Step 1: Follow Up

Alright, so Tuesday I shared with you the first step on how to become a better writer. It’s easy for me to sit here and tell you what to do, but harder for me to actually do it. So, I took my own advice, because if I don’t who will? And did one of the writing prompts.

Describe a “first” (first apartment, first kiss, first time driving a car, first lie, first big success, first roller coaster ride, first time in this setting). Include as many details as possible, being sure to include an aspect relating to each of the five senses.
Okay, this is the first time Liam (the main man in my YA fantasy novel sees Brea, the narrator of the WIP) I know I didn’t included as many sensory details as I could, but I was just happy to write this scene. Writing prompts don’t have to follow all the rules/ directions… as long as you get something written.
Liam closed his eyes and took a deep breath, which he almost choked on. The metallic sent was heavy in the air and made his lungs feel as if they were full of smoke and ash. He understood why Rowan insisted meeting in the city, there was less of a chance that Ash’s spies would follow them into the heart of a city full of iron. However, it was still painful. Even though the medicine the court alchemist made for them kept Liam from getting iron-sickness, he couldn’t help but imagine the poison that surrounded him seeping into his body.

He hated the city. However, Rowan was his King and there was next to nothing Liam could do about it.
They reached a small café, The Village Cup. Lo had scouted it out earlier in the day for their meeting. It was out of the way, small, and deep enough into the city that wandering fey wouldn’t dare come close.

Lo opened the door. A string a bells that hung on the inside of the door jingled merrily as the three stepped into the coffee house. It was empty apart from the young mortal girl that was behind the counter. She glanced up at them and her mouth hung open slightly. They tended to have that effect on mortals. Liam wanted to smile but didn’t. Rowan didn’t understand Liam’s interest with mortals. To Rowan, they were playthings, exotic pets of sorts. But to Liam, they were simply fascinating.

The sound of ceramic shattering on tiles seemed to snap the girl out of her daze. She glanced down at her feet and winced. Yes, she had dropped her coffee cup. Liam imagined that her feet were now soaked with the bitter, dark liquid.

Rowan scoffed and glanced over at Liam.

“Liam, take care of our orders.” Not even telling Liam what he wanted, Rowan strode over to the back corner, and fell into one of the overstuffed chairs. Somehow, Rowan still managed to exert an air of authority even when he was sprawled out in a chair.

Lo made eye contact and slightly rolled his eyes. That was more of a reaction than Liam had hoped for. Lo was a fey of few words and even fewer readable expressions of emotion. His eye roll was Lo speak for “He’s our king, what can you do?” He then glanced at the chalkboard that was propped up on the counter advertising the new pumpkin spice latte. He nodded his head toward it and then went and joined Rowan in the corner.

Liam walked up to the counter. The strong smell of coffee was almost powerful enough to cover the stench of iron that hung in the air. The girl at the counter smiled at him. He wanted to smile back, but didn’t. His track record with mortals wasn’t very good. As much as he found them interesting and amazing creatures, they had a habit of dying when they spent too much time with him. No need to encourage this one.

But he so very much wanted to. She was beautiful in only the way a mortal can be. She had brown hair that was the color of chocolate and eyes that were the color of Forget-Me-Nots. And she had the subtle perfume of coffee and baked goods that clung to her.

“Hi,” her voice was a bit shaky and she tried to smile a bit bigger. It was downright adorable how nervous she was. “What can I get for you?”

Liam glanced down behind the counter and saw the pieces of the shattered mug and a puddle of coffee on the floor. Her dark blue tennis shoes were soaked as well as the hem of her jeans. She visibly shifted her weight and attempted to hide her feet under the counter. He bit back a smile.

“What were you drinking before we rudely took you by surprise?”
Her cheeks turned a pink color and she glanced down at the puddle on the ground. “Well, usually I drink whatever coffee is oldest and we can’t sell. Uh, but that was, that was a snicker-doodle flavored blend. It’s been a rough day so I treated myself. But I’m not really supposed to…” She trailed off and then bit her bottom lip.

“Is there any more?”

“Uhh…” She glanced over her shoulder back toward various coffee making machines that Liam didn’t even try to pretend to know anything about. “Let me check. I think so…” She started walking and slipped a bit in the coffee puddle. Liam finally let himself smile as she froze and kept her balance. She didn’t turn around but Liam could bet his sword on her blush growing deeper. She then proceeded to slide her feet across the floor almost as if she was ice-skating. She fiddled around with a machine and then skate/slid back across the floor.

“I’ve got enough for one more. Not enough for you and your friends.”

“Well, I know that they would each like one of those lovely sounding pumpkin spiced drinks you have here on the board.” Liam rested his elbows on the counter and leaned forward a bit. “How about you save that last mug for yourself and fix me a cup of tea?”

“Okay.” She avoided his gaze and punched buttons on the cash register. “Your total is six fifty seven.” Finally she looked up at him. He flashed her his best smile, and she bit her lip and looked down at the counter again.

Liam dug in the pocket of his pants, a pair of mortal jeans he kept for when Rowan required them to venture into the city, and produced a crumpled ten-dollar bill. Usually, he simply glamoured some leaves to look like mortal money, but he liked this girl too much.

“Keep the rest.” He smiled at her once again and then crossed the coffee shop to take his seat on Rowan’s right side. He half listened to Rowan drone on about the increasing tension between the Dark Court and his brother, Ash’s court, the Unseelie Court. Liam was too busy watching the mortal fix their drinks.
Liam settled into his seat more comfortably once she brought out their drinks and handed them out before muttering a thank you and scooting back to the counter. She then proceeded to sit on a stool behind the counter and plop her head down. Liam took a short sip of his herbal tea and grinned. Not only was she cute, but she knew what she was doing.

Liam decided, as he turned his attention to his King, that maybe he could get used to the city after all.            

Headed Toward My Goal

In the last post I told you all that I had a new goal: to finish chapter 9 before the end of the month. That is much more feasible than the loftier goal of finishing one complete (rough) draft of my novel.

One hard reality of being a writer (and an artist of any kind) is that real life tends to get in the way. I hate to say it but, making money to pay for gas and groceries and save up for rent takes precedence over writing these days. And it’s not that my job is frightfully hard, but that added to two online classes (which I’m far too behind in for my liking), being married (which is amazing but comes with dinner for more than just one, laundry, cleaning, etc…) and just life stuff (like your Uncle having a massive stroke and being off of life support for more than a full week before passing away) tend to muck up the writing process.

BUT! In honor of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I am doing my best to seriously write everyday (because even though I should do that all the time, it just doesn’t happen) and track my words per day. And I’ll do that here. Maybe not EVERY day…but you get the idea.

So today I am at a grand total of (drum roll)….

475 words!

Yes, I can do better, but they are good words. They are productive words. I finally figured out how to make chapter nine work better. My new elfin knight was supposed to be dangerous but was coming off as a total flirt — when really I needed him to be both. So, I made him a bit more dangerous.

Here is a sampling of Chapter Nine…

“Where is everyone?” I asked Foster in a horse whisper.
I felt the pressure of the blade on my neck before I knew anyone was behind us. “Getting ready for the festivities.” The voice was like warm honey and yet it still made my skin crawl. Swallowing only made the blade break the skin on my neck. I stood frozen in place. Until this moment, my life had never truly been at risk. Having a blade pressed against my throat made me feel jittery. My limbs tingled with the desire to flee and go someplace safe, but at the same time I was stuck. I glanced down at Foster. His eyes were wide in fear.
“Now, what are a little mortal and a solidary doing parading around the depths of my Lady’s Court?”
“We intended no harm Robin,” Foster said, shaking and bowing at the waist. “The lass here just needed an escort to the trolls. I was in a position to help the young thing out.” He straightened up and pulled his cap off, loosing his poof of white hair.
“You have not been invited. And yet,” Out of the corner of my eye I could see him peek over my shoulder at my face. “And yet I’m tempted to see what a pretty little mortal plans to do once she finds the trolls.”
“I want to play their game.” My voice was shaking as much as I was. I let my eyes flutter closed before taking as deep of a breath as I dared with his dagger or sword or whatever pressed against my neck. “I am in need of some armor.” There, try to be brave. I couldn’t die here at the hands of this Robin guy. No, had to get just a bit further. If anyone was going to kill me it was going to be Rowan.
He removed the blade from my throat and air flowed into my body. I spun around to face him and raised my fingers to my neck. I could feel the slickness of my blood under my fingers. My heartbeat thundered in my ears and that cold aftershock of fear coursed through my veins.
“Who are you?” My voice was stronger now. Foster sidled up next to me and placed a hand on my knee. It was affirming to know that he was there.  
“Robin, head knight to the Queen of the Seelie Court. And who might you be little mortal?” His cocky smile was annoying, but it matched the cocky tone of his voice. In fact, everything about him was cocky; from the way his sun-kissed blonde hair fell around his tan face, to his stupid posture. Even the way his elfin ears poked through his hair seemed cocky. But he could afford it, because he also made sure you knew he was dangerous.  

  
That doesn’t really give you too much insight or context into or about the story. But whatever. There it is. Robin. He’ll fill out the romantic triangle and will serve me very well in other ways during the story. Oh yes, I have plans for him *slightlyevilchuckle* 



A Bit of Horror Before Halloween

So today has been a work day and a homework day.

It’s not fun when the two overlap, but what’s been nice is that husband and I have been doing homework together. It’s been what I call: “A Homework Party” (woop woop). You have to make the woop woop sound. I even made husband do it. We’ve been eating pizza, listening to music, and just getting stuff done. In someways I think my homework is better. He has to study nursing stuff (SUPER gross pictures) and I get to do writing (WOOP WOOP!)

Anyway, I have to do these different exercises for my online class. For each lecture (we get lectures on the different genres: poetry, short story, historical fiction, fantasy/ science fiction, etc.) we are given anywhere from 5-10 exercises and we pick one and write.

So here’s the exercise from the short story lecture that I picked…

Exercise #3

Take a well-known nursery rhyme or fairy tale and now take the off-stage horror and put it on center stage. If you pick The Three Little Pigs, for example, let us see the wolf’s fangs and smell his breath. Let him devour the first pig and let’s see the blood. Grim, right? I was going to make some joke about the Brother’s Grimm, but I figure it’s been done before. Anyway, re-write a nursery rhyme or fairy tale and make it ghastly. Your choice about the ending. 


And this is what I wrote…


The Woodsman unsheathed his knife. It didn’t gleam in the dying sunlight like it once had, back when his father had first given it to him. But it was still just as sharp. It still got the job done.

Slowly, the Woodsman slipped the tip of the knife into the wolf’s swollen belly. He couldn’t cut too deep. He couldn’t slice the girl or her grandmother. He slid the knife in till half the blade was buried in the wolf. Blood, as red as the holly berries in winter, pooled out of the cut and stained the wolf’s white fur. Like blood and snow. It was almost beautiful.

His knife met no resistance as he drew it from tip to toe. More blood spilled out. It was darker. More like the red leaves of the trees in the fall. Closer to the color of death. It smelled like iron. Bitter and cold. Like the winter. Like the wolf. The Woodsman could almost taste it in the air.

Once he had finished the incision, he eviscerated the wolf with his bare hands, searching for the women inside. He ripped organs from the body. They smacked the ground with a heavy wet sound as he tossed them aside. Finally he felt something different.

Wet hair beneath his fingers.

He reached in with his other hand and grabbed.

He pulled.

This time the wolf hadn’t eaten them whole.

No, he had taken his time, the old sinner.

The Woodsman cradled the girl’s head in his hands. Her face was mutilated past recognition. Her jaw was missing and there were deep slash marks that ran from her forehead down. A scrap of fabric was tangled in her wet hair.

Gently the Woodsman worked it out. It was only a scrap. 

It was red.     





Not a full blown short story. Maybe closer to flash fiction (even though I’m not 100% sure what flash fiction really is…) but there you go. Maybe it’s not as gross or horrific as I could’ve made it. But, I like it. And totally in a Halloween-I’ve-been-watching-too-many-slasher-movies kind of way. 


So, Happy Almost Halloween!

In Memoriam…

I know that this is a creative writing blog. Or, well a blog about me and my adventures in getting my MFA and writing. And I know the last post or so haven’t really been on topic, but today is a special day.

Our sweet parakeet died today. My husband has had him for 6 years and I’ve known Buddy for a year and a half now. I was not a bird person until I meet this sweet little blue bird. Not only did he make his way into my heart, but he gave me ideas for different picture books.

I mean how can you not love this little guy…

While I haven’t really gotten a chance to write a draft of the picture book I have in mind, I did write this short one as an exercise for my class this fall…

            Boo Boo the Bird was a bored blue bird. The Boy and the Girl were always too busy now to get him out of his cage as much as they used too. Boo Boo understood, they were busy with people things. But he was still bored.
            He tried playing with the bell that hung from the top of his cage – but that wasn’t fun. When he’d swing the bell it would always come back and hit him in the beak. And he did his exercises every morning, but Boo Boo wanted more.
            One day, after chirping goodbye to the Boy and Girl, Boo Boo hatched a plan. He snuck out of his cage and flew over to the black box that sat by the window. Boo Boo knew what the box did. It was a magical box. It was the kind that could sing when it was turned on.
            Boo Boo pushed and bit buttons until the box turned on. He fluffed his feathers in excitement as music began to play. The rest of the day Boo Boo danced and chirped along to the songs that played. He had such fun! Never again would he be bored.
            It was only when he heard a key in the lock of the front door did he furiously flap back to his cage. The Boy and the Girl walked in and greeted Boo Boo with smiles and kisses.
            “Hey, did you leave the radio on?” The Boy asked.
            “Hm. I guess so,” said the Girl.

            From that day on, Boo Boo wasn’t such a bored blue bird anymore.



I don’t know how many of you out in Reader Land have lost a pet, but if you have, you know what it’s like. I love Buddy and I’m so glad to have had this little bird in my life. He was a great source of love (love from something that small is so simple) and a great source of inspiration. 

A Bit of My Writing…

Okay, so below is one of the exercises that I had to do for one of my online writing classes. I think it’s awkward, and defiantly probably not my best work, but I thought it was high time that I post some of my stuff. We had to write a serious situation and somehow incorporate humor into it. I don’t think that it’s very funny. But, eh, I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think 🙂

~*~*~

There was nothing subtle about the breathing machine. It sounded like Darth Vader and made Granddad’s chest jerk and rise. It wasn’t elegant and it wasn’t dignified either. The only thing it was doing was keeping the shell of a man alive. Kate could already tell the soul was gone. And maybe that was a good thing. Granddad was a proud man, too proud for his own good. At fourteen Kate knew far too much about her grandfather as a “real man.” She knew about his affairs and his drinking problems. She knew about how he could never let his kids win at basketball or cards because it meant that he was less of a man. And even in death there was no way anyone would call him frail. He was a big man – in so many ways. No, there was no way that proud man was stuck in this body.
Everyone was taking turns saying goodbye. It wasn’t the first time that Kate had seen her Dad cry, but she had never seen her Uncle Pete cry. Neither one of them were bawling loudly. No, they were just shaking and not even trying to hide the tears that were falling. Kate looked first at Uncle Pete on her left, then her Dad on her right, and then down at Granddad.
Kate wanted to be sad. She really did. Sure, she loved her Granddad, but she didn’t really have all that memories of him. She knew things but didn’t remember much of anything specific. She remembered the silver pens he always had in his shirt pocket, and how she would reach for them as a child and how he would pry them from her fingers. She remembered that he smelled of pipe smoke, but that he would stop smoking before she would come to visit – ever since she was an infant the smoke made her eyes itch.
Slowly, but not tentatively, Kate’s hand moved forward, finger extended. And slowly, ever so slowly, she poked her Grandfather’s arm. His skin was still warm. Which she thought was weird since he was pretty much dead. It really was like he was sleeping. She poked him again.
“What are you doing?” Her father’s voice rumbled above her. Kate jumped a bit and glanced up at her father. His face was stained with tears and there were a few more wrinkles than a couple of days ago, but underneath it all he was wearing a curious expression.
“I, uh…” Kate looked over at Uncle Pete and saw him looking at her with the exact same expression on his face that her dad wore. It was freaky when they looked that much alike.
“Well, “ Kate began. “I haven’t ever touched a dead person before and I figured this was the best opportunity.”
The silence that filled the room was even louder than the mechanical breaths of the hospital machine.
“So you just poked your Grandfather so you could touch a dead body?”
It wasn’t that her dad sounded angry; when he was angry there was more inflection in his voice.
“Yes.” She paused. “I mean he’s my Granddad so it’s not wildly wrong…” Kate trailed off. Uncle Pete was glaring at her and Dad was just starring at Granddad’s body.
Then Dad and Uncle Pete were laughing. Which was better than crying.