Category: Uncategorized


Writing Tips To Myself

I can’t figure out why I’m having so much trouble writing.  In my head I keep blaming it on my job, as I try to write between calls.  The anticipation of the next call to come.  The actual ringing that frightens me a little when I’m concentrating.  Indeed, I was startled after the first two words of writing this because of the phone ringing.  I keep blaming the job, but I can feel it in my skin that there is something else.  
 
There is something in the back of my mind that feels like it’s preventing me from thinking properly.  It’s similar to the helpful little creatures from my book that are trapped inside Derek’s mind, but instead of helping, they are yanking my thoughts down into the back of my head, holding them so tightly as to never be released.  
 
I have a theory that this not-so-helpful creature is a combination of my stresses, responsibilities, and self doubt.  When I first started writing in a physical journal, the first sentence I wrote was ‘I have a fear of writing’.  I think this has never stopped being the case.  The only reason I was able to write an entire book in one month was because I had all of those stresses, responsibilities, and doubts stripped away from me during National Novel Writing Month.  I was unemployed.  I was living with my mother who provided for me.  I thought of the concept of writing a book in one month as ridiculous and the fact that so many people did it every year meant that I had to at least try too.  The pressure that it had to be a good book was removed when all I had to think about was the word count.  There has to be a way to get back into that head space.  
 
I look at writers like Neil Gaiman and Steven Moffat who keep giving advice like ‘Just keep writing.  Write until it hurts.  Write until you’ve run out of ideas, then write some more.  Once you’ve written your thousandth script you’ll finally have all the boring ideas out of the way and be able to give something of value.  Put in your ten thousand hours.’  This advice is both inspiring and terrifying.  It gives me hope that I’m not just wasting my time and that skill will come with practice.  On the other hand, it greatly intimidates me, knowing that I’ve got all that work ahead of me.  Although, the fact that I can see that means that I can attempt to avoid it.
 
I have come up with some theories on how I might solve these personal mental blocks.  Firstly, I must make a temple.  I’m not talking about actually constructing a building, just find a centralized location that is devoted to creativity.  If I’m unable to find such solitude, I would keep something around to place on the table, so that when I look at it, it reminds me of what my thoughts should be devoted to.  
 
Secondly, I have given myself a daily word count requirement of five hundred words.  I know it’s small, but I have to start somewhere.  The primary purpose of the goal is two-fold; to maintain that I am practicing writing and to give myself the sense of daily accomplishment that National Novel Writing Month gave me.  This article has allowed me to reach my goal for the day. 
 
Thirdly, I have been having trouble thinking of plot points when I’m just staring at empty bullet points.  Writing this article has helped me realize that I think best when it is just stream-of-thought.  I wrote this entire thing that way and I’m going to start doing this to come up with character details, magical restrictions, and plot twists.  Once I’ve written it all out I’ll read it back and pull out what I think to be useful.
 
I’m really hoping these ideas work out for me…
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Taste of Bronze

Here is a short story i wrote over the past couple of days.  I’d love to know what you think.  Enjoy.

 

     Taste of Bronze 

     His tongue slid across the etchings on his bronze knife with the gentle caress of a lover preparing to ravish his partner. The smile across his face sparkling with joy as he moved closer to the chair. He delighted in the calm before the storm. That moment when he knew something profoundly more important than the only other person in the room.

     She was so helpless. Such easy prey; with one hand holding her book and the other holding a glass of wine. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew it would be absolutely beautiful, illuminated by the firelight as it was. Such elegance and sophistication wouldn’t have a chance against his strength. He was given this one job and he was going to do it.

     He inched closer. Closer still. He could practically smell her blood already. He longed to feel it on his fingers. To taste it from his knife. That was his little ritual. He would taste the knife before and after, to compare. Most blood tasted the same, but some was sweeter than others. He hoped hers was as delicious as he thought it was.

     His massive bulk moved ever closer to the chair. She didn’t react as he came to mere feet behind her. This was the time. Time to strike. His huge frame moved faster than most would guess toward her tiny body. The knife slashed through the air toward her neck. It moved faster than the man could see, but not faster than she could.

     Before the man saw what happened, his blade was digging into the back of the chair, the girl had disappeared and was standing behind him. It took a moment for her white sundress to settle. In that time, the man had pulled his weapon free and turned to face her.

     The man in the green hat had warned the knifing man that she would be fast, but he hadn’t expected this. She just stood there with that smirk on her face. Did she think this was a game? He didn’t think it was. This was what he lived for. Still, he hadn’t had a challenge in a while.

     “Oh, we’ve got a feisty one.” The man said, putting on a smile to match hers as best he could, which was a jagged-toothed parody of her radiance.

     She chuckled. “Funny, I was about to say that exact same thing.” Her face remained calm as she slowly started to circle the man. “I don’t mean to sound rude, but you are fatter than I had expected.”

     “And you’re a bit prettier than my normal bag of meat to cut open.  Not that it matters much whatcha look like.”  He flipped the knife with practiced ease so the point was down and watched her closely.  

     “My, my.  Only a few minutes in and you’ve already called me a bag of meat.  I’d say this date isn’t going very well so far.  You haven’t even told me your name.”  She stopped pacing and managed to make her face look remarkably innocent. 

     “The name’s Charles, m’ lady. Don’t see how it’s gonna matter much though, seeing as I’m just here to gut ya.”  The man twitched his knife arm a bit to see how she would react.  She didn’t move at all.  Not even her eyes.  Normally people flinch or at least look towards the knife; watching for where it might be going next.  Maybe she just doesn’t care about her life?

     “Come now, Charles.  It’s far too early in our relationship for knife play.”  She actually clicked her tongue at him. “Maybe dinner first, some wine, a little dancing… Then we see where the night progresses.”

     The man hadn’t come here for this taunting.  It was supposed to be a quick job; in, out, and get paid.  He’d had enough.  Bronze flew through the air once more, but the woman danced out of reach with cat-like grace.

     A sour look spread across her face.  “I see you’ve had enough for-play and are ready to get down to business.  It’s a shame, really.  I was beginning to enjoy myself.”  Something about her demeanor, the man couldn’t say exactly what, had become hard.  Nothing seemed to have changed, except her eyes. 

     It was then that Charles began to worry.  He had seen that look before; in the eyes of a grizzly bear protecting her cub.  In the eyes of a tiger pouncing for the kill.  Though, there was something more.  Not just the instinct to protect or for hunger.  More than just to survive at all costs.  Her look did more than make him afraid, it put fear into him.

     For the first time in his life, he froze.  He knew in his soul that he couldn’t get away, couldn’t fight, couldn’t do anything.  He would not survive this night.

     He dropped his precious knife, the metal giving off that special tone he loved so much from bronze.  As she slowly glided closer to him, he was glad that was the last sound he would hear.

     His body shook as she brought her face inches from his own.  Her head swayed back and forth like a cobras. Her diminutive fingers brushed lightly over his shoulder.  She brought them across his chest as she circled around him.  His eyes remaining forward, he could feel her warm breath on his ear.

     Her voice was a hiss that shuttered through his body. “Give them a message.”  A long moment passed that caused his heart to pound so hard it might burst from his chest.  He clenched his eyes shut.  “Tell them, I’m ready…”

     Cold air rushed into his lungs and his eyes shot open.  It took him a full minute for his heart to stop racing and to recognize the purple wood he was staring at.  Somehow he was now outside looking at her door.  His lips were warm like he had been kissed.  His bronze knife was in its holster on his hip.  

     Slowly he turned and began to walk away, silently promising to himself that he would never return to this house and, possibly for the first time in his life, thankful that he was still alive.

The Tiny God

Here’s a short story I spent a few weeks writing.  I’d love to know what you think.  Feel free to comment. 🙂
    
     The Tiny God


     The Tiny God floated behind a cloud, steadily watching. Its diminutive stature and soft pink skin tone made It seem nonthreatening, but this little Deity could do things unimaginable by Craig, the man in the little coffee shop the tiny god was watching.  He was a perfectly ordinary man with sharp, yet handsome, features.  In his mid-twenties and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he gave off the air of an unemployed artist.
     For some reason, the Tiny God had taken a fascination in the human. He was completely unremarkable, sitting outside and slowly appreciating a scone. It had been watching him for about a week now.  The man had tripped on a sidewalk curb and caught the Gods eye from Its vantage perched on a gargoyle, high atop a building. Seeing great distances was no difficult feat for the god, but this shouldn’t have drawn Its attention as much as it did.
     Its wandering mind had not let It notice that Craig was staring straight at It. The Tiny God was surprised the human could see this high up in the clouds, but It remained motionless. It was possible the man was just staring blankly into space, as the God had seen him do many times before. Motion would only draw his attention. The Tiny God had lived long enough to at least know that. Truly, that the humans hadn’t yet discovered the existence of Its kind was a mystery to It.
     Its attention snapped back to Craig as the human was now standing and seemed to be waving It down. The Tiny God was flabbergasted. Never in all Its considerable life had a human managed to spot It, let alone be bold enough to make contact.
     With complete disregard for Its instincts, the Tiny God began to slowly descend down to the man. His face calm and assuring, the man simply waited patiently for the graceful being to meet his level. The Tiny God had never before let Itself be so exposed. It took everything It had not to flee into a shadow or behind a building. It had to let go of all the fear and be ready for whatever was coming.
     “It’s been a long time.” Said the man. There was definitely something familiar about Craig, but the God couldn’t quite remember.
     “How do you know me?” Despite having no mouth, words emanated from the God.
     “You don’t have to worry about anyone seeing you.” The man said, ignoring the question. “I know you have been very careful about revealing yourself, but look around.” Indeed, none of the other people in the cafe were looking at It. They weren’t even looking at the man.
     “No one can see me.” Said the God, Its small eyebrows furrowing. “What did you do? Who are you? What kind of trick is this?” Anger becoming more apparent.
     “This is no trick.” Craig made a flicking gesture with his wrist at the surrounding area that caught the Tiny God off guard. It had seen that motion done before. It just couldn’t remember where. “The people have never been able to see you.” He had a slight smile. “Knowing you, you’ve just been too scared to come out of your clouds and see for yourself.”
     “Hold your tongue, human. You have no idea what I could do to you if…”
     “How long have you been following me?” The man cut the God off.
     “Um…” The Tiny God was thrown off. “About a week, I guess, but who do you think you are? I demand an answer.” It was weaving Its body back and forth in mid-air.
     “Funny, I would have thought it would take me longer to spot you.” The man’s gaze had drifted off. “Even though I’ve been on the lookout for your kind, it’s incredibly difficult for humans to see you.” His eyes went back to the floating pink creature when It started to whiz around faster. “Alright, alright. I’ll answer your questions. I will have a few for you myself. Let’s go for a walk…” He noticed the God was flying. “…of sorts.”
     The man started walking towards a nearby park and the Tiny God followed. Who did this human think he was, ordering around an all powerful God? Not answering Its questions.  
    “I’m supposed to meet someone up ahead for lunch.” Craig gestured ahead with a casual hand. “I’d really like you to meet her.”
     The man’s smile was upturned when the Tiny God zoomed in front of him. “I’ve been patient long enough.” the Deity’s skin changed from a pale pink to pastel orange. “Who are you?”
     “Oh my, I’d forgotten how short tempered your kind can be.” He placed a hand on his hip.
     That’s when the God finally remembered. The gestures, the tones, the way he held himself.  The God’s eyes went wide. “I remember you. You’re…” It was at a loss for words.
     “Don’t hurt yourself trying. You’re not going to remember my name. I gave that up long ago.” He placed a hand on the Tiny God’s shoulder. “It truly is good to see you again, brother.”
    The Tiny God pulled away from the man’s touch. “But, that’s not possible. How can you be human?”
     “Come with me and I’ll tell you a story.” They both started moving through the park again. “Back when we were young, we toyed with the world as if it were our play thing. Land was rearranged, weather was disturbed, new creatures were created.” The Deity nodded Its remembrance. “For the most part, all was good for us.”
     Craig cleared his throat. “We all went our own way as we pleased, some more separated from the group than others. Then the humans came along. We all knew they were there, but we never realized that none of us were willing to interact with them.  We just knew to stay away from them.”
     “It’s not like we were afraid of them, or anything.” said the God. “We could have destroyed them with a single thought, if we had wanted to.”
     “Ah, you see that’s where you are wrong.” Craig responded.  “It wasn’t fear that was keeping us away. It was something else. When was the last time you’ve seen another of your kind?”
     The Tiny God thought for a minute. “I haven’t seen a member of the Brotherhood since long before the humans started erecting their structures.”
     “That explains it. A little while after the buildings started going up is when it all began.” He gestured up at the sky. “The most shy of us stayed up in our clouds, while one of the boldest gained the courage to explore amongst the humans.”
    He stepped aside so a cyclist wouldn’t run him over.  “The people of the small town welcomed him, but cautiously.  He felt no desire to change anything about these people or toy with them as they showed him their ways.  He was accepted into their world and before long something happened he didn’t expect.”  The man paused.
     “What happened next?”  The Tiny God was wrapped in the story.  It was surprising how fascinated It was to know some history of Its kind.
     “Love.”  Craig let the word hang in the air for a moment.  “He was the first of us to find love and he was the first to be transformed.  After that day, he was human.”
     The Tiny God was perplexed.  “Love is everywhere.  I’ve seen it on the streets and in windows.  Something so common can’t possibly cause such a change.”
     The pair had stopped and the man seated himself on a bench.  The God hovered in front of him.  “Underestimating the strength of emotions was always something your kind has been good at.” Craig looked hard into the God’s eyes. “Now, let me finish my story.”
     The Tiny God winced, but remained silent. “Thank you.” The man looked out into the trees. “The changed man went back to the creatures that used to be his kind and told his story. They rejected him as a whole, but one followed him after the man had left. He showed the God the love he shared with one of the humans and, soon after, the God found a love of his own. Just properly seeing love was enough to inspire him to find it for himself. The first to change went away to live with his beloved and never spoke to a God again.”
     A woman sat on the bench next to Craig, not seeing them, and began to eat a sandwich. She was wearing a sky blue skirt and beige blouse that, along with her light brown hair and slender figure, made her look like a peppy college student.  This didn’t stop the man from telling his tale.
     “The next man was eventually found by another curious God and told his story. That God found love as well and changed. It went on like this for a very long time, until I finally stumbled into one of the changed men.”
     The Tiny God looked away, but didn’t speak.
     “He showed me the spark he had between himself and a human woman. Seeing it changed me in a way I had never expected. It let me see the truth: that I had changed long ago.”
     “What do you mean?” The God turned back to the man. “We never change.”
     “No, you just never noticed. Your kind is too caught in your own heads to see what has been happening to you for centuries. You’ve lost your power.”
     “That’s not true!” It swooshed Its tail back and forth. “I can fly. I can see and hear great distances. I always know when something is coming.”
     “All just defenses to let you run away. You used to be able to change the world with a thought. Go ahead, try something destructive.”
     The Tiny God didn’t want to, but It turned to a tree anyway and attempted to set it aflame. Nothing happened. The God hadn’t tried anything like that in a long time, but It had never thought It needed to.
     Its mind went into a panic. It was defenseless. It was vulnerable. “What? What do I do?”
     “Calm yourself.” Craig placed his hand on Its shoulder again. The God instantly felt a little better. “This, believe it or not, is a good thing. It means you are ready.”
     “Ready for what?”  Its head was still in a bit of a fog.
     “Ready to see love.” He turned to the woman next to him. “Joy, there is someone I would like you to meet.”
     The woman choked a little on her sandwich. “Craig! I didn’t see you there.” She recovered herself and gave him a kiss. “When did you get here?”
     “A little before you did.” He winked at her then gestured to the floating Deity. “This is one of my former brethren.”
     She, once again, was startled that she hadn’t noticed the small pink figure, but recovered herself more quickly this time.  “It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”  She stood and took the hand of the Tiny God.  “Craig has told me so much about your people and it is truly an honor.”
     The God didn’t know how to react, so It just stared at her.  She broke the silence.  “You look an awful lot like Craig did when he first met me.  You do seem to have a lighter tone than he did, though.”  She turned to the man.  “You were so cute back then.”
     He stood and took her hand as she let go of the God’s.  “What do you mean ‘were’?”  His tone was playful.
     The Tiny God watched the two stare into each other’s eyes and saw that something was definitely different.  These two shared something more than any other humans It had seen.
     The man finally broke his gaze away from the woman.  “Before I show you, I have one piece of advice.”  The God looked back, apprehensive. “Try to remember, love is a beautiful thing.”
     Craig turned again to look back at the woman.  The Tiny God felt it before It saw it.  A spark connected the two as they drew closer together and kissed once again.  This kiss was more than the God had ever seen before.  It shined with its own brilliance.  It was as if their souls had come together like drops of water.  
     The Tiny God whimpered and shot into the sky, ignoring the branches that knocked its head on the way up.
     “Oh, my…”  Joy said with a startled gasp.  “It seemed really upset.  Will It be alright?”
     Craig wrapped an arm around her waist and looked up at where the Tiny God had fled.  “Yes, this is how it’s supposed to be.  I did the same thing when I first saw love.  It’s going to take a while.  It’s got a lot of thoughts and emotions to discover and work through, but eventually It will come back down.  It will find love, just like the rest of us did.”
     “Well, that’s good.  I hope It finds someone nice.”  The woman looked into her love’s eyes and he looked into hers.  “I know I did.”

 

Above is a picture of John Lenahan; magician, comedian, and the author of the Shadowmagic series.  Born in Philadelphia, he decided to take a short trip to the UK when he was 23.  That short trip turned into 27 years and is still going on (surprisingly, he never adopted a British accent).  As a professional entertainer, he has many accomplishments which you can read on his Wikipedia page. I would like to talk about the 2 out of (I believe) 3 novels he has written; Shadowmagic and The Prince of Hazel and Oak.

Shadowmagic is a book that first caught my eye through iTunes.  I am a big fan of the spoken word and was perusing for free audiobooks to download.  His exaggerated voices and hilarious characters, coupled with a colorful and imaginative story, had me recommending the book to friends before I was even half way finished.  Once I did complete it, I purchased a paperback copy for 2 reasons; to support the author and to lend to my friends who refuse to listen to audiobooks.  I was very pleased to hear that he had sold his book to Harper Collins and was moving forward in writing a second book.  Here is the description the author gives on his website:

“Hi, my name is Conor.  Other than my father being a bit of an eccentric lunatic, my life was pretty normal until I got attacked in my living room and whisked away to Tir na Nog, the mystical land of the ancient Celts, where it turns out Dad is the usurped heir to the throne and everybody wants me dead because of some prophecy. Don’t you just hate when that happens?”

As I write this I am half way through listening to the second book (also available as a free audiobook read by the author), The Prince of Hazel and Oak.  It’s a continuation of the story and so far holds up to the first.  It’s hard to find a straight answer, but I believe the second book will be available for purchase sometime this month or next.  I highly encourage you to buy both books, or at least listen to them.  They are definitely worth it.

I’m borrowing a Nook Color right now from work and I got an email this morning saying the new App store is available. I had to find the new update on the internet, but I got it loaded and can now try it out. The apps are few, but fun. Angry Birds is, of course, one of the first apps they push at you, but there are many other good games to download. More than games, a version of Microsoft Word is available to download ($7.99). The Nook owner can now be the reader and the writer. The keyboard is difficult to maneuver, but I feel like I could eventually get used to it. Overall, It’s very young, but I believe they will learn from the mistakes of iTunes and Android.

Short Idea

I have this little story idea about a man who was mostly raised in the jungle.  A little like Jumanji, now that I think of it.  Really, I just need to start writing again.  Practice makes you better.  Terry Goodkind has been a big inspiration to me lately.  I’d like to examine his writing more closely.

Failed My Own Challenge

Sorry I didn’t get to it yesterday, but I failed.  I told myself that I would write a short story in one week and was only able to get down about three paragraphs.  I’m not going to make any excuses.  Ok, that’s a lie.  I really wasn’t feeling this story.  I know almost nothing about agoraphobics and it may be a little darker than I’m willing to write right now.  When I came up with it, It seemed like a great idea.  An agoraphobic being forced to deal with his problems by a hypnotist with questionable methods seemed like it would make a great story.  It still does.  It just might be a little out of my league at this stage of my writing.

I was also thinking the other day that I might not short story writer.  A full book gives me the room for character and plot development that I may need.  A short story is supposed to be amazing practice for writers, but I’ve never really written one before.  I jumped straight into writing a novel and did it.  It’s sort of a backwards approach, but it seems to have worked for me.

Another possibility for why I was having trouble with the short story is that I may be an organic writer.  I sit down and start typing, figuring out what will happen as I go.  That is how I started my book, even if I changed a few things along the way.  Once I’ve started a flow, I get ideas for the future of the story.  If I’m writing a short story, the end feels like it’s coming too soon and I might not have time to come up with the details of the story.

We will see.  My next attempt will be to just sit down and see what happens.  Here’s hoping…

40 Year Old Boy Slash Fiction

Alright, so I haven’t written any more on the hypnotherapist story, but I have a good reason.  My day has been occupied with chores and the crazies thing.  I wrote a small piece of erotic fan fiction and sent it to the people it was about, the people in the 40 Year Old Boy podcast.  I’ll try to keep this in chronological order.  A couple of days after I emailed the story to the host of the show, Mike, I listened to his latest podcast and was talked about for approximately 3 minutes.  I freaked out and got entirely too pumped.  He liked it, but didn’t feel at all comfortable talking about the details on the show.  I could hear in the background that the producer, Lili, had her own interest in it.  Seeing that she is one of the characters in the story, I emailed her directly to ask if she would like to read it herself.  Mike seemed pretty adamant about not wanting her to read it, but after she requested it, I sent it to her.  In the mean time, there was another listener of the show that contacted me on Twitter saying that he was planning on writing some slash fiction of his own.  He wanted me to send him the story so he knows exactly what he’s up against.  I am still waiting for him to give me his email address.  After that I sent a message to Mike on Twitter simply saying ‘Sorry.”  He wrote back saying not to be sorry and that he really liked the story, but I informed him that I was actually apologizing because I sent the story to Lili.  I might not get a response from him, but I sure got a response back from Lili.  She loved the story, despite (or maybe because of) its sadistic scenarios.  She even liked the erotic parts of the writing.  I believe I have informed everyone about everything that is going on and I’m just waiting for a response from the “other guy” who will be writing the competitive works.  What a day…

Slash Fiction and New Goals

First of all, I’m feeling much better.  I probably didn’t have Mono.  Secondly, I finally sat down and wrote something.  Alright, so it’s fan fiction, but it’s something.  To be perfectly accurate, It’s a little over 1,700 words of slash fiction (erotic fan fiction).  A request was half-heartedly made by Mike Schmidt, host of the podcast The 40 Year Old Boy, to submit a piece of erotic literature about him, his producer, and maybe a clown.  I gave him all these and more.  This was my first piece of fan fiction and also my first piece of erotic literature.  I had a blast writing it.  Immediately after I proof read it, I emailed to Mike.  Hopefully he will approve.

Next on the agenda is that I have discovered something invaluable about myself.  The reason I thrived during NaNoWriMo was because I was on a deadline.  I have decided to allot myself a certain amount of time to complete individual tasks.  I’m starting off by challenging myself.  I will need to complete a full short story within a week from today.  The story I will be working on is about an agoraphobic man who is getting help from a hypnotherapist who uses questionable methods.  Wish me luck.

BRB

May have Mono. I should be back soon…