PerNoWriMo Delayed

Honestly, my ability to create a new habit was badly affected in the first few days of the month because of outside conditions. The lack of a definite starting point for the challenge threw me off course, and my understanding that I would have to write so many words in a day made me all the more hesitant to start.

But I'm not giving up on it, because it has real potential and I could gain a lot from it. I am simply delaying it. I don't know when I will start, but I do know it will be on or before the 1st of January.

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I Can't Draw: Elizabethan Houses

This was the project that put me off drawing for a few months.

A word of advice:
Drawings based on geometry are not as easy as they may seem.

At least, that was the lesson I took from trying to draw this Elizabethan style house.

The intention with this drawing was to remove the second storey. This would make it a more accurate interpretation of Echo's house in Efisae.

In the following drawing I learnt of two important difficulties in regards to geometric drawings:
1. Details.
2. Perspective.

Those are the things that make this drawing not what it could have been.

When I got to the bottom of the drawing (having worked my way from top to bottom), I noticed my mistake. I had followed the horizontal lines exactly, whereas they should have been more dispersed to the right side of the drawing. This was my lesson on the importance of perspective.

This photo had an insurmountable amount of detail -- at least, for a second drawing attempt.

As you may have noticed, the drawing itself is unfinished. There was shading to do, shadows to draw in and further details to draw. It was just all too overwhelming and by this point I had worked on it for a few hours and was burnt out.

This was my lesson on geometric drawings, and I shall not attempt one again for some time.

The next time I draw, if I do draw again, it will be more in the vein of my previous drawing. I'm expecting pottery or small statues.

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The Dark Corner: Featured

The Written Connection is an amazing blog directory with the intention of linking writers' blogs in one convenient place. I am over the moon to be a part of this project.

Here is their review of the blog.

Blog Name: The Dark Corner of the Mind

Blog Author: Ryan Sullivan


If there’s anything you can expect from Ryan Sullivan, it’s the unexpected. He doesn’t do NaNoWriMo, he does PerNoWriMo (Personal Novel Writing Month, as of December 2010 1,000 words a day.) Click on his “I can’t draw” link for some excellent sketches.

Read the comments…and you’ll see the one drawback to the blog. >_> This guy’s posting is as random as it is unique. Sometimes it’s daily, sometimes it’s monthly.

Ryan Sullivan You Need To Post!

TWC Review:

Post frequency: 2/10 Very Random Post Schedule

Comment Replies: 7/10 Responds to most comments eventually

Navigation: 10/10

Uniqueness: 10/10

Overall: 7/10

Yes, I do need to post! I have several outlines for posts that I need to get to soon. And I need to start working to a schedule.

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PerNoWriMo: Day 1

I've at least made a decent start.

I wrote 1,016 words today. With still two days left of school, it will be hard to work around them, but I will try. Once the holidays start, I'm hoping I'll be able to fall into a more regular pattern.

It is now well into early morning, so I shall sleep.

Good night.

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I'm an idiot. I am completely devoid of self-discipline, and I consistently fail to meet my goals.

Quite possibly, it will happen again this time, but maybe if I aim so high as I am now, in the end I will still have something considerable even if I fail.

This December I am going to aim for 30,000 words. That's 1,000 words a day, and thus, absolutely ridiculous. Hell, that's my entire word count right now! But whatever, that's my aim regardless.

I'm starting this PerNoWriMo (or Personal Novel Writing Month) today, the 30th of November, to prepare myself for what's to come. I still have three days left of school before my two month holiday.

Although "systems" don't seem to be my forte, I'm going to try one out here:
- The first thing I will do each morning is write.
- I will reuse the system of "reading-writing / writing-reading" as in my last challenge.
- When I write, my aim for each day will be 1,000 words, but I will not write aiming for word count. Instead, I will aim to complete a number of scenes.
- I may stop once I reach 1,000 words, but no less.

Unfortunately, I won't have the comfort of knowing that people all around the world are also working hard at their novels. However, my friend has agreed to take the plunge as well, so I will have some support.

But now it's time for me to write!

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Writing Challenge: ..."Incomplete"


So let's just say I've got a busy life. Just say.

I didn't write 2,000 words.

But who cares?

I wrote a good 500,
and I think I can write another good 500 tomorrow.

I'm altering my challenge.

I shall write 500 words a day until I am up to date,
and then I shall write something every day until the end of the month.

If I can do that and get to 5,000 this month,
I should easily be able to reach 40,000 by the end of the year.

Or, otherwise be well set-up for any PerNoWriMo challenge I decide on.

Poetry: Haikus Are Easy

Haikus are 5 sylbls, 7 sylbls and 5 sylbls.

I found this little tidbit within a Youtube comment and thought I'd post it here, because I found it quite amusing.

Haikus are easy,
But sometimes they don't make sense.

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Aundes Aura: Chapter Five up for review

The challenge is still on, but it's had to be pushed back till tomorrow due to... repeated parental interruptions. Said parent will be off at work tomorrow, so the day will be mine.

This is just a quick notice to let you guys know that Aundes Aura: Chapter Five is up for review as of right now since Wednesday. So if you're interested in reading or critiquing it, feel free to drop by the fantasy queue.

I'm going to try to get a few words in now just before I go to sleep.

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Writing Challenge: 2,000 Words

Suffices to say, I am well off-track from reaching 5,000 words by the end of this month. After having written today, I am on but 1,557 this month. Truly shameful, but again, you can't expect much amidst the pressure of exams.

However, I do have the next four days off, and I shall make good use of this time.

Tomorrow, I am giving myself a new challenge. An implausable challenge considering my level of perseverance, yet very, very possible.

Upon waking up tomorrow (except for in accordance with the follwing set of rules) I shall not use:
- The internet
- Any electronic device, or

- Any instrument, whether digital or acoustic

Upon waking up tomorrow I shall use:
- Either a laptop, a computer or both
- Raymond E. Feist's Magician and
- Write or Die

Upon reaching 2,000 words, all rules above shall be terminated.

So there, that's my challenge. Reading will be what I use to get my mind moving whenever I'm not writing. When I stop reading, what else will I be able to do than write (and eat) with the above rules in place? It may be a slow day. But I have three afterwards. Hopefully I won't be too burnt out. After tomorrow, I will be pleased with myself if I can just keep writing that something each day.

I don't believe this will put me back on track for the 5,000 words unless I can keep writing consistently afterwards. However, currently being on 31,300 words (*grins*), it should put me well on my way to 40,000 words by the end of December and 2010.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. So let us part not.

It has been yet another dry month at the Dark Corner, and my apologies to those who have kept with me all this time. I have been studying for exams and am now in the midst of them -- however, this does allow me more time.

For the sake of consistency and hopefully to be rid of these dry spells once and for all, I would like to run this blog on a more scheduled basis.

Two days a week I will make a post. One of these days, I will write about Aundes Aura or other aspects of my writing life. On the other day, I will write something to do with the craft of writing itself, whether it's in relation to a short story, a novel, grammar -- anything.

I will also allow myself to write additional posts as they come to me, but those two days when a post is due will come first and foremost.

I love this blog, and I hope you enjoy it too, and I don't want it to disappear into the ether.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. So let us part not.

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Writer's Block: Listing the Possibilities

So you've had a nice pleasant run of easy words. You've managed to make it all the way to that event you've been so excited to write, and you've managed to write yourself all the way through it. And...

Now you're blocked. You know where you want your characters to end up (if you're an outliner). But how do they get there? They can't just walk and talk, can they? Doesn't something more interesting need to happen?

Well, not necessarily.

But if you can get something in there, and make it work well, you've just successfully held a reader's interest for longer.

So: Your characters have just left a village. How do you come up with what happens next, in all that space before the next village is reached?

The easiest option: SKIP IT.
To do so, you can follow these steps.
1. Write in a chapter break or a scene break.
2. Write some narrative summary, summarising the decidedly bland events of the journey.
3. Continue from the arrival of the characters, or the next significant scene.

Sometimes, the easiest option is the best option. If nothing happens that develops the plot, characters or their backstories, consider skipping it and summarising the journey instead.

However, we should not always take the easiest option, otherwise the pacing becomes predictable and bland.

We want to come up with an event that somehow contributes to plot, character development or character backstory.

Now, the idea with the following technique is to write out everything that comes to mind, even the most ridiculous ideas. Once those silly ideas are written down, it frees your mind and the better ideas come to surface.

Here is exactly how I would do it, listing all the possible events that could occur:

- They find a cave that Eoin has heard stories about and they decide to explore it.
- Faine is killed by a snake.
- Saera stabs Faine in the back unexpectedly. She says he was planning to kill them and gives Eoin proof.
- They find a man who has been poisoned.
- A snake attacks and Faine slices it in half.
- A snake attacks and Saera slices it in half.

After having written down all those options, I would choose the last one, as it would contribute well to Saera's character development. 

Since Eoin has been very protective of Saera in the story so far, the fact that she steps up and kills it shows that she is becoming more assertive and tells the reader that she really doesn't need to be looked after. Now Eoin needs to focus on looking after himself.

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One Step Closer

I entered my short story "The Tower in My Dream" into an Australian schools contest. I know I'm one step closer to winning, because last time I entered four years ago, I didn't make it to the "Would you like to be published in our poem and short story anthology" stage. Well, this time I have made it that far.

I'm not getting any hopes up, but I'm half trying to tell myself I have a chance. Five hundred dollars could help me immensely with my savings for a new digital piano. I'd be more than happy with the $200 second prize. Hell, I'd be proud just to be a semifinalist.

It's all about the credits here.

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Will You Represent an Aussie?

I sent emails to eight literary agents in the US and UK to find out who would represent an author living in Australia. A few days later, I got three in return. More than a week after that, I haven't gotten a reply from anywhere else.

This was my basic email:

[Agent's/Agency's name here],

I am currently writing an epic fantasy novel. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I would like to know if you represent overseas authors.

The manuscript is not yet complete, but I anticipate that when it is finished it will be 70,000 - 90,000 words. The novel is aimed at late teens, but isn't particularly YA.

Thank you for your time,

Ryan Sullivan.

And here were the replies I got:

Darley Anderson Literary

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for your email.

We do represent overseas authors provided they intend to publish within the British market.

Due to the enormous number of emailed submissions we receive on a daily basis, we are only able to consider hard-copy manuscripts. If you wish to submit your manuscript for consideration, please do send us a hard copy of the first three consecutive chapters of your work, together with a one page synopsis, a covering letter and a SAE should it not be for us. Alternatively we are happy to contact you via email and recycle the pages once we've had a look.

If submitting via post is going to be a problem for you, living in Australia as you do, feel free to reply to this email and I am sure we could sort something out. However, if it is at all possible, we would really prefer a hard copy submission.

We look forward to receiving your work.

Best wishes,

Vicki Le Feuvre

Darley Anderson Literary, TV & Film Agency

Estelle House

11 Eustace Road

London SW6 6JB

Tel: +44 20 7386 2674

Fax: +44 20 73865571

Nelson Literary Agency

Dear Author:

Yes, we are open to authors from around the world. We invite you to query us when your project is completed.



Scott Hoffman (Folio Literary Management)

Thank you for your recent query letter. We are always eager to hear from writers who are serious about the business of writing; unfortunately, we do not feel that we are the right company to represent your work.

We have to be very selective of what we choose to represent, and all of our decisions are based on a frank assessment of the current needs of the literary marketplace. The fact that this work doesn’t fit our narrow criteria for representation does not mean it couldn’t find a home elsewhere. We urge you to submit your work to other agencies or management companies that may be more suited to this type of material.

Kind Regards,

Scott P. Hoffman

Having just jumped over to Darley Anderson Literary's webpage, I have found that every single book the agent found a publisher for was published within the "UK and Commonwealth" market. Australia is part of the British Commonwealth! I then searched Angus and Robertson, one of the most popular bookstore chains in Australia, and on the homepage I found a book by Lee Child, one of Darley Anderson's authors. I then proceeded to search "Wintercraft", one of the agency's YA dark fantasy books. And there it was.

More often than not, the agency has found publishers in countries such as France and Germany for a wider worldwide market.

I am suddenly very excited about this agency.

It's a shame you hear so many stories of rejection, because I would really love the opportunity to work with this agency.

Still, I plucked up the courage to contact them again. I can never know if I'm pushing too much, or whether they're excited to see an eager author.


Thank you for your prompt reply.

I have thoroughly browsed your authors and noticed that each one is first and foremost published in the "UK and Commonwealth". Living in Australia, I am part of the Commonwealth and thus would be very excited to be able to buy my own book in Australia provided it found publication. I continued to search a number of your authors' books in popular bookstore chains in Australia, and was able to find all of them.

Can you confirm that the book would be sold in Australia?

Regardless, you are currently at the top of my list of preferred agents, and you shall be the first I contact when my manuscript is ready next year.


Ryan Sullivan.

Depending on the nature of their response, if they even do respond, I will post their reply.

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Outlining: My Three Outlines

My first outline is the general outline, which has the basic, main events that happen in each chapter.

Chapter Eight:
• They come out the other side and go directly to the closest town, Efisae. There they meet Echo. They find out what he can do with his gift.
• They sleep at Echo's house. In the middle of the night, there is a commotion outside.
• Eoin, Saera, Faine and Echo go down into the street. Saera blinds them and Echo plants in their unconscious minds to go back home.

There is more to this, but I don't want to spoil too much.

Second, there is what I call the Temporary Outline. Here, I outline more specific events that I think might cover the next 1,000 words or so.

At the time of writing this, the Temporary Outline was simply:

• They meet Echo at his house.

And in fact, this took up 1,024 words. I'm consistently shocked at how many words seemingly small scenes can take up.

The final outline I use, I affectionately call the Micro-Outline. The Micro-Outline goes into the details of what exactly happens, including ideas for what movements I might want the characters to make, and any good dialogue that comes to mind. It's like I'm writing out the scene, but I don't have to worry about how best to make it pretty. It's like I'm doing all the thinking at this point, and when I write out the prose I just get to make it all pretty. It definitely takes a lot of the pressure off. It means I've always got something specific to refer to when I'm not sure what to write next.

This is what it looks like:

• Faine walks calmly. Eoin tries to pretend he is calm, but really his heart is racing. He feels strange. He’s never done anything like this before. Faine has said he’s done it often, so maybe that is why he doesn’t appear at all afraid.

• Eoin turns and sees Saera behind him. She is hunched over and her face is white. They climb creaking stairs. The door to Echo’s study is ajar (inside, Echo can be seen leaning over his desk and there is the scratch of furious scribbling) and Faine leads Eoin and Saera inside, calling Echo’s name.

• Echo starts at the voice and jerks upright. He turns in his seat and jumps up to shake Faine’s hand enthusiastically. “It’s been too long. And who’s this?”
Faine introduces Eoin and Saera. He shakes Eoin’s hand with a firm grip. He takes Saera’s hand and lifts it to give it a soft kiss.

• Echo offers Eoin and Saera seats across his desk. Describe the desk, the wall of bookshelves and the view outside the window as Eoin moves around the desk and sits. Faine sits in a couch in the corner.

It might take twice as long doing it this way, but it makes me feel so much more confident when it comes to writing out the prose.
While writing the following scene, I played for the second time with the idea of artificial tension -- when the MC feels tense even though there probably isn't anything to be tense about in reality.
Here is the prose, mostly as it came out under the conditions of Write or Die:
Faine stepped inside and presented the entrance hall. Eoin shrugged and entered. He heard Saera's timid footsteps behind him. Faine walked casually in front of him. Eoin tried to look casual like Faine, but inside his heart was racing. It felt strange just walking into the house of some person he'd never met. He never would have done this back home. Never. Yet Faine said he'd done it often, so maybe that was why he seemed so casual. Eoin was all too aware of his own body language, his clenched fists and upright posture.
Eoin turned to check Saera was still with them. She was hunched over and her face was white. She made the smallest and quietest of steps. At least he didn't look that bad. Eoin tried to loosen up a bit. He moved his arms so they weren't so tight by his waist and lowered his shoulders. Faine turned left up a staircase. Eoin followed, but when a stair creaked he froze exactly where he was. Faine was waiting at the top, obviously unfazed by the noise. In fact, Faine didn't seem afraid to make any noise.

Eoin breathed in and climbed the rest of staircase without stopping, even when it creaked its loudest. Saera was right behind him and they met Faine at the top, now standing in a wide hallway.

"Echo's study is just this way." Faine spoke as though they hadn't broken into the house. Eoin looked at Saera, who shook her head. He knew this meant she didn't want him to go, but he ignored her and walked on with Faine.

It was just now that Eoin realised what they were doing wasn't anything like breaking and entering. It was just the way Echo and Faine did things. That was why Faine showed no hesitation at all in breaking through the front door. Eoin felt suddenly much more comfortable and walked with a confidence closer to Faine’s.

The door to the study was open, and inside a figure was leaning over the desk and there was the scratch of furious scribbling.

As Faine led Eoin and Saera into the large room, he said, "Echo."

The figure started at the voice and jerked upright in his seat, still facing the window. "I know that voice." The figure turned in his seat and, seeing Faine, jumped up and shook his hand at least eight times, an enormous grin on his face. They clapped each other on the back. The man's eyes locked onto Eoin and Saera. "And who have you brought with you?"

"This is Saera and Eoin."

Echo stepped forward and shook Eoin's hand with a firm grip. He then turned to Saera, and while Eoin thought he would show her the same custom, he lifted her hand and gave it a soft kiss. Saera's cheeks turned a faint red.

"Please, take a seat." Echo gestured to two chairs on the other side of his desk.

Eoin and Saera both thanked him. A singular, long bookshelf took up the space of one wall, full of books with red, brown and black covers with gold writing. One corner of the room, by the window, was filled by a comfortable looking couch, which Faine promptly sat in. The window behind the desk was massive. Eoin saw the house across the road with its tree overhanging the roof, a small forest of these alien trees behind it, and then hills of beautiful, dark green grass extending into the distance.

Eoin and Saera sat in the chairs across from Echo.

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Revisiting "The Carrot": Update

I didn't reach 2,000 words today. I made an informed decision to stop at 1,024 words.

Regardless, that put my monthly word count up to a cozy 4,272.

I plan to write my 500 tomorrow to start off my month.

To productivity!

Help changing the name of a major character.

I've been told that the name of one of my characters (Echo) looks similar to the main character's name (Eoin), and that skimming readers could easily get confused. I completely agree.

I'm considering changing the name, and I'd like some opinions. The best I've come up with so far is:

Athrù: Irish for "change".

The siginificance: Something in "Echo's" past caused him to change his name -- take on a nickname (that being Athrù/Echo). The name signifies a change he tried to make in himself.

All thoughts and suggestions are warmly invited (please). I'd really like to find the best possible name for this character.

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Revisiting "The Carrot": 2,000 words

Related Post: The Carrot

Miraculously, my monthly word count has jumped to 3,250 since starting my 500 word rule. Not so miraculously, I missed one day, wrote 500 the next day, and haven't written for two days. If I desperately want to make all that up along with today's requirement (and I do), I need to write roughly 2,000 words.

So, returning to my motivatory roots, I took up the challenge and visited the milkbar. I bought myself a 1.25L bottle of Schweppes Brown Creaming Soda and a 5X10 block of Cadbury Crunchie Chocolate.

The rule: For every 300 words I write, I get 1 row of chocolate and 1 glass of Creaming Soda.

We'll see how I go. I'll be back to update.

I Can't Draw: Birds

I can't draw.

But I would like to be able to.

 And just like writing, you have to start somewhere. I'm pretty sure I started with something way too difficult for my first try at drawing from life. 

Who knows?

Maybe this will make me feel a bit better about my next, easier attempt.

I've noticed things often look better when you see them from a distance. So I made the following picture smaller for your viewing pleasure.

And then you see the drawing at its actual size, details and all.

Joy! You can see all the horrible bits!

Click on it if you want to laugh harder.

Then zoom in.

Your splene will proabably explode.


Maybe next time I should try sketching a cube.

What I'd really love, though, is to be able to draw landscapes.

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Super-Goal: 500 Words a Day


This one's a no-breaking-allowed rule. 500 words every single day for the next "forever until I've finished the first draft". That's massive. Can you imagine? A 90,000 word novel every six months!

I'd been mulling the idea over in my head for a while, but it wasn't until this morning (about 3:00) that I spontaneously wrote out these plans for possible ways to tackle it.

The first one was very simple.

Holidays Plan
- No internet until 500 words.
- 500 words -> First thing in the morning.

The second, for when school was in, was relatively complex.

Extreme School-Time Plan

Night  [ 9:30pm: Mini-outline for morning.
before [ 10:00pm: Sleep.
- 6:40am: Wake up -> Load up laptop -> Coffee
- 6:50am: Write or Die, 300 words -> 5min break
- 7:25am: Write or Die, 200 words
- 7:45am: Prepare for school
- 4:00pm:
Editing morning's work

- 9:30pm: Mini-outline for morning.
- 10:00pm: Sleep.

Fridays and Saturdays are free-rein.

[I made a note reminding myself that I was thereby sacrificing "late TV shows".]

The alternative came to me a sleepless hour later.

Not-So-Extreme School-Time Plan [Note to self: Very easy to adapt to.]

- Home from school: NO INTERNET until 500 words done.
- 4:00pm: 300 words Write or Die -> 10min break
- 4:40pm: 200 words Write or Die
- 5:00pm onwards:

Weekends: NO INTERNET until 500 words done. Writing first thing before leisure.

Note to self: No sacrifice, plenty of leisure and homework time.
Note to self: 15,000 words per month = 90,000 words every 6 months.

So you can probably guess that, at this point, I've chosen the second option.

As far as the holidays go, last night I wrote 600 words. Today I plan to write 1,000. We'll see how this goes. If I can make a daily routine out of this...

...then I believe I will deserve at least three pats on the back.

Grammar: The "Apostrophe S"

Possessive: When the subject owns something
Plural: Multiple of anything.
Possessive plural: When there are multiple things that own something
Contraction: When letters are cut out and two words are mashed together.

If the dog has a ball [ownership]:
It is the dog's ball.

It is really hot today:
It's really hot today.

If the dog is playing with another one:
There are two dogs.

Possessive plural:
If the two babies both have dummies:
They are the babies' dummies.

If a toy belongs to both of the babies:
It is the babies' toy.

I find the best way to work out whether to use it's or its is to check whether it is a contraction [mashed together] or possessive [ownership].

- You only ever use it's if it is a contraction. Remember that, and you're set for life. If you can remember this, you don't even have to remember the following rule.
- You only ever use its if it is possessive.

It's very hot today.
The dog chases its ball.

On Names Ending in "S"
It is grammatically acceptable to demonstrate possession with a name ending in "S" by either placing an ['s] on the end, or simply placing an apostrophe after the "S".

James's ship.
James' ship.

Short Rant On Names Ending in "S"
I passionately support the first option (full name, ['s]). Why? Because in the first option, the name is treated like all other names.
The reason I detest the second option is that the name is then treated like a possessive plural. And it's not. There is only one James.

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Three Bridges: Early Planning

Three Bridges will be quite the odd one out in the Válkia Chronicles. For starters, it doesn't have the title trend that the others in the series do (Taemus Aura, Kathes Aura).  Secondly, it is planned to be a multiple POV story, with four different main characters.

Main Characters

- The King.

- A boy whose parents died and now works as a thief in the Underground.

- A high-ranking man in the Underground. He started out like the boy; orphaned and a thief in the Underground. He now works as a spy for the Thief-King.

- A boy in a nomadic cult which worships different gods than those present in the story. At first those in the cult will assume that the boy's Aura that he recieves is from one of their own gods, but they eventually figure out that this is false and the boy is exiled from he group.


All four characters have individual plots that should be worked on separately and independently to make sure they each have elements that make a good story:
- Rise and fall in tension
- Strong conflicts
- Good climaxes

Once all elements are intact, the stories will be chopped up and mashed together in the best way possible. I have yet to decide whether the timeline should be continuous, or whether it should, for lack of a better phrase, recount the same two hours four times from different perspectives.

At times these characters' paths will cross, whether they know it or not.

The King and both boys will recieve Auras at some point in their journeys; the Thief-King will already have one.

By the end, all four main characters will have come together, in some sense, to fight against the invading enemy, both leading and alongside the Duthonian army.

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The Válkia Chronicles: Early Planning

The Válkia Chronicles

Current planned novels:
- Aundes Aura
- Three Bridges

Further possible novels:
- Maechre Aura
- Endures Aura
- Elcalades Aura
- Kathes Aura
- Taemus Aura
- Careus Aura

These stories would tell of characters who had to deal with Auras in their lives, and would be set before the events of Aundes Aura.

Known characters from Aundes Aura could be re-used in these, such as Faine in Endures Aura, the Thief-King in Elcalades Aura, and Echo in Taemus Aura.

Plans are that the characters across the novels would come from different cultures, lands and times across the Válkian history. For example, in Kathes Aura the main character might be from a druidesque clan in "pre-independence" history. In Careus Aura the main character could travel to Válkia from overseas. Perhaps that continent from which he came could be the base for another Chronicles series.

I don't know. All I know is that the idea excites me immensely, and whether it's possible or not, I've made a strong start.

Válkian History: On Measures of Time

I am starting to write up some appendices for at least my own purposes. These will all contribute to a greater project I have planned.This is my first entry.
All historic years in Válkia are measured from the year the continent separated into countries. Years after the separation are referred to as “p.i.” (i.e. 401p.i.), which stands for “post-independence”. Years before the separation are referred to as “pr.i.” (i.e. 234pr.i.), which stands for “pre-independence”.
Before the separation of the continent, the inhabitants of Válkia didn’t measure years from any one time, but each clan counted every change of season since its inception, as dictated by the Elder. Therefore, every year of the clan’s existence is multiplied by four to interpret their measure of time. Likewise, if the Elder insists that the clan has existed for 400s. (or 400 seasons), it has therefore existed for 100 years.
When saying dates:
401p.i.: “401 P I”
234pr.i.: “234 P R I”
400s.: “400 seasons”
In the case of Válkian clans, only in historical documents are the abbreviations used in regards to the number of seasons’ existence. When dictated, the full word “seasons” is always stated.

A Profound Sense of Melancholy

I have spent the last few days with A Profound Sense of Melancholy hanging over me. I have passed the years immersed in my schooling and in my own personal aspirations. Now I open my "early years" photo album and flick through, paying attention to none in particular. But for one photo.

Just one.

The one with the baby-blonde hair, one knee knelt in the grass. Behind is an expanse of short-cut grass, and then a backdrop of dense trees filling up the picture.

I've just looked up from playing in the grass, with the most innocent smile you've ever seen. One of pure happiness.

Nothing else in the world matters. I'm happy here just playing in the grass.

I have no words to describe the sense of happiness this photo gives me, but even more so the melancholy along with it.

Suddenly I'm seventeen. How the hell did this happen? Time is passing too quickly. How will I be ready for University in a year's time?

The past few days, as I've gone about my daily things, no matter what, the image of innocence comes to my mind, and I can't shake it. And when it does, I can't help but feel this Profound Sense of Melancholy. I feel like my freedom is gone from me. School, home, homework, school, home, homework, school, home, homework, again, again, again. I've been at this for twelve years now.

Is it too much to ask for someone to invent a time-machine? Why can't we travel back to when nothing mattered?

Why does seeing pure, innocent happiness make my eyes water? Yet I continue to gaze at the photo.

And I don't know why I can't shake this Profound Sense of Melancholy.

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On Writing: Pacing a Novel

I've been honing my skill in this area, and I think it's about time I gave some light to my experiences.

First I'm going to talk about the general pacing of a novel.

In this, my second incarnation of Aundes Aura, I have unwittingly developed a structure that ensures good modulation in the pacing. Put simply, when the characters are in a town, the main plot usually develops a bit further, and when the characters are between towns, their personalities and individual feelings and backstories grow. As a result, we get to understand the story from many different points of view, without ever leaving the main character.

So generally, over the course of the novel, the pacing modulates from chapter to chapter, or from one half of a chapter to the next. Say Chapter One is particularly fast-paced. You don't want it to be too fast, because you also want to introduce the characters a little, but the idea here is to kick of the plot at the inciting incident, which is the point which puts the whole plot in motion.

This inciting incident is as simple as "this is why the plot occurs". Remember that, and you'll be one step closer to a gripping beginning. The hardest part in the first page is balancing character development and quickly setting up the inciting incident.

In my first page, I jump into the inciting incident in the first few paragraphs, and this is okay because while it is all happening, we discover a little about the characters. It's perhaps better, though, to spend at least two or three pargraphs introducing the characters so the reader has some sense of them and will care more about their plight.

Just remember that an agent or publisher can base their choice on the first page, so you'll want to get stuck in as soon as you reasonably can.

One thing I originally did was start too early in the story. As in, negative plot, seven years before the real beginning of the story. I put this as a prologue, and it's actually still there just for my purposes, and most likely won't be there when I send it out to some agents.

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Every Thousand Words: An Epic Revival

Okay, my "arrangements" are pretty non-sensical at the moment, but the idea is that by the time I reach eighty-thousand words, I'll have enough words to arrange a full-sized, relatively sensical paragraph.

~ Twelve Thousand ~

The Word: in

The Paragraph: The three sprinted through the streets. Eoin kept alert the whole time, the possibility of danger around every corner. He had thought it was all over, that it had ended with their completion of the prayer at the Grand Church. He was trapped "in" a never-ending nightmare. Last time the reverend had interrupted Saera’s prayer. This time the gods had no excuse to impose such danger on them. Had he and Saera not shown their devotion? Elcalades the Giving, father of gods. Eoin had always thought the title to imply the god’s generosity. He didn’t know he played favourites.

~ Thirteen Thousand ~

The Word: last

The Paragraph: Opening the stable gate, Faine said, “The others chasing us will think the guards have caught us. We should have enough time to escape the city and put ourselves a fair distance from it.” He climbed onto his horse, and Eoin and Saera climbed onto theirs. Like "last" time, Eoin sat in front and took the reins, while Saera hugged his stomach firmly.

~ Fourteen Thousand ~

The Word: sun

The Paragraph: The sun dropped below the horizon as they cooked what stale bread they had left over the fire.

~ Fifteen Thousand ~

The Word: happened

The Paragraph: “What "happened"?” said Eoin.

~ Sixteen Thousand ~

The Word: from

The Paragraph: “Seven years,” said Saera. “It’s shown up "from" time to time, but never like this. It’s never been so intense. I just don’t understand why.”

~ Seventeen Thousand ~

The Word: past

The Paragraph: The trees now behind them, Eoin, Saera and Faine rode "past" a sign welcoming them to the village.

~ Eighteen Thousand ~

The Word: there

The Paragraph: Faine leaned closer. “Further up the mountain there’s a cave. If you go to the very end of it, you’ll find a hole big enough to crawl through. From "there", a massive tunnel leads straight through the mountain. That is our path.”

~ Nineteen Thousand ~

The Word: his

The Paragraph: Eoin shrugged and pulled his gloves off, shoving them in "his" pocket. He stepped into Faine’s hand, and as he was lifted he put his hands on the wall to keep his balance. The stone was as cold as ice. He put his arm up and felt for a good grip somewhere on the top, and then pulled himself up so his stomach was bent over the wall. He swung his legs over and landed next to Saera in a crouch. Looking up at her, he said, “Did you miss me?”

~ Twenty Thousand ~

The Word: father's

The Paragraph: “What was your "father’s" name?” said Faine.

~ Twenty-One Thousand ~

The Word: they

The Paragraph: This was the reason "they" were here now. The light had been with Saera for seven years. It wasn’t until this week that it decided come out and greet them. Why couldn’t it have stayed hidden? No one ever had to know about it, but now the whole country did. And they wanted to hurt Saera because of it. And because Eoin was helping her, they’d want to hurt him, too. And Faine. He was only trying to help an innocent girl travelling with the carriages, and he’d been swept into something far, far greater. It was a brutal place they lived in. Had lived in.

~ Twenty-Two Thousand ~

The Word: in

The Paragraph: Eoin didn’t have to question how Faine knew this. In fact it was quite simple. At the time they’d entered the tunnel, the sun was beginning to lower. Logically, they would have been in here long enough that it would be dark outside. But Eoin felt strange. It was the constant darkness. This was truly the darkest place he had ever been. No sunlight accompanied them through cracks or holes "in" the roof. The only light came from Saera’s Aura. A strange mystical light so pure that it was unnatural.

Epic Arrangement: They was around his father's food wall, like sun. Eoin happened past there last. We... we didn't ever be from in there.

Aundes Aura: Chapter Four in Queue

This is just a quick post to let all my wonderful followers know that Chapter Four is up this very period on CC if you want to see what is happening in the world of Aundes Aura at the moment, or even if you'd like to drop me a critique!

I apologise again for a slow-down in posts. The later days of school really limit your opportunities in other areas, but I'm trying my best to keep the blog active.

Short Story: The Tower in My Dream

That was the tower in my dream.

I pull myself up the ladder just like last time. People fall past me on both sides. It’s a shame. But I know they’ll wake up once they hit the ground. I remember the moment of utter fear I’d felt as I’d tumbled through the air.

And I know I’m dreaming, but I can’t stop climbing. And what will happen when I reach the top? Will I fall and colour the ground?


But those few seconds of fear will be worth it just to wake up. Because I am tired of climbing. I’m tired of the itch in my hands caused by the dirt left behind from others’ shoes, and knowing I can’t stop to scratch.

Because if I do I will fall.

But why must this tower be so tall? There couldn’t be such a thing as an eternal ladder.

As the people fall by I sense their regrets.

The last thing he said to his wife.

The crush who never knew her.

And here I am without regret, for whatever I have done wrong I have paid back with a thousand rights. Another rung, another step. Another challenge to face. And each one I had faced head on, and thus here am I, climbing a ladder to the heavens.

Even hurled stones cannot stop me, for what stone can break the mould of destiny? The top of this ladder is where my future lies. There lies the future of all. Come stones, I challenge you. Empower me to strive further, for without hindrance there is no challenge, and without challenge there is no reward.

Reward without challenge is the devil’s friend, and those who practise the cheat’s way shall fall from the tower to meet their other destiny.

The people falling by try to latch onto me and bring me down with them. They can’t touch me. I’ve done nothing wrong.

The ladder is not eternal. I can see the top. My destiny awaits. I reach up and pull myself another step closer. As soon as I had started climbing, it seems, I pull myself over the ladder and stand on the top of a thin spire, room enough for only one foot. I dare to look down, one foot hanging over the edge. I don’t fall. I am perfectly balanced, and I am unafraid.

Here a light comes, from everywhere around. My destiny has been found. I am blinded by white. And there is nothing.

I sit up. I see a tower with a great ladder.

That was the tower in my dream.

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Progress Update

Tonight I passed 20,000 words! I am so, so close to passing the word count at which I stopped writing my previous concept of the novel. It seems like I've got a decent amount of plot and depth left in this to make it the whole way. I just have to keep going.

I may take a break sometimes, but I can't let this one pass me by like every other long story I have ever attempted. I strongly believe that this one is just that good. And, I absolutely adore it and I want to see it completed, and then improved, and then published.

And I am not naive at all as far as the publishing world at all. I already have a plan. But I can't go to step three without having first reached step two.

So my aim is to finish step one. And whether that happens by the end of next year, or the one after, I WILL do it.

Upcoming post: A Milestone Celebration: Every Thousand Words

August Goals

I wonder how many of you noticed I posted a 2,500 word challenge the other day, which is now gone, deleted. That's because my failure was too much for me to bear. I have some interesting goals for August that would help me immensely with my life in general.

1. Reach 5,000 words for this month.

2. Write every day.

3. Make some effort to put my homework/writing/leisure schedule to actual use.

If I were to follow this diligently, it would sort out everything, from my late nights to my uncompleted homework, to my failure to reach the goals I set for myself.

It's quite sad, I think, all the disappointment I face when I find I'm not reaching my goals, or I have to tell two or three teachers a day that, no, I haven't done the homework.

On top of that it's a subconscious knock to the confidence I have in myself, and to my sense of freedom. At least if I did the homework my complaints about having so much would actually be warranted.

Fantasy World Building: Society and Societal Factions

The world is made up of multiple societies who feed off themselves or each other in order to survive. As I write, more and more "societies" under the one umbrella society come into play, and I find the world is suddenly more layered, that there is a lot more going on beneath the surface than I initially realised. I have something of a minimalistic approach to pre-novel world building. More groups within groups keep piercing my skull, though, and I have to take note of them before they escape my mind.

All of these societies and factions relate directly to my plot, so it was natural that they would occur to me. But why not add societies that flesh out the world from the start? What I feel is important here is that the groups add a more dynamic feel to the world, that they all interact in some way, with their own goals in mind. Almost like characters in their own right.

I began with only the countries' societies.

Duthonne: Moderately religious. Strongly oppose heretics. They believe that four of the gods are good and that the other three are evil.

Meira: Moderately religious. Lightly oppose heretics. They believe the opposite to Duthonne about the gods, and the two countries war over this.

Arlea (island): Strongly religious. Believe that all gods are good. They have traditional beliefs and are the constant where the other two countries have developed their beliefs.

Then I began to wonder: Who is in control of these countries? Not all societies are the same in this respect.

The Church: They are the seat of power in Duthonne. Seven hundred years ago the King died and their was no heir to replace him. The Church were given power and have held dominance to this day. They believe very strongly, and are far too narrow-minded as far as teaching children about the gods. Their teachings have fuelled the wars, making many people fully believe that the people of Meira are as evil as the gods they worship, and ought to be wiped out.

Those who oppose the Church are punished, the punishment being equatable to the crime. Punishments can go as far as torture and execution.

The Queen of Meira: Elegant and powerful, she loves her people and treasures their lives. She is strong in her beliefs, but she doesn't go as far as the Church when it comes to punishment. She is willing to collaborate with various groups in order to help her country.

So what else is there? I was reading a book when the next came to me, and I had to stop reading to go and take note of it.

The Order: A faction devoted to the gods. All seven of them. Each member of the Order fights with the weapon of their choice. They know when the world is in grave danger and know a number of rituals in order to prevent it from happening. These are good guys, but their means might not be in line with what other people want.

And this last group came to me the other night when I couldn't sleep.

The Underground: A faction of thieves and pickpockets in Emareus, the capital city of Meira. They know ways into the castle that even the guards don't know about. The "Thief-King" has the supreme Aura -- that of Elcalades, the Giving Father. The group is made up of men and boys, mostly poor and orphaned. The group offers them a home as children, and they grow up in the environment and learn to survive in the streets.

All these groups affect each other. They all have a purpose in mind. Teach, rule, serve, survive. The way they interact can create a very dynamic feeling, and when unlikely collaborations occur, they become all the more intriguing.

What could possibly bring the Thief-King to work with the Queen?

Why do the characters seem to think the Order is bad when it is actually good?

Who can bring down the Church, or find someone in the King's bloodline to take over the throne?

While we're journeying with our characters, things are happening on the other side of the world. Know what's going on, and you will know your world all the better.

Au Terreur

Terreur, je n'ai eu pas des amis que j'adore comme j'adorais mes amis il y a trois ans.

Terreur, I have never had any friends that I love as much as those I had three years ago, before I left. At recess and lunch I stand with a group of people of whom some accept me while many of them don't, and only go to the movies in their tight-knit group.

But what's really sad? My long-term memory. The fact that I can't even remember the inside part of "The Parliament". I miss having true friends, save for the few I have gained and kept.

I wished I could have reacted bigger when I drove past you today, but when I drive, I grip the wheel very tight and my hands go white.

I stuck with you for a year and a half because I loved you, no matter what.

And now there is nothing, and I live on the hill, writing day after day and trying to maintain a blog so I can help other writers and entertain people and market my novel. And to feel that people actually like me because of who I am, what I know and what I do.

I haven't heard from Mykaelah since, but I know Brod well enough. One day Clinky asked if we could go to Fountain Gate. I said "sounds cool, I'll see when I'm available". And I never spoke to her about it again.

I got a text from Sarah once. It said she "liked" me. I probably responded with something like "okay", and never spoke of it again. Because I loved you, and I was with you, and she was your friend and I didn't want to hurt you.

Isn't it funny how the past seems to have disintegrated? Like it's so long ago that it never existed. It feels like a dream to me. It feels like a dream I had this morning, and a dream that I would have for the future. Wouldn't it be a dream to be around people you love and who love you back?

I had my dream three years ago, and now it's gone.

So I'm looking at a new dream. Not the dream of this morning, but the dream I'll have tonight. To be with someone who loves me for who I am, what I know and what I do. To do what I love, what I know, and what makes me who I am.

I might not make a living out of writing.

But writing will make a living out of me.

Because writing is my life.

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My Life According to My Bookshelf: A Deviation

The intention with this post is to answer all the questions using only titles from my bookshelf.

Are you male or female: Mister Monday

Describe yourself: The Prisoner of Azkaban

How do you feel: Magician

Where do you live: City of Bones

Where would you like to go: Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia)

What is your favourite form of transportation: The Silver Horse

Your best friend is: The Lord of the Rings

You and your best friends are: The Merlin Conspiracy

What's the weather like: Drowned Wednesday

Favourite time of day: On Writing

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Writing Magic

What is life to you: The Silver Road

Your relationship: The Fire Within

Your fear: A Series of Unfortunate Events

What is the best advice you have to give: Make A Scene

Thought for the Day: The Wide Window

How would you like to die: Making Shapely Fiction

Your soul's present condition: Grim Tuesday

Your motto: So You Think You Know Harry Potter

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Aundes Aura: Over 20% Complete

I have just passed 16,000 words and this puts me more than 20% into Aundes Aura.

I'm constantly trying to determine whether the novel will be long enough at the end to make room for revisions and be marketable to agents and publishers. 80,000 words would do, I think.

Not that I really have to worry because I have a backup "Part Two" if it isn't long enough. It's not milking it, it's just stuff that could go unsaid and allow for the readers to speculate, but some interesting things would happen if I were to write it. I may just write a short Part Two regardless. This would allow me to almost "start again"with the tension, a miniature "book two", so I don't have to try to keep raising the tension. This way I can have two different climaxes.

Anyway, logically I have a ratio of 2:3 finished and unfinished novel. If I go through the outline in my head, I could have three more parts the size of one part to finish the novel at my target word count.

Are you the kind of person who would worry about something like this? Do you think it's unwise to mix logic with creativity?

A Sonnet: The Elements

The Elements

So burns fire, like the tongue of the devil

Its biting flame searing like a hot blade

An enigma on many a level

But simple it can be easily made

For water trickles like tears down a stream

Only to reach a fall, where it will then

Flow like a stitch, like a runaway seam

Reaching the end where it will only grow

The earth, the ground, whatever it be called

Let us see what it will seed from rich soil

The stone will allow cities to be walled

And allow for men to endure less toil

Air, ultimate of elemental four

Lets us know why the rest we do adore

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A Satirical Short Story: The Fourth W'll

The Fourth W'll

This is the first time I h’ve ever written ‘nything like this, wrote Ry’n. This is ‘ piece in which I will bre’k the fourth w’ll. Unfortun’tely, the [‘] on my keybo’rd h’s ce’sed to work, ‘nd thus ‘ll letters being the first letter of the ‘lph’bet will be repl’ced with ‘ [’]. But let this hinder us not. Without ‘ny further ‘do, we sh’ll st’rt the story.

J’ck is ‘ simple m’n. He lives in ‘ simple home, with simple neighbours, ‘nd he works ‘ simple job. Unfortun’tely, this simple job does not p’y p’rticul’rly well. But th’t isn’t why he is going to rob ‘ petrol st’tion in ‘bout h’lf ‘n hour.
He rushes out of the house. He knows even though his job doesn’t p’y p’rticul’rly well, he needs wh’tever money he c’n get. He stops ‘bruptly ‘nd looks to epic’lly into the sky.
“Who s’id th’t?” he ‘sks. Little does he know th’t authors do not live in the sky, but they ‘re ‘ll ‘round, w’tching ‘ll the time, ‘ bit like th’t God guy, or Big Brother from the book Nineteen-Eighty-Four.
“Nineteen-Eighty-Four? Wh’t in the world ‘re you t’lking ‘bout?”
What? You’ve never he’rd of Nineteen-Eighty-Four? It’s ‘ dystopia. ‘ bit like I’m trying to m’ke this story but you’re ruining it by m’king sm’ll t’lk. Now, stop this ‘nd re’ct to my boring, long-winded n’rr’tion.
“No! This is not norm’l. I dem’nd ‘n expl’n’tion!”
J’ck doesn’t re’lise th’t I’m ‘ctu’lly ignoring him.
He hurries up ‘nd gets in his c’r.
Oh, come now, J’ck. You’re boring my incredibly e’ger re’ders. He obeys ‘nd hurries up ‘nd gets in his c’r. Oh, wh’t ‘ sh’me. His petrol is ne’rly out. Th’t’s out first conflict. I suppose he’ll h’ve to go to the petrol st’tion.
“Ye’h, I know wh’t to do with ‘ low petrol gu’ge. Th’nks.”
I w’sn’t t’lking to you. Now, r’ther th’n bore you with tedious n’rr’tion while he drives there, I’ll tell you ‘ little story.

Once, ‘ long, long time ‘go, ‘ mother duck w’s feeling low. The mother duck h’d l’id her eggs, but h’lf of them looked just like kegs! One d’y the eggs beg’n to h’tch. They cr’cked ‘nd cr’cked, ‘nd ‘ll ten m’tched.
One h’dn’t h’tched ‘nd it w’s big, ‘nd looked different. Like ‘ fig. The mother thought, “Oh me! Oh my! I guess this duck will never fly!”

“I’m here.”
Ugh. Well I c’n’t end the story there! I’ll just h’ve to sum it up for you. B’sic’lly, he goes on ‘ big ‘dventure, ‘nd ‘t the end he wonders if he is ‘ sw’n like the ones in the pond with which he felt ‘ speci’l bond. Turns out he’s ‘ll out of luck ‘nd he’s just ‘n ugly duck! I re’lly love th’t story. It’s got everything you w’nt. Tension, emotion, ‘n eng’ging plot (‘s opposed to this story), and--
“Hey, I’ve been sitting here for ‘ges. Can you direct me ‘lready?”
Jack gets out of the car and enters the petrol station.
“I thought you couldn’t use [a]s because the key is inoperable,” Jack points out.
I c’n’t. J’ck p’ys for his petrol.
“I h’ven’t even filled my c’r yet!”
J’ck shuts his mouth ‘nd p’ys for his petrol. He pulls ‘ gun.
“I don’t h’ve ‘ --”
-- Yes you do. He pulls ‘ gun.
The st’tion keeper g’sps. “Wh’t the -- I c’n’t swear in this story c’n I?”
No. It’s going up on ‘ school intr’net.
“Oh, ok’y. Wh’t the ****?!”
“Wh’t now?” ‘sks J’ck.
I don’t know.
“Wh’t do you me’n? You’re writing this story, ‘ren’t you?”
Yes, but I don’t know wh’t to write next. Wh’t’s th’t excuse writers use when they don’t feel like writing? Oh ye’h, writer’s block. I h’ve writer’s block.
J’ck shoots himself and f’lls to the ground.
Hey! You c’n’t do th’t! I’m writing this story!
“I’m writing it now,” s’ys J’ck.

But do you live or die?


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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

Here at The Dark Corner, Real Life is both our best friend and our worst enemy. Look to him for inspiration, but don't let him get in the way too much.

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