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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'.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Over A Year Of Writing My Fantasy Novel... Almost There! (Maybe!)

Image: Digital Space Wallpapers from

It has been a long, long while since I have written about my writing instead of my reading!


Long gone is that light-hearted adventure I set out to write. Now what I've got is a tale full of elation and misery, chronicles of desolation, inner peace, the unforeseen adventure, good shrouded with evil and evil that came about through good intentions, and too many morals about death and depression.

Even though I know where the story is headed, it's still surprising me. As in IT, an inanimate-non-physical object, is surprising ME, a living creature with rational thought. Some days I'll make connections between my characters and things or events that were so obvious, and yet my reason for creating or including that thing was connected to something else. My visualisations to music take me to places I never thought I'd go, in Ether or Earth, which sometimes worries me as I don't like when my visions bring out something in my story that I hadn't meant.

But most of all, as I sculpt the novel, I am still wondering what it means to leave a legacy, false or true. She was never meant to survive, but the worst part about it is that it means a lot less than I, and probably future readers, wish it did. We are human beings. It comforts us to feel that our trials it meant something.


Some characters are driving me CRAZY. That damn Prince is showing such a vibrant, dynamic side to him that wasn't there when he was just a means to an end, a Hi-and-Bye character. Now he is actively shaping the beliefs and characteristics of my protagonist.

It's much better than my original intention. I don't like that huge character development happens in the Naiveney section when the rest of the book has steady development, but how it happens is just so interesting to me. From the moment his character is introduced, I realised that I'm making the reader play a different ball game. Is that what I want? Who knows. I don't. Do you? O_O

And then, Cassie. I've been thinking about her again because I realised something about her - she's incredible. Okay, well, I already knew that. But a new light was been shed on this when I explored the way she is viewed by others. She's a little fire, a little joyful fire. At first, I'd never envisioned her as anything remotely CLOSE to someone that brings a room to life. Now I can see how magnetic she is to the other characters and it's changing the way I think about her role in the story. Oh man, I saw the cover for Arthur And The Invisibles on Netflix. I was STUNNED, STUNNED, STUNNED - the character of Selenia looks SOOO MUCH like Cassie! Crazy! I had a moment there, maaan, I swear.

Image: Wallpapers at


I've got a problem here. Again with the Prince bouncing his way in and setting up camp, the section under 'Naiveney' had suddenly become very very heavy, I'm worried that it'll be too much for Part 1 - okay, forget Part 1, for the whole chapter. So much material has spawned from my scene mapping and visualisations with him in it that it's slowly becoming clear I can't (shouldn't) use it all, at least right now.

And I'm aware that there are two parts of the story I'm neglecting - the aftermath at the very end, and the bit during and surrounding Karalan's trial. Admittedly, that's because I can't decide what sort of trial I want it to be. Medieval? Roman? Quasi-modern? I have the bare bones in my mind, but when I start to flesh it out I feel uncomfortable and stop. So I tell myself I'll research it before I start writing that bit again... (two months later...)


One awesome thing I picked up from the Reading Challenge, or should I say fantasy authors I read during the Reading Challenge, is how NOT to describe things. I was able to observe what worked really well and not so well when describing characters, settings and backstory. Naturally, applying what I learned was like banging my head against a wall. Painful.

One thing I quite hated was a character being involved in a scene, as in five or more lines, and getting NO description at all. Torture. My right-brain couldn't take it. But different situations called for a long and lengthy description or a tidbit. I looked back over the opening of my novel and hoped that I'd got it just right; describing only the aspects of Jory, Cassie and Dim that Karalan could very quickly take in when she stumbles in on them - after all it was from her viewpoint - and expanding on that later, when she gets a better look. It's tricky, but I'm working on it. If practice doesn't make perfect, it'll make as good as I can bloody make it because I wanted this thing to be finished by now, dammit.

Image: Google -

Darth Fakers

The NP have their history. Both 'good' (ie. virtuous) and 'bad' (ie... conflicted (... vile)) members reside in the Nuor Priests, like in pretty much any institution, but my issue is for the majority of the story we only ever see Karalan's view of them - as pure evil. That isn't such a bad thing but I feel that in fantasy, the trope on Priests is generally that they're evil, whether it's pure full-blown Malicious Gits That Rule The World, or the quieter Holy Saints That Molest Kids. I don't mind the misjudged option, my issue is attaching that to the word 'Priests'. It's such a groan-groan fantasy concept. And yet, that's what they are. They are part of a religious sect, and all other titles I've 'tested' out on them sounded wrong.

Martial Arts

This has been killing me, because it's tricky to describe martial arts in a fantasy world where the culture(s) that the various practices and styles originated from doesn't exist. It didn't feel right for me to actually use the terms Ki Gong, or wushu, or whichever term is appropriate, so I'm still puzzling over it. In this world, the progression of world events is not always parallel to ours. This could be one of those things that would be the same. (O_o) But I think not.

As the martial style is so highly intertwined with streaming, Aura, and meditation, that I think describing those aspects would take ages to read and bore everybody, especially in an encounter that escalates into a brawl. But without explaining them it might be hard for the reader to make connections between things. I suppose I'll have to do what is best for the story and then let proofreader feedback decide.

The Wider Story

Sequel or no? I feel kinda stupid typing it out; I planned on one book, so there shouldn't really be any doubt, I know exactly where that story ends. Or is supposed to. But as I said at the start, this story unravelled into SO MUCH hidden knowledge and a world unexplored. The temptation to write about the wonders on the other side of the globe is very compelling.

A crucial thing that fleshed out this story was looking in my old notebook and incorporating silly and/or awful fantasy story ideas I made up when I was 13. Okay. One idea. I still remember my original intention so clearly, and now that I am (hopefully) better equipped to take that idea and actually make a good story out of it, I want to tell that story.

But I also feel that turning this book into a series, or a really long fantasy-standard 110,000 words+ book, defeats the purpose that was set out for it, and the original moral is lost once I extend that path to other places.

Ah well. We shall see.

Image: Google -

It's becoming a struggle to get on with my fantasy reading now. Too many books, so little time. (We won't talk about the time I spent lying noncommittally on my bed or watching Lord Of The Rings, because quite frankly that is besides the point. They are activities worthy of neglecting other duties. Laziness prevails).

Ashana Lian .

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