Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Journey to 50,000 Words

50,000 words, they said.
Just write that many words in a month, and you'll have a novel.
It seemed a crazy thing.
Why force yourself to try and craft a brand new story within that short a time?
What would you get from it?
Surely not any words worth keeping, or a plot that could be easily navigated.
Or what if the plot ended up too simple, and all the words dull and flat?
You stayed away from the challenge for many years.
Each time the time for it came around, you stared at it, then shook your head with a sigh.
You'd never be good enough to succeed.
So why even try?
Then came the year were nothing you wrote seemed to be working right.
You felt stuck, and as if the drafts would never end.
The time for that crazy challenge was coming again, and this year you gave in to that bit of insanity.
So you signed up, before your sense could remind you at how weak you were.
As the time to begin drew near, you started to worry you'd made a mistake.
You were armed with only an idea, and some old characters just waiting to be taken from their dusty, unfinished story.
What were you thinking?
Still, you began with determination to see the challenge through to the end.
Your plan seemed good.
But then came days when your story slowed to a crawl, and each word was a fight to find.
Still, you were fairly sure you could do it.
Until you reached the story's end, and only had half the words you needed.
You fretted and paced, sure that this stone in your path couldn't be moved.
How could you continue on, when there didn't seem to be any more to the story?
Back to the beginning you went.
It was hard to resist changing the words you already had, for your mind screamed that they could be better.
But you resisted.
This was not about editing words already written, but about writing.
So you added a word here, a new sentence there.
Sometimes, you found places where new paragraphs would fit.
Even better where the times when new scenes suddenly filled your mind.
The construction of those scenes made your word count grow, and you started to feel more confident.
Maybe you could do this.
But then you fell behind.
You weren't reaching your daily goals, and the distance between where you were and where you should be was growing into a gaping chasm.
But you didn't want to fail.
To fail in this challenge might be the final blow that crushed you.
So late into the night you would type, pounding word after word.
You raked your mind for any idea, anything that could be added into your story.
Anything that would make some sense, you insisted.
For what was the point in compiling meaningless bits that didn't tell a story?
That wasn't what you wanted.
You pushed on.
Always aware of the lingering doubts lurking at the back of your mind, you wrote.
As the final days arrived, you became frantic to finish.
On the last day, you cheered a little victory song each time the number of words left to write diminished.
You could do this.
You would do it.
It wasn't for fame, or to satisfy another's thirst for a story.
It was for you.
Then came the end.
Your challenge was over.
Each word that had soared high above your reach in a distant, unapproachable galaxy had been coaxed down the Earth.
You did it.
The challenge was won.
And those lingering doubts that said you shouldn't even try?
They've been silenced.
At least for a little while.
But now you knew what you could do.
And the next challenge wouldn't seem as daunting when it arrived.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Cookie Shapes

1. A star.
2. A bell.
3. A tree.
4. A snowman.
5. A present.
6. A candy cane.
7. A reindeer.
8. A snowflake.
9. An angel.
10. Santa Claus.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sweet Slumber

Sleep comes in the quiet of the night,
When restless heads their pillows find,
And all the chatter of the mind,
Falls silent with the dimming light,
What adventures await within our dreams?
Is what we feel really all it seems?
Amid the chaos kept within,
Will our senses ever come back again?
The quiet night stretches on and on,
Like a constant thrumming in a song.
Will we ever be a rest?
Or will our minds remain a mess?
All we can do is simply lay,
And hope sweet slumber finds us before the day.

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to Increase Your Word Count

1. Add description. Be it physical details of your characters' appearance, or the features of a breathtaking landscape that the characters must ride through, adding description will not only increase your word count, but it will also add meat to the scene.
2. Show what your character is thinking. Don't just have your character shrug and continue on his quest. Let him have the chance to think about what has been happening to him, and why he is going to take a certain course now.
3. Let characters talk to each other. It's okay to let your characters talk. Let them ask each other questions, instead of blindly moving together through their quest without ever even introducing themselves.
4. Throw in a random encounter. Are your characters in a jungle? Throw an ancient jaguar warlock at them. Or do they need to hurry through the busy streets in order to get to work in time to close a major deal (and thus save their jobs)? Let them stumble into an old school rival that is simply determined to make amends right now.
5. Make something go wrong. The bridge brakes, sending our heros plummeting down the mountain toward an early demise. A vital letter gets sent to the wrong house, and so the main character leaves the country thinking everything they loved has been lost. How will things turn around from here?
6. Show what happened during that skipped scene. Did you really need to skip over the meeting with the royal sorcerer, in which our might hero received his magic dagger that is destined to slay the horrendous hippogriff?
7. Build up the world. What is the world of your story like? Can your readers read through the story and imagine the characters being at a mall or in the middle of a forest, without either setting being unfitting based on what they have been given about the actual setting? Let your reader see the setting unfold on the page, and firmly settle itself in their mind as the only possible place the characters could be.
8. Explain how the mystery was solved. The "what happened's" and "whodunit's' have been solved, but how? If the character hasn't given a good reason for how they figured it out, now is the time to write it in.
9. Make things interesting. Sometimes, all you really need to do is add some flesh to the scenes you've already written. Take a simple exchange of dialog, and reveal what the characters were doing during their conversation.
10. Just keep writing. It doesn't have to be perfect right now (because you'll probably edit it at least twice), but get those words written. Amid the ramblings, you might find nuggets worth polishing into a story to be treasured.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sometimes Your Time Runs Out

Sometimes your time runs out,
And you can't think of what to say.
We've had trials come about,
That seek to ruin our day.
But if you keep pushing on,
The struggles you face might fade.
And then you'll be met with a brighter dawn,
With newfound joys undelayed.
So keep pressing forward,
Until you reach the very end.
And seek for the greatest of rewards,
In the loving support found in a friend.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happiness Is

1. Being with those you love.
2. Reading a great book.
3. Playing with your pet.
4. Watching a child as they learn something new.
5. Eating your favorite food.
6. Hearing your best friend laugh.
7. Wearing your favorite pair of socks, even though they don't match anything else you're wearing.
8. Singing along to your favorite song.
9. Knowing you did your best.
10. Taking a moment to absorb everything in your life that has gone right.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Born to Sleep

Born to sleep, they always say. Born to waste each day away.
Born to slumber beneath the sun. Born to dream, to laugh and run.
Born to the quiet, to quell the fright. Born to the sky, and all the delights of the night.
Born to the wise, the noble and true. Born to the romantic, and all that they do.
Born to the thief, who sneaks by your beam. Born to the soldiers, who protect their dream.
Born for the suffering, and all the tears shed. Born for the comforting, and all those who are fed.
Born above watching, you were not immune. To those born pleading, who sought out the moon.
And so your light was born, to shine all the night through.
So that each newborn would have something bright to turn to.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fun Familiars

1. A salamander. One of these adorable are sure to make you smile. And to make it even better these critters are known to have fire abilities!
2. A spider. One of the best familiars for a crafty person to have, as their spider webs make for wonderful thread.
3. A goldfish. This is a good starter familiar for a child, which if well taken care of, can climb the waterfall and transform into a dragon!
4. A dog. Why can't man's best friend become man's best familiar?
5. A chicken. Imagine, having a familiar that provides useful things like eggs, hen's teeth, and a feather whenever your quill brakes.
6. A horse. This is a familiar that can take you places, and that won't "accidentally" try and eat you.
7. A baby seal. Because even if it isn't very helpful right now, it can make you smile with how cute it can look.
8. A robot. Because who said that your familiar had to be an animal?
9. A turtle. The perfect familiar to remind you that some experiments are best taken slowly.
10. A cat. Because there is a reason something becomes a classic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Thoughts, scattered throughout the mind.
Feelings, strange and fleeting emotions provide a mold.
Words, constructed as thought and feeling combine.
Stories, taking shape as each new word builds on the one before.
Words, bringing to mind questions as stories are devoured page by page.
Feelings, flare to life as the words bring back memories of grief, pain, love, and joy.
Thoughts, pondered in the late of night as feelings have time to simmer in the mind.