Category Archives: Writing

Upset over poor word choice

Yeah this looks bad. But I also know that it was just worded poorly. You wouldn’t have “good” in quotes unless it is implying something about it.

Teacher could have worded it by saying “Name three reasons why slave owners wanted slavery” or something along those lines. It’s necessary to understand why people do certain things, even if it’s bad. But this is just poor word choice.


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Filed under Facebook, Writing

Hitting a fat major writer’s block

You know what’s tough? I’ve been trying to write this story since February but I have been coming up empty. I think the problem is that I have the idea of what I want to write about but the character I’ve created doesn’t excite me. In fact, the character is not that compelling. I want to make the character be so heartbreaking yet so relateable. I don’t have that.

And the longer I wait, the harder it is to convince myself that I have a good story. I may need to change the direction. I might need to change the background. I might need to start over.

In the meantime, I still want to keep one aspect of this character and somehow infuse this inspiration into it. Listen and love it.

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Filed under Music, Writing

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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Filed under Magazines, Music, Writing

ROLLING STONE: The backstory of Krystaline


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.


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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Filed under Magazines, Music, Writing

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


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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Filed under Magazines, Music, Writing

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I think I am going to scrap my writing story

So remember when I posted this and was hella excited to write it? I haven’t done anything since that and I think I might scrap it. I don’t know if it’s because I am at a writer’s block or I juts have no inspiration, but the idea for me to continue this is gone.

I realized that the task was a real tough one. Not an impossible one. But in order to truly write something, I have to be inspired and filled with ideas. I have none of those. It’s a topic I truly care about and I believe the story can be amazing, but I have nothing. Maybe I can resurrect it. But as of now, I have two stories that I will officially have scrapped.

This is the writer’s life. Maybe I return to my music writing and continue off where I left off with Ami Mills. I could write more about her or do another music character. Who knows? But as of now, I have nothing to offer.

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