Writing process

The Untamed

It’s hot

It’s super-muggy here. We’ve just had a massive hailstorm (hail as big as golf balls) but the temperature didn’t drop so now it’s so muggy, and even the big hailstones are gone. The hail was so loud the first few landing on the roof sounded like gunshots. As more arrived it that changed to continuous popping, more like New Year’s eve fireworks.

If we’d had any peaches left on our tree they would have been ruined. Sadly, it never gets that far nowadays. The possums and/or cockatoos finished those off a while ago. Little beasts wait until things are ripe and juicy, then strip the tree overnight.

Publication day

Stars Beyond is published on Tuesday. We hope you enjoy it.

The Untamed

Before Christmas I started watching I binge-watched the fantasy c-drama The Untamed.

“You have to watch this show,” I told Sherylyn. “You have to.”

When we recommend books (and tv shows) to each other, there are degrees of recommendation. Mostly it’s, “This book is okay. I think you’ll like it.”

“You have to watch,” translates to “I love, love, love this show, and you will too.”

It’s a zombie story about greed, ambition, and revenge. It’s heart, though, is a story about brothers. About family and friends, and supporting each other, even if the person you are supporting doesn’t know that you are.

It’s all about the characters and they are awesome.

It’s based on a fantasy called Mo Dao Zu Shi (The Grand Master of Demonic Cultivation) written by Mo Xiang Ton Xiu.

I appreciated the story both as a reader (or viewer, in this case)—loved the characters—and as a writer. It’s well plotted and it slowly gives out information (conniving and emotionally manipulating, but in a good way) via flashbacks that totally changes how the viewer interprets an earlier scene. It’s so clever, and you don’t feel manipulated. Not like stories where a point-of-view character knows something but holds it back from the reader. In this case you usually find out more via a flashback, often from a different point-of-view character. There were a couple of times where I totally changed my view of a particular scene (and hence opinion of someone) as a result.

The first couple of episodes were confusing. So much so that I’m going to quote directly from something @TriviaLove tweeted on 17 January 2020.

Yes, the first few episodes are confusing, but like any good story, you get sucked in. You have to watch and wait for it to make sense. By episode five you are hooked.

They show that same scene again in episode 33, only with a lot more detail. By then you know what went before. As @TriviaLove says:

Later, I went back and watched those first few episodes. (Let’s be honest, I rewatched the whole thing, no mean feat given it’s 50 episodes.) They made a lot more sense, and I picked up so many things on the rewatch.

Come for the exotic fantasy, stay for the characters.

p.s. Sherylyn watched it, too, and she’s now rewatching.

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