Peace in the Garden

*Inspired by my time spent gardening today.

The warm aroma of rosemary on her fingers, the gentle breeze that stirs her hair, and cools her skin. She closes her eyes, smiling, as she sits among the plants she has nurtured from seeds.

There’s a magic here. Cultivated by her own hands, flowing up through the dark, rich soil, down from the warm, golden light of the sun, and the cool drops of pattering rain.

The natural magic has attracted beings, like a beacon of love and safety. She has caught glimpses of them out of the corner of her eyes, dancing between the shadows and the dappled light that filters through the leaves.

They’re beautiful, with hair, and skin, and eyes appearing every color of the earth, sea, and sky, some with pointed ears, some with tails, and some with gossamer wings that glitter like precious metals in the light.

They watch her when she works in the garden, but she knows they won’t hurt her, and they know she won’t hurt them.

She has taken to leaving things for them, birdhouses she decorated, filled with doll house furniture, little plates and cups, and small bits of food.

They have taken to leaving her things in return, beautiful feathers of every color, shiny stones, and delicate bits of glass, worn smooth my time and the elements. She keeps them safe and sound within a jewelry box on her dresser.

She can hear the tinkle of their voices as they move among the plants. She opens her eyes, and looks down.

A particularly small one stands by her knee, a child, seeming to be made of silvery moonlight.

She smiles, and the little one smiles back, and holds up a feather almost as big as he is.

“For me?”

The little one nods, and holds the feather closer.

She holds out her hand down, and he sets in the feather on her palm, looking proud of himself. The feather is white as snow, and soft as silk.

“Thank you, it’s beautiful.”

He smiles again, before turning and darting away, disappearing into the bunch of green bean bushes near by.

She keeps a gentle hold of her feather. She’s received her favorite gift from them today.

I hope you enjoyed this little story. Please let me know what you think in the comments below. If you have any suggestions for things for me to write throughout the rest of the month, let me know. 

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Challenges, Summer Break, and Inspiration

Hello everyone.

It’s been a while, I know. Life has been hectic, and I have let some things fall to the wayside. I am hoping to rectify that.

My last day of school for the semester ends tomorrow, which means I will have three months off. I am looking forward to it. My brain is feeling extra crispy at this point.

A challenge came to me from the administrator of the Ninja Writers group on Facebook, to make a post a day for the month of May, now the original challenge was to post to Medium, but I have my hands full with the social media accounts I already have, so I will be doing the post a day here. Because of school being almost done, I have decided to accept the challenge, and I hope that all of you will like and comment, and keep me going.

For a final for one of my classes, I had to do a project based on the three poetry books we had read. We were able to choose from a list of questions, picking and choosing parts, and combining them with parts from other questions if we so chose. The basis of my paper became talking about how our experiences, and relationship with the world, helped to develop our sense of self. We were able to do more than just write a paper though, and the professor encouraged us to delve into other mediums.

I was inspired by a poem by Amalia Ortiz called Some Days, and if you have not read it, you should check it out, it is lovely. Anyways, like I was saying, I was inspired by this poem to draw, and it turned out better than expected, and I have decided to share it here. It is titled When the Facade Crumbles.

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Please, let me know what you think below. Also, if you have any ideas for me to write about over the next month, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I love to hear from you guys.

Possibility 

Hello everyone,

This will be a short post. I am an English major, and I have been focusing on classes for creative writing. I’m hoping to get myself into a special class where I work on a project of my choice.  I’m  considering  writing short stories and putting them together in a book,  with the goal to be published. Would that be something anyone is actually interested in  reading?  I’m want too start small to get my name out there.

Please let me know in the comments below what you think.  And if you’re interested.

Thank you.

Short Story: Forever

This is a short story I wrote for a class I took last year. I decided to post it here. Let me know what you think. I always appreciate constructive criticism.

*

Forever

“What’s that?”

She glanced up from wiping off the bar, and down to where his eyes were focused. Her hand instinctively came up to wrap around the ring hanging from a chain on her neck. She saw the exact moment he recognized what it was.

She moved away to tuck the ring beneath her shirt.

He turned his face down, his brows furrowed, as he pensively studied the amber liquid in his glass. “I can’t believe you kept it.”

She shrugged.

He frowned, and his grip tightened on his glass. “I-” His frown deepened, and took a gulp of liquid courage, “I’m getting married, y’know?”

“I know.” Her voice was soft, but steady, as she returned to wiping down the bar in smooth, even, strokes.

“Then, why?”

She barely hesitated, but it was enough that he noticed, for how hard he was watching her. She sighed, and tossed the rag into the sink nearby. “Sam.” She rest both her hands on the edge of the bar, and leaned forward. “Just because things ended bad-”

“Dahlia-”

“No,” she held up hand, stopping Sam from interrupting, “just because things ended bad between us, doesn’t erase the good times before.”

“Dahlia, I-”

“We were young and dumb, Sam.” She smiled wistfully, and ducked her head, turning away. “But, forever was nice while we had it.”

Sam opened his mouth to respond, but whatever he was going to say got lost.

“Sammy!” Sam tensed, then relaxed, when the familiar arm of his brother draped across his broad shoulders. “This is supposed to be a celebration, why are you over here looking all broody? You’re missing Kev all drunk off his ass!”

Sam shook his head, and gave his brother a fond, but exasperated smile. “Dean, you remember Dahlia?” He gestured at the woman with his glass.

Dean turned his piercing green eyes on the woman, crooked grin making the corners of his eyes crinkle. “Can’t say that I do.”

Dahlia smirked, “Hello, Dean.” For all his charm, and bluster, Dahlia could see Dean sizing her up, determining if Sam being around her could be some kind of threat.

“Dean.” Sam’s voice was low, and firm, a warning.

“Wait, Dahlia, is she…?” Dean returned his focus to his brother.

“Yes.” Sam slouched, tucking his large frame against his brother’s side.

“Long time no see, Dean.” Dahlia’s face had softened, and she was pointedly not focusing on how small Sam now seemed, tucked against his older brother, though he could very easily tower over everyone in the old bar.

Dean shifted, and somehow managed to shield his brother, without looking like that was exactly what his intention was. “Hey, so, what’re you doing here?”

Dahlia’s eyebrows rose, “I work here.” She said it slowly, as if speaking to a small child.

“Dean-” Sam’s attempt at a warning went ignored.

Dean frowned, “Yeah, I got that. I meant here, here.”

“I live here.” Dahlia crossed her arms over her chest, and jutted out her chin. “This place is my home, always has been. You two breeze into town when we were kids, and then disappear without a word in the middle of mine and Sam’s senior year, and then randomly appear again years later, and you want to interrogate me? I don’t think so. Get out of my bar.”

Sam winced.

“Your bar?” Dean stood up to his full height, shoulders back, chest out.

His posturing did not affect her in the slightest, “Yes, my bar. Not get the fuck out.”

Dean scowled and began to stomp away, “Come on, Sammy.”

Sam rose, though his shoulders were hunched, and his face was pinched. “Dahlia?”

“Look Sam, I love you, but you don’t get to waltz in here and mix my life up again.” Dahlia shook her head, and brushed a loose lock of auburn hair behind her ear.

Sam’s eyes widened. “Wait, love? Present tense?”

Dahlia’s shoulders and head dropped, like a weight had suddenly crashed down on her. “Yeah, Sammy, present tense.” She ran a hand over her eyes, “I never stopped loving you.” She looked up at him, and Sam could see the tears glistening along her lashes. “But it doesn’t matter does it, you’re getting married, right?”

“C’mon, Sammy!”

Both turned to look at Dean, who stood waiting by the door, a young man’s arm draped over his shoulder, looking annoyed.

Sam turned his hazel eyes back to Dahlia. “I-“

Dahlia shook her head, and took a step back, “Doesn’t matter, not anymore.” She turned her eyes up towards the ceiling, trying to keep the tears at bay, “Our forever was over a long time ago.”

Sam looked away, “Yeah.” His voice was too soft, too uncertain.

“Sammy!”

“Goodbye, Sam.”

Sam walked away, and didn’t look back, no matter how badly he wanted to.

*

So, what did you think? Should I continue it into a full blown story? Should I go back to the initial incounter at the bar? Should I go all the way back to the beginning, when Dahlia and Sam met and fell in love? Let me know what you think!

Updated: Taking A Workshop

Hello everyone. Just to let you know, this post will be ridiculously short. I am letting everyone know that I am taking a writer’s workshop, and joined a writer’s group, on Facebook, called the Plotting Workshop, and the Ninja Writers, respectively. It was started by the woman that I got the idea for the plot board from, Shaunta Grimes Alburger. It’s been interesting so far. I’ll do another post later, with more information. If you’re interested in joining me, look it up.

I’m adding a link for a contest for the workshop. If you click on the link, I get more entries for a chance to win free entry into a full writing course. If you click it, you will also be enrolled in the Plotting Workshop for free. If you’re interested, please click the link below.

http://www.whatisaplot.com/giveaways/a-novel-idea-giveaway/?lucky=40

 

How to Start Your Novel

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I love to read.

I have easily read hundreds of books, not that I have actually counted. I have read great books, good books, decent books, okay books, and have even tried to tough out reading terrible books.

I, like a lot of readers, can usually tell if we want to keep reading a book by the end of the first page, usually even sooner than that.

A reader’s time is limited, and precious, if they cannot get past that first page, why in the world would they want to risk wasting any more time on your book, when there are thousands upon thousands of other books they can be reading?

It does not matter how amazing you think your story is, if you cannot hook your reader on the first page -not just the first page, but the first sentence.

That is where we will be starting. At the beginning.

If you want to draw in a reader, and ultimately a publisher so that your story will even get out to readers, you need a great first sentence. A hook. Something that will grab their attention so that they keep reading, and don’t want to stop.

A hook should invoke curiosity, why is this happening? Why is the person, or people, in this position? A good hook will make people want to keep reading to have those questions, or others like them, answered.

A hook should also present conflict, what will happen because of what was introduced in the hook?

It should also be an introduction for the action to come. Things should flow smoothly from there. If you have a great hook, you do not want the action to drop off after that. The suspense should only build higher from this point.

Below I have compiled some of the most well known hooks. Why are the well known? Why do they such a good job hooking the reader?

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed. -Stephen King, The Gunslinger

  •  This hook invokes curiosity. Why is the Man in Black fleeing? Why is the Gunslinger  following? Who is the Man in Black? Who is the Gunslinger?
  • There is conflict. What will happen once the Gunslinger catches the Man in Black?
  • The hook itself already has action: fled, followed, but there is a lot of potential for more. Where is the Man in Black going?

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  – J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit

  • What is a hobbit?
  • Why is he/she in a hole?
  • What will happen when a hobbit leaves their hole?

It was a pleasure to burn. -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  • Why is something burning?
  • What is a pleasure to burn?
  • What will happen after the fire goes out?

The three hooks above are three well known lines, and there are so many more examples out there, that I could continue making posts just about them, but I don’t have that much time or patience.

So, if you’re writing a novel, do you have your hook?

What are some of your favorite hooks? Why do they work so well? Share below!

Leave me your thoughts, opinions, questions, what have you, below. I love to hear from you guys.

Introducing…

Amara. p_20160131_214012_1.jpg

Amara is the protagonist in my, yet unnamed, novel-in-progress. Her name has multiple meanings, depending on the language: in German in means eternal or steadfast, in Greek it means eternal or unfading, in Igbo it means grace, in Sanskrit it means eternal, and in Latin it means everlasting or beloved. The meanings I was most drawn to were the German for steadfast, and the Latin beloved. She was beloved by her parents, who named her, and being steadfast is a facet of her personality.

She is about 26, but she doesn’t know her exact birthday, one, because it isn’t relevant to the story, and two, she was born in a post-apocalyptic world, so her parents’ main concern was keeping themselves, and her, alive, so they weren’t really focused on keep track of the date after things went bad. All she knows, is that she was born some time in the fall, shortly after the leaves had started turning colors.

She has gray eyes like her father did, but auburn hair like her mother. She keeps it cut short, about to her chin, for practicality’s, and safety’s, sake. It’s easier to take care of it, at chin length, things don’t get stuck in it. Plus, it’s a lot harder for someone to grab short hair than long. She’s about 5’5″, give or take, because she ended up being close to the same height as her mother, and that’s how tall she had been. She’s on the thin side, not by choice, food is hard to come by, so it is religiously guarded, and rationed. Her skin is well tanned, due to spending vast amounts of time outdoors, mostly because of a lack of safe shelter.

She has an old, beat-up, backpack she always wears, that was her mother’s, and a machete that was her father’s. She also carries both of their rings on a chain around her neck.

Amara tends to be quiet and reserved, only speaking when she feels like it is needed. This is due in part to being taught to be super cautious around people, spending a majority of her life only with her parents, and then the remaining portion of it alone. She is very logical, and has a hard time processing emotion, so she comes across as uncomfortable, and awkward in emotional situations. She can become easily annoyed with people, especially if she feels they are being illogical, and can often times be to blunt, again, due to limited social interaction. She does have a dry, or sarcastic, sense of humor, which can often be taken negatively.

Due to having a hard time understanding, and handling, emotion, she has an extremely hard time speaking about it. Trying to do so, often times, has her shutting down. That does not mean that she is emotionless, and does not care. In fact, she can care very deeply, and shows it by doing things for whomever she cares for, whether that be giving the last bit of a food item to them, because she knows it’s their favorite, or taking first watch, because the person did not sleep well the night before.

Well, that is Amara.

What does everyone think?

My next post will focus on another character. So look out for that.

 

My Plot Board 3

So, I’ve done as much as I can for now, but I wouldn’t call it finished. Things will probably get shifted, added, and removed as I actually write. How it is now will act as a road map, keeping me on track. Now I can really get writing again, and I am so excited.

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In my next post, I will be introducing my main character. So, look out for that.

Has anyone else started/been plotting? How’s it going?

Don’t forget to like, and comment below. I love hearing from you guys.

Sub-Plots

For this post, I am taking the time to mention sub-plot. Below is a couple of links about sub-plot, and why it is important.

http://writerswrite.co.za/the-subplot-not-second-place-but-side-by-side

The link above gives some good reasons as to why sub-plots are a good idea to add to your novel.

https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/450/a-writers-toolkit/story-and-plot/

The above article also explains why sub-plots are a good addition to your novel.

I am currently working out the sub-plots for my novel on my plot board. So far, I have two, and I think they’ll add enough to the story, not to need more.

I am doing my best to make sure that the sub-plots add to the main plot, help move it along, without feeling out of place, or forced. It’s a delicate balance, but I think I have it figured out.

If you’re writing a story, or have written a story, will/did you have sub-plots?

Do you feel they are important?

Don’t hesitate to let me know what you guys think. I will always do my best to respond.