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Showing posts from April, 2014

Snippets of April '14

“Apple butter!” a little voice exclaimed.Belle looked up to see a small boy in the doorway.He ran to her side and grabbed her sleeve.“Did you bring any with you?” ~BB
Rab was hunting.Belle watched him creeping under the ivy by the stone wall fence.Then his body poised motionless, nothing acknowledging his mistress’ presence except the flick of his tail. ~BB
Annie stood up from the table and carried her empty bowl to the dish basin, scrubbing the remnants of oatmeal from her bowl.She looked over her shoulder at Belle.“Were you much frightened, miss?” she asked.“Last night, I mean.”
Belle’s heart squeezed uncomfortably at the memory.“Yes,” she said, simply.She still felt a little terrified. ~BB
In all honesty, there were few flash-backs of his life that brought the duke any comfort.He turned his eyes away from his brother’s gaze and ducked behind a small group of nobility who were discussing the follies of neighboring kingdoms.Intolerable small talk, thought the duke.He only attended parties f…

The Archives

As I have mentioned before, there are a couple blogs that have been especially inspiring to me as a writer.  Periodically, I analyze these blogs -- what exactly do I love about them?  What makes me keep coming back for more?  And, as I marvel at their greatness, I hope to one day be able to write just as well.
     Over the past few weeks, I took a different tactic.  I started reading the archives of one of the blogs, pouring over the posts from her first year.  And you know what?  While sparkling with potential, they were not so great as to have captivated me.
     Those clumsy attempts at blogging are now hidden in the archives, but I feel that I am currently writing my own archives.  The encouragment in this is that, as I continue to work on it, I have every bit as much of a chance for excellence.  I have a tendency to want to do something perfectly from the moment I start it, but that is not always the way it works.  Even the greats began somewhere, writing the things that wo…

I think you should focus on one at a time...

I spoke with a representative from a self-publishing company the other day.  None of my projects are ready to publish, but it is sometimes beneficial to study your publishing options ahead of time.  I looked at several companies and ordered free information packets from a couple of them.  One company then had a representative call me.
     She had several interesting and helpful things to say, and perhaps I will share them in another post sometime.  But one word of wisdom appeared when I confessed I had 3 works in progress.
You should focus on and finish your novels one at a time.      It's not a bad piece of advice.  I find that I do my best work when one project takes the lead and it becomes my sole focus.  So why do I have 3 projects?
     Perhaps it is my immaturity as a writer.  There are times when one project is "stuck," and I find it very therapeutic to work on something else for a little while.
     Plus, my three current projects are Dungeon, BB, and Aria…

BB update: 28k+ words

My BB project has over 28,000 words now.  That makes it longer than any of my other current projects.  I think this will be a full-length novel when it is finished.      Flashbacks are a big part of this story.  The story I want to tell is the one happening in Rottly Mansion, but there is a history that affects the "now" of the story.  I feel like the reader needs to know the history in order to fully understand both my hero and my villain.  But there are many ways to introduce a reader to the history and I am experimenting with multiple types.      As the narrator, I can simply tell the history in a few short words.      Or my character can have a flashback --whatever scene they are in currently is interrupted by their mind's journey into the past where they relive some moment from their history.      Or multiple characters can discuss the past together (George says, "Hey, Frank, remember when we tried to tame that wild pony?" and Frank says, "You m…

The Artist Cycle

Wow, this piece that I am working on is amazing and brilliant.


Ugh.  I am not so sure about this anymore.


This project is horrible.  I am going to scrap the whole idea.


Maybe I am not an artist after all.
Hmmm... 

Wow, this piece that I am working on is amazing and brilliant.

Borrowed Wisdom: BeYOUtiful

Greetings, all!  I was reading other people's blogs earlier this week and was impressed with this one.We tend to compare ourselves to the standards around us, basing our value on these things.  Where does that lead us?  Nowhere.  Whether we meet the social standards or not, we usually end up disatisfied with the comparison (unless we are terribly cocky...and even then...).  So check out what the author has to say: Dancing with God.

"The"

So, Joy sweetly commented that she was interested in knowing more about Ariana's Island.  So here is the clip where Ariana finds part of a name or a sign.  It is not polished yet, but you get the idea of what is happening.  Enjoy!


Ariana set off through the trees and underbrush, headed for the beach.
The southeast beach was the closest.Ariana stepped out onto the sand with a happy sigh.She truly loved it here on the island.She kicked her shoes off at the edge of the forest and stepped into the loose sand with bare toes.
Ariana took her time as she strolled along the beach near the water, picking up shells and other small things that struck her fancy.The sand was warm, and it stuck to her wet legs.
Ahead of her, a wave toyed with a piece of wood.It was not a large piece of wood, but it caught Ariana’s attention.She splashed through the next approaching wave and picked it up.
It was flat, like a board, and badly broken around the edges.Ariana turned the board over in her hands.The other…

Ariana's Flashback: The Crash

Below is an excerpt from Ariana's journal:

August18
Cochina left the plane wreckage at sunrise.She was off to do her own hunting.I ate a breakfast of nuts and berries and made a mental note to go fishing later today.

I thought about what Alden Johnson had said about this island not being on the maps.That’s what our pilot had said, too.“He-llo!I haven’t seen that before,” he had said.It’s funny how these things play over and over in your head.
After Papa’s illness and death, Grandma thought Eric and I needed a trip.There was an event at the Southeast Avian Conservatory.Eric loved birds.He was so excited.Grandma found a private pilot to take us there.I would have preferred to stay at home but Eric couldn’t go without me.I had to laugh as I boarded the plane (Cochino, as the pilot called it) because both Eric and Grandma each presented me with a journal as a “thank you for going” gift.What was I going to do with 2 journals on such a short weekend?
The flight was wonderful until a storm dr…

The Making of a Villain

My villain starts out as a shy little boy.  His natural personality is to be cautious, and, as a child, he tends to dream about things more than actually do them.  At this age, he has the potential to become something great, something that HE was meant to do.
     He is born to the second wife of a king.  The king truly loved his first wife, marrying again only because he was pressured to provide a queen for the kingdom.  From his first wife, he had a son named Alton.
     Alton took very naturally to kingly things.  He was a leader of men, strong and capable.  He won the people's hearts by his actions as much as by his bloodline.  And his father was very proud of him.  Alton was the sort of son he could take with him everywhere.
      My villain, as a little boy, was usually left at home with his mother and his nursemaids.  In truth, the little boy was so shy and awkward that the king assumed he was happier at home.  However, the little boy perceived it as a lack of love.
 …

Short Story Challenge still open

Hi!  It is not too late to write a story and enter my 6-month anniversary challenge.  Here are the rules:

     1. Write a short story, starting with the words:

"He never knew..."
     2. Post the story on your blog.

     3. Copy the url of your blog post and paste it into the comments section of my April 12th post so others can find your story and read it.

     There is no deadline.  You can do this at any time.  This also means that you can check back on the April 12th post from time to time to see if any new stories have been added.  Enjoy!

Ariana's Island Cover

So, in February, I won a raffle hosted by Anne-girl on her blog: Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard .  The prizes were 4 "for fun" bookcovers designed by her.  I won two of them.
     The first bookcover she did for me was for Dungeon.  You can see a post about that one here.
     The second one is the one you see here in this post.  It is for a story called "Ariana's Island."  What do you think of it?  I think it is beautiful, and I feel like the cover would attract me if I were to see it on a shelf somewhere.  At least, I would pick it up and flip through it to see if it were any good.
     Again, it was a delight to work with Anne-girl as she created this for me.  Thank you, Anne-girl!

P.S.  If you want to read more about Ariana's Island, click on the label by that name or look under the page "Works in the Wings."

6-Month Anniversary

So today is my 6-month anniversary of starting this blog.  I started in October and it is April now.  So far, I have 5 "followers", 23 published comments, and 1,923 pageviews.  I expect that, by the end of the year, I will look back on these numbers at laugh at their smallness.  But, for now, I am happy.
     It seems like an anniversary is a good time to celebrate.  And, since this is a writing blog, I decided to celebrate with a short story challenge.  Short stories are great opportunities for honing your skills, and, if you are buried in a much longer project, they can be a welcome break.  Give this a try!  For those of you who like a prompt, you can start the story with the words:
"He never knew..."      See what you can come up with!  It should be fun to see what everybody writes.  Once you write your story, you can post it on your own blog and then paste the link to it in the comments section below.  I can hardly wait to read it.
There is more information…

Snippets of Story March '14

Katie at Whisperings of the Pen is hosting another writing snippets link-up.  Here are my recent snippets from BB and Ariana's Island.  (Dungeon is under a rewrite and I don't feel like I have anything clever to share from that project yet.)  So, without further ado, here are my snippets: Rab rubbed his cheek against her knee comfortingly and looked up at her with big eyes that seemed to say, “Milk will make us feel better.”     ~BB
Grimm’s eyes flew open.For a moment, he did not know where he was.Then his eyes landed on the ornate bedpost of the rotting frame he slept on, and he remember that he was banished to a dilapidated mansion in a remote area to care for a shamefully ill master.Grimm groaned and rolled over.     ~BB

A chicken stirred in the grasses, settling in for the night.Rab hissed at it.He was beginning to feel irritated with the world. ~BB
“Because we will die,” Grimm said.“If we are found, we will all die.”Grimm hated his position.He hated being forced to hide a…

Short Attention Span

I remember a dance instructor I had when I was a little girl.  She professed to have a short attention span, and all the little girls loved her for it.  In truth, she was dynamic and energetic.  She kept the class moving, and the focus of every little girl was on her.  She claimed that she did it like that so she wouldn't get bored, but it had the same benefit for us, too.  We loved her.
     Sometimes I want to approach my writing the same way.  If I am bored...surely my readers will be, too.  That's not to say that everything must be fast-paced action, but it should be something that you (the author) would like to read.

     P.S. Don't forget to enter your short story tomorrow!  Read about it here: http://commandedwriter.blogspot.com/2014/04/approaching-anniversary-and-challenge.html

Dungeon Editing Update

Withdrawing her hand from the engraved door, the princess glanced around her.This had been her life.She rarely left these two floors – what need had there been? – and even in her usual haunts she did not open all the doors.She passed doors every day that were known to be merely the shortcuts for servants or unused rooms.The nagging thought that a dungeon could have existed in her own castle without her knowledge emerged again.She felt like she knew her castle, but did she? ~Dungeon       Editing novels is new to me -- especially editing my own. It is not an easy process. In emailing a friend the other day, I described my allegorical baby encased in concrete while I stood over it with an axe. Somehow, I have to chip the concrete away -- my baby cannot live like he is. And yet I hesitate for fear that I will hurt him,. I can hardly tell which is concrete and which is baby. What if I whack away the wrong piece? This is what editing feels like to me.
      The fact remains that…

Excerpt from Ariana's Island: Chapter Two

Anne-girl is nearly finished the second bookcover for me.  I am so excited.  Here is a picture she made for me, and below that is an excerpt from Ariana's Island.
A Stormy Night The rain started the next morning, softly at first but gaining strength.By the late evening, Ariana and her falcon took shelter in her wreckage to wait out the storm.Ariana lit her candle and wrote some more in her journal.

August 15
It’s raining.The wind is picking up and the sky looks angry.I would hate to be on the sea tonight.I am quite content to stay in my airplane wreckage with my bird and feast on berries and seaweed.

Ariana reached up and stroked her falcon’s spotted chest.The bird blinked sleepily and made a contented coo.Ariana took up her pen again to continue writing.

I wish I knew what kind of bird she is.All I know is that she is some type of bird of prey.My brother Eric would have known.He loved birds.
I named her Cochina.The pilot whose plane we rented said he had named his plane “Cochino” becaus…

Resurrection

Rob breezed through the front door, hung his coat on its hook, and grabbed the mail from his slot.  No one else was home so he headed to his room.  He was a little surprised to find the house so quiet.  Usually it was alive with his four younger siblings and all the little neighborhood children.  And Spot.  Where was Spot?  Rob looked around for the exuberant puppy and whistled, but no sound of scampering paws met his ears and no adoring eyes appeared to watch his every move.  Strange.
      No doubt they were all outside somewhere doing childish things.  Rob squared his shoulders, feeling very proud of his new job at the pharmacy.  He was a man now, with all of his 16 years, and too old to romp with the neighborhood children as he had last summer.
     He flopped across his bed, sorting through the mail.  There wasn't much of interest.  He read the title of a magazine and then let his eyes wander across the room.  They focused on a pill bottle, capsized on the floor.  What …

Approaching Anniversary and a Challenge

So I have an 6-month anniversary approaching.  April 12th will be the 6-month anniversary of starting this blog.  Hurray!  To celebrate, I am going to do a link-up.  Here are the rules:

1. Write a short story, starting with the words:

"He never knew..."
2. Post the story on your blog.

3. Copy the url of your blog post and paste it into the comments section of my April 12th post (still to come, of course) so others can find your story and read it.

     Write your stories and get ready to submit your blog post url on April 12th!  This should be great, and I can't wait to see what we all come up with!

P.S. For more information or more rules, leave a comment with your question.

P.S.2. Here is the link to my April 12th post: http://www.commandedwriter.blogspot.com/2014/04/6-month-anniversary.html

Flash-Fiction: After the Rain

      The damp leaves were silent under my feet, for which I was grateful.  The more invisible I was the better.  I had seen no sign on my pursuers for some time and was hopeful that they had given up.  But still I felt the need to discreetly put as much distance as possible between myself and the world I left behind.
     The land rose and fell before me as I climbed through a series of small ravines that had once been creeks and tributaries.  At the top of one of these, I paused to soak in my surroundings.
     The birds chirped and pecked, accepting me as one of the forest folk.  It made me feel strangely accepted, and my heart was comforted.  Perhaps here was where I belonged.
     The rain from the night before made everything soft and supple.  The oranges, reds, and golds of autumn leaves looked even more brilliant with water still clinging to them, and they contrasted against the wet bark of the trees.  I inhaled the soft, musky-sweet scent, almost tasting it, as I scanned th…