Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Agenda

Today I finished my first round edits for Thinking of You. I don't feel like anything big has happened; I feel like this was just the easy part. However, I can't think of a part I will have to perform that is going to be hard. This gives me the thought that maybe I'm not doing this right. It doesn't feel wrong though so I'm going to continue on with my plans and hope it's just my anxiety talking.

As I went farther into the novel I was happy to find out that my two major concerns (tense switching and swearing) were not as prominent as at the beginning. This will make my job easier. There will be fewer parts I have to rewrite and fewer sentences I have to change. I will be able to start the first draft of A Shimmer in the Light (thinking about changing it to A Shimmer in the Rain because of the opening scene I have in mind) sooner.

Throughout January my agenda was to edit a chapter a day. This helped me keep on track. I'm going to use the same basic strategy for February to reach my goals. I have a week-by-week plan set up.

The Agenda

Week One: I bought this book that I want to read. It's called Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas. I'm going to take a small break from editing and do so.

Week Two: I am going to apply my changes to the computerized copy of Thinking of You. For the whole process I have been using the hard copy I printed off and I need to transfer it to the computer.

Week Three: I am going to work on the parts I need to rewrite because I wrote them in present tense the first time.

Week Four: I am going to make a map of everything that happens so I can figure out if there are scenes I need to take out or add. I will also plan out A Shimmer in the Light to see if that helps me with missing scenes. I'm scared that Thinking of You is going to be too short but I don't feel as if anything is missing.

This is helping me with my goal of being a more organized writer as well as the goals listed. Here's to hoping I manage to reach them all in the given time periods.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Prompt #4: The correct answer to 'no' is never 'please'. What a lazy, grotesque, sickening, pathetic way to get through life. Have some self-respect.

The room is dark and swathed in shadows so the man can not see her face. He can, however, see the deformed features of her hideous servant. The demon would have been bad enough by itself but the look on its face is enough to make anyone feel like heaving. Longing is written clearly across the gagged surface; that is not the disgusting bit though it feeds his terror. The look of pure pleading admiration for its mistress is the source of his stomach’s discomfort. It is the expression of an insect gazing upon a god; of a creature so low that it is not even worth stepping upon. It is proof of what she can do to a person.

“Do you know why you are here?” Her tone is conversational, some might even call it friendly.

The man gulps. He has angered her. What did he do? And more pressing, what should he say? His mind races for a response. It does not find one. Even if it had, his throat is too dry to speak.

“I see you do not,” her voice is sharp like a knife but somehow she manages to add a layer of softness to it.

The creature watches him as he licks his lips, hoping for inspiration. He is just a beggar; one among many one sits outside her gates, fearing but needing her. “Please, ma’am,” he starts.

“Spare me your insolent excuses,” any softness is now gone. “Have you no self respect?”

The thought that she should chide him for this burns at his throat; his eyes roaming back towards the servant who sits by her feet. Its eyes flash as if it senses what he thinks and does not like the truth in it. Teeth protruding at every angle glisten with drool, menacing him back into silence.

She rises from her chair; her face cast in sudden light. It holds beauty both soft and cold. Her icy cheeks are aflame with irritation and rage. Her eyes shine brighter than her melting flesh, ensnaring him. They speak the threats that her mouth is too pretty to say.

“I am tired of being surrounded by the scorn of the earth; tired of having those who think even themselves that they are not worthy to breathe entrap my home. Tell me, why do you ask my soldiers for homage when you have done nothing to earn it? And when they say no, as they are ordered to, why do you let the pleas push past your lips? Why do you let yourself become so low?” Her words make the man feel shame; his skin burns everywhere. He wants to look down but her eyes will not let him.

She begins to pace in front of her throne; her heels clicking against the brick. Her movements are so rapid that her dress brings a breeze. The man welcomes the coolness. He is beginning to sweat. He knows not what will come next but he can imagine.

Pictures and images of the carcasses he’s seen leave her home flash through his mind. He tries not to think of how he took part in eating them. In this barren land, only she can afford to waste.

Her steps halt; the sudden silence hurts his ears. She nods silently to herself, seemingly unaware of the witness of the man and the creature. Moving slowly, she reaches into her dress and pulls out a large bone. Pieces of meat still cling to it, swinging temptingly as she beats it methodically against her hand. It is rancid but the smell still makes his stomach rumble. He hasn’t eaten since her last tantrum.

Turning to face him, she smiles charmingly. His body goes cold instantly; fear engulfing him. As she walks up to him, the demon trails close behind. It is a wonder that it does not trip and fall on its face, it walks so low to the ground.

When she stops in front of him, he notices that she’s taller. He can’t decide if it’s because of her heels or not. He hasn’t much time to consider it. She dangles the bone before his face and he can feel the saliva gathering in his mouth. He holds perfectly still; he doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

“Do you remember this?” this time her voice is almost angelic, sweet.

He squints his eyes, narrowing his gaze to the bone. It gleams in the spare light, ghostly and gruesome. It’s shape does seem familiar but then how many bones has he gnawed on? How many has he envisioned in his sleep?

“This is the bone you so sloppily requested from my guard. He did not give it to you,” here her smile starts to turn to an evil, nasty grin, “but I will.”

And she holds it out ever so gently, that smirk spreading over the canvass of her face. For a second, he remains still then he so foolishly reaches out for it. Her sudden speed is that of a striking cobra. The first blow hits him and he almost crumples. Her nails dig into his shoulder, holding him up. “Take it like a man,” she howls.

Again and again the bone strikes him: his head, his shoulder, his side, his knee. All the while, the little demon cackles in the background, circling them. His body is becoming one big ache and he just wants to lie down but she won’t let him. The bone finally breaks in half as she slams it into the side of his skull. A scream escapes her throat and she resorts to using her hand, the slaps resounding throughout the room.

Finally, it ends. Her grip on his shoulder loosens and she allows him to plummet to the cold floor. Her chest heaves above him and, giving one more scream, she finishes with him with one swift kick to the side. She’s turning away, leaving him on the floor, when the monster speaks up, “Please?”

Her stride pauses, “Go ahead, Givvi.” Then she returns to her seat, exhausted from her fit.

The creature turns to him and smiles; its teeth shining. Then it lunges at him and the first cry for mercy escapes just as it takes its first bite.

Guess who's back?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We Interrupt This Program

So... I'm sick. Which basically means I've either been sitting around watching NCIS or sleeping. I think I've written maybe 300 words and wrote one crappy stanza. No editing, no short story, no poem, no finishing Chapter Eight. My productivity level has been low. I haven't even been reading that much.

There will be no Poetry Peak tomorrow simply because I don't want to embarrass myself by trying to drag up some sorry excuse for poetry. There will be no posting of Prompt #4 simply because I have had no ideas. Hopefully, I can make that up sometime this weekend once I'm feeling better. I also hope to finish editing Thinking of You and writing Chapter Eight of The Lullaby. Lots to do. Now was not a good time to get the flu.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Prompt #3: I knew there were magic spells for THAT. I just never imagined buying one off of Ebay.

The sunlight from the window streamed down on Sarah as she sat in the internet café. It was slowly dimming as time wore on. Sarah didn’t notice. Her eyes just got smaller and smaller and the line on her forehead became deeper and deeper as she sat and stared at her computer screen.

Finally, she sighed and leaned back, rubbing her aching face. She reached for her cup of coffee and took a swig. It had long since gone cold and tasted horrible. Almost choking, she managed to swallow.

With a disgusted face, she pulled a small leather pouch from her purse. She pulled out a small, clear stone and set it on her palm. Cheeks bulging, she let a soft breath float over it. When the rock began to glow, she whispered, “For warmth and good taste.” It wiggled in her hand, telling her it understand. A soft plunk sounded when it hit the bitter liquid.

As she waited for the magic to run its course, she glanced back at her work. There was only a little left to calculate but the thought of doing it made her groan. She saved and clicked out. There was still time before the deadline to complete it.

After closing her laptop, she took a sip of her coffee. Her eyes closed in pleasure, “Better.”

Sarah had no idea how the people before had survived without magic. It must have taken forever to do anything.  She shuddered to think what gruesome things they would had to do to keep their houses clean. She dreaded doing the few things that had to be done manually, like typing. The only reason she didn’t quit her current job was the advantage of learning about developments with lirion before most people.

She patted her purse affectionately, feeling the pouch inside. There were also a few emergency lirion stones set into her shoe, just in case her purse was stolen.

Taking another sip of her drink, her gaze fell on the clock. She still had time to kill before she met Keith for dinner. She eyed her computer, then smiled. Why not? She had nothing better to do.

Flipping it back open, she clicked on the Internet icon. When the browser popped up she quickly typed the web address into the URL bar. The familiar page greeted her like an old friend. The logo of Ebay sprawled across the top. What to search for?

Someone entered the café, the open door allowing a small breeze to sweep through the place. It displaced an already struggling piece of hair from Sarah’s hairclip; the strand falling in her face. She swiped it away and giggled as an absurd idea came to her. The word ‘hair’ appeared on the screen as she typed.

At first things like books on hairstyles and how to ask for them and celebrity hairs appeared on the list of items. She delved deeper, clicking next over and over. The last page had only two things on it: a movie called Hairspray on the prehistoric DVD and what looked like a heap of pick hair called a wig.

She selected the wig, having no desire in movies that she couldn’t watch. As she read the description, her eyes grew as big as saucers. Glancing back at the picture, she burst out laughing. People glanced at her over their shoulders. She pushed her mirth down but she couldn’t stop the goofy expression that sat on her face.

Imagine that someone would buy this wig when it was so simple to just swallow some lirion and change your hair to anyway you want. It was extremely illogical. She logged off again and, wiping tears from her eyes, started to pack up her things.

Later, at home, her mind drifted back to the wig as she relaxed in a bubble bath. Her eyes drifted to the small bowl of stones that lay on her bathroom counter. Bubbles slid down her body as she stood and reached across her small bathroom for one.

After plucking a brown hair from her head, she wrapped it with ease around the lirion. When the smooth surface began to tingle and shimmer in her hand, she whispered, “For short, pink hair.” Plucking it into her mouth, she swallowed and turned to watch herself in the mirror.

Her hair actually had to grow to reach her ears. She kept it short so she wouldn’t have to deal with it. At first, her hair turned a deep red, then got lighter and brighter as the pink color spread and became more dominant. She frowned at her eyebrows. The gave a little pop and turned the same blinding shade. A stranger stared back at her from the reflective surface as the spell finished it’s work.

Sarah turned her face this way and that. “You know,” she mused, “I think I like my hair like this.”

Making faces at herself, she decided to keep it that way. At least until the magic wore off. She sunk back down into her bath, humming silly little songs to herself.

All that week, her co-workers stared, most whispering behind their hands about her new hair-do. A few brave souls managed to compliment her gum colored hair. She would thank them politely and, after they turned away, giggle at her computer screen.

“I for one think it’s stupid to change your hair so dramatically, permanently,” a snotty voice drifted to her ears from a cubicle. Sarah recognized the voice right away.

She turned the corner to tell Susan that it was her hair and she would do whatever she damn well pleased with it. Susan brandished something in her hand, “Now this is much more practical. It’s good for parties and social events. And when you’re at work, trying to be professional, you don’t have to waste lirion changing it back.”

As Susan flicked the thing she held, she caught sight of Sarah. Her eyes widened at first but she stuck out her chin in a defiant manner quickly enough. Sarah’s irritation levels rose as she saw the gesture. She was opening her mouth to tell Susan to mind her own flipping business when she realized what the woman was holding.

Peals of laughter escaped her throat. Her sides heaved, making it hard to breathe. A few tears squeezed their way out of her eyes. Susan and the coworker she had been talking to stared at her like she was crazy.

The object of her mirth hung loosely from Susan’s hand; the pink wig’s hairs caught the light as they fell delicately towards the floor.

Completed at 1,102 words, this is my first third person story so far. I think I did good with it as well, though I don't know if my topic was as strong. I actually got it finished on time this week so maybe it's just more comfortable for me. Or maybe I was just in a better mood. Either way, I'm off to send this in. Here's to hoping you like it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Your face
her face
his face
that face
the face

stare up at me

Sharp angles
round edges

make up all the

that surround me


shake and mix

and make

my face

I decided to set the post up this way, see how I liked it. And actually I like this way better. It makes the main idea of the post, the poem, seem more dominant. Speaking of the poem, as you probably guessed, this one is about faces. I sort of imagine it from the view of someone on stage. They're looking around at the audience and the other performers. They're feeling many things: nervous, excited, doubtful, confident; and it's all showing on their face.

I also have some other news relating to my poetry. The other day I got an email telling me that I had gotten my first rating for my poem, Orphan Questions, on Teen Ink. I was disappointed to find it was two out of five stars. This is my only rating so far and only 14 people have viewed my poem. I need to put myself out in the Teen Ink community more: get some more ratings and maybe even a few comments, post a few more of my newer poems, critique others (seeing as that was one of my New Year's resolutions and I haven't done anything for it yet!).

I have managed to accomplish something positive however. I made the poem I posted two weeks ago, Cast it Aside, into a slideshow type video on YouTube. It's not the best quality but I'm still really happy I managed to figure out how to do it (I get so excited over little things like this XD). I thought you might like to see it. ^^

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Sad Truth

I was mulling it over as I laid in bed the other night and I think I have come to the conclusion that getting published might actually make me a little sad. Of course, my super excited, jubilant feeling will probably knock that out of the water, but it's still going to be there.

I should probably explain this. The reason I'm so weary about posting my poetry and other works on other sites is that fact that those sites often get non-exclusive rights to my work. I do realize that non-exclusive means the rights to the work are still mine but even that makes me uneasy. This means the work is never wholly mine again. This feeling is probably going to be even worse when (or if, but I'm hoping for when) I get published because I'm pretty sure the rights the publishing company claim are not non-exclusive. I will be getting paid for the sales that my book(s) brings in and my name will be on the book so I can claim that I wrote it/them. It/they just won't be completely mine anymore. It's a sad truth.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


The other day as I was reading a post at W O R D + S T U F F, I found out that I had won my first award! The Versatile Blogger Award! I wasn't able to post about it right away because I was at a friend's house. Then as I was checking out my comments, I learned that I had received a second award from a friend at Virtual Bookshelf. This one, the Stylish Blogger Award. Thank you so much to Trisha and Izzy. ^^

1. Link to the blogger who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to 15 bloggers recently discovered.
4. Notify the blogger recipients.

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 or so recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

So as you probably could see, these awards are pretty similar with their requirements. I've contemplated over whether to tell seven things about myself and have that counted for both or tell seven for each. I've decided to do seven for each. This should be fun.

The Versatile Blogger:
  1. My birthday is February 4th. This means that my birthday is on the Superbowl every now and then. Which leads us to number...
  2. I hate football. I'm not a very sportsy person to begin with and having my birthday so dangerously close to the Superbowl does not help the matter.
  3. My feet are only a size 3. I still have to shop in the children's section to buy shoes. Here's to hoping Selena Gomez will wear out of my flats eventually.
  4. My book list currently says that I own 457 books. I'm planning to check that over soon so it's subject to change.
  5. I read the seventh Harry Potter book in less than 24 hours, probably somewhere between five and seven hours actually.
  6. I have never made a 0 on a paper. My lowest grade ever was a 10. XD
  7. My favorite color ranges from purple to not having one.
Stylish Blogger Award:
  1.  I don't like cinnamon. No, not even cinnamon rolls.
  2. My family has two dogs (Apollo and Mason), eleven hamsters (Cleopatra, Leopold, and Romeo are the only ones with names; the other eight are made up of two recent litters), and one bobtail cat (Jezabelle).
  3. I'm a neat freak about clutter. Everything has to be in the spot it goes or else it itches at me.
  4. I can type more than 80 words a minute.
  5. My favorite Harry Potter character is Luna Lovegood. I mean, come on, who doesn't love a crazy?
  6. I collect porcelain dolls. I currently have eight.
  7. I have a great-great uncle who has the same birthday as me.
Now I get to award these awards. I makes me feel so important. XD I don't think I'll be able to come up with fifteen blogs but the blogs I do award to deserve it.

For the Versatile Blogger Award:
Heather at A Dragon Writes
Hannah at A Year in the Life of a Teenage Writer
Michelle at Adventures in Writing
Madeline at Capricious Existence
Ella at Ella's Muse
Joana at Fake Paradise
Tizzy at Impossible Dreams
Rae at Perilous Publishing
Teralyn at Teralyn Rose Pilgrim
Izzy at Virtual Bookshelf

For the Stylish Blogger Award:
Heather at A Dragon Writes
Hannah at A Year in the Life of a Teenage Writer
Michelle at Adventures in Writing
Madeline at Capricious Existence
Ella at Ella's Muse
Joana at Fake Paradise
Tizzy at Impossible Dreams
Rae at Perilous Publishing
Teralyn at Teralyn Rose Pilgrim
Trisha at W O R D + S T U F F

Well, I've fulfilled all the requirements that I can here. Now I have to inform all these people of what they've won. It shouldn't take too terribly long. Here's to hoping I'm right.

Prompt #2: The truth behind the smile...

I'm not used to writing short stories. They're a rare thing for me. I have noticed over the past two weeks that I write short stories differently than I do my novels. Often, there is little dialogue and my characters have no names. I also write my short stories in first person naturally, where for novels I often find third person to come easiest. Somehow, this experiment is dragging good writing out of me anyway. At least, I think it's good writing (as so far no one has told me otherwise). Here's to hoping you think so too.

Everything in our town was plastered with smiles, from the buildings to the faces. Posters hung over the streets displayed toothy grins and sayings to make sure you remembered to always show the same. The governor loved to see all the happy faces. It didn’t bother him if a few of them were fake.

We all made the effort to show our joy. Not just because it was law, but because it delighted him. He worked so hard to make sure we were content, giving us everything we needed and more. Why should we not do the same for him?

Occasionally, there would be someone who was not fine with having to show only one feeling. They would scowl instead of smile, scream instead of laugh. I thought them ungrateful and steered clear, as did everyone else. They were usually forced to leave the city, though some moved before that happened. We never thought of them again after. It was better to think of positive things.

One of my favorite ways to ensure my high spirits was to watch the puppet shows put on by the governor. He did them as often as his duties allowed and I didn’t miss a single one. Being there was like being in a story. The puppets were so lifelike and the governor’s talent was honed to perfection.

The theater was grand. The ceiling stretched high above hundreds, maybe thousands, of padded seats; enough to fit the entire town. Tapestries decorated the walls; scenes of courage and joy sewn in brilliant colors. The stage was the crown jewel of the place, however. The wood floor was polished daily and gleamed in the glare of the lights. The curtain was like royalty, a deep purple color to match the upholstery and a serious manner. Above, the catwalk was well hidden, wrapping up the illusion nicely.

I was often the only person there. While I found the puppets art, many others found them unnerving. Sitting right in the middle of the theater surrounded by empty seats made the experience all the more wonderful. Applause, or the lack there of, was the only thing that besmeared these events. My lonely attempts sounded feeble and mocking in the echoing auditorium. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact his smile grew larger,.

I was so often there and so often alone that he came to know my face and name. He seemed to value my opinion, asking after shows what I thought. With rapt attention, he listened as I praised his performance. It was a rare occurrence that I had anything to criticize. My voice took on an apologetic tone when I told him of my complaints. At the words, he would just smile, as always, and speak reassuringly, “It’s broken. I’ll fix it.”

Our friendship was one that was not well known. Curious grins flashed when, as he greeted me at the door to the theater that horrid night, he requested to see me after the show. It was the annual portrayal of our city’s beginning and everyone was made to attend. It was an important and difficult piece. I had watched him practice it many times. I thought nothing of it except that he wanted to be reassured he had done well.

The show was magnificent and flawless. I couldn’t wait to tell him so. I remained in my seat as everyone else left. Murmurs about the scene’s cleverness pleased me and the smile I showed was completely genuine.

Soon, I was the only one there. I sat in the now brightly lit hall and waited. He appeared by my side, beaming down at me. His eyes bored into mine. The feeling that my insides were being examined swept over me. He held out his hand and I took it.

We walked up the aisle toward the stage. He led me to the right where a door blocked the way to back stage. I had watched him disappear behind it often but had never been invited to do so.

Releasing my hand, he dug in his pocket and pulled out a ring of keys. The sheer number of them made my head spin. To me they all looked the same, but he picked out the right one on the first try.

Silently, the door opened. The complete lack of noise made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. That should have warned me against going forward. I wanted to make him happy though, like he made me. So I ignored my misgivings and followed him.

He shut the door behind me and all was dark. Light suddenly bloomed as he flipped the switch on the wall. I looked around eagerly for I was surely the only person who had been allowed there besides the governor himself.

The wall in front of me was covered with his collection of puppets. Only the door that led to the catwalk stairs interrupted the mass showcase of dolls. Unconsciously, I took a step. My gaze fell upon them in awe. I had never been this close to their perfectly sculpted forms. Blissful smiles rained down on me and I felt safe and loved.

Then I blinked and a wisp of red hair caught my eyes. The puppet closest to me had a beautiful face. Her expression was serene and her hair was done up stylishly. Something about her didn’t fit with her look, however. Peering closely, her eyes no longer looked joyful. They were flat and dull.

Recognition sparked in my mind. I knew this girl. She was one of those that had been forced to leave. She was not familiar to me at first because of the grin on her face. Not once had I seen her like that.

As I stared at her, the governor came up behind me. He placed a light hand on my waist and rested his chin on my shoulder. “I have not found one yet to compare to you,” he whispered in my ear before burying his face in my neck.

I continued to gaze at the puppets, picking gout more faces I knew. A horrible feeling built in my stomach as I felt the weight of the fake, unnatural smiles. My own smile was frozen to my face. “What happened to them?” It came out a whisper.

He lifted his head from nibbling my ear lobe to gaze upon the corpses, “They were broken. So I fixed them.”

Again, the word count is barely over the limit at 1,078. And again, I felt like it's just fine as it is. It seems I've gotten better at keeping short stories short since I was in the fifth grade. Or maybe my short stories were this length in the first place but 1,000 words seemed like a whole lot more then and I didn't have near as much time (compare 45 minutes to a week). So, what did you think?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Her Heart

I'm starting to think that I should tell what the poem is about in the first paragraph or else just start the post straight out with the poem. I don't really get why I even write this paragraph. I'm leaning more towards just starting straight out with the poem. That way you can decide for yourself what you think the poem is about before you really know. I've also been thinking about changing the format of my reviews. I'll have to think on all of this but you'll know soon enough what I decide. In the meantime, enjoy the poem for this week.

Her Heart

The book was
her heart
The words were
her soul

The book was
witness to
It was there for
the first kiss,
brother dying,
Mama leaving,
Papa crying

The book was
there for the shot
with its loud boom
and eruption of blood
that brought the cold
darkness that brought
the light from above

The book was
her still heart
The words were
her uplifted soul

I got the idea for this during NaNo and I just haven't gotten around to writing it yet. It's about a girl who writes poetry in a little notebook that she carries everywhere. When she dies, the book is buried with her. It took me a while to get it going but I like it. Here's to hoping you do too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Replacement

Pages: 343

This is the book I meant to review last week but we all know that didn't happen. However, it's happening now, so that's good enough. I had never heard of this book until I saw it in Hastings. It was 20% off so who wouldn't have stopped to examine it? It was interesting synopsis, but what really sold me was the comment on the back. Especially this line, "Mackie Doyle is one of the sweetest, strangest, most magnetic heroes I've met in a long time." Don't ask me why, maybe it's because I'm a teenage girl. Whatever the reason, I'm sure glad I bought it.

The world in this book is creative and spooky, though Gentry (the town) tries it's hardest to cover it up. Though the baby switching part makes me kind of disgusted, I loved other parts of the underground, like the dead girls. They intrigued me, how their bodies still grew, their personalities. All others avoided them; this made me feel sorry for them. Maybe it was the rotten stench that hung on them, that I couldn't smell, or the feeling that they were unnatural that made others keep away. Personally, I think their altered state extraordinary. They played small roles, but they stuck out to me. This goes to show how little details are so important.

I loved Tate's personality and the definite differences between her and Alice. Alice is stuck up and snobby, popular. She cares what other people think. Tate is avoided because her sister died, or really, was taken. She doesn't care what anyone thinks. She'll be who she wants to be. These differences between them, and how Mackie feels about them, seemed to draw out more of each personality. Tate may not have seemed so badass-y-ish if she hadn't kicked the crap out of Alice. Alice may not have seemed so pompous if she hadn't told Tate to act normal.

The Lady and the Morrigan's relationship adds tension to the story. The Morrigan is childlike and wants only for love while her sister is a grown woman and lives off of blood, sacrifice, and power. The terrible deeds of the Lady are talked about throughout the book: drying up the lake then using the water to flood the House of Mayhem, burning down the church, stealing children. She is feared. The Lady does not love her sister and thinks her foolish. Though the Morrigan does loves her, she throws a fit when Mackie goes to visit her, saying he was bowing to her. In the end, the Lady dies by her sister's hand. How's that for love?

Overall, I loved the feel of this book. It's exactly what it promised to be which is all anyone can ask. I expect more great things from Brenna Yovanoff in the future. She's sure to be a bestselling author if she keeps this up. I highly recommend reading it, especially if you love ugly, but also beautiful, things.

The next book along the Reading Trail? Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Prompt #1: I hate polite people. Especially when they're murderers.

I planned to post this yesterday, but that didn't happen. I planned to finish Wuthering Heights and to write, but neither one of those happened (I did manage to edit though). All of this means that 1) I didn't write a journal/blog entry every day this week 2) I didn't write everyday this week and 3) I don't have a review for this week. That makes me disappointed even though I did manage to finish writing two chapters, a poem, and the short story for The Chrysalis Experiment this week. Speaking of my short story, that's what this post is supposed to be about, so let's get away from all of my failures and move on to my achievement.

I had never particularly liked the old man. Still, I liked him more than the suit who stood across the body from me. He wore a hat so I couldn't see his eyes to know if they were looking at me or the crumpled heap of a man.

Glancing down at the beggar, I noticed his eyes, small white orbs. Dead to the world, but I could not help the feeling that they were staring at me. To divert myself from this fearful thought, I wondered exactly what would be done with him. A dead body, even one belonging to a homeless person, would attract attention. The murderer seemed to be thinking along the same lines, for he bent and extracted his knife from the corpse.

He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket with a flourish and wiped off the blood with one swoop. The knife was then carefully restored into his coat and a lighter withdrawn. He set the handkerchief ablaze, watching it crumble to ash. Strangely, not one speck was left on his startling white gloves.

He then did something that I thought was rather peculiar for a murderer. He left his calling card in the man’s weather-beaten jacket. Tipping his hat to me, he walked away with a quick stride.

I stared after him for several long moments, pondering his almost gentlemanly behavior. Stranger than that, was how he went to the trouble of burning the napkin and cleaning his knife, yet he left his calling card, and me, the only witness. I glanced down at the body once more, then scurried inside the apartment building before anyone should see me.

My parents were asleep and I did not care to disturb them. I laid in my bed, turning on the television. It was on a crime show that had just started, the victim freshly dead. I flipped through the channels, not wanting to think about the scene outside. I stopped on a sitcom, harmless gibberish. The flat tones soon lulled me to sleep.

I didn’t sleep well that night. The man and his hat loomed through my dreams. When he was not there, the old man stood accusing me, stating that it was my fault. My fault that he was dead, but what could I have done? I did not cast him from his house, to make it so he had to beg. I did not urge him to reach out and ask for change from a man who would stab him for it. His cries became feeble until they were blessedly silent.

Even then, I was still punished. A quiet chuckle rose from the killer’s throat. His hat covered his eyes and for some unknown reason I could not stand not seeing under it. I maneuvered subtly to see under it, but he would turn away, proclaiming it was not proper. Finally, he grew weary of avoiding me. A gentle sigh passed his lips as he swooped his hat from his head and bowed in a most elegant fashion. Then he looked up at me and I almost screamed out in horror. He had the eyes of the homeless man. They stared blankly at me, not seeing.

The nightmare awoke me. The light was just peeking in from outside while the TV blared on. I had forgotten to shut it off. I was leaning forward to do so when the story on the news caught my eye. They were talking of a homicide. I began to sweat but comforted myself with the thought that there were many, especially here. It was in vain, as I soon realized when they flashed the man’s picture.

I did not recognize him at first. In the picture he was clean shaven, his clothes fairly new. A smile lit up his face. This, I think, was the object of his appearance that made him hardest to recognize. In all the years I had passed him, walking to school and other places, I had never seen that look upon his face. It was him though. As surely as his body lay cold, it was him.

I was frozen, my eyes would not move from the pretty newscaster’s face. The volume was low, so I turned it up, not wanting to miss a word. “There is no evidence leading to the perpetrator. Only a single business-type card was left in the man’s jacket. We have been informed by police that the statement, ‘It’s rude to stare,’ was engraved onto it. This matches up with several other recent homicides.

“There seems to be no link between all of these individuals. However, many of them can be connected to the homicide before and after them. Along with the card, police have used this information to reach the conclusion that the perpetrator kills the witness of his crimes. Families of the victims have backed this up, with statements that their deceased loved ones seemed reserved and quiet before their untimely deaths.” She rambled on, but I had stopped listening. I had heard all I needed to. Tremors shook my body and my eyes rolled to the left and right, already watching for unseen enemies.

Sense returned after several long minutes in which my terror almost devoured me. Their proof was not solid, of that, anyone could see. There may be no danger to me at all, I reasoned. There was still a part of me, though, that was fearful. I determined to always be in company. I thought I would be safer this way. I would also be in the presence of my best friend who my affect for was great. For who else would sit with me so long?

That is how I came to be sitting with my aforementioned friend, a week after the incident. We sat across the room from each other, turned to our studies. At least, she was. My eyes traveled constantly to her, preferring the sight of her to the tiny print of my book.

It was a dreary day, the sun had not shown his face once. Rain hit the roof, two floors above us. It had been mostly light, but at this time it was becoming heavier. I pitied anyone outside on this dreadful day.

A great crack of thunder made her look up, “I would love rainy weather if it were not for the noise. Don’t you agree?”

My face grew hot for I had been gazing upon her when she turned her eyes on me. I rushed to answer the question, desperately trying to cover up my deed. My mouth had barely opened however when her eyes grew wide with something like fright.

At first, I did not understand. With my brow wrinkled, I started to ask her what was the matter. It was then he pressed the cold, sharp edge to my throat and whispered in a polite, gentle voice.

“I do apologize for interrupting, but it’s rude to stare.”

The word count is 1,156 which is just over the minimum limit. I feel that this story is just the right length however. I rather like the voice of it, it fits in with the theme. Plus, I've been wanting to talk like that ever since I started reading Wuthering Heights. Feel free to let me know what you think. I'll have a review up soon.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Cast It Aside

Isn't this like the fourth Poetry Peak in a row? That's like amazing. I think my record is two, maybe three. This shows that I am improving which is wonderful. I can't wait to see how I improve in my poem writing in NaPoWriMo. I wonder if I should lay out a theme for the month or make a list of things to write about. Or maybe I should just go with the flow. That's what I do normally. Like with this week's poem.

Cast it Aside

I will

become wei
(or nearly so)

My feet
will lift off the
through my own

Beauty will
         from where
there was a he
of distasteful
s     lo    p
wi      ngs
as I shed
my old ugly

and cast
it                aside

Strangely enough, this poem was inspired by The Biggest Loser. It's about losing weight and feeling carefree, so much so that you could fly. I love the way I set it up. I always love it when I make them look all kooky and crazy. I love when I come up with my own form as well, but in a different way. I'm thinking I might make this into a video, a slideshow of sorts. I just have to figure out how.

I've also been working on, or trying to, this week's short story. I have an idea but the words don't seem to be coming right. They come easy but they don't sound right. Maybe I should just get it all written and then worry about that. I'm hoping to finish it by tomorrow so I can post. Maybe I'll make Friday my 'post the short story for the week' day (I'll have to think of a better name than that though). But first, just to give myself some more time to gather my thoughts, I'm going to edit my chapter for the day and make some huge headway in Wuthering Heights. I'm only halfway through it and I still want to read The Replacement before Saturday so I can post a review. I shall be busy tonight. Good thing I have about five hours.

Monday, January 03, 2011

It's Working Already

My resolutions are turning out for the better already, at least the ones I can work on now. Vlogging seems pretty far away, as does the peer pressure (though I'm sure that could change). I have already completed Chapters Six and Seven as well as reaching 10,000 words! The treat-almost-like-a-first-draft strategy is working. This makes me feel great seeing as I'm already one third of the way through my first draft's word count and I still haven't made it to the end of chapter one (I've decided for organization purposes to capitalize the Chapter # for the rewrite and leave the first draft references lowercase). Though I may have to chop some of that word count off. I was reading this blog post and I got to thinking that maybe my first two chapters aren't relevant. I'm not entirely sure though. I'll have to think on it.

I've also managed to edit three chapters of Thinking of You. I know that doesn't seem like much but I've decided to edit one chapter a day. With thirty chapters I should be finished with the first round of editing within the month. And what does the first round of editing include? Well, I think the most important issue is the switching from past to present tense. I'm going through and marking where I switch between them, that way I know where I'm going to have to rewrite parts. The less pressing, but still important, issue is the swearing (and the army of typos NaNo leaves behind). I'm going through and circling them all so later I can either decide to cut them, keep them, or tone them down.

Organization is coming slowly, but it's coming. I've already updated the Ledges section a little bit, showing what each project currently requires. I've also added 'Plot Royally Burned' to the list. I'll add more details to that section later. I need to get to work on Heirs to Esio or I'll start feeling bad about it again. I've found that I have horrible anxiety at times. Here's to hoping it backs off so I can get some work done. Lord, knows I have enough of it (but I like it that way ^^).

P.S. The first prompt for The Chrysalis Experiment is up, so I'll be working on that as well.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Hopeful Beginning

Here we are in a new year. I always love it when a new year starts. I don't know how to describe how I feel exactly. It's sort of like everything is suddenly fresh, like everything has been wiped clean and I can just start over. It also sort of feels like a jumping off point. It seems a good time to start working toward your goals as well as setting them. This New Year's I actually have some goals I want to set. Normally, I like the feeling of New Year's but I don't have any resolutions. Since I do have some this year, and since some of them pertain to writing, I thought I would share them with you.

First though, I have to tell you all that I already completed one of my New Year's resolutions. (I'm fast, huh?) I have known for months that I would have to quit Neopets. It's distracting and time-consuming. It takes away from my friends, my family, reading, my writing, and for what? Sure, I made some amazing friends (love you, guys) but there are other ways to talk to them that aren't surrounded by childish games and distractions. Email, for instance, or this blog, or even YouTube. I can speak freely in these areas, unlike Neopets. Today, I deleted my last account, and I'm really rather proud of myself. It doesn't feel as different as I thought it would but it's still a great achievement, for me. I have beat my addiction! Now, on to other things, like the resolutions I have yet to complete.
  1. I will write everyday, whether it be a poem, a paragraph, a short story, a chapter. I need to get more serious about my writing. It's a very important part of my life and I need to give it more attention. Also, practice makes perfect.
  2. This one kind of goes with my first resolution but, I will write a blog post or in my journal everyday. I know this sounds like the same thing but it isn't. Most of my writing is fictional, my journal/blog is not. It's an account of my life which I want to have. I'm good about posting but I can go a month, or two, without writing in my journal. I like reading through it though, even if some of my phrases are kind of clique. XD
  3. I will learn to vlog, not blog, vlog. I already have a channel set up on YouTube. There aren't any videos but I hope to change that soon, as well as spiff up that page. I like the colors I picked though I think I still need to tinker around with them. The only camera I have now to make vlogs is on my phone but my birthday is in February. Here's to hoping I'll get a nice camera.
  4. I will become more organized with when and what I write (or edit). I have many projects going on and I need to figure a schedule where I can work on all of them, at least a little, once a week. This may take a while, I can organize anything physical, but time is slightly harder. Recently, I watched Kaleb Nation (author of the Bran Hambric books) on BlogTV. He was answering questions from viewers and I asked him what his suggestions for editing were (plus, two other questions, but we'll go into that some other time ^^). He said to set a time aside everyday, and do it, even on the rough days. So I will. First, I'm going to read through it. I might start doing that after I finish this up.
  5. I will become better at critiquing others work. I don't really know how good I am now because I don't really go out of my way to do it. Sometimes I don't because I don't want to be picky and sometimes because I just don't feel like it. So I'm probably not the best. You have to give good critiquing to get it though. I better start practicing.
  6. Last, but maybe not least, I'm going to be starting high school later this year, in August. I will not give in to peer pressure or do anything that I don't want to (excusing home work assignments). I've already decided that I won't smoke, do drugs, or anything sexual that I'm not ready to do. These are the things that they talk about the most in peer pressure but there may be other things. I've never had much peer pressure, no matter how much they bring it up. That may change in high school so I'm making this promise to myself.
Really, that's not very many. It just looks like it because I talked about each of them. XD They're all important to me though and I will work hard towards them (I hope!). I've already written my blog post for today, so see, it's already working. I'm also going to begin Chapter Six (as soon as I decide exactly where I want to start writing it from) and reading Thinking of You. I may log on to Teen Ink later and comment on some poems, or the NaNo website's Critiques, Feedback, and Novel Swaps forum.

For organization, I have a few things, mostly for the blog and much later projects (I know that doesn't do me much good now but it's a start) though once I get the Ledges section of the sidebar straightened out, that should be helpful. I've decided that since Poetry Peak has a specific day (Thursday), the Reading Trail should, too. I will update the Reading Trail list every Sunday, taking off books that have been completed and adding ones that I plan to read. Every week, there will be at least one review. I may have a specific day for this later but for now, it's just when I want to. For later projects, here's a list.
  • The Chrysalis Experiment - (All Year Long) I'm not for sure that I'm doing this yet. This is a blog about three writers who are going to write a short story every week of 2011 and they're letting others join in. A prompt will be posted ever Monday. This is the part that makes me iffy. Prompts can be good, or bad. Uncreative prompts make me upset (I think I've mentioned this before) but as Madeline has reasoned, it's run by three writers. We've decided to wait out the first prompt before we decide. I'm hoping that this might help me kick start the City in the Sky series.
  • NaPoWriMo - (April) This is a challenge to write a poem everyday in April. I'm doing this because I like writing poetry (as you probably guessed from Poetry Peak) and it won't get in the way of bigger projects like The Lullaby or Thinking of You. It will also be good practice and maybe I'll have a few new submissions for Teen Ink.
  • NEPMo - (May) I've talked about this before. You're supposed to write a 5,000 line epic in May. I already have an idea for the plot and the format. I enjoy novels written in verse, and this is almost the same thing. I could easily turn it into one.
  • WriDaNoJu - (June) This is almost exactly like NaNo except you can work on an already existing project and it's in June. I've decided to do it just for the existing project aspect. I've decided to treat The Lullaby's rewrite a bit more like a first draft since large aspects of the story are changing and I'm going to have to edit it anyway. If I'm not finished by then, well this should help, and if I finish it and haven't reached the word count, I'll just start on A Shimmer in the Light or Royally Burned.
  • SeptNoWriMo - (September) This is yet another challenge that is almost exactly like NaNo except you can also edit. This is the reason I've decided to do it. Thinking of You is being edited and if I've finished doing that by then, The Lullaby will surely need it.
  • NaNoWriMo - (November) Here it is, the big man himself; the original, and inspiration for most of the projects on this list. This challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I already have an inkling of an idea for this year. I like to start something fresh for each NaNo, not to continue a series. That's the reason I decided not to do GothNoWriMo. I need that idea for NaNo.
I know that seems like a lot but I still have January, February, March, July, August, October, and December completely free (well, besides The Chrysalis Experiment, but that's a little different) to work on whatever I please. I'm hoping to get a whole lot done this year, as you can tell. Here's to hoping it's a wonderful, successful year!