and what she was trying to seek. Some sort of normality, during happier times. At least, that’s my take on it. Bugger off.

After digesting everything, I had to sit back and think for a while. This entire story. The way how I see it, it seemed like a peaceful time. The Republic seems okay and the people love their leaders. Sure, there’s some corruption tossed here and there, but what body of government doesn’t have the taint of corruption, eh?

Were the lives lost during the Republic’s fall worth it to restore the natural balance of day and night? Was eternal sunlight that really bad? I guess, so?

Ashlinn’s death was a punch to the balls. I didn’t feel it served any concrete purpose other than deliver us that bittersweet ending. Tric re-dying only to tell Ashlinn how get back to Mia was another punch to the balls. That’s true love, folks.

The biggest positive change to the world in Nevernight – besides the restoration of day/night cycle – is abolishing the Red Church, cleaning off the bad blood, and rebuilding it. Really, the Red Church assassins were the true villains in the books, and the presented main big bad was just collateral, yeah I mean, he’s a cunt, but the assassin teachers are worse.

In the end, to me, the entire Chronicle is less about saving the world. Mia knows this and had no intention of doing it. She was ready to walk out with a big middle finger to sky. But then the manipulative goddess did some things that led to the Republic sinking down the sea. The “Nevernight Chronicle” is true and true a revenge story.

It’s been one awesome ride. Now I’m looking forward to the “Empire of the Vampires,” which I think, is slated for next year.