Thursday, March 31, 2011

[Ashed] Prologue: In the End

Lexus Connor woke to the agonising screams of the men in adjacent cells. Dark and evil dreams fell slowly back into the night, and it was several shaky breaths before he could calm himself enough to think. He stared at the ceiling with eyes that were grim and black, his face pale. His forehead was beaded with sweat. Sitting up and clutching his chest to feel his drumming heart, Lexus recalled with great unease what day it was.
     21 August. The day of Exile.
     Dread ran through his veins. He could not bear the idea of dying, nor of living to see tomorrow's sunrise, whatever tomorrow happened to be like. But as far as Lexus was concerned, here he was, at the end of a fruitless life – the future was bleak and unknown, and it seemed to mirror death entirely. Not even beyond his final teenage year, his life on earth had been short. Useless. The world had been open to him, his life only ahead of him. But no longer. His dreams were dead. His hopes lost – like sand thrown into a roaring river, they had been washed away. Lexus would never have his own children or untangle the mysteries of love. There is nothing in exile, he thought. Nothing.
     A shout from outside broke his thoughts. “Connor!” called a gruff voice.
     A groan. “I'm here.”
     “Of course you are. No-one has ever escaped.” There was the sound of beeping and the steel door slid open, revealing a stocky man dressed in a grey uniform. A gun and electric baton hung from his belt. “It's time to leave,” he said, taking a few steps towards the prisoner. Silence. Stillness. “Now.
     Lexus sighed and reluctantly upped himself from his bed and turned so that the guard could handcuff him. Once the device was fitted, he was bustled out of the cell and into a labyrinth of corridors.
     As they walked, the guard pressed his pistol into Lexus's back, urging him to move faster. They passed, in turn, several lifeless bodies with blood dripping from head wounds, and some who were writhing on the floor and screaming, being beaten with electric batons by other grey-uniformed men. The sight was nauseating.
     “What happened to them?” Lexus asked, holding back sickness.
     “They were uncooperative,” the guard grumbled. “That's what happens when you try to escape.”
     Lexus spat. “How can you torture them like that! How can you kill them!”
     The guard pressed the gun hard against Lexus's back. “You'll be next if you don't quieten down and move faster. A convict doesn't disappear when they step through the rift. You disappear when the government leaves you with us. From there you are pronounced dead, and we do with you what we will. If that involves torture, then so be it.”
     Lexus grimaced. “Why do you send us to Jaroka? Why not keep us as slaves,” he sneered, “and kill us at your pleasure?”
     “Because every time a soul passes through the rift, the portal flares, producing enough energy per year to power half the world. It's win-win: justice for energy.” He laughed darkly, and pushed Lexus on. “Now silence, and move! Hurry up, or perhaps will kill you for pleasure.”
     A lump formed in Lexus's throat and he wished to turn on the guard and beat him until his head exploded, but he simply marched forward in the darkness, trying to ignore the cries of anguish from those around him.
     A few minutes later, he came around a corner and a blazing white light stuck him, forcing him to turn his eyes away with a step backwards, into the ever prodding pistol which he had grown to hate in such a short period of time. Squinting, he turned his head slowly towards the light again, and it seemed to dim slightly. What he observed was the most glorious thing he had ever seen.
     The walls of the large room were covered in glowing marks and symbols, familiar and unfamiliar, and they shone in every hue of the rainbow. At the center was an orb, burning like pure fire. It even seemed to speak, to whisper thoughts of long gone people. Most were dark and violent, hurtful and filled with resentment.
Lexus turned to look at the guard, who was adjusting an earpiece. The guard looked up. “Move. We're late – the thing's about to close.”
     Spiteful eyes glared at the guard, then glanced around the room, looking for any possible means of escape. But Lexus already knew there were none. He had only one choice: Jaroka. He began to inch towards the orb.
     “Oh, and Connor,” said the guard. Lexus looked back at him. “Pick a better lifestyle this time.”
     Lexus ground his teeth and sneered. “I'll see you in hell.” Then he turned on his heels and approached the orb. As he got nearer, his head began to spin. Light flashed behind eyes, then darkness, then light. The sound of roaring thunder filled his ears, and he lost his balance, falling to the fall. As the noise became piercing, darkness overcame him, and he was dragged deeper than ever before into slumber.
     One life ends, another is born from the ashes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This is just a short post because I have some exciting news to share with everyone. And here it is.

Starting very soon, I'm going to be writing a serialised story on the blog (which means I write a chapter or scene every week or so and publish it here - credit to my Uncle Brian for this idea). It's going to be quite experimental, and as opposed to my usual writing style, which is incredibly structured and in which I plan everything out beforehand, I'm going to be making this one up as I go along. Because of that, your feedback or comments on a chapter may affect what happens in the next one. That's right, it's almost interactive.

The story is titled ASHED, and it's about ... well, you'll find out. I'm writing the prologue now, so I should have it up in the next few days.

So, that's my announcement. Anyone up for some adventure?

*     *     *

NB: Because of this change however, there is either going to be less of me doing my normal blogs, or I am going to have to just blog more frequently. I'll work that one out later.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Story Beyond the Story

See these books? These are the first three books in a four-book series, by a young author, Christopher Paolini. The reason I decided to blog about these today is because a few days ago fans finally heard some long anticipated news. And I mean looooooong - like two and a half years long.

On 23 or 24 March, the title, the cover art and the release date of the fourth book was released. Here's what we'll be seeing on the shelves of our bookstores from 8 November 2011:

But, despite the fact that I love the first book, it's not the series that I want to talk about. It's the author.

Because beyond and behind the story of Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance, there is another story. It is a story that the writer does not make up, but more falls subject to. Without it, no book could ever come into existence. It is the story of the writer, and his journey.

The story of Christopher Paolini is truly incredible. It's one of those stories that aspiring writers look upon in complete awe, one that seems entirely impossible. And yet it happened. And it makes them hope and dream that maybe one day they will have a story of their own - maybe not so flashy and elegant and successful, but still their very own story about how they were published, and how they made it in the industry of writing.

It makes me hope and dream.

To cut a long story short, Christopher Paolini was fifteen when he began writing the first draft of Eragon (by the way, if you wanted a random piece of information: in the publishing industry book titles and often the author's name are written in CAPITALS) and after three years it was self-published. Paolini and his mum organised book signings at something like 130 different places. Life was pretty good.

But then something happened. The book exploded. In literal terms it was placed in the hands of Michelle Frey, executive editor at Knopf. Soon Paolini had competing offers from two main publishers, soon he had an agent, and soon he had a six figure advance. For his first novel.

Since then, things have only gotten better. All three novels have been #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, and Inheritance is set for an initial print run of 2.5 million.

And that is just one story. It's a pretty colossal story, but consider how many other authors there are out there. You still have the Harry Potter story, the Kaleb Nation story, and everything else in between.

I'm waiting for the day when the following link actually goes somewhere: The Nick Hight story. No, I'm not waiting for that day - I'm working to make it happen. My story may not be big, it may not include a movie or a six figure advance or even a five figure advance, but it will still be my story. And that's worth more than any amount of money or publicity.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Confess ...

... I can't be bothered blogging. I'm tired, I'm sick, and there's a million things I should be doing right now, none of which I want to do. Therefore, this post is uber short, and pretty much just for those who frequently check to see if I've got anything new up. Sorry, people, but this is it.

The thing I wanted to talk about today is how people become well-known. No, ok, the question that is really on my mind is this: How can I become well-known, especially before I am published?

Any ideas? (By the way, this is where the commenting feature comes in handy.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Not to Fail at Writing

On Tuesday I watched the trailer for a movie coming out called Limitless. It started off by zooming in on a shabby looking man walking the streets of a huge city (probably New York). Then there was a voice over that went a little like this:

"See that guy over there? That's me. I've got an excuse for looking like this: I'm a writer."

Legend. What a legend. I don't care if he's failing at life, he's a writer, and therefore he's a legend.

Anyway, if you watch the trailer here, you will find out that this guy is given a stock of pills that will unlock all of his brain's potential, making him super-smart and super-prolific. Halfway through the trailer, after taking his pills, we learn that he finished writing his book in just four days. It shows a snippet where he walks into an editor's office, tosses his manuscript on her desk and says, "I'd like to renegotiate my advance."

BOOM. I suddenly know why this guy was failing at life before he started taking the pills.

He didn't know how to operate properly inside the publishing industry.

So without further ado, here are a couple of points to make sure you aren't that guy who has to wait for some other guy to give you some drugs so that you can succeed at writing:

1) Never rock up to a publishing company uninvited. Sure, you have this awesome manuscript you want to pitch, and sure, you live just down the road, and sure ... blah, blah, blah. But no-one wants to see you. It's the same with calling on the phone - don't do it, ever. Editors don't want to hear your voice. There is a proper process to getting published, and that isn't part of it. The proper process involves these things called query letters, and you don't even send out your query to a publisher.

Which brings me to my next point.

2) Get an agent. You shouldn't be in an editor's office at all, let alone throwing your manuscript at them. There's a middleman called an agent. And that is who you send your query letter to. He will then do the talking with a potential editor, and the negotiations. Your agent takes a commission fee of usually about 15%, but there are incredibly good reasons to get one:

  • While publishing companies are full of good, kind people, they won't hesitate to royally screw you and exploit you. If you have an agent, this won't happen.. That is because an agent knows the industry, the legal side of things, and will point out clauses in your contact that you never thought mattered.
  • But the main reason is, simply, that most publishers now days do not want to work with authors directly at all. Since an agent is hard to get, a publisher will know they are getting something decent when they are approached by one.
There are volumes to write on agents (and volumes have been written), so I'll leave it at that for now. But other great sources to check out are How to be Your Own Literary Agent by Richard Curtis (the title makes me laugh because this book really explains that there are so many things that an agent does that you would not want to be your own one) and this blog post by Moonrat, an anonymous New York editor.

3) Don't rely solely on writing. If you do, and things don't work out (or at least you aren't earning enough to support yourself for the moment), you're screwed. You need a day job, unless you are fourteen and your parents feed you (lucky me). If you don't have parents who feed you or a solid day job that brings in money every week as you start off in your writing career, you are probably going to end up like the guy from Limitless. You'll start taking drugs. Except you probably won't be into brain enhancers, instead it will be cocaine and heroin. 'Nuff said.

And those are my tips for the day. Yes, yes. This is a post for writers - congratulations, you noticed. If you're not a writer, go find a writer friend and tell them about this blog. They might just be interested.

If you are a writer ... you are a fricken legend.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Gender Telling Game

One of the things that puts me in a good mood is getting stuff done. This week I have been getting stuff done.

As I said in the last post, I've been working on my novel again, and it's really going well. In fact, today I finally finished all the plot and backstory questions I had (which takes a very long time - the answer to one question asks five more), and I created a detailed timeline of my world's history. For the first time in a while, I'm not sure what to do next.

Which is great. It means I'm back onto sorting out the main plot.

But anyway, they great thing is that even when I wasn't winning epicly on my novel, I was still getting stuff done. Bi-winning, people. I win here, I win there, I win everywhere.

On Tuesday, I did no work on my story (and I spent almost the whole day on my computer), but I accomplished the following things:
  • I wrote a blog post.
  • I doubled the amount of followers I have on my blog.
  • I doubled the amount of blogs I follow (probably more like tripled).
  • I met another teenage writer online.
  • Tidied half my room.
  • Did lots of uber cool things and got stuff done.
  • Cut my fingernails.
And the last point makes me remember I certain story ... :

Last year I was in the cast for the school production. Actually it was between two schools, which means that I got to meet heaps of cool people. One of those people was Erin Crowther.

She introduced me to the Gender Telling Game, which tells you if you are a guy or girl depending on how you check your fingernails, and how you look at the bottom of your shoe. This was the information Erin gave me:

And I remembered it.

Last week, I went shovelling with her and some other people I didn't know. They brought up the game without naming it, and asked me to look at my foot.

I did.

They asked me to look at my nails.

I did.

They started laughing. "HE'S A CHICK! HAHAHA!"

My palms started sweating. My heart pounded furiously. The world was drowned out by the myriad of thoughts flooding my brain. Wave upon wave crashed down on me. Had I done it wrong? Had my memory failed me? No ... not as far as I knew. I had held my hand out in front of me, just as Erin had told me to do a year earlier.

I voiced my confusion, to which they replied with some startling information:

MY MIND WAS BLOWN. I had been given false information. By Erin. And now I was not know as "Nick" to these people, which is in fact my name, but as the girl. ... And so I blame you, Erin Crowther, for bad first impressions. I will never be able to make that first impression again. Never.

That is the story. I promise, it sounded a lot cooler in my head.

Anyway, in conclusion, I'd just like to fulfill my promise and say that Erin is fully awesomesauce, despite her absolute, complete and utter failure to give me correct information.

And concluding my conclusion, this story makes me think that, somehow, there must be a better way to tell the gender of a person. ... Somehow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5 Things I Have Learned So Far This Year

Ok, I know I haven't done a blog post in forever, but don't go out and buy your pitchforks and flaming torches yet. The reason is because since the colossal earthquake on February 22, I've been really tired and haven't really felt like doing much. Of course I've helped shovel tonnes of silt out of peoples properties, but that's about it. I haven't actually done much reading or writing. Knowing that the ground could jolt under you at any second really drains your energy.

Actually I only just started working on my novel again on Sunday, but since then I've done quite a lot of work, and answered quite a lot of back-story questions. I mean, I've done heaps. It looks like I've bounced back from inability to do nothing all day.

So with my excuse (ahem, reason) out of the way, and with no further ado, I thought I would grace you all with the top five things I have learned so far this year:

  1. Be home in time for dinner, otherwise Dad will embarrass you by going around to your friends' houses and asking them if they know where you are.
  2. The earth moves. And even six months later, it still moves.
  3. Loyalty trumps desire.
  4. When your phone is stolen (or just disappears) and your bike is wrecked on the same day, it probably means that someone doesn't like you.
  5. Ninjas can't catch you if you're on fire. Or on another monitor. Or if you're power level is over 9000. Check it out: Ninjas can't catch you if ... - Google Images

And due to the fact that this post is so far without pictures, here is a dragon:

The end.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...