Category Archives: Magazines

Would you believe me if I told you I had Part 3 already in mind?

So when I wrote my tRolling Stone piece for the first time, I never had an idea of writing any more of it. Then a couple days ago I released Part 2. But when I was writing Part 2, I actually had the final piece to the trilogy in mind. If I was going to do a sequel, I knew I had enough juice for a third story.

So what is the third story going to be about? The obvious answer is that I would reunite the two and form Champaign again. But that is not the direction I had in mind. In fact, the third story would have nothing to do with either Ami or Pickles.

Well, that’s what I had in mind when I created the second story. But who would the third story be about? Well, I have an idea but I don’t even know if I would write the third story, so I will keep that on hold. And who knows? Maybe I do write a reunion story. But I will say this, the idea of a Part 3 is very much in play.

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ROLLING STONE: The backstory of Krystaline

RollingStoneCover

The design to the cover of the magazine is a lot more polished than the first one I made for Ami Mills and I think it looks a lot more like an actual cover of Rolling Stone. I studied hundreds of past covers to capture the style and design of the magazine. I considered Joe Cocker on the cover but decided against it. Cocker appears on the actual cover that comes out this week.

To read the original piece, click here.

To read the story that started it all (PART 1), click here.

THE BACKSTORY

I had no initial desire to write this story. When I first wrote the Ami Mills story, I was content with that being just that and I wouldn’t continue her story or any other character’s story. But always in the back of my mind, I wondered if the opportunity came, if I would actually go with it. I had scrapped two non-music stories during that time frame and really wanted to write another story but had no juice. The idea of writing about Krystaline (aka Pickles) actually came when I first wrote the Ami story when a few of the readers asked me about Pickles. I didn’t have an established identity for Pickles (except that she was a Polish brunette) when I first wrote the Ami story and if I knew I would be writing her story, then her characteristics in the original story would have been different.

But I sat there on New Year’s Eve wondering what kind of artist she would be. I had labeled her as an R&B star but I knew she wasn’t going to be like a Mya or Mary J. Blige type of R&B singer. My first thoughts were Alicia Keys and Janelle Monáe (the idea behind Michelle Edwards), both styles distinct but very marketable. Before I even considered writing the story, I thought about the graphics package. When I wrote the Ami story, I had the story mostly written before I even researched for a celebrity to use for the magazine cover. This time, I did the reverse. I started looking for the images before a story was even written. That actually made it a lot harder for me because I had to base my story on the photos I found. It gave me a boost in setting the parameters for the storytelling, but it limited where I wanted to go with the story.

Nevertheless, I worked with what I got and I came up with Krystaline. My first goal was to make her really different from Ami. Even though the two have been childhood friends, the reason why they split was because they were maturing and changing. I wanted to reflect that with Pickles’ character being a little out there to reflect that change. I had to take a lot of the characteristics of artists I have read about in previous Rolling Stone articles. One carryover from the Ami Mills influence was Lana Del Rey. A piece of her attitude, especially the complex diva aspect, was taken from her. The other influences are mentioned below.

This story took me two weeks to put together and the length is half of the first story. I didn’t want to make this a long story or a minute by minute account of the artist’s day. Instead, I wanted to focus on one evening and that only. And since it was based on a New Year’s Eve party, I had to quickly turn this story around before it became irrelevant. Like some of the articles I have read, one evening is all I need to understand the artist. Am I actually a fan of the artist I created? I am, but there are parts about her character that are puzzling and that was my intent. We can’t love everything about every artist we like and she is no different. That’s why she’s the enigmatic diva.

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ROLLING STONE: Krystaline – New Year’s Eve With The Enigmatic Diva

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Note: Following the positive feedback I got for my Ami Mills story, I pondered whether or not I should challenge myself and continue the fantasy music world I created. My intention was never to write a continuation and that my created story of Ami would stand alone by itself. But I had struggled to write tremendously during that time period before and after I wrote the fake magazine article. I scrapped two separate stories I was trying to write and I couldn’t find myself overcoming my writer’s block. It was on a whim on New Year’s Eve that I decided to just brainstorm and see if there was a possibility that I could make a sequel.

I enjoy doing these things because it challenges me creatively. In my line of work I have to watch events and regurgitate it — that’s what I write for a living. Very rarely do I get a chance to take something out of my own imagination and build something so exciting. With my passion for music and the various happenings I see in the music industry, I am always intrigued about the lifestyles of these famous artists. Rolling Stone magazine has helped me see a different side of many of my favorite artists and I wanted to be a part of that. Once again, I’ve taken something that doesn’t exist and with the influence of writing, I’ve completed another chapter to this story.

My writing remains a work in progress and I want to continue to write to improve my skills. But in order to grow as a writer, I have to write every day and challenge my mind to go to places and universes that I never knew existed. This is the universe I have created and I am living in it. This is Part 2.

For more details on the inspiration and creative process of this story, I’ve posted more information at a link at the end of this story. Thank you for reading and I welcome any kind of feedback. Enjoy!

Samuel Lam (12/31/14 – 1/13/15)

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Getting some of my Ami Mills prints and framed

You all remember the Ami Mills story I wrote, right? I actually got them printed out and some of them framed. In fact, I framed a bi 11×14 frame for myself. Gave out two 8.5×11 frames to two friends and another 8×10 frame to another friend.

There was actually one design error on it and my copy has it. There are two copies that have it fixed. Anyway, I am really glad I got this printed. It took a while for me to go to FedEx and have them figure out how to do it. It was hard for them to size it so I had to go home and size it right before sending it back to them to look at.

I hope to one day get a new place to live and have that hang on the wall. Seriously, I want to hang it and have it be a reminder to me that I am that good. I can be great. My writing is good. People believe in me. I may one day write for Rolling Stone.

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ROLLING STONE: The backstory of Ami Mills

The photoshopped Rolling Stone cover for Ami Mills. I shared this photo on Facebook before publishing the story. Nobody noticed that Ami Mills is the only celebrity listed on the cover who doesn't exist.

The photoshopped Rolling Stone cover for Ami Mills. I shared this photo on Facebook several hours before publishing the story. Nobody noticed that Ami Mills is the only celebrity listed on the cover who doesn’t exist.

To read the original piece, click here.

THE BACKSTORY

On October 24, 2014, I attended a concert in downtown Los Angeles to see Madi Diaz perform. I had been following her career since I met her back when I moved to Southern California in May 2012. It was at that time when I had just moved to this new place and I wanted to get an experience of Hollywood. One of my favorite artists Rachel Platten was doing a show in Hollywood and I bought a ticket to go see her perform. The opening act was Madi, a very sweet and funny performer with a great sound for music. I had never heard of her before that day. I got to meet Madi and Rachel after the show – the first time I ever got to meet established music artists – and at that point, I started to grow an interest in the lifestyle and travels of music artists.

To create someone magically out of thin air was tough. I resisted so hard to not make the characters of this story, especially Ami, to be so similar to any real music influences in my life. I’m not sure if I fully succeeded there. I had to think of a backstory for my character that was believable but also relatable. I even created her own Twitter account to help bring her to life. There wasn’t a set plan of how long the story would go or what kind of direction it would take. In fact, I didn’t even outline the premise of the story; it just came to me. I knew that I wanted to create an artist that was really down to earth (like what I read in a Taylor Swift article by Rolling Stone) but also someone that had a difficult past. After all, who doesn’t want to read a story of triumph?

I couldn’t shoot too far and make the artist a megastar, because then it would be too easy for me to create a story with that. Instead, I thought of a relative new face for the music industry. Ami wasn’t particularly new, but for the mainstream, she was. A backstory of a journey is usually what captivates my imagination whenever I read an article on a music star.

So in nine days, I created a music star out of thin air. The first eight days were dedicated mostly to crafting and writing the story. Today, the last day, was dedicated to finalizing the graphics package and putting it together online. Here are the cornerstones of the foundation of this story.

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ROLLING STONE: Ami Mills – Life Comes Around Full Circle

RollingStoneCoverNote: I moved to Los Angeles in 2012 for a new job in hopes and dreams of experiencing the Hollywood life. Since the move, I have attended amazing concerts, Hollywood movie screenings, big sporting events, met famous actors, musicians and experienced all the excitement of the entertainment industry. Hollywood fascinates me. I have been a loyal subscriber to Rolling Stone magazine for several years and I always enjoy reading their feature stories on music artists. I wondered what it would be like if I had a chance to meet a famous music star, spend a day with him or her and share their story to the world.

I studied magazine journalism at San Jose State University and my goal was to write for the back page of Sports Illustrated. Being published is something I find a lot of pride and joy in. I have been published in smaller magazines and have hundreds of articles online – but writing something for a major magazine is a goal I still want to achieve. Getting published, whether a magazine or a book, remains as one of my lifetime goals.

A couple weeks ago I attended a concert of an artist I first met in 2012. Watching the growth of her music career since I saw her perform two years ago made me wonder about what her journey must have been like. Taking a cue from my creative writing side and my journalist side, I decided to create a story of my own music artist. This was something I had never done before but felt like a challenge of creative writing would be great. My writing style is still a work in progress but as I write every day, I know I am getting better.  

For more details on the inspiration and creative process of this story, I’ve posted more information at a link at the end of this story. Thank you for reading and I welcome any kind of feedback. Enjoy!

Samuel Lam (10/28/14 – 11/6/14)

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The Rolling Stone interview with Ami Mills

Remember when I decided to write a novella? I haven’t written anything since that day. But instead I am putting it on hold and writing this fictional story.

I’ve created a music artist and will write a feature story for Rolling Stone magazine. Everything in this is made up, but I was inspired by Rolling Stone articles on Taylor Swift, Rick Ross and Lana Del Ray to write this. It’s a work in progress. Here is a sneak peek at what I have so far. It will probably be changed as I rework this.

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The Rolling Stone interview

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