Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How Rowling Keeps Me Sane

It's really hard to portray love.  It's glaringly obvious when it's done terribly.  As someone trying to be an author, a published author, who's making love a prominent theme in his story, portraying such a bond is a daunting prospect.  I keep thinking about the stilted dialogue between Anakin and Padme from Episode III.  "You're so beautiful."  "It's only because I'm so in love." I died right there.

The love I'm trying to get across in the novel is not necessarily between a man and a woman.  It's between brothers, or between a man and his obsessions.  Even that kind of love is tricky and can seem forced, or cliche.  I'm especially wary of that last word.  Cliche.

Because love as a theme in any novel is cliche right?  Everyone loves, and somehow everyone is motivated by some kind of love.  Every character, I mean.  Think about The Road's main character, The Man.  He loved his son powerfully.  He wasn't going to let go of him.  So he walks in a postapocalyptic world amidst threats to his life on every side, human and non-human.  Or East of Eden's Trask Family.  Adam Trask was powered by a deeply delusional love for his wife.  This enabled the plot to move him towards the Salinas Valley, without which the novel's other themes would never come to light.  The word timshel would mean nothing without the crazy adoration of Adam Trask. 

Each instance was developed beautifully, but over the course of the novel.  We see The Man worrying and caring for his son each night by candlelight.  Adam Trask agonizes in the shadows of his home and his soul over the devil he married.  He does this for almost half the book!

I think the one thing that's saving my mind from going ballistic over this love crap is the Harry Potter series.  Say what you will of the writing - she uses "he said" and "she said" multiple times in one paragraph!!!  HOW?! - but the woman is a brilliant storyteller, no doubt.  And love is THE central concept of the entire series.  None of Harry's story would exist without love.  And she developed that over a slow, slow burn of seven books that nigh everyone loved.  Except some New York critic looking to make a splash by being the one dark soul hell-bent on nitpicking. 

Looking at her, I find a ton of inspiration.  A few months back, I was convinced by my mother that writing to her would be a good idea.  So I wrote a really neurotic letter with bad jokes, sent it, and got a reply only a couple of weeks later.  No, she didn't read it.  But her assistant did, and she was so incredibly nice.  I'm glad my inspiration didn't turn out to be a bitch.  This non-bitchiness only reaffirmed my belief that if I just stick to what I've got going in my head, I'll turn out alright. 

So, here's a question to you, whoever reads this.  What love scene has inspired you?  Or made you think, "That's so true!"  It can be from a movie or a novel, so long as it's a love scene that has inspired you, left you with your heart aflutter and your mind racing down memory lane.  You can leave any comments below.  Until next time then.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Book is a Beast

Hello Reader!  So let's begin this post with a lament.  No, it's more like a bastardized form of a complaint.  It's so hard to get a novel organized!!!  There are so many things being juggled around at once.  From sequencing to flow to tone, I'm reeling from the variety of plates I've got to keep spinning.

It's all due to the episodic nature of the novel.  I'm not talking about novels in general, I'm talking about mine.  Each chapter is devoted to one theme.  Will an agent think I'm just a schizophrenic teenage author?  It's scary wondering what someone will say about your work that's hundreds of miles away.

Actually, that might be the fear that's really behind my complaints.  Everything from sequencing of events to the tone of the novel are things I can fix.  I guess I'm not truly afraid of those things. I'm just being lazy.  What I'm really scared of are the agents that'll be reading my work.  They don't have an emotional attachment to who I am and what I'm trying to do.

I read a lot of the interviews that these agents give.  They're so damn generic about what they want.  It's like trying to interpret a woman.  Yes means no, but only on Tuesdays when you're having Fried Fish.  Otherwise, Yes means Yes, unless you've gone to the bathroom three times that day.  These are exaggerations, but read anyone of the links above to the Literary Blog.  Sometimes I feel like even these agents don't know what they want.

One guy said that he threw out the Lovely Bones because he couldn't handle it.  He had three daughters and he just couldn't bear to read about a little girl being raped and killed.  Well, how the Hell was Alice Sebold supposed to know that?  Do I have to stalk each and every agent I'm querying?  Should I not send my book to an agent whose father died when they were a young age?  It's baffling how subjective these guys can be, and I, as an author, still have to depend on them!

And then there's the hatred out there for science fiction.  Jeez, no really respectable agent represents it!  It feels like my name has to be Isaac Asimov for me to get published in the genre.  I don't even want to be published in that genre, I want to be in commercial fiction.  But I've got aliens and spaceships in my book.  Nothing matters except for those things.  I barely even have spaceships!  There's only one!  In the first five pages of the book!  And then it's gone.  Ya, I've got tons of aliens, but they're not the slithery kind that like to suck your brains out.  They've got passions and hatreds, loves and loss. 

I'm venting, yes.  But it feels good.  Anyways, I guess I'd better suck it up. It's normal I suppose to be afraid of putting yourself in the fire.  It's a part of life to be afraid of judgment and paranoid of ridicule.  It's also part of life to deal with stubborn people who only see one path, even though you see another.  I've got to convince them my way is the coolest, otherwise this book will stay a 300 page waste of hard drive space.  Let's hope this winter break changes that.  Until Next Time Then.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let's Make Some Changes

Hello Reader.  I'm very sorry for not being on the blog the past couple weeks.  School took a hold of me.  Now that I'm back however, I do feel like some changes are in order.  I've been getting feedback about my blog, and it's been constructive.  Confusing seems to be the biggest complaint.  So, in order to make things less confusing, I figured I should have a new list of links in the sidebar.  These will take you to the first post of the blog that explains the underlying concept of the story, a list of the chapters in the first novel of the story, and a list of characters in the first novel.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the important posts in this blog, but it does give the audience that's never heard of me before a really thorough outline of my first novel.

Another thing I should probably clarify is that the novel I keep talking about is only one portion of the greater storyline.  There are very few things that'll be solved at the end of this.  But it does suffice as a novel on its own, because there is a thematic end to the novel.

Of course, as always, if you want the first chapter, or want to know more, email me at rhessabi26@gmail.com.  Until next time then.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chapter 9: Capo di Tutti Capi

Up there is the name of the ninth chapter.  It's Italian for Boss of Bosses.  But before I go into the chapter title's meaning, I should discuss why my blog was absent last week.  I got hit by the flu, bad.  102.9 fever, officially, plus passing out, and two vomit sessions.  It wasn't a happy week, and I spent most of it at home, stressing about another upcoming midterm.  But I'm better now, and the midterm is somewhat under control, so I have no real worries.  Now on with it then.

Boss of bosses refers to Tory Cross' unerring, insane ambition to unite all of the mafia families in the country of Atlantis under his banner so he can kill his old mentor Howard Crim.  The chapter itself is a hefty one, moving swiftly from one month to another and packing in a lot of information.  I did this mainly to play catch up.  I hadn't addressed any of the mafia's actions since the fifth chapter and that left a lot of room for the reader to ask what's going on and feel dissatisfied.  Hopefully this punch in the gut will satisfy some of them.

Along with this tidbit of info, I figured I should post an excerpt of the book as well.  It's from the eleventh and final chapter of the book.  The scene is Briok heading to a field trip at a museum in Atlantis' capital, Atlantia.  He's sitting next to a girl named Desiree.  I tried my best to depict the awkward first blossoming of a young man trying to get some action.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

And I got schwooped.

Hello Reader!  No, that isn't the title for the next chapter.  It's actually my lament.  Recently, a second-year undergraduate student at UCLA published a book.  That he started writing when he was 14.  I'm befuddled.

That's not to say I'm jealous of the guy.  We live two very different lives.  He dedicated himself to the book in both practice and mind.  I've simply dedicated myself to the book in mind.  If I had in practice, I wouldn't be a part of four different organizations and taking a neuroscience major.  I would be writing on this book everyday for at least two hours.  Too bad other things always take up those two hours.

It's stories like his that both discourage me and get me pumped up to write more.  The discouragement first.  I don't want to be seen as a follower in anyone's footsteps.  For sure, I'll be compared to someone somehow, if I get this thing published.  But I don't want to be the second runner-up in a long line of young authors.  I just want to be me.  Because that's what I've put into this book, me.  To have that be covered up by another person's accomplishments scares me and angers me a little.

Also, I just feel like something was snatched from underneath me.  It was never mine to own, this right to publish, but when you're on this kinda track, you don't hear from too many other people that are also young and writing a book.  So you get this feeling of oneness, that you're a singular individual with this singular dream.  A guy just as young as you, going to the same university as you, publishing a book hella close to your genre, pulls that illusion from right under you and it's disorienting.

I should move on though.  I do feel inspired now.  I try to look past the fact that I'll be #2 in some respects, or that I'm not really alone.  Dwelling on those feelings is a total possiblity, but my story has been nagging my head since as early on as I can remember.  And for that simple fact, I write.  I'm not doing this for money, although that would be nice.  I'm definitely not doing this for recognition, because that's so hard to get and such a random phenomenon.  This book is being written because it's an itch I can't help but scratch.  A really, really powerful itch.  And it grows stronger when I hear stories like this.

I'm a competitive guy.  I always taunt, I always trash-talk, even if I'm not good at something, I goad whoever is into competition so I can get better.  I'm not doing the goading this time, but I am competing.  It's my own little one-sided rivalry, and it spurs me on to scratch that itch.  I've never given up on anything.  It's my Afghan recklessness coming out in me, the belief that I can do anything that anyone else can with perseverance and a hard head.  Can you tell I'm ready to begin writing anew?  To begin writing Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger?

I'm not sure if this was a satisfying post for anyone, even me.  I wanted to post another excerpt of the book.  But this had to be addressed, because ultimately the blog is about my journey in writing and publishing.  My journey's been filled with rocks and clouds, where I trip or rise up.  Hopefully, I'll end up staying on a cloud.  Until next time then.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


It's midterm season here at the home of the Bruins, so there won't be any posts about the book this week.  Until next time then.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Tenth Post!!!!

So, this is my tenth post on the new and improved blog.  Which means I've been blogging for a little over ten weeks.  Where have I gone with all of this?  Nowhere.

Which isn't to say I'm unhappy.  I've had more people get into my book than ever before, and I've had more people read it than before too.  Which is astounding for me, because before this blog a sum total of three people had read it.  And that was the poorly written version.  I've edited a lot since then, and I'm still editing.  I'm using what little feedback I'm getting from others, hopefully soon I'll have a flood about the first chapter, and also using any new knowledge that happens to come my way to rewrite the book.

The character of the Magna Beast has been with me in some way for as long as I can remember.  There isn't a single memory of my life that isn't accompanied with the character.  In fourth grade, I finally put the words The Magna Beast onto paper in a short story assignment.  I used a recurring character I had created in other short story assignments called Briock.  His name has been changed to Briok since then, because I thought the extra c was bogging down the character.  ;)

From then on, I never touched it again.  I only rehashed the story in my mind, actually making it more and more ridiculous as I was exposed to new influences, likes and dislikes.  Finally in eighth grade, another short story project was assigned.  My English teacher actually defined each genre we were supposed to write in, one of which was science fiction.  If I remember correctly, he said, "Science fiction always has a moral dilemma."  So I created one, the difference between choice and fate.  I essentially wrote the first chapter then.  And I got a B.  I was pretty shocked.  I thought my story rocked.  It did he said.  But it wasn't a short story, he continued.  To him it seemed, the story felt more like a continuation of a novel, or rather it deserved a continuation.

Look at what that man started.  Five years, three versions, lots of tears, sweat, and late nights later, I'm finally done with the skeleton of the book.  Yes, I've been focusing on school more than this book.  Yes, I could have done both in high school if I had kept my focus.  But I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't.  I needed certain things to happen to me over the course of high school in order for my book to be the way it is now.  I needed to see certain movies, read certain books, meet certain people.  All of that is distilled in my fantasy world.  In a lot of ways, The Magna Beast and his story is a dissection in minute detail of my life and of myself.

I guess that's why so much of my heart and my dreams are in this book.  Not only has it been a part of me my entire life, but it's also the purest expression of who I am.  I know of no other way through which I can show me.  Most people don't care, but I can't really hold this story in anymore.  Whether it's good or not, I'm probably going to continue writing it.  I'm glad I've reached this tenth post, and I hope for more to come.  Insha'allah, you do too.  Until next time then.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Old Man of the Sea

Hello Reader!  The title above is for Chapter 8.  I'm not exactly sure how to describe the way I came upon the name Proteus, who is Briok's best friend and an incredibly, incredibly important part of the story.  To tell everyone here the truth, the names of the most important characters in the book were wholly made up.  I consider myself incredibly lucky that I got these names down.  Anyways, this blogpost is dedicated to a review a friend of mine gave me on the first chapter.

I've been asking some people to review the first few chapters of my book.  And through this process, I realize how the structure of my book may not be the best.  I'm going to still run with it, because those readers who have seen the book say that the storyline is interesting enough for them to continue reading. But I have my doubts about the book's quality.  At this point, I'm wishing that I had an English teacher or something who could read this for me and tell me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.

My reliance on cliffhangers might be a little too obvious in the novel.  A lot of breaks in the chapters end on quotes by characters, like a soap opera, and the beginnings of some chapters are quotes.  I sort've throw the reader into the novel's dialogue from the very beginning.  Here's the first paragraph of the entire book:

“And here we go again,” Tov sighed.  It closed Its eyes in frustration, and rubbed Its temples, “Are you ready Yfel?  Oh, of course you are.  We’re both ready for this to end.  It’s out with the old, and in with the new!”

So this blog post is going to be short.  I don't want to bog down the blog with an overlong rant about apprehension and anxiety.  I'll be sending out queries this weekend when I'm at home, so that should be a great subject for next week's post.  The main point of today's message to the readers was that if you're reading this casually, and you have time on your hands, read Chapter 1 please.  Just leave your name and e-mail address, and I'll send it to you super-quick.  Not only that, I'll delete your e-mail from the comments afterwards.  Thank you to those who decide to do this.  Until next time then.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Hello Reader!  The title above is the title for the seventh chapter in The Proxy Wars: Dramatis Personae.  As stated in a previous post, which is linked to in this blog post, the chapter is dedicated to showing the two worlds that Briok must now tread in.  Hopefully it's not so Harry Potter-ish that it looks like I'm imitating J.K. Rowling.

I was really struggling with what this blog post should be about.  Either I would give a character list, or update on the query search for an agent.  Since the latter is going nowhere, I think a list of important characters is the best thing to do.  It's a pretty big list, so the most important will go ahead of the jump.

Briok Cwornas Adam Cwartel: Four names, definite allusion to Albus Brian Wulfric Dumbledore.  Briok is the main character of the entire story, just not the first book Dramatis Personae.  The reason for this is that I needed an introduction, that's what the title means after all, to the characters of the story.  So, I use Amar in that capacity.  He is the last Magna Beast ever, and is thereby tasked with killing the last two Howlamegas.  He is only 14 years old at the beginning of the story.  By the end of Personae, he'll have finished his first year of high school, or Upper School as the novel calls it.

Amar the Mind Priest: The mentor to the Magna Beasts since the seventh generation of the line.  He is one of the Mahabura, an alien species capable of manipulating the elements of mythology.  They can do this because they are actually made up of those elements.  Fire Mahabura are actually fire, etc.  Amar the Mind Priest is capable of manipulating the mind.  I understand there's no scientific way that this could be possible.  That's why I would probably define my story as a fantasy novel rather than call it science fiction.

Arthur Fourgun: He was once the greatest Mag soldier.  He is now a crippled, blind author of several best-selling novels about the history of the Magna Beasts and Howlamegas.  He is another mentor of the Magna Beasts, serving in that capacity since the 22nd generation of Magna Beasts.  Two points to remember: there are only 26 Magna Beasts, meaning Briok is the 26th.  The second point is that Mags in general live for several centuries because of a special healing ability that evolved in their species.  They're like starfish, but they can actually concentrate where the regrowth or repair can occur.  Another sidenote is that the Magna Beasts are capable of living for much longer, and heal without having to concentrate on the site of repair

Tory Cross: The mafia boss who is in control of the Cross Family.  I've based my mafia world on the little characteristics of the Yakuza that I know, as well as a few Godfather tidbits.  I wanted to create something troubled, where the weight of their actions sits heavily on their shoulders.  So, Tory is my channel through which I can show my hesitant love for Greek tragedy.  His inherent traits bring about tragedy for him and his family.

Kilik the Howlamega: Kilik is the main antagonist for much of the story.  His son, the 26th and final Howlamega, comes much later in the story.  Kilik is cursed with long life just as Amar is, but he experiences bodily degradation unlike Amar.  His natural healing abilities are constantly combatting this curse, and the toll is very visible on him.  He is also the ruler of Territoria, the gigantic land concession won by the Howlas after the Fourth World War that ended in 3070, 26 years before the events of Dramatis Personae.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deus Ex machina

For anyone that's familiar with the term, Deus Ex Machina seems a bit inappropriate for a chapter title.  But so does Dramatis Personae for a book title.  Basically, it means "God out of the machine".  It's a device that refers to a solution in a novel that comes out of the blue to solve a plot point.  In this chapter, the main focus is on Amar and Arthur Fourgun.

Amar is the mentor for the Magna Beasts (the title given to leaders of the Mag people).  He's been alive for millenia, sort've a curse thing that's never really explained.  I don't think there really needs to be an explanation.  The curse affects him adversely, and this tragedy is all that needs to be shown.  He trains the Magna Beasts in the physical aspect of their mission, teaching them how to fight and use their inherited skills.  Arthur Fourgun is a former soldier in the Mag army who was blinded by the Howlamega.  Since he was blinded, he became another wise elder figure for the Magna Beasts, teaching them about their history and preparing them for the psychological aspects of murder and warfare. 

These two, in this chapter, find the God from the machine and even create one of their own in order to solve the following problem.  But the excerpt is not from this, because I promised action this time around.  So, the excerpt is from Chapter 9: Capo di tutti Capi.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Ties That Bind

That's the title to the fifth chapter.  I'm sure you might be thinking right about now, well this book seems pretty episodic young author!  It might be.  I don't think it is, I hope it isn't.  I've named each chapter to underline, put in bold, and italicize the chapter's theme.  So, as a bit of a conceit, this blog will be dedicated to underlining, putting in bold, and italicizing each chapter title that I have as of now for The Proxy Wars: Dramatis Personae.

For Chapter 1, the title is the Joker and the Thief.  The chapter title does refer to the Bob Dylan song and Jimi Hendrix cover.  If you look up the meaning of the song, you'll see it's about changing the established order.  And that's exactly what my joker and my thief in the chapter are trying to do.

Chapter 2's title, Three Days Later, is pretty upfront.  I start up the story three days after the events of the previous chapter.  It's a bit more forward than I'm actually used to, but not everything can mean something.

Chapter 3, Runaway is again another very upfront title.  Briok, our young hero, runs away from his mentor Amar.  Not to reveal too much about the chapter, but he gets into an enormous amount of trouble with the mafias because of this.

Chapter 4, An Answer for Everything.  This may look upfront, but it actually isn't because it's a direct rebuke to anyone who is begging for answers from the book.  There've been 78 pages before this of action and plot-thickening, with no real explanation for the events.  Here, everything gets fleshed out, while revealing a deeper history to the whole plot.  This shows that one event from far in the past affects moments in the present.

Chapter 5, The Ties That Bind.  I've already explained this, but I'll give a brief overview here.  It's a Protestant phrase, basically talking about the wonderful bonds of love.  I wanted to show in this chapter how those bonds can be strained and strengthened.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

An Answer for Everything

That is the title for chapter four.  Here the characters are all staying put and the action from previous chapters slows down by a lot.  There are only two major characters interacting throughout this entire chapter: Briok and Amar.  It's a question and answer session that of course answers some questions, but then reveals many more of them for the reader to dig into.  My only qualm about this chapter is that I may be putting too many questions in the book that WON'T be answered until much, much later in the story.  I'm talking next book later.  It's a major concern, but hopefully the coherent thematic story I'm trying to weave is going to lift the book over such a tremendous hill.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I promise, I won't RUNAWAY with this post. Sorry, I'm a chronic pun teller. Is that what they're called? Anyways, that's the title to the third chapter of the novel Proxy Wars: Dramatis Personae.

Recently, I've revamped my query letter. The summary portion of the novel is pasted below. Again, tell me what you think of it, bring your honest criticism, don't be afraid to be harsh. I really do appreciate it. What I'm looking for are answers to two simple questions: A) Does it get you interested? B) Do you want to read more? Thank you for spending a part of your day to consider this.

The novel centers on Amar, immortal mentor to the Magna Beasts - monarchs of the alien Mags. Opposed to them are the Howlas who are led by their counterparts to the Magna Beasts, the Howlamegas. The long running holy war between the two species arrives on Earth in 2015.  More than a thousand years later in 3096 the last Magna Beast has arisen on the island country of Atlantis. Dramatis Personae focuses on Amar's attempts to train the young Briok Cwartel. As he grapples with his new pupil's adolescence, Amar also searches desperately for a way to end the war, and thereby his troubled life as well.

Meanwhile, Howlian mafias have risen to prominence within the country's power structure. At the apex of their power, the largest boss Howard Crim betrays his protege Tory Cross. Enraged, the young Tory wages war against both Atlantis and his former mentor using the recently invented laser gun. His blind bid for power threatens not only to rip apart his soul, but everything Amar has worked for.

There you go. I worked damn hard to distill the story within those two paragraphs. Honestly, every book I've read about queries has said to distill the story even further. But I've read several query letters that got agents not only interested in the product, but also ended up starting authors on their careers. They've all had longer summaries than my two short paragraphs. So, hopefully this is good enough for them. Anyways, it's late, and I've got to wake up before sunrise because I'm a food vampire now. Ramadan does that to you. Until next time then.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Downtime

I don't know how some bloggers do it. Once-a-week postings? I could do this daily! But then again, I don't work on The Proxy Wars daily. *I'm in college remember?* So, I've just recently gotten some downtime, and before I go off to pray one of the five daily prayers I think I'll post a little snippet from Book 1: Dramatis Personae. It's from Chapter Five: The Ties That Bind.

A little history on the title, it's a Christian tradition coming from a Protestant hymn that states, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds." I thought it was very beautiful to show in this chapter how love can both bind people together, and drive them wildly apart. I'm only posting a short snippet here, not the whole chapter. Just to provide some context, the scene takes place at a graveyard called The Burial Mound. This place is where the six Magna Beasts who have ruled Atlantis as monarchs since the island's foundation in the year 2555 are buried. Hopefully, I've mentioned beforehand that the whole story takes place from August 3096 - May 3097 (That's to say, the whole of Book 1 takes place during that time.), so considering the Magna Beast's prolonged lifetime it makes sense how there are only six monarchs. At the Burial Mound, Briok is mourning his father with his mother, the Queen of Atlantis Sheba Cwartel. *Sheba is human, while Briok's father is the Mag*

I'll explain how an alien species mated with a human one in a later post. Don't get wigged out, it doesn't involve sex. *Is anyone else still getting shivers from District 9's concept of Nigerian prostitutes and alien suitors? I am*

If you have any criticism, please post/comment below after the jump. I appreciate all criticism and check out my query letter summary from the previous post. Please critique that one as well. Tell me if it grabs your attention, if it seems like a standout storyline different from others you've heard, and if it compels you to read further. Thanks to the two people who read this continuously so far! You know who you are. Until next time then.

Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Days Later

I know, it's not three days later since my original post. The title above is just the name of the second chapter in Book 1: Dramatis Personae.

Everything I've read about writing a query letter - because that's what you do when you finish your novel and reread it, and proofread it, and fix it, and then write it again, and then proofread...well, you get the point - says that I've got to explain my book in 3-6 sentences. So I've got it down to four.

The story takes place in the year 3096, against a backdrop of war between two alien species, the Mags and Howlas. Led by their respective leaders, the Magna Beast and the Howlamega, the two species have found themselves on Earth where they have settled into an uneasy armistice. With the murder of his father, fourteen-year-old Briok Cwartel now rises to the mantle of Last Magna Beast, forced to contend with the trials of adolescence, his half-human, half-Mag ancestry, and the amorality of his ancestor’s war. The task is not easy, and Briok’s early time as the last Magna Beast is marred by gangland warfare between competing Howlian mafias that could become the biggest threat to his life, and the lives of many others.
Does that sound interesting? I'm talking to empty space, I know. I'll try to be brave and post this on Twitter or something, but there's something in my gut that tells me not to. It could be my insecurities, or it could be the fact that my story just isn't worth the time. I think that's the issue of the day. I've been feeling so incredibly pessimistic about this damn book. I understand that, essentially, I was born with this thing rollicking inside my head. I just can't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with the Magna Beast. Everyday, a new facet of his history comes into my head, parts of the story are scratched out, characters are repositioned. I spend so much of my imagination on this, and I still don't have an iota of confidence in it.

That could be because I gave it to a couple people to read, and they just weren't turned on by the first chapter. I've revamped it since then, cut out several awkward parts, changed character's names, whole introductions even. And I haven't gotten up the courage to give that renewed first chapter back to people. Then again, I'm sending my work to my peers, who are going to college and have better things to do than sit in and read someone else's work about a battle between good versus evil. Since when did that become childish? To write about yin and yang, about balance and humanity's constant discourse with our darker side. I'm not sure.

I expect no one to read this, I really do. Because I'm not brave enough to fight for this, I'm not brave enough to face the criticism. Maybe I'm being uncomfortably honest and raw, but that's just how I feel at this moment. I really can't explain it any other way. I remember when I gave the original version to my best friend at the time. She said she loved it. She also turned out to be a chronic liar, but I did feel genuine pride from her in me. But I've been blind before. I also gave the whole original version - which was only 150 pages, whereas this new version is at 300 - to another person who was close to me at one time. She said she loved it, and gave me honest criticism. I've used that criticism since then, but we don't talk anymore, and I can't send it to her. In fact, I'm pretty sure we're not even on looking at each other terms.

I've also had my old english teacher/Yearbook advisor read this. She also gave me honest criticism. So did her brother's agent. Her brother works at a publishing house in Seattle I guess, I'm not sure if it's a publishing house, but it does publish material, and the man was nice enough to give a fifteen year old boy's work to a reader. Both gave me the most honest criticism I've received in a long time, and said they loved it and the potential/ambition. Well, look at me. I can feel my confidence growing. Maybe I will post this on Twitter. Hell, I'll scream about it. Thanks. Until next time then.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Joker and the Thief

So, I used to have several more posts on this blog. But that's changed since I've actually finished the third draft of my novel. I decided to delete the other posts and re-post with new information, updated backstory, and an overall introduction into the world I'm trying to create. Up there, the title, that's actually the name of the first chapter of the novel. Hopefully someone gets the reference, because that reference is the crux of theme for most of the story. I say story, because one novel simply cannot hold all of the story that I want to tell. It's impossible for a writer like me to do it. I'm not sure exactly why, but somehow I always end up with a long piece whenever I write. The finished third draft of the novel is around 300 pages. It's either a curse or a gift, and I'm leaning towards the former.

So, let me introduce you to this story I can't stop writing about. I've had this idea for a character, this quasi-imaginary friend in my head for as long as I can remember. Literally, I have no recollection of a time when I wasn't thinking about the Magna Beast and his adventures. That's the title of the main character of this story, the Magna Beast. It's only a formal title though, sort've like Doctor, or Professor. The protagonist's name is Briok Cwartel. I developed that name from a few short stories I had to write in 4th grade. Every Wednesday, or Tuesday I'm not exactly sure, my 4th grade teacher had the class write a short story using a list of vocabulary words. I created this character called Briok, who would have various adventures, and he was a recurring character over the course of 4th grade. I guess I've developed an affection for the name. Plus, it's the name of a Saint - total coincidence.

So this character, Briok Cwartel, is the Magna Beast. Being the Magna Beast entails a whole host of duties, including leading a race of aliens called the Mags, being a Prophet as well as King to them, and murder. The last part is the driving force for the plot of the story. The Magna Beast must murder the Howlamega. This latter character is another formal title. The name of the Howlamega is Kilik Qwarren. This person performs the same essential, basic duties of the Magna Beast. He - or she - is the leader of a race of aliens called the Howlas, Prophet of these people, and is also responsible for murder. He must murder the Magna Beast. The reason why I say must is because, for both the Magna Beast and Howlamega, the murder of each other is a holy mandate, a duty placed upon them by their Gods, or who they think is God.

These Gods, Tov and Yfel, are supposed to represent true, impersonal, raw embodiments of Good and Evil. You can probably see where their names came from. Briok and Kilik are only the 26th and 25th Magna Beast and Howlamega, respectively. The first Magna Beast and Howlamega were "told" that their duty was to kill each other by Tov and Yfel. I put "told" in quotation marks because when dealing with religion, there is always ambiguity as to whether or not the Prophets were actually told anything by God. Thus, this mandate - or decision - has been carried down for 26 generations, in Briok's case, and 25, in Kilik's case.

After much exposition, the essential plot element of the story is set up. Briok must kill Kilik. But, to add to the plot, there are only 26 generations of Magna Beasts and Howlamegas. So, Briok is at an extreme disadvantage. He is the last Magna Beast, and Kilik is the second to last Howlamega. That's a problem, because even if Briok manages to kill Kilik, he will still have to kill Kilik's son, or daughter.

Crazy thing is, killing isn't easy. It's very, very hard. Save for the few people with actual biological and psychological disorders, but that's way above my level of patience to research. Therefore, an essential character element is whether or not Briok can kill at all. Whether or not he's capable. Anyways, that's the main driving force of the entire story, looking at things in the big picture. Speaking of big picture, I think a rundown of the current, working, names for each novel and volume should be put down so I can better relate my story.

Basically, every novel will fall under the umbrella of The Magna Beast Chronicles. There will be three volumes to the Chronicles. Volume 1: The Proxy Wars, Volume 2: Qasida, and Volume 3: that title isn't worked out yet. :/ Each volume will consist of a certain number of books. Volume 1 will have four books: Book 1: Dramatis Personae, Book 2: Rising Action, Book 3: Climax, and Book 4: Denouement. Volume 2 will have three books, Book 1: Nasib, Book 2: Rahil, and Book 3: Ritha. Volume 3's books still haven't been worked out yet, and honestly it seems a long ways away to give any concrete details on it.

I feel like I should end it here, it's already overly long. I'll try and update this as much as possible. Until next time then.