Glory

So lately….

the image is not mine

…I’ve been thinking about glory.  Maybe I’m a bit of a prude, or something like that, but sometimes I get concerned about how much glory I should put into my book series.  What’s that mean?  What I mean is: how much should I try to make people think my series is glorious, or deserving of praise and admiration?  “Is there such a thing as too much glory?” you might think, at least on the level of fame and fortune.

But I don’t really work on that level.  By now, you should know I’m a person very deep in my faith.  That being said, I ask such questions of whether my book will be too awesome on a religious level.  So here’s the heart of the problem:

If my series is so awesome, with amazing characters people love, fantastic worlds that people get lost in, powers that people are obsessed with, and truths that they found inspirational, will such glory distract people from God?

Think about it.  People can get lost in fictional worlds.  Those worlds have power.  We have power as writers.  I have power.  I personally don’t want to draw anyone away from God, and certainly not to myself.  He deserves all the credit (although my series couldn’t be classified as Christian or Religious).

But, as I thought more about this problem, I started to realize something.  See if you can follow this logic:

God is perfect in every good way.

My book is perfect in every good way.

Therefore, my book is a reflection, in one way or another, of God’s perfection.

Okay, so it’s probably a stretch to say that my series will ever be “perfect in every good way”.  My logic is probably a little messed up too.  But…BUT, similarly, if my book is outrageously well thought-out, well-plotted, with characters you can’t get enough of, scenes beautifully depicted, and all people can think of is “this is AMAZING”…won’t they, somewhere down the line, think of God, and how awesome He is?

Well, not everyone.  I guess I’m talking about people who know and believe in God.  But think of it this way.  Whenever someone (at least a guy), takes a bite of the perfect hamburger, doesn’t he immediately think “Mmmmm! Thank you, God!” (maybe that’s just me).  Amazing things leave us in awe and wonder.  We think, “how can this be?” (*ahem* Blessed Mother).  Glory and perfection aren’t things that naturally come from this world.  Lots of things leave us breathless.  And they don’t come from us.

We see a beautiful sky.  Who created such beauty?

The image is not mine

God did.

We see a beautiful painting.  Who created the painting?

The painter.  But what he painted only could have been inspired by something beautiful he experienced else where.  If he paints a picture of a bowl of fruit, the form of the fruit which he tries to capture came from somewhere.  Where did it come from?

From God.

So here’s what I want to do.  I want The Golden Lands to be so awesome, sowonderful, that people will immediately be directed towards God.  They’ll immediately think words of praise and thankfulness to Him for ever inspiring a teenaged guy.  I want TGL to be something heavenly (although not religious).  They’ll thank God for the beauty in the series, the way it makes them feel, the way it empowers them.  God is at the source of all good things.  

God willing, people will be able to discover and continue seeing this through my work!

Your AA,

Aul

Why Should You be Excited for The Golden Lands?

WHY SHOULD YOU BE EXCITED FOR THE GOLDEN LANDS?

1. It’s set up like an anime series.  What does this mean?

  • Lots of excitement.  Not just excitement as in action or suspense, but excitement including emotional and funny excitement.
  • Lots of action.  Every volume is packed with well-described action.  There’s never a dull moment.
  • Lots of character growth.  Who doesn’t love falling in love with an awesome, fictional character?  And a series is a lot more exciting when you feel for the characters in all of their struggles.
  • Fast moving plot.  Definitely.  Most animes move very quickly, and every episode/chapter leaves you wondering, “What’s going to happen next?”
  • Totally cool worlds and unique kinds of magic/powers.  What can’t you do in a fantasy world?  And what kind of strange, epic powers exist in the world of The Golden Lands?

2. It’s fantasy

  • As mentioned above, you can put your characters through a lot of awesome, visually gripping, emotionally inspiring situations.  Or you can put them through eerie, dark, and violent situations.  Anything can happen.
  • There’s a deeper meaning behind everything.  All great artists are able to lead their audience through the world they’ve created into a better life in this world.  Here’s hoping I can do that too.

3. The volumes will come out about every fourish months!

  • Who likes waiting while an author takes a year or two to come out with the next volume of a series?
  •  And who likes enduring those painfully exciting cliffhangers until the next volume comes out?

I hope all of you are getting excited for TGL, because I know I am!

Once again, the cover of Volume One: Shadows in the Sunlight!

© Copyright 2015 all rights reserved
© Copyright 2015 all rights reserved

Your AA,

Aul

The Death of an Outline—Off-roading, Freedom, and Expansion

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

So yesterday afternoon I found myself writing an outline for The Golden Lands.   All the future volumes, their names, maybe different books of the series—I was planning all that out.  I finished the outline, my brain having that “burnt out” feeling, and then I stopped for a moment.  All at once, I felt a pang of regret.  The outline suddenly seemed evil, and for some reason, I almost felt guilty.

Why?

Because TGL is not meant to be limited by the barriers erected by an outline.  That’s right.  I don’t like outlines.  In fact, when it comes to creative writing, I think they don’t even make sense.  What about “creative writing” makes you think you should write out a blueprint for your “creativity”?  Here’s the thing about outlines: when you make one, you intend to stick to it.  That’s not what TGL is supposed to be.  And I don’t think that’s what any form of creative writing is supposed to be.  A set path is good, but not one that holds you back.

I immediately crossed out the outline.  An outline would hold me back.   It would limit expansion.  It would cause me to stick to one path; a path I set up for myself.  Sure, you can make outlines bigger, and I’m sure they can be useful.  But when it comes to freedom, to expansion of the mind and of the story in all of its characters, plot-twists, and subtle, moral glory, a blueprint doesn’t make sense.   It doesn’t work.  It impedes.

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

So I’m going to do some off-roading.  I’m going to ride in the freedom of my mind, allowing my own creativity to lead my story wherever I (and God) deem it wander.  This is writing.  This is art.  This is creativity.

Outlines?  Not for me.

(***NO OFFENSE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO USE OUTLINES!!!***)

Your AA,

Aul

The Giver of Wisdom

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

So I’ve got something to tell all you.  I know I shouldn’t be entirely proud of it, but it’s given me an idea for some good advice to pass on.

Almost every wicked-awesome idea I think of for The Golden Lands come to me when I’m praying.

Note that I don’t say “through prayer”, as in “I pray for cool ideas and then God gives them to me”.  Nope.  I get distracted during prayer, and that’s when I get the ideas.

Oops!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure that, even if I’m getting distracted at Mass (the service Catholics hold on Sunday), the inspiration may very well come from God.  God is good like that.  And I’m sure He wants to help me to become a better writer, and to create awesome stories.  And who better to help me than the Creator of Wisdom?  He’s the smartest person there is.  And He’s the greatest author there is.  Do you have any idea how complex and yet perfectly “plotted” the Bible is, all leading up to Jesus in the Gospels?  Over the course of thousands of years?  Every single prophecy fulfilled?  It’s ridiculous!

I cannot lie when I say that The Golden Lands is heavily inspired by and produced for God.  God finds His way into it, even when I’m not expecting it.  Even when I should be paying attention at Mass, or during prayers with the family.  But all goodness is from Him.  So if I get a totally awesome idea for the series, I’d better believe it’s from Him.

God’s the greatest author ever.  Ever think about talking to Him?  Ask for His help.  In my trilogy, The Saga of Montairyus (https://montairyus23.wordpress.com/), I have noticed a prominent difference in how gripping and beautiful my writing is, compared between the times I prayed before I started writing, and those times when I didn’t.

Pray before you write.  You’ll be surprised at the wonders He works.

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

Your AA,

Aul

So…When is the First Volume Coming Out?

I know I keep on saying that the first volume of The Golden Lands (TGL) is going to be self-published very soon.  But, as of yet, I still haven’t released it yet.

What’s the hold up?

Well, first of all, when I say “very soon”, that could mean within the next couple months.  I recall saying in a different post that I’d be publishing within the next two weeks.  And it’s been more than two weeks.  I apologize for not keeping my word.

However, some things need to be done before I feel comfortable releasing volume one.

The first most important thing that I want to accomplish with the first volume is getting some good proofreading.  I’ve already proofread it twice, but I’m having my awesome mom go over it just to make sure I haven’t made any silly grammatical errors.

The next thing I want to do is find out how to copyright my work properly.  I know that no matter what, The Golden Lands is mine by virtue of the fact that I wrote it, but I want to copyright it professionally and securely…just in case.

Then there’s the matter of finding a self-publishing website I like.  As of now, Smashwords is my #1.  They let you self-publish for free, although they get 40% of your royalties.

And last of all, I need another illustration done, just to make TGL look awesome and official.

So, in theory, TGL WILL be released very soon.  Just not as soon as I thought.  But that’s a big part of writing; sometimes you need to take time to do what needs to be done.


And introducing the new, “photoshop corrected” cover for volume one (hair color is better and so is blood-graphics):

© Copyright 2015 all rights reserved
© Copyright 2015 all rights reserved

Your AA,

Aul

The Golden Lands—An Endless Series

As I’ve mentioned before, I want The Golden Lands to be something long-lasting.  When I first thought of the idea behind the series, I thought it would be awesome if the The Golden Lands was never-ending.  That’s obviously impossible, because I’ll die someday (surprise, surprise!), and it’s just very hard to do.  And besides, a good series will end at the right time, and not go on unnecessarily.

the awesome image is not mine
the awesome image is not mine

Inspired heavily by Bleach—an anime series that certainly seems everlasting (366 episodes)—I figured it wouldn’t be too hard for me to keep a series going.  My goal is to reach at least twelve volumes…and that actually doesn’t seem to hard, seeing how I already know what’s going to happen up to volume 6.

And there’s no rush.  I’m a high-school student, so I’ve got a decent amount of time before I have to start interacting with the real world (BOR-ing).

Haha…

Since my fantasy series of novellas will resemble manga, I’m hoping to release each volume at a “mangaish” pace.  A lot of manga’s come out pretty fast (once a month), and while I don’t think a new volume of The Golden Lands will come out every month, you can probably expect a new volume every three to four months (I produce these things quite rapidly!).

Expect lots of fast-moving, heart-stopping entertainment, epic combat scenes, moral struggles, emotional struggles, and flat-out silliness!  Not to mention a display of my writing skills and the artistic awesomeness of my sister/illustrator.

Stay tuned, dearest followers!  The first volume should be ready soon!

© Copyright 2015 All rights reserved
© Copyright 2015 All rights reserved

Your AA,

Aul

The Light

My Friday thoughts bellow:

Maybe we would argue that we’re living for our husbands or wives.  Maybe our mom or dad, or a grandparent.  Maybe it’s a little brother or sister.  Maybe it’s our children.  Or a friend.  Who do you live for?

Whether we like it or not, it’s hard not to live for ourselves.  Selfishness is an unfortunate characteristic that tends to permeate the human race.  We all act selfish sometimes.  Maybe we think that’s okay; sometimes we need a little “me” time.  But then, that’s not necessarily selfishness.

Are we called to live selflessly?  Or are we called just to make ourselves feel happy, and we can help others whenever we feel like it, or when we feel that it’s right to?

Is life meant to be lived based off of our feelings, or principles?

Who do you live for?

The answer might be able to be found by answering “who” you live for, but maybe you should ask “why?”.  Why are you alive?  Why are you here?  Have you ever wondered that?   Do you honestly think you exist just because you exist?  Or do we all have a purpose?  Are we all meant to behave in a certain way?

I’m a deeply religious person.  All these questions have answers for me.  I may not always understand the answers, but they’re there.  I have a light.  My light is God, and the lantern that bears this light is the Church.

If you’re in the dark when it comes to these questions, maybe you should join the light, and be a part of the lantern.

Who do you live for?  Do you love for you?  And if you give of yourself to others, what part?  How much?

I believe—no, I know—that we are all alive in order to become a gift to another person.  Or a gift to many people.  We are alive, we are “why”, in order to live and die for each other.  The world’s about love.  I think everyone knows that.  I think most religions preach that.  You don’t have to be a Christian to believe that.

What’s love?

Doing what’s best for each other.  Putting the good of others first.  Giving.  Living.  Dying.  Fighting.  And most importantly, sacrificing.

Do you agree with that definition?  Good, then you agree with me when I say that love isn’t all about feeling.

Why love?  Take the words of my man SJP2: “The only kind of treatment that human beings deserve is love”

That’s right.  All humans deserve love.  And that’s the only thing they deserve.  Why?  Just ’cause they’re human and they can be loved.

image is not mine
image is not mine

Your AA,

Aul

All Art is Theft

Really?  That seems to be a pretty bold statement.

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

These words, “all art is theft”, are frequently used by my dad.  I don’t know if he got the phrase from someone.  He isn’t sure if he did.  But anyway, what’s the occasion for such a phrase?  Whenever my sister and I feel like an idea or event in one of our stories sounds too similar to somebody else’s.  You might just be thinking, “Well, your dad is probably just saying that to make you feel better.”  Maybe.  That could be a part of why he says it.  But I think that’s only a very small part of it.

The phrase “all art is theft” is definitely not untrue (yes, that’s a double negative for emphasis).  Most generally speaking, we all get our ideas from somewhere.  We are always inspired by something, and these things fuel our imagination, and our imagination fuels our will, and from our will we produce our writing.  “An obvious statement, but no less true because of it” to quote Glaedr from Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle.  So, in a sense, all art is theft…or “borrowing”, if you like that term better.  I can’t try to describe a forest without first seeing one for myself, and thereafter, from the forest’s own beauty, depict a forest entirely of my creation with it’s own kind of beauty, separate from that which it was inspired, but still inspired by the original forest all the same (#mouthful#wordy).

How many times have you based the appearance of a character off of someone in your life, or a movie actor/actress?  How many times has a specific, epic fight scene in your own story contained choreography that resembles that of a movie you recently watched?

Something else my dad has said about all art being theft is that, as time progresses, it will become harder to create new story ideas that haven’t already been thought of.  Think about it.  Two thousand years from now, two thousand years’ worth of story ideas will have been taken, and add that to the millions of years that have already passed….it will get harder to think up truly original ideas.

So what’s the good news?  It’s okay for all art to be theft.

Sometimes the most impressive stories are that which combine the ideas of others into something even better.  That’s what we can do now as writers of the 21st century.  Using the ideas of someone else, tweaking them a bit, and applying them to your own work, isn’t even necessarily stealing.  It’s a talent to be able to recognize the good and beauty in the work of others and being able to see it’s potential in regards to applying it to your work.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Be original, if you can be.  But if you happen to realize that your ideas resemble that of someone else, don’t get too discouraged.  Make it your own.  But be content with sharing.  And maybe that’s what we should call this; not stealing, not copying, not using: sharing.

Your AA,

Aul

Quality, Not Quantity

Sooo over at my first blog, http://montairyus23.wordpress.com/, the goal was to get as many followers as I could.  I’ll be honest, I wanted followers just for the sake of being able to say to a publisher, “Hey!  Look at how many people are interested in my book!”  However, when it really came down to it, when I would blog about my trilogy (TSOM), not too many people seemed interested.  I had/have over two hundred followers, and a post about my trilogy would only generate a few likes, and rarely a new follower or a comment.  I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong…and I’m still not 🙂

But experiencing this has made me realize something; when it comes to blogging, it’s quality, not quantity that matters.  If you want to get a book out there, if you want to be and feel heard, just remember it’s all about the quality.  You can have 2,000 followers, but if only fifteen are interested in what you’re writing about, then you really only have fifteen true followers.

I must say, I truly feel blessed to have such an engaged audience already here at The Golden Lands.  You guys are totally awesome and it’s your support that keeps me going and gives me hope.  This is what every writer needs, whether he knows it or not.  And it’s what every writer wants, whether he wants it or not.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved
Copyright 2015 All rights reserved

Stay awesome,

Aul

More Than Just “The Golden Lands” on this Blog!

Just wanted to let you all know that, from time to time, I’m just going to write about whatever crosses my mind.  That could be some beef I have with our culture, tips and experiences about writing, religious stuff, etc.  I think it’s only right that I tell you, because I’m aware that recently I’ve only been blogging about my fantasy novella series.  And that’s because it’s going to be coming out very soon, most likely as an ebook.  But I just don’t want it to be a surprise when I throw an insightful post about a contemporary issue at you.

So stay tuned!  Lots of exciting, thought-provoking stuff on the way!

Your AA,

Aul