Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Thoughts After Writing a Short Story

A belated Merry Christmas and early Happy New Year’s to all of you! I hope your holiday break has been restful and encouraging.

As I prepare some New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I’ve been thinking back on this past fall semester and all that I accomplished. I finished my last four Lumerit courses for the year in 4 months–something I was beginning to doubt I’d be able to do in September. I also entered a short story contest.

In June of this year, a friend told me about a fairy tale retelling contest that was going on (something I might have briefly mentioned in a past blog post) and I couldn’t pass it up! Fairy tale retellings used to be one of my favorite genres and I read many of them growing up. This year’s fairy tale to retell was Snow White. We had 6 months to write and send our short story and I thought to myself, “why not?” I hadn’t entered a writing contest in years and since I was in a bit of a rut writing-wise, it might be good for me to try something new.

Continue reading “Thoughts After Writing a Short Story”

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Posted in For Fellow Writers, Uncategorized

Writer High

I don’t normally write random posts like this. Most of the time, my blog posts have some sort of announcement, update, story, etc. But this time, I just wanted to write about a moment I had a few days ago. An ordinary, every day moment for anyone else, but a big moment for me, a writer.

Who knows, there might already be a word for this or a better phrase than the one I’m using, but the phrase that came to mind once I experienced this feeling was: writer high. Maybe joy, success, inspiration, hype or a number of other words fit better, but…nah. For those of you who go to church, you’ve probably heard of the term “spiritual high”. Often times, we’ll hear people talk of having them during a church camp, retreat or mission trip. It’s sort of this feeling of being on “fire for God”, you could say. All of a sudden, all you want to do is live for God’s glory. That’s the sort of feeling I got on Saturday, but for  writers.

While waiting for my editor to look over The Whistler Daughters, I’m busying myself with finishing my NaNo 2015 novel, Bridget’s Journey the Sequel–which yes, has yet to be properly titled. Over the past week and a half I’ve been reading over what I’ve already written and making notes of how to fill certain plot holes that will come up later in the novel. Besides the obvious remembering what conversations and milestones have already been reached, I was mainly reading what I’d written to get that inspiration back. Because I’d lost it. Spring of this year I had a lot of schoolwork, spent time with friends, had a lot of visitors and prepared for my high school graduation. Therefore, I wrote little. By the time summer started, I began my long list of vacations: graduation present trip to Texas, mission trip to Kenya, trip to see family in New York and Canada and lastly, our family vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. In between all these vacations, whenever I sat down to write, I just couldn’t. In fact, by the time I got home from Kenya, I’d decided to move on from BJ2 and just work on starting the editing process for The Whistler Daughters. Once I’d finished that, though, I knew I had to go back to BJ2, and I wanted to. I want to finish it before NaNoWriMo, so I can start a new story.

The truth is, I hadn’t written a scene in BJ2 since late May or early June by the time I finally picked it back up last week. I think I was getting too close, maybe, and needed some time to take a step back and reassess the novel. While I liked the last two scenes I’d written for the break, something about it didn’t feel right anymore. I felt like I was getting off track and losing the point, where I was trying to go with Bridget and Cynthia and their plotlines. I just didn’t have any inspiration left. It wasn’t a writer’s block, really, since I had the next several scenes mapped out. It just wasn’t flowing the way it had in the beginning when I was writing during NaNoWriMo.

So, when I began reading it over last week, most of which I hadn’t looked at since November or December, I started to rebuild up all that inspiration I’d lost over the spring and summer. I remembered what my end goal was and re-fell in love with my characters. By the time I’d read everything I’d written, I was ready, so ready, to start writing again.

Then on Saturday I read a scene that I hadn’t liked from the moment I wrote it. I knew it was dumb and unlikely, but I told myself I just had to keep going, had to keep writing. But I couldn’t move on until I’d fixed it, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed in the long run. So I scrapped it and completely re-wrote it. I’ll admit, it’s only a three page scene and it doesn’t have anything directly to do with Bridget. But when I fixed it and made it not just better, but the best, I was just filled with, yes, a writer high.

I’d done it. I made a so-so scene into a great scene. It made more sense, it flowed better and the reaction from the character was more in tune with who that character really is. Definitely one of my writing pet peeves is when I write a scene where my character does or says something out of character. It’s no one’s fault but my own. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of writing, you just have to start over. So after re-writing this scene, I ran and jumped around the house, feeling all giddy and excited inside.

I’d done it. I’d gotten that inspiration back.

To me, the writing life is always about these moments, these little victories. These moments are what keep me going and push me through the future lows of writing, the doubts and the writer’s blocks. In these moments, you remember why you’re writing this story and why it’s so important to finish it.

So now it’s time for me to finish it.

Posted in Words Upon Words

Light…

Last night, my sisters and I went to WAFFLE at my cousin’s house and spent time with other writers in the area. We talked about our individual projects, did a writing prompt together and spent some time at the end working on those said individual projects or talking about them. This was my second time going to WAFFLE, but it had been a long time since I went the first time. It was fun and so great to talk to Erin about my story and get her feedback on how The Whistler Daughters should end (or not end 😉 ), which I’ve missed so much this past summer. I look forward to many writing sessions together in the future to prepare for and during NaNoWriMo in November!

Needless to say, I have since yesterday finished my first of many edits for The Whistler Daughters and am now going to hand it over to my aunt for her thoughts. Until I hear back from her, I’m going to be re-reading the 50K I wrote for BJ2 and getting ready to finish writing that novel.

And just for fun, here is the prompt I wrote in 30 minutes last night, stemmed by two images Jeremy and Erin found on the internet. Keep in mind, I wrote it quickly without looking back on it, so there will definitely be a mistake or two in there! 🙂 Enjoy!

Light.

Not blinding light, or glowing light, or faint light, but real light like I’d never seen before. You know the rays that come down from the sun and shine over the earth? It’s always sort of yellow or orange depending on the time of day. This light wasn’t like that. It was as pure as light could get. It was white, as if it had it just been born.

It didn’t hurt, in fact, I hardly felt anything besides a slight tingle in my fingertips, but that might have just been me. After all, goosebumps were crawling up and down my body as I stared at the light coming from my hands. Tears were gathering in my eyes.

My fingers twitched and for a second I was afraid the light might disappear and I would be left standing alone in the coffee shop like I always was. Not that I was really alone. Other people worked there, too. Alone because the light would be gone.

But it stayed. It might have even shined brighter. A smile was forming on my face.

It wasn’t a dream after all.

I didn’t know how it had started or how to make it stop, but finally my day had come.

They couldn’t call me useless anymore. Finally, I had something and not only that, I had something no one else had had in years. Decades. It held the power of light in my hands.

“Anna?”

The light vanished. I jumped up in surprise as Matt stared back at me.

“Hello? Are you there?” He knocked lightly on my head. “Get back to work before boss returns. Do you think she’ll be happy to see you standing around like that?”

Normally I would have thumped his head back or at least stuck my tongue out at him, but I was too happy to care. I just smiled at him and said, “You’re right.”

I held my hands behind my back as I walked to the cash register and took a customer’s order. I bit my lip, trying to hold back my excitement.

All these years and my parents thought I would never amount to anything because I was born without a special ability. In a world where you can only make a difference or really matter at all if you have super powers, it’s really hard on those who just happen to be born without them. Actually, it’s really 50-50, I’d say. But every one of my five brothers and sisters and both of my parents had powers. It wasn’t common to have so many special abilities in one family…and still have one member without.

But everyone knew that some people inherited their powers late in their life. This was more of a 10% chance type of thing than anything else and if nothing happened by the time you were 20, you were done. You weren’t getting any powers. You’d live the rest of your life being less than ordinary. In a world where everyone is extraordinary, if you don’t have that extra, you don’t have anything.

Having the power of light, though? No one had heard of anyone controlling light since the 1970s. Since the best superhero that ever lived came on the scene. I hadn’t really ever understood why, but for whatever reason, having the power of light was the best power there was. Better than invisibility, strength, flight, time travel or even mind reading. I don’t think it was so much because of what you could do with it as much as that was what fascinated the public…and it was so rare.

I guess I was too naïve to figure it out. That having the power of light wasn’t all it was hyped up to be.

I guess I should have known better. But I was only 17 then. I just wanted to be like almost everyone in my community. I just wanted to be acknowledged, special.

Too bad for me.

 

Let’s just say, the next thing I knew there was a blackout. I looked around, trying to find a source of light from outside. For some reason, all the blinds were closed and so little light shone out the windows.

“Hey, Matt, what’s—”

A hand covered my mouth and a knee kicked me in the stomach. I half-shrieked and doubled over in pain. I tried to bite the hand that held my mouth or at least hit the guy in the face, but something grabbed my arm and was tying my hands behind my back. They threw me over some guy’s shoulders and I kicked and screamed.

“Matt! Matt! Matt!”

Someone punched me in the face and I was knocked out.

 

When I woke, it was already dark, so I must have been out for a few hours. I looked around me carefully, trying not to alert the man carrying me that I was awake. I was still hanging over his bulky shoulder. My eyes adjusted the darkness pretty quickly and I soon realized that I was at the forsaken railroad. Forsaken because of the accident that had happened back in the 1970s. The one that killed that superhero I was telling you about.

A train was sitting patiently on the tracks, one strong blue light shining from the front. As eerie as the train looked in the darkness, in the prairie that I knew was miles from home, what creeped me out more were the group of lantern holders. It was bright enough for me to tell there were many people waiting, but not bright enough for me to see their faces.

For all I knew, this was just some crazy nightmare. I had been knocked out after all.

If only. Because this was all too real.

I panicked and started kicking again, only then realizing that my legs were tied together like my hands and my mouth was covered. The motion, at least, was enough for my captor to loosen his grip in surprise. I rolled to the ground and tried my best to crawl away. Why did I even bother?

One of the men grabbed me by the back of my shirt and pulled me forward to the crowd. Someone pulled on my hair so that I looked up at the man holding the brightest lantern. I squirmed and squealed but to no avail.

The man above me smirked. “Is this her?” he asked my captors. I think there were only two. They must have answered positively because he smiled and looked down at me. The light from his lantern made peculiar shadows on his face. “I’m sure you’re a little unnerved at the moment, are you not?”

I tried to spit in his face, forgetting that my mouth was tied. Now I just felt embarrassed.

He laughed, which made my blood boil.

What was going on? If this wasn’t a dream, then why did these people want me? Why bring me here of all places? Where did they get that train?

“Don’t worry, everything will be revealed in time. Welcome, Anna. Welcome. We are the light hunters.”

 

Posted in The Ponderings of Life

One Year Anniversary!

One year ago today I published my first blog post on For a Thousand Words.

In one year I have written 30 blog posts exactly (not including this one) and I have 30+ e-mail/Wordpress.com followers. It has been one fun year filled with accomplishments and failures, hard work and rewards! I enjoy blogging more than I thought I would, but even more, I found a lot more to say than I ever thought I would. Over the past six months I have not posted as often as I would have liked, though, so I will try and do better this semester.

To celebrate my blog’s anniversary, I’m going to give you a brief variety of information.

First, I would like to give you an update on my reading and writing. I just finished book #16 of 40 and I have four library books to work on, so I hope to catch up on my reading soon! As for writing, it’s a bit of a longer story. To start off, I recently gave myself a sort of scheduled plan for the next few months. I have a lot of different projects in the works, so I wanted to organize and prioritize. For the month of August, my goal is to finish going through The Whistler Daughters once and then send it my excellent editor, Aunt Andrea. I only have three chapters left, so I think that goal will be completed in time! For the month of September, I want to finish re-reading what I’ve already written for Bridget’s Journey the Sequel (my NaNo 2015 novel) and finish writing it. Even though I would love to finish this in a month, I honestly don’t know how long it will take me. I’m only halfway through the sequel, so there is still a lot of story left to figure out and write before it is finished. But as long as I stay focused, I should have it done in time for NaNoWriMo in November. Assuming I finish writing the sequel in September, I want to outline my NaNo novel during the month of October. Then, I would be able to start writing it during November. I’ll keep you updated on how it all goes!

Second, I have some great news! Bridget’s Journey is FREE once again on Kindle this weekend ONLY! Today, tomorrow and Sunday it’s available to download on your Kindle or Kindle app for free, so go get it and tell your friends! 🙂

Bridget's Journey Free on Kindle.jpg

Third, I would like to finish this anniversary post with a few of my favorite quotes from some of my favorite authors. Enjoy!

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. ~Jane Austen

I’ll not listen to reason… reason always means what someone else has got to say. ~Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

The thing is, if in your life, you never got any bad news, never got weary, never got the wind knocked out of you, well, there would be nothing left in this world to move you. And there would be no reason at all to well up in a teary smile and hold on tight to everything you love. I know now that that’s the whole point. That’s the whole point to everything. -Beth Seidel Levine

Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Long Time, No See!

Good afternoon, readers! First of all, I apologize for my lack of blogging over the past few months. The last post I made was in March, I believe, announcing my mission trip to Kenya. This post I started in February and never got around to finishing, so before I continue, I’ll share with you what I started writing on February 26–it’s actually some big news. 🙂

February, 26

50,000 Words Reached!

As of last night, I have FINALLY reached the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word count goal for the sequel to Bridget’s Journey! Schoolwork has kept me away from my book a lot lately, to the point that I really only have time once a week to dedicate to writing–on Thursday afternoons when I visit my writing buddy, Erin, during my sister’s music class. That is why nearly three months later I just finished writing the 10K I was missing at the end of November. This story is coming along slowly-going with maybe a few too many different story lines, but overall, I’m happy with where Bridget and Cynthia are headed. I have the bulk of the story planned out with a little elbow room for spontaneity here and there for those times when ideas come out of the blue.

Since writing the above, I honestly haven’t written much more in the sequel. I probably have only written about 5,000 words since I reached 50K in February. This spring has kept me busy with lots of homework from my college classes, family and friends visiting at different times and preparing for my high school graduation. I finally finished my college and co-op classes by the first week of May and spent the last two weeks of school before graduation finishing Jane Eyre and Math. I graduated last Saturday and since then have been enjoying my time with our grandma visiting from Canada–and READING.

I love reading. I missed reading so much. Since finishing college classes, I’ve finished reading two books (not including Jane Eyre) and I’m looking forward to reading many more this summer and catch up on my reading goal. Of my goal of 40, I have read 9 so far. So, I might have to adjust my goal to 30 again like last year, but hopefully I’ll be able to read a lot this summer!

That all being said, I have not written much lately. However, now that summer is in full swing, I’m hoping to get back at it. I wrote a couple of good scenes last month and I like how Cynthia’s character is developing. However, before I get back into writing again, I think I’m going to take a little break and start editing The Whistler Daughters for the second time. I’m hoping to self-publish it by fall of 2017, so in order to get that done, I’d like to edit it by myself over the summer before sending it to my aunt to start reading it herself. I don’t know how long that will take, it will depend on how much I can get done in between the different trips I have set for June, but hopefully I’ll be able to write now and again throughout the summer, too.

To finish out this post, I’d like to share some pictures from my graduation weekend. I’ll have to make an official, proper post about graduation and another one about my thoughts on Jane Eyre soon.