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Showing posts from January, 2014

Q & Q: Chapter Three

Chapter Three
Several days later, Linda was sitting on the front porch with a worried look on her face.She rested her chin in her hands and stared into the horizon.
Walter came running over the field and bounded up onto her porch.
“Hey, Linda!” he called a greeting.“How is Quillbur?”Then he saw Linda’s worried face.“What’s the matter?” he asked.
Linda held up a single quill in her hands, showing it to Walter.“Quillbur is losing his quills,” she said, sadly.
Walter took the quill from Linda and examined it carefully.Then he handed it back to her.“Wait here,” he instructed.With a single leap, he jumped off the porch.Then he ran back across the fields toward his own house.
A few minutes later, Walter returned, panting and out of breath.He carried a small toy doctor’s kit with him.
“When I grow up,” Walter said, huffing and puffing.“I am going to be a doctor.I don’t know if I will be an animal doctor or a people doctor yet.Maybe I will be both.But I am happy to look at Quillbur if you want.”

About my job...

Dear Readers,
     Those of you who have been with me from the beginning know this already; those of you who are new may not.  I have a job that calls me away at a moment's notice with no guarantee of when I shall return.  So, as I have mentioned before, there are times when I am gone and therefore cannot post anything.  Such have been the last three days...and I apologize.
     The good news is that I have returned, and, while I am exhausted tonight, I will be fully recovered and posting again by tomorrow.  :)  See you then!!!

Q & Q: Chapter 2

Chapter Two
Linda waved goodbye to the milkman as he limped to the end of her road. Then she sat on her porch with her new hedgehog.He was so cute.
“Hello.What are you doing?” a voice asked.
Linda looked up and smiled.It was Walter, her best friend.He lived only a few houses down the lane from her, and he came to play often.
“See my new hedgehog?” Linda said, holding up the tiny creature.
“Hey, he’s pretty cute,” Walter said.“Can’t you just imagine him smiling?What’s his name?”
“I haven’t named him yet,” Linda answered.
“Well, I think you should call him ‘Quillbur’.It’s like ‘Wilbur’ but with quills,” Walter offered.
“Quillbur,” Linda repeated, trying the name out.“Quillbur…I like it!”
“Great!” Walter said.“I’ll help you make a nest for Quillbur.”
Walter and Linda went inside the house.Linda’s mother directed them to a dark corner in the pantry.
“I’ll get him a piece of an old blanket to snuggle,” Linda said.
“Wild hedgehogs don’t have blankets, silly,” Walter scoffed.
Linda put her free hand on …

Q & Q: Chapter 1

Quilbur and Quilleta is now a short story.  Here is chapter one:

Chapter One
Linda peered from the window of her cottage.She hoped the milkman would come soon.He had promised to bring her a present.She could not wait to find out what it was.
“Oh, these horrid roaches!” her mother exclaimed.
Linda looked up to see her mother sweep another roach out the door.
“I can hardly stand them,” her mother continued.“I hate the sight of the beetles, and I like crunching them underfoot even less.”
Linda nodded sympathetically.Then she lifted the yellow-flowered curtains to the side and peeked out of the window again.
“He’s here!” Linda shouted.She watched the young milkman slowly make his way up the path, pushing his cart.
The milkman’s name was Howard.He was a very nice young man, and he always walked with a limp.He was usually very quiet, but all the children liked him.
Linda stood behind her mother as she greeted Howard at the door.He handed them two jars of milk.Then he knelt down and reached in his …

A Momentous Occasion

I did it. I finished the first draft of Dungeon.      I haven't even read through it yet, and I know there are many, many revisions to be done.  So it is not exactly a finale.      But, rejoice with me, for it is still a momentous occasion.  :)      It is over 25k words in its original draft.  It may get longer as I flesh out some scenes or develop a character further.  But for now it is one of those inbetween lengths: too long to be a short story and too short to be a novel.  And I am perfectly happy with its current length.

Quote from Dungeon:
“Now there is nothing left excepting rewards,” the princess said, happily, with a meaningful glance in her father’s direction.

Another Clip from Dungeon

Hatach, the young scribe, was summoned again the following day to read to the princess.If he had known how little she listened, he would have given up as soon as he started.He, however, was blissfully unaware of her distracted state of mind and read heartily along in the selected story.
The princess could not get the dungeon out of her mind.It drew her with some inexplicable force.She tried to reason it out, to uncover her reason behind this interest, but she gave up.It simply had to be.She had to see her own dungeon for herself.She had to see what it was like, if it was real, and who it was that lived there.
That evening, the princess had her dinner with the king and queen.The banquet table was set with gold-rimmed plates and gold goblets.The very finest meal to be found in all the kingdom was served to the royal family.The princess could not help but wonder if there were prisoners far below her feet at that very moment.She wondered what sort of meal they were eating.Perhaps they roast…

More Borrowed Writing Tips: accents and showing

I am delighted to be able to share with you things from other writers that I found inspiring.  I found these two posts yesterday and they both impressed me.

From the Inkpen Authoress, I learned some tips regarding the way my characters talk.  How do you express a person's accent, education, etc. through their dialogue?  Here is the link to Rachel Heffington's blog where she talks about it:

From Scribbling of My Pen and Tapping of My Keyboard, I was reminded of the tools of the writer's craft.  I was reminded to not scorn the wisdom passed down from our predecessors.  And I was reminded to "show" instead of "tell" the story.  Here is a link to Anne-girl's blog where she enlightened me:


Networking sounds like a pain.  Somehow I get this picture of dressing up in a suit and seeking out influencial people, pretending to be friendly in the hopes of getting what I want from them.  I get the idea of going to boring meetings with a myriad of other self-serving individuals.  I get the image of somebody going where he does not want to go and spending money that he does not have to spend...all in the name of "networking".  No wonder I think networking sounds awful!
     But what if, in fact, networking was not meant to be like that.  What if networking was actually fun and beneficial?  What if networking is what I am doing on this blog?
     I have been typing out stories and pieces of things on Microsoft Word for years.  What made me open a blog?  To tell the truth, it is because I wanted feedback.  I thought that feedback was exactly what I needed to take my writing to the next level.  I wanted to find readers who could enjoy or criticize my work.  I wanted t…

Introducing Gorgus

Hi, all!  I am not sure if I have introduced Gorgus yet.  He is a dungeon guard.  Here is the scene where the princess first catches a glimpse of him.  She, at the beginning of the scene, is at the dungeon door and about to try to open it.  Suddenly, the door from the level above creaked open.Someone was coming down the stairs.The princess shrank into the darkness of the hallway, hiding behind some wooden boxes by the dungeon door, as heavy footsteps clumped, one step at a time, down the stairs toward her.
Peering around the boxes, the princess saw the man turn down the left hallway, coming straight toward her.He was a big man – not tall, but as solid as the trunk of a tree.His arms were huge and powerful...bare except for leather bands.He wore a short tunic, made of metal and leather, that came to his knees.From his belt hung a dagger, a sword, and a large stick.On his feet he wore sandals that had leather straps that wrapped around his bulging calves.His dirty blonde hair was pulled b…

Theme Songs

I heard this song for the first time...about a year after I got the idea for The Ultimate Stand.  [It wasn't this band that performed it, but this is close enough].  I loved it, and it struck me as very fitting for The Ultimate Stand. 
     I wish I could show you the picture I have in my mind as I hear this song.  I see somebody standing there...somebody that should be afraid.  Dark forces have risen against this person, threatening his/her life.  Shouldn't this person be cowering?  But, no, he/she is standing boldly there, looking toward God, knowing....KNOWING...that help is on the way.  Like a soldier defending his fort in the face of overwhelming odds because his entire army is only moments away from coming to his aid, so this person resolutely holds his/her ground.  And, unlike human armies that can fail, God never fails.  As this person looks toward the horizon, resolute and steadfast, all the troubles and foes and chaos kind of fade they don't re…

Adding Depth to Characters

Both of the links below are recent posts about adding depth to characters.  The first one focuses on the female characters and the second focuses on male characters.  The main point in both is to avoid making your characters too "perfect".  They argue that girls can have crooked teeth and small eyes and that men don't have to be perpetually heroic and self-sacrificing.

Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard.: Gorgeous Sheildmaidens and Love Interests

       Character development is something that I am still learning.  When I was younger, my characters had no purpose other than to say whatever I needed somebody to say. 
     For example, I have 3 characters in the room.  Somebody needs to say "oh, no!" now.  Whose turn is is to talk?  Well, since #1 and #2 have done most of the talking so far, I will let #3 say "oh, no!" 
     See?  My characte…

Update on Dungeon - 20K Words

I am now over 20k words in Dungeon. 
     I told you a while back that the final conflict was looming -- as soon as my characters figured out what was going on.  Well, the skirmishes at the beginning of the big conflict have just started, but, sadly, only Jacob (and maybe the Owd Un) have figured out what is going on.  The princess has a general idea, although partly misled in her thinking.  And poor Hatach, Molly, and the red-faced cook are entirely clueless...

When Faced with a Superior Artist

Quote from the Dungeon: The Owd Un hastily started trying keys again.“You’ve got to have a better plan than that, Jacob,” he growled.“And you had best come up with it quickly!”      I am sure that this is something that happens multiple times for writers.  You read something that someone else has written and are awed by the skill of the writer...and then you look over your own work and realize that you are not that good yet.  I have even heard writers that I admire sigh over the excellent wordcraft of another writer they esteem highly.
     The question is: what do you do about it?  When you feel that your own work does not measure up to another's, what should your reaction be?
     1. You could give up.  That is not typically the recommendation, of course.  But I presume that you could survey yourself, realize that this is not really what you want to do with your life, and pursue some other expression of excellence.
     2. You could push yourself to achieve the standards you see …

Inkpenauthoress 1st Book Cover

The Inkpen Authoress is another writer and blogger who has inspired me.  Now I am very excited for her.  She is publishing a book this winter, and today she is revealing the book cover.  I haven't seen it yet -- it is too early in the morning.  But I will be heading over to her blog ( ) in a few hours to check it out.  Maybe you would like to join me?

Introducing Quillbur and Quilleta

Meet the hedgehogs.  They have not always had such fancy names, but, two days ago, the brown hedgehog was christened "Quillbur" (the hedgehog version of a beloved Charlotte's Web character).  And it naturally followed that the pink one then had to be named "Quilleta."  In honor of my niece and nephews, Quillbur and Quilleta are making this guest appearance on my blog.  I feel like the two hedgehogs should star in their own story, too, but I haven't come up any ideas yet...

Asking Questions of Your Characters

I have been asking my Dungeon-characters questions about the plot.
     My mother raised an eyebrow when I told her this, as though I were sinking into a world of insanity and imaginary friends.  So maybe I better explain.
     Each writer has his or her own way of doing this.  Sometimes you are faced with two opposite ideas.  Both of them seem to lead in the right direction.
     For example, my princess needed to be rescued so she could then try to save her kingdom.  Should I have the bad guy "rescue" her or should I send some new friends her way?
     I asked the princess but she only said that she must save her kingdom and did not care who saved her.
     I ask the new friends and they eagerly told me that they wanted this opportunity to prove their friendship.  After all, they argued, this was an appropriate culmination of their previous scenes with the princess.
     I asked the bad guy.  It was his idea that he should be allowed to rescue the princess in the firs…

Three Month Anniversary

Dear Readers,
     Welcome to my 3-month anniversary of this blog!  Thank you all for joining me!  It makes me want to sing when I see how many people have looked at my blog each day, and the encouraging emails I have gotten are much appreciated.  Keep giving me feedback; constructive criticism is welcome, too.
      And keep reading!

Is Your Name Haman?

A girl named Esther volunteered to tell a Bible story at her local YMCA.  A host of small children gathered around her as she told the story of an ancient Persian queen.  At the beginning of the story, Esther told the children that she shared a name with a character in the story.
     Esther had memorized the story well and her audience seemed captivated by the story of the queen's adventures.  It was a long story and there were many interruptions as the children asked questions.  Things had to be explained as they went.
     For example, the concept of different countries had to be introduced.  Thankfully, one of the group leaders was a young woman from Canada.  With her permission, Esther used her as an example.  Pointing to the child who had asked the question, she explained "you are American and your friend (indicating the group leader) is from Canada."
      The children interrupted Esther's explanation with a correction, "She's not our friend -- s…

Dungeon - Food

Rachel @ hosts a monthly character-developing event called "Chatterbox".  Each month she gives you some topic to have your characters talk about, and you post the link to your blog on her page.
     Rachel's topic this month is food.  So I am posting a scene from Dungeon that I wrote several days ago.  I am warning all of my squeamish readers that the princess is quite disgusted with the food in this scene.
     This is my first time joining Rachel's event.  So here it goes:

The princess’ stomach growled within her.        She peered into the bowl that Arfis had filled for her.The smell was not appealing.Most likely, it was intended to be soup, but it looked like dirty water with a spoonful of bloated, pasty grains of barley floating through it.The princess touched the side of the bowl, and it was cold.  Eck.  Roasted rats seemed like a delicacy in comparison.
The princess opened her mouth to ask her companions if they actually…

Abram's Dream

Another clip from Dungeon:

    He reached for her but she was not there.  She was but a figment of his imagination.
     Real or not, she was talking to him.
     "Abram," she said reproachfully.
     His heart caught in his throat.  She knew about his dilema.
     "You have to tell them, Abram," she urged him.
     He licked his lips and finally found his voice.  "But I don't want trouble.  I'm no talebearer."
     "Talebearer or no, trouble is what you have got, Abram," his wife said, pointedly.  "Look at you -- trapped in a dungeon!  And you know you'll not have peace with this secret weighing on your chest.  Our life will be worse ***** ****** ****, and you will always feel it to be your fault for not doing your duty to your king and country."
     Abram licked his lips again.  "We don't know that," he argued.
     "Abram," his wife remonstrated.
     A loud clang interrupted her.  Abram's eyes flew op…

Stay the Course!

"Patience, my dear!  Stay the course!  There will be time for perfection later."      There comes a point in each of my writing projects when I suddenly glance back over what I have done so far and see flaws.  One character needs a little more development.  A certain scene needs to be longer.  Another scene should be deleted altogether.  The flow between two paragraphs needs to be ironed out a bit.  These things becoming glaringly obvious, and I am tempted to do one of two things:           1. Put the project away for a while. OR           2. Go back right away and try to fix everything.      So here I am in the Dungeon.  Everything is coming together beautifully.  Honestly, even though this is not necessarily my usual style or topic, I am having so much fun with this one.  I have felt a lot more comfortable with who my characters are and what their individual plans and motives might be.      Usually, writers are not known for being excited about the editing process, but las…

An author's Parable

A parable, as you may know, is a regular-life story that helps demonstrate something about God.  There are parables all around us, and I am seeing a bit of a parable in the story I am working on right now.
     You see, I am the author.  I know where this story is going and I know how it will end.
     There is a bad guy in this book.  He has his own plot.  He has already decided how this story should end to best benefit him, and he has been implementing a plot to make his ending come true.
     I am well aware of his plot.  I have his list of exactly what would happen at every point in the story if he were writing it.  He is currently weaving a web to trap everybody into doing exactly what he wants.
     Up to this point, his plots have not bothered me.  In fact, they have fit pretty well into my own plot.  You might not have guessed it since my plan is to expose/punish the bad guy and change the country for the better.  But knowing that I will win, I have been working through m…

The Hollywood Formula for Plots: Stolen Post from Anne-girl

Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard.: Lessons from Pixar: The Hollywood Formula in Toy Story 2

Above is a link to a writer's blog.  She posted another form of plot structure, and, since we are currently researching plot structures, I thought I would include this one in my studies.
This one is a bit different from the W plot that I found a week or two ago.  I like finding multiple sources on a topic -- you begin to see what is common to all and what is unique to each.  I think it helps you decide for yourself what sort of structure YOU would like to use.

Quote from the Dungeon

One large red-faced cook thought she saw a figure in a cape run by the open kitchen door.She dropped the onion she was peeling and rushed to the door.  But, though she craned her neck to look up and down the hallway, she saw no one. “Humph,” snorted the large, red-faced cook. And so, the princess returned undetected to her own lovely halls, high in the castle.


Many writers write to deadlines.  Theoretically, it is a good idea.  I tend to do well with setting a time to be done.  It is easy to work hard when you know that you will have a break, and goals are fun to accomplish.  For example, cleaning the house is so much more productive if I say, "I will see how much I can get done in x amount of time."
     On the other hand, writing is a little more artistic than cleaning your house.  I rarely try to fit art into a deadline. 
     I know some of you have written to a deadline, either professionally or in a project (like Nano).  What did you think of it?  Did it make things harder or easier?  Were you able to accomplish your goals?  How did you feel about your end product?

New Year's Traditions

People have various New Year's traditions.  Most of them haven't made it past the "oh, that's a neat idea" stage for me.  But I do have one thing that I specifically try to do on New Year's Day.

  I write in my New Year's Day book.      I made up the idea myself several years ago.  I got a notebook and put it on my shelf, promising to write in it only one day out of the year.  I picked New Year's Day because I was usually off work on that day, and our family spends the day very quietly.  There are no presents, no parties, no expected holiday demands.  It was a predictable time each year when I would be able to write something.  And, since I only write in the notebook once a year, it becomes a sort of time-traveler book.
     There are no rules about what I should write in it.  I tend to write a list of memorable events from the past year, but I don't have to.  It's mostly important that I just write something in it and on New Year's Da…