Shadows of Imeria – June 2017 Update

To start with, I have to tell you all I made an amazing revelation. Suddenly, while working on the worldbuilding for Shadows of Imeria, I realized I can turn the first book into two books as I will have enough content for it. Things will have to be changed a little, but it will definitely turn out to be better in the end. It will increase the length of the story and will definitely not ruin the plot or pacing. It’ll give me room to truly show you how beautiful the world is that the continent of Imeria resides in.

Now, onto progress, every single character profile has been completely finished and printed off for reference points when I get to the editing stage. There were twenty character profiles completed and they stand between 3k and 5k words each, it was tedious and a little annoying at times but I am glad that I managed to get them done, because now the characters feel even more amazing and I managed to get so much more to write about them in the books. I also realized during that time that there was a character I needed to cut out and one character who isn’t who he seems (sorry, can’t spoil too much for you all).

Worldbuilding has almost been completely finished, with villages, cities, and settlements truly becoming what they were meant to be. I turned the measly 5k and 12-page Word document into a 12k and 36-page document so far and I’m still going.
I’ve finished detailing the entire history of the world and how it came to be. I’ve figured out how education works, how the economy figures into everything, and a few more things.
I still need to finish detailing wars that have been waged by writing them out, who waged it, who won, how many casualties, etc. I need to complete city details such as the histories of cities and their reason for existing. Write up the start of organizations, who leads them and what their purposes are. Flesh out the culture of each race and how they came to be the way they are. I am working on the magic system and that is developing nicely too. My world is becoming more and more beautiful with each passing day.

When it comes to worldbuilding, there’s a lot of work that needs to go into it. I needed to, and for some things still need to:

  • flesh out each culture
  • make a somewhat stable economy
  • fix any problems I have with the factions/groups in the story
  • create cuisine and know what kind of foods are available
  • create and organize governments, to figure out how each city is governed
  • mend any holes that are in the history of the world
  • add more structure to the magic system
  • figure out the military powers in the world and what kind of structure and rules they follow.
  • create medicines and remedies used by the inhabitants of the world
  • flesh out the details of the people in the world
  • add more to the settings that the story takes place in
  • diversify and manage the races of the world to become even more unique and amazing
  • add incredible amounts of details to regions and the cities that dwell there
  • create and add more when it comes to religion, faith, and belief
  • create and discover what kind of technologies are used around the world
  • write the details of each war that has occurred in the past

With almost everything done, I just need to give it a light polish, I will be printing off the worldbuilding document and then I will be starting the revision of my novel. The revision should start in or just after the first week of next month. I am still super excited about being able to turn this novel into two separate books and I hope you all are as well!

Shadows of Imeria – June 2017 Update

Poison Study – Review

I RATE THIS NOVEL, FIVE OF FIVE STARS!

Over the last two months I haven’t read much, and this month I finished reading my first book in that time. I chose a book from my shelf, Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study and boy was I impressed.

I have to say, a book in first person, especially from a female’s perspective isn’t something I’d usually read, but the concept intrigued me enough to keep moving forward.

Imagine you were a slave, oppressed by your master. Lead to believe you were special but was abused sexually, physically and mentally for years. Until one day, you killed your oppressor and ended up in prison with your sentence to be an execution. But, instead of being executed after a year of imprisonment, you’re given a choice, become the commander’s food faster (to check for poison) or be executed. What would you choose? That’s the choice the main character, Yelena is given.

The thoughts that go through Yelena’s head are logical and reasonable in pretty much any situation she ends up in throughout her story. The dialogue between characters worked well and I believe the story was a sad, but beautifully told one.

Now, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy, but they hardly lower the overall quality of the story.

Right away, on the first page, in three paragraphs, there was an excessive use of the word “had”. About eight or nine in all, that’s around three per paragraph and it took me out of the world already. By the end of the novel, I couldn’t even pick it up if this kind of thing happened again, I was so into the story that my proof-reading mind switched off. Which is honestly pretty hard to do to me.

I do have to say that she knows too much though. I mean that in a sense that we’re in her head and she seems to know so much about the world even though she grew up in an orphanage of sorts. It’s been said in the novel that she’s well educated, but I doubt with what she’d been through that she’d learn as much about the world around her as she has. From animals to politics. It just doesn’t feel realistic.

All in all, I had to say that first person from a female perspective wasn’t my kind of thing before reading Poison Study. After reading it, I can say I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really get surprised throughout the story but the content was original and fantastic to read. Since I already have it, I plan to read Magic Study, the next book in the series for my next read.

I can’t really rate it higher or lower when it comes to content, I’d say it’s five out of five, but writing style has me at about four. So I’d set it in the middle at four and a half out of five if I could actually put that as a rating. So I guess Poison Study, for me, is a solid five stars!

Poison Study – Review

Shadows of Imeria – May 2017 Update

And, there’s no update. I’ve been hit by the worst, the biggest, the ugliest spurt of procrastination and lack of motivation in my life.

I’m now working six days a week, eight hours a day and it’s killing my motivation and imagination. By the time I get home, after eight hours of work and almost two hours of travel (an hour to work and an hour back) I make my dinner, eat my dinner, do some kind of fun activity, relax for a moment or two and then I go to bed.

The only day off I get is a Sunday and I usually try to clean my house, fix social media, socialize, get some photography in and then I get to write a little before going to bed. It’s a continuous cycle of draining, busy weeks.

All I can say, guys, is that I’m trying. I’m still trying to work out a decent schedule so I can get more writing in. So this update was more to do with me complaining about how much less time I have for writing these days rather than how much writing I’ve got done.

I’m really sorry guys. I’ll try better next month, try even harder.

Shadows of Imeria – May 2017 Update

Cost of Being a Writer

As a writer, I almost always have the want and the need to write. So you can imagine that every time I get inspired, my need to write is felt ten times, if not a hundred times stronger. It never matters where I am or what I’m doing. I stop it and I start writing what I need to write (much like this blog post you’re reading, it’s 1 am and I just had to start writing).

I’ve been in the shower, scrubbing away the grime from my body when I get a burst of inspiration. I’ll turn off the taps, wander out and either on my phone or my computer, I’ll write what I need to write. I’ve sat down on the edge of the bath with my phone in my hand for almost an hour while the shampoo sits in my hair until I’ve finished writing. Then I will finish with my shower.

I’ve been on a date and suddenly cut my own side of the conversation short in order to write an idea out, taking about five minutes of my time away from the date. When I stopped, she seemed a lot less interested in anything I had to say. It’s safe to assume that the date never ended up going anywhere.

Countless times, I’ve stopped to write. While watching movies with friends, while cooking dinner (that one is a dangerous one, trust me on that), while at a party (try explaining to your drunk friends that you were in the bathroom to be in a quiet place while you wrote for thirty minutes…),

At least I haven’t done it in a job interview or during a sexual experience, imagine either of those…

Hiring Manager: So, why would you like to get a job with us?
Me: Hold on, just a moment, I need to write something.

Partner/Girlfriend/FWB: Keep going, I’m about to- (you can finish that sentence yourself)
Me: Wait, I need to do something, I will be right back!

I can definitely see both of those turning out negatively. Sure, I could ignore the fact I need to write, but my body starts to fidget uncontrollably and my mind starts to wander off and not pay any attention at all to what is happening around me. When my mind wanders like that, I don’t pay attention to conversations, where my bus stop is, how hot the food is that I’m eating, and plenty of other things. Getting the inspiration and creativity out of my head (be it temporarily) helps me function as a human being.

In a way, it has ruined many moments in my life for me, but writing is my life and without it, I would be lost. Every time I write while I’m inspired, I have this feeling that rushes over me, that overwhelms me completely, it’s something that I’ve never been able to feel from anything else in my life. It is perfection.

You ever seen a scene in a movie and your hair stands up on end, you forget to breathe, you feel it in your entire body? The exhilaration? That feeling of fulfillment and beauty? That’s what I get every time that I write while inspired. I wouldn’t give it up for anything or anyone.

Cost of Being a Writer

Brotherband: The Outcasts – Review

I RATE THIS NOVEL, FIVE OF FIVE STARS!

Straight after reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, I dove into this book. I finished it quickly and I loved every minute of it. John Flanagan tells a wonderful coming of age story about a Viking boy on his path to becoming a respected member of a Brotherband.

On the very first page, John started a sentence with the word and. Sure, style can dictate whether one decides to do that or not, but most people (including plenty of English professors and a lot of authors) swear by the rule of “Never start a sentence with and or but.”

John often puts had after the start of a sentence, usually after a pronoun or someone’s name. He had, she had, Thorn had. I spotted four sentences in a row at one point that started off this way and it became a little jarring.

During one stage of the novel, the word “lawyer” came into the book and it didn’t feel right. People didn’t practice law in the form of an occupation until the 12th and 13th century, long after the Viking era had ended. The term lawyer wasn’t even used until the 14th-15th century, so reading that word used just didn’t work for the setting the book is in. And yes, I’m a total nerd, why do you think I read fantasy books?

I quickly got over all that though. Why? Because I love it, I can’t describe how much I do. The imagery is spot on and allows me to imagine almost everything that happens beautifully. The battle scenes flow well and even time spent aboard the vessels is interesting. John has done a marvelous job. The characters are well put together and each have their own personalities.

The story is one about Skandians, of Vikings. If follows the story of Hal Mikkelson, born half Skandian and half foreigner and is treated like an outcast. He’s a thinker, a tinkerer, an inventor. When brotherband (groups of Skandians who train together, fight together and die together) training starts, he joins one of the most outrageous brotherbands, one full of outcasts. But he quickly becomes determined to make it so they succeed in the trials to come.

It’s a coming of age story for young Hal and a great one at that. The action, the suspense and the great interaction between characters are brilliant. It is easily the best book I have read all year, for now.

On three separate occasions, I got goosebumps, I teared up a little twice, smiled many times and laughed a few. It might not be the usual kind of fantasy that I read, but I’d recommend it to anyone who would bother listening. I loved it. The end had me wanting more, much more. I’ll definitely get my hands on the next ones in the series and what makes me happy is that there are plenty more to read!

Brotherband: The Outcasts – Review

Shadows of Imeria – April 2017 Update

Happy Birthday to me! Although it was days ago and not today.

Enough birthday wishes, I am sorry to inform you that I was not as productive as I thought I would be, at least not with my writing. I managed to get an extra of 16 hours of work each week and that’s 16 hours less that I can write each week, a tragedy, yes, but it’s okay.

It is almost time. After this year of hard work, 12 months and 8 days of it to be precise, I can almost start editing Shadows of Imeria. I have almost (but not quite) built upon the world enough to start giving better-detailed descriptions of areas, places where the reader can learn about the history of the world over time, etc.  I will still need to work on it for a week or two before I can start my edits though.

There was something I had to do that I didn’t expect though. I mapped the entire journey of the novel out and calculated the time it took to get from one place to another in the way it was traveled (by foot, horse or boat). It was enough math to make my head explode but the results were worth it. This took about four days and I actually enjoyed it when I didn’t feel like my head was going to burst. Here’s a photo of it, I know it doesn’t look like much but it helped make the story so much better, cleaner, and more realistic.

And I should really be honest with you all, I just didn’t give it my all. Next month will be different, it has to be. I’ll work harder, write faster (without losing the quality of course!) and I’ll do my absolute best.

Over the next month, I will finish the worldbuilding side of my journey and I’ll hopefully have sticky notes smeared across the printed pages of my manuscript, many different colors highlighted for dialogue, red pen ink scattered across the margins and gaps in the text for the addition and subtraction of information and quality, and much more. It’ll be one giant paper mess and maybe, just maybe I will get through the whole manuscript. I doubt that though, that’s a lot of work to do.

Shadows of Imeria – April 2017 Update

The Magicians – Review

I rate this novel, Four of Five stars!

I realize it took me forever to read this book, it wasn’t because I didn’t like it, not at all. I had surgeries, I moved houses twice and I managed to read 12 books before I finished this one. Now that I have finished it, I am quite glad.

I’ve heard this series referenced as Harry Potter’s and Game of Thrones’ love child. This isn’t the case, at least not in my eyes. Use our world as a foundation, add magic, add deities, add other worlds and add schools for this magic. Then add a depressed teenager that has lived his whole life in a world without magic, a world that seems to reject him and one that he rejects in turn. That teenager is Quentin Coldwater.

The book begins at a slow pace, a lot of learning for the characters and reader alike and that takes time. Magic is an art in this world and it can’t just be used with the flick of a wand and the muttering of a word, emotions are mixed in, times of day affect spells, you need to learn old and dead languages, there is so much going on with the magic that one would be beyond lucky to learn it all in one lifetime.

It’s a dark, depressing world and even with magic mixed in, that doesn’t change. It is just like the real world and I really enjoy that about it. It gave a genuine feeling of familiarity and realism to my mind and soul, something I could grab onto and carry with me.

But there were things that I didn’t particularly like as well, it was mostly to do with technique.

Lev’s use of “and” is a little draining occasionally. I once counted six ands in a single sentence. On the very rare occasion, there was a small error with the uses of tense. But, perhaps it was my mind just playing tricks on me. A few sentences ran on without a comma or full stop which brought me to re-read certain sentences a couple of times. Although it didn’t happen often enough to get me mad and put down the book, it was still irritating.

Every now and then, Lev would throw information into the story that never really amounted to much. It didn’t change the story and it didn’t add anything enjoyable, It was just information. For example, you read about a girl named Georgia that was almost institutionalized because she told her parents about a school for magicians. The information takes up half a page and it’s for a non-essential character that is never heard from or seen again.

I really wanted to give this book a higher rating. Maximum stars. But with the small errors and repetitive use of the word “and”, and the unnecessary information, I have to give it four stars. I think the editor (if there was an editor hired for the novel) didn’t to the best job they could. It stays at four stars for its brilliant worldbuilding, magic process, originality and great, realistic characters. If I could, it would be 4.5 stars out of 5.

I’ll definitely be buying the next book in the series, no doubt about it at all.

The Magicians – Review