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The Lost City of the Mountains: Part Two

It was hard not to feel excitement as I held the metal square in my hands.  It was heavy.  My hands tingled and every part of my heart wanted to scream that we were that much closer to our greatest goals.  I  wanted to hoist it over my head and shout to the world that we had discovered an ancient artifact from a lost city.  I wanted to call my dad and say, "So, guess what we found after all!"  I wanted to call my professor and hear his enthusiastic response.  I wanted to scoop Jenny into my arms and twirl her around the motel room.      Well, maybe I wouldn't actually do that last one -- even if this really was an ancient artifact.      I mean, I would want to, but I wouldn't actually...nevermind.      It didn't matter because this wasn't an ancient artifact.  This was a local hoax that we were all falling into.      Jenny leaned forward on her seat, her eyes sparkling.  "Do you realize that we're the first non-local team to actually find anyth…
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Flash Fiction: The Lost City of the Mountains

"Nothing?" Static crackled around my dad's voice, and I pressed my phone harder into my ear.  Reception wasn't the best up here.  I was hoping that I was close enough to base camp for my WiFi box to pick up.      "Nothing," I sighed into the phone.      "It was a fool's errand, you know." My dad's voice was matter of fact.      Annoyance prickled through me.  "Not a fool's errand, dad.  Artifacts have been found here before.  There was an entire culture that lived here.  We know this."      "Found by who?  The locals?  Son, that poor town is a dead zone in the middle of nowhere.  They've got to do something to keep stupid college kids hiking out there every summer, buying their food, sleeping in their motel...right?  They do have a motel in that dump, don't they?"      "Yes, Dad, there's a Motel 6." I rolled my eyes.  "With really comfy beds."  That part wasn't true.  There …

Anti-Hope: A very real emotion

Have you ever wanted something?  And you've wanted it so deeply and for so long?

    And then, against all odds, there is a whisper that it could happen this time?  Maybe instead of the expected rejection letter, you got a "we've taken your submission for further review."  Maybe a sudden source of income appears that may allow you to earn enough for horseriding lessons.  Maybe you find a nebulous symptom in your own body that hints at the possibility of a long-awaited pregnancy.  Whatever the case, you have that realization that your dreams COULD come true.

    And, instantly, anti-hope appears.

     What is anti-hope?  It is that emotion that springs up as a counter-balance to keep you from being too disappointed if your hopes are dashed again.

     Anti-hope says, "Don't get too excited.  'Further review' isn't the same as an acceptance.  They could still reject your story."  Anti-hope says, "You still might not earn quite enough …

First Snippets from 12 Dancing Princesses

I haven't settled on a title for my Twelve Dancing Princesses story.  But I've written about 4500 words so far.  Here are a few snippets for you to enjoy.

I chose my words slowly and carefully.“I think it’s important for you to do what you feel like you were meant to do.I’ll always support you in that.” ***
I released my nose, confident that it would now stay on my face...
I broke into a run and reached my yard in time to see a dozen soldiers on horseback.One of them had pulled Hope into his saddle with him.My papa was lying on the ground, and a mounted soldier held a spear aimed at his chest. “Hey!” I shouted.“Leave them alone!” *** The General and our captain bowed. “We honor you on the beginning of your new life,” murmured the captain. *** King Howenth sat on the throne, looking rather like a pudding that has fallen over against the side of its pan.“Come, my daughters!” *** “As you know, I am never one to accept any lie fed to me.Nor am I one that simply sits around and waits f…

Twelve Dancing Princesses

Inspired by Kendra Ardnek, I am now attempting to rewrite the Twelve Dancing Princesses.  Something about a short story, based loosely on an old tale, is a little easier to tackle than a full-length novel.  So I am doing this as a warm-up, as I get back into writing.

     But it is fun!!!!

     I had never read the Twelve Dancing Princesses before yesterday.  For a moment, I doubted that I could turn it into a write-able story.  (I need to find a way to do it without magic.  And I need to have a heroine that isn't an empty-headed flirt because I have no idea how to write a story with such a heroine. And I was a little intimidated by the fact that there are TWELVE princesses -- I can barely keep up with one on a good day, lol.)

    So here is my question to you:  What would you need to change if YOU were going to rewrite the Twelve Dancing Princesses?

    (And here is the original Grimm story:…

A Challenge: Real Life Imagination

I hereby issue you a challenge: Take a moment and write down where you see your life in 5 years. What do you think you will accomplish in the next 5 years? What major life events do you think will happen in the next 5 years? Will you still be living where you are? Will you still be working on the same things?
There's no pressure to be right. Usually when I do this, I seal my imaginations in an envelope and open it in 5 years. And it rarely matches reality. At first, that embarrassed me.  I thought either I should be embarrassed for guessing wrong, or I should be embarrassed for not achieving my intended purpose. But now I realize that it is just fun. It's fun to see how your ideas change and how life changes in unexpected ways. It's fun to see what was important to you 5 years ago. It is such a neat little self-study, and it's totally worth it.
So, go ahead. Write a real life imagination of where you think you will be in five years. Have fun!
(And comment below to let…

Building Pelestia

I started a three-ring binder for this.

I have tabs and dividers.

I am building a world.

I've built little worlds before for stories, but none of them needed very much building.  This one is bigger and the world plays into my story in a vital way.  So I am drawing maps and naming rulers and playing around with economies and politics and religious views and weaponry and technology and many other facets.

And I would like your advice:
    How do you build a world?
    Do you have any checklists that you use?