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Showing posts from May, 2016

Calling Out to Our Shared Inner Adventures

Jenny Freitag posted on her blog about the value of putting yourself into your stories.  And it's true.        You probably have seen stories that were too much of a playground of one self-absorbed author-hero.  You shook your head over it and told your mother it was written by an amateur.       But you have also seen stories wherein the author bares his soul and it speaks to something deep within your own soul.      There are parts inside of us, no matter where we are from, that are the same.  That's why we write stories that we would like to read -- because others will want to read it, too.  That's why we write stories from our hearts -- because we give voice to someone else's heart at the same time.  The same amount of your true self that you put into a story will call out the same amount of true self from a reader's heart.

Black Sheep

     You might not be proud of me.  I think I've always been the black sheep of the family, and I'm probably a little blacker now by your standards.  It's been eating at me a little more than I've been willing to admit.      I knew you were annoyed with me my last year back home.  You thought I was hanging out with the wrong friends.  To be honest, I was pretty irritated with the rules you were always trying to tie me down with.  Things just don't come as easy for me as they do for Harry or Frank or Thomas, and I hated that you wanted me to be exactly like them.      But that look in your eyes when I signed up with our nation's armed forces -- that's what got me.  There was hope in your eyes.  Not just a surface hope, but a deep, desperate hope.  That's when I realized how much pain I caused you every day.  And I vowed I was going to be a good boy from then on.  I could tell that you figured the military would reform me, and I started to believe it myself…

The Mountains. The Wind. The Sun.

The mountains.  The wind.  The sun.

     They make me feel strong.

     The stone walls of the castle hem me in and make feel as fragile as a bird in a cage.  There, I am trapped by generations of traditions and protocol --- caught in a game ordered by rules that no one fully understands.  The bars and posts at every turn remind me of the expectations placed upon me by an entire nation.  And the whispers caught in the tapestries haunt the throne room that changed hands many times through the intrigue of those who play by a darker set of laws.

      But when I feel myself succumbing to the pressures, I come up here.  The castle looks small and distant, and I realize how big the world is in comparison.  Why would I let myself be forced into such a tiny cage?  From here, I can laugh at its traps.  From here, I can see who I am meant to be -- and it is not what any of them expected.

     The horizon is broad and beautiful.  I can almost feel the pulse of the earth beneath my feet.  …

Why We Don't "Pants" in Public

The Mental Ward came to a close this past weekend.  I very much enjoyed writing this story and discovering it along with you all.  Your encouragement made a world of different to me, in helping me finish.  And it was kind of fun to just write without worrying about anything.  There were definitely some motivation-and-pleasure advantages to writing and sharing a story as you create it.

     That being said, there are reasons we plan our stories before releasing them to the public.  If you read over The Mental Ward, from beginning to end, you will find multiple errors, some people speaking or acting out of character, several overused gestures or expressions, a few plot holes or unresolved threads, and so forth.  That's because stories are not perfect the first time through.  Remember, we edit for a reason.

      Writers are often categorized as plotters or pantsers.  Plotters have their novel planned out before they start writing.  Pantsers do like I did with Mental Ward -- we …

The Mental Ward - When the Old Chapter Closes (42)

Mr. Carlisle shifted his gaze hastily to the gardener and back to Emery.  For a moment, he looked defensive and angry.  But then that faded away, leaving a weary, defeated resignation.  "I had hoped that name would never come back to haunt me."  He shrugged his shoulders, a flicker of evasiveness reappearing in his eyes.  "How much do you know?"       The gardener raised his chin defiantly.  "I know that Clayton was the best gardener you ever had.  I know that he had a wife and children depending on him.  I know that he was the sort of person you could trust.  And I know that you got rid of him the morning after your daughter supposedly died."  His voice grew louder.  "I know that he couldn't find a job anywhere after you fired him.  I know that his family fell into hard times that just grew harder and harder.  Last I heard, he was far away, looking for a job outside of your influence, and his family lived in the city on the brink of starv…

How Boyfriends Affect Your Writing

Because, as it turns out, people don't touch your life without causing ripples.

Or cannonball splashes.

So, last fall, an awesome, one-of-a-kind man waltzed into my life.  And it turned my writing world upside-down.

First of all, I was distracted.  Ah-hem.  Yep, that probably doesn't need to be explained.  He was on my brain almost all the time, and I didn't really want to think about much else.
Secondly, I was busier.  Normal writing times were replaced with long phone calls.  My life focus shifted from writing "the best story ever" to building a relationship that would potentially last for the rest of my earth-based existence.
Of course, when I did get a minute to write, I wanted to spend it journaling about him.  Because real life was suddenly more important to me than my imaginary one. Go figure.
So that resulted in several months of very little creative writing.  Which sounds bad.  But really isn't. Because...

...it made me take a break from pouring out …

The Mental Ward - Just Let Her Wake Up (41)

"Hush, just let her wake up.  She'll be alright."  The gardner gave his advice in hushed tones and then drew back into the shadows with Emery.        Emery covered her mouth with her hand and tried not to cry as the scene soaked into her very soul.       They were upstairs, in the nursery where Beth had played as a little girl.  The opulance was overwhelming, with it's soft carpets, lacy curtains, and fine furniture.  Lady Carlisle sat in an overstuffed chair, cradling Beth.  Her rich gowns and elaborate hairstyle contrasted with Beth's white hospital shift, bare feet, and short-cropped hair.  But the look on Lady Carlisle's face was tender and teary-eyed, and she clutched her little girl as if she would never let her go again.      Beth's eyes blinked and then slowly opened.  Every one in the room held their breath.  Beth's eyes roved over her mother's face, up to the ceiling, around the room, and back to her mother.  Slowly she lifted her…

The Mental Ward - But You're Wanted at Home (40)

Andrew felt like a shadow of a man.  A body with no spirit left.  For hours he sat across the street from the asylum, staring at the force amassing against his daughter.  And he felt his life crumpling away from him.
      The team outside suddenly moved, rushing toward the asylum with their weapons drawn.  Someone brought him word that a maid on the inside had finally been able to open the doors.  It wouldn't be much longer.  Andrew hated that maid.
     Life was very confusing.  How had it come to this?  What had he done to deserve a lunatic daughter?  To lose his baby girl?  To be forced to hide her away to protect his family name?  And now to have her taken away from him all over again?  No one could ever know -- the disgrace of this night surpassed any he imagined over the last seven years.  It was one more burden he would have to bear alone, in secrecy.
      He tried not to think of the rescue team, shooting his daughter.  Every time he did, he could only see her as a…

Time-Traveler Letter from 2015

Greetings, one and all!  I am writing this letter in 2015, and it will be posted on my blog one year later.  Which means that you are likely reading this on May 1st, 2016.  It's great fun to write something that you will read so much later.  I almost feel that you might could hear me, across this great gulf of time, if I yelled really, really loud.

HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!  GREETINGS, O FUTURE ONES!  I CALL TO YOU FROM THE NOT-SO-DISTANT PAST OF 2014! Enough nonsense, now.  I thought I would start by responding to some of the things in my last letter.

First order of business: inspiring blogs.
     Rachel Heffington and Anne-girl continue to be inspirational to me, and their blogs will always hold a special place in my heart.  However, I have been especially helped recently by goteenwriters.blogspot.com .  K.M.Weiland's blog and http://thepenslayer.blogspot.com/ have also been influential for me this year.  And I am just started to watch http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/.