Bad Day? Maybe, Probably, Okay Yes.

Well, I just compared a specific human to a tapeworm so I’m thinking yes, I’m having a bad day. Have you ever had one of those days where anger, or irritation, crept up on you?

I didn’t know it was happening. It started with wanting some information. Before too long I came to the conclusion the info should have been forthcoming long ago. A vague grumpiness at the situation developed, then the universe produced a figurative air pump it became full-blown irritation before I had really analyzed what was bugging me.

Some attempts were made to defuse the situation but when my direct question was answered with words that equaled nothing, it got worse. Finally I realized I’d been irritated for quite some time about this junk.

The problem is I despise negativity. I can’t handle it for very long and as a result I either try to resolve issues quickly (too quickly some would say) or I push them away (mostly this one). So I quietly and unknowingly let it all build up for weeks into a just as quiet explosion.

I’m sitting here pissed off and besides some lengthy text complaining to a friend, I’m not really doing anything about it. Pretending a tapeworm doesn’t exist only helps the tapeworm though. Unfortunately I’ll probably just walk away from the situation.

This post sounds passive-aggressive in its vagueness right? I’m not trying to be, I’m simply trying to not call people out.

The point is I let something negative grow until I’m miserable and it’s affecting everything. For example, this morning I decided to work on a quick timeline for my novel. Well, it didn’t end up being anything resembling fast but it was helpful. I found some holes that need to be filled in my plot and I changed the order of a few events. I planned on doing actual writing after lunch but haven’t because I got pissy.

At this point I’m not sure how to turn the day around. I don’t want to wallow in self-pity. My plan is to make some new plot cards and take a look at the story as a whole on a story board and from there I hope I’ll write.

If you want some free advice, don’t bottle up emotions or you might also find yourself comparing people to parasites and trust me, it feels as ridiculous and petty (if a tiny bit satisfying) as it sounds.


Excerpt From My Fantasy WIP

The story a day prompt is late and once again I’m feeling impatient. I considered writing a horror story about what happens when people are late to what they think is a normal job but after jotting down some notes I realize it will be a longer story. Since I want to take my time with it and think some more I decided to work on my fantasy story.

The part I wrote today will be a prologue, probably. I might redo it from the man’s perspective and make it a flashback. For now I’ll call it an excerpt. It needs a lot of work, as it is first rough draft stuff, but I don’t want to get into editing mode at all this month since I’m doing the story a day thing.

She held in a scream the contraction tore into her. Her blue eyes were clouded with pain. It wasn’t supposed to be like this she thought again and again. The woman was lying on furs and saddle blankets against the wall of a cave several miles south of the tundra that was her destination. She had tried to go further but the baby’s coming stopped her flight earlier than she expected. She couldn’t be sure the people of the trading village so the cave would have to do. She moaned through another wave of pain as her husband appeared at the entrance.

“I’ve got as much firewood as I could find.” He laid the wood in the pit he’d made earlier. “I have no flint.” His face was panicked.

“Help me up,” the woman requested. He helped her to the wood piled in front of him. She placed a hand on the nearest log for several moments. The wood reddened and caught fire. With her husband’s assistance she went back to the furs. He put their cook pots, already filled with water, on the fire and started ripping her extra skirt into strips.

She wished they’d left earlier. For the first time since marrying she wished she hadn’t turned her back on the sight. She’d only had occasional glimpses of the future for several years. Those she usually ignored. Two weeks before she started getting hints that she couldn’t stay home to give birth. Her husband’s people held to the old ways. The visions told her that if she had her baby in her husband’s home, her child would be killed. It has frightened her but she convinced herself it was just pregnant delusions.

Then, two nights ago she had a vision so strong that she could no longer deny it. She had to leave. She packed some clothes for her and the baby and a few essentials. As she prepared to leave her husband caught her and demanded an explanation. She told him everything. He tried to convince her that he wouldn’t let anyone hurt their child but refused to change her mind. She told him she was going back home to the tundra to give birth. He finally gave in and packed his clothes, insisting on going with her. The baby was due in a few weeks, but they left that night and rode hard. They were forced to stay off the road, so they followed a game trail through the forest heading north. She didn’t know if it was the hard riding or fate, but when they stopped at a cave for the night, her water broke.

Her labor pains were closer together and she knew the baby would come before morning. She glanced at her husband. The firelight reflected in his gray eyes and she saw the fear he tried to hide. Let the baby have his eyes she prayed. In that moment she knew she would not survive the birth. She was consumed by fear for a moment, but she wasn’t afraid to die. She was worried for her child. If the baby had the wrong color eyes, anyone would know the child was a half-breed. If her husband took the child home, the baby wouldn’t be allowed to live.

“You must take the child to court,” she rasped at him.

“What are you talking about, you hate court.”

She saw it in his eyes, he knew it too. “It’s her only chance.”

He smiled his lazy charming smile. “So you know it’s a girl?” He brushed her pale hair out of her eyes.

“Do not pretend with me, husband. You know it goes badly. Listen to me closely, it’s almost time. You cannot take her home. I’ve seen it. She will be killed. Go to your cousin and ask that she be cared for with the princes. She will not betray you. Most people in the capital ignore the old laws. Our child will be safe there.” He nodded silently and she was glad he respected her enough not to argue. He trusted her sight.

“Is there nothing I can do?”

She shook her head and he held her until she told him the baby was coming. The birth was difficult but the child was well. Her husband wrapped the crying infant in furs and blankets, then placed her in his wife’s arms. The child stopped crying and stared at her mother. She had one last vision of her daughter as a young woman. With one last relieved sigh, she stopped breathing.

The man took his daughter from his wife’s arms and looked closely at her as tears fell down his face. Grief and determination replaced fear. She needed his protection. He would do as his beloved asked and go to court to hide his child in plain sight until she was older. Looking at her small face he knew his wife had been correct. The child was in terrible danger. One of her eyes was gray and the other was blue.

As you’ve probably figured, eye color is a big deal in my story. The various races of man are forbidden from marrying outside their own race. Skin color means nothing to them but eye color indicates which god they worship and the gods themselves issued the law. A child born of two races is somehow dangerous, but I can’t tell you why yet!

This is a glimpse into my writing process. First drafts are extremely bare-boned. I generally leave out all description, except generic stuff like: forest, cave, tundra, etc. I might throw in a hair color here and there. Also, super emotional stuff, like this man losing his wife, I save for revisions because this kind of thing needs a lot of attention and care to be done right. If I spent all that time now, I’d never get the story written!

You’ll notice most of my sentences start with he, she or the. This happens because at this stage it’s all about getting the words out as quickly as possible. My mind forges ahead but my fingers can only type so fast. MS Word tells me I’ve used 9% passive sentences. UGH! I shouldn’t have looked.

Most importantly here, my two characters don’t have names! I always struggle naming fantasy characters. In later parts of the story I call the man Joran but I don’t know how I feel about it yet. The baby is named Aevith and I can’t for the life of me figure out what to call the mother. I have one restriction. Her name needs to be one syllable. It’s a tradition of her people. None of the one syllable names I’ve thought of seem to fit her. If anyone has any suggestions (for the man or woman) they would be more than appreciated!

Amendment To Previously Posted Writing Updates

One small, yet huge addition to my Writing Updates post from yesterday. The main character in my fantasy series, named Darian, was abruptly kicked to the curb today. At least, that’s how it felt. This has really been happening for months, but it took some time for me to face the facts. His younger brother, Caeleth has taken his place as my protagonist.

There are six main characters and Darian still has a place in that. However the story really centers around the brother. They’ve both been trying to tell me that for a long time and, as previously mentioned, I’ve been taking steps toward listening for a few months.

I have many reasons but one that stuck with me was there are so many stories with royal brothers told from the perspective of the crown prince. Also a lot of them pit the brothers against each other. I like the idea of the story coming from the younger sibling and he doesn’t want to kill his brother and take the throne.

I’ll tell you all more about Caeleth in the months to come. I put the poor guy through the ringer. He’s the best character I’ve ever written (my bias is showing) and I’m embarrassingly proud of him.

Back to writing for me!

Flash Fiction – Stanley, The Grumpy, Kid Loathing Salesperson – Flash Fiction

Stanley was destined to hate life from birth. He was supposed to have been born a boy, that’s what the doctor had assured the mother of. Stanley’s father had nearly burst with pride and his parents bought every boy related item under the sun for their impending arrival. A name was settled upon easily. Stanley Allen Stevenson. The first name for his father, the middle for his mother’s uncle.

When the big day came and the child was a girl they ditched the middle name and stubbornly kept the first. She became Stanley Margret Stevenson and she wore a lot of blue.

One would think the girl would be the victim of merciless teasing, kids can be so cruel. Not Stanley, or not for long. At first she tried to go by her middle name but the other kids said it was a grandma name. Then she tried the name Leigh but it never caught on. Finally she made the decision that all children were awful, including herself so she would act accordingly.

Stanley singled out a few of the strongest and most popular boys and beat them up. Thus began a reign of terror her small town never forgot, even after she moved to the big city. When she came home to visit her parents the mom and pop stores closed and people stayed off the streets. No one ever picked on her again.

Eventually Stanley found love and got married. She was nice, as much as she could be, to her husband but her disposition changed little.

Now some people mellow with age, not Stanley. She hated most adults too and became an expert at making everyone around her miserable. She held a special place in her black heart for kids though. Nothing made her happier than ruining some random child’s day or making a teenager feel bad about themselves.

To further her passion she got a job in the only toy store in her city. Stanley was a hard worker and quickly moved up the ranks to management. Oh the stories she could tell of meanness, entrapment and accusations she delighted in.

Her favorite tale was of the little girl she made cry over a stuffed pony. The child ran to her mother and they came back to yell at Stanley. Since she felt no remorse they left without satisfaction. However, before exiting the store the mother informed Stanley she would place a curse on her. She would pay for the way she treated her daughter and all the other children she’d heard about. Of course Stanley had a reputation by then.

A couple of months after the curse, Stanley got very sick. She could hardly eat, she threw up all the time and she was always tired. She went to the doctor and after some tests that made no sense to her she realized the curse had worked. It was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to her.

Quintuplets. The end.

I’ve said this before, sometimes you just need a silly story. This one was a great outlet after the incident my daughter had this weekend. Perhaps I’ll write more adventures for Stanley one of these days.

Writing Update

I haven’t gotten a ton of actual writing accomplished lately but I’ve done a lot of world building and character sketching. One of my characters informed me the other day that she is the granddaughter of a demigod. Suddenly she went from boring and closed off, to cool and intriguing. The cool part is literal. Now I just need to figure out if freezing a pirate ship, then super-heating it, would make it explode.

The writing class I’m taking is going well but I’m a little impatient. I can’t access next weeks lesson until Friday and I’m the type to do pretty much everything quickly. It’s actually good for me to be forced to slow down and take my time.

I haven’t written any flash fiction since Celyn’s Tower because the lesson I’m on has to do with coming up with ideas. I’ll put those ideas to use next week. After that, I’ll have a bunch of leftover stuff to work with. Maybe you all should be prepared for an onslaught of short stories from me at that point.

I’ve had almost no motivation today, which is a direct result of me adjusting to a new allergy medication, but I intend to write something (other than this post) today. Perhaps I should write about how much new meds suck! The last time I was unmotivated I met up with some people from my writing group. That helped a lot with encouragement, ideas and research possibilities. Thanks to Michelle and David! Hopefully I can manage something like that again this week.

The kids are home for spring break so I will be quite distracted. Actually, since they have been marathoning Steven Universe, I’ll probably close my door, stuff a towel under it and put on headphones. I don’t think I’ve despised a show they watch this much since Ed, Edd and Eddie. I also hear the season premiere is coming up with a crossover with Uncle Grandpa. You know, suddenly spending eight hours at Starbucks is sounding pretty appealing.

For fans of the aforementioned shows, don’t be insulted. I have no clue if the plot is any good because I can’t get past the voices to actually watch an episode. Let me also add that my daughter has this tendency to watch the same episode repeatedly. By repeatedly I mean several times in a row, with the loudest most annoying parts being rewinded and replayed TOO MUCH! No really, 8-10 times!

A minor update on the latest book I plan to review this month: I’m struggling. It’s not bad, there are definitely interesting parts, but it’s not keeping my attention. I’ve been very busy and I’m trying to be fair but I don’t think it’s my life that distracting me from it. There is some intangible thing that holds your attention in a really good book that this one seems to be lacking. I’m barely halfway through and normally I read books in a day or two, maybe four if I’m busy. I’ve been trudging through the current one for much longer. There are two characters that I truly don’t care about and one that I am curious about so we’ll see.

The last little update is I’m learning to use Reddit. I’m so lost in it, but I figure if I could learn Twitter, I can learn anything!

Now that I have all of that out of my system, I’m going to go make myself write something creative. Wish me luck!

Sidenote question: Am I the only one that doesn’t like the changes to the screen where you make a new blog post? I liked the panel being on the right! I love using WordPress but I wish they would quit messing with my ‘creature-of-habit’ issues!

I feel like I abused punctuation with this post. That’s what happens when you sit down to write something with no plan.

Re-plotting Update

I’ve been writing out notes but today is the day I buckle down and really get to the business of re-plotting the middle grade story. I already have the beginning and ending (hopefully) that I want. It’s the middle that is giving me so many problems. This is the beginning of a series and there is a lot to introduce. One of the things concerning me is that I’m afraid I have too many characters. It’s pretty much an ensemble but one is The main character. The first story is about her but includes three new friends she makes. As I’ve been working on this even that is making me unsure. There will be one or two new characters in each story. I want to have Tommie the fairy be the common thread. This started out as her story. The problem is as I have written scenes and snippets as they come to me, I keep wondering if she should really be the main character in each book. No matter what I’ll use Tommie to tie everything together but we’ll see what happens. The whole thing could change after today.

Name questions

I’m wondering how other people feel about female characters with names that are traditionally male. I’m not talking John or George. I’m thinking more like Ian, Ethan, Rhett, Nathan, Liam. I have a character that just won’t accept a feminine name.  She’s not boyish, I think she’s just stubborn. This is a girl who inadvertently caused the deaths of most of the human population. She steps up and tries to fix things. She joins the fight to save as many people as she can and stop the war that she knows is her fault.

I want her to have a strong name. In fact I’ve been looking up names that mean strong. I haven’t liked most of the female names for her. I almost liked a few that are feminized male names but not enough.  I have liked several male names. None of the ‘unisex’ names were quite right. My issue is I want to name her whatever I want but I don’t want my choice to throw off a reader. This particular story is pretty new and I don’t want to move too far ahead without knowing who this girl is.  She’s 16 or 17. I haven’t decided exactly what she looks like but I have a vague mental image going. I know she’ll appear more dainty than she is. She’s short and angry. She’s curious and speaks before she thinks, both of which help to cause a disaster. This story is forming oddly for me. I’ve never had another plot so clear in my head without knowing more about my main character.

I guess I’m hoping if I name her then I’ll start to figure her out. Naming characters is not one of my strong suits. For now I’ll go back to writing and typing in GIRL when I need to use her name.

My nanowrimo note for the day is I’m at 38,000. I have finished the rough draft for that. I know that sounds really short but not only is it a book for kids, I need to fill in a lot of holes. I must work on my description but I don’t want to get into editing mode so it will wait until December. I’ve moved on to the story mentioned above. Hopefully between the two of them I will get to 50,000

Nanowrimo Interruptions

Have you ever had a new character harass you until you write about them? That’s been happening to me on a regular basis this month. These characters don’t have the decency to show up before November starts. Nor do they have the patience to wait until it’s over. I tried to ignore them. Jotting a quick mini character sheet about them didn’t shut them up. One I tried to incorporate into my current story but after 500 words it was clear she belonged in another book. So I gave in and wrote all about a tall garden gnome. She was a foundling and had no idea where she came from. She only knew she was two feet taller than the people who raised her. It turns out she’s a mountain gnome. I found that out when another new character snuck up on me today. The new one was particularly persistent. This one I knew belonged two or three books down the line so I wrote down the basics and tried to get back to work. I couldn’t stop thinking about her so I decided that I might as well get what I had out of my head. This one is a gorgon. She wears a beanie to hide her ‘hair’ and specially spelled goggles so she doesn’t accidentally turn anyone to stone. She’s a healer who wants to make a name for herself so she leaves her home in search of a new one. She runs into the gnome, who happens to be practicing her garden gnome skills and thinks her curse turned the girl into a statue. She recognized the gnome for what she was. It went on and on.

All of that brought me to the point where I’ve written about 10500 words that have nothing to do with nanowrimo. Part of me feels like I should be upset with myself for allowing other things be a priority. But the other and more reasonable part of me says: Whatever, I’ve been writing, that’s what matters. It’s been years since I wrote everyday. Now I know I can keep up a fairly steady pace. That’s what I’m taking away from nanowrimo. I didn’t know if I would be able to win when I started this journey. Who knows I still might, My word count is close to 28000. Maybe I’ll have a day where I have writer magic happen. It doesn’t matter. I need to work on my staying on the correct task restraint but my write as often as I can discipline is fully active.

Last year I gave up on nanowrimo. This year, even though I probably won’t finish, at least I was merely distracted, by writing. I guess that makes me a happy loser.

What If?

I don’t know about the rest of the writers out there but I find what if questions extremely helpful. If I’m trying to figure out a character, or I’m struck with writer’s block that kind of question is my go-to first step.

I’ll give an example of how it’s helped me. About a year and a half ago I decided to write a middle grade fantasy story. I had this random idea for a story about a fairy that didn’t really fit in with other fairies. I don’t normally like fairy stuff but I went with it. Maybe she would suck at magic or maybe be clumsy when flying. I didn’t like either of those so I started with the what-if’s.

What if she wasn’t good at magic because she couldn’t do magic the way the other fairies wanted her to because her magic worked different? What if all she wanted in life was to become a fairy godmother but failed to achieve that? What if she had no idea if she could fly because fairies didn’t fly anymore? What if she looked different than all the other fairies? What if she made some friends that also wanted to be fairy godmothers but couldn’t for some reason?

I somehow came up with hundreds more. Each what-if made me think of another. Eventually this turned into my nanowrimo project for this year. The idea wasn’t new but I had been working on other things. Plus I was too scared to write it because I had never written something like that before.

So a story idea about a fairy who didn’t fit in turned into more. It is about a fairy named Tomorrow (Tommie) who wants to be a fairy godmother more than anything. In the Fairy Godmother Academy, she learned that magic had to be carefully controlled. Creation magic was forbidden. For centuries the fairy community had used creation magic to change themselves to look more human. They got taller and their wings got smaller until most were born with no wings. No fairy alive could fly. As a whole the fairies were less powerful than that had been. No one remembered why, but everyone agreed that creation magic had been depleted and it was dangerous to use. Then Tommie was born. She was like the fairies of old. She was small, about four feet tall when the rest were near five feet. She had wings that were larger than her body was. She had huge purple eyes. But the biggest difference was that she was more powerful than the rest of her community. A lot more powerful. Controlling her magic only caused chaos and using it the way that came natural to her only got her in trouble. Eventually she has her final exam to become a godmother but failed. Various adventures ensue. Along the way she makes some friends who want to become fairy godparents too. Not one of them is a fairy and each of them is a little different than their families and peers. They start a campaign to change the rules when a bigger problem occurs. The gates to the fairy realm are failing.

Not too bad a base to start with. All of it started with the one what-if question: What if there was a fairy that wasn’t good at magic because hers worked differently than everyone else?

I still have a long way to go and I’ll keep asking my what-if’s until I don’t need them. This is only the beginning of a series. What tricks work for the rest of you? I hear people say ideas are cheap but I’m always looking for new ways to generate them.

Now I know I said I might talk about minotaurs in my last post. That one is in the next book. As I was researching him and making a character sketch, I realized I haven’t quite figured him out. What I know is that he is not evil. He might have evil urges but he’s choosing to be good. He’s got perfect memory. I mean he lived in a labyrinth, he had to be able to find his way around. I think instead of it being just one guy from Greek mythology, he will come from an actual race (maybe a created one). There aren’t that many around though and they are all bad. He might be a vegetarian. Tommie and her friends will meet him in their travels along with a really tall gnome, who was raised by garden gnomes.

Busy busy

I haven’t posted in a while. I’d love to say it’s only because I’ve been busy but mostly my creativity has been sapped, or it’s hiding. Part of it is World of Warcraft. Another is I’ve had a lot to do. Mostly it was setting up a new domain. I had no idea how clueless I could be until I did that. Today my cousin is having a baby so I’ll be at the hospital for part of the day. It’s my husband’s day off so I’ll be hanging out with him on WoW. I do plan to get some writing in for my nanowrimo project. I’m extremely behind but I have some new ideas so I should get caught up over the next few days.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post something tonight. Don’t surprised if it’s all about a minotaur named Raythe who doesn’t want to be evil. Maybe a pretty troll or a near sighted Centaur.