Writerly Wish-List

So there are a few other blogs doing this, and I figured, hey, I need to post something and it sounds fun, so I’ll do it, too.  Some day soon, I’ll actually post something original and also possibly interesting.  Maybe.  No guarantees.  So, uh, here’s my writerly wish-list thing of things I want to write some day.  Maybe I’ll even write them this next year, in 2015.

(Note, these are composed in absolutely no order whatsoever.)

1. Something Sci-Fi

I’ve honestly never written anything sci-fi before.  Written plenty of fantasy, but never sci-fi, and I’d like to do that some day.

2. A murder mystery

I watch murder mystery cop shows with my mom all the time (Castle and BBC’s Sherlock are my favorites, if you were wondering…which you probably weren’t), and I kind of want to write one one day… I’ll admit, though, I’ve never actually read a murder mystery before. That’s also technically on my list, even if it’s reading and not writing related.

3. Something publishable

Am I allowed to say that?  It’s true!

4. A graphic novel

Like in the case of the murder mystery, I’ve never actually read a graphic novel (I mean, unless the Artemis Fowl ones and the Lightning Thief ones count, but…they were originally novels to begin with, so I don’t know if they actually count…), but I would really want to write one.  I do have an idea for a superhero story that I think could work as a graphic novel.  Honestly, though, I think my art would need a lot more improvements before I could even begin to tackle this.

5. The script for a video game

could just write the script for a movie or something like that, but I don’t know, the idea of writing a story for a video game sounds cooler.  Is that just me?

6. A good fairy tale retelling

I’ve written fairy tale retellings before.  I sort of wrote one for NaNo ’12, and I had one attempt that made it to about 15k, and I’m sort of working on another one off-and-on, but I’d like to actually be able to write a good one.  The attempts so far haven’t been great.

7. Something with more swords and weapons and…

…and do I even sound like a girl anymore?  I don’t know, I kind of like stories with big, epic sword-fights and battles and that stuff.  I’ve never written anything like this, though, because the only thing I know about a sword is that one end is typically pointy, and the only things I know about a bow is that it’s not as easy as it looks to shoot it, the things Legolas does are impossible, the few times I have shot with a bow it’s been really fun, and I can’t imagine ever traveling with a bow. There’s goes that dream of one day being a Ranger.  My knowledge on modern weapons are even less.  Um…guns have a trigger and you pull it to shoot…right?

8. A historical fiction

Yeah, kind of self-explanatory.  I don’t even know what part of history I’d want to do it in, though.  Maybe something in the Victorian era.  Or maybe something in colonial America.  Or maybe something else entirely.

9. Something steam-punk

I honestly don’t know why.  I didn’t even know I liked steam-punk, but I think it might be kind of cool to write one time…

That’s about all I can think of, though I’m sure as soon as this post becomes public, I’ll think of a bunch more.  Heheh, but that’s how it always works.

Advertisements

Short Story: Tears of Waiting

I’ve been wanting to write an all-dialogue short story ever since I read Brandon Sanderson’s I Hate Dragons” short story (and if you haven’t read that, you need to right now), but I’ve never gotten around to actually doing it.  Until now.  This is rather short, and I’m not sure if it’s really all that good (I mean, even if I don’t compare it to Sanderson’s work), but…well.  Here it is.

“I told him not to come back.”

“The boy never listened.”

“I know, but I’d hoped he might this time…”

“You mean, you hoped he would have made it this time, unlike all the others.”

“Yes.”

“You are so sentimental.”

“You blame me for growing attached?”

“Growing attached is what causes the problems.  You know that!  We can’t grow attached.  It only makes losing them that much harder.”

“If I’m sentimental, you’re cyncical.  Do you ever believe that one of them might make it?”

“After so many years, no.  I don’t believe any of them ever will make it.  I believe that we’ll be stuck here, as we are, for decades more to come, waiting in vain.  We might even have to wait centuries before we’re finally given up on.”

“That’s what your waiting for?  For it to give up on us?  We have to hope that one of them will make it!”

“Why?  None of the ones we actually liked made it!  What’s the point anymore?  I’m struggling to see why we don’t just send them away when they come, before we start to like them, and before they get hurt, and before they have any opportunity to fail.”

“If we do that, we’ll only guarantee that we’ll never leave.  You can’t win if you don’t fail.”

“What is that supposed to mean?  When they fail, they die!  Unless they’re supposed to come back from the dead, I don’t see how them failing the first time will help them win in the future!”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“What do you mean, then?”

“I mean that many of them will have to fail before there will be one that will succeed.”

“How do you know there will be one to succeed?”

“There are over seven billion people on the planet.  We’ve only had two dozen come…there are more, and there’ll be at least one who will be strong enough.”

“But that one person may very well be the last person left.  The seven billionth.”

“Perhaps.”

“Then we’ll be waiting no matter what.”

“Probably.”

“So why don’t we just send them away?  If we have to wait, we might as well wait without watching them get hurt.”

“Look, I hate watching them die as much as you do.  But we can’t truly get out of this without their help.  Waiting for it to…go away?  It will only come back again.  We have to be freed.”

“I don’t like it.  I don’t want to cry again.  You know I hate crying.”

“May our tears lead the right one to us.”

“That still requires waiting, and, oh…”

“Are you crying?”

“Yes.  Another one is coming, don’t you see him?”

“I do.  He looks strong.  Stronger than the others.”

“Probably not strong enough.”

“Why are you so skeptical?”

“If I make myself not believe, maybe it’ll be easier when he fails.  Maybe I won’t cry so much.”

“You’re already crying.”

“And so are you!  How is hoping any better, if it only makes you cry more?”

“I will not let myself stop hoping.  Life isn’t worth living if you don’t hope in something.”

“We aren’t even living, not like this.  This is torture.”

“Maybe it’s practice for when we get our lives back.  If we hope now, then it’ll be easier then.”

“Do you really believe in that?”

“I guess so.”

“Do you see him?  He’s almost made it to the end.”

“Maybe he’ll be the one, then.”

“Maybe.”

“Two more steps left.”

“He fell.”

“He—oh, I don’t believe it!  He seemed so promising…”

“They always let us down in the end.  I told you that.”

“We’re just waiting for the right one.”

“I suppose so.  But oh, I hate crying…”

Darlings and November Planning

So, after months and months—almost a full year—of procrastination, I finally did what I think is right for my writing.  I killed two of my darlings.  Two that I have been trying to write for almost four years now, and that for the past year, almost, have done me nothing good.  They’re never going to go anywhere, so they’re a distraction, and not even a good one.

I finally came to terms with that and let them go.  I’m going to write the two poor characters a happily ever after on Monday, and then I’ll move on.

I hope.  These two are hard to leave behind.  But I’m pretty sure this is what I need to do.

Meanwhile, on cheerier notes, I’m still working on the planning for my November NaNoNovel.  World-building is going pretty well.  Slow and painful, but as well as I’d expect.  My characters are also coming along quite nicely, though also fairly slowly.  Two of the four protagonists have almost-fully-developed personalities and have joined the herd of other characters that feel like they might be alive in my head.  The other two are…coming much more slowly.  My villain, too, is still mostly flat and lacking any personality, but I’m not too worried.  I have time.

I’ve also been working on a short story, both to help flesh out the backstory of one of the characters, and to keep myself writing until November.  Somebody told me this story is one of my best works so far, but I don’t really believe that it doesn’t need quite a bit of work.  I do agree it’s better than a lot of my other writing, though.  I’m trying to remind myself to properly describe things, and the short story is way more exciting than anything I’ve written.

For some reason, I never seem to have much action.  Just dialogue.  It’s kind of boring.  So this novel I’m planning, I want to be far more exciting.  There’s going to be sword-fights and…other cool stuff.  (I did say I’m not writing an outline, didn’t I? I’m not planning everything!)

My novel is basically a twist off of your stereotypical, “Prophesied Chosen One has to save the world from the ultimate evil”.  I thought it would be interesting if the oracles and prophecies were more everyday things, and how they’d affect things, and it basically turned into this world where the prophecies basically rule everything.  It’s also very interesting to see how the setting affects my characters’ motives and goals.  It’s actually fascinating to build this world, and I’m definitely very excited to write it this November.

Short Story: Price of Magic

It’s a very original title, I know, but it’s all I could think of off the top of my head.  Anyway, this is a rewrite of a short story that I wrote about a year ago… the original is buried somewhere in my posts, but it’s not that good, so I wouldn’t advise looking for it.  Any critique is appreciated and encouraged.  [Insert convincing—ahem, I mean, persuasive—encouragement here.]

Shadows flickered uncertainly around the alleyway, growing steadily darker as the light around them grew brighter.  That light was caused by the flames that licked up higher and higher, feeding off of the small house.

There the girl stood, her face washed in the light, staring at the building.  For a moment, all she could do was stare before the realization really began to hit home.

My house is on fire.  My house caught fire!

The shock slowly turned to anger.  She whirled around towards the shadows, where a slim figure was trying to hide its face.  “This is your fault!” she cried.  “All your bloody fault!”

Mine?” the returning voice spluttered, just as angry.  “I wasn’t the one who let the gas out of the stove like that before lighting it!  I also wasn’t the one who stared at the flames as they burned your curtains.”

A flush burned at her cheeks, which only made her all the more furious.  A small, sensible piece of her mind, buried way back where she almost didn’t hear it, reminded her that this was not the place nor the time to argue.  Smoke was slowly filling the alleyway, tickling the back of her throat, and the flames had grown hot enough to get rather uncomfortable, even from several feet away.

“No,” she agreed after a pause, pushing the words out harder than she wanted to say them.  “But you distracted me.  That’s why it’s your fault.”

That was the last straw, which was exactly what she had intended.  The shadowed figure stormed back out into the open, where her scowl was easily seen.  “Distracted?  Why must you blame everything on me, Sasha!  This isn’t my fault anymore so than it is yours.  Now stop yelling at me.  I’m trying to find a way out of this blasted alleyway before it fills with smoke entirely, in case you don’t mind.”

She turned back towards the shadows, but stopped when Sasha’s eyes narrowed.  Both knew exactly how to get out of the alleyway long before the smoke got too thick.

“Don’t even think about it,” the other woman said softly.  “That is not an option.”

“Do you even have any choice?” Sasha snapped back.  “Eva, there’s no other way to get out of here!”

“We can climb the walls.”  Eva jerked her thumb to the building behind her, which wasn’t yet burning, though that would likely change in the next few moments, if the wind had anything to say about it.  “It’s only two stories, and the smoke isn’t that thick yet.  Get up and onto the roof.”

“And from there?”

Eva shrugged.

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Improvise.”  She turned around towards the wall and reached her hands up, searching for a plae to hold on.  The bricks were rough, but not enough for real hand or footholds, so it went nowhere.  Sasha watched for a moment, curious despite herself to see if it would work, but knowing deep down that it wouldn’t.

“Eva, just do it,” she said.  “We’re going to die in here otherwise, trapped between flames and two buildings.”

Eva tried again, but when she couldn’t get a good enough grip to even pull herself up off the ground, she gave up.  Trying to hide her frustration, she turned towards Sasha again.  She was no more than a silhouette, lit up from behind by the flames.  “What happened to being angry at me?”

“Just get us out of here.  Eva, please.”  Sasha’s voice was pleading.

Eva shook her head.  “II can’t,” she whispered.  “The last time I tried…  I only made it worse.”

“Just try!  Try or we’re going to die!”  Sasha’s voice rose in pitch, desperate now.  She no longer tried hiding the insecurities she’d always felt.  She had used to hide her feelings behind contempt and her temper. But now, her need to survive pulled it all away.  Eva now saw clearly Sasha’s jealousy and disappointment at being normal and nothing like her.

Eva smiled bitterly.  She was the one who should have been jealous of Sasha, not the other way around.  “It hurts,” she whispered, then relented.  She laid her hand on Sasha’s shoulder and squeezed her eyes shut.

Without even really trying, she could feel it fading out of her, draining her.  Even if she couldn’t see it in front of her, she knew there was a wall made entirely out of light surrounding the two of them.  Outside of it, the flames grew stronger from the energy they found in the wall.  Opening her eyes again, she saw exactly what she expected to see.  A small, four foot tall wall surrounded the two girls, made out of light.  It kept the flames away, but she could see on the other side of it, those flames were brighter, stronger, and hotter.

“See?” Eva said softly, not even realizing she was talking out loud.  “It’s a paradox.  The wall keeps the flames away, but it’s made of energy, which only fuels the fire.  It grows stronger, which means I have to make the wall even stronger to keep it back.”

Sasha looked up from where she knelt on the ground and met Eva’s eyes.  Now, she understood.  “But if you break the cycle, the flames will take us.”

“That’s the price of magic, sister.  There’s only one way out.”

“What’s that?”

“Somebody has to find us.”

And that, both knew, wouldn’t happen in time.  They were trapped in the alley, between flames and an unclimbable building.  The only way someone else would be able to find them is if the flames were put out, and by that time, Eva’s energy would be gone, allowing the wall to collapse and the fire to engulf them.

“I’m sorry,” Sasha said.  “For blaming you for everything.”

“I know.  It’s not easy having a sister with magic, is it?”

“It scared me, and yet fascinated me.  I know you’ve said it’s only problematic, but I felt jealous.  You were the special one, while I’m boring and ordinary.”

“You’re anything but boring.”

“Don’t flatter me.”

Eva smiled, but it was a weak one.  She had fallen to her knees beside Sasha, using her sister’s support to stay upright.  It was hard enough to focus on the conversation.  Eva knew she shouldn’t be talking at all, but she didn’t want to spend her last moments silent.

“I’m sorry, too, Sasha,” she said, hesitating a little, despite herself.  “I haven’t been the best sister, either, not since Mom and Dad died.”

“At least we have each other now, though.”  It was as she spoke this sentence that Sasha made the realization.  “Eva, let me help you.  Maybe if we both take the strain…”

Eva shook her head slightly.  She couldn’t manage to do anything more, but it felt to her that it didn’t show her feelings on that well enough.  “No.  Absolutely not.  If you even touch the magic, it will take you entirely.  You’ll be a slave to it, just like I have been.”

“What else can I do, Eva?  Let me help.”

She was silent.  She knew that if she let Sasha help her, not only would Sasha take the magic, but Eva would be released from it.  But as much as Eva wanted to be freed from magic’s curse, she didn’t want to subject her sister to it.

Before she could come to a decision, however, Sasha took her hands in hers.  Just the little touch, and Eva felt a weight lifted off her shoulders, one she wasn’t sure that she’d been aware of holding.  She’d had it her entire life, after all, and had grown used to it.

The wall around them strengthened.  For a moment, it looked almost like it was real.  Then Sasha gave up too much.  The light radiating from the wall pulsed, and, knowing what would happen, Eva instinctively covered her eyes.  That light could have blinded her permanently.  As it was, when she looked again, the place was still incredibly bright.

But several things had changed.  Sasha had collapsed to the ground, laying still at Eva’s knees.  The fire was gone.  All that was left was ash and smoke.  The wall, no longer having a source or a purpose, had faded away as well.

Eva stared a moment, then turned to her sister.  She shook her roughly, but she could see how pale and still she’d gotten.  “Sasha!  Wake up!”

The girl didn’t move.

Eva felt her eyes start to tear up.  “Sasha, I warned you,” she whispered.  “The price of magic is too high.  You shouldn’t have done that.”

But it was too late now.  Her sister, she knew, would never move again.  She had sacrificed herself to protect Eva from the flames.  For that was the price of magicit took your life.

Tears falling unabashed now, Eva stood up.  She vowed, right then and there, that she’d avenge her sister.  She’d find a way to stop magic from taking innocent people’s lives, just because they’d inherited it.  Or, in Sasha’s case, taken it for her sister to protect her.

“I love you, Sasha.”

Getting Back Into Writing…

It’s been a little over two weeks since I decided to stop writing.  And… it’s worked.  I’ll admit, I haven’t really stopped writing; I’ve just stopped forcing myself to write.  If I was inspired for something, I wrote it down.  Otherwise, I didn’t do anything related to writing.

A part of me feels slightly guilty about not writing every day, but, overall, I feel a lot better.  Two of my stories still have frustrating elements to them (mostly, plot holes), so they’re pushed onto the back-burner, to be dealt with later.  For now, I’m working on a story that really is being made up in my head as I’m writing it—but I’m rather inspired to write it, so that’s good.  I think.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to branch away from my normal fantasy in my reading list, and so currently, my mom and I are reading the complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I’ll admit, the biggest (only) reason I’m reading that is because I’m a big fan of BBC’s TV show, Sherlock.  Still, three chapters into the first book, A Study in Scarlett, I’m definitely intrigued and going to read more.

Day Twelve of Camp NaNoOrWhateverItIsI’mDoingNow

Well. I guess my last post was inaccurate. After I wrote it, I went and grabbed my notebook and wrote in it a little… And this morning, after typing it up in the computer, I see that I wrote roughly 700 words. Strangely enough, those were some very good 700 words. As I wrote them, my favorite character switched (and I’m still trying to decide if that’s a good thing) and I had a bit of a plot twist creep up on me without me knowing.

Not that I’m complaining. I believe I’ve mentioned several times that I love it when things like that happen. It makes it so I’m always on my toes while I’m writing—just like as if I was reading something. I have a general direction to write in, but I can zig-zag and weave and twirl all around it. And all of those other synonyms that I’d normally look up and add to that sentence, but am too lazy to do right now. Being sick seems to make me really lazy…

Anyhow, as I’m attempting to get today’s writing done, I’m finding myself trying to answer a question. How do you lock somebody up in a cave so that they can’t escape? The only thing I can think of are shackles of some sort, but the “somebody” knows how to get out of those, so that doesn’t even work. Darn fantasy and magic-systems…

Perhaps I can figure something out soon enough for me to get a little more written today. My 7 words isn’t quite enough to say I’m done for the day.

Resolution

So, I decided to break from NaNo and the forums so I can spend more time writing. Last night was my last day. I had a few conversations with a few of them, managed to evade being “kidnapped”, and joked about having a going-away party. I had fun, and I’ll miss those NaNoers. I’m already looking forward to July, when I come back.

However, there were reasons I had leave, and one of the biggest ones is so I can put more effort into my writing. My Camp NaNo novel got, in some ways, thrown out the window. I got to just above forty thousand words on it, right before the climax, when I just couldn’t go any further. The character that was originally supposed to be my protagonist has so little personality that I don’t like writing her. The other two protagonists who kinda bumped themselves up have personalities that are in some cases flat, and some cases inconsistent. My villains don’t have any more of a personality. My setting is urban fantasy, but I can’t even decide if it’s our world, or just one with technology like ours.

In other words? This is turning out really awful. I think it’s an interesting plot and I’m not ready to give up on it yet, but it’s going to need a real overhaul. So, I think I’ll be working on that one these next two months.

Or….not.

What I probably will be doing is editing my other novel. The same one that I rewrote and rewrote for two years straight, and didn’t actually finish a draft that I was happy with until December. Sometimes, I like to refer to that as The Story, because I can’t seem to stay away from it. After these two years, I know my characters inside and out. I know all of the twists of my plot and I know my setting. And I love every piece of it.

So here is my resolution for the next two months. I will, without a doubt, be editing and writing the second draft to that novel, and hopefully, I will get some character development done and possibly write an outline for when I re-write my camp novel.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, all! Sorry I haven’t posted much. Life’s been keeping me busy, between editing one novel, writing another, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo, school, and all around life.

So, let’s see. Update on my life. Well, my baby brother is as cute as ever—even when he’s in his walker and trying to kill our toes. I have finished my physical therapy appointments, though I still have exercises to work on at home to strengthen up my arms and shoulders. At least my shoulder hasn’t been hurting as much. Except that one day…

But anyway, let’s talk about something more interesting. I discovered that my novel, which I was so proud of at it’s 80+ thousand words, is apparently too long. At least, if I want to publish it as YA. As it turns out, YA novels usually need to be between 50-60 thousand words and 70-90 thousand words. And since I know from the way this editing is going, that my novel is going to be at least 90k, but probably over a 100k. So. Guess I have to cut down on some stuff.

This actually turned out to be an interesting thing to research. According to one article I found, a lot of new writers see all of the big, fat books on the shelves of libraries and such, so when they go to write their books, they think, Oh! I need to write a big book! If you’re writing fantasy for adults, go right ahead! But for YA novels, publishers tend to prefer things that aren’t 150k and beyond. Good luck getting published if that’s how big your novel is!

But, now that I know about this, I think cutting down my novel a little will benefit me. There are a few places where I’ve been stretching things out a little further than they should be, just for word-count. If I condense them into fewer words, it will be far better.

~~~

So, writing prompt! Go write a short story, about five to ten thousand words, and try to cut it down to between three to five thousand words—without taking anything away from the story.