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Death of a King: Steampunk Joburg Comes To Life

Yes you read that right. Remember my idea of turning Johannesburg into a city of literal gold, powered by steam engines? Well I’ve finally come up with a concept that will bring this envisioned idea to life. The book(s) will be titled Death of a King and will involve… well, kings, in a less traditional format.

Books and Art

I’m always referring to myself as an “artist” when self-promoting but I have done very little to show this side of myself. Which is one of the reasons why Death of a King will take on a different kind of format. Similar to the Japanese light novel, I will be adding images into the book to enhance the story further. That way there’s the epic story happening and visuals to augment the experience.

The Story

As I stated before, the story will focus on Kings, but with an added twist to the whole element. The story will also be mainly based in South Africa, Johannesburg, but will incorporate a lot of Africa too. It will also be very dark, and fall under the genre of grim dark which Adam Roberts describes as:

“fiction ‘where nobody is honourable and Might is Right’, and as ‘the standard way of referring to fantasies that turn their backs on the more uplifting, Pre-Raphaelite visions of idealized medievaliana, and instead stress how nasty, brutish, short and, dark life back then really was’.  he noted that grimdark has little to do with re-imagining an actual historic reality and more with conveying the sense that our own world is a “cynical, disillusioned, ultraviolent place”. ~ Wiki-Grimdark

Release Date?

Ha, if only I knew. The concept itself requires a lot of world building and character development. Of course there’s the art aspect of it too so drawing images to that fine detail and style will also take some time. Then of course it’s writing the book itself and that whole editing process. It’s going to take a while.

However, I just wanted to let you know of what is coming and you will probably see all of this coming together on this blog. Once the ball is rolling, you’ll be sure to see my other sites bring it all together such as Patreon-only artwork, concept art, short stories from the created world and much more.

So that’s my writing update for May. Apologies for my silence, and hoping to hear from you all as I continue this writing journey.

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#NaNoWriMo Progress: Week 1

This is going to be a short one because I have to get back to all the writing. No tips. No advice. No words of encouragement beyond “Do the best that you can, and more.”

This is really more about how important the Prep I did before NaNo has helped me sit down and churn out 2K words in a two hours. Not an impressive Word Per Minute (it’s 16wpm) but in the end I was able to flow. My characters had been defined. The world had been built. The overall arc considered. It was just a matter of waiting for NaNo to come around so I can put words down and start working on the story.

The Difficulty of Starting

I struggled to start. I mean really struggled. Not in terms of word count, but in terms of how I wanted the story to go. I have these two main characters, the Innocent-yet-Tainted character and the Tainted-Seeking-Innocence character. Either one had a really good premise and backstory but I couldn’t decide which one to go with. So I did both. Hated both. Then I started a third draft right in the middle of each of their personal conflicts, guiding the story forward from each of their perspectives.

As it stands, between those three drafts I am on (13,289 ) words, though I don’t want to include the first two drafts into the word count. I feel like its cheating.

What idiot wrote this oh I did.

The Novel in Your Head

Once I started writing I could feel my characters come alive in my head. Their thoughts becoming my own, their emotions thrumming through me. The decisions they were making also mine to make. There are two experiences I want to share you with you:

The Diverging Path

As I was writing a particular scene, my character was on the way to doing something that would change their current situation. Only that change had two diverging paths and each leading to a different end for the scene. I knew this as I was writing, fingers too slow to catch up to the mind, the mind conjuring up new futures where the character could go and I had to choose one as I was writing. The words I was typing at that moment to alter the destiny of my character.

I have never felt so torn about the future of a fictional character. Seeing these two timelines stretching outwards and me choosing which one I think is best. Oh the thrill of writing.

 

The Movie Feeling

During my 2k writing sprint, I was writing a particularly emotional scene where the character makes quite an important decision. I was there with them through every moment, living vicariously through each word my fingers were typing to reflect this character I had become. And it was when I wrote the final scene and took my break that I realised I was emotionally invested into this character and wanted to know more. Like I had paused a scene in a movie and could press play to continue watching.

It’s a feeling I haven’t felt in my writing for a long while, and its both disturbing and exciting.

Onward to week #2

As well as this story is going, I feel like its not moving at the pace I expected it to. There are too many transitional scenes which attribute to character growth, and world building etc. And I know not every scene is going to be a horror-fest. I just have to plug away, knowing that after NaNo I’ll be free to edit, change, and chop as I see fit. Until then, I continue.

Junk Yard Angel – 2017’s Old-New Novel Goal

White Angel Artwork

White Angel by – JasonChanArt.com

In December 2012, I wrote a short story called Junk Yard Angel, inspired by the beautiful image above by Jason Chan. A year later I attempted my first NaNoWriMo with every intention of writing a Junk Yard Angel novel. The premise was as follows:

In a pre-technology era, the world was moving along fine and at a steady pace when a new technology was introduced. Steam powered contraptions began to appear all over the world, slowly at first but increasing rapidly with time and along with them, junk yards. Now the world relies heavily on this new technology (and the ridding of the old), even more so now as natural disasters seem to be occurring more often than before. And then rumours began to stir among the people, rumours of a saviour of sorts,the girl with the white hair – the Junk Yard Angel.

This was my first foray into the world of Steampunk. An exciting fantasy sub-genre where steam and natural gas are the primary sources of power as opposed to coal and electricity. Although I spent a lot of time on the story, writing 22155 words during NaNo, I felt that my story didn’t become the epic novel my mind had been brewing. The reason? Lack of world details, a weak plot, non-existent character arcs and flat characters. I was just a current firing off with the synapses without any forethought.

giphy

In the time between then and now, I’ve always thought about that novel, my first attempt at intentionally writing a novel and the potential in the idea. Steampunk popped up in other stories as well, including another novel attempt that was a steampunk horror inspired to be the spiritual successor of Junk Yard Angel. I’ve decided, after almost four years of deliberating, to once again attempt to write and finish Junk Yard Angel. This is the main goal for 2017.

Second Attempt Goals

Rather than jump right into writing the novel, I’ve decided to build it all up slowly with proper planning. Looking back, I don’t know how I thought I’d get anything done without a plan in the first place. As much as Pantsing is fun, and you can discover a lot of amazing things along the way, I always hit a brick wall when I do. Every time. This time, I’m going to be intentional and it starts as follows:

  • Build the world

Steampunk may seem like a limiting genre. You can only have a Victorian Era style of characters, clothing, language etc. I think that’s a serious misconception. The world then was not limited to just one area and different cultures would have exprienced the same era with varying results. This is my goal. A new world. My world.

  • Culture Shock

The original novel took place in a lot of areas. I’m not going to throw all those ideas out but build on them. Let’s see how different cultures and people were affected by this amazing technology. This will mean a lot of research and brainstorming. For instance, what if steam technology was introduced to a village where snow fell constantly. What inventions would they build, as opposed to London city folk?

  • A Living World

Details are important. What sort of transportation was being used? Was money important? What did it look like? Did markets exist? In what form? Were there any buildings? What sort? What were they using to build them? What materials were being used for buildings, clothing, weapons, and the world around them. If I cannot see the world where the story takes place, if it is not living in my head, then how can I write it?

  • Endless Possibilities

While there may be people who would frown upon what I’ve written, and would prefer the classic Steampunk renditions as seen in The Golden Compass, Wild Wild West, Treasure Planet, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the like, let’s not forget that Steampunk is a Fantasy genre and therefore anything can happen.


I’ve changed my site theme (again) just to see how it works. Sorry for all the changes.

A Time Traveler’s Diary: The Thought Process

pexels-photo-28347

A young girl bumps into a boy at school. A familiar face she recognizes from her pre-school days. A face she’s seen in class but barely remembers anywhere else. Their little collision sets off a chain of events that bring them closer together.

 

But the boy has a secret. One that he must keep hidden, even as his interaction with the girl threatens to reveal it, and with it, her own demise.


These last few weeks/months have been quite interesting. More than anything, they seem to be centered around this idea of Time Travel or at least something to do with the concept of time. I’m thinking of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books I just finished. I’m thinking of the mind boggling film Predestination. I’m thinking of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I’m thinking of the prevalent Facebook/9Gag questions “Would you rather have the ability to go back in time and fix one mistake, or relive your entire life with all your current memories?” etc etc.

I find the concept of Time Travel fascinating for obvious reasons. The fact that we are bound to moving forward, unable to shift either to the left or to the right, let alone skip back a few paces, means every moment we experience now is what will be. The question is: will we regret the choices we make today tomorrow?

clock__by_yellowcandyfloss-d4smtzz

 

 

Don’t time travel into the past, roaming through the nuances as if they can change. Don’t bookmark pages you’ve already read. ~ James Altucher

 

 

I’ve got this novel in my head, and I’m working out the nuances of time travel. What exactly it looks like, why it needs to happen, who are the people affected by it and how are they affected by it. Will it be a magnificent, thunder-calling spectacle or will it be subtle shimmers one can step through? The past. The present. The future. All are important. All are relevant.

All define the Time Traveler’s Diary.

Wednesday Book Impression: Endgame – The Calling

9780062332585-us

I am in love.

And this book is amazing too – haha.

ENDGAME is about twelve young individuals who have been anticipating this supposed Endgame since they were old enough to be aware of the world around them. They have been trained, conditioned, disciplined and acclimatized to the worst conditions of their young lives, all in preparation for Endgme. What is Endgame? It is the the game to end all games; the game to determine the future of mankind.

James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton have done a remarkable job of telling this story from the perspective of each of the twelve Players who are in Endgame. They are real. They are believable. They are ruthless, kind, devious, intelligent and every other adjective that describes a teen, with stone cold killer training, who has just lost their family and friends to an asteroid, that has commenced this game they have prepared for their entire lives.

I’m only halfway through and already I can’t wait to read the next installment. At the moment, it is undoubtedly a 5 out of 5 rating book.

Review

I, unfortunately, am not done yet with this book and rather than lie to you by giving a false review about a book I haven’t finished, I will ask that you patiently wait as I delve back into that amazing novel that is Endgame, and write up a proper review for y’all.


What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?

 

NaNoWriMo 2016: Morafe wa Lesedi – The Tribe of Light

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is upon us again and it feels like just yesterday I was posting something about it and all the excitement, drama and joy that it entailed. This time I approach the month ahead humbled.

franz-kafka-quotes-sayings-non-writing-writer-insanity

 

It’s no secret that my goal in life is to become a full-time author, and that won’t happen unless I actually write; it is one of the reasons I eagerly anticipate the month of November. For 30 days, I will be expected to churn out 1667 words a day for a word count of 50 000 words, which is the average word count for a novel.

Writing for Gamecca Magazine is also a fantastic writing avenue I am thankful for, as its consistency in my life ensures that every month I have dedicated writing to do, with deadlines and word counts and all the necessary boundaries that build discipline.

My previous unfinished novels were Junk Yard Angel – a Steam-Punk story focusing on the pros and cons of technology. Last year’s novel was a Political Thriller about a rising political party that was not afraid to do whatever it takes to rise to power. This year’s novel will be a South African based Historical Fiction Fantasy based on the people living in Southern Africa during precolonial time.

Southern African history is so rich, and the fact that we have so many cultures, languages and Peoples living here makes me feel out of depth when it comes to research. Internet has been my bestest-friend these last 20 days, and in these final 11 days leading up to NaNo, I have a feeling I will have to adopt Internet out of the friendzone.

If you are in Jozi and doing NaNo, join us at the Write Ins, meet fellow writers and share in the local writing community for one Saturday a week during November. A truly insightful and inspirational event I will be attending again this year.

 

 

Immortality – Humanity

Copyright and courtesy of Torvenius - http://torvenius.deviantart.com/art/Android-Bust-52323686

Copyright and courtesy of Torvenius – http://torvenius.deviantart.com

“…the questions had her wondering whether the machine was mocking her immortality, while it relished its existence in the form of 0’s and 1’s, expecting no consequences for its birth nor its actions even in its supposed death…”

Excerpt from my work in progress: Immortality – Humanity

The Final Countdown

Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call). Feel free to switch one ingredient if you have to (or revisit one from previous trio prompts).

___________

So as I write this post, I am aware that the counter on my blog is counting down the hours (and eventual last minutes and seconds) before NaNo Kicks off and then the battle for my first COMPLETED novel begins; I must say I am both excited and anxious. Not anxious in a negative way but in a “I’m sure I can really do this but my plot isn’t complete and I need this and that and that too…” kind of thing.

I imagine sitting at my desk on the 30th of November, as the evening draws into a dark night, far darker than I’d expect it to be. The moonless sky stares at me, reminding me that the hours are moving, minutes are passing…seconds are ticking. Each unnecessary trip to the fridge to rummage for that snack I know does not exist wastes more time – and my rather unfounded excuse, that the walk between my computer and the fridge is the reason I do not exercise, fails to the excuse me should I fail once again. And then its the tears, of sadness, as I drown my sorrow in fruit Tea and gaming.

Read the rest of this entry

Junk Yard Angel – In Progress

J.Y.A

Junk Yard Angel: courtesy of Jason Chan: http://www.jasonchanart.com

 

The Excitement

My body is bubbling with excitement! Why? Well I’m finally writing a novel that has been plaguing me for quite a while now. By plague I really mean plague, as in every idea I have is sucked in and eventually, somehow, falls into this story and I have to consciously steer my writing away from it. This novel seeks to infect all my ideas, its tendrils worming their way into and then around my thoughts, growing in hunger and persistence until it becomes the single source of my attention. So when a fellow writer said,

“Hey let’s hold each other accountable for the writing we do…”

this novel had already extended its miasmic vines up towards my brain, stimulated the right nerves with each twitch and tug and twinge and the words

“Yes! I will get the outline of my “probably-will-be-don’t-know-how-it-to-make-it” Steam punk novel done!” came spilling out before I was consciously aware of all the implications that that statement held; but by then, the infection had spread and was too far gone to attempt to prevent let alone eradicate it.

Spider Diagrams

I’ve spent enough time during numerous English lessons at school, learning about and how to use this extremely useful yet somewhat scattered writing gimmick that spills all of my thoughts and ideas onto an incoherent web of lines and words and arrows, all of which connect each thought to the other to weave my novella of a web. I actually have five sheets of webbed diagrams (four and a quarter really), that outline the entirety of my novel and now I am ready to let the spider out of its nest to feed upon its entangled prey; let the writing begin!

The Way Forward

Seek out a publisher? Self publishing? What will I do!? Well first I’d have to write this story out haha and so for that, and also so that you as the public and also those who follow this blog (thank you to those who are following this blog!) can hold me accountable to both the writing and then the finishing of this novel, I will look to get a gadget here that counts up the number of words written. That way that constant pressure will keep me on my toes and I am sure that my fellow writers (yes you BBC-ians!) will hold me accountable locally too.

After that I will ask that ever important question, how will I get this thing published but until then, thanks for reading and I hope you look forward to this novel as much as I am!

PS, I found the gadget, its up on the right!

Nuts and Bolts – Short

6M5vs - Imgur

A soft drone emanated from somewhere within the bright white space that surrounded me. The corners of my vision were blurred, making everything look ethereal. Had I believed in heaven, I would’ve wondered if this was it…but I knew that wasn’t the case- not for me anyway. A dark silhouette, hazy like an apparition, appeared above me and with it the incessant drone grew louder. It took but a moment to realize that the moving silhouette and the drone correlated but by then I felt more than heard my screams as the drone vibrated against my skull and darkness took over…

but I wasn’t dying…

or dead.

“…you annoy me…” I heard against my ear from within the darkness. The voice, feminine, sounded familiar however I could not place it.
“Who…wh…” She cut me off with a tired sigh, the drone fading
“Just relax a while. I’m still running the analysis.”
“What analys…” A surge of energy shot through my entire body, jolting me upright. Vision returned to me as well as my memory, flooding back in a stream of flashing images.

“I tried again didn’t I.” I said, more as a statement than a question; there was no need for her to answer.

…Another failed attempt…

I reached up towards my forehead, feeling the traces of metal below the frayed skin. She brushed the fringe of white hair off her forehead, tucking it behind her ear with practiced ease, turning away from me as she did.

“You will continue to fail…that is how it is…” She walked away from me towards the door, her bare feet seeming to glide across floor with each step she took; her black toenails stood stark against the white floor. I could barely remember the first time I met her. It was such a long time ago, a time when I was…not just nuts and bolts. She turned as she reached the door,

“This is who you are now…accept your fate.”

Lorraine Ambers

Writer & Queen of Daydreams

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