Showing posts with label story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label story. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: Bishop a Short Story by Ric Santos



A couple of weeks ago, something stumbled across my Twitter feed and compelled me to check it out. That thing was the beautiful cover that you see. Now, being able to actually purchase it though was a completely different story (one, where I had a 2 hour phone conversation with Amazon -story coming soon-).

Something about the cover just compelled me to check it out, and @RicSantos was kind enough to show a couple of pages as a (read before you buy) which I absolutely love when authors do that by the way, and I just read the story.

I felt extremely drawn to it, and long story short, I couldn't purchase it through Amazon because apparently I live in Narnia. So I contacted the author and he kindly provided me another way to purchase the story, and the rest was history.

In the sense that it breaks away from normally found short stories and I found that it executes its concept pretty well (which is a short story to be exact). The story begins after 'The Calling' and the world is pretty much in chaos, laws are abandoned and instead anarchy breeds and lurks in every corner.

The main character, Bishop whom I immediately felt drawn to, is the personification of the word 'total badass' and spends his days hunting for his revenge. After his wife and daughter are brutally killed by a group of criminals, he sets out in an already forsaken world bent on avenging them in the most action oriented way possible: butchering everyone left and right until he gets to the source of the problem.

While I won't spoil how the story shapes, it is definitely a great read, but one that I felt could've used a lot more depth and backstory. A short story, simply does not do the world that Ric created justice, and at the end, I found myself still wondering about what would happen next.

'Bishop', was an absolutely thrilling read, but it was one, where it would leave you wanting more and more. I would absolutely love for a sequel, or even a prequel... or you know, anything!

You can find Bishop on:
- Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666848
- Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GXVK62W

That's all for now,

Until next time,
Write on!





Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Subplots in Stories

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This week's post, I thought I should talk about subplots and what their role is in books/stories and whatnot.

Now, some writers believe that subplots exist only to prolong the word count or basically act as filler content. Well, one thing is known throughout the entire globe: everyone hates fillers.

Sub-plots are stories within stories that can be used to explore and enriches the current world that your characters live in or add further depth into their development as a whole. For example, you could have your main character go back and interact with his old buddies back in his home village... or whatever.

Personally, I use subplots not only to develop characters or flesh out the world; but to also add a somewhat unique aspect to the main story as well. For example, you introduce the hero and the conflict as your main story right? The subplot could explore the antagonist perceptive and offer the "other side of the coin".

That way, and tied to last week's post you create inner conflict and force the reader to make a decision who to support or root for. I also have a rule where I add up all the events that happen in subplots to the main plot as well. Like essentially, there's always gonna be a point where the two collide.

I know this was a short post, but that's all for now, I'll probably do a top tips post on this for next week too.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tips on Story Writing - Inner Conflict


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For this week's post, I thought I would... Oh right... I guess I have to explain why I missed a couple of blogs right? Okay... Here goes... Pokemon Go. Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let's get to this week's post!

Story writing can involve a lot of different factors, it's not simply just outlining correctly or writing interesting characters and develop them well, there are some things as well.

The world you create!

I know I've talked about this a couple of times before, but I really cannot stress this enough. Even the most basic things would give life to your story. Let's talk about zombies (because who doesn't like zombies right? I mean, thank god Twilight didn't have zombies in it).

Say for example you're writing a story about a zombie outbreak. Now consider the current world status about every issue out there. No matter how silly or idiotic a concept may seem to you, it may very well appeal to someone else (some will try to control it, in order to generate money from it, and others will follow because of their kind hearts which are easily misled).

What the hell am I talking about? Organizations. I am welling to bet that SHOULD a zombie outbreak occur nowadays in the 21st century and after a load of games that prepared us for that possibility... we would have people speak for zombie rights (not hinting at anything, just trying to make a point).

There would just have to be people speaking for how we should contain zombies and that we may not have the technology to save them now, but it might be possible to conjure a cure in the future, and so we should not remember zombies as the wild beasts that they are but the loving people who they once were.

Who knows, they may be right, and I may even side with them, but that's not the point here. It's about how to create an inner conflict in the reader. On one side, zombies are killing people, and trying to rescue them may actually cause a death or two (or you know... mass extinction of the human race) but the reader cannot help but feel like there has to be a cure!

By providing two sides into every situation, you are getting the reader to subconsciously make choices and form opinions. What decision are they supporting? Who are the characters who take this cause as their burden? These can prove to be a vital ingredient to a story.

I hope you find this useful.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tips on World Building - The Skeleton

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I decided to do a segment on World Building, which is by far one of the most important aspects of any story, regardless what genre it is. I'll be sharing tips as well on how to make an imaginary world believable in a set of posts, so the first part is:

The skeleton.

Before you start any story, an important aspect to consider is how the world is shaped, what is it called, what is the dominant religion, how wealth is distributed and so on.

Knowing the cities and villages of a continent can give you clear directions on where the characters are going, and what they should do. That is why before I write a story, I draw a little map on my whiteboard and name the countries, cities, villages, forts whatever the landscape will have. Always keep in mind that, wealth is never shared equally. If there is a wealthy person, then that is because someone got poor because of him.

If you need any tips, pay attention to the current world state of our own little planet. That is:

1- People will always disagree.
2- There will always be an organization to protect something (environment, earth day and so on...).
3- For someone to be rich, another must be poor.
4- Power corrupts, so the ones in charge have a huge chance of being complete assholes.
5- There is no evil. A good person may do an evil deed, and vice versa (it just depends).
6- Humans fear the unknown. If your world has humans, then they ought to behave like them too.

These are only the first ingredients of the world you're building, other things to consider are basically how much control do the common people have, do they have an activist hero fighting for their rights or equality? How secure their everyday life is?

Stay tuned for more!

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Updates, News and Currently in Progress + Excerpt!

Hello!

I know that I missed last week's post, and I thought that I should explain why, I promise you though, I'm not slacking off. Well, sort of... Jack of Scurvy Bay has not been released yet, because at the last minute I decided to enter it in a competition.

And currently, I have a couple of submissions to some magazines in Canada and the USA, aside from that, I began the last editing round on Dragon Tooth finally in order to prepare it for the June release!

I'm doing a lot of exciting things as well. One of which, is I started working on a new project called "Titans: War For the World". I'm not sure to be honest at this current stage if it'll be a novella or a full novel so I decided to just relax and take my time with it. It'll be as long as it needs to be.

So, I will leave you with a little excerpt from chapter 1! I hope you enjoy this:


-----------------------------------------

....
       For hundreds of years, the reign of the Magmar dynasty knew only peace that was built on fear and respect. The current King Magmar the Third was known to spare the opposing faction only if their King and all of their commanders surrender and bow to him in their own home capital in front of the entire population.
With that tradition, nearly all of those who opposed the Crown disappeared as they were absorbed in the culture. This was but a beautiful day in the peaceful village of Palleria.
       “The ancient history books speak of seven entities, whether they be divine or not, has been a debate for hundreds of years. It is said that any man that can strike the fatal blow to one, gains their power,” said Mein, he was old and wore a dark gray robe that only showed his eyes and long gray beard.
       The class that he lectured grew silent with every bit of his word. Palleria has been known to keep a great deal of history of the ancient lore, and as such this was a tale that all children grew up with, cherished the thought that one day they too may possess the strength to change the world.
       “Master Mein . . . Are the titans real?” asked one of the children.
       “No one knows, the last recorded incident of their existence is before the time of the Magmars. The story says that King Magmar the First raised an army and challenged them for the right to the very earth. Some say that he slew two of the seven titans, and gained the Strength and the Voice.”
       “What do they do?”
       Mein took a deep sigh, he could not blame them for their excitement. “It is said that the Titan of Strength grants its slayer immense powers, he could lift a rock the size of a mountain. And the Voice is when you hear the souls of a hundred ancient lord counselling you on every matter.”
       “What happened then?” they asked.
       “Well . . . King Magmar soared through the armies of the remaining Titans and slew them all, liberating the world, and well, the books of history stop there. That would be enough for today. If any of you-“ Mein noticed a student that was looking across seeming lost in thought.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How To Name Your Character


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This is probably one of those things that you either can do very easily, or struggle severely with. This is mostly a problem that I do not face when I start a new story (sorry!) as I will always have specific names that I would love to use in any of them. They are my babies after all (even though some face extremely horrible situations...) but in the end, think of it in terms of what names best suit your character. If they are a warrior, then something like Vikus, Octus, or even Aelin would work (granted it is a fantasy setting). Now, there are still some rule of thumbs when it comes to characters:

1- Never use two names which start with the same alphabet in a story. It just confuses readers generally. This is to be honest, something I try to break as well, but I keep it under tight control (meaning that those characters will never be in the same chapter unless they are alone and having a dialog). If you are still confused, here's an example:  
Jack - Jordan
Mike - Micheal and so on. 

2- The names must fit the setting and culture. Let's take Game of Thrones for example. If George had named the Dothraki people "Jack Renulds" and "John Adam" it would just push the characters out of their primitive culture, so the named must fit the setting. It is known. Keep in mind that this is entirely dependent on the genre that you are writing as well, having a name such as "Ragnor" in a children story is kinda of an off for me. Just imagine these lines "there once was a man, in the peaceful loving kingdom of joy who used to chase butterflies! His name . . . was Ragnor the Mad. Okay I may be exaggerating here but you get the point. 

3- Translate words from different languages. Or better yet, come up with a completely new one! Tolkiens did it, George did it, so why not you as well? Something that I personally use, I try to translate specific latin words and use them as the base for the name. For example Rory is Latin for the Red King, while Mors is Death, so combining the two would give a character that wreaks havoc and breathes torture something like Morus, and attaching a nick name to that would give them that vibe! Think Morus the Black Knight, or the Red King, even the Bringer of Death!

That's all for now, I will probably make another post to explain in depth my own process for naming the characters pretty soon. 

Until next time,
Write on.

Monday, April 18, 2016

5 Tips On How To Build A Convincing World


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One of the main issues that writers face when writing fiction is world building. It may be a writer's ultimate demise to be honest, however there are a couple of tips and tricks that you can use in order to make the world your writing about sound convincing. 

1- Explain everything. Whether it involves magic, or a mysterious old knight who was banished from his village for bringing dishonor to it by commanding a band of warriors and challenging the throne. Give lots of back information but make sure that it is not an info dump. Explain the complexiity through simple means. Be it a foreigner who doesn't know the traditions of a country (to which is explained to) or through flashbacks. 

2- Either start with everyone knowing, or everyone is shocked to know. If your world contains magic, you might want to start in a way that it is something that has been absorbed by the community all along and everyone is aware of it. You can then explain the limitations (I'll to it in a minute) through either combat or carefuly crafted dialog. 

3- Limitations. Always have golden rules that cannot be broken, and put imitations to hinder the characters from being overpowered. For example, a wizard's strengh may be determined by his energy, willpower or some sort of mana mechanism. 

4- Craft good shocks, not unbelievable ones. Having your protagonist suddenly discover that they have that ONE legendary spell that can take every opponent down just when they are in a pinch is somewhat annoying and shocks the readers out of the world. "But couldn't he have used it before?" these sort of questions if they leak into your readers, you lose them.

5- Everyone loves exploring. I found that one of the bst ways to make the readers fall for your world, is to have your protagonist at one point explore the world! Discover different cultures and have complex societies with their own certain rules. You can be wild. Have a city where slaves are the masters even though they are slaves. Did I make sense? No. Does it matter? Nope. 

That's all for now,

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Short Story: Secret of the Moonlight

Hey everyone! I'm really excited to let you know that you can read Secret of the Moonlight exclusively (and free) on Wattpad! This the third short story that I had previously planned to release but I figured, just to publish it so you guys can enjoy it and get a sense of what to expect in anything I write! I will leave you with the cover, and the link to read it on Wattpad!

(P.S I will probably add a new page where you can download posters of any stories you like, so if there is anything on your mind, now is the time).



Blurb: 

A number of unsolved cases demand the attention of a famous detective, known for tackling a lot of mysterious with success. His success rate has garnered him enough reputation that criminals fear. Isabelle is the girlfriend of Calvin Greyson, son of the well-known Jack Grayson, and after he receives a threatening letter, she runs off to the police to seek their help.

Until next time,
Write on!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Writing a Short Story VS Writing Novel

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There are many different aspects to consider when writing a short story, and a novel. They are two completely different genres which require their own unique style in story telling. Personally, I think of short stories as exercises which one can do in order to get in that culture of finishing a piece, whether its 1K words, or 10K words or even a 100K one.

One of the main challenges when writing a novel is to actually flush it out in a way that is still engaging. Any sentence you write should build up for something larger or give hints towards something that needs explaining; you simply cannot get away with writing fillers in a novel (stuff completely irreverent to the story just for the sake of increasing the word count).

In short stories, you can actually get away with a lot of things, for example you can skip an entire battle or a change in sequence... moving forward with the story in just around 500 words (something that cannot be forgiven in a novel). Some might argue that this does not reflect good practices, to which I say, who the hell sets the rules for writers? We ourselves do.

Think of it like this: in a short story, you can sum up a huge event with its outcome and just proceed to the aftermath. In a novel, you have to explicitly describe everything that happened, no excuses!

Writing short stories is always fun, as you essentially get the culture of actually finishing a project, and that momentum is what gets you going when you're writing a novel. You will never improve if you keep writing in your comfort zone... you have to extend it and explore different genres in order to increase your vocabulary.

Until next time,
Write On.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Duck's Sacrifice - Short Story



Our story begins in the magical forests where a duck was living along with her three children near a suburban area. Every day the duck went to town and bought food for her three children and that has been the pattern of their everyday life, living happily together until one shadowy night.

It started as what appeared to be a normal day. The mother duck got up and woke her children for breakfast. Soon after, the mother decided that it was time to go to the City as usual and buy food for the next day. However, before walking out, she was stopped by the youngest of her children, Sophie.
“Mom, I wish you would get me a present . . .” she said. “Me too!” shouted all the children at once.
After seeing their enthusiasm, the mother could only smile at the innocence of her children.

How can I say no to them?” she thought. “Very well, I promise to bring you the best gifts I can!” The children screamed and cheered at the delightful response.

“Bye mom! Stay safe, I love you!” said one of the children.

Excited, they could barely wait for their mother to return.


The mother was walking ever so happily, but soon, her train of thought was cut by the raging sound of thunder. She looked up, staring at the clouds, and as she lowered her gaze, she was shocked to a see a bloodthirsty wolf staring at her.

“Oh no! What do I do now!” she thought.

“Going somewhere?” the wolf says sarcastically.

Time quickly passes, and the sun is almost set, and there were the children, patiently waiting in tears of excitement and joy as they wait for their mother’s return with gifts and food. But fate had decided otherwise…

As it was getting late, soon, the feelings of joy and happiness were quickly substituted for worry and sorrow.

“Mom’s late… this isn’t like her…” said Sophie.

“Maybe we should go look for her!” said one of the children.

“You’re right… we should” said the eldest as they decided to go outside and look for their mother.

As they went out of the house, they stood there ever so shocked due to what they saw. Their heart did not wish to believe what their eyes were seeing. A cold body, filled with open wounds, blood scattered everywhere . . . their mother, laying dead . . . after a coldblooded attack.

“MOM!!” they shouted as they rushed towards their mother lying in a pool of her own blood . . .  

“N..no… go back… I.. its.. not safe…” she warned the children, but they did not listen… they would not listen. They rushed towards their mother, and tried desperately to bring her back to the house.

But as they were picking their mother up, they turned only to see their house surrounded by a pack of wolves, one, very familiar to the mother duck . . . it was the wolf that had once attacked the mother, and now returns to inflict death and finish where he once started, only this time with his entire pack as well.

“Oh oh oh, what do we have here… going somewhere?” said the pack leader, the same wolf that had attacked the mother duck while grinding his teeth.

Then came the hardest of trials of the mother, where words would not escape her lips, only tears. Tears she shed for the fate that she knew awaited her children. Tears that dropped in the knowledge that her children loved her so much that they would not heed her warnings.

But then the unexpected happened. Ruki, the eldest, bravest and most beautiful of her children, spoke, and where one flower should’ve fallen, there she stood, proud and strong in defiance of the pack’s tyranny, and an attempt to restore hope and wash away the teary eyes of her siblings.

“Stop it all of you!” she screamed at the pack. “If you think that you can scare us by doing whatever it is that you are about to do, you’re wrong.”

“If this is really our end, then I am thankful to meet the end without regret, without anything!”

The mother smiles, and tears keep falling down her face. And the children begin to tighten their grip and hold each other crying. Afraid but feeling overpowered by the words of Ruki.

“And if this is really the end, then we will meet it with our pride and with our mother! And be grateful to meet it and we’ll make it such an ending, that it would shake the skies from above!”

Upon hearing Ruki’s words, the children explode in tears… sorrowful tears… brave ones…


And as the wolves were getting prepared to attack, the pack leader smirked, then commenced the attack, and along with his pack of wolves . . . slaughtered all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Writing My First Story Ever

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Every writer has an incredible story about the first thing he wrote. It might be embarressing or just plain awesome from the start, but my journey writing stories actually started when I was 9 years old. actually wrote the story in Arabic and it revolved around a person called "Leo" who travels to Mars and makes contact with Aliens. He then proceeds to mobilize Earth's army and try to conquer the damn thing. 

I didn't actually finish it, nor do I know where it is currently but nonetheless, that was my first experience writing a story. I still hope to write the story again with better names than "Leo" who I believe was a reference to 'Leo' from 'Charmed' but maybe its better to leave it at the past.

It wasn't that embaressing really, except for the part that people made fun of me and called me crazy, but yeah other than that, it was just an amazing feeling to write something and bring a world to life through your vivid imagination. 

Aside from that, my first ever (English written) story was called "A Duck's Sacrifice". It started as a very innocent story about a Duck living with her family, and then they get attacked by a pack of wolves and eventually some... bad stuff happen. I'm not gonna spoil it, and tell you what, I'll be posting the story next week for your enjoyment/horror. 

I wrote "A Duck's Sacrifice" back in 2012 and from there, I began to work on Dragon Tooth as well (yeah, been actually 4 years since I began writing the damn thing). Dragon Tooth took me this long because I re-wrote it a couple of times as well.

So yeah, that's my story, what's yours? 

Write on,
InfranGilis

Friday, September 4, 2015

How To Write A Compelling Story


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Many writers struggle when writing a story and they just can't seem to get the plot, lessons and values carefully embedded in a story. Often, the stories are just predictable and throughout this blog, I'll hopefully go through how you can surprise the audience even when having a cliche.

This will focus on fiction, but it can easily be used and adjusted to suit any genre there is.

1- You should power and jump straight in! 

Most writers spend tremendous amount of time trying to explain the world they have created that they bore the reader with details they don't need the instant they pick the book. Jump right in! Explain the world through the progression of the story... the rules, the fights, the conflicts. Introduce the world through the actions and have them integrated IN the story. The best example I can think of is to have an outsider, and have your character take them through the basics.

Example:

Person A is from another continent and doesn't know anything about the customs and rules of <City>. He gets in trouble and does something that is socially unacceptable, and gets saved by Person B (a citizen) who then goes on to explain to him the rules.

It's still challenging however to embed this in the story without sounding boring. So, what you can do is make it more exciting to the reader and have Person A joke and ridicule their methods and how they live. Your readers will be able to relate better to the character this way.

2- Write complex imperfect characters!

Write imperfect characters! Because perfection = boredom in fiction. You want to have your character someone who the reader can relate to, just think about it, how many perfect people have you met so far? None!

Also, give your character a tone, motives, objectives and even hidden agendas so that the reader gets confused as to what they are hiding. Don't introduce lots of characters and then kill them (*cough*...) just use any character that you have already. It's much better to keep the story to as little characters as you can.

Often heroes are so overpowered that the bad guys don't have that much of a chance anyways, however do something different... make your protagonist the underdog for a change or have them go through hell. Have an opponent play at his weaknesses and just when their about to lose, their best friend ends up betraying them! Readers love these occurrences because they want to see how the character reacts. Have your readers care for your character... and you have succeeded at creating a complex character.

3- Always end with a bang!

Often called cliff-hangers. Always end a chapter while the reader wants to read more. Just when there is a huge reveal... just when someone powerful enough comes sending the bad guy flying... stuff that would make the reader thirst for more. For me personally, I always try to end each POV with a "bang" making the reader anticipate everything on every little end.

Don't be afraid to end the chapter in the heart of the action as well as ending it with an upset.  It's often a good idea to break the chapter into parts to control the pace, as sometimes when the pace is high enough the writer just powers through the story out of excitement but unfortunately it ends up being a disappointment, because the reader kept anticipating bigger and more exciting events to happen.

Build excitement, when the pace is getting too high.

4- Plot, plot, plot, and plot!

Before even writing, you must have a plot written down, even if its just one sentence... for example the plot for Mario is that "a princess gets kidnapped, and Mario sets out to save her". Try to establish the purpose of the story early one in order to get lots of room for twists. For example, you could build the story so that Mario is desperate to go save the princess at all costs. Going through all challenges and enemies on his way, but as soon as he finds the princess... she confesses that she does not want to go back. She wasn't kidnapped... she left.

See? That makes the writer able to write compelling and disturbing twists if he knows what the reader is anticipating and expecting, it makes it easier to break those thoughts surprising them with more and keeping them on their toes.

5- Don't be afraid to KILL your characters!

Yes, you heard me right. Don't be afraid to kill your characters. I know it's difficult and that I am a horrible person to even suggest it, but believe me the cliche of having a person always survive a situation no matter how bad it seems just takes the realism out of it. It makes the reader predict how the story will end just because you wouldn't let the person die!

Sometimes, no matter how bad the situation is, the hero is in the wrong place at the wrong time however, the audience doesn't even feel a thing because they know the "hero" will always survive. Take Game Of Thrones here for a second... can you predict who lives or dies? Exactly. It should be real, if the character does something, goes somewhere or does anything completely stupid... chances are they are gonna die. And it's that realism that I believe every fiction has to include.

Why? Because first of all, the idea of death is real enough for every reader, and once they see that your book is no different, they will start to care for the characters more because at any moment, they might just die!

I have to be honest here, I have killed more characters than I can remember, and every time I do it, I feel horrible... which reminds me that I am actually a good guy because I felt the death of the character I had just killed off in the most horrible way possible... Well, it's the thought that counts!