Why We Love Anime #39

Anime magic

Showing you how awesome anime is…with gorgeous, surreal pictures!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything…so I thought a magical, colorful picture would be rather refreshing!


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

What’s Wrong With My Story?

I think most people are used to seeing fellow bloggers talk about how great their stories are.  We’re all trying to sell ourselves (and our books).  It’s part of business; it’s part of being a self-published author.  And many self-published authors take to blogging, like yours truly.  And we use blogging to talk ourselves up.

But today, I’m going to layout what’s wrong with my series, The Golden Lands.  

Maybe I should cut myself some slack because I’m only in high school; but at the same time, that doesn’t matter to me.  don’t really care about how old I am, or how my age effects my writing.  No matter your age, your writing and plot-structure can and will most likely have flaws!

So, what are mine?


Names

First, let’s really take a brief look at the setting and plot of The Golden Lands, especially for those of you that aren’t familiar with the story.

We’ve got sixteen year-old John Hedekira, looking after his siblings after their parents randomly disappeared.  They live in a world of harmonious anarchy; there are no formal states of government.  However, there are also these things that run around and kill people, formally called Malam, but informally called Evil.

Yes, things are bizarrely simple in The Golden Lands.

I’m not sure as to whether I should consider the super-simplicity a flaw.  I made things weirdly simple for exactly that reason; to be weird.  For example, John’s brother is named Frater, and his sister is named Soror.

Know any Latin? Soror et Frater=sister and brother!

Malam (the race of evil bad dudes)=Evil

Virus (the race of men, pronounced veerus)=man

Femina (the race of women)=woman

Okay, so maybe some people might think this simplicity is lame, and I can see where you’re coming from.  So, my first flaw could be considered to be a lack of creativity in regards to names.


 

A “lonely” plot for the beginning of a story?

The plot that begins in Volume 1 and continues up until Volume 4 is this:

John’s home is attacked by a band of Evil (the race of evil bad dudes).  They leave him bleeding out in his home, and kidnap Soror and Frater.  John survives the attack, however, and is determined to get revenge and rescue Soror and Frater…but mostly get revenge.  He had a falling out with Soror and Frater right before the Evil invaded…so it’s mostly about revenge.

cropped-blog-header.png
John Hedekira bleeding out in his home.

So, what’s wrong with this plot?  All of this happens in the first chapter.  Sounds fast-paced and exciting, right?  Well, hopefully it is!

The issue is that some might consider this to be a “lonely” plot.  John doesn’t have very much character interaction until Chapter 5.  So, in spite of the fact that the plot is very fast paced (the first book is only about 80 pages long, so the plot has to be), it can feel a little sluggish and “lonely”.  What’s more, John is rather aloof and grumpy for most of Volume 1, so even when he does start making friends, the character interactions still aren’t as satisfying as you might want them to be.

Overall, I’d say another issue that people have with Volume 1 is it’s “lonely plot”.


Unrealistic “anime-feel”

Edward silly face

This was entirely intentional.  If you look at my blog, all of the pictures/covers are drawn as if they were anime.  That’s the way it is supposed to be.  The Golden Lands is a fantasy/anime series.  That being said, I think anyone can enjoy the story, whether you appreciate anime or not.  You just need to understand that, in anime, there are certain restrictions that anime characters are NOT bound by.

For instance, John becomes a really good swordsman very quickly.  He gets his butt kicked twice in the first half of Volume 1, and then he becomes a boss by the end.  Okay, so he’s a fast learner?  Not so much.  It has more to do with his anger.  He fights better when he’s angry (and there IS a reason for that).  But still, it’s a minor plot hole.

There are other things that might confuse people however, relating to anime.  For instance, anime characters can lose loads of blood and keep on fighting, or at least survive.  This definitely relates to how John is able to chase after the bad guys that stole Soror and Frater only a day after he nearly bleeds to death.

Also, random silly things happen all the time.  For seemingly no reason at all, anime characters can have their heads blow up when they’re angry, and the next moment their head will be attached and everything is perfectly fine.  I think you get the idea…random things happen, and you just need to accept that that is a part of anime!


Those are the main issues with Volume 1.  Overall, the book has received good reviews.  But I must admit my mistakes and encourage you to understand my flaws.  I also beg your pardon for them.  I do my best as a writer to create stories that you will all love…and I really hope that you do love them!  What more could a writer ask for?

Stay awesome!

Dominic (Aul)


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

 

Why We Love Anime #38

Bleach pic

Showing you how awesome anime is…with epic, thought-provoking pictures!!!

A popular theme in anime is the personification of our inner battles.  Before the hero can become powerful on the outside, he has to defeat whatever is holding him back from within!


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

Three Goals for The Golden Lands

thank you gif

So I saw that the WordPress.com Team was offering some free courses about how to become a better blogger.  The course “Branding and Growth” seemed like it could offer some valuable info, especially for a little self-publisher like me!

So Day 1 was about setting three goals for your blog.  Namely, ask yourself “Why do I blog?” and “What would my dream blog look like?”

For me, I blog because I like writing; because I want to connect with other writers, especially writers that enjoy anime; and yes, because I’d like to gain popularity for my book series.  What would my dream blog look like?  Oh, it’d be one of those blogs that has a couple thousand followers, with readers that are seriously engaged with whatever I write.  I’d like to be a steadfast blogger, posting several times a week.  And of course, if all of my followers were die-hard fans of The Golden Lands…That would be great too 😀

So, what are some goals I can set in order to achieve these (rather lofty) blogging dreams?

  1. I’d like to have 300 followers by the end of summer.  That seams reasonable enough, seeing how I have about 240.  Maybe that seems like a silly goal, but it’s something to work for, and it will definitely require work.
  2. I’d like to average ten “Likes” every post.  I don’t know if I’m quite there yet.  In my experience, gaining a desired number of “Likes” has to do with a) the content, of course.  People need to actually like what you wrote in order to “Like” it (or that’s how things should work). And b) timing is everything!  There are some hours of the day when it seems like my articles are just forgotten.  I’d like to blog smarter, not harder 😉
  3.  I’d like to establish a more vibrant community by reaching out and establishing firm, virtual relationships with other anime/otaku bloggers.  It’s the least I can do: contributing to other peoples’ blogs is just as important as building up my own!

Well, there you have it.  I hope I can reach my three goals.  If you like this idea of “Branding and Growth”, I’d recommend signing up for the course, or you can just take whatever advice you get from me.

Stay awesome!

Dominic (Aul)


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

Why We Love Anime #37

Archer

Showing you how awesome anime is…with beautiful, epic pictures!!!

There’s so much to say about this picture.  A battle fought long ago, the sky heralding a new beginning…and yet the warrior knows that the struggle still goes on.  There’s still more to come.

What does this picture make you think of?


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

3 Tips to Becoming a Better Blogger

Okay, I know that I can’t say too much on this topic, considering that The Golden Lands is by no means a “popular” blog.  But I have been blogging for a decent amount of time, and I’ve learned some tricks here and there about how to create a vibrant blogging community.

So let’s talk about blogging…

keyboard
the image is not mine

Tip #1: Kindle (or rekindle) the Flame

As bloggers, there are some questions that we need to ask ourselves:

What does blogging mean to me?  What am I trying to accomplish by blogging?  What course of action do I need to take to reach this accomplishment?

The answers to these questions will decide what kind of blogger you are.  Also, reminding yourself of these answers will enable you to persevere as a blogger and as a writer.  Sometimes we need to rediscover what it is we want from writing.

This tip relates closely to the next one, which is…

Tip #2: Love What You Write

This is by far one of the most helpful tips I’ve ever received, and I’d like to pass it on to you.  I know it might seem like an obvious tip, but that doesn’t make it untrue or less helpful.  If you don’t love what you write, chances are no one else will either!

Believe me, people can feel when a writer is bored with his/her own writing.  If you don’t like whatever you write about, then change!  This is your blog; you can write about whatever the heck you want.  Don’t feel like you are permanently bound to one particular topic or genre of blogging.  Just blog about what you want to blog about!  Sure, if you say that you’re blog is for displaying art, people might have certain expectations, and they might be surprised if you start blogging about Shakespeare…but, once again, it’s your blog!

Tip #3: Share the Love

If everyone is blogging for selfish purposes, no one will be happy.  No one will have a popular blog.  Blogging is only half of being a good blogger; you have to read and engage in other people’s work if you want to establish a community.  I’m not saying you need to read blogs that you don’t like, just for the sake of establishing a community.  In fact, don’t do that at all!  Find that corner of the blogosphere where like-minded writers are hiding, and start making connections.

One of the greatest ways to create a great blogging community is to comment on someone else’s blog.  Commenting really shows that you care and that you’re actually paying attention to what someone wrote.  It’s easy to click the “Like” button and move on, but it takes effort to comment.  Don’t be a selfish blogger.  Love what you write about, and show some love for other peoples’ blogs!


I hope you can benefit from these tips.   I know they are short and simple, but there’s no need for them to be complex!

Stay awesome!

Dominic (Aul)


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

cropped-tgl-symbol.png

Why We Love Anime #36

anime cape

Showing you how awesome anime is…with epic pictures!!!

Nothing to do but stand in the sunset with a glorious cape…well, okay then!


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

Why We Love Anime #35

anime rage

Showing you how awesome anime is…with incredible, visually-epic pictures!!!

This image really gives you an idea of how monstrous anger can be within a person.  Or at least that’s what I gather from this picture.  What do you think?


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

Lust

white ichigo

Note: this has characters from current and future volumes of The Golden Lands.   That being said, this is not actually from TGL, in spite of how the characters and forms of magic are from TGL.  

ALSO: contains violent and suggestive content.


PROTAGONIST: JOHN HEDEKIRA

My vision quivering and blurring, I’m able to make out drops of my own blood striking the stone ground with a dull splat.  My shoulders are burning with exhaustion, and so are my lungs.  I stand there with my head bowed, chest heaving and arms drooping, knowing that I’ve already lost, but still unwilling to go down.  I don’t want this Thing to win, even if I feel as if I’m slowly slipping into submission.  That’s what all of this is really about, in fact: submission.  Pain and loss of blood don’t matter. This Thing doesn’t want me to die; It wants me to hand over my soul.  The scary thing is, I find myself allured by what It’s offering me.

That’s the way Lust always works.

He’s so enticing, so admirable…in all the wrong ways.  He looks just like me, but there’s something dark and promiscuous about the way he moves.  As if that weren’t disturbing enough, when he speaks, his voice is that of a seductive woman.  And, as he is undeniably a minion of the evil one, his voice echoes eerily, as if he is possessed.   And he is, I think.

Lust alights in front of me, cocking his head.  “What’s the matter?” he says with mock concern, “Aren’t strong enough?  It’s okay.  You never were.  And you knew it.  You knew that sooner or later, you’d give in.”

I grit my teeth and tighten my grip on my sword, trying to ignore him, trying to focus on rising, on gathering myself, in preparation for another attack…or another assault.  But his voice is so calming, so smooth, and so right—everything he says reverberates through me.   And the sad thing is, everything he’s saying is true.

“Sure, you fought,” he goes on.  “That’s what you were supposed to do.  But in the back of your mind, you had the intention of giving in all along, didn’t you?  Admit it, you want this.”

No! I tell myself, closing my eyes, trying with all of my being to block him out.  I know he’s wrong.  I know he’s wrong.  I know that giving in isn’t actually what I want, no matter how much it feels like it.  I don’t want lust.  I want to be free; I want to be stronger.  I want to love.

But…love is so hard.  Sometimes it feels like it’s too hard.

The second I open my eyes, his shoulder slams into my face.  I tumble across the ground, my face going numb for a moment.  But here’s the thing, the thing that’s the most terrible part of this fight: whenever Lust strikes me, it feels good.

There’s nothing fulfilling or even genuinely satisfying about the feeling.  It’s pleasure; it courses through me for a moment.  But it’s guilty pleasure.  And then it goes away.  And I hate it.

I land on my back, and Lust lunges after me, shrieking and laughing playfully with his flirtatious, girly voice.  “Come on, John,” he says, landing so that he’s standing over me.  “Don’t you want to play?”

I hesitate.  That, in and of itself, causes my confidence and will-power to plummet.  Why am I hesitating?  Is it…because I actually want this?  Do I want to give in to this thing?

Yes…

My fist clenches.

No!

But then Lust giggles and runs his sword right into my stomach.  I’m pinned against the ground.  Blood rising to my mouth, and I gurgle.  He won’t stop laughing.

“Come on, John,” he says.  “You know you can’t do this.  You know it feels good.  What’s wrong?  Nobody has to find out.”

Then  Lust lowers his head, as if to whisper to me, and he says: “Just let it sink in.”  And slowly, he increases pressure on his sword, causing it to slide deeper and deeper into my stomach.  He smiles gleefully, staring into my eyes, licking his lips.  His eyes are gleaming freakishly.

I feel his lust enter into me.  It feels good…such passion, such smooth, dirty but delectable sensations rushing over my body.  But I still haven’t accepted it yet.  I’m still not dead.  I’m holding on just barely.

“Just let go…” he whispers.

I start to.  What am I doing?

“I’ll hold you,” he whispers.

I let go…a little more.

“I’ll love you…”

…Love?

I bite my lip, and force my body to go tense, fighting against the lust coursing through me.

…Love?

The faces of the people I care about flash through my mind.  The guys, the girls, the gods.  The One.  My best friend.  The people that are trusting me to make it out alive.  To make it out without giving up my soul.  They want me to win.  They want me to fight.  But…how?  I can’t do this on my own.  I’m too weak.  I’m not powerful enough.  I can’t do this.

For a moment, I ignore Lust.  And with my mind, my soul, I reach out.

Logos…

Lust grimaces.  “What are you doing?” he sneers.  “Can’t you see that you’ve already lost.  You’ve already accepted too much lust into your body.  Just give in.  Just give in!”

I raise my head to the sky, reaching out.  He has to come.   He has to come.  I shouldn’t have tried to do this on my own in the first place.  But now…is it too late?  Will he abandon me?

Logos!

“It’s over, John!” Lust declares.  “If you won’t focus on me, then I’ll make you!”  He rips free his sword, laughing so perfectly and sweetly, my eyes flinch in the direction of his eyes, which bore through me with murderous desire.  Still laughing, he slashes at me again and again, his blade ripping through my shoulders, my chest, and my arms.  I raise my sword to try and block his attacks, but he’s too strong, or I’m too weak.  He bats my blade aside, and laughs even louder.  “‘Looks like there’s no one to help you, John!” Lust screams.  Pleasure and a glorifying sensation rush through me.  I falter.

“YOU’RE MINE!!!”

There’s nothing I can do physically against Lust.  So I close my eyes, grit my teeth, and lock up my soul as tight as possible.

A whitish blue blur of light zips past Lust.  His face goes slack, and a moment later, Logos appears out of the air behind my opponent, his sword outstretched as if he had just finished slicing someone in two.  The tip of his blade is already dripping with blood.

Then Lust screams.  Blood erupts from his chest, and he staggers backwards.

Logos, using a charia technique called “riding”, flits through the air in the blink of an eye, and suddenly he’s crouched beside me.  I stiffen, trying to sit up, but I can’t.  I can feel my blood pooling beneath me, and my body is screaming in pain.  “Don’t,” Logos tells me.  Placing his hand gently on my chest, a blue light illuminates the air around me, and gradually, the pain disappears.  I exhale deeply, relief coursing through me.  And even as the pain departs, so does my bodily desire to give in to the lust implanted within me…the lust that I had begun giving in to.

I look up appreciatively at Logos, and grab his hand.  He hoists me up, and together we both turn in the direction of Lust.  “Logos,” I begin to say, knowing that I may not get another chance to say this, “I’m sorry…”

“Don’t worry about that right now,” Logos says, looking sidelong at me.  He smiles gently and confidently at me, “Let’s just focus on getting rid of him first.”

I falter, but then grunt and nod my head.  Once again, I redirect my attention to Lust.

Lust sputters and whines as he recovers from Logos’s attack, his voice still that of a woman.  “Damn you!” he screams.  Slowly, with the sound of skin stretching and bones cracking, his wounds commence to heal.

“Don’t give him a chance!” Logos exclaims.  In a flash of light, Logos turns nearly invisible, “mounting his horse”, and he rides at Lust.  I charge at Lust as fast as my feet can carry me, endeavoring to keep up with my friend.

Lust cries out in pain as Logos reappears in front of him and severs off one of his arms.  Then I collide with Lust, slashing my sword through his chest.  Lust screams again.

Then Lust rides away from us to my left, placing a distance between us and him of about twenty feet.  He’s already regenerated.  Reaching out his hand for me, as if he could clutch me and dig his fingernails into me at a distance, he roars, “You might be able to protect him, Logos!  But I planted a seed in him, a seed that he took delight in and began to sow.  The real enemy lies within himself!”

He’s right.  I can still feel the lust inside of me, the lust that I welcomed and entertained.

“Then he shouldn’t have to do battle with you also!” Logos says through clenched teeth.  Hastening towards Lust on just his feet, Logos’s sword begins to glow with charia.  At the same time, Lust’s weapon emits a dark, mist-like form of power.  Raising their blades, they commence exchanging blows, their swords singing through the air and colliding with the sound of lightning.  For a moment, it looks like they’re evenly matched, but then I realize that Logos is too fast for Lust; his power is so pristine and precise, and he knows how to use it so perfectly, there’s no way that Lust can counter him.  Logos ducks one of Lust’s attacks and spins, gaining momentum, and then his sword flashes upwards, slicing Lust through the face.

“John, come on!” Logos calls.  “I can defend you, but only you can defeat him.”

Lust stumbles backwards, his body momentarily rendered dysfunctional, and he trips, falling onto his back.

This is my chance.  I can finish this.  I can defeat Lust.

But as I rush towards him, I still feel as if there’s something holding me back.  There’s still a part of me that wants lust.  No matter what, even if I win this battle, lust will always be easier.  It will always be easier than remaining true to Logos, true to my friends, and true to the world itself.  It will always be easier than love.

And Lust knows that.

“You don’t deserve to kill me!” he screams, his voice piercing the air.  “You already gave in to me; you don’t deserve to be free!  You already abandoned your friends!  You already left your god!  You don’t deserve them!”

I stop.  What…?

“John,” Logos says, “don’t listen to him.”

He’s right.  I stopped caring when I began to give in.  I stopped loving my friends.  I stopped loving Logos.  I already began to choose lust over them.  Will winning this fight even matter?  Did I already lose?

“John…” I hear Logos suddenly say, his voice soft and hoarse, breaking through my thoughts.  “…you know that it’s not true.  It does still matter.  I still care about you, even if you started to give in.  But what’s most important is that you didn’t allow yourself to die.  You didn’t allow Lust to take control.”  He looks back at me, and smiles sadly but peacefully, “I’m still with you, John.  Now finish this.”

“No!” Lust shouts, starting to rise from the ground.  He lunges upwards and stabs.  Only his blade moves not towards me, but towards Logos.  Logos is still looking at me; he’s not ready for the attack.  I don’t even consider the fact that Logos is the most powerful Knight in the world; surely, if he’d wanted to, he could’ve escaped.  But he doesn’t move.  And I act, fearful that Lust will wound him.

Lust’s blade runs me right through the heart.  I stiffen, my body going rigid with alarm, and my eyes widen.  A moment later, I quiver, and my head bows.  Lust seems surprised that he struck me instead of Logos: I got there just in time.  But then Lust’s mouth curves into a smile, and he begins chuckling.  The chuckle grows into a laugh.  “Hah!” he shouts in my face, “Nice job—”

“What are you laughing about?” I cut him off.  My voice sounds perfectly normal.

Lust frowns, and his mouth falls open, a look of confusion falling over his face.

“Sacrificing myself for the person I love the most can’t result in subjection to lust,” I say.  “Sacrifice is what love is all about.”  I raise my head, looking Lust square in the eye.  “Love and lust are opposites.  You just lost the battle.”

I tighten my grip on my sword.  And in a clean, swift, powerful motion, I slash outwards at Lust…

…and cut his head from his body.

There’s a brief pause, and then Lust’s body drops lifelessly to the ground.  And then, in a cloud of black smoke, he disappears.

All that’s left is me and Logos.  I turn, facing my friend.  For a moment, we merely regard each other in silence.  And then the words begin pouring from my mouth, “Logos, I’m sorry.  I never should’ve tried to fight him without you.  I’m sorry…that was stupid.  I don’t ever want to come close to giving in to Lust again.  I want my soul to stay with you.”

Logos looks at me intently.  For a moment,  I’m not sure how he will respond.  But then he opens his mouth and says simply, “And so it is.”  And then he disappears in a flash of light.


Well, what’d you think of that?


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?

Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!

Stay awesome!

Dominic (Aul)

Why We Love Anime #34

Sword anime pic

Showing you how awesome anime is…with cool, visually-incredible pictures!!!

Looking like a boss!


Like me as a blogger? Like the way I write?
Believe me, my books are way better than this post. If you really want to see the best I can do, check out my fantasy/anime series “The Golden Lands”. The first volume is free as an eBook, or you can just read it in the form of “episodes” right here on my blog! Go to my page Embark on the Journey: Volume 1 Episodes for a complete list of episodes. I also post episodes every week, so look for them if you really want to experience the best I’ve got!