Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab



Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

What Is Important To You In Life? + Hyper Japan Xmas 2016


After much uncertainty, I'm back.

I love this post on How To Master Your Time by Oliver Pemberton. I read it many months ago, but it's really stuck in my head because the analogy is so brilliant. Like a hero who must save the princess before she perishes (but must fight baddies and monsters on the way), it seems like most people want something in particular out of life, but baddies and monsters get in the way - work, school, birthdays, time-wasters, procrastination, and so on. That long-term goal, the thing you're aiming for despite the baddies and distractions, just sits there waiting for you to get there. And if you take too long, you will reach the end of your life before you got the chance to reach that goal.

So I have turned my thoughts to my personal goal in life, which is hard for me to sum up specifically. I hold onto it as something that is so important, that the idea of dying before it's achieved is an appalling idea. But I have to get there before I perish, and it's no longer an option. Which is why, after nine months of completely neglecting Karalan's Legacy (wip), and writing in general actually, and have re-motivated myself to begin again. Or continue, rather.

The Future of This Blog

I still don't know how I'm going to bring this blog back from the ashes, but I'm not giving up on it yet. I pretty much expect all of my current readers to drift away, maybe come back. This blog has been pretty neglected! But I'm going to start posting again. Maybe not about the topics I posted about before. We'll see.


Hyper Japan

I ended up at Hyper Japan last weekend. I didn't really feel like doing a full post, but the summary is that the IA vocaloid 3D concert was amazing; the venue (Tobacco Dock) sucked for this type of event; and as always, I highly recommend everybody to go once. If it's your thing - you will love it. If you discover it's not your thing, it'll still be a memorable experience. Just buy loads of japanese sweets and food. :3

The picture above is the Kuroko no Basuke poster for me, Death Note poster for my brother (I hate Death Note personally though) and 3 books; Samurai Chef by mayamada, Strike the Blood manga and A Brief History of Manga nonfiction book.

New Goals

I'm going to write a short story for my university's Ripple magazine competition. I don't know what made me want to do it, but I'm going for it. I'm also going to try out an essay writing competition for the university press. I'm drawing more, writing more... and surprisingly, singing more. I signed up to a personal development course at my university last month. I'm going to join a society this month, and a sports club next month. I managed to get mentoring, coaching and counselling sessions at my university, so I feel as though I can manage stressful situations better, and they're all helping in different ways. I'm on top of my university assignments (for once). As long as I keep setting progressive goals, I feel like I can face the day more positively.



Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Does This Blog Have A Future?


Sometimes, rarely, I lose the will to live. Without going too much into it, things that are usually important to me stop being important while I am stuck there.

I am uncertain about the future of this blog while this keeps happening.

Reading quotes help me put things into perspective.

Anyway... there'll be a better post next week. I just can't deal with this right now.


Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Reading Slumps Provoke Writer’s Block?! ...THISISRIDICULOUS


This week’s post is literally gonna be like three paragraphs long. I’m exhausted and a little stressed out. It feels like every three months I’m having to contact my university about something and it seems as though, again, I am switching courses. As it’s September in a couple of days, I kindaaa need to have it wrapped up quickly. Only replace ‘kinda’ with ‘SERIOUSLY’, and add in some little anguished emoticons that represent me lying on the floor bawling.

Hey, I might as well share something I suddenly realised last night, about why I haven’t been able to write for months. Aside from being pushed for time that is. I’m certain it’s because I haven’t been reading. At first I thought, ‘Nahh that’s dumb’, but now I’m convinced. When I read the work of others, I feel inspired and motivated to complete my own work. I remember all of the things I wanted to say and share in my creations. I’m slowly realising that without that drive, the way I approach writing my novel is completely different, almost like a chore. I really feel like something’s wrong with me when my endless well of creativity seems to just... disappear.

Since I finished reading The School for Good and Evil: The Last Ever After last week, my novel’s popped back up in my head and I’ve been turning it over and over in my mind, trying to figure out where I ran it into a ditch. I’m still struggling with the motivation to read, but I’m not to fussed about it right now. I honestly have a hundred other things to be worrying about, like what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow.



Ashana Lian .

P.S. I like my old long posts, but short posts are such a relief right now :3

Thursday, 20 August 2015

"Are You Single?" – Book Buying Requirements


My first question is - is your cover beautiful? If yes, let me adore you.

My second is - is your blurb wonderful? If yes, let me marvel you.

My third is - does your cover and blurb accurately represent you? If yes, there is no limit to my fangirl praise.

But after that - ARE YOU PART OF A SERIES? Because if you are... I’m sorry, book. I’m having doubts that we can make this relationship work. O_O

I can’t help it. I want to experience so many different authors that I leave myself with little time to read more of the authors I do like. Even if I end up with the second book in a series, so much time has passed between me reading the first and second books that I struggle to remember the details and, regrettably, I think that does alter my reading experience. As in, clues dropped along the way will take longer to fall into place because I have to remember what they had to do with the story in the first place. If I really can’t remember the first book, I consult Wikipedia. Recaptains is a great blog dedicated to solving this particular bookish problem, but I haven’t had an opportunity to use it yet.

One incredible historical fantasy book that springs to mind – I’m pretty sure it’s a standalone – is Uprising: Heirs of the Demon King by Sarah Cawkwell (I never got to do a proper review because I was so behind on reviews that eventually I had to stop my schedule). The cover could be better, but the blurb was great and it turned out to be an even better read than I hoped. I was anguished to reach the end but also glad that the story tied together coherently, leaving only those few nagging little issues that linger in your mind after the book was closed.

I wish there were more books like Uprising that I could bounce between without feeling guilty that I’m abandoning a series!

Still, despite my bouncing around, I have two mammoth fantasy series’ I want to read – the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett and The Wheel Of Time series by Robert Jordan. Also Brandon Sanderson; his books make up a few shorter series’ but the books themselves are still incredibly in-depth. I’d like to dedicate a chunk of time to these complex fantasy series and read them back to back, but we’d be talking several months... maybe longer.

Knowing me, even assuming that I’d never get bored reading the series, I’d want to throw in something different to read just for the variety.



Ashana Lian .


P.S. I sometimes find myself aggravated when a perfectly capable one-book story (usually YA) suddenly spawns a second and third book. Unless I loved that one book and I felt the cliff-hanger was just too much to deal with (The Falconer, omg).

How do you choose the book your buy/loan and read? Aside from genre, are you picky about book length, standalones vs series or that type of thing? I’m curious. Do share.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Anime: Kuroko no Basuke and Heroic Video Game Structure

Image: Ign

It’s been SO LONG since I’ve watched such a great anime that I couldn’t possibly NOT talk about it. Even though it’s not strictly fantasy. Still, it brings up an interesting point that is fantasy relevant.

Kuroko no Basuke, aka. Kuroko’s Basketball, aka. The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays, is an anime about a team of prodigy basketball players at Teikō middle school, so revered that other/lesser teams call them the Generation of Miracles. After a winning streak at middle school level, the players go on to different high schools whose teams will compete against each other.

Kuroko, a less than average player with a pretty special skill, joins the fairly new team at Seirin high school instead of a school with a long-standing team. Even though Seirin basketball team has no success to speak of, they strive to become the best basketball team in Japan and go head to head with formidable teams, each including a Generation of Miracles player who enhances the team (or not, LOL) with their unique ability. Okay soo.

The following two paragraphs contains some major spoilers. You have been warned.

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[SPOILER]KnB is like some CRAZYYY super intense superhero basketball. Even if you don’t have any particular interest in basketball, it’s as fun as heck to watch and you'll probably end up with the burning desire to watch a real basketball match, like every other person ever to watch this anime. HONESTLY. It uses the structure I enjoy in anime, even in manga and fantasy books – there’s a team of opponents who reveal themselves one by one, each one with an increasingly powerful ability, each one just a little bit harder to defeat.

I thought each GoM ability was great and extremely fun to watch. Kise has the ability to copy another player’s style or technique – the “level up” version of this is the Perfect Copy, which even allows him to copy the GoM. Midorima is able to score a basket from standing anywhere on the court (called Projectile Three), and never misses. Aomine possesses breakneck speed and a unique style of being able to shoot a basket from any angle (called Formless Shot) – but when facing a challenging opponent, The Zone is initiated (which is at such a deadly pace and strength that it’s often dangerous for other players to attempt to face him). Murasakibara’s incredible height grants him an impenetrable defence style – if he becomes agitated, he uses a special move called Thor’s Hammer when he's on the offense. The captain of the original Teikō team, Akashi, uses a technique called the Emperor’s Eye, which allows him to predict another player’s next move by analysing all of their possible moves – he then moves himself in a disarming way that makes the player lose their balance and fall off of their feet.[END OF SPOILER]

What did I tell you. This is Superhero Basketball.

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Image: Kurokonobasketextragame
The extent to which basketball is glamorised – from players and the ball actually becoming invisible, to the paths of light that appear when a special move is performed, it would make ANYBODY love basketball. It emphasises skills and abilities that could realistically be performed (like, by a human being XD) and gives fans an artistic view of basketball, somehow.

Now I’ve finished watching all three seasons, what it made me think about was the ending and how the stakes kept raising when you thought they couldn’t go any higher.

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[SPOILER]When Seirin faced Kise and Kaijō high school in the semi-finals of the tournament, I was surprised at first. He was the very first GoM that Seirin faced and somehow that gave an impression of him being the weakest, right?

Well, no. Even putting aside that Kise has continued to train and improve in speed and strength, his newfound ability to copy the special abilities of other GoM players makes him the perfect ‘sub-boss’, as it were – they have to draw together their knowledge of everything they’ve learned about the GoM thus far. Only then are they allowed to face the final boss – Akashi.

In The Legend of Zelda, you fight a ‘phantom ganon’ in the very first temple you complete, which is like a ‘fake’ Ganon and nowhere near as powerful as the real deal. Then you go through the remaining four temples – Fire, Water, Shadow and Spirit. When you have banished the ‘evil’ from all of them, you get Link over to the now-evil Hyrule Castle to face Ganon – but before you can face him, you have to bring down a force field by entering five chambers that correspond to each of the temples – then, finally, you can face the real Ganon.[END OF SPOILER]

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The more I thought about it, the more I realise how common that setup is. You do a bunch of stuff, then right before the end you have to demonstrate all the stuff you learnt. There’s something quite satisfying about being able to tie together all loose ends in that way – and also feeling like all that work wasn’t for nothing. If you hadn’t done it, you wouldn’t be able to reach the end. Nothing was wasted.

Finally, that got me thinking about my fantasy novel (Karalan). The structure is completely warped, and I dunno how exactly I’m going to fix it, but thinking about KnB and LoZ I know that the games, anime and books I enjoy most have that anticipation of the next opponent or adventure. That's what compels you to keep watching, reading or playing. So I think that's a good place to start.



Ashana Lian.

P.S. I went absolutely crazy over Aomine Daiki. There has never been a more perfect character in an anime. I dare you to prove me wrong. I DARE UUU ._.

P.P.S. Btw, Kuroko special abilities are among the best, but there just wasn’t enough time to go into it here... so go watch the anime!!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Fame or Respect?: Measuring A Writer's Success


When I was young, I didn’t think I could pursue a career in the arts because it didn’t ‘help people’. Doctors and scientists and so on seemed like professions with more value – until I realised the necessity of being able to express yourself creatively a stress becomes our number one problem. Beautiful artwork, dance, theatre, literature and music can make us feel elated and inspired in a very unique way, so those who value and appreciate art will respect artists.

This era has seen a surge in indie artists becoming successful and so the question of ‘if’ I could, somehow, remotely help people through my art became the question of ‘how’ I could do it. I wonder about my authorly goals more often than I used to.

What do I want to achieve with my writing?

There was an excellent post on The Novel Project Chronicles about whether it is better to have your book critically acclaimed or popular. Would I prefer my book to be known only to fans of the fantasy genre but highly respected, like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K Jemisin, or Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn?

Or would I prefer my book to become staggeringly popular, like The Fault In Our Stars by John Green or The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North? As in, read by thousands of people not even part of my target audience, and straight off the back of it comes a movie deal, official merchandise, a rise in the popularity of previously published books, and then probably a mobile app, t-shirts and a McDonalds promo figurine inside every Happy Meal? Okay, I’m exaggerating. Slightly.

The last two aren’t fantasy books, of course. Naturally. That doesn’t happen to fantasy books very often. Harry Potter – a children’s book. Game of Thrones – first published twenty years ago. They are both incredible series’ and in my opinion their success is well deserved, but many other fantastic fantasy books fall by the wayside. I hear people complain about it, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I would rather be critically acclaimed than popular.

Putting aside for one minute my irrational fear of fame (the idea of being in a viral video unintentionally makes me freeze up in terror), my goal is to become a remarkable fantasy writer and I think that the best judges of that will be dedicated fantasy fans. To me, it means more to have a quiet little family who understand and respect not only fantasy but the institute of writing. I always did prefer underground fandoms, and I think that the fact that fantasy has always been obscure and eclectic is one of the most appealing things about it.

Sometimes, you do want your favourite author to get a bit more recognition, though.

Still, when you put a book in front of people who aren’t the intended target audience, it provokes polarised reactions like you get with Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey... which makes the book all the more popular.

Writers who hope to get popular are often the ones who are building a business around their writing, like my sister. As the main source of income, success is the goal. But then you have the writers who hope to get massively popular, with the goal of never having to work again. But writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and most of the writer-bloggers that I follow are also avid readers who do not take writing lightly or as a lottery gamble. They want to contribute something worthwhile to the world of literature, which they love. I wonder if they would prefer critical acclaim too.

But then I think – isn’t wanting to be critically acclaimed counterproductive to my aim? Surely, the point of creating art, aside from the love of it – is for the art to be shown to the world?



Ashana Lian .

The dream of fame is a primary appeal to many writers - would you prefer critical acclaim or massively popularity?

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Remember Me?: Reading, Writing & Blogging Slumps


Wow. HOW I have missed this lonely purple thing. Hi again, blog. *hug*

Recap Of... Last Five Months =/

Yesterday was this blog's SECOND anniversary. Second! Where did the time go? Oh, yes...

1. Four months working full time
2. Sleeping
3. Drawing
4. Learning how to use Photoshop
5. Tidying my room (I bought this gorgeous magazine binder!)
6. Oh, on that note ^ I created an instagram.
7. Repeatedly buying Mac & Cheese from EAT (it has jalapenos and breadcrumbs on the top omg)
8. Revamping my wardrobe with clothes that actually fit/suit me
9. Thinking up a name for my sister's fantasy publishing company
10. Eating FAR too many Pot Noodles. (I'm not even joking here, we're talking 20 + over four months)
11. Bought another notebook and more pens O_O
12. Finally replaced my watch from North Cyprus! AT LAST. I own time again
13. Sold like, half of my possessions on eBay
14. My mum insisted on putting up brand new curtains. They're cream with red flowers.
15. Going through the biggest reading slump ever *cry*
16. But rereading my favourite mangas and comics *whoo!*
17. Kept having amazing dreams and new fantasy novel ideas, but was too stressed about work to actually write my novel in the entire four months I worked there wahhh :'(
18. Making some important decisions about the career I seriously want to pursue
19. Figuring out some vital things about maintaining my dreads... I know for certain I need a better moisturiser
20. I developed an irrational fear of burglars
21. I went crazy looking for the power lead for my Nintendo 64
22. I found it and happily played The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for weeks
23. FINALLY figured out how to take a screenshot on my Samsung Ace 4... it's really not the best phone in the world
24. After months of wishing for great summer weather in London, I’m enjoying most of it from inside e_e

And the fun didn't stop there, but I'm going to, lol.

Dear Followers,

Before I continue - thank you again to those who have stuck around all this time, despite the typos, sudden breaks in posting, and deviation from the main topic of this blog... O_O I really appreciate your support and I'm gonna do my best to be more fun. :3

Review Nightmare

I dug a tiny grave for myself regarding fantasy book reviews. You see, at the beginning of the year I kept reading books and not writing the review straight away. So naturally at this point, I have too many unwritten reviews of books where my memory of them is vague and hazy. There's got to be at least 20, including comics. Trying to tackle this systematically isn't as easy as I hoped because a system for writing about something you can’t remember doesn’t EXIST. Dude. Tough times. =/ I’ll have to play it by ear.

I haven't read an actual novel in months. Lack of time and motivation. It's a big fat annoying reading slump and I don't see myself getting out anytime soon. I know it'll take care of itself eventually, but still... goodbyeee Reading Challenges.

This is a great opportunity to write about the comics and mangas I love most, and I’ve been meaning to do that for a long while now. Oh, I must say – THE LAST SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL BOOK JUST CAME OUT! I am beyond ecstatic – if anything can break my reading slump, it’s got to be that book.


Blogging Nightmare

I dunno what happened. I noticed I hadn't posted in a while, and I thought, 'Hey, maybe I should do something about that.' - and the time kept passing me by and my list of reviews and posts to post got bigger and bigger and I remembered I hadn't posted any fantasy related posts and grew increasingly frustrated until I was actively ignoring my responsibilities and before I knew it - BAM. Five months passed. FIVE MONTHS!!!

It's my own fault. How many times did I tell myself to pre-schedule posts? I have 150 draft posts sitting in Blogger patiently waiting to be seen. Scheduling isn’t HARD. I’m just LAZY.

However, I’m not allowed to call myself that anymore =] I’m doing this awesome thing where I stop procrastinating and do the things I know I’m supposed to. Like practise a language every day, or create a little sketch. It’s so rewarding to see how much you achieve by doing just a little every day. I had to kick myself in the butt a bit to get started, but look, I’m writing this post like I said I would. Many, many months ago. XD See? It works. *grin*

My renewed devotion to fantasy means that I’m preparing a lot of interesting articles for this blog. Post schedule has reverted back to once a week on THURSDAY only. Exciting stuff!

ALL THE NIGHTMARES

I’m out of a job. Again. =/ I don’t want to do into details, but I’m trying to be forward thinking and optimistic. My eye is firmly fixed on an arts job – an arts administrator would suit me great, I think. If I make sure I take my next step into an arts company, I’ll be heading in the right direction.

I’m going back to university in September. I won’t pretend depression didn’t make some of the past months difficult, but I’m extremely relieved at how much better I’m doing now I’ve sorted out my biggest worries. It sucks on so many levels that I still have to repeat a year of my degree – as I couldn’t complete it the first time for health reasons - but never mind. I really want to finish my degree.

Pulled The Plug... I’m Sorry.  :(

I can no longer give my Reading Challenges on Goodreads or Fiction Friday the attention I want to. Sadly, they’ll be disbanded this year unless somebody nominates to take over (I’m happy to continue creating trophies for challenge winners). Spreading my attention across so many things irrelevant to this blog purpose dilutes the quality of my articles. It’s not worth it.

Using my sketchbook more now. I love felts.

Authorly Goals

My novel, the one with the title that keeps changing, has come to a complete halt. I need to figure out what’s happening with it because I’m not convinced that the story makes the slightest bit of sense. To my readers or to me.

SO! WHAT IS THERE TO LOOK FORWARD TO?
  • Posts on choosing a career in fantasy or literature and how to get started
  • Fantasy tropes and how they can help or hurt the fantasy genre
  • Awesome bookish or fantasy events to look forward to!
  • My pursuits in fantasy illustration and my inspirations
  • And of course, when I can, fantasy reviews for books, comics, manga, anime and movies. Which I KNOW I don’t do enough.

WHERE I’LL BE

As it turns out, I’m everywhere. Despite my skepticism towards all social media except blogs, I begrudgingly recognise that it is difficult (ie. impossible) to have any sort of career/normal life (lol) without embracing it. Also, I think it’ll be a good idea to watch my progress. Might be fun, right? Or traumatic. Depends, really.




Ashana Lian .
P.S. Thanks for coming back. You guys are NICE PEOPLES.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Paperbacks, Sketchpads, Diaries and Notebooks (+ Fiction Friday!)


Yesterday was indeed a Good Friday. *waggles eyebrows* (see what I did there.)

Why? I finally, FINALLY, FINALLY sat down to write my novel. This May is the second birthday of Karalan's Legacy aka OOTD, and it must must must be finished, because I need to be able to start editing. It is the one thing I am solely devoted to right now.

Well, my luverly readers! It has been a HELL of a month! Where shall I start?

New Job

I'm loving my new job, although it's weird not to work with books and have knowledge of what is current and popular. Probably a good thing - my TBR is still appalling.

Paperbacks

This month, I have been able to get out of my reading slump by reading to and from work, which is an hour journey each way. That way I got to read SteelheartAll The Bright Places, Vicious, The Sin Eater's Daughter, and now I'm onto The Lies of Locke Lamora which I bought last July. Finally! I'm so pleased.

To the right is my library books that I still need get round to. Underneath are the books I bought at Fantasy In The Court last year that I also still need to read. But now it actually seems likely I will get round to reading them. My book buying ban has been going great - I'm surprised I was able to be this disciplined.

Japanese

For those of you who remember, I'm studying the Japanese language. It's been bugging me lately that with changing jobs, I hadn't been able to practise properly, but the schedule I'm going to put together this weekend will mean I'll start practising again. YESSS. I have been learning for over a year already and I still can't say basic stuff because I rarely ever actually study. The only thing I want to do as much as finish my novel Karalan's Legacy book one is be able to speak Japanese fluently.

Pockets and Budgets

Since I've started my new job, my salary has taken a dip upwards. It's such a relief because now I can start saving to move out - plus, I can buy clothes from the Tall section, which can be slightly more expensive but at least they fit me.
I have some new smart clothes including some blazers. I realised with one of them that instead of being a false pocket - I HATE FALSE POCKETS - it's actually just sewn up. Imagine my surprise! I was so happy that my blazer has actual pockets, ten times more useful than a flipping fake pocket. My Mum reminded me that manufacturers would do that to make sure nothing was transported in the pocket. Huh. Never considered that before.


Sketchpads

Aside from my novel and studying Japanese, another thing that's made me a bit miserable is how little I've been drawing. I never seem to find the time - which means my artistic ability never improves. My third most important goal is to draw again and that means a lot to me.

I have two sketchpads from paperchase, which are 100 sheets each. I liked that they have so many sheets - I can keep more of my drawings in one place. One is for Jade Rose only, an original children's fantasy character I created, and the other is for fantasy only. My other sketchbook is called Dragonera and that's for my old StarLit fantasy.

Lyrics

From my old forum days, one of my buddies Shaire (who has her own blog) inspired me to try my hand at writing lyrics. This was years ago, by the way. Her lyrics are so emotive and full of anguish and the last set of lyrics I'd written back then was for my music GCSE. My first attempts at lyrics were pretty embarrassing and dismal, but I became addicted to it - sometimes when I was depressed, the only thing I would ever feel like doing is going over my songs and writing new ones.

Now, I've gotten to the point where I'm so hooked on my own music that I feel doubtful I'll ever share it. Sometimes I'll write a song, hate it at first, then grow to like it as it improves. Sometimes I'll love it when I create it and later feel embarrassed. Some, I knew from the start I'd always love. Others were bad from the start and will be eternally laughable.

When I have a song stuck in my head for a while and I stop to notice it, I'll realise it's my own song. There comes a point where it doesn't feel like mine any more, which is always pretty cool. One in particular I end up singing a lot, one I wrote early this year called Where I'm Going, which perfectly summed up my feelings about wanting to go somewhere special and do something worthwhile, mean something, make a difference, yada yada, but not knowing where on earth I should start.

Music

A few months ago, an old school friend who is living in Paris as a young nanny to two adorable twins sent me some music, one of which being Stromae, Tous les mêmes. I then found Papaoutai from my university friend Miss Lovely. After discovering Pentatonix version of Papaoutai, which inspired a revamp of my story Fury's Finest, I finally bought Stromae's album. There just something about it. I'm hooked.






Diaries

Now I'm working full time, I have less time than ever before. It's been even more important to make use of the diary I bought at the end of last year from WHSmith. I use it to remember anything from work-related research, to tidying my room, to health routines, to household chores. I also forget to keep my water intake up, so I use it to see how much cups of tea or water I drink.


Notebooks

Heather from Sometimes I'm A Story has a series called Interview a Notebook, and I thought it was great because everybody knows how writers are about their precious notebooks. I do have special notebooks from when It All Began - these four A5 Oxford office pads with the smoothest white pages you ever felt. The red was first and holds all my snippets, unusual names, fleeting inspirations and ideas. The purple one came next for my sci-fi stories. The green one came next, mainly for Que$t. Then the blue, for the Become Her series, which I suppose would include Moon vs Lane.

I bought a new sketch pad from Rymans recently to use as an A4 blank notebook for the Fury's Finest revamp. That's is a story I made up in my early teens about vigilante groups - a fanfiction. Last month, I was listening to Love Me When You Leave and Papaoutai by Pentatonix, and that story came alive again. I need to write everything down before that initial kick fades. o_O

Inspiration

Every day when I walk to and from work, I listen to music. Every song unfolds a scene from any one of my in-progress stories, so I'm bursting with inspiration without the day without a chance to get anything down. Then I get home, dejected, exhausted, and go to bed.

Karalan's Legacy, Fury's Finest, Supe'd Up, and a new one called Queen Nasrin. For example, here's a song I discovered last week, a remix of Dear Boy. The original Dear Boy helped inspire the entire story of Supe'd Up in January 2014.



Food

I have eaten so much JUNK since I've started working. I've had fast food from Sainsbury's and M&S, Nandos, McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Pret A Manger, EAT, Indian food from a place near my house, this lovely restaurant called Ishtar... I've had such a range. I get bored with food so much easier than I did before I started this new job. It's lack of time to cook, and also I've never been a great cook so I felt stumped sometimes as to WHAT to cook. I have been cleaning up my diet... I swear. Exercise though, I still haven't even plucked up the courage. It's becoming my mortal fear - to do ten minutes of exercise.


Glasses

Specsavers can be so pushy, but I needed some new glasses so I went back. £150 for two pairs with anti-glare and thinning, I shit you not. They are very nice glasses. But I hope it's the last time I ever go back. The assistants there talk SO much garbage, it's unbelievable. They actually told me the fact that my eyesight had gotten worse is natural (what, degeneration is NATURAL? The body's natural process is to heal and regenerate.) despite the fact that that only happened when I wore glasses, and in the four years I stopped wearing them, my eyesight then remained the same. The lady who did my eye test told me that herself. And I was like, why are you refusing the see the glaringly obvious? Then I realise - oh yes. It's because if they admit glasses make my eyes worse, they'll lose business. Fiddlesticks.


More Music

Finally, I discovered Purity Ring a few weeks ago. Again, the music is so bizarre and haunting but before I knew it, I was listening every day until this week I finally bought it. =D I just adore it. Heartsigh, Bodyache, and Begin Again are my favourites.


Oh - the cupcake? It's a recipe of my sisters, the most delicious cupcake I've ever had. The sponge is soft but not crumbly - the chocolate on top is soft and the chocolate inside is CRUNCHY, believe it or not. OMG. It's so delicious. I call them Amararys. (Don't ask, it's a family joke.)

So yep, ate that in front of my laptop trying to catch up on blogs during this four week holiday! I hope to be chatting with all of you lovely bloggers soon. Have a great easter break.


Ashana Lian .

__________________________________


It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:

What were your inspirations for this story?


To see past and future questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post. 
Note: I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but there will be a little delay because of some pretty major changes in my life these past few weeks. Bear with me!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Fiction Friday: What are your main character’s weaknesses?


It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:

What are your main character’s weaknesses?


To see past and future questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post. 
Note: I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but there will be a little delay because of some pretty major changes in my life these past few weeks. Bear with me!

Ashana Lian .

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

How To Start A Blog - 5 Easy Steps



SO YOU WANT TO JOIN THE FAMILY!!! Good for you! (You're crazy. o_O I'm kidding. =] )

Setting up a blog is very straightforward. Setting up a awesome super-duper-amazing fantastic blog is harder, and even now my blog constantly undergoes a ton of improvements. But to start...

1. What's your reason?

Blogging is FUN. Whether the blog is going to be personal and wacky, or focussed and professional, always remember your goal is to share in the blogging fun and bring that same excitement to your readers. The moment a blog dies or becomes inactive is because, for whatever reason, it's stopped being fun.

If you're creating a professional blog, the steps you'll take will be different to a personal blog - like mine. I'm devoted to fantasy so it's my main blog focus. I also found a way to bring in other stuff I liked - fantasy events like comic cons, games, books, movies, and so on.

What you choose to blog about will help you decide what platform to choose - so do that first!

2. Choose Your Platform

Because a blog is free to start and extremely common in this day and age, there are literally HUNDREDS of blogging platforms to choose from. There are three platforms that are without a doubt the most common, run by massive companies.

The PROS of choosing one of these is that there's loads of support to be found online, and if there is a glitch it will probably be resolved quickly. Also it's less likely these huge companies like Google (who run Blogger) will close down, which means that in theory, your content (blog posts, pictures, videos, anything you share on your blog) should be protected. (I would back it up anyway though... just in case.)

The CONS is there's only so much personalisation they will allow you. Also knowledge of basic HTML will go a long way; it's tedious but it bumps up your blog post from average to stunning. Also, Blogger can do some weird things to my images when I try to upload them.

Wordpress 

Wp is the king of blogging. It is devoted solely to bloggers, so the choice there is better! There are countless themes and layout and it's a great tool to run a website as well.

Tumblr

The home of the fandoms of the universe. Tumblr is like a cross between a blog and a bulletin feed like Twitter - imagine Twitter if it had unlimited characters in a post. The thing about Tumblrs is they all pretty much look the same and I think it's harder to achieve individuality, but it's perfect for a private geeky little world.

Blogger

As you can see - I'm a Blogger Blogger! Reason being, back when I didn't know much about blogs, Blogger was the first that came up in a Google search. Of course, that is because Blogger is owned by Google. This is perfect if you already have a Google account. Your login is the same for all Google applications and you can link your content across accounts.



3. Design

What do you want your blog to look like? In terms of COLOUR, I picked purple (my favourite colour) and blue because it felt it gave a humbleness and mellowness to my fantasy blog.

In terms of LAYOUT, I like sidebars but they can make a blog look cluttered. A very popular layout right now is having the post in the middle of the page and no sidebars. Yes, it is getting a bit overdone. But the reason it's such a hit is because it makes your blog look neat and clean.

In terms of IMAGES, what banner will you use? An image from Google? Will your draw or create it yourself? Keep in mind, if you are using somebody else's image you must credit them. Actually, I'm pretty sure if you use somebody's images without their written permission it's copyright infringement. But - like downloading music for free - people do it so often that it's one of those crimes nobody 'cares about', loosely speaking. Well, I'm just sayin'. If you can get permission, get it. At the very least, credit the creator or artist, if you must be a cyber-thief. e_e

4. Write Content

NOW WE'RE GETTING TO THE GOOD BIT!! What will you write about? Will it be a book blog? A lifestyle blog? Fashion? Music? Travel?

As you already know, mine looks at fantasy in different medias, mainly books. From time to time I also write about other things my readers will find interesting or my personal ditherings/hardly-accomplishments, especially if it affects the sort of books I'll be reading or if I can blog more often or less often.

Stuck? Talk about your problems. Sit down and get it all off your chest. Don't worry about how it sounds. You honestly will not fucking believe the popularity of various rambly, angsty blogs. (Even me - I've come across some pretty amazing life blogs, and all those bloggers do is complain.)

5. Share Your First Blog Post! Congrats!

One thing YOU MUST REMEMBER - your blog post may not be terribly popular at first... unless you're already a celebrity or talking about it via other social media like Goodreads (eg. book blogs), Pinterest (eg. cooking blogs), Twitter (eg. lifestyle blogs), Youtube (eg. music blogs) or anywhere else people might genuinely be interested in what you have to say.

Keep at it. Your network will grow - as long as you put the effort in. There's lots of ways to make blogger-friends, like blog-hops, awards and all that jazz. So get involved!

You'll find out pretty quickly if blogging is the thing for you or not. If it's for you, you'll become addicted like the rest of us. And if not, you'll get bored.


~ Blogging Etiquette ~

Promoting your blog in the comments of other blogs.

Some bloggers don't mind this, others dislike it. Personally, I don't do it at all because I feel like it's spamming. But I do do it on blogs that have Discus (which is a commenting widget) because I don't want an account with Discus, but if I comment without an account it appears as 'anonymous' - then the blogger can't find me if they want to respond.



My Number One Blogging Tips

1. Think up a catchy title - always a winner! My other blogs have great titles, but not this one because  'A Fantasy Writer's Blog' will come up higher in a Google search if any of the keywords are entered.

2. Post regularly - set a day to post weekly, fortnightly or whenever suits you, but stick to it so your readers know when to come back.

3. Pretty images - unsplash.com is fantastic because the image are royalty-free, which means you can do whatever you want with them. I take pictures of the books I own and mess about with it on befunky, my favourite free picture editing website.

4. 'Other posts you might like' - I put a short list of these at the end of my posts (when I remember. :3) first because it keeps your readers interested, and also sometimes old blog posts that are relevant now or particularly good get lost in the passage of time. O_O

5. Sidebar - get it right. Not too many widgets, not too little. And for the love of cake, not too wide.

6. Swearing? - I don't shy away from swearing when there is simply no other word that will do, but I do find over-the-top excessive profanity makes me lose interest. As my blog is aimed at adults, it's not a big deal - this is my blog and my space. But what about you? Know what your values are and uphold them on your blog. If the reader doesn't like you they simply won't read your blog, so be yourself.

7. Give your reader what they expect - it what they came for. Don't let them click away to another blog. Make your readers laugh. Brighten their day. c:


Ashana Lian .

Click Here for other Writerly Tools & Tips.

This post was for Allison and Emily - I hope you girls found this useful!
For the already-bloggers out there; do you have any tips? Share in the comments!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Fiction Friday: Does your main character have any siblings? Tell us about them.


It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:

Does your main character have any siblings? (Tell us about them.)


To see past and future questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post. 
Note: I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but there will be a little delay because of some pretty major changes in my life these past few weeks. Bear with me!


Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

YA Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven & It's Incredible Similarities to The Fault In Our Stars


Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 2015
Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary (non-fantasy.)

Blurb:
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Just a reminder, my reviews are not spoiler-free.


I wouldn’t normally write about this on my blog, but I thought it was important because I’ve previously mentioned on this blog that I have had... some... problems. Mentally.

This book was very very good. The characters were likeable, the beginning was strong and the ending was poignant. You gather from the blurb that one of the protagonists is suicidal (Theodore Finch) and the other suffers from what I think is post traumatic stress disorder following her sister’s death (Violet Markey).

The beginning was strong and hooked me immediately. Finch was definitely my favourite narrator! I liked pretty much all the characters, even though Violet’s old friends felt very... cliche-esque! (Heh) Niven did a incredible job of making me empathise with both Violet and Finch, without making them sound whiney or overly dramatic. They felt like real people with real problems, which was where the strength of this book came from. It felt as though it could be happening to anyone, anywhere - actually, I have several friend going through some of the issues in this book.

I got a bit bored towards the middle and to be honest, even though Violet's depression made you wanna cut her some slack, it was still very hard to see why Theodore was so eager to be friends with her. Finch, despite his problems, was likeable. Violet, even with her problems, didn't have a huge deal that seemed very alluring to me. She was so dull and shut-off, it was hard to see what Finch saw - then again, maybe he just saw an escape from his own problems and as the story progressed she became something more.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear at the end – not because of the ending but because of Finch's unravelling that led up to it. I recognised many of his thoughts and emotions of ones I've had before, and lately I have already been feeling quite low and miserable, so it really was awful to kind of... reminisce the stages leading up to suicidal feelings. All The Bright Places helped to illustrate that it’s not just terrible circumstances in somebodys life that provokes such awful thoughts. I don't think it’s trying to escape the present. What starts it off is when you don't see the point of waiting for a future that has no prospects.

When I have those feelings, its when a very low point in my life keeps recurring. It’s not the things itself that makes me think, ‘What’s the point?’ – it’s the mere thought that the rest of my life might be exactly like this. It’s debilitating. There was one part of the book when Finch realises he's been staring out of a window and thinks 'How long was I doing that?' That part creeped me out because I've realised I do that a lot when I'm on a downward spiral. It's like losing touch with reality and then time itself does something weird.

But anyway.

It really is a great book and the hype is justified. You’re hearing that officially from moi. =] It’s not normally the sort of book I would pick up but I'm glad I did.  For all my London readers – Jennifer Niven will be at Waterstones Piccadilly promoting this book on the 25th March. I hope you go and support the book and then come back and tell me all about it c: It’s the one and only time I give you permission to spam this post, LOL! Originally I was going to go, which I why I bumped this book up my TBR pile, but it’s brought out such raw feelings in me I no longer have the heart.


Verdict:  ****
(4 Sha's.)



10 Uncanny similarities between All The Bright Places and The Fault In Our Stars

(There will be spoilers e_e )

1. In TFIOS, both Augustus and Hazel have a physical illness. In ATBP, Violet and Finch have a mental illness.

2. All of the protagonists' names relate to nature – Waters, Hazel, Finch, Violet.

3. Both Hazel and Violet have parents who are caring but walk on eggshells.

4. In TFIOS and ATBP, Green and Niven set it up that the boyfriend is the charismatic one who therefore casts the illusion of confidence and strength. In both, the boyfriend dies first.

5. In TFIOS, Augustus’s condition worsens dramatically towards the end of his life, and Hazel notices how awful he looks despite still loving him. In ATBP, Finch’s mental state unravels towards the end of his life, and Violet notices the change in his behaviour and the frequency of his disappearances, and is angry about it, despite still loving him.

6. In both TFIOS and ATBP funerals, Hazel and Violet feel that no-one truly understood Augustus/Theodore and there is a sense in both books that funerals are a sort of facade.

7. Protagonist virgins lose their virginity in both books. (Had To Be Noted.)

8. The person who was dead before the story began – TFIOS it’s Augustus previous girlfriend, in ATBP it’s Violet’s sister – was out made out to be a saint. In fact, both dead girls were not particularly nice people.

9. Both Theodore and Augustus ‘speak’ to their girlfriends from beyond the grave (I don’t know why these books never touch on the grief of a sudden death with no damn paper trail (then again, probably not a good idea to traumatise your teenage readers.)) , Augustus via a posthumous letter, Theodore with the final wandering.

10. Both TFIOS and ATBP shatter the stereotypical image we have of those with physical or mental illnesses. Also both have teen protagonists... maybe suggesting that it's in the teenage years that we form these misconceptions, hence aiming the books towards teenagers.


I prefer Hazel over Violet as a protagonist (also, witticisms in TFIOS were very amusing) but if a single character stole the show, it was Theodore Finch. He was an absolute marvel as a character and as a love interest for Violet - which made his passing just so tragic. It's ironic he thought so lowly of himself when I think so highly of him.


Ashana Lian .

P.S. I’ve finally started reading Vicious! It’s is BRILLIANT so far. =D

P.P.S. Happy St. Patrick's Day! (I love Google gifs, they - are -so - CUTE.)


Have you read All The Bright Places? Do you read books on coping with death and mental illnesses, or do you stay away from books that'll make you sad (like me (usually))?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Fiction Friday: Has your main character ever done something they were ashamed of?


It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:

Has your main character ever done something they were ashamed of?


To see past and future questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post.
I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but there will be a little delay because of some pretty major changes in my life these past few weeks. Bear with me!


Ashana Lian .

Friday, 6 March 2015

Fiction Friday: Where is your story set?

It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:

Where is your story set?


To see past and future questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post.
I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but there will be a little delay because of some pretty major changes in my life these past few weeks. Bear with me!


Ashana Lian .

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Stacking The Shelves, Writing My Novel, Landing New Job and Loving New Phone


1. HAUL!
*snort* A book buying ban indeed! I dropped by my old workplace last week and couldn't resist picking up a book or two... precisely two. Then I ordered two online O_O (one of them was Vicious by V.E. Schwab, the first read for the Goodreads TBR Smash reading challenge group) and THEN at some point I miraculously acquired the biggest book I have seen since the original Dance of Dragons edition by George R.R. Martin (and even then, this one may be bigger!) This enormous book was Words of Radiance, written by one of the most highly praised masters of fantasy, Mr. Brandon Sanderson.

HAUL: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, The Tropic of Serpents (A Natural History of Dragons 2) by Marie Brennan, Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson.

I'm linking up with Tynga's Stacking The Shelves meme (#148) for the first time ever. Exciiiitiiiinggg!


2. Novel!
I have been working on OOTD/ Karalan's Legacy like a BEAST! I realised at some point that I haven't actually done an in-depth post on what this novel is about, after all this time blogging! So that needs to be on its way soon, along with a story summary (and a pretty infographic...?) on my next novel focus, Brilliance of The Light.They both have Pinterest boards, so check them out because... pictures! =D

3. Neglect!
I know. I am ashamed. >.< I will be making sure I have posts ready, because I did very badly with posting last week! Also, I promised a chapter of The Sorcerer's Secretary and didn't deliver, so you guys get two chapters this coming week. So YAY for the double post, but whoops about the forgetting-in-the-first-place.

4. Interviews!
I'm no longer working at a bookstore. D= Sad times! Now I have to rely solely on YOU GUYS to keep me updated on the latest books and such. But DON'T START YET because my TBR pile is high enough to touch the clouds and wobbling dangerously.

Last week, I had two interviews and then to my surprise and absolute delight, the first one offered me the job two days later. GOODBYE, GRUELLING JOB HUNT! It's exciting, extremely nerve-wracking, and I really hope to settle down in this role so fingers crossed that it'll be the perfect match for me.

My sister gave me a nicely wrapped box of chocolittes. So happy. c: There's only like, three left. I took this picture with my camera, but MOVE OVER CAMERA! The phooone has arrived.


5. FIRST EVER SMARTPHONE!
OMG. Soo. You guys already know I scrutinise a lot of things... the media... social networking... pessimism from other people... badly written fantasy books... mind-melting technology and technology you can put in your pocket. You get the gist. My family nagged at me for years and years to switch from my beloved Nokia C2-01 to an android phone. NO! I insisted, I LOVE MY PHONE.

But since taking this new job I decided that at last, it is time. My new role encourages networking so I knew I'd need to have easy access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and so on. So I finally got myself a Samsung!

I really wanted a Samsung Alpha because it was very flashy, had great functions, and I don't change my phone as often as other people change their clothes (and well, and their phones) so I knew I'd keep whatever I got for the next several years at least. But Alpha was out of my budget so I scaled right down to a more basic Samsung Galaxy Ace 4. To be honest, I've heard it's a pretty dismal model but for my first smartphone it's more than good enough.

Finally, I am one of you. We are all zombies together. *zoooombiiiie huuuug*


- A Secret Thing. -
I hesitated a long while before writing this because I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I'm not unemployed any longer - I have a bunch of new clothes,  a new phone, new books, and yes, the addition of each thing made me feel temporarily happy. I am grateful for these things, but deep down I'm more unhappy than I've been in months.

Materialistic things don't solve emotional problems. Despite everything, I am more depressed than I have ever been, and I was having such dark thoughts last night I didn't sleep at all. So actually, you're kind of getting the no-sleep-hangover-word-vomit. I'm kinda unhinged right now.

It could be a lot of things. It could be the fear of failure at my new role. It could be uncertainty that I've gone into the right field, or loneliness of feeling/being cut off from my friends, the stress of finding this job and more stress at settling into the new rhythm on my life. But there's something deeper I can't put my finger on, and it's the reason I haven't had a solid night's sleep for two weeks. My days are hectic and exhausting, my diet is pretty bad, by fitness regime is worse (there isn't one), and so it makes me very uncomfortable to say, I've noticed the inklings of feelings and old habits that arrive just before the suicidal feelings, which arrive just before the cutting. I need to do something fast.

First, I'm going to seek professional help. Second, I'm going to make sure I exercise and engage in artistic activity for release, as much as I can. And third, I'm going to try extra hard to stay in touch with friends. This may not work but at least I would have tried.


I Don't Want To Leave You On A Blue Note.
Let me tell you about something EXCITING I just discovered!! On Mark Lawrence's site (he wrote Prince of Thorns) is a brand new Self-Published challenge for bloggers, where bloggers will read 25 self-published books (or as many as they can, although some bloggers are VERY FAST readers), and help to promote debut indie authors if they like it. This is extremely beneficial to the author who may struggle to be seen because gems are drowning in a huge slush pile of crap.

I've massively paraphrased this so please visit Mark Lawrence's Self-Published Author Blogger-challenge blog post to understand the challenge properly. But it's exciting, right?! I really want to get behind this but I'm wondering if I'll have time. You know. New job and all that.

It was only posted yesterday, but already six bloggers have pledged to the challenge. If you're an avid reader and agree that talented indie authors should be heard, sign up! =D

Finally, I'm going to share this absolutely stunning image I found on Pinterest. It's Beautified Disney Villains. In one sense it's kinda shallow, then again it's interesting how the beauty clashes with their innate evil and skewed moral compass, which makes them more complex. I love complex villains. Don't you?

Source: Pinterest

The Jafar one had me. I half-slipped out of my chair.


Ashana Lian .


Questions! What books did you buy/borrow this week? Have you read any of the books I bought/borrowed? And for GOODNESS SAKE how do you manage posting on your blog? I am failing. Failing! Comments are always appreciated - I comment back. :3

Friday, 27 February 2015

Fiction Friday: What is the strongest friendship in your story?


It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:


What is the strongest friendship in your story?



To see the upcoming questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post.

I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but due to short-notice interviews and suddenly being offered a job (!!  WHOO! =D) I have been unable to finish up the next chapter this week. Apologies for the delay, and it will be posted tomorrow.
___________________________________________________________________

My answer(s)

Karalan's Legacy

The strongest friendship in the Kaia group; Karalan, Jory, Cassie, Dim, the Prince of Pearls, Enny, and Rogs. Karalan is their driving force. They lay their beliefs on her and without meaning to, their hopes as well. She slowly comes to realise, being someone who has mostly felt alone, that the Kaia group love her like family.

Everybody knows how their group works - Karalan's response to most things is offended or aggressive; Cassie is the other main girl and she charms and teases, but with her partner Jory she's calm, content, and maternal; Jory is mostly silent, but is extremely good and finding whatever food is available (or hidden) and eating it all without telling anyone. As the oldest, he also takes the odd moment to talk to tell them something important, usually something nobody else has noticed.

The Prince of Pearls and Karalan understand each other on a level, so he keeps her calm and rational when she trademark fury boils over. He's also the joker of the group and brings up the mood and morale of the others. Enny Brijettie is the ray of sunshine, the girl who always laughs and is never without a smile. Enny has been sheltered from most hardships and is moderately rich, so she tries to get them the connections they need or private/expensive resources they wouldn't otherwise have access to. Finally, Rogs is the first mate of the Silk Maiden, the Prince of Pearls' ship. He's crude, loud, swears a lot, drinks a lot, and sleeps with too many girls to count. Most of the group dislike him, Karalan and Jory in particular, but excepting the Prince who sees his heart of gold, and Cassie who finds him amusing.

Oh wait, Dim! I always forget him. Ironically my characters always forget him too. Dim is the weirdo of the group, being the only one who isn't human - he's insanely curious, always wandering off to explore for large chunks of time, prodding things, setting things on fire to see what will happen, spinning things. Almost everything he says is a question. He is generally liked by the group, although he drives them insane.

So there you have the Kaia Gang.


Brilliance Of The Light

The strongest friendship in this book is between Sati and The Light Of The Forest, and they become friends later in the story. What makes their friendship so powerful is that they don't actually speak to each other but communicate through motions and music. They both have an affinity for the forest.

The Light Of The Forest takes the appearance of a little girl, but it is actually millenias old. It is curious, respectful and joyful towards Sati, and often relied of Sati for stronger connections to the real world, for example, when other people are present. Sati, at this time of the story, is probably about thirty-five. She is drifting between a dreamlike human state and an exhilarating deity state, and The Light Of The Forest helps her to cope with her newfound knowledge.

The other strongest friendship is between Sati and her husband, Nandin. When they met, their personalities were so much alike that love and friendship came hand in hand. Later on, when Sati began to come out of her shell, their relationship was tested but ultimately they never doubted the strength of their bond, and how fierce their would fight to stay together.


Ashana Lian .

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