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My Last Letter To Thom

Dear Thom,

Can you believe it? It has been over five years since we started–five years of telling and retelling, imagining and reimagining–and in a little over a month’s time, your story will finally be released to the world. It took us awhile, huh? Time sure flies. You’re even an adult now, and boy do we need to catch up!

So, how’s life in Daysprings? Is Daysprings still the warm and welcoming village I last remembered it to be? How’s Haratio and the girls? Tiger is all grown-up now–is she more like Seanna or Catry? How are the Eklaysians? Oh, and do you still write to Mika? Did you manage to find out who his uncle is? Even though we worked on the book last year, we never really talked about these things. I didn’t even ask about your love life! Yes, I should know. And if you don’t intend to tell me, I’ll just ask her instead. But, all these surface questions aside, how are you…really?

I’m fine–if you’re curious about me. Life in my world isn’t as magical or as adventurous as yours. I have a pretty interesting day job, which can get rather busy at times. As it eats most of my creativity, I’ve not spoken to Robb in months–he seems to be OK with that. I do plan to write the second installment of his story this year though–after your story reaches the masses. And that will be soon… very soon. Wow, isn’t that a little nerve-wrecking?

Honestly, I’m kind of nervous about what people will say about the work we’ve created. So far, the early reviewers have been kind. But… it seems not many are willing to give your tale a shot. It’s unconventional after all. Still, I think we can both agree that the number of books sold isn’t as important as the people who read your story. So let’s just hope that The Slave Prince touches lives instead. That is why we wrote it in the first place, right? And no matter what happens, we’ve done good.

With May 29th around the corner, it saddens me that our journey will soon come to an end. Even though we’ll still be friends, we won’t be seeing much of each other any longer. No more late night conversations. No more coffee breaks. We’ll part ways–recalling our history only when we gaze into a starry night sky. If it is possible, I don’t want us to be like that. But only time will tell if we can continue to work on your story. And until the unknown future comes to past, I wish you all the best in life.

May you go on more great adventures, Thom. May magic beckon you to live more heroic tales. May you never forget who you are. And may you always believe in the power within you. You’re a prince, Thom. A true prince–the Majestas Regia will always remind you of your story.

It has been a pleasure, meeting, knowing, and working with you, Thom. Let’s not forget what we’ve created together. And let’s continue to do great things until the very end.

Yours forever, Jeyna.

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Posted by on April 26, 2018 in Writing Journey

 

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What (The Heck) Is Developmental Editing?

“What does developmental editing entail?”

Perhaps you’ve once asked this question. If not, you’re now probably wondering what it is. So to answer, allow me to share my most recent experience with you.

First and foremost, I’m certain dev editing varies from book to book. However, the approach taken by a dev editor is the same. And from the perspective of The Slave Prince, I’m sure you’ll grasps its function. Let’s get to it!

My dev editor goes by the name of Matt. Matt took two weeks to read my manuscript. After which, he sent me a developmental letter alongside comments on my manuscript. The comments were secondary to the letter, but both addressed key issues in my book. What were they?

#1 Descriptions

Matt told me my novel was sorely lacking in descriptions. And here I thought, I did a pretty decent job! I was wrong. Before my latest rewrite, I failed to picture the named ships. I fell short on the kingdom and palace layouts. I also didn’t establish racial differences, facial features, and physical changes over a 3-year time jump, for my characters. With dev editing, this issue was brought to light. And out of the 6000 words of new material, a chunk went to descriptions.

#2 Characters

When it came to the characters, Matt said their needs and wants weren’t clearly established. I had to reevaluate my protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. I needed to make it clear in writing – establishing their former desires and the changes that occur. And through this process, I made a major shift in my protagonist’s behaviour. Clear on his goals, he’s now more human than before.

#3 Plot

Matt asserted that one of the key subplots in the book made my protagonist unlikeable. He then suggested an alternative, saving Thom from the hate he would possibly receive from readers. As I struggled with this particular subplot in my earlier edits – somehow knowing it would ruin the book – I’m grateful Matt saw a way to change it without altering it completely. What I once couldn’t resolve, has now found a resolution – what a relief!

#4 Magic

Talk about cliche, Matt stated that the appearance of magic in The Slave Prince was over done. The white tree in a snowy cave reminded him of A Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings. He advised me to change the entire scene. And, after much re-imagining, I did. The white tree, rooted in snow, no longer exists in the book – a new, more awesome scene, has taken its place. But don’t worry, this post contains #nospoilers.

#5 Language

Both in dialogue and prose, Matt pointed out that the language I used was sometimes anachronistic. To align the writing to a medieval setting, I was told to remove modern day phrases and words. Idioms such as ‘throwing in the towel’ and words like ‘awkward’ didn’t belong. And so backspaced I went… on all of them.

So, what does developmental editing entail?

I hope these five points helped you understand the fundamentals. Of course, what you’ve just read is merely surface level – what I can share without spoiling the story. There was more in Matt’s dev letter, including additional suggestions on how to add value to the book. And aside from his comments, Matt also worked with me on a rewrite outline to address the present issues. It’s safe to say, developmental editing made The Slave Prince a denser book – it helped build three-dimensional characters, and establish a richer and fuller world.

The next question you’d probably ask is if developmental editing is worth undergoing. Well, if you have a publisher, it’s usually a part of the publishing deal. If you don’t, and are on a tight budget, candid beta readers can sometimes act as dev editors. But if you have the funds, getting a professional dev editor is advisable. You might need to spend 56 hours rewriting – like I did – but you’ll end up with a better book.

Do note, that approaching any form of editing requires a realisation that editors exist to help you. You may be offended by their claims – it’s normal, your book is your baby – but know that their honesty will make it better. And hey, if you don’t like their suggestions, it’s fine! You don’t have to incorporate their ideas – dev editors cannot force you to do anything. But sleeping on their words will definitely help. After all, it’s their job to see things you cannot see and work toward fixing them.

With all that said, I’m excited for my next stage of editing. Matt is currently reading my rewrite. And if he thinks I’ve tackled the issues well, The Slave Prince will enter copy editing! Having gone through copy editing before, with The Battle for Oz, I know what to expect. One can only hope I’ve improved in skill that will result in a swift pass.

Now, to plug my book! If this post has piqued your curiosity, click HERE to learn more about The Slave Prince. Then, consider joining over 300 other readers as they become the first to receive the book before it hits the shelves! That would make you so very cool… in my starry dreamer eyes.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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Two Weeks, No Post?

For those who’ve been following me for a while, you know I don’t skip posting unless I’m on vacation. Hence, my absence is pretty unnatural. And unfortunately, if you read my recent post on my book, it’s due to a broken promise. I said I’d still be posting while I worked on my novel. However, while I rewrote The Slave Prince, I realised my attention couldn’t be directed elsewhere. So, I’m sorry.

As I’m transitioning to a new day job, I needed to complete my book rewrite before September began. My rewrite outline was confirmed on the 23rd of August. That meant, I didn’t have much time before September rolled around. So I wrote, every single day. I spent a total of 56 hours rewriting my novel, adding close to 6,000 words of new material. And, I’m still not done. Yesterday, I sent my rewritten manuscript to Inkshares. If there are no issues with the book, it’ll enter copy editing. But, if there are cracks I failed to notice during my rewrite, I’ll have to revisit the manuscript. Hopefully, it isn’t the latter.

Now that the workload isn’t as arduous, I hope to start posting again. I plan to share my experience on developmental editing next week, as it has been a pretty interesting process. Of course, once The Slave Prince enters copy editing, I’ll be sharing that experience too. And, on top of that, the book will come with a kingdom and realm map. I’m looking forward to see my world charted, and would share that whole process as well. But for today, I’d appreciate if you accept this post as a post. Forgive me for not sharing anything substantial for three weeks. Trust me, I tried. But when your book calls for you, alike a needy toddler, you have little choice but to attend to it.

With that said, if you’re new to my blog, thank you for hopping on board – I was surprised to find new subscriber emails in my inbox! Rest assured, my truancy isn’t habitual. It’s just writing season. And with readers waiting on The Slave Prince, I’ve got to get it done.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2017 in Others

 

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Time | Books | Ink

timebooksink

The fireplace crackled – a scent of oak wood in the air – dipping the reading chamber in the amber of its flames, as the world darkened. The clouds outside groaned in the gathering of grey, and in a matter of minutes, the first of its countless raindrops fell. The time was now.

Books stacked in a great many variation of height stood in the centre of the chamber. Surrounding the castle of stories were five gold, crimson armchairs. And the ones found seated on those thrones, from as young as seven to as aged as seventy, called themselves Lectors.

Lectors chose to read when the warmth of fire met the cold of water, for their magic only surfaced when such opposing elements collide. With a book on their laps, they recited the words of a tale from the pages bound long ago. And at each spoken word, their magic came to life. As though they’d uttered a spell, the settled ink peeled themselves from the patchy parchments and rose into the air. They drifted in the draft-less chamber toward the tower of books. And they gathered upon the invitation of magic – magic that only came from the lips of the Lectors.

“How powerful is this magic?” you ask. “What do these gathered words do?”

They move. They create. They open.

Outside of the cages of their paperback prison, they beat to the rhythm of the soul. They bring forth the power to feel. In a world overwhelmed with shrewd emotions, deprived of the yearning breeze of solitude, these inked manifestations bring life – life that only comes from within the soul of its reader. Emotions that existed in the realm of unconsciousness, buried by one’s wakening moments, can breathe new life. These words move and stir the hardened heart to feel again.

But beyond the invisible yet tangible force, is its power to bring into being the imaginations of the mind. The stories constructed on paper, churn the bubbling cauldron, brewing a potion to escape reality. This potion feeds the mind a world not of the present. It builds a comforting environment for when the darkness grows unbearable. However, such magic is a double-edged sword and denying its strength is for the foolish.

Moving and creating are undeniably great feats of such magic. But the greatest feat of all is its ability to open doors to the universe unknown. For as the Lectors read from the spell bounding pages, the gathering words swirled into an orb of vibrant light. Piercing through the gaps of the inked alphabets, a portal within the strings of unintelligible words brought the universe to earth. But to shatter the shell of such magic was too soon. There were more to be read.

One book after another, the Lectors vocalised the tales. As the rain pattered against the tall, glass-paneled windows, the magic in motion grew. The ball of light expanded its reach across the chamber in immense power, tempting to explode with every addition. And when the last word of the last book left the lips of the youngest Lector, it finally did. The bounded magic caved within itself before ripping free from its wrappings. It released a wave of Tuscan sun, snuffing the flames in the fireplace. And as it did, the reading chamber plummeted into darkness. The cold and unwelcoming silence reigned at the end of a story, forcing the Lectors to linger in their presence until the sun arrived. Shining past the departure of the darkened clouds, light eventually returned and magic was gone.

The words once gathered in the creation of great magic rewrote themselves in the pages they called home. They would remain within their bindings until five new Lectors chose to read them again. Their magic will stay docile until their stories are unearthed once more. And when that time will arrive, no one knows.

Many Lectors have come and gone. Unfortunately, as the world orbits into the future, the heirs to this magic dwindle by the day. Despite the calling to move, create, and open, many have chose to ignore. Many have lost sight of the allure of such magic. And many have pretended ignorant to the tugging of its power. How then can this world survive without this magnificent force? How can society live without the strength, hope, and power this magic embodies?

It is upon the shoulders of the remaining Lectors to raise and pass this gift to the next generation. For magic cannot survive the evolution of men without a vessel. And if there’s one thing we all should know, is that every being homes this magic. Every being is a Lector. Every being can make time stop and breathe life into scribbles of ink. Every being can uncover this secret. Why? Because every being is called to be a reader.

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Time, books, and ink, were words given by monkeyeverythingblog. Let me start by saying I’m a hypocrite. Here I am writing a story about reading, when the book by my bedside hasn’t been touched in a month. Yes, I’m ashamed of myself. So as much as this story was written to encourage others, it serves as a reminder that I should never stop reading. There is magic in books. And such magic cannot be forgotten.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. I’ve said this one too many times, and I’ll say it again: give this a shot!

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Be A Protector

beaprotector

‘Protector: a person in charge of the kingdom during the sovereign’s minority, incapacity, or absence.’ – English history.

I’ve thought about this. I’ve thought about this long and hard. And I’ve decided.

Now, I’m not loaded. I don’t have an overflowing bank account. But after seeing your generosity in supporting my dream, I’m inspired to pay it forward. You showed me what it means to give selflessly, and I want to do the same thing too.

No, this isn’t about a giveaway. Though, there are a couple more to come this month and they’ll be announced on Facebook.

So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about… slavery. I’m no expert on this issue, but I’m aware of its existence. I’m aware that it has ruined lives. And if there’s one cause I want to stand by, it is this: the fight against modern day slavery

There are approximately 36 million slaves in the world today. 50% are minors. And if you have $90, you can actually buy yourself one. This makes me angry. Children have been robbed of their childhood. People have been robbed of their rights. Families are torn apart. And for these individuals, living is meaningless.

I know… I am no Thom. I’m not a prince with a calling to save his people. I don’t have a magical aid. But I want to do something if I can. Hence, I’ve decided to give RM2 for every reader that pre-orders The Slave Prince to Change Your World.

Change Your World is a movement I’ve believed in for many years. Based in Malaysia, it exists to create opportunities and platforms for the young generation to ‘Save Lives’ through their creativity. This is as creative as I can get – telling stories. And if I can use my stories to stand for justice, then I should do it.

So, if you’d like to fight alongside me in this cause, pre-order a copy of The Slave Prince. I can only match two ringgit to a reader. But if you think it’s too little, forget ordering my book, reach out to Change Your World and support them. Saving lives is far more important.

For all those who’ve been eyeing the Geek & Sundry contest, there’s a month left. If you’d love to see my book hit the bookstores, please grab a copy at your earliest convenience. It only takes 5 minutes to help this dreamer – only 5 minutes to change a life. And if you stand by me, winning a publishing deal would be a walk in the park.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Others

 

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Define ‘The Slave Prince’

definetsp

‘State or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.’
– Result from typing ‘define’ in the Google search bar.

What is The Slave Prince? What is it about?

Imagine yourself as a child. You’re seating in the living room with your parents, and they’re talking about transferring you to a private school. From time-to-time, your mother leans over and nags about your grades. Your father, well, he’s giving you this ‘don’t worry kiddo, I’ve got your back’ look. Everything is normal.

This is your house. The dog at your feet is yours, and his name is Sam. Bob the cat is also yours. You named him Bob because he’s yours. Your brother, who’s upstairs playing an MMO, thinks Bob is a stupid name. But you don’t care, because Bob is yours.

This is your life. This is what you know. This is all you know.

Everything about this life shapes who you are. And then one day, you wake up and realise you are not you.

The couple downstairs, arguing about a dinner party, are complete strangers. The boy in the bedroom next door isn’t your brother. Sam is not your dog. You didn’t name Bob, Bob. And what you believe to be your true identity… isn’t true at all.

You don’t know who you are, and it has nothing to do with your memory. You know these people, you know the world you live in, you just don’t know… you.

This is what The Slave Prince is really about. Yes, there’s magic and adventure. But there’s also a prince who has lost himself. And in this journey of self-rediscovery, he learns that it isn’t just about choosing a side. It’s about… something else altogether.
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It has been a month since I’ve entered The Slave Prince into the Geek & Sundry Fantasy Contest. Since then, The Slave Prince has nestled in the #2 spot. And to date, it has 109 readers with 113 pre-orders. Yes, the stats are good. Being #2 in the Top 3 is good. It’s safe… but only for now.

You see, The Slave Prince needs to be in the Top 3 on November 1st to win a full publishing deal. That means there are 2 more months to go before the contest ends. And we all know, anything can happen in those 2 months.

So, if I could ask… would you, dear reader, who have read my works and know what I can bring to the table, consider pre-ordering a copy of The Slave Prince? You’ve read more of my stories than many others who’ve ordered my book. You’ve left comments and likes. You’ve sent me emails. And I’ve grown to believe that you believe in me.

There is no doubt I cannot go on this journey alone. And with your support, I can succeed. With your support I can dare to dream big. And dreaming big isn’t just placing Top 3, it is excelling. So, what do you say? Do I have your support? Just think of it as treating your favourite blogger lunch 😛 Your pre-order, whether eBook or paperback, will go a long way. And for it, I will be forever grateful.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Making A Comeback

makingacomeback

‘To achieve a success after a retirement or failure.’ – a reliable dictionary I found online.

I am making a comeback. The Slave Prince is making a comeback.

My last publishing success on Inkshares was in January 2015. My last publishing failure on Inkshares was in January 2016. (What a coincidence!) But what is failure, really? Giving up. So that’s why I’m back.

When The Slave Prince didn’t make it to the top 3 in the Sword & Laser Collection Contest, I was disappointed. But I knew, from the get-go, that I wasn’t going to give up on this book. And when the opportunity arose, I would put it out there again.

The opportunity has arrived… in the form of the Geek & Sundry fantasy contest.

The Geek & Sundry contest opens now till November 1st. The top 3 books with the most unique reader pre-orders (a.k.a most reader headcount) will receive a full publishing deal with Inkshares!

Obviously, The Slave Prince is at risk of failing again. But I’m not going to fail, because whatever obstacle stands before me, I will dig under, I will climb over, and if I have to, I will break my way through. (Sounds like I’m giving myself a pep talk, eh?)

I don’t think I’ve said this before, but The Slave Prince is an important book to me… far more important than The Battle for Oz. If I could turn back time, I would’ve funded The Slave Prince first. But alas, I’m no time traveller.

The Slave Prince wasn’t just written for fun, but for me. The Slave Prince, Thom himself, reminds me I can do anything if I believe. The adventure reminds me that perseverance can make the impossible possible. And the premise… the premise reminds me of the power of child-like make-believe. (Why am I tearing up? This is weird.)

Every time I revisit The Slave Prince in my editing rounds, I am reminded to believe in myself and keep contending for the impossible. If it were another book, I’m not too sure if I’d feel the same way. So here I am, hoping you, my dear reader, will stand with me and this book.

I know my book isn’t the best book out there, but I hope the story speaks to you. I also hope… you’ll give me a chance to make this comeback real. You have the power to make a difference in my life, and I’m really counting on you to walk this road with me. Without you, it’ll be a lonely journey. That said, thank you so very much for reading all the way to the end! And please grab a copy on your way out. I would be eternally grateful.

theslaveprincecover2

About the Book

The Slave Prince follows the tale of Thom, a mischievous teenage prince who discovers his lineage in the slave race. When the calling to be the chosen one arises, he relies on the power of a magical dagger to save his people.

Book page: https://www.inkshares.com/books/the-slave-prince

First few chapters can be read on the book page. Additional bonus backstory HERE.

*Ps, I’m so close to making the top 3, a little push from you will take me there. A little push might move me up to #1 too! 

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2016 in Others

 

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