The Short and Long of It

Writing the shorts for TAK has been incredibly useful. I’ve been able to pick up my writing while on my lunch breaks at work and due to the fact that I had previously written some shorts about The Doctor and Kokoro I’m able to better explain their relationship in the body of TAK. I am writing the chapter where Brexton and Aldric return to the clinic where The Doctor and Kokoro work for the first time in years. It gave me an idea for a separate short I’ll write later about how Brexton and Aldric have used the clinic in the past and their relationship to The Doctor and Kokoro then. It’s quite exciting really, so I’m looking forward to it.

I haven’t written any shorts for a while and before I got to this part in the chapter I was struggling with what I wanted to happen. I have a brief map written out on how I want the story to go, but sometimes when you get right to the point it’s hard to make those words flow and have those scenes woven so nicely together.

I re-read TAK from the beginning and allowed myself to make true edits as I went through. The last time I went through it I was purely reading it; not making any edits even though some jumped out at me. It’s quite empowering to be able to make those changes and this tablet makes that all the more possible.

Sometimes when I’m writing I get really excited for the end and I want to rush right to it. I haven’t done that yet, and I’m really proud of myself. I’m the kind of writer where I find it difficult to bounce back and forth between parts of the story. I like to go from start to finish. This is where the beauty of editing comes in, though, because I can reread those parts that perhaps I wrote too quickly and I can refresh them and sort them out.

It’s almost the weekend! I’m closer to finishing my office at home now. We’re off to purchase our sofa bed at Ikea this weekend. I’m also getting a new cellphone and getting my hair cut. My workplace has determined that we need to have our photos on the site. Since all the work I do is virtual and behind the scenes, it’s quite nice for users to be able to put a face to the name.

But alas, my lunch has ended and I must return to my desk.

Stay engaged in the now, my friends.interesting

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, 2 comments

Character Update

Okay don’t get mad.

I was reviewing the file for TAK and reviewing the shorts I’ve written thus far.

There’s a character quirk for Aldric that I had written in one fashion and now I’m changing it.

I’m the Creator here, so I’m allowed to mess with my world however I want lol

If you had already read the short Loneliness you might want to read it again. Here, I’ll give you the updated file. Because I’m so nice 😛

It’s not a huge change, just something I had one way that I don’t like anymore. Since I have my beautiful tablet I’m working really hard at continuing the first draft for TAK so I can get it out there for you all.

Loneliness and Love

Hopefully you’re all okay with that. If not, well, I’ll take your criticism and keep on keepin’ on.

Take a gander into the mind of Aldric and the insecurities he lives with!

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Personalities and Characters

When I was a late teen until I was an early twenty-something I dated this guy who was  the most pretentious, ridiculous person I have ever met. For seven years I had a relationship with this guy and I almost married him. I had accepted a ring and plans were being made and everything!

Then one day I left the ring on the table with my keys and left.

It’s an embarrassing time of my life and I don’t like to remember it. He probably doesn’t like to remember it either.

He was a mechanic who wanted to be a doctor or an actor (he couldn’t make up his mind). He drank wine while bitching about the ‘low-brow’ humour that occurred on the shop floor. He was so full of himself watching Frasier and House like he wanted to be those guys it made me doubt my own intelligence.

Even now; I used to think I knew everything about writing but I don’t. Boss and BSP are far more educated than I in that realm. It made me feel like the one thing I had going for me was gone. I know that’s not the case, but it’s hard not to think that way sometimes.

And that reminds me of Brexton and Aldric.

Brexton is a showy, loud, confident guy. He’s probably not the sharpest tool in the shed as he leaves all the strategies and planning to Aldric. He discounts his own intelligence and is comfortable with the fact that there are those who know more than he does. He is happiest in battle, slicing his katana through the air and through bodies. That is his niche and it is where he feels his best. It’s part of the reason his relationship with Dessa broke down. Brexton wasn’t ready to discover who he could be without his sword.

Aldric is not confident. He has confidence in his battle skills, but that’s it. He is the smarter of the two in terms of planning and strategies. He also has more street-smarts than Brexton. But because Brexton shines like such a star, it makes Aldric self-concious. He feels that perhaps he’s too low to keep up with Brexton. It’s like Brexton is the cool popular kid that everyone loves and Aldric is the smart, quiet nerdy guy with no friends. In reality, they are the best of friends because they have traits that compliment each other. Aldric and Brexton have always been together so there’s that fear that they are only together out of habit.

The funny thing is, they both feel that way. Brexton feels like Aldric could do way better than him and that he is only with him because of familiarity and a sense of responsibility. Aldric feels the same way about Brexton. They don’t talk about it, but there’s that awkward concern under the surface.

I love writing scenes when this comes up. They’re both so ignorant with their emotions and that’s because they were never shown how to express them. Maybe that will change by the end of the story. I can’t tell you now though 😉

I channel a lot of my personal experiences in my writing. Of course I do! I don’t know a writer who doesn’t. This is what I know best because I lived it. I am living it. You could probably learn more about me by reading my book/musings than  you could reading a blog post.

It’s enjoyable to write about Brexton and Aldric. I can’t wait to write more! The office is getting painted this weekend and that makes me so happy! Soon, everyone. Soon I’ll be able to lock myself in there for hours on the weekend and just let my fingers fly over the keyboard.

My husband got his new laptop so I’ll be getting his old one. That will make it much easier to type as well.

Enjoy your Tuesday! Try to stay awake! 🙂



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Fleshing it Out

If you’ve noticed, the last few posts have been songs. Or song-like pieces. These may or may not actually show up in TAK, but I felt it was important to start writing down those little bits of information that swirl in my brain.

I’ve never really paid much mind to the songs and legends that crop up in fantasy-adventure stories, unless of course the story heavily relies on them.

I once wrote a story that involved a travelling band of musicians and not once did I write anything about the songs. No lyrics, nothing. Descriptions of the music but that was it. In TAK no one is involved with music. That is to say, there are no musicians and no bands or the like that play. At least, not right now. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be music. Music is an exportable commodity from one of the kingdoms. They make their living off of the arts: tapestries, paintings, pottery, clothing and of course, music.

So bear with me while I flesh this all out.

I created another character yesterday. I don’t want to say too much about her because I don’t want to spoil anything in the book. She won’t show up until mid-way through. There may be a mention of her in passing earlier (since I’m convinced I need to rewrite the entire thing since I haven’t touched it in like, 2 years) but she is a bit of a special character so I don’t want to spoil things.

I know I haven’t written any shorts in a while either. That was a new way to flesh out the story that I was trying and I think I like it a lot. It allows me to analyse and look at what could possibly make a particular character tick. It also gives a bit of a candid view of that character that you won’t see in the actual novel. The little three story piece I wrote about the Charlatan and Kokoro is my favourite, I think.

The Charlatan and the Flower

The Charlatan and Kokoro

Kokoro and the Charlatan

You will not be seeing this development in TAK at all.  You will meet these characters, but you won’t get to see how they came to be where they are. So take a gander if you’d like.

Happy Tuesday and may your day be comfortable!

cyanide and happiness

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Oh Darling

Oh darling

My love for you is wild like Quorum

No man can sail it safely.

Oh darling

My hate for you is deep like Quorum

No man can see the bottom.

Oh darling

My tears for you flow swift like Quorum

No man can ford it securely.

Oh darling

My fear for you is cold like Quorum

No man can find warmth.

Oh darling

My hope for you is boundless

No man can contain it.

From the Songs of Hieros

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Character Record

I never used to do this, but for the last four or five stories I’ve written I started keeping a booklet of information for each story. I mentioned this a bit in my previous post about resources.

For TAK, I’ve got more than that. Right now I have a booklet with character descriptions for all my major and sometimes minor characters. Basics like eye colour, skin tone, hair colour and length, body type and height are recorded for each character. Their name and age heads the top of the description. That used to be it. As I’ve been writing and honing my craft my resources have grown with me. Now my character descriptions have more information. They contain the types of clothes the character may wear on a regular basis; do they wear boots or shoes? Leggings? Tunics or shirts? Colour preferences? A character in TAK wears glasses. So I’ve recorded the shape and colour of his glasses. Sometimes I’ll put in some information about their background or little blips about their personality. A character in TAK, Gideon, doesn’t speak much. Read that as hardly ever. I made a note of that in his record.

Sometimes when I’m writing if I bring up a character I haven’t used in a while I might forget what they look like. Usually the little details like hair and eye colour. I find these records helpful in that they are separate and keep me from searching back through hundreds of pages just to find the information I’m looking for.

When I would write when I was younger, it was common for characters to change eye colour or hair colour. I would reread what I had written and realize the character had changed personalities somewhere along the line. This is obviously not good.

The book for TAK is way more involved than any other before. Not only do I have character descriptions, I’ve started writing the background of the world within it. In TAK there are four countries: Byrnan, Hieros, Haima and Allos. Each country has a ‘speciality’ and the people from each country are slightly different in terms of mentality, skin colour and talents. For example, Hieros is a country steeped in art. It is one of the southern countries and it’s people have an olive skin tone. They produce magnificent pieces of art such as paintings, fabrics, architecture, music and so on. I’ve also drawn a suuuuuper crude map in my booklet. I am not a cartographer and this will most likely not make it into the book itself. It’s for personal reference so I can remember where the countries are located, where the major cities that are mentioned in the story are located and what the terrain looks like. In keeping with Hieros, it’s very flat. Lots of grass and open plains. Hieros is also known for it’s food production.


Don’t judge my lack of mapping skills

As you can see, it’s not professional, but it serves it’s purpose.

The problem I sometimes run into is running out of book before I’m done with everything. This means I have to transfer all the information into another book. I write everything by hand in this book and I’m not in the mood to switch to digital. The story itself is being typed on a computer, but I just can’t get behind the idea of writing this information in a word document as well.

What things do you do to keep your writing on track?

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Resources! The World for Resources!

I find when I’m writing I prefer to have hard copy resources. These can be in the form of a book, a print out or even a photo. I want to be able to touch it, mark it, file it where I deem appropriate.

Last spring I purchased a used book that is an encyclopaedia of mythical, magical creatures. I already have a very good understanding of this kind of lore due to the courses I took in university and high school. However, sometimes there are things that I don’t know (shocking, right?!) and sometimes it’s good to get a refresher. I’ve been out of school for like, 10 years now.

In Three Abandoned Kingdoms I’ve introduced firearms as a method of weaponry. I do  not own guns, I have never held a gun and I rarely see them (I live in Canada). I wanted to buy a sort of encyclopaedia of firearms. The issue I tend to run into is the cost. Someone was selling a very small booklet, approximately 50 pages with illustrations, for $25 a while ago. That is just not something I could afford. The book about creatures is about 1000 pages long with illustrations and is a hard cover which I purchased for $5. That can be the issue when  you buy used.

Before you say it, yes, I am fully aware of the fact that I can look online and I can Google guns and such. But my issue is that I don’t have the basic background. I don’t even know the different kinds of guns available. Most of my knowledge comes from video games and when you play fantasy games like I do, they aren’t always realistic. There is a particular character that is using firearms; Gavin. He’s the leader of a mercenary group and I feel like he would favour a sawed-off shotgun. I have an idea of what that looks like, but as I said, I would prefer a picture or a diagram that I can write on, that I can copy and paste into my character record book. I may type up my story on a computer but all the other information is in a small lined paper book I received for Christmas a long time ago.


Character Record Book, people.

I also use music as a resource. Certain scores or song evoke certain emotions and can make writing a specific scene easier for me. I used to have a hard cover book of baby names that I wrote in, earmarked and carried wherever I was writing. Especially back in the days when I wrote my stories in notebooks because laptops either didn’t exist or were too expensive (yes, I’m old). I got quite a few looks lugging those things around.

Once my funds increase again, I may have to take a trip to the used book store.


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Creating 'My' Space

As many of you know, I have a room in my house that has been designated as the office/spare room. I haven’t been able to get into this room and do some writing in what feels like a year. There are a lot of reasons for this: the room has become a catch-all of junk, the desk is not really electronic-friendly, the bed is enormous, the filing cabinet is cluttered and not organized and finally; my laptop is so close to biting the dust I’m apprehensive about doing anything on it.

I had been writing TAK on my tablet, but for some reason the file is no longer accessible from the SD card. I am able to access other files, but TAK itself is inaccessible. This worries me. I am 98% certain that I backed up the last things I had written to the laptop, but you can see my dilemma right? If I haven’t, there is a lot of writing to do. If I have a lot of writing to do I want to do it at once or at least in sequence. To do that I need a place to do it because really, my kids are not going to let me write anything sitting on the couch.

There are plans to revamp the office. First, it needs a coat of paint. Second, the artwork that is in there needs to be changed. I have a giant picture of Picadilly Circus from an aerial view with the double-decker buses being the only things of colour. Nice and bright red. It is a picture from Ikea that I’ve had for almost  8 years now. I think it’s okay to retire it. I would very much like to retire it. I had been painting myself and maybe those pieces would find place in our office. I also want to reconfigure the layout.

I’ve been on the hunt for a desk I like and a pull-out loveseat-bed or sofa-bed that will suit the room. Environment is very important when writing for me. I need to be comfortable in my space or nothing happens. I’d also like a damn chair mat for under the desk! One day, I will get all these things.

For now, I jot down ideas as they come to me in a book I have and I write the shorts you’ve been reading on  here. Just something to keep me immersed in that world. I can’t forget Brexton, Aldric or Edessa. I need to be ready to deal with Vaughn, Evaristus and Airi. I might write up a character profile and start sharing those with you guys. Is that interesting at all? Let me know!

Until then, happy day!


Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, Rantings, 0 comments

Tea Rules My Morning

Do you have a morning drink? A lot of people I know have to have some sort of beverage in the morning to set off their day right. Most people drink coffee, some people drink an energy drink or a protein shake. Like a lot of other people, I need to drink tea. I have a thermos that I got from Japan that keeps my tea insulated and warm all day. The tea is made at 6:30am or so and is kept warm until I finish it. Sometimes I don’t finish my tea until the afternoon and it’s still warm. I love this thing. It’s by a company called Zojirushi and it’s my favourite purchase.

I generally don’t function properly until I’ve had my tea. I don’t need to drink it all, but I need to drink most of it. Tea has always been very big in my family. We’re Anglo Indian, which just means that we are Indian with British blood mixed in. My family ranges in shades from white to deep brown. I’m around a beige. I get very offended when people call me white. I don’t see myself that way. I prefer to say “I’m not white, I’m beige!”

My grandparents were born and raised in India before they moved to England where my mother was born. But because we have British blood there are a lot of British things we do. Tea is not only a British thing, but it was for my grandparents. There was always a pot of tea on, and as a grandchild it was my duty to serve it to my elders. Aunts, Uncles, my grandparents, parents; we grandchildren had the obligation to do this at family gatherings.

I get very particular about certain foodstuffs because of this. There is only one brand of basmati rice that I will buy and eat, simply for the fact that my grandparents used it. If I could find the tea my grandparents bought, I would. I might have to look online because my usual grocery store doesn’t carry it. They did at one point, and then stopped. There are some Indian foods I can’t eat because my grandmother would have made them in a different way. If it’s not the same, it’s hard to enjoy it.

I was thinking about these things when I was doing some behind the scenes character development for Brexton. I feel like he is a coffee guy; like he needs a warm cup on a regular basis to function. Aldric I think will drink coffee, but he will prefer tea in the end. He has more patience than Brexton. Edessa also would like tea but Gavin and Raelin are coffee people. Vaughn is also a coffee person but Evaristus could go either way. Kokoro and Lot are coffee people. They don’t have the luxury of waiting for tea. They need that caffeine boost to get them through the day.

Will any of this come up in the book? Maybe. I’ve written a part where they’ve woken up and shared a coffee, but now I’m thinking of rewriting that now that I know more about my characters. I’m also thinking of the vessel people will drink from. I feel like Aldric would drink from a cup and saucer if he was offered, but I’m not sure if that would be his vessel of choice. He is very concerned about his appearance so he might opt for a mug. But we’ll see. I’ll get back in there and write the damn thing. We’ll see where it takes me.


Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, Rantings, 3 comments