Tag Archives: fiction

Special Announcement from the World’s Perfect Men

You. Yes, I’m talking to you. You should be writing. No, not your homework. Nay, do transcribe that email. Ne’ermore shall you pen your manuscript due in July.

Instead,2bd2349e705ab50331e6705591b6b2ca I must ask you to wordsmith something bigger, something more important. I must ask you to write something fun like a writing prompt (which is listed below)!

Look here: February Writing Prompt

f4b1a5222eab454665b088d34b490600In this great big world with all of our texts and emails and snail mail and assignments, you should be having fun with your words. I promise the time you spend on a prompt is small in comparison to the struggle to start that research paper or answering some responsibility-enducing emails. Not that I’m suggesting you procrastinate.
I’m suggesting you use this creative outlet to prepare. What better way to find an inventive introduction to a science research paper than to write about how a character gains superpowers during their summer vacation from a chemical spill? No other way to begin in my book.

664d504242f676f28f957bba258ea522Or how about you prepare to pay bills by writing about a garage sale where you can buy unbreakable courage or x-ray vision? Sounds like you’d really remember the importance of money while writing that.
For whatever reason, set aside some time and take a risk. Try something new. Try writing from a prompt. And if nothing else, at least you’ll have done something fun!

Check out the official post again here and if you have questions I’m always available!

Side note: The reason why the three men above were chosen is because I, and many others, have confirmed that they are perfection. Not in a creepy omg you must be mine you are perfect. Perfect in terms of great role models and wondrous beings to watch perform and live. If there was any need to appoint representatives of the human race say in terms of meeting another alien race formally– these men would aptly and flawlessly represent us as a species. All of the below qualities can be applied to each man and highlights the benefit of having them represent us.

Enthusiastic and deeply dedicated to their work and loved ones.

Artistically and passionately superior in their field (acting).

Jawlines-Seriously, you can’t disagree.

Wonderfully goofy and creative on and off camera.

Phenomenal dancers.

Voices of gods-all are equally talented in vocals, which I might add is not their field of choice. Just gifted with that much talent it oozes out of their pores.

Perfectly coiffed/tousled hair.

Grins that make you weak in the knees.

Overall, stunningly generous and kind human beings to their fans and strangers.

Basically….perfection. And each one represents their country of origin. England, Scotland, and US.

So. Yeah. They’re amazing. But so are you.
Happy Reading and writing my darlings!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, Idea of the Day

February Prompt: Superpowers and A Sexy Spandex Mercenary

Hello my sexy spandex-covered minions!

deadpool

February 2016 begins a special month. And no, it’s actually not because it’s Leap Year or because there’s Valentine’s Day. It’s because February marks some big goals beginning and one of the most exciting cinematic “debuts” to hit the silver screen.

First, let’s discuss my impending revisions for Dollhouse Daughter. It’s been two months since I’ve graduated with my MFA and I’ve let the manuscript sit and percolate and my brain to forget all of late nights and dead end ideas while writing her third full draft.

It’s time for……..REVISIONS, EDITS, AND CUTS.

Dun dun duuuuuuuuun!

[gasp here please]

But Mistress Spotted Writer (yes, yes that’s me), revisions stink. Why not take more time away and work on something new. Give yourself a bit of break. They tell you to leave a manuscript for 6 months before revising again. Well, they don’t have a second half of a book to write and major structural arcs to re-develop. I do. And so, as I journey this February into the land of red pen markings and cut up manuscript pages, but not without some built-in fun.

Now, onto the fun part of February. If you haven’t guess by the first photo in the post it’s:

sdfsdfsd

Deadpool. I’ve never been more excited about a comic book movie. Even when I learned that Emma Frost was going to be in Wolverine Origins (she wasn’t bad) and then in X-Men First Class (where the writers kind of dug Emma Frost into the ground. Sorry January Jones, not your fault) I was not this excited. Arguably, my interest lies most in Ryan Reynolds’s being cast as Deadpool rather than my love of Deadpool. Don’t worry, I love the Merc with a Mouth plenty, but it’s the perfect casting that makes me so excited.

Reynolds has been preparing for this role since he was born. He fits the character’s background and style to a tee, and he loves the character. With those elements, plus the correct rating (R for Really Fuckin’ Awesome), add a sprinkle of delightfully on point soundtrack music, and a devoted and equally enthusiastic director and you have the recipe for the perfect comic book movie.

And thus my excitement and LOVE of the Deadpool movie has inspired a very SUPER list of writing prompts for this month.

deadpool2As usual you have until the last week of February 2/22-2/28 to submit to me your piece so that I can publish it on my blog for all of my followers and the world to read. This month I’ll be better about reminders and perhaps even slip in a submission of my own since all of these prompts are so crazy this month. Send all submissions to Amyoung0606@gmail.com

Just remember, Deadpool never gives up when he wants to kill someone, and this exercise is to help you never give up on your writing,  to have fun, and maybe even kick some bad guys in the chimichangas. Don’t feel you have to make it perfect or share. Just write. Write for you. Write for your character. Write for Deadpool. Just write something and get your creativity on the page/screen.

February Prompts:

1. Write a story about a garage sale that isn’t full of your usual selection of ragtag junk but instead is offering bargain prices of intangible, abstract items like “true love,” “unbreakable courage,” the ability to control minds,” “x-ray visios,” etc.

2. Write a story about a character who goes on vacation for the summer, suffered in an accident (chemical spill, magic spell, car crash, ice cream accident) and returns home with a superpower that is summer-themed. Like harnessing the sun to make laser beam from their palms or they can turn any food or liquid into ice cream at will.

3. The idea of casting a love spell on someone is unethical because it takes away that person’s free will. The love is therefore not real. Write a story about a character who casts a love spell on another character.

Happy reading and writing! And don’t forget:

deadpool_pancakes_by_cystemic

4 Comments

Filed under Breaking News

2016: New Words, New Goals, New Spots!

Greetings my little filet minions (see what I did there)!

JpEnyB8

Now that we are almost one month in to 2016 there is so much writing to do! And I am here to help push you (and myself hopefully) toward more words for the year. Not just more words in terms of quantity, but more words in quality as well.

Well, Spotted Writer….Mistress, how are you going to do that? We’re all over the world. You cannot possibly help ALL of us write more and write at the quality we want from behind your computer.

….Can you????

I can with prompts. I know, I know. I keep talking about them, but I’m convinced that if I show you their benefits, you will eventually come to love them like I do.

As a reminder I will be accepting submissions to be published on my blog for the January prompts. There’s no word count minimum or limit. It can be poetry, non-fiction, fiction, stream-of-consciousness monologue. Whatever you feel like writing. Listed below are the prompts given at the end of December. Feel free to simply use them for another time. I will be posting February’s prompt by the end of the week, so look out for the new story ideas I’ll be posting. Hint: there will be a theme for two very special events this February!

Here are the three selections for this month, which all come from Awesome Writing Prompts.

1.Use this line of dialogue somewhere in your story: “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about feeding and caring for a unicorn anymore.”

2.Use these three things in a story: nail polish, a VHS tape, a book of spells.

3.Write a story about snow that isn’t snow.

You can send your stories to Amyoung0606@gmail.com along with a short write-up about you as a writer.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News

Day 11: 12 Days of Blogmas

Myths and Expectations of Prompts

Christmas-Cat-cat-elves

I will disclose that these myths and expectations are not held by the community as a whole, but this is to explain all sides of using prompts as a writing tool and the doubts you may have. As we all know there are benefits and disadvantages to everything.  So, here are the misconceptions about prompts and their value to a writer.

1. A prompt is just a writing exercise, it can’t actually help you if you have writer’s block.

Nope. While the act of using pre-set prompts is a writing tool used both in the classroom and at home, it doesn’t negate the power of writing something without any deadlines or pressure. This is essentially what a prompt exercise provides. A guided (meaning not staring at a blank screen), guilt-free writing session solely meant to help your creativity back on the rails, so that you can write stories again. Does every prompt result in a great new story? No. But on the off chance that it does, it can be a welcomed surprise to add to your portfolio.

2. A prompt is great practice for amateur writers who have nothing to work on, but I don’t have time if I’m working on my current novel, story, etc.

Also, not entirely true. There is a time for focus and a time for distraction. When you’re focused too much on a piece, you can end up losing your momentum, your mojo, your creativity. A prompt is a productive way to relax from your work in progress and sometimes necessary. It can remind you what it feels like to be excited about a new idea (which tends to wane in the middle of a novel length piece). Again, there’s no pressure involved in a prompt. It’s just writing a new idea to give you new inspiration and creativity.

It’s that simple. If you’ve been writing a piece for long time, you deserve, no, you need a break. And if a night out on the town, reading a book on your TBR list, or watching some TV is TOO much of a break (as it can be if you are on a deadline or trying to meet a certain goal), a prompt is a fun way to keep your mind going without thinking TOO much about the pressure.

3. Prompts are great to get good practice with writing, but all I’ll end up with are a bunch of useless scenes from stories that don’t make sense.

Bzzzzt! That is an incorrect answer. I have, in my short obsession with prompts, written three short stories (albeit still under revisions), a prologue for my novel (three separate prompts into three separate scenes), and and entire chapter of a future novel (currently on ice). How is that for successful. Could there be more success from the prompts I’ve tried? Absolutely, but just like any normal writer idea, some are not meant to come to fruition. But any prompt can give a new story life or bring new energy to one you’ve been working on.

I successfully managed to write five prompts specifically in the world of Dollhouse Daughter. Only three made the cut, but unlike anything my peers and mentor had seen, I managed to apply five completely different ideas to one world, one set of characters, one story. And that can mean the difference between writer’s block and writing a new scene you didn’t know you needed. All thanks to a writing exercise you found online.

Now, I know most of you are indifferent on the topic of prompts, not many of you are raging against the promptmachine for being unfair and useless. But their importance is far undervalued in terms of allowing you to flourish as a writer, especially in times of blockage, drought, and overall difficulty while writing.

And sometimes they’re just fun!

So, check out my prompt submission for the month of January, and give it a shot.

Also, look out for my last, if not grossly belated, Day 12 of Blogmas where I combine all of the Blogmas prompts into one story. And it’s a full story, too. Mostly. I think. Let me know what you think!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News

Day 10: 12 Days of Blogmas

got-game-of-thrones-33137887-500-520

In light of all of this time talking and sharing prompts, I think it would be a great time to start a monthly prompt open submission.

Now, let me preface with I am not an editor or publisher and this is just for fun and maybe a little publicity for your own writing. But here’s the gist of the idea.

I give you a prompt at the end of the previous month (about a week before the month of January in this case) and you have three-four weeks to work on a prompt and write a shiny new thing.

Then, the last week of the month (01/24-01/30) you can send your lovely shiny new things to me and I will publish them on my blog.

There’s no real pressure, but there’s a deadline if you want it, to help spur the creative flow, and a chance to share your work, which is always a good thing. Heck, I might even do it with you!

The reason these prompts are so important is because they’re fundamentally designed to help you where you need to grow in your writing. Do you need help learning your character motivation or past? Use this prompt: Write a scene describing your character’s bedroom/personal space. How is it decorated? What sentimental items do they have saved from their childhood?

Or how about needing help with a current work in progress where you just can’t seem to get anything written down that you like?

imagesUse a prompt and apply it to the world/characters of your work in progress. That way you can stay in the mindset of your work in progress, but focus on a different aspect of the writing to help inspire you back to your main story: Write a scene where your main character goes on an all-expenses paid vacation. Where do they go? Why? What do you they do when there? Do they need sunscreen because they burn easily?

Prompts are undeniably an underrated tool in a writer’s tool box. Up there with copious amounts of reading and forums/facebook groups for writer-based discussions. It’s practice and a chance to build some new content. Just give it a try. What harm could it do?

Here are the three selections for this month, which all come from Awesome Writing Prompts. Again starting this week you have until the week of 01/24 when I will accept any length of a story and publish it for everyone to enjoy your new shiny!

1.Use this line of dialogue somewhere in your story: “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about feeding and caring for a unicorn anymore.”

2.Use these three things in a story: nail polish, a VHS tape, a book of spells.

3.Write a story about snow that isn’t snow.

You can send your stories to Amyoung0606@gmail.com along with a short write-up about you as a writer.

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Breaking News

Day 9: 12 Days of Blogmas

Another more relaxing post for Blogmas.

stock-vector-santa-zombie-walking-with-hands-in-front-112995805

Blargh Little children brainssss!

AND ZOMBIE SANTA!

This is a post with fiction!! Fiction from my manuscript Dollhouse Daughter!

I know my minions will be excited to get a glimpse at some of my well-revised work that, not to brag too much, has its merits. These two scenes are from the prologue and gasp! were both written via prompts. The fateful semester with Janice had many positives, one of which being that almost every single prompt I was given I used to write new content for my manuscript.

This is unlike what most writers use prompts for as the likelihood that taking almost completely unrelated items such as prompts which can vary from: use these set of words, write; here is a setting and a set of rules, write; here is the beginning five words to a sentence, write; here is a picture, write.

I was writing a YA novel with magical realism (specifying in vodou) and all of my prompts could have been way off base. I could have had: write a story set in a western ghost town, use this picture of a spaceship and write, etc. All of which would make my job, to write and make the writing relevant to my work in progress incredibly difficult.

In truth, I was just lucky. They were aptly detailed (not too much, not too little) and I was able to quickly write scenes I needed rather than nonsense I would never use. These two scenes were the most emotionally satisfying when used with the prompt. Shown below are the prompts that inspired the scene and then the scene. Enjoy my lovelies!

1.Bathrooms. Marion Winik (wonderful author that was a guest for our program) mentioned the fear of writing bathrooms, and now we shall tackle it. Also, read the link to help understand the use of bathrooms for characterization.Part of being a writer means having to ground your reader in the characters, which may require them using the bathroom. Your prompt is to write a character in or using the bathroom.

From the outside Azalee’s weathered one-bedroom apartment looked like a garden shed. Cracked mortar held the faded bricks into place, and the roof lost patches of brown shingles as a man might lose his hair in old age. Azalee stood in the cramped bathroom stark naked as she stared at herself in the mirror. She hated this bathroom, so claustrophobic and meager. There was only enough room to fit a toilet, a porcelain tub, and a smudged mirror with chunks missing from the bottom of the glass. Through the screen of the porthole window, the traffic outside her apartment blared up to the second floor where she dressed for the evening.

The bare light bulb reflected the dingy yellow of the walls onto her skin, which left Azalee feeling dirty even after she turned off the light. She warmed the sweet smelling cocoa butter in her hands before massaging it into every dimple of her trim abdomen and shoulders. She took extra care to rub the stretch marks and the scar protruding down her empty womb. Every time Azalee touched the incision, she could feel the ghost of the child stir inside her as if it was still alive. Her lips trembled as she whispered the unborn child’s name.

“Johanna,” her thick accent slurring the consonants together. “My Johanna.”

She brushed away tears from her cheeks and moved to the porcelain tub filled with more herbs to cleanse her legs and feet. Fresh sprigs of mint floated in a few inches of lukewarm water along with halved limes and sage. She used a small blue mug to pour the fragrant water over her legs, and let out a sigh of contentment from the warmth. Just as she picked up a towel, she heard sharp knocking from downstairs.

She quickly rubbed herself down and dusted herself in a mixture of cornstarch and cocoa before adjusting a backless red blouse and pulled on a pair of slick leather pants. Azalee flew down toward her apartment door as another knock echoed through the front hall. When she opened it, Jean knelt before her on the stoop as a knight would honor his queen. The pedestrians ignored the scene, hurrying home before the chill of the rain seeped through their coats and into their bones. She kissed her dark-skinned lover lightly on the forehead and he followed her silently into a dark alleyway.

2.This prompt was simple. Write using an abstract concept (like eternity/courage/love) or animals. I chose animals.

The chatter of bones pierced the comfortable silence of the quaint Georgian courtyard. Azalee threw the contents of a velvet pouch with force into a decorative wooden pan balanced on the brick walkway. A white robe concealed her street clothes in keeping with the traditional Vodou attire. She had only a few minutes to complete the ritual of reading the bones before the energy from the lunar eclipse would fade.  Azalee peered intently at the odds and ends mingled with the bleached animal bones, clenching her hands into her lap because the loa wouldn’t appreciate such nervousness coming from a priestess. She calculated how each piece had landed next to one another, letting the flow of the reading guide what answer the loa would give her.

Her lover gently grasped her shoulder, giving his reassurance, despite the growing fear in her heart. It was at the will of the loa that she would find purpose again. A reason for her sacrifice. An explanation to why her daughter was taken from her before her first breath. With the reading complete, she returned the bones to the pouch, and cleared her thoughts to meditate. The clucking of their offering, a black hen, also soothed her nerves as it bobbed back and forth along one of the paths. Jean returned to the recess of a nearby alcove, waiting for his part in the ritual—spilling the blood of the chicken as an offering to the gatekeeper, Papa Legba.

A cup of black coffee steamed beside her even in the blistering humidity, and brought a sense of comfort as Jean offered the hen and her blood to the loa. The rich scent of coffee had muddled with the coppery tang of blood and Jean retreated to his drum and began to play behind her. The scents took her mind away from the distractions of modern life. She no longer heard cars honking across the road, the glare of the street lamp, or the taste of her lover’s cigarette smoke still on her tongue. Only the offerings of the ritual and the soft drumming remained, leaving her open to the will of the loa.

“Cassandra,” the wind called once more that day.

She turned to see Jean in the passion of the beat, seemingly unaware of the voice in the wind. With the voice came a vision, although this one was not as clear as what she’s accustomed to seeing. She saw flashes of books, a head of white blonde hair, and the pale, almost translucent skin of a young girl. The face was concealed from her, but the emotions that accompanied brought her out of the vision and caused a heart-wrenching cry to escape her lips. Jean stopped drumming and ran to her, checking her pulse and brushing her braids out of the way. Tears streamed down her face and yet Azalee had reason to smile.

“The loa show me our future, Cheri. There is a girl that we must find. A girl we will deliver from a life of pain and who will deliver us.”

Azalee thanked the spirits again for their guidance, setting the bowl of chicken blood before her as the offering. Jean knelt beside her now, not speaking, simply allowing her prayer to guide them in the right direction. To the girl named Cassandra.

 

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse at my first novel.

Happy Reading/Writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, Fiction-Read and React

Day 8: 12 Days of Blogmas

Merry Blogmas! First, check out this glorious Christmas photo. Isn’t it amazing?

christmas

Third Rule of Prompts:

Don’t always go stag. Trying taking a friend date to prompt.

This is a good rule for school dances, family events, and when writing a prompt. One of the first goals I had in this 12 Days of Blogmas series was to share the appeal and the justification for my love of prompts and hopefully inspire others to start using them as a tool to improve their writing.

It was once again with Janice that the aha moment reached me about the secret treasures of prompts. It was, I believe, the first or second workshop when we began the prompts. We were given 20 minutes to write as much as possible and then we would volunteer to share with the class.

For me, writing sprints are enjoyable and difficult. I enjoy the pressure and the force of being under the clock, but my brain doesn’t always catch up and I end up getting hung up on a word or phrase, or just completely blank out. However, the prompts help me to get past that. In several of the workshop prompts I managed to get whole pages written and while this was exciting enough for me, I was also thrilled at the idea of seeing the quality and personality of my new peers in the group.

And when it came time to share our newly minted pieces, I was struck by how diverse the ideas were. This is one of the biggest reasons to do prompts with others. You can see and enjoy the magic of the human brain and how each person brings something new and wonderful to the table.

Rion, who I have mentioned in many previous posts, easily brought me the most joy and surprise when doing the prompt sprints. They are so well-read and filled to the brim with creativity that it seems otherworldly to know they can develop 5 to 10 PAGES in that short 20 minute period.

Now this is drastically different, by comparison to my one to two paragraphs (maximum 1 PAGE) that I averaged per sprint. And while I may put a little too much time into each word, Rion’s brain is lightening fast and they are able to deliver magnificent quality work for a first draft. I mean, I couldn’t find anything even remotely bad about it.

But back to the point, it was even more thrilling to see how differently our stories had developed from a similar beginning. By the end of the semester I was convinced that I needed to start a group where my friends/writers could join we’d do a prompt a month and share it with one another. For privacy’s sake we made the group on Goodreads where we could post as much as we wanted and our unedited work wouldn’t be consumed by readers other than ourselves. It was somewhat necessary at the time because we were just getting started.

It ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made social media-wise. I loved the interaction, the togetherness built from the exercises, even though it lasted only three short months.

I challenge you minions to take a prompt from the interwebs (or my last post) and ask a friend to do one together (cowriting a story can be an interesting experiment) or do a small competition with one another to see who can get to a certain word count by a certain time using a prompt.

In other words, prompt together. Write together. Enjoy this festive time to write something new.

Happy Reading and writing!

2 Comments

Filed under Breaking News

Day 7: 12 Days of Blogmas

Thanks to my weekend of Star wars shenanigans, I am thus very behind on this 12 days of Blogmas, but that just means you won’t have to wait a day for me to post. Multiple posts a day!

bunny

 

Today I share with you some tips on finding great prompts. This may seem like an easy…”just google it” answer, but there is an abundance of terrible sites and prompts mixed in with the good ones. It can be a hunt just to find one. So, here are some of the sites where I’ve found consistent, good content for you future use.

WritingForward.com: I will note that this website is as much a general resource site as it is for prompts. It holds a plethora of solid, useful information. I would suggest this to anyone and use it often. There are at least four different categories (creative writing, fiction, journal, and poetry) and then specific themes or ideas for each post. One of my personal favorites is the Character Driven Prompts. It’s an opportunity not only to get to know your character, but to find motivations for them through past experiences and little details about their personality to help you make the story the best it can be.

What I love most about the site is that it’s written by writers, for writers, and to benefit the writing community. We writers in our solitude sometimes focus so much on what we’re doing that it’s hard to think of the overall community. So, I’m so thrilled that someone, several someones, are looking out for us keyboard/pen pushers and giving us little bits to learn from.

Language Is A Virus: This is a relatively new find for me, but a glorious one nonetheless. The phenomenal algorithm or sorcery that generates these prompts is genius on a page! I love the randomness of the generator and that the site also includes interesting tidbits about famous authors, their ideas on the craft, and their history. It’s a great resource for a spontaneous writing sprint!

Awesome Writing Prompts: As the name of the site indicates, there are awesome prompts to be found on this site in the form of tumblr posts. There are numbered posts on a mostly infinite scroll. It’s basically the holy grail of limitless, clever prompts. I suggest, even if you don’t plan on writing to just check it out and see for yourself how great they are.

With these few suggestions in mind there are a ton of possibilities for you in the future. And if you need help deciding which one to use first, I’m always available to give my opinion.

So, my minions, go now and roam the interweb’s treasure trove of prompts and…

Happy reading and writing!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Breaking News

Day 6: 12 Days of Blogmas

Today is another special post. Taking a break from rules and tips of prompts to give you a winter-themed piece to chill your bones.

This is extra special post for the Spotted Writer because this piece is written by my best friend, Megan. She is working ruthlessly to finish her first novel, and on the road to completion there is always a time where parts of the unfinished product are shared. Sometimes it’s right after you’ve written a scene and sometimes it’s only when you’ve finished the first draft. I’ve convinced her that now is the time to share some of her glorious wordsmithing with us!

Now I know my minions, as in all things, you will read and be fair when it comes to shy writers or new writers or anything posted on this page.

This is the prologue to Megan’s fantasy work in progress. If magic and wonder and intrigue and drama and life and death and good and evil appeal to you, so will this. Without further pomp and circumstance, here is the prologue to Megan’s work in progress.

Prologue

Zavos stood out on the balcony of the Castle of Veratis, looking out over the crystal blue Glass Bay. The Bay was aptly named due to the treacherous icebergs and the water, so chillingly cold it felt like being cut with tiny shards of glass. The sky above was grey and thick with fog and small black birds could be seen diving in and out of it, occasionally sweeping down and gliding just over the Bay, wetting the bottom of their feathers. Zavos wore a thick blue robe with a grey shawl to keep warm as he gripped the railing, losing himself in the endlessness of the waters below. His salt and pepper hair tumbled down around his shoulders, scraggly and unkempt, locks of hair knotted into his beard.

Even untidy and growing older, you could tell by looking at his hooked nose and icy-grey eyes, he had been handsome once. He often came out to clear his head, he couldn’t help finding the beauty in something so dangerously calm. He twitched his fingers together, nervous about the calm in Azia, wondering if it would last or if it would only progress into a terrible storm of war. These things often occupied his mind, after living for four hundred and thirteen years you tend to see history repeat itself.

Maybe this time will be different, the Beks have been laid to rest, the boggarts have retreated underground but is it enough? Magic always seems to corrupt those not strong enough to wield it.

“Brother! Are you still out here? It’s freezing.” Arivan swept through the patio door out to the balcony with his typical exuberance, in a burgundy robe embroidered with gold swirling designs. He had thick, curly blonde hair, peppered with grey and a shorter beard that mixed red, blonde, and grey. He held a tiny white teacup, which was billowing steam and handed it to Zavos. Zavos accepted the cup graciously and gave thanks. He pushed his beard back and held the cup just below his chin for a moment, letting the steam warm it before raising the cup to his lips to take a careful sip, droplets of tea hugging the ends of his mustache.

“Thank you, brother.” Zavos acknowledged again gratefully.

“You’ve missed dinner…again. Alaya is growing concerned, caring for your Neri has been trying for her, he’s grown rebellious in his teenage years.”

“And you think teaching him magic is the answer? Do you think it’s helping in any way?”

“Oh, Zavos not this again. He has the gift, he is the son of a creator. We are the only two that remain in this world with this powerful of magic. He has to be taught, we will not live forever and he will be left to rule Azia.”

“What if I don’t want that for him?” Zavos snapped.

“Who else? The humans? The gifted ones can barely perform the most simple spells. The elves are too unfocused and self-absorbed. The keepers serve their purpose already, and don’t even get me started on the Octarians, those stubborn high elf bastards have been itching to rise to power since the dawn of Azia.”

“Well, what of Odrin? He holds great magic.”

“Odrin is a shell of what he was. You know Neri is the only option, why do you fight it so? Please tell me it’s not jealousy over his learning from me. I know for a fact he’d be thrilled if you taught him.”

“Jealousy? Don’t be foolish. No, magic corrupts, look what it’s done to you, you’ve become obsessed. You say I’m distracted? Where are you at night? Holed away in your library doing God knows what till all hours of the night and whispering secrets with Neri. I don’t want to watch the world we built burn down to ash and rubble.”

“You worry too much, brother. Magic is beautiful. Without it our world wouldn’t exist. Azia is as quiet as it’s ever been. Be content with that and come inside and see your family, soothe their worry. Magic is never going away, not as long as I have breath.”

Arivan threw his arm around Zavos, causing his tea to dribble down the cup and singe his finger. He led him inside and Zavos joined him reluctantly, glancing back longingly at the icy water.

****

Arivan began the climb up the spiral steps to the keep, that just about reached the clouds. He could just barely make out the lighthouse style tower up at the top. After reaching his third circle around, he reached his black painted wooden staff, with a ruby in the center of enclosed branches, up towards the sky and shut his eyes, envisioning the top of the steps until his body tickled with pricks of electricity. Every pore was on fire and every hair shook as he felt himself enveloped in a shroud of magic.

When he opened his eyes he was at the top of the winding stairs, standing beside a rickety old railing that when he looked over, saw nothing but a blur of green, brown, and blue, swirled together like a watercolor. The height made his belly flip flop a bit so he pulled himself away from the railing and faced the entrance to the keeper’s tower. He looked up at the great cobblestone structure that appeared to be on it’s last legs, arching to the right as if falling. Arivan felt the magic here, weaving into the air and keeping the building sturdy. He felt for the brass knob on the curved circular door and pulled it open.

When he stepped inside he was blown away, as he was on every occasion he had been to the tower, staring at the full shelves of books that lined each wall. The circular room had the tallest walls that seemed to lean slightly, and yet every book was in it’s proper place. Ladders lined every other group of shelves and inside was drafty and smelled of mildew and dust. he saw the keepers, in brown robes huddled around a circular table covered in giant books with a map spread across the center. Zavos was already there and was the first to look up and meet Arivan’s gaze. His eyes looked hollow, he was nothing but a shell of a man hunched over, his hair grayed and fingers trembling over the pages of a book he was holding. Arivan walked in confidently towards his brother, pushing back the curly blond locks from his face.

“Hello brother, you haven’t aged a day, still playing your magic tricks I see.” Zavos said.

Arivan tried to brush off the jab.

“I was quite sorry to hear about Alaya.”

Zavos winced at the mention of her name and Arivan reached out a hand to touch Zavos’ shoulder but he shrugged it away.

“I did notice you weren’t at the funeral.”

“I didn’t think I’d be welcome…I should have listened to you.”

“I don’t want to discuss this brother, let’s get to the matter at hand. We know why we’re here, the magic in Azia has corrupted you and everything here, just as I said it would.”

“Brother, you are grieving, it’s not so bad, sure there are a few violent uprisings, but it’s nothing that can’t be resolved. Magic is what created this place, OUR magic, surely that can’t be bad?”

“I disagree. You taught Neri dark magic against my wishes and now him and my wife are both gone. Everywhere I turn I see corruption and greed, it disgusts me and it’s time something was done.”

Arivan sighed and looked down from his brother’s cold gaze back to the table, taking a closer look at the maps which depicted what looked like a venn diagram. Two circles filled with land markings, mountains, and vast blue waters with an overlap in the middle. Zavos watched as Arivan studied the maps for a few minutes before speaking.

“Are we in agreement?”

“It doesn’t seem that I have much say in the matter, what if I don’t agree to aid in this plan?”

“Then I’ll be forced to strike you down.”

Arivan felt the sting of his brother’s biting remark and sadness swirled up in his stomach, making him nauseated. He tried to process the gravity of the decision before him but his head was clouded with emotion, he dropped his head and almost whispered

“Fine, I don’t want to cause you any more pain.”

Arivan looked across at the keepers with a serious, but numb expression. “Let’s begin”.

Happy Reading/writing!

Be sure to check out the link to Megan’s blog, which has a few tidbits of her non-novel writing: https://foxyintronerd.wordpress.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, Fiction-Read and React

Day 4: 12 Days of Blogmas

Welcome to Day 4 of  Blogmas minions!

tumblr_inline_nypwd7YVZY1t45i34_540

Today I want to share the first of a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of a writing prompt.

3396473

It is difficult enough for a writer to decide on a story’s beginning, its main conflict, or its content without outside influence. It can be even worse with the wrong kind of prompt.

In terms of origin, I believe the prompt was developed as a form of guided free-writing. That seems like an oxymoron, but when a writer is operating at lower creative speeds or at a full stop (writer’s block to those who believe in its existence) a guided free-write, in the form of an idea or beginning phrase to help inspire a new, unusual, or wacky story.

 

While this may seem like a cute, quirky little exercise to help young writers to learn how to develop character or the importance of place, it’s grounded in a lesson every writer can learn from.

Sometimes creativity needs a little help. It can come in the form of a suggestion from a beta reader, a new character or inspiration, or thinking of a story from a different angle. And this is where the prompt comes in. A good prompt can be used one of two ways: as the inception of a new idea or to help open your mind on your current work in progress.

And the quality of the prompt is how you optimize your use of the prompt. Take for example my first prompt: Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down…

It’s the beginning to a new story or simply a new scene. Depending on your style and content it could fit into a current work in progress or begin a whole new set of characters for you to fall in love with.

So, back to the prompt. It’s specific in its imagery, the descriptions of the snow and the moon, setting up a place, a tone, and even a character. It also brings you into a bit of action moving the blackbird in the second sentence. And at the same time it’s not too specific. It could be the beginning of a typical winter for Massachusetts  or a fantastical alternate universe where global warming causes snowfall in the Amazon at the time of the harvest moon. How ever you interpret the prompt, it should allow you enough information that you’re not staring at a blank page, but not confining you to someone else’s idea.

This, in a nutshell, is what makes a prompt well-written and useful. When it can guide your creativity towards a single focus (maybe not on your current work in progress), but something new and fresh to get your mind going. And if you’re lucky, it can turn into something helpful for your work in progress. For some it’s just in terms of getting the creativity working. For others, it can be just the medicine they needed in order to get their mind back to their work in progress.

For me, prompts have been most effective at bringing me new sides of a story I’m struggling with. Dollhouse Daughter (my Master’s manuscript)  has several scenes that would not be in there if not for writing prompts. The entire prologue is the prime example. The last part of the prologue was written with a prompt (courtesy of my beloved mentor Janice Eidus) that had to use the word animal, bones, and one other word (that eludes me). It was the perfect opportunity to showcase a vodou ritual that begged to be written into my story.

Each prompt may not yield such great results or end up in the final draft, but it will do this: give you something to think and to write about.

So, next time you’re stuck or in need of something new to do. Pick a prompt. Pick a friend and write one together.  And then share it with me I’d love to read your prompts.

Happy reading and writing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News