Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jungle Age

It is said that great stories are weaved from scratch, a one-sentence idea conjured inside the writer's head. From this spark, a storyteller spins a narrative. Contrived on a digital loom, scenes suspend disbelief. Characters fleshed out turn life-like, and tales swirled from the creator's mind become arcane tapestries pressed into a single book. 

Some become well-loved by all. 

But not all storytellers are able to warp and weft a yarn. There are those lacking the skill to spin a convincing narrative. While others, despite possessing mastery to fabricate moving pictures with words, are denied the use of loom. Their tapestries lay hidden and collecting pixie dust, unread by those who might revel in magical tales untold.

These bards of the written word journey the world, for places that readily embrace their works. They sing fiction that are beyond the machinations of man. Their intrepid souls cross dimensions to bring back fabled accounts of dwarfs and dragons; or slide through alternate landscapes where werewolves, vampires and zombies live among men. In the universe of Google, every imaginable story comes to life. What is sought is a repository, and an audience to hear these enchanting tales.

I have come across many places, where stories incubate before they get published. There is Wattpad and Deviant Art, and some blogs whose links have already slipped my mind. There is not much to say, for my stay in these places were in passing. Only when I stumbled on Jungle age did my words affected other writers.

I lingered, like a restless spirit, searching for answers.

Jungle age is a community of writers and readers. The works uploaded on the website are supernatural and science fiction in nature. Unlike with other writing communities, where approval of one's work comes in the form of "likes," readers of Jungle age are encouraged to leave comments using a template that helps writers improve their drafts.

One look, and those used to the symmetry and clean lines of Wattpad would be driven away by Jungle age's dry layout. Same with those used to the clutter and timelessness that is Deviant Art. Like the stories posted in its mundane pages, Jungle age is a work that has remained in canvass. Imagine a mecha under construction: the upgrades are put together - shaped, by an unseen hand, to make the glide across the website a more cherishing experience to audience and storytellers alike.

Promises abound when a work has room for improvement. When icons overlap with headers, or chapters need to be arranged in a chronological manner for readers to appreciate stories; you know the work is not yet over. However the shortcomings, I see well the clearing: of how Jungle age can transform and become a place for struggling fiction writers - to find inspiration and guide. It is because when other storytelling communities, whose readers have been reduced to clicking icons like "thumbs-up" and "stars," Jungle age asks for substance when leaving comments.

It is like attending a writing workshop and getting improvement suggestions - for free.

I have faith that behind the seemingly featureless page are stories that deserve a reading. For these tales are masterfully spun, and whose tapestries deserve to be seen by all. I have met visionaries, whose discipline to pursue the chapters of their work is unrivaled. I have spoken to young writers, eager to learn and practice the craft.

"One day, you'll become a great writer," I once wrote to a seventeen year old storyteller.

Many of the great works I began reading when I first stepped foot on Jungle age are still far from their ending chapters. There is the challenge of refinement, and direction the tale have to take. But in all the days I logged in - and nights spent drowned in stories, some narratives were weaved so beautifully and with clarity; the author decides to take them out of the loom.

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to give you all a special update on "Staying Human." Not only have I finished writing the story, I've been able to publish it as well! Right now, it is available to download from for FREE! It will also soon be available on in print for $4. Thank you all, I couldn't have done this without all your encouragement and support. Every vote, and comment meant more to me than you could ever imagine. If you want, go download the story and share it with your friends- I need all the exposure I can get! 

Looking back as one of the collaborators, to see through someone's work getting published is a reward unto itself. Like an infant gently ushered out of the womb, a writer's joy, in some ways becomes mine as well.

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