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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'.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Paperbacks, Sketchpads, Diaries and Notebooks (+ Fiction Friday!)

Yesterday was indeed a Good Friday. *waggles eyebrows* (see what I did there.)

Why? I finally, FINALLY, FINALLY sat down to write my novel. This May is the second birthday of Karalan's Legacy aka OOTD, and it must must must be finished, because I need to be able to start editing. It is the one thing I am solely devoted to right now.

Well, my luverly readers! It has been a HELL of a month! Where shall I start?

New Job

I'm loving my new job, although it's weird not to work with books and have knowledge of what is current and popular. Probably a good thing - my TBR is still appalling.


This month, I have been able to get out of my reading slump by reading to and from work, which is an hour journey each way. That way I got to read SteelheartAll The Bright Places, Vicious, The Sin Eater's Daughter, and now I'm onto The Lies of Locke Lamora which I bought last July. Finally! I'm so pleased.

To the right is my library books that I still need get round to. Underneath are the books I bought at Fantasy In The Court last year that I also still need to read. But now it actually seems likely I will get round to reading them. My book buying ban has been going great - I'm surprised I was able to be this disciplined.


For those of you who remember, I'm studying the Japanese language. It's been bugging me lately that with changing jobs, I hadn't been able to practise properly, but the schedule I'm going to put together this weekend will mean I'll start practising again. YESSS. I have been learning for over a year already and I still can't say basic stuff because I rarely ever actually study. The only thing I want to do as much as finish my novel Karalan's Legacy book one is be able to speak Japanese fluently.

Pockets and Budgets

Since I've started my new job, my salary has taken a dip upwards. It's such a relief because now I can start saving to move out - plus, I can buy clothes from the Tall section, which can be slightly more expensive but at least they fit me.
I have some new smart clothes including some blazers. I realised with one of them that instead of being a false pocket - I HATE FALSE POCKETS - it's actually just sewn up. Imagine my surprise! I was so happy that my blazer has actual pockets, ten times more useful than a flipping fake pocket. My Mum reminded me that manufacturers would do that to make sure nothing was transported in the pocket. Huh. Never considered that before.


Aside from my novel and studying Japanese, another thing that's made me a bit miserable is how little I've been drawing. I never seem to find the time - which means my artistic ability never improves. My third most important goal is to draw again and that means a lot to me.

I have two sketchpads from paperchase, which are 100 sheets each. I liked that they have so many sheets - I can keep more of my drawings in one place. One is for Jade Rose only, an original children's fantasy character I created, and the other is for fantasy only. My other sketchbook is called Dragonera and that's for my old StarLit fantasy.


From my old forum days, one of my buddies Shaire (who has her own blog) inspired me to try my hand at writing lyrics. This was years ago, by the way. Her lyrics are so emotive and full of anguish and the last set of lyrics I'd written back then was for my music GCSE. My first attempts at lyrics were pretty embarrassing and dismal, but I became addicted to it - sometimes when I was depressed, the only thing I would ever feel like doing is going over my songs and writing new ones.

Now, I've gotten to the point where I'm so hooked on my own music that I feel doubtful I'll ever share it. Sometimes I'll write a song, hate it at first, then grow to like it as it improves. Sometimes I'll love it when I create it and later feel embarrassed. Some, I knew from the start I'd always love. Others were bad from the start and will be eternally laughable.

When I have a song stuck in my head for a while and I stop to notice it, I'll realise it's my own song. There comes a point where it doesn't feel like mine any more, which is always pretty cool. One in particular I end up singing a lot, one I wrote early this year called Where I'm Going, which perfectly summed up my feelings about wanting to go somewhere special and do something worthwhile, mean something, make a difference, yada yada, but not knowing where on earth I should start.


A few months ago, an old school friend who is living in Paris as a young nanny to two adorable twins sent me some music, one of which being Stromae, Tous les mêmes. I then found Papaoutai from my university friend Miss Lovely. After discovering Pentatonix version of Papaoutai, which inspired a revamp of my story Fury's Finest, I finally bought Stromae's album. There just something about it. I'm hooked.


Now I'm working full time, I have less time than ever before. It's been even more important to make use of the diary I bought at the end of last year from WHSmith. I use it to remember anything from work-related research, to tidying my room, to health routines, to household chores. I also forget to keep my water intake up, so I use it to see how much cups of tea or water I drink.


Heather from Sometimes I'm A Story has a series called Interview a Notebook, and I thought it was great because everybody knows how writers are about their precious notebooks. I do have special notebooks from when It All Began - these four A5 Oxford office pads with the smoothest white pages you ever felt. The red was first and holds all my snippets, unusual names, fleeting inspirations and ideas. The purple one came next for my sci-fi stories. The green one came next, mainly for Que$t. Then the blue, for the Become Her series, which I suppose would include Moon vs Lane.

I bought a new sketch pad from Rymans recently to use as an A4 blank notebook for the Fury's Finest revamp. That's is a story I made up in my early teens about vigilante groups - a fanfiction. Last month, I was listening to Love Me When You Leave and Papaoutai by Pentatonix, and that story came alive again. I need to write everything down before that initial kick fades. o_O


Every day when I walk to and from work, I listen to music. Every song unfolds a scene from any one of my in-progress stories, so I'm bursting with inspiration without the day without a chance to get anything down. Then I get home, dejected, exhausted, and go to bed.

Karalan's Legacy, Fury's Finest, Supe'd Up, and a new one called Queen Nasrin. For example, here's a song I discovered last week, a remix of Dear Boy. The original Dear Boy helped inspire the entire story of Supe'd Up in January 2014.


I have eaten so much JUNK since I've started working. I've had fast food from Sainsbury's and M&S, Nandos, McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Pret A Manger, EAT, Indian food from a place near my house, this lovely restaurant called Ishtar... I've had such a range. I get bored with food so much easier than I did before I started this new job. It's lack of time to cook, and also I've never been a great cook so I felt stumped sometimes as to WHAT to cook. I have been cleaning up my diet... I swear. Exercise though, I still haven't even plucked up the courage. It's becoming my mortal fear - to do ten minutes of exercise.


Specsavers can be so pushy, but I needed some new glasses so I went back. £150 for two pairs with anti-glare and thinning, I shit you not. They are very nice glasses. But I hope it's the last time I ever go back. The assistants there talk SO much garbage, it's unbelievable. They actually told me the fact that my eyesight had gotten worse is natural (what, degeneration is NATURAL? The body's natural process is to heal and regenerate.) despite the fact that that only happened when I wore glasses, and in the four years I stopped wearing them, my eyesight then remained the same. The lady who did my eye test told me that herself. And I was like, why are you refusing the see the glaringly obvious? Then I realise - oh yes. It's because if they admit glasses make my eyes worse, they'll lose business. Fiddlesticks.

More Music

Finally, I discovered Purity Ring a few weeks ago. Again, the music is so bizarre and haunting but before I knew it, I was listening every day until this week I finally bought it. =D I just adore it. Heartsigh, Bodyache, and Begin Again are my favourites.

Oh - the cupcake? It's a recipe of my sisters, the most delicious cupcake I've ever had. The sponge is soft but not crumbly - the chocolate on top is soft and the chocolate inside is CRUNCHY, believe it or not. OMG. It's so delicious. I call them Amararys. (Don't ask, it's a family joke.)

So yep, ate that in front of my laptop trying to catch up on blogs during this four week holiday! I hope to be chatting with all of you lovely bloggers soon. Have a great easter break.

Ashana Lian .


It's Fiction Friday, the meme for writer-bloggers! For those who are taking part, share a snippet on your work and link-up. Support each other, and if the blogger asks, give them constructive criticism! If you don't have anything to share this time, answer this week's question:

What were your inspirations for this story?

To see past and future questions for the next few months and find out more about this feature, visit the main About Fiction Friday post. 
Note: I'm posting chapters of a fantasy short story for the next few Fiction Fridays, but there will be a little delay because of some pretty major changes in my life these past few weeks. Bear with me!

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