Tag Archives: writing

If It’s Not Broke…

There is truth in the old adage, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” I have a personal motto that is a spin on that saying: “If it isn’t broke, don’t break it.”

While I may not be 100% satisfied in the current structure of the story, I recognize the importance of progress. Concerning myself over how to piece together the final product at this stage is spinning my wheels at best.

Puzzles are pictures broken up into dozens, hundreds of pieces. I’m not arguining against knowing what the final product will look like. While there is a lot of value in knowing what picture the puzzle is making… it is pointless to start putting it together if you don’t even have all the pieces. To that end, progress is more important (at this stage) than structure.

Therefore, I will keep the structure as it currently stands: 3 books, each with 3 parts – where the first part is a slice of the prologue piece of the story.

Now that the structure has been decided, it is now time to prepare to progress. Issue with that is: I have not read the completed matetial in years. My current task is to re-read the first book, making notes and edits as I go. I will be focusing on the main scenario (which means I will not currently review the prologue chapters – that will come later).

Apologies

I know this post comes late, and is also short in content. This week was focused on making a purchase… it took a lot of time. I’d like to introduce you all to… the new Clarkmobile!

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My next post will come soon. I will be updating all of you on my impressions of the state of the book (how much edit work left, any extensive re-writes) and an estimate on when I will get back to drafting new content.

Goal #1 – Get the story written. All of it.

A Way Forward

Greetings! Things are progressing at a great pace, and I’m beginning to piece together a plan of evaluation. The first draft of book 1, Katsukami (working title), was completed nearly 10 years ago. It’s hard for me to believe how fast time has flown; however, watching the clock is a waste of time. Dwelling on lost time will not get pages reviewed, scenes organized or new content drafted.

Must press ever onward!

Series Structure

In an effort to begin looking for a place to dive in this very large universe again, I am faced with looking at the basics – the structure of the series’ narrative. Currently, the story is broken up into 9 main parts, where part 1 is the earliest events of the narrative and part 9 is the farthest on the right of the timeline. The first 3 parts make up a type of prologue. Parts 4 through 9 make up the main storyline (you may say, present day). Each book of the series contains 3 of the 9 parts – equalling out to a trilogy.

One may be thinking, “Sounds like there’s not much to consider as far as structure goes.” On the surface, this could be true. I could write the books in chronological succession, with the first book on the timeline released first. For many reasons, however, that would simply not work as the story stands now.

1. There are a number of plot devices that the first 3 parts reveal that would make events in the subsequent 6 parts predictable. What I mean here is, the main narrative is found in parts 4 – 9 for a reason – one I won’t get into here.

2. The main character serves little purpose in parts 1 – 3. Releasing a book as first of a series with the immediate sequel introducing a new main character would not be attractive to readers unless executed perfectly.

3. The points on the timeline are not equal distance-wise. What I mean by this is that part 1-3 are set a considerable amount of time before part 4-9. In addition, there are decent sized gaps between part 1, 2 and 3 as well. On the other hand, Parts 4 – 9 all happen in succession.

“So, what structure did you go with originally? You did write a big chunk of the story, right?”

The current structure of the series is to take a piece of the past events (parts 1, 2 or 3) to open each book followed by 2 parts from the main storyline (parts 4 – 9). Here, let me give you a visual. Below, I will list each book and follow with which parts are included, in the order as they appear in the book.

Book 1: Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Book 2: Part 2, Part 6, Part 7

Book 3: Part 1, Part 8, Part 9

The idea behind this is to show the “past” backwards – the further back, the more the reader can discover the origin story… which provides answers to numerous plot points. The “present” is revealed like a typical narrative… and proceeds forward chronologically. Each book is given a slice of the past as an opening which coincides with much of the story revealed in the “present.”

Now, I am faced with a number of options concerning structure.

1. Keep it the way it is

2. Cut the prologue pieces, expand the narrative of the “present,” and release the “past” (parts 1 – 3) as its own book (probably just before the final book).

3. Expand the story – including yet unwritten/unplanned content between parts 3 and 4. This possibility, while allowing the narrative to progress naturally (start to finish), is not preferable – at least with the story in its current state.

4. Release part 1 – 3 as their own books (each). Expanding these stories to short novel status would not require drastic story changes. Part 3 would be released first, followed by book 1 (part 4 and 5). Next, Part 2 short novel would be released, followed by book 2 (Part 6 and 7). Finally, Part 1 (short novel), and finishing off with book 3 (parts 8 and 9).

Blah Blah Blah.

I know this is not a very interesting bit of information. I also know that making a decision on structure of release maybe shouldn’t even be a primary concern. My issue is that, every time I sit down to edit, I’m annoyingly distracted by my brain trying to work out story structure issues. Until I make a decision on this, I can’t go back and work on editing the narrative already written and move on to drafting new content.

What Is Currently Drafted?

Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 and most of 6 are drafted. This means book 1’s draft is complete with book 2 being nearly 60% complete. Of course, this is under current structure rules.

I currently have part 7 outlined. Part 1, 8 and 9 are roughly outlined with the main points of the story already decided. In addition, a specific plot point in part 7 has gifted me with a slew of potential content from which I would love to create a stand alone series.

Decisions To Be Made

Choosing the structure to a point that will allow me to move forward is the next step. I know that, until I pick a direction (however temporary it is), I will not be able to put my entire effort into edits and new content.

My current deadline for choosing the Move-Forward Series Structure is:

Before 5 July 2017. My plan is to write an update post weekly. As of now, I will strive to have a new post with updates/decisions made by 5 July.

Thank you all for stopping by! For those of you who actually made it to the end… bravo! This blog is mostly for me… I find it cathartic. So, anyone who actually reads my ramblings through to completion… deserves some kind of prize.

Until next time!

Character Profile 4: Thomaas Kondor

The Kondor family’s fame was far reaching indeed. Whether as a part of the UNR military or the Nicerian Elite Force (which was founded by General Markus Kondor), a member of this great and honorable family always found themselves a part of the defense of Niceria for more than seven generations. Thomaas Kondor was to be no exception.

Following in the path of Markus (his grandfather) and Aryn (his father), Thomaas was determined to become an officer in the prestigious Nicerian Elite Force. At the start of the events of this volume in the Nicerian Chronicles, Thomaas is quickly gearing up for his final examination in the NEF Academy.

An upbeat and optimistic individual, Thomaas consistantly finds himself being the source of encouragement to those surrounding him. His legacy has given him large shoes to fill, as most of his fellow students see him as a natural leader. Where some would be overwhelmed by having a famous military lineage, Thomaas takes everything one day at a time. Instead of seeing the greatness of his ancestors as an intimidation, Thomaas sees his family history as an example for him as he grows into his own man.

If there was one person Thomaas lives his life for, it is his mother. Although she passed away when he was still quite young, he continuously ponders what she would desire of him. Even more than 15 years after her tragic death, Thomaas still dreams of her and feels the pain of losing her like it had been mere days ago.

Living on Niceria, during the time of this story, had its pros and cons. Where the Nicerian people were mostly successful and advanced in their society, there was always a constant shadow and fear of war. This was the world Thomaas was born into, and living in a Cold War society takes a toll. Having been brought up in a military family on a world that suffers from the constant threat of war added an interesting personality aspect to Thomaas.

Where most young adults of his age desired to go to a civilian university and score a favorable occupation, Thomaas had always desired to sacrifice his own life and serve the people. To him, there was no question about whether there would be another war. On some levels, Thomaas hoped for another war. These desires were not because he yearned for conflict; rather, these thoughts spurned from a want to put an end to the threat altogether.

The militaristic, expansionist views of the Vorax were unrelenting. There was no diplomacy, there were no negotiations. Any ambassador the Nicerians sent was sent back in pieces. The Vorax lived in a closed society, never letting any civilian in or out of Vorxian Territorial space. Freedom was a concept they did not, nor desire to, grasp. “A free people are a weak people” was an excerpt from the Territorial’s “Rule by Strength” manifesto (the document that dictates all actions of the rulers, military personnel, and civilians who live under the banner of the Vorax).

From Thomaas’ point of view, there was only one way to ensure the safety, security, and acquirement of peace for the Nicerian people. The utter destruction of the Voraxian Territorial. This brings us to one of his flaws.

Being in a military lifestyle under threat of war from a people different from that of your own can breed a certain amount of hatred. This point of view can be focused on to an entire people and not just on the actual problem area. Even though the Vorax military and government was the root complication, Thomaas always had an issue making a distinction between the government of the Territorial and the civilians who had no choice in where they were born. To Thomaas, and many others in the NEF Academy, Vorax were Vorax. They were all trouble.

This drawback of Thomaas’ had the potential for becoming problematic when help from an unexpected place would become essential for the survival of the galaxy. Will Thomaas and the others find the strength and maturity to set aside their differences to face the greatest threat the galaxy has ever seen?

Well, that’s all I’m going to say about this! I hope you are finding the Character Profiles enjoyable and interesting! Hopefully, I will have some news soon on the status of the book as I continue to make it available to the world! Thank you so much for reading!

Until next time!

The “Back of the Book” Description of Katsukami!

Today, I would like to show the short description I have put together for my book! It is set up similarly to a description you would find on the back cover of the book. It is still a work in progress, but this is what I got so far. PLEASE~~~ tell me what you think! Give me feedback! I want this to be intriguing, yet not too revealing.

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A galaxy racked with the pains of constant civil war, Kyosora and the humans therein do not see the coming destruction. A hero from the past has returned to seek vengeance. A mercenary stumbles upon a mystery, leading him to the clutches of doom. A young man dreams of adventure, unaware of his importance in the events to come. Future heroes are unknowingly guided together for a purpose. The Vorax again threaten the safety and security of the galaxy, forcing these heroes to answer the call. No one notices the puppet master behind the scenes, with steady hands guiding the galaxy toward its conclusion.

Katsukami presents a story of humanity’s struggle against each other and the supernatural forces threatening to end everything. Only one man has the power to put an end to all the madness – a man with a shattered mind where only one thing matters: the destruction of the galaxy itself.

Can humanity find the strength to come together and stand against the coming darkness, or will their hatred of each other lead them to their untimely end?

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What do you think? Let me know! THANKS!

Until next time!

Character Profile 3: Ash Xaiden

Every story I write always contains multiple protagonists and antagonists. However in this series, the character of Ash Xaiden should be considered the main “Hero.” In the current format I have set up with the first book, Ash is introduced after the first part of the book (the first 7 chapters tells a short story of special events that took place 15 years in the past of the main story). On a quick side note, I am mulling over ideas in my head to possibly change the current set up of the book. I will go into that another time.

Ash grew up in a small home with his Uncle Hal in a rather large forest on the planet Tornah. There he learned the trade of the Hunters. On Tornah, technology was used only as a necessity. Consequently, the people there lived relatively simple lives. Although most of the indiginous life on the world was docile, there existed many fierce creatures that (if left unchecked) would threaten the safety of the citizens. The Hunters protected the people from these threats while at the same time provided the towns food from the game they hunted. It required a great degree of skill if the Hunter was to defeat these creatures.

Early on, Ash demonstrated a skill for tracking, survival, and swordsmanship. While many hunters would set traps or kill from a distance, Ash lured his prey out and usually fought them head on with a sword clutched in his hand. His patience was unmatched and his strength a site to behold.

While hunting brought a certain degree of fulfillment to his life, Ash had dreams that could not come to fruition on Tornah. Ash’s one desire was to travel to Niceria (the planet capital of the United Nicerian Republic of which Tornah was a part) and join the Nicerian Elite Force. This mercenary/protection group fought as a private entity to protect Niceria, the UNR, and her allies. Ever since he was a boy, Ash had dreamed of traveling the galaxy and becoming a hero.

At the start of the book, Ash is finally getting ready to leave Tornah for the NEF Academy. Timing, however, will prove to be a hindrance as the galaxy inches ever closer to a conflict that will threaten to engulf all life in utter darkness. Many heroes will be called upon to help stem the tide. Only one can bring an end to the destruction. Where will Ash Xaiden, the Hunter from Tornah, find his place? What role will he play?

Are you interested to learn more about Ash Xaiden? Well, I am mulling some things over that may allow me to give out a lot more information on this character in the near future. I hope you are as excited about this as I am! Thanks for reading! I know these are kind of short, but I don’t want to give too much away. If you are interested in the book, let me know! I want to hear lots of feedback!

Until next time!

Making Dramatic Changes: My Subconscious Cure All

I want to back things up a bit. Before I started evaluating the premise and setting of the story and posting the chapter and character profiles, I had been talking about my life as I took time to write this story. I would like to pick back up where I had left off. On my post “A Dark Place in Life” I mentioned how I got a job right after I had completed the first full draft of Katsukami.

During the rest of that year, things got a little better. I was making money and life was not being too harsh to me anymore. My life wasn’t taking any leaps forward, but I wasn’t necessarily losing ground either. I became content, complacent, stagnant. It’s been said that there is no such thing as “standing still” in life. You are either moving forward or you are moving backward. Allowing one self to stay comfortable without making any effort to better themselves only brings about negative habits of laziness and complacency.

Lucky for me, I realized this was happening before it got too carried away.

For more than six months, I worked and made money. I tried to work on my second book as well. On a roll after completing my first book, I immediately jumped into the first part of book 2. Within a matter of weeks, I finished a quarter of the story and had all but completed a very specific outline of the rest. I had the feeling that I was on fire.

New Years 2008

I don’t know why. I was fine. I was doing ok and my story was well on its way. So, why did a sudden depression overcome my mind and force me to rethink my place in life? For whatever reason, every new year I always automatically review everything that has happened to me – not just over the previous year either. On every January 1, I look over my life as a whole. I step out of my little bubble and ponder the places I have been, the people I have met, the actions I have taken, the roads I have walked, and (most importantly) the direction I am going. If, for whatever reason, the evaluation of myself is in anyway NOT good, I change directions. The change is not small in any way. Once I come to this conclusion, I begin taking steps that lead me to a dramatic change before the end of that year.

For example:

January 1, 2005 – I was in college and things were happening all around me that made me rethink the direction my life was going. During this time, I was spending my time at college pretty much year round. I would sometimes visit home on holidays, but typically I stayed at my dorm room, even when school was out. I just worked for the school doing whatever they needed and paid rent. New Years 2005 was the first time my New Years Evaluation occurred and I attempted to ignore it. The issues I was struggling with ate at me until I could not deal with it anymore. My mind became clouded. My attitude became irritable. The people I looked up to started appearing useless to me. Still, I fought against my mind. I wanted to complete my degree and nothing was going to stop me. Eight months later, I left. Literally, I made the decision to give in and was gone in 24 hours. Back to Michigan to start over.

It was happening again.

This time, I didn’t fight. The conclusion I came to after the evaluation of my life was one that shocked not only the people around me, but myself as well. I was joining the military. No one who knew me well believed a word I said when I told them of my decision. The girl I was seeing left shortly thereafter but, I really didn’t mind. Let me rephrase that, I cared for sure. I just could not stop the path I had decided to follow. I knew there would be drastic consequences. So I allowed them to happen without much struggle. My friends and family all said things like “Oh, that’s great!” but, deep down, none of them believed I would do it.

“You’re just not a military type of guy.”

In July 2008, I officially swore in to the Air Force and would leave for basic training in November. Just before I left, I mean literally the day before, I remembered something I had put on the back burner for the last (very) quick months. My story…

I let it slip. I would read it every now and then between January and when I left for Texas in November, but I really didn’t write much that entire year. It was too late now. The free time I would have (or lack thereof) over then next several months would hinder me from moving forward on my writing. It was something with which I just had to come to terms. However, the moment I stepped on that plane that would take me to San Antonio, I vowed that my story was not over. I would not just let it slip through the cracks. One day, I would pick up the pen again and keep writing. Even if it was years later…

Turns out that would not be too far from the truth. My life was changing drastically and I would soon find out how little time I had. Would I ever make the time to pick the pen up again and press forward with my story? Would the changes I made to my life prove successful or did I just waste my time? Those are questions we can look into another day. Thanks for reading! I will be back here soon!

Until next time!

Character Profile 2: Steen

In the chapter I posted earlier, we saw two main characters introduced. The first, Katsukami, already was given a character profile so I thought it best to give the second post on Character Profiles to Steen. This character is one of my favorites and I hope my readers will see the greatness in him as well.

A little background on Steen will not provide much information at all about his personality. As a member of the Vasteen Royal Guard, Steen gave up his past life in order to fully serve King Belfrus Efrendiel – the ruler of the Kingdom of Vastar. Members who make the choice to join the Royal Guard go through a memory wiping process that completely erases family, childhood, friends, and any other previous attachment from their mind. Steen’s first memory was of waking up on an operating table, being rushed into a small room with others like him, and beginning the year long, strenuous Royal Guard training.

Very shortly after completing the training, Steen and his comrades are immediately issued an assignment to bring a stop to the murderous actions of the deranged Katsukami. When the menace strikes a tourist city one of Vastar’s moons, Langrin, Steen was immediately summoned to a briefing with Major Starg, the highest ranking official in the Royal Guards. During the brief, Steen along with other members were presented with an interesting development. Katsukami wanted a meeting. After wiping out the city of life, Katsukami left behind a voice recording requesting a meeting with one individual to discuss terms on how to save the galaxy. The major sought to use the opportunity to set a trap for the beast, but Steen saw truth behind the words on the recording. After an argument with the major, the King himself stepped in and granted Steen his request. Steen alone would go to Langrin and meet with Katsukami. His mission: to gather the necessary information in order to bring an end to Katsukami’s wave of destruction.

The chapter I presented in my last post picks up where this leaves off. I encourage you to read the chapter if you are interested in what happens next!

I would like to take this opportunity to reveal a little something about the books in this series. Katsukami and all sequals will be split into 3 parts each. Parts 2 and 3 cover what is happening in the “present day” of the story. Part 1, on the other hand, covers a portion of the past that allows the reader to gather clues as to how everything in this supernatural fantasy began. The chapter I revealed before as well as the information I gave in this post occurs in the first part of book 1: Katsukami. I have been thinking greatly on releasing the entire first part of my book on my blog if I can gather enough interest!

Are you interested? Well spread the word! Direct your friends to my blog and (more importantly) my Facebook page! The Facebook page will have links to all posts on my blog as well as other information about the book that you will not see here!

Thank you all for reading! I am extremely grateful to all the support I have seen thus far.

Until next time!