Friday, April 18, 2014

The Adventures of the First Novel

Since Dragon's Whisper is my first full-length novel and the first story that I've really taken seriously, I'm figuring everything out as I go.

If you don't want to get burned out ten-thousand words in, don't edit as you go. You'll crash and burn.

Plotting didn't work.

And probably a few other lessons I can't think of in my tired, buzzy-from-writing state.

But since this is my first time through, I'm discovering each part of the process of writing a novel and realizing how it differs from the last. Once the first draft was done and I started on the second, a whole bunch more lessons have jumped out at me; some can even be applied to real life.

There's nearly always more to people than you can see at first.

Nothing is plain black-and-white. It isn't that simple.

Plotting is useless. Completely and totally useless. The characters ruin any semblance of a plot you have if you try.

Let the characters go where they will. Trying to press them into an outdated plot doesn't work. If their personalities develop too much, your plot's going to have to develop with them.

Keep lots of chocolate nearby. And a box of tissues.

Lots of chocolate.


Fifty thousand words. My novel hit fifty thousand words. It is now an officially recognized novel. I am no longer calling it a novel in faith -- it's real now. And since I'm burned out from writing a ton to hit fifty thousand, and I can think of nothing else to blog today, this is it. Have fun today, everyone.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Romance? Gack!

I am no romance author. This is obvious. Out of all the books on my shelf (and being a writer, I have a ton of books) not a single one is a romance. I've never dated or been in a romantic relationship. I have NO STINKING CLUES about romance.

And of course that means my characters decided to fall in love.

Not only is this not part of the plot, it's not part of my experience. I have no idea how to handle this. Blasted characters.

But it does make me think. It must mean I have well-developed characters, if they fall in love against my will and the plot.

Who knows? Maybe this will be a good exercise for me. Since I don't have an outline or written out plot or any idea on how to handle this new romance. So I'm going to have to just follow my characters.

Of course, following one's characters tends to end up in unexpected complications and plot twists.

But is that really a bad thing?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dragon's Whisper's Playlist

Funny how you can find music to fit your story (and how music influences your story). Today, I've decided to share Dragon's Whisper's current playlist. These songs sum up Dragon's Whisper. (And, as you'll see, I've put notes in there. Those might not make much sense, but oh, well. *shrug*)


Hero - Skillet

Falling Inside the Black - Skillet (Valerick)

The Fatal Wound - Switchfoot (Valerick and Rael)

You Decide - Fireflight (General message of the book.)

Strong Enough To Save - Tenth Avenue North (General message and feel.)

Nothing Is Wasted - Jason Gray (Rael and Vincen. (As seperate characters, not a couple.))

Alone Yet Not Alone - Joni Eareckson Tada (Rael.)

When God Ran - Philips Craig and Dean (General feel.)

What Scars Are For - Jonny Diaz (Vincen needs to hear this one.)

Held - Natalie Grant (PERFECT.)

Not Alone - Red

The Last Night - Skillet (Vincen to Rael.)

Never Surrender - Skillet (Rael and Vincen. As a couple. Or at least close friends.)

Sometimes - Skillet (THAT scene.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Today someone on the Go Teen Writers Facebook group asked what we thought death would look like if it was an entity. I tried to give a nice, neat answer like everyone else. Instead, this came out. Enjoy a bit of morbidness to enhance your day.

In a room full of people, he immediately commanded my attention. He was a full head taller than anyone else, yet no one gave him even a glance. Almost as if they couldn't see him. He scanned the room, looking for someone.

Try as I might, I couldn't age him. At first glance, he seemed possibly early twenties. At second glance, his features seemed even younger than that; at odds with his height. A moment later, he seemed as old as life itself. The longer I looked, the more confused I became.

His eyes fell on me. Dark eyes, nearly completely obscured by black hair. Cold, piercing eyes. He looked me over, appraising me. A satisfied smile played on his lips.

I froze as he looked at me, unable to move.

He slipped through the crowd like a wraith. No one noticed him as he slid between them, touching none. He moved with steady footing, yet his feet barely seemed to touch the ground. The same cold effiency that was in his eyes inhabited his stride.

As he neared me, I wished I could run. But he held me with the focused gaze of a lion stalking prey. I couldn't move if I tried.

He approached me. I hoped it was just my imagination, but I swore I felt a chill.

"Who are you?"

He bent down, getting much too close for comfort.

"I have something to show you." His voice came cold and breathy in my ear.

Panic told me to run. To break free of this strange man's spell and run.

"Who are you?" Why was that the only idiot question I could ask?

With the speed of a striking viper he grabbed my hand. His fingers were cold; they belonged on a man lying in a casket, not this boy standing in front of me.

My hand tingled, my fingers grew numb. I tried to jerk away, but my strength evaporated. I could only stand there and shake. The numb cold spread up my arm, indicated by deathly white skin in its path.

The man bent close again, whispering to me one last time. "The name's Death, darling."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Characters and People

It's horribly frustrating when your characters become so human that you find out you didn't know them as well as you thought. But it makes you think, too. All my first impressions of these characters are turning out to be wrong. And, uncomfortably, it's the same kinds of misconceptions that I tend to make in real life. There's a whole lot more to people than we can see on the surface. And if this is the only thing I get out all this work on my writing, I'll be satisfied.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Character-induced Plot Twists

Well, Rael did what she wasn't supposed to and found out what she wasn't supposed to.

Then she tried to kill herself.

Yeah. Blasted character. Now I'm having to cobble extra time into the timeline, to get her recovered before the plot can continue normally.

Well, I guess it adds length. Still. Blasted character can't stick to the script.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Short Story

Since I once again don't know what to post, I'll share a short story I wrote. A prompt nudged me in the right direction, then my muse just chucked the rest of it at me and I wrote it out in a half-hour.

Laughter echoed through the halls of the house a second ago. Now, with my youth pastor looking straight at me, the room seems to have gone silent.

"I'm fine."

He watches me with concern. "Are you sure?"

I nod and force my lips to turn upward and a hopefully realistic spark of happiness to come into my eyes.

He relaxes. My ruse must have worked. I turn away, then slip down the hallway.

The laughter intensifies. I roll my eyes at the silliness of it.

Since when was it considered a good idea to bring the youth group to an empty house on the beach for an outing? Fun, of course. Fun places aren't my thing.

The door to a back bedroom creaks as I open it. A gentle breeze stirs in the room and my nostrils fill with the smell I can only call "old house," mixed with salt. Waves crash just outside the window.

A sigh of relief seeps out of my lungs. No matter what everyone says about youth group, I don't enjoy it. The ache at the back of my mind suddenly turns into a sharp stab.

I'm alone.

Waves break against the rocks, creating a sound that should calm me, but instead grates across my brain. The room smells like loneliness. Loneliness smells like hell.

I chose it myself, though, didn't I? I came here to get away from a different type of hell. The torture of empty laughter. The false feeling of friendship I so easily settle into.

All I hear is my own ragged breathing and the taunting crash of waves. Will it always be this way?

Hell is forever.

Every "Christian" bone in my body screams my error to me. Heaven exists. Christians go there. But it all seems so shallow. Yeah, great. Heaven's fine to believe in. But all I've ever seen is Hell. It's all I can believe in.

A sudden urge grabs hold of me. I cross the room and test the window. It sticks and squeaks, but opens with enough pressure. A slinter jabs into my palm as I climb through.

Outside, the ocean is even louder. The wind is stronger, too, beating against me and blowing my hair into my face. I swipe it out of my eyes and move toward the water. I scramble out onto some rocks reaching out into the edges of the water.

The wind rushes around me and whips the water into white-capped waves. My loneliness still stabs at me. No matter how many walls I put up to keep myself from being hurt, I can't keep out something that lives inside of me.

"God, where are you?"

The wind sweeps my voice away before I can hear it. Something about opening my mouth unleashes something.

"All the promises in the world don't make up for anything! I'm still lonely after you yank every friend I have away with divine acts. Stop calling everyone I care about to something else, all right? But why would you do that? You don't care. I don't care what everyone says in church. All I can see are acts of cruelty in your name. Why do you promise christians heaven, yet force me into a living hell? If hell is lack of your presence, then I think I've gotten there."

I gasp for breath, but I'm not done.

"Everyone says you have great plans. Some plans. I don't care how great they are. I can't live like this. What did I do wrong? What did I do to earn this? Why do you play games with me? I feel like a cat chasing a laser. The friendship I'll never get."

I have to breathe again, but the words keep coming. Years of pain and frustration. I couldn't stop them if I tried.

"I've been a good girl and gone to church. I know what the Bible says. That Jesus went through everything we possibly could. But you haven't! How could you have? You are God! You understand everything you do! You never had to deal with unexplainable "acts of God." You knew why. But I don't! And I'm starting to doubt that there's actually a reason."

I sink to my knees. I can't take this. I can't spend sixty-some years in this screwed-up world trying to blindly follow a God that only shows himself by playing sick jokes.

I rise.

"I'm done. You've proven your point. If you're gonna show yourself, this is your last chance!" I shout to the empty wind. My muscles tense as I prepare myself.

"Could you trust me?"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vincen's Answers

Like I promised, I'm forcing Vincen to answer your questions.

1. What are you scared of?

Vincen: *clears throat, glances at me* Must I answer?

Yes, you must. You aren't getting out of any of these. And if you try to lie, I'll know it. So be good.

Vincen: *sighs* ... Dragons ... Being unwanted ...

A bit more than that, Vincen.

Vincen: Well ... Considering I was enslaved for five years by a dragon's charmed amulet, I have reason to fear them. And ... I've always feared that my father left because he was tired of me.

2. If that picture an accurate representation of what you look like, do a lot of girls flirt with you?

Vincen: *shifts uncomfortably* I do not think the picture is completely accurate. And no, most girls stay away from me. Being enslaved turned me into a insensitive idiot. And now ... My author says that the best term to describe me is "geek." So no.

3. Do you think of your adoptive family or your birth parents as your family?

Vincen: My birth parents, of course. My adopted parents have me call them "mother" and "father" as if it's completely natural. But they aren't and never will be.

4. Do you really want to be scholar, or are you being pressured into it? What else would you want to do?

Vincen: I do want to be a scholar ... Somewhat. My father wished for me to be a scholar, since both him and my mother were warriors. He wanted me to do something more lasting and less dangerous. My adopted family will not let me do anything else. It was his wish for me to be a scholar, so they hold me to that.

5. Why don't you want to be a scholar? What about healing entices you?

Vincen: It is not so much that I don't want to be a scholar, but that I want to be a healer more. *looks at me* Do I have to answer the rest of the question?

Yes. You do. Or I could always change the plot of the story so the dragon makes you kill someone then commit suicide.

Vincen: *sighs* Fine. My mother died because of an infection that got out of hand. It could have been easily prevented, had she known. I want to be a healer to prevent that from happening to others.

So, there we are! Thank you cooperating (somewhat), Vincen!