Posts from the ‘Writing’ Category

From Goal to Reality

I often hear that everyone should read the Bible at least once in their life. I’m familiar with most of the stories contained in it. After all, I went to Sunday School from the time I was in kindergarten until I was in tenth grade. Then, I began teaching Sunday School. However… reading it from cover to cover? Yeah… no! That hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve seen several Bible reading plans over the years. Most of them try to get you to finish the whole Bible in a year. Others give you an overview – skipping the most boring parts. I tried one that was in the back of one of my Bibles (I have four different versions), but… it was too intense. It also had me read some from the Old Testament and some from the New Testament each day. I fell behind and… I couldn’t get caught back up, so I gave up entirely. At the time, I intended to try again the next year, but… that just never happened.

Now, years later, I’ve found a new Bible reading plan. This one spreads the task out over two years. I’m reading the books in order (starting with Genesis and ending with Revelations) and I’m only reading about two chapters each day (give or take). It’s slow-going. However, I’m having far less trouble keeping up with it. Better: when I do miss a day, it’s easy for me to catch up again. That means it’s far less discouraging. This time… I may just make it!

So far, I’ve read through the book of Genesis and I’m part way through Exodus. I’m learning things that I never knew, partly because they were always skipped over and partly because… the readings are so short that I can really digest what I’m reading each day.

So… are there any tasks that you’ve always wanted to try? What can you do to make that goal a reality?

Not Truly Dead

We’re supposed to be creating an image of resurrection and life this week as part of our Lenten Journey.  My poem from last week sort of touched on resurrection and life, because I can’t think of death without thinking of the other side.  However, this week… my image is focused more on the idea that death isn’t final – because of the resurrection.

Seeds, cocoons, eggs…
They’re on our minds right now
Once, I wondered at the reason.

Well… look at each one.
They appear to dead as stone
But there’s more than what we’re seeing.

A promise waits deep within.
In time, they will break open.
Giving us new life this season.

When we think of new life
Like what we have in Jesus,
That gives them deeper meaning.

The Light of Hope

We were supposed to create an image of darkness or death for our Lenten Journey this week.  Maybe it’s because I’m an optimist, but when I think of darkness and death, I also think of light and life.  I can’t create an image of one without the presence of the other.

 

In the darkest times,
we just need to raise our eyes
and we’ll see the stars.

Without rain showers
we wouldn’t see a rainbow
arcing through the clouds.

Under the deep snows
there are tiny seeds waiting
to burst into bloom.

Just when all seems lost
the cocoon will break open:
a butterfly wakes.

Even in our death
there is resurrection
through belief in Christ.

Cause for Thanksgiving

The topic that we are supposed to write about this week for our Lenten Journey is thanksgiving or joy.  We’re also thinking about homes and the homeless, so the two ideas combined to give me this little poem/song.

How often are we truly thankful
for the blessings we possess?

It seems to me that, too often,
we just seem to feel the stress.

We want bigger or better.
It’s a sign of our success.

Instead of hoarding what we have,
we should think of those with less.

Share out of our abundance
and show the love that we profess.

Hunger

Another of my small poems for my Lenten Journey.  It’s actually a couple days late, since I was supposed to write it on Tuesday.  Instead, I made a carrying case for my embroidery and cross-stitch supplies.  However, I’m actually glad that I wrote this today instead, because I don’t think I had the words on Tuesday.

It means emptiness
Not only of the stomach
But of the soul too.

A Spring Haiku

My second Lenten Journey poem.  Today, as part of my Lenten Journey experience, I was supposed to do something creative relating to hope and expectation.  With the weather turning and the time change coming up this weekend, my mind is on spring.

Warming sun and rain
Spring will be here very soon
Then flowers will bloom.

Poetry for Lent

My sister and I decided that, as part of our Lenten Devotions, we’d be exploring our creative sides.  We’re following a plan that encourages us, once a week, to take a picture, draw or write a poem on a specific topic.

We’ve also got readings and journaling and thoughtful prompts to follow.  One of the ones my sister has specifically been doing is a photo prompt.  For yesterday, the prompt was “walk” and for today, it is, “disciple”.  This little song came out of that.

 

I sing about my Holy Lord –
Of how I wish he’d walk with me.
Here’s something I’ve never explored:
Turn that around – how would it be?

Rather than asking my Lord to be
Walking beside me every day,
I followed his word more closely?
Let him be potter; me the clay?

Isn’t that what we’ve been called to?
Aren’t we meant to follow our Lord?
To be considered Christians true:
Follow the one whom we’ve adored.

Camp NaNo Review – Week 2

Words this week: 6564
Total words: 12866

In spite of trying to be better about planning what I would write each day, there were still a few times that I sat down to write with no idea where to start. That’s something that I need to work on next week. The days where I did plan ahead were the days that I had the least difficulty writing.

However, that said, at the rate I’m going, I fully expect to finish the story next week. In actual fact… I have already written the end of the novel! It’s something that I’ve done with nearly every novel I’ve written. I reach a certain point in the story, usually about the midpoint, where I can guess where I’m going well enough to write the end. At that point, it becomes a signpost that I just keep working towards.

Looking ahead to next week, I’m feeling much better about things than I did last week at this time. I think writing my end last Tuesday was a big reason for that. My characters are still surprising me, so I don’t expect that to change as I begin Week Three, but I’m feeling loads more confident about both the writing process and my story itself.

My best writing day (by word count) was Sunday evening, when I wrote 1413 words. My best sprint happened on Thursday afternoon, when I wrote 681 words in half an hour.

The last line I wrote was: “On the other hand… what would I do about Elayne?”

My favorite line from last week (because it brings up something from an earlier section of the story): “Do we want the place to be destroyed in another explosion?”

My favorite scene (because it’s just so typical of Keenan) was:

Tristan frowned and nodded thoughtfully. When he spoke, it was in carefully measured tones. “Tell me,” he said, “do you know of the Death’s Cloak Spell?”

“I’d heard of it,” I admitted. After all, he’d spoken of it to Nicolae in my presence. I frowned, my brows drawing down low over my eyes. “It gives anyone over whom it is cast the appearance of death, right?”

He nodded. “Would you know of any potions that would have such an effect?” he asked. When I blinked at him, he smiled. “I’ve read only enough about potions to know that there are some that mimic the effects of spells. Is there a potion that would place someone so deeply asleep that they would appear as if they were dead?”

“Yes,” I said, frowning. “There are… a few.” He nodded, silently asking me to go on. “The Briar Rose Unguent is applied to something sharp and, when it pierces the flesh, the victim is rendered asleep. They can only be awakened…”

“With a kiss?” Arthur supplied, smirking.

I shook my head. “That’s the Snow White Brew,” I said. “To awaken someone dosed with Briar Rose, they need to smell a freshly plucked wild rose or… rose water made from such.”

Tristan blinked. “Fascinating,” he said. “Are there any others? Ones where the person is, perhaps, less obviously merely asleep?”

My brows furrowed and I nodded, dropping my gaze. I knew that I could lie, but it would be a simple matter to check my words and know that I’d lied. “I’ve heard talk of a potion,” I said, my voice faint, “it’s a nasty piece of work that places the victim in a state like death: Star Crossed Lovers’ Draught.”

“I would like you to brew that potion for me,” Tristan said, his gaze locking on mine. “Would it be a difficult thing for you to craft?”

“The ingredients are a bit dear and specialized,” I said, scowling. Then, I shook my head. “Once I’ve got them, though… it shouldn’t be too great a challenge.”

“Excellent,” Tristan said. He waved across the room and said, “Tell Jakob what you need and he’ll see to it that you have the supplies you need.”

The Poor Orphan Stories

It’s that time of the month: WriYe Blog Circle!  Here’s the topic for the month of April:

 

Trunked Novels
Have you ever set a novel aside? Was it finished or unfinished? Why did you abandon that novel? What would it take for you to go back to it? 
Trunked novels are something that I think all writers have.  They’re those stories that we start and never finish.  We set them aside to get back to “later”, when the mood hits us to continue that story.  I don’t actually call them “trunked novels” when I refer to my own.  When I drop a story, I use the term “orphaned story” to refer to it.  In fact, I have a folder on my memory stick with that name.  It’s where my abandoned stories get filed.

Just like the abandoned child that the term “orphan” normally refers to… my stories do sometimes get pulled out of that folder and finished.  They find forever homes in some universe in which I’m writing.

My reason for abandoning a story can vary wildly.  Sometimes, it was just a random plot bunny that I followed for a while and decided… I had no idea where the story was going.  Rather than fighting with it, I shoved it into my folder of orphaned tales.  That’s the sort of story that I’ll never get back to… ever.

Other times, I’ll start writing a story and realize that it’s either a story I’ve written before or read before.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time reinventing a wheel, so the story is placed in the folder with other abandoned tales.  Sometimes, if I can think of a creative twist to put on the story, I’ll go back to it and finish it.

Finally, I’ve had some stories where… I’m just not ready to finish them yet.  I’ve started stories and had something happen that made the story “too real”, so I had to step back from them for a time.  I’ve had other stories where I’ll reach a point where I’ve written myself into a corner.  Until I can find a way out of that corner, the story gets put into the abandoned story folder.  These sorts of stories are nearly always finished.  I’ll do the right research or talk the plot out with a friend or… I’ve just had enough time away from them.  Then, I dust them off and finish them.
Bonus: Post an excerpt of your trunked novel.

This excerpt is from a short story that I wrote two years ago as part of a challenge on the WriYe board.  Technically, the story itself is finished, but it’s a short piece that… I could build out to something much more.

 

Kate had always been a bit of an anxious person.  Her mother had told her that she’d grow out of it, but she never had.  If anything, she’d become more anxious.  At night, she’d lie in bed beside Alex, listening to every tap and creak and groan in the old house.  She slept poorly as she imagined hundreds of possible explanations for the sounds.  It seemed like, no matter how farfetched an idea might be, her mind latched onto it.  The normal creaks and groans of an old house became a threatening tornado or intruders creeping up the stairs.  During the day, she’d be cleaning or reading and have to stop to check on something.  She’d forget whether or not she’d turned off the stove or locked the door.  Otherwise, she would call Alex and make sure that he was all right.

 He was incredibly patient with her.  Perhaps that was why they’d been married for so long.  If she woke him in the night, he would soothe her fears away.  Then he’d go and check on things, just “to be certain”.  He’d always return to bed to tell her that the cat was playing or she must have heard the house settling.  “Old houses make noises, my dear,” he would say.  Then he’d hold her until they were both asleep.

 A creaking floorboard startled her out of her thoughts.  Her breath caught in her throat as she looked upward, towards the sound.  Her brows furrowed.  Something was moving around upstairs.  What could it be?

 Tense, Kate grabbed an umbrella from the stand by the door.  Then she made her way up the steps.  She scarcely dared to breathe as she followed the sounds up to the second floor and then up into the attic.

 She nearly jumped out of her skin when an old sewing form slid across the floor.  Then she heard a familiar chirp and looked at the metal base.  “Tony,” she said, almost laughing with relief.  The cat must have been exploring the attic and knocked into the form when he saw her.  The form shifted again as Tony bounded forward to rub against her outstretched hand.

 “You scared me half to death,” she said, her tone almost scolding.  She couldn’t stay angry at him for long, though.  She chuckled as he scampered down the steps, back to the main part of the house.

 She had just turned to follow him when she heard a voice.  Tensing, she whirled around.  A mirror was hanging on the far wall.  The voice sounded as if it was coming from… the mirror?  How was that possible?

The End…

Total for last week: 5,016
Final total: 50,929

I reached 50K on November 25th and, since I was actually at the end of the story, didn’t have much more left to write. I spent the remainder of the month making small edits that added a total of just over 800 words in the last five days of the month.

It’ll go on my list of stories to edit next year. I’m actually really excited about it. I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m thrilled that all the ducks lined up neatly at the end of the story, so to speak.

One final excerpt:

Captain Christy glanced at Eoin and arched an eyebrow, he shrugged. Turning back to them, Captain Christy said, “Recent developments have left the third division without a lieutenant. Captain Finnegan had a suggestion for the post, but… Lord Aren felt that it would be a conflict of interests.”

“So, Captain Christy had a suggestion that… will make everyone happy,” Eoin said, giving Dermot a sunny smile. His gaze flicked to Sweeney. “If you’re amenable, you’ll be transferred to the third division to serve as my lieutenant.”

“I assure you, Captain Finnegan,” Sweeney said, frowning slightly, “I’m more than simply amenable. I would welcome the change.”

“Wonderful,” Captain Christy said, fairly beaming. Then, she met Dermot’s gaze and said, “Meanwhile, Hunter Finley, you will be transferred to the fifth division to serve as my own lieutenant.”

“Do you accept both the transfer and the promotion, Dermot?” Eoin said, arching his brows.

Dermot blinked at the pair for a moment and then swallowed thickly. Typically, officers in the Hunters were chosen from among the gentry of Tirna Nog. Dermot was, by no means, gentry. He was a fox from the Outer Districts where he’d had to sell himself in order to survive. “Are ya sure, Captain Christy?” he breathed.

She nodded. “I am absolutely certain, Hunter Finley,” she said, her voice soft. “You’ve shown yourself to be resourceful and a good judge of character. Those are both traits that are important among the members of my division. As to the promotion… we all agreed that you deserved such.”

“That being the case,” Dermot said, ducking his head, “I agree to both and will say that I’m quite honored to be given such an opportunity.”

“Thank you,” Captain Christy said.

Chuckling softly, Dermot said, “I’ll warn ya now, Captain: I’m rather a coarse and earthy soul. It’ll take some time before all my sharp edges have been rounded off.”

“I wouldn’t have you any other way,” Captain Christy said, her eyes twinkling.

Eoin chuckled and bounced forward to take his hands. “Neither would I,” he said. Then, he leaned in to press a kiss to Dermot’s lips. He moaned when Dermot leaned up to deepen the kiss, ignoring the chuckle from Captain Christy and the scandalized gasp that came from Sweeney.