Ashana Lian's Blog is now Archived!

Thank you to everyone who supported this blog.
You will be redirected to the new and official Ashana Lian's FANTASY LAB in a moment.


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, 6 November 2014

Beautiful Books #2: How's The Writing Going?

This awesome meme for novel writers has come back with Round 2, to update their potential readers about their progress since NaNoWriMo started! To join in, follow either link below, answer the questions, add your link, and support those who added theirs. I got a bit bogged down because I got through about 15, I think... then when I came back there was FORTY-FIVE e_e sorry I didn't get round to everyone!

Beautiful Books is hosted by Cait at The Notebook Sisters and Sky at Further Up and Further In.

The Questions
I'm answering these questions for my novel OOTD/Karalan's Legacy (working title)

1. Be honest: how is your writing going?
I want to cry.
1. ?
Due to unforeseen personal problems, I (metaphorically) fell down about two days ago and haven't yet got back up (story of my life). Before that I was doing fine.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
A bloodcurdling, agonised scream tore through every atom within the four walls where it sounded: from writhing on a mattress covered with a sheet of dust, the corpse sat up.

Aw, the first thing I wrote. c: I don't like it anymore though, I'm gonna change it.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?
No, because fantasy portraits depicting women of colour are already far and few between, so finding one that meets my specific needs is even harder. The plan is to become a Master Illustrator and draw it myself. =D

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)
Karalan: Constant scowl and black eyes makes her face aggressive. Tall and wiry, she almost reaches the height of her towering brothers. Training in the fighting arts has made her athletic and she prefers to wear close fitting trousers (demis) and a vest (usually in black) for fighting efficiency. Coarse black hair reaches her shoulders. Er... light brown skin? The skin colour part throws me, I never know how I should describe it. Looks Kinda Like This

Jory: Again a tall one. Older Jory has a reserved and calm expression, similar to Karalan's father. Short brown hair, wears reliable and long lasting clothes and boots, always in a dark colour.

Cassie: Vibrant and often with a mischievous or slightly flirtatious smile. Long term partner of Jory and is unwaveringly faithful to him. Short red hair that almost reaches her shoulders, heavy freckles on her cheeks, and fair skin. Often wears leather boots, vest and trousers. Medium height. Adores children. Looks Kinda Like This

Dim: Skin so pale, it has a purple tinge. Pale blond hair and always the expression of delight or glee. Shorter than Cassie but not necessary "short". Long thin fingers that are always fiddling with things. Wide, inquisitive eyes to go with his annoying questions or unneeded remarks about people.

Prince Of Pearls: ..I'm sorry, we have to stop now. I don't even know where to BEGIN describing this guy.

5. What scene are you most excited to write?
(Didn't this question appear in the last BB meme??! *checks* Okay no my bad.) The scene I've been most excited to write, I wrote them ages ago. They include:
  • Karalan and Hannaway's trip to the metropolis, and fighting in the Tournament
  • the attack of the Veethe in Littleling, the Fairi haven, and Karalan defending both the Fairi Princess and Saffron the Maia
  • the scenes with the Duke of Spirihil (paranoid bastard)
  • pretty much all the scenes of Prince and Karalan's friendship
  • the scene with Karalan before the Divine Court in Angel Harbour
  • most of the Veethe attack scenes, because they are so awesomely terrifying. I've rarely write horror  O_O
6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
Chapter Six of this novel → , which I posted in February this year.

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?
I started writing this novel is May 2013 and yes, it's gone OFF the rails. Originally, Karalan was meant to follow in her father footsteps, travel the whole world, and discover his secrets. But then the schmeing Disir came in, plus the motives of other characters, plus Karalan's failing health, and I realised there was no way that could happen.

This story was meant to be about all the amazing things Karalan could do despite her challenges. Instead, it became about all the things she didn't and couldn't do, and the urgency to try so that she wouldn't die without regret.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?
... yes.
Aura Earth 101 
Welcome to Aura Earth 101, the number one fact guide to AE! On Aura Earth, humans have SIX senses. That's right, SIX, not five. The last sense is the most important because it intensifies love and respect for other human beings. This sixth sense is called STREAMING. 
STREAMING allows you to pass on your thoughts, feelings, emotions and memories non-verbally, and in a split second. Because of this, people who are highly trained (like sages) or naturally gifted (like Karalan) can unintentionally pick up non-important or private information from people nearby. Also, it allows intimate relationships to form between people without them being romantic. However, it can also allow the trauma of other people to be subconsciously passed on, and this is what begins Karalan's mental-emotional rollercoaster.

This point is IMPERATIVE for understanding this novel. Literally, if you don't get this point, understanding why people act the way they do might be a challenge. you can still enjoy the awesome fantasy though. =D

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?
Too many to choose! Originally, Milete Beyene was my favourite female character, and Hannaway (Karalan's brooding father) was my favourite male character. But now I adore Cassie for her ability to pull people together and add the happy spark to a group of people, and the Prince of Pearls for his constant drive to enjoy life to the fullest and make everyone around him happy, despite all the obstacles he's faced in his life.

My favourite aspect of the novel... is just that it's fantasy. That's it.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?
I never use people that I know in my stories, ever. But I get inspired by fictional characters or strangers. I was inspired yesterday by this girl that served me in Costa. She has a slight french accent, classic "nerd" glasses, and the coolest cropped hair. XD

Cassie's character was inspired by Alison Pill's portrayal of Kim from the movie Scott Pilgrim versus The World, and Hayley Williams from Paramore. But now I've been writing Cassie for such a while, her character has really blossomed into something much less aggressive and bitchy, and more defensive, argumentative, but ultimately loving.

The great Inspirations I've had over my life continually feed into the novel. But the only other personal aspect I drew on was my struggle with depression. It's really thrown a shade of misery over my life and the thought that one in four people go through this is really heartbreaking.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

You can find it at the bottom of the Inspiration page (OR, I can just tell you =] ) First, whenever I write high fantasy, I never listen to songs with words. For the lighter aspects of the novel, I listen to:
- The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword soundtrack (especially this track)
- music from Avatar: The Legend Of Aang (esp this track)
- sometimes, the Jade Empire soundtrack (this one)
- Japanese traditional music. (this one <3 )
For the darker aspects of the novel, I listen to the Beyond: Two Souls soundtrack. (and this one!)

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?
If I was transported to Paradis in Aura Earth, there would really be no time for hanging out XD
I'd be playing with sentinels and flying up to the Towers of Spirihil to see where they meet the sky; I'd go to the temples of Orona Root and meet the sages; and I would WITHOUT A DOUBT pay a visit to the only immortal on earth, guardian of life, the Maia. I lub her.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)
... I consider the feeling of shame I'll be consumed with if I don't.
(which is not the ideal way, but it's the way depressed people do things.)

14. What inspiring quote keeps you writing?
I come across amazing writerly quotes all the time but never remember them. So I guess none. Except for the repeating tape in my head that the least I can do before I die is create something that will mean something to someone.

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
Everything. Everything!

Want a well-rounded plot? The Story Circle

Click for more posts about my novel Karalan's Legacy (OOTD)

Tag: Bookshelf
To read what I write, check out Fiction Fridays!

Beautiful Books is a 3-part link-up series. Click for;

Beautiful Books #1: Let's Talk Books,
Beautiful Books #3: Let's Talk Editing

Thank you for reading, I hope you liked this post! I've been writing posts to help NaNoWriters (links above) and there'll be more to come, so do come back! Happy Thursday. <3

Ashana Lian .


  1. Duuuude if you start your book with just "The corpse sat up" that would be enough for me. I WOULD BE SNATCHING IT OFF THE SHELF AND EATING IT IN A FLASH.
    Yaaay! I'm glad you linked up! I'm not glad NaNo is being mean to you. :( *offers condoling chocolate* Compared to the last nightmarish book I was editing, this one has been a BREEZE. I think I really really like first drafts. I like editing in that it's less brain work (for me, anyway) but I love that freedom of writing wild and messy for draft 1s. x)
    I love the pictures of your characters! Omg, Cassie is so cute!
    And *whispers* I too didn't get around to reading everyone's posts. o.O Omg, there were a lot of them and then I got busy writing. I WILL TRY HARDER THIS TIME THO.


      Oh goood!! Editing can definitely be a hair tear-outer, hehe. First drafts are definitely the best part but that's why I've been on it for a year and a half =/ one writer I was following said that the closer she got to the end, the slower she went. I can see that happening for me! Endings are scary. Oh yes good point, I'll try and check out like, two link-ups a day, then hopefully I can get round to more people. Thanks again! <3

    Also, I love your character names. :-)

    1. Really?! Well thank ya! That's a relief. Fingers crossed I can make that first line work and new readers won't think it's a horror book!

      Aw thanks c: My characters have a mix of archaic/fantasy names and modern names, depending on where they live and what their cultural background is.

  3. Your book sounds so crazy interesting—I think my favorite thing is the "Aura Earth 101" bit. That sounds so cool! In a potentially problematic way.

    But hey... Potential problems are the things that make stories, eh?


      When I first created this, I was thinking about the possible ways this concept could backfire - for example, everybody being able to stream would mean some things that real people do daily wouldn't make sense. But last year I decided I was gonna go with it anyway, because it was an idea too intriguing to ignore! I've got a small list of things to watch out for, but I think I'll also need beta readers when my novel is done.

      Thanks for your comment. =]

    2. Ha! That's an awesome writing strategy, and one I could do to remember. But it sounds like deciding to go with it was an awesome decision. :D

  4. Wow, you've created such a complex and awesome world, it sounds epic!
    Sometimes I write lines that I love and think "this will 100% be in the end draft, nothing could make me ever delete this ever!" and then like a week later I think "wow, worst sentence in the history of sentence making!" So I completely understand your concern with your first sentence, haha.

    Also, love that you have Avatar Last Air Bender on your listening list.

    Kat @ Readiculous Blog

    1. That made me laugh sooo much. I do that all the time. I'll write something in the best way I can and I'll be so PLEASED, and then the next day - "What IS this?" Hahaha! XD

      I am a huge ATLA fan O_O HUGE. But don't ask me about Korra, I'm pointedly ignoring it. Aw, I really appreciate that, thanks!

  5. I love the sound of Aura Earth. Having Streaming as a sixth sense is such a cool idea. Now I'm wondering, are the characters able to turn it off at all? Like, can they choose whether or not to share information with other people? I am also mightily intrigued by The Prince of Pearls now.

    1. IMOOGEEN!!! Hello again :3

      I did my best to create a world I'd actually want to live in. I want to live in Aura Earth soooo much! >.<" I had to think hard about it because I wanted it to make sense. There are some animals that can communicate via whistling (dogs), electrocommunication (some fishes), and sonar (dolphins), so I didn't think this would be such a far stretch.

      The characters are not able to turn it off, but like how if you focus and go still, you can hear like electrical stuff humming and the radiator clicking, they can choose to focus on it or not. Those with a high level of training can keep their streams pulled in close, so it would be a lot harder for others to access them. It's easy for people to be focused on superficial things and use their five lower senses so the sense of streaming, in Karalan's world, has the stigma of being spiritual even though it's a basic human ability.

      Yeeees, me too c: He was only meant to be a Hi And Bye character, I have no idea how he ended up staying so long XD (Okay I do, it's because it was interesting to write about.) Thanks for commenting!

  6. I love the idea of streaming and the emotional consequences. Chapter 6 is very good! Normally, it's confusing to be thrown into a new world but this was quite natural. It makes me want to learn more about Milete, especially if she's a favourite character. Jory made me laugh.

    1. Hi again! I'm so glad you liked it; I read it again recently and I was surprised by how WORDY it was. I'm thinking of making the language a little bit less... elevated(..?). My plan is to draw the reader in slowly, because its starting to be a lot of information to take in. Thanks for commenting!

  7. I loved reading your answers! Writing a novel is one hell of a hard task so don't be too harsh on yourself. Many professional writers take years and years and years to develop their novel. I'm seriously intrigued by Prince of Pearls, the picture you put for him was just wow. I have one question? Is he hot or just reasonably attractive? I know it's seriously sillyto ask but I just was wondering. I just read chapter 6. I didn't feel lost at all. Actually, if you hadn't mentionned that it was the sixth chapter, I would have assumed it was the first. Now, I really want to know more about Karalan and Jory.

    1. Aw shucks, Carlaaa c: I'll try! People tell me I'm too hard on myself but I disagree,; proactiveness is better than being lazy. It terrifies me that I sleep and wake up a few times and then suddenly a whole month has gone by O_O MUST - WRITE - FASTER !!!

      Wow I didn't even think about that, that was just a random image. XD But you're right, it's very appropriate! Prince does kind of waltz in and mesmerise people. Even Jory, who was suspicious at first, ends up liking him. LOL! How about I describe him as he is and you decide. Or better, I'll tell you what the other characters think of him. Karalan thinks he's good-looking and has a sharp intelligence but doesn't like that he knows it and often gets infuriated. Jory thinks he's pretty greasy. Cassie is very fond of him and thinks he beautiful, charming and very funny. Dim doesn't really care either way because he only pays attention in short bursts. Ha! =P

      Hm, I've had that comment before - that it sounds like the opening. =/ I might have to move it up to the fourth or even second. Thanks so much for your comments. =]

  8. I loved reading your answers and finding out more about your book. I'm sorry NaNo and life isn't being fair to you right now. I hope things get better for your soon *hugs*. You need a book out so I can read the whole thing. Especially one that starts with a corpse sitting up, I am already desperate to read this one.

    1. Aw thanks :') *huggles* and sorry I didn't get a chance to reply sooner! Life kicking my arse as usual e_e I'm desperate for it to be finished! Pouring in all my efforts now.


Thanks for dropping by! Ashana Lian always replies to comments and if you leave a link, she'll visit your blog or website. Don't be shy!

Popular Posts