Assassins Wall

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Universe Olympics - www.UniverseOlympics.Com

As most of you know by now I have recently posted Chapters of a new book called Universe Olympics. And so many people have asked me, "What about the next Assassins Wall?"

First, let me say, I have not stopped working on it and actually I'm working on both stories at the same time. So Assassins Wall: Victoria Station is alive and well, and slowy being worked on. And don't think for a moment Lexi, Saif, Marise and John would let me get away with not listening to them. They won't and they are loud, sitting and waiting in England.

Second, that brings us to Universe Olympics and why I'm choosing to release it chapter by chapter. The answer is very simple; because of the Olympics. Most people understand that it takes years and years to write a book, edit it, and release it. And by the time I was completely finished there wouldn't be an Olympics in sight. My guesstimate would be in the middle of 2017. So I decided to get a jump on it.

And let me say, for the record, I love the Olympics, and I have had the idea for this story since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With all of that in mind, I've had bits and bobs of this story ready to go and I thought, "why not release it around the Olympics?" As I get swept up in the excitement of the Brazil 2016 Summer Games, I'm hoping you might feel the excitement as well. Learn all about Liew, Amy, Stoke the Jam, and Pappie. Who are they? Well, you soon will find out.

Thank you so much for taking the time and interest in both this and AW. I couldn't do any of this without you!

- Author, Amanda Dubin

As some of you may have noticed, there are a few recent additions to my novel. I added 8 pages of basic Geometry lessons.

Why did I do that? Well, the book was incomplete without it.

Remember back last May, I kept telling you how for some reason the story wasn't allowing me to move on. I was having the hardest time leaving Gare de Lyon. Now, I know why. The book, or rather the story needed the Geometry... wanted the Geometry.

It all started back in January of 2014, interestingly enough after it was published. I realized that from the beginning of Assassins Wall I needed to start basic Geometry lessons for the readers to understand where I was taking the story. I had to teach simple mathmatical lessons and move forward, slowly. I sat, more like mulled, over these few additions for almost a year. I made the simple mistake of thinking the book could do without them. I had already put it out there and it was best to leave things as they were. But for some reason I couldn't move onto the next installment. I kept asking myself... why? Why am I stuck in France? That's when I couldn't deny it any longer, and I gave in. The story... wouldn't let me move on without these new pages.

Sounds weird, right? The Story wants something; like it's a living breathing thing, needing some type of nourishment to grow... get bigger, mature. For some of you from an imaginitive landscape this may be very hard to grasp, but I will try and explain. Whenever I would move on to our next location and installment, my mind kept going back to Gare de Lyon. Time and time again... Gare de Lyon, which can be very, very frustrating. My imagination kept showing me these few Geometry lessons. (A = a Point... A point is a member of a set) Telling me over and over again the story was NOT done. The framework of the whole trilogy was incomplete without it. And until I did as it said... you can forget about moving forward. It held me ransom... Geometry or no next book.

So, why the Geometry, is a natural question you might be asking? Well, this is very hard to say to you... you'll understand it later. In book 3, in fact. I'm going to ask you to trust me. We, you and I, can look back on these math lessons and say... "Ah! Yes. We had to take it slow. Go through it step by step. Build up slowly to get right here. Now, "we" understand. You (that would be me, Amanda) were prepping us (that would be you, the reader) for what is about to come; to take this cognitive leap you had to give us the tools to go there. And the Geometry lessons are the tools."

Also, the Geometry brings in a much wider picture and understanding to the story. It is the framework that will, literally, hold everything together.

Now, the Geometry pages are finally in, and I can say this with an honest heart... the book is done. The story has been told to its' full completeness... yes, yes, I know, improper use of completeness. Spare me... but it is a mathmatical term... look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Completeness_of_the_real_numbers

I'm ready to move on. I have left Paris... And I'm ready to go to England.

I hope to write more soon, and as my grandma always says, "Never give up!"

Amanda

Apr 07 2015

Title Half W/ Half wall

Script to Book?

Wait... Did you read that correctly? Script to Book? Now, I know what you are probably thinking, "Doesn't it go the other way around, Amanda? Don't you take a book and then make it into a screenplay?"

Yes, that is the usual, normal procedural way to do such things, but I have often found I rarely do things "in usual way." That and the truth of the matter is... I couldn't help it. A poor excuse, I know, but I couldn't.

So now you are probably wondering: Did I write the script for Assassins Wall and then go back and write the book from the script.

The answer is YES... with a very good explanation.  

After 17 years of writing scripts for films, it seems the only format that tends to hit a piece of paper when I write. There are two reasons for this:

     A) It is the way I learned how to write in film school.

     B) I watch the story like a film in my mind. (Like when Saif walks across the station by himself leaving the group behind to watch as he approached one of the men. I, like Lexi, John, and Marise, had no idea what he was going to do. I sat back and watched, wondering how he was going to "ask" him.)

All of this is what happened with Assassins Wall. I got the idea, wrote the screenplay... end, done, thank for you playing.

But then something happened. A close family friend read the story and said, "Amanda, what are you doing? You are going about this all the wrong way. Books are before movies. You need to go and write the book of this story, FIRST! Then the movie."

So with a lot of hesitation, I jumped head first in the shallow end, and used the bare bones of my screenplay as the skeleton for the book. And if you have a good eye, you can still see bits of the script in the book. You'll notice at the beginning of each chapter there is a line with the time of day and place, just how it should read before each new scene in a screenplay. I decided to keep it in the novel, remind me, and keen-eyed readers of the origins of the book.

And I'm sure your next question is... Are you still writing in screenplay format? Yes, even now when you look at the sequel to AW or other stories... especially ones that I intend to be novels, on paper when I write it always comes out first in screenplay format.

I guess you can't change what is autonomic at this point.

I hope to write more soon, and as my grandma always says, "Never give up!"

Amanda

Jan 17 2015

Title Half W/ Half wall

Saif Ullah Muhammad

In light of recent events in the world, especially in Paris, I felt it was important to write about one of my main characters in the book, Saif Ullah Muhammad. Also, I need to acknowledge that one of my main themes in the beginning of Assassins Wall is the idea of terrorism, coincidently enough, taking place in Paris. 

You need to know I've sat and thought about what to write in this blog for over a week. First, out of the shock of what happened in Paris, and second because part of what I write about in the book has ties and reverberations with what is going on in the world right now. Coincidence? Yes. Did I know this type of terror event would happen over two years ago when I wrote this book? No, I did not. But did I know the kindling was there to potentially start a fire. Yes, I did: if there were a spark.

In the beginning of the novel the reader, as well as the main character Lexi, are asked questions about three Arab men standing in Gare de Lyon train station. Who are they? What are their intentions? Where are they from? And are they suspicious looking terrorists? And using those stereotypes I lead the reader and Lexi along a path; a path very similar to how we as human beings learn in life. First, judgment starts with the veneer and stereotypes, and ultimately, as we go further into the novel and dare I say life, those stereotypes are never as clear and concise as we believe them to be; often times turning out to be the complete opposite of what we have judged via the veneer.

And finally that brings us to Saif. We start in Gare de Lyon with three potential, I use this lightly, "terrorists" in the train station, full throttle hitting every stereotypical mark. Then later in the novel to balance out this pendulum, there is Saif. He is so important, now more than ever. Saif is there to hopefully help the reader open their eyes and question preconceived notions about religions, intentions, and ethnic groups; especially now with all the hate and judging that has been going on in the world. This balancing, this questioning of stereotypes is more important that ever... Saif hopefully makes us, as the audience, ask the question... Is it correct to only judge a person by their appearance, clothing, ethnicity and race? Even in the year 2015, we have a hard time with this question. I ask if we as human beings have an obligation to judge only once you know the individual, their heart, their integrity, and their values... I leave it up the reader to answer... or starting thinking of an answer.

What is funny, ha, ha, about all of this is that as the writer and creator of this story you would think, as a woman, I would identify first and foremost with the other American woman in the story, Lexi. The irony is, I don't. I found time and again that when my heart had something to say it seemed to always come out of Saif's mouth. He was the glue for me. He is the heart of this story. He reminds us to question stereotypes and that they aren't always how life works. That it is dangerous to judge mainly on the veneer; the veneer is only 10% of the reality inside. I ask this of every reader; to judge every human being as an individual. To perhaps recognize the easy answer of stereotypes never fully represents the complexity of life and people.

That is why for me at least, and in light of recent events, Saif Ullah Muhammad is integral to Assassins Wall. He is the piece of the puzzle that fits all the other pieces together, making up the whole picture. As the writer I hope, in the slightest way, this story brings a little self-consciousness to my audience about such matters and begins a dialogue within your own heart.

Amanda Dubin

 

Jun 11 2014

Title Half W/ Half wall

Why the Color Green?

I forgot to tell you all something. It occurred to me the other day when I was thinking about Paris, and the book. I had yet to explain to you how truly important the color green was to shaping the story.

Now, if you will indulge me... A few blogs ago I wrote about how I got the idea in 2010 for the book. The initial genesis, as it were. (Sidenote: I love saying as it were.. or nevertheless. It's fun flowery language I feel the British have a true grasp of and also because it reminds me of Tolkien.)

I realized I forgot to mention something to you about this dream. Probably because I didn't write it in my dream journal, but it was a key aspect to it; the anchor that helped me choose Gare de Lyon. In my dream there was the color green. 

When I woke up I looked online at the different Paris train stations: Gare du Nord, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Saint-Lazare, Gare de Bercy, Gare d'Austerlitz. Why list all the stations in Paris for you? Well, I need you to understand there weren't just two choices here. I had 7. 

Gare du Nord looked red... so forth and so on. I finally saw a few pictures inside Gare de Lyon taken from the balcony in front of Le Train Bleu--didn't know that at the time. And I saw two large trees sitting in the middle of the station. That's it, two trees. In my mind this was the green color I kept seeing. It must have been refering to the plants inside the station.

Remember in 2010, before Instagram and Pinterest were the life blood of our culture, varied pictures of Paris train stations weren't too plentiful. Always the same shot from the same angle. So with the few choices I had, I guessed and picked Gare de Lyon. It had plant life giving it the green color from my dream.

OK, here is where it gets weird/interesting... A little more than a year ago a friend of mine was going to Paris. He kindly offered to go inside the train station and take tons of pictures for me, from the side walls to the entrances/exits. When he finally sent me the pictures I saw "it" for the first time. The side walls of Gare de Lyon were painted the shade of green I had seen in my dream.

And to be truthful... up until that moment, I feel foolish telling you, I didn't know. I thought I picked, purely happenstantially, this specific station because of the green plants. And now I had actual confirmation from hundreds of photos.

Gare de Lyon is green! Wondering what shade of green it is? Just look at the cover of the book.

I hope to write more soon, and as my grandma always says, "Never give up!"

Amanda

Oh yes, how could I not?

I was recently at a family gathering and I was barraged with this question repeatedly by family and friends alike. But moving forward is not as easy as it sounds.

You, the writer, spend so much time writing a book and "living" in that landscape, it is a hard shift to the new imaginative landscape. In fact, I have been having a difficult time making the shift. Everytime I think of my characters in future scenes, my mind keeps pulling me back to Paris. As though it's not ready to leave that location...

In an odd way, now to some of you this may sound crazy, my mind is not allowing me to make this transition easily. I keep getting images of Le Pouce or Gare de Lyon in my mind's eye. But I say to myself... No, it's time to move on, jump into the next part of the story. And the craziest part is that I have no control over this imaginative process. Now you say, Amanda, this is your mind, how can you not have control over what happens in your imagination? Well, that is part of the whole mystery of art, isn't it? It decides. It tells you. It lets you know when it's ready. And it's not fully ready... yet.

So what do I do? Well, again this may sound crazy, I show my mind it's OK to move on. Gather pictures of the next locations, re-read scenes I have already written for the next part, and remind my imagination to let go of Paris. It's OK. It's time for Paris to learn to fly on its own. Push the birdy from the nest.

With all of this, in mind, oh how I love a double entendre, I'm moving forward. I hope to write more soon, and as my grandma always says, "Never give up!"

Amanda

In light of my recent posts many of you may wondering why, since Gare de Lyon is a real place, I didn't use a photo of the train station for the cover of the book. The reason is very simple. 

I can't. Legally, that is.

You see, in France there is No Freedom of Panorama. The what? Freedom of Panorama... What's that? You've probably never heard of it before, have you? Well, don't worry. Neither did I. That was until my friend who lives in Germany told me about it. Interestingly enough, Germany and the U.S. both do have Freedom of Panorama, hence why most of you have never heard of it before.

Freedom of Panorama, or F.O.P., allows individuals to take photographs or videos of public property/spaces, including architecture and sculptures, and use them without breaking any copyright laws.

And unfortunately for the purposes of my book cover, France is a NO F.O.P. country. Which means in simple terms, I, as an individual, do not have the freedom to take pictures of copyright material (Gare de Lyon) and use it for personal financial gain.

In light of the no F.O.P., I had to make an important decision. I knew I needed to show my readers what the wall looked like and it was also very important to show the placement of the wall in correlation to the platform. So I, as any self-respecting artist would do, improvised. I was given, by an eight-year-old neighbor, some tracing paper and soon, as if by magic, I had my cover for the book.

And yes, as in the book, that is a precise location of a train sitting between platforms E & G, and where I imagine the wall would be in the station. 

Link to further reading on F.O.P. for France:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#France

I hope to write more soon. And as my grandma always says, "Never give up!"

Amanda

Yes it is!

Alot of you have been wondering if La Grande Arche is indeed a real place, having never heard of it before. We all know of the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower, but most of you have never heard of La Grande Arche since it is off the average beaten tourist path. 

I'm here to share with you, not only is it a real place—in fact, almost all of the locations in the book are realLa Grande Arche is absolutely stunning and a worth while stop on any trip to Paris. And, as in the book, all around La Grande Arche is a giant esplanade with sculptures and modern artwork of every shape and size. 

Yes, again, Le Pouce, is a real sculpture of a thumb on the esplanade.

So how did I find this magical hidden, not really, place? During my two years of research I literally stumbled upon it. Now, have I ever been there personally? No, I have not... yet. In truth, it is probably one of the the first locations I will visit on my next trip to Paris.

May I also be so bold as to recommend it to you as well? And if this isn't to your fancy—what's wrong with you?—there is a giant shopping mall (Les Quatre Temps) right next store on the esplanade.

I hope to write more soon. And as my grandma always says, "Never Give Up!"

Amanda

Link to Pinterest photos: http://www.pinterest.com/assassinswall/la-grande-arche/

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yeeeeesssss… Well, that's the long way of saying yes, isn't it? The simple fact is in order for all this to work I have to know. I'm not the type of storyteller who figures it out as she goes along. And being a huge fan of Isaac Asimov, who said, "Know your ending, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea," I had to know what the wall is. The entire who, what, why, and how of the wall. In outlining the three books it was paramount to know. I had to plant the seeds. And if you've read the first novel, then you're now a farmer. Seeds planted, waiting for a little more rain… and time. 

Some of you may ask… If you know, then tell me, what is it? And again my answer is very simple. I'm not telling. That's part of the adventure. That's part of the fun. Trying to figure it all out. Curiosity is part of what makes us human, according to my tenets: adaptation, motivation, communication, adventure, curiosity, and imagination are the core of what makes us human. 

So, all I can tell you is, "Hang on!" Soon you will be in the "know" too because I know what the wall is and it's worth the wait! Or at least I think so. Where's my humility? Well, it's up on the wall. And I need a finger to take it down…  

I hope to write more soon. And as my grandma always tells me, "Never give up!"

Amanda

Apr 02 2014

Wall in Half

How I Got the Idea?

Some of you have been wondering how I got the idea for the book. Like all things, it had to come from somewhere. For me it was a simple genesis and I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, it wasn't yesterday—in fact, I can tell you the day. It was January 25, 2010. It's weird, isn't it? I can't remember what I ate for lunch last Thursday, but I remember a day four years ago. And the reason I remember is very simple. I wrote it down.

This is what I wrote: "I was walking down a long platform at a Paris train station. On the left hand side, in the middle of the station there was a tall glass wall. And around the wall was a bunch of people, where something was not quite right about them. They were looking at the glass wall and some were even climbing up it. On the wall were names and pictures of people, and where they lived so they could go and hunt the humans down. And it's called Assassins Wall."

Now, some of you may ask, why write it down? That's easy. This was a dream. Yup, you just got a glimpse into one of my dream journals. In truth, you got it verbatim. At the time, honestly, I really thought nothing of it. Wrote it down, another odd, random dream. In fact, I didn't do anything about it for almost a solid year.

Why the long wait? I'm not sure. That is part of the mystery of ideas and writing and stories. My best guess: Sometimes the story waits before it fully reveals itself... Maybe until the time is right.

And yes, more often than not, I dream in sci-fi. 

I hope to write more soon. And as my grandma always tells me, "Never give up!"

Amanda