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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'.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Food for Thought: THE OTHERWORLD

Last night, I was hooked on watching Pewdiepie's gameplay/walkthrough of Beyond: Two Souls.

(It happened because I was in the Cyberrr! room on iSketch and I wasn't sure if I liked the way the conversation was going, so I tried to cheer myself up. Nothing like Pewdiepie makes me laugh my arse off. Or makes me waste a whole evening I could have used to study.)

Beyond: T.S. is a game I've had my eyes on for quite a while. On the one hand I am desperate to buy it and on the other, I REALLY do not want to buy a whole new console for it. I'd say I'm not that much into games unless A. it's fantasy or sci-fi, B. the storyline is EPIC or C. it's The Legend of Zelda, then I'm HARDCORE. (As hardcore as I can be, heh) But I'm trying to keep my eyes off Xbox One, Wii U, Sony Vita, PS3 - because... well, I'll explain...

As it happens, I have five siblings and in childhood we each had our turn of wanting some game or another which is how we ended up with all of the following: N64, Sega Mega Drive, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 (-? why?), and then of course we still have our ancient Game Boy Colour, the old Game Boy advance, my brother's moderately aged DS Lite (Last year, I bought a gold limited edition Legend of Zelda DS with a Triforce on it, 'cause it was straining my eyes to play Game Boy Advance as it has no backlight. I WAS SO HAPPY, I. COULD. HAVE. CRIED.)

I don't know HOW my parents found the money for it, though I suppose, we all so far apart in age that by the time we had our 'I WANT THIS FOR CHRISTMAS!' stage, our parents had had enough time to save up. I guess. So sweet of them :3  Anyway, I just sold the broken DS Lite on eBay(!!) which someone used as a motherboard replacement, and I'm about to sell the Gamecube (never played), Mega Drive (why do we even have it?), PS2 games I never played (Crash freakin' Bandicoot? GET OUTTA HURR), and the old block Xbox (hardly works, but who knows.)

I've once again resorted to selling on eBay so I can buy my next installment of Uni books. Yeah, it's that bad. Though I must say, I do HAVE money, but as a thrift-crazy-saver-scrounger, I don't want to break into what I put aside for November. For a game. Honestly. No.

But after watching Pewd's videos I really ADORE Beyond, so I think I'll save up for it. I want to play it myself and make the choices he didn't. Some parts made me so sad, some parts were like YEAH, YOU GO GIRL!, same parts were like, shit, didn't see that coming! but also a lot of it was very, Ah, I knew that was gonna happen. Because, like films, it was sometimes predictable (tempted to give an example but meh, can't be arsed to be a Spoiler Brat today). It seems very much like a movie in it's camera angles and such, and of course real actors play the part so sometimes it felt... I dunno, almost, more dramatic than a game should be. SOme things were VERY convenient. But I loved it still, I loved the jumping back and forth at the different stages of the character's life, Jodie's character development is interesting, she was such a badass during combat, but ANYWEH.

I was astounded at how much it reminded me of Jade Empire, how your choices affect how the game unfolds, what abilities and upgrades are available to you, and ultimately, how the game ends. It also made me want to play Jade Empire all over again. I can tell you how many times I've played it start to finish.

Jade Empire is such a key, key influence for Out Of The Dust in so many ways, some are subtle (such a character I created called Sol, who I realised after, has his name inspired from my favourite manga Immortal Rain, and his character inspired by Jade Empire's Kang The Mad); and some are explicit (The song Metropolis from the J.E. soundtrack inspired Metropolis Romantis and Metropolis Paradis, but there is also a Metropolis in the actual Jade Empire game).

But what I love most is the WHAT IF factor.

Over and over, What if I did this? What if Jodie had said that? What if Karalan does this?

I'm at a stage in the book where the entire plot is pretty much mapped out, and just needs some ordering, filling out and cleaning up. When I was watching the videos last night, I thought, I love how Aiden is like Jodie's guidance system and guardian. I thought about the rare points in my book where Karalan is so helpless that she cries out for Pan to give her strength, and then of course, something unforeseen would always happen to get her out of the situation - much like Jodie and Aiden. That amused me for a while.

Then I thought about my Ether and compared it with the Infraworld. Of course, there is no sign of any souls or lost spirits or any sense at all that the Ether is an afterlife, but Karalan often assumed that it is, and feels that the 'dark energy' that the Orona are protecting her from have something to do with death.

Personally I think the Ether and Infraworld are nothing alike. The Infraworld seems very out of reach, mysterious, ominous, and it's laws are not properly understood... by me, anyway. But the Ether is entirely mouldable, it is both infinite and finite, full of paradoxes of space and time - and it has the similar uneasiness, but the assurance for Kar is that the Orona seem to know all of the laws of the Ether. Even though she knows they're protecting her from something in there, her confidence lies in the fact that THEY KNOW what the danger is, so she doesn't need to worry about it. If nobody knew, then she'd have a pretty damn good reason to be alarmed, wouldn't she!

*sighhh* I like just talking it over. If there's gonna be similarities between my work and others, better I know about it, right? The real danger is subconsciously putting something unoriginal in my work, I think. =O

I think I want to change the name for Out Of The Dust. It's too common. I put it into Google and there's already a book under that name, ironically it's the first thing that comes up. Damn. I'm gonna have to think of something else. O_O

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Summer Reading

Next Monday, I go back to Uni and I've got my reading list, bought all my books, I'd say I'm ready, though after five months of holiday and having the best and worst summer ever, I still regret that it's coming to a close, despite that everybody I know is screaming for the term to start already.

So, best summer ever - refraining from going clubbing and other stuff that usually make your life exciting during term time ended up paying off for me. Over the year I'd saved my student loan so between May and September, the length of my entire break from uni, I could finally make the most of it and afford to go and see my friend and do things, and not worry about travel cost either. In the month of July in particular, I think, I was happiest, inexplicably happy. I'd never felt so great.

But towards the end, my personal doubt and insecurities transferred to my work on Out Of The Dust, which was not what I was expecting. That book is my lifeline, without it I feel as if there is nothing holding me up. I desperately want to get Out Of The Dust finished - did I mention? I'm still writing it - and yet I no longer certain if I have the stamina or creatively to pull off something as complex as this. My temporary blues wavered and hit me last week full force. It was incredibly scary in that I felt like it was an exact repeat of last year, when I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression for the first time. It got very bad, to the point where my mother had to sternly tell me to stop cutting myself on her birthday.

So, best and worst, like I said.

But back to the point. I started reading The Handmaid's Tale for my course, though I've actually read it already, waaay back when I was at school, I must have been about twelve. I can't believe it was twelve and I read that book. I know for certain that I didn't understand it anywhere near the level I do now. I must have been so naive. Anyway. I forgot how good it is, started this morning and I'm already halfway through.

Here's a list of the books I read this summer, I won't say if I loved or hated them (and I really did love and loathe certain ones) because such dumb ramblings is for my personal blog.

From May to September 2013, COMPLETELY unrelated to my English lit Degree, I read:
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- How To Plot Your Novel by Jean Saunders
- Magician by Raymond E. Feist
- Lizka And Her Men by Alexander Ikonnikov
- Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
- My Name Is Anne, She Said, Anne Frank by Jacqueline Van Maarsen
- The Fast Track Detox Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman
- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
- The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
- Broken Homes by Ben Aaranovitch
- The Witch Of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
- The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Murial Sparks

Books I started and didn't finish for whatever reason
- 11.22.63 by Stephen King
- Defeat Depression: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Healing a Troubled Mind by Sabina Dosani
- The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway
- Reamde by Neal Stephenson
- A Little Light on Spiritual Laws by Diana Cooper

Currently Reading
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I felt it was important to note these books because as I was writing my book during reading them, so I want to be aware of any potential influences leaking into Out Of The Dust. I think I'm okay, though. I specifically didn't read any sci-fi or fantasy for this reason - except Reamde, which I only started, and Magician, which is my favourite fantasy book ever. I needed to read Magician to remind me why I do this shit at all.

Out Of The Dust is on its way there, but struggling at the moment.

It's taking me a while to string the vastly complex parts of this together. For some reason, like when I've just read a badly written book, my sentences won't string together properly. I can't say how FRUSTRATING that is. Instead, I have to write some sketchy details about what happens to be filled out later when my prose is better, ie. when I've read a beautifully written book, like the prose Rayond E. uses in Magician. After I read that book, everything I write is gold. It happened with the Urban Piper, it's happening again with out Of The Dust.

Jeez, am I only twenty? I feel like I'm frickin two-hundred. Sometimes I really feel like my life is almost over. I take chunks out of my day to sit and wonder about what there is to live for, and my mind goes blank.

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Brain Burst In Brighton

Brighton Pier. This picture does not belong to me.

Well no, it didn't, but the amount of inspiration flooding in, I'm surprised it's still fully functioning!

Or is it? ( O_o )

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Out Of The Dust - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Xivi Island.
This chapter is SO - TRICKY!!!

It's already been written, but it's the revising part. I've got 6 pages too many and I'm going to have to be ruthless to cut it down. The problem is there's too many things to cover.

- Jory and Karalan trying to understand each other
- Cassie's identity and her dislike towards Karalan
- Dim's identity and his bizarre habits (this may now be Chapter 5)
- The fact that they're on a moving island which later becomes important
- The fact that they're at the House of Nocsaare, which is important because it haunts Karalan for the rest of her life
- Karalan trying to get her body back to how it was - after all, she's used to being a warrior
- MOST importantly, Karalan trying to determine exactly what has transpired in one cycle/seven years.

Revising this chapter is taking so much longer than the other two, I'm doing the final readthrough now and it's a killer. The next one is considerably easier and I can't wait to get there. Also, that's when we finally meet Milete Beyene :3

Time to put my head down and get my teeth in this.

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Out Of The Dust - Humble Beginnings

Today marks the beginning of the third month that I have been feverishly writing Out Of The Dust. I considered posting this on my personal blog, but decided that this story was too special to me and gave it a sparkling brand new one. =]


I mean, come on! It's ME. I can barely stick to one story at a time. I was worried that I was never going to be able to write a book - I'm constantly inspired, forever jotting things down and being grabbed by new ideas that it's always tricky for me to stick to one thing. My Story List now spans over a hundred distinct ideas or plots for books, however great/lame. (So I'm set for life - great - but who the hell has time to write a hundred books?)

(... naturally, I'm going to try.)

But now, whenever I'm inspired I simply feed the idea straight into Out Of The Dust. Instead of being constantly diverted, in fact the story is constantly expanding.

I'm happy. ^_^

It's five in the morning and I'm going to write some more of OOTD Chapter 3, with the gang of Xivi island. I think I'll use this blog to mark my progress. I'm sure it will be helpful.

But then, come on. It's ME.
I already have a dozen other names, and four other blogs.

Ashana Lian .

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