It makes me a bit anxious to plan a whole year ahead. The future can be intimidating sometimes. I prefer taking life one day at a time.
That being said, I like to have things to look forward to and stuff I want to do. For example, I would like to go to Chapter One Con again and this time, all my bestest friends are planning to come to, two of which I’ve never met before outside of the internet because they live so far away.
So, here’s a list of things I would like to do this year. This is just a general list of stuff/goals I’m really looking forward to, no pressure on me and no scary “what ifs” in my head.
I want to write. I want to finish this current novel (which is brand new and I have a really good feeling about this one). This goal is kind of a given. I’m not going to quit writing any time soon.
I want to get my driver’s license. I want to learn how to drive safely and get all the hours I need and then drive me and other people places.
I want a job. I want to put in applications at the various libraries within commuting distance and pray one of them hires me. If I can’t get a library job, I’ll do something else, but I would ultimately love to work at a library.
I want to become more excited about God and the Bible and church. I used to be excited about all this. I want to go back to excitement like that and let that excitement grow.
I want to pray more.
I want to blog more. I realize that I let go of blogging a bit this past year and somehow I now have three blogs I contribute to, two of which I am admin? This blog is still my favorite and I need to be blogging more here. The one I am not admin of (YAvengers) only requires one or two posts a month from me and my Bible Blog could be the same. But I need to be blogging at least once or twice a week here. And I need to get back to replying to comments (I am so sorry, reader-peeps).
I want to read 30 books. That is my official goodreads goal so thirty books I shall read. I “officially” read 32 in 2016.
I want to query. I think I say this every year? As I said earlier, I have a really good feeling about the novel I’m working on now. Or I may edit and query Magic Teacups. Or I may write a short story and query that. Who knows?
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start and I think it’s plenty to work with for now.
What are your want-to-dos for 2017? Happy 2017 to you all!
I had two goals to finish by the end of the year. Well, two and a half.
The first one and a half was to finish editing LASER and query it.
Done. Except the querying part. But I realized that this book is not ready and it may never be. And I spent the second half of this year learning to be okay with that.
LASER is like fanfic to me. That is how I am choosing to look at it. It is fanfic of my own created world, but it is still fan fiction. I have no current plans to overhaul it. I’m not counting it as canon yet, either.
But I did finish editing it.
The other goal was to write a new story and possibly finish the first draft.
And I did do that. I wrote Magic Teacups.
And I really like this story. It’s far from perfect but my writing is getting better. And those two things are what matter right now.
I wrote a short story last night. I started at about 9, finished at about 2, and edited today. According to the challenge rules, I have until about 9 PM to post it, but I’m not going to wait that long.
So! Here’s my story. Feel free to critique and please enjoy Housesitting.
Evan had no memory of Aunt Madge. He had last seen her when he was three years old and that had been 14 years ago. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Evan’s mom told him that Aunt Madge wanted him to housesit for her.
Persuaded by his mother (and the eventual monetary reward for a job well done), Evan was dropped off at Aunt Madge’s house after school by his friend.
When they got there, Evan stared at the house for a minute. The house was tall with several tower-like things, black, and it just looked… creaky.
“I wouldn’t go in there, dude,” Jack said, sitting in the driver’s seat. “Looks freaking haunted.”
Evan shook his head, though he did agree. The place did look creepy. Too bad Mom had already called Aunt Madge and said that Evan would indeed be housesitting.
“Is your aunt a witch?” Jack asked.
“No!” Evan cried. “Of course not.”
“How do you know? You haven’t seen her since you were little. I bet she has a big bubbling cauldron,” Jack said.
Evan sighed and opened the passenger door. “See you at school tomorrow.”
“Unless you get turned into a frog…” Jack said.
Evan shot his friend a glare and rolled his eyes. Then he slammed the car door and began to walk up the long driveway to the house. Yeah, the house looked a little weird, but… it was just old, right? No way that it was really haunted or anything ridiculous like that.
When Evan was close to the house, but still in the driveway, two people came running out of the house. One was a man who was wearing what looked like Gandalf’s grey robe and grey hat. Evan had to do a double take before he realized that this guy was no Gandalf—too young and no beard.
The other person to come flying out the door was short woman wearing spectacles perched on the end of her nose and judging by the amount of wrinkles on her face, the woman was no spring chicken. She wore a black dress and a black pointy hat.
The woman’s face lit up when she saw Evan. “There you are! And I was beginning to think that you might not get here in time!” She shoved a folded piece of paper into his hands. “I wish I had time to explain the instructions to you, but Claudius and I really have to go and get to our convention, so I made you a list and it’s very clear but you must read all the instructions and read them very carefully or very bad things will happen and…”
A car honked. Not-Gandalf sat in the driver’s seat of a blue pickup truck that looked like it was going to fall apart any second. He looked impatient.
The woman sighed and turned back to Evan. “Well, I’d best be off. Do be careful. Best of luck, young man.” With that, the woman grabbed a broom that was sitting up against the house, and tossed the broom into the truck and shut the tailgate. Then she went to the passenger’s side and climbed into the vehicle. Evan watched as the truck left the driveway and went down the road.
He turned toward the house. So, the house looked creepy, Aunt Madge wore a black pointy hat and had just thrown a broom into her truck. All of which struck Evan as very witch-like. But Evan shook that off and unfolded the piece of paper he had been given.
It was quite a list.
Best to get started right away. He looked at the first item.
Collect eggs from the phoenix. Her name is Ashlyn.
Evan blinked. Phoenix? Like a firebird? Like those flaming birds that were supposed to be mythical?
Why—or rather, how—would Aunt Madge have a phoenix?
Evan took a breath. Oh well. It didn’t matter. If Aunt Madge had a phoenix and she wanted him to get eggs from it, then he would locate the phoenix and gather eggs.
There. There was a… chicken coop kind of thing. Kind of back behind and beside the house. Evan walked to it. It was a big chicken coop and he went inside.
That phoenix needed a big chicken coup. She was as big as an ostrich and golden like the sun. Her feathers gave off a glow and she preened a bit as she sat on her giant nest. Evan swallowed and hoped that she was a vegetarian.
“Hi,” he said quietly as he came closer. The phoenix cocked her head and made a squawking sound. “I’m just here to get some eggs,” Evan said. The phoenix cocked her head the other way.
Evan reached out his hand and moved it closer so he could grab the eggs out from under the phoenix. The phoenix pecked him.
“Ow!” It didn’t really hurt but Evan had said ow, anyway. He glared at the bird and tried again.
He got pecked again.
This happened three more times before Evan decided to try a different method. He reached into the feeder and grabbed a handful of feed. He tossed it away from the nest.
The phoenix got off the nest and went after the corn. Evan rushed to the nest and scooped up the two eggs that were there.
The eggs were only about the temperature of the sun.
Evan almost dropped them. He shook his hands. How to get scalding eggs into the house… he saw an egg basket in the corner. Perfect.
Using the edge of his shirt as a makeshift potholder, Evan grabbed the eggs and put them in the basket. Then he left the chicken coop.
Well, that was done. He smiled and walked back to the house. When he got to the door, he looked at the second item on the list.
You will have to sing to Ashlyn. She likes songs by Adele.
Oops. Oh well. Evan had gotten the eggs. There was no point in going back and singing now. He looked at the next item.
Knock on the door three times and speak the password (which is “pickled herring”). Gerald should let you in but you have to give him two phoenix eggs.
Who was Gerald and why wasn’t he doing the housesitting? Evan knocked on the door three times.
“What’s the password?” a voice questioned in a way that could only be described as barking.
“Pickled herring!” Evan called, feeling silly.
The door opened. A cocker-spaniel dog sat on the other side of the door and panted at Evan. Aunt Madge hadn’t mentioned a dog.
The dog looked quite friendly and seemed to be smiling at Evan. Evan reached out his hand for the dog to sniff. The dog licked his hand and continued to pant and smile and look like it was waiting for something.
Evan didn’t have time to play with the dog. “Gerald!” Evan called. “Gerald! It’s Evan! I’m house sitting for Madge.”
No one showed up.
Huh. Well, maybe he’d run into Gerald later. Evan tried to step into the door. The dog barked at him.
Evan tried to step into the door again. The dog growled. What was wrong with that dog?
And if Gerald wasn’t around, who had asked for the password just now?
“Gerald?” he called again.
The dog barked.
Evan noticed the dog’s collar. The dog wasn’t still growling, so he bent down and looked at the collar.
The collar said ‘Gerald’. Who the heck named their dog Gerald? Well, Aunt Madge, obviously…
Then who had asked for the password?
Never mind. Maybe he’d imagined that. Evan gave the dog the two phoenix eggs. The dog started rolling the eggs away with its nose. Evan shut the door and walked into the house.
The next couple chores went without a single hitch. They were fairly simple things, though there was still a bit of a magical twist to them.
Evan had to water the plants, including musical dianthus flowers, Lillian-of-the-Valley (the flowers insisted on being called by the correct name), and rocks. He wasn’t sure why the rocks needed watering, but they seemed to like it because they started talking after they’d had a whole watering-can of water. They started gossiping about tulips.
Evan left the rocks to their chit-chat and got the mail from the mailbox that’d only open if he sang the second verse of “Blank Space” to it. He set the mail on the table and looked at the next item on the list.
Make an omelet out of three more phoenix eggs and go feed it to Persephone (she’s the dragon in the basement).
Wait a minute. There had only been two eggs from the phoenix before. And Evan had already given them to Gerald.
Evan quickly glanced at the last thing on the list.
Take Gerald and Alistair for a walk. Don’t let Alistair get out of his tank or he may decapitate you and/or practice his defenestration technique.
Okay, so… Evan could hypothetically take Gerald and whatever Alistair was on the walk while he went to get more eggs from the phoenix. There’d only been two eggs before, but maybe this was why Evan was supposed to be singing Adele songs to the firebird before.
So, he should be able to go back and sing to the phoenix and she’d lay more eggs and then he could make the dragon an omelet and then go home, right? Easy as pie.
Evan grabbed the two dog leashes he’d seen by the door. Now. Where was Alistair and what was he? And why would you walk something that lived in a tank?
Wasn’t “defenestration” the act of throwing someone out a window?
Evan spotted a fishbowl in the living room. He looked closely at it and didn’t see anything in it except a goldfish. How was a goldfish supposed to decapitate him? Or throw him out a window?
Maybe he was supposed to just carry the fishbowl on the walk. Or maybe he was just supposed to move the fish to a different part of the room. He’d done weirder today.
“Gerald!” Evan called. “Come here, Gerald!”
The dog came rushing into the living room, nearly flying. It stopped in front of Evan. “Time for a walk? Time for a walk, human?”
“Yes, it’s…” Evan stopped. He looked at the dog. “Did you just speak to me? Are you the one who asked for the password earlier?”
Gerald looked like he’d made a mistake, kind of shocked and ‘oops’. “Um… bark?”
Evan sighed. Okay, the dog could talk, but nothing had been weirder than singing Taylor Swift to the mailbox. Evan reached out to clip the leash on. Gerald took off running.
“Hey!” Evan shouted. He leapt up off the floor. In doing that, he knocked over the fishbowl.
The water and the fish spilled onto the floor. Evan grabbed the fishbowl and ran to the kitchen sink to refill it. When he came back, the goldfish was gone.
Suddenly, Evan felt something cold and slimy slip down the back of his t-shirt. He yelped and started twitching. Whatever it was started to bite him, too. He struggled to get it out of his shirt. It wasn’t until it was too late that he realized how close to the window he was. The window opened by itself and though he struggled to upright himself, Evan fell through it.
The window had been on the first story of the house, but the fall out of the window was still painful, since Evan landed in a rosebush. He glanced up at the window to see a goldfish lying on the sill and somehow managing to smirk at him.
As Evan pulled himself from the rosebush, he smelled something hot and smoky. Was something on fire?
The chicken coop was in flames.
Maybe that’s why he was supposed to sing to the phoenix.
Evan found the hose and turned it on then ran to the chicken coop, trying to remember all the words to “Rolling in the Deep”. He practically screamed the song as he sprayed the fire.
It took a while and maybe Evan should’ve called the fire department instead, but he got the fire out. The phoenix was okay. She had even laid more eggs in that fire.
Evan looked for a phone number or some other contact information on the instruction list. Nope. No way to get ahold of Aunt Madge if there were questions or an emergency.
“Hello!” someone called.
Evan looked up. A girl about his age was walking toward him. She was kind of pretty and he wished his clothes weren’t smoky and torn.
The girl smiled. “I’m Aubrey. I’m looking for Ms. Tikal. She lives here. Well you probably knew that.”
Evan’s mouth dropped open. “Wait. I think you have the wrong house. My Aunt Madge lives here. And her last name isn’t Tikal.”
“Uh, no,” Aubrey said. “Ms. Helen Tikal is an…um… eccentric lady. She has a phoenix and a dragon and a possessed goldfish and she cosplays as that one lady from Harry Potter a lot—the one Maggie Smith plays in the movies. Actually, I’m pretty sure she was heading to LeakyCon for the weekend. She hired me to housesit.”
Evan looked at the house number on the front door. Oh. Lovely. He was at the wrong house entirely.
Just then, Evan’s cell phone rang. He reached into his pocket and answered it. His mom was freaking out.
“Where are you? Aunt Madge has been waiting on you for two hours!”
Evan sighed and told his mom that he was on the way and that he’d explain when he got home. After he hung up, he turned to Aubrey and handed her the list he’d been given.
“Read all the instructions before you start,” he said. “Seriously.”
So this song is another one of my favorites and I may have shared it here before (I can’t remember). It’s a beautiful song for New Year’s Eve and the lyrics of the second verse made it into the last chapter of LASER.
It’s almost 2,500 words long. It took me 4 and a half hours to write (I started at 11 PM… you do the math). And now, as the New Year’s Short Story Challenge rules state, I have until 11 PM tonight to post that story.
I’m not going to wait that long. I’m going to post now to avoid doing this with editing:
(I actually did edit a little, but it was at 3:30AM. There may be typos…)
So without further ado, I offer up my short story for your welcome critique and hopeful enjoyment. Please enjoy Nothing But the Tooth.
~ ~ ~
The Tooth Fairy filed for bankruptcy.
A year later, children began to lose their teeth. The teeth didn’t just fall out. The children literally lost their teeth. They would go to bed normally and then wake up in the morning with a tooth missing.
At first, it only happened in the children who already had loose teeth and the missing tooth would be the one about to fall out. But then panic would ensue in parents and children alike. The tooth could not be found on or under the bed so it was assumed then that the tooth had been accidently swallowed.
Then teeth that weren’t loose went missing. That caused widespread panic across the globe. No country was untouched by what the United Nations called an “epidemic”. It was thought that there was a virus that caused children’s teeth to rot. The germ would disintegrate an entire tooth in one night, leaving nothing but a space in the gums. There were several problems with that theory, though. Medical tests could find no evidence of a virus or bacteria. There were no other symptoms besides a missing tooth, some swelling, and a little bit of extra sleepiness the morning after the tooth disappeared. Sometimes, though most dentists and doctors were reluctant to confirm it, there appeared to be tiny, tiny stitches in the gums where the tooth had been, almost as if the tooth had been surgically removed.
Another problem with the germ theory was that it was just not true.
No one suspected that the children were kidnapped from their beds, their teeth stolen from them, and then put back into bed with absolutely no memory of any of it happening. That was so far-fetched that no one even thought of it.
But that was the truth. And that was what Noah had been assigned to do.
Noah stared up at a window of a two-story house. Breaking and entering was the easy part of this sort of heist. Going through a closed window worked when you had magic Dust. He began to stretch his feathery wings, psyching himself for his very first mission.
Then, he faltered. His stomach started turning. Once he flew up there and went through the glass, there would be no turning back. Miss Gliselle was watching him with a secret camera somewhere, watching him, waiting for him.
Without thinking about it anymore, Noah spread his wings and flew up to the window. He reached into the leather pouch at his waist, took a handful of Dust, and threw it at the window. It created a pink portal—oh how he despised pink! He leapt through the portal, into the room of a small child, and right on top of a Kiss Me Kallie.
“I WUV YOU!”
In a panic, Noah jumped off the top of the toy and dashed into the dark corner. He listened. There was the sound of covers rustling and a soft, sleepy moan. Then silence. Noah exhaled and then carefully came out of the corner.
He crept around the edge of the bed. Quiet breathing came from the bed’s inhabitant. Why was there this pink ruffle all around the edge of the bed? The child here was supposed to be a boy. And the Kiss Me Kallie…
Suddenly, it hit him. He was in the wrong room.
But how could he be in the wrong room? He had calculated everything perfectly! Every problem had been accounted for! Every part of the plan had been searched diligently for holes! Where had he gone wrong?
“Apprentice Parsnip.” Miss Gliselle’s voice came clear, terrible, and beautiful over Noah’s earpiece. “Why are you not at your destination? You are not supposed to be at Number 18, Fischer Road.”
Number 18? He wasn’t at Number 18; he was at Number 20! Unless…
Noah flew to the window and looked out. That confirmed it. The layout of the next house, though similar to this one, was different and closer to the one he had so carefully scouted.
Miss Gliselle continued to demand answers. Noah could only sigh. He was never going to get a job with such a mistake as this on his first heist. He would be fired before he was even employed. Moreover, being fired by the Tooth Fairy herself… that had a scarring reputation. There was no way to fix this mistake. Not without using more Dust and Dust was precious, so that would come out of his paycheck… not that he would ever actually get a paycheck.
On the bed, the child turned over again with a contented sigh.
Maybe there was a way for Noah to redeem himself.
What if he brought back a different child? Quietly, he flew to the bed and hovered beside it. As he suspected, a little girl was under the blankets. She had honey curls and was sucking loudly at her thumb, despite looking like she was about seven or eight years old. But even though seven or eight was really a bit old to be sucking one’s thumb, it was a perfectly normal age for losing teeth.
Without another thought, Noah grabbed another handful of Dust out of his pouch and flung it on top of the little girl and him. The little girl sneezed and woke up, just as the two were magically transported elsewhere.
* * *
The little girl looked around in wonder at the pink, glittery room she was in. A few other children were there, looking sleepily around them. None of them were as wide-awake as this girl.
“This is a Fairy Palace!” she had exclaimed when she first saw the castle, as she stood on a hill overlooking it. Noah had grimaced beside her. In the first place, this little girl wasn’t supposed to be awake yet or at least not this perky. Secondly, the castle, which was indeed truly a fairy palace, was in sorry shape. It was in a sorry state of disrepair and the Tooth Fairy couldn’t afford to fix it. However, Noah supposed, any bright pink castle probably looked magical to a little girl, no matter how decrepit it was becoming.
“Are you a fairy?” the little girl asked.
Noah liked to think he wasn’t a fairy, with his black, feathery wings, strong and majestic like a raven’s. He was about the size of a bird, too. Nevertheless, he was a fairy. There was just no other term for it, no matter how girly it sounded.
“Are you… are you the Tooth Fairy?”
Nick smiled wryly. Who knew this girl could be so inquisitive? “No, I’m not,” he said. And he wasn’t. A few years ago, though, before Miss Gliselle had lost all her money, he would’ve been able to say he was the Tooth Fairy. In a sense.
What humans around the world had never realized was that “the Tooth Fairy” had been more than one person. Though Miss Gliselle had started the entire company and was the original Tooth Fairy, the one everyone thought of, there was no way she could’ve done everything on her own. No indeed. There were the ones that went on missions to retrieve the teeth, ones that helped determine the amount of money each child received per tooth, ones that ground the teeth into Dust…
“What do you do with the teeth? And… my brother says you don’t exist because you haven’t come to anybody for a long time. He says Mama is the Tooth Fairy.”
It was true that some parents had taken over giving money to the children in exchange for teeth. They occasionally proved to be a potential complication in teeth heists. But the Tooth Fairy hadn’t visited any children in over a year. Not in the way everyone expected her to. The only reason she still did that was for the magic. Fairy teeth could be corrupted and dangerous but human children’s teeth had good magic. When The Tooth Fairy had realized that, she began buying the teeth from the children.
When she could no longer buy them, she began to steal them.
That had always made Noah’s stomach form into knots. It seemed dishonest. And sadistic.
Before the little girl could ask any more questions, the door of the room swung open. Miss Gliselle stood there, almost as tall as a human, in a long pink dress with her large pink winks extended behind her, looking almost savage as she scanned the room. Her eyes rested on Noah and she frowned deeper.
“Apprentice Parsnip, a word with you.” It was not a suggestion.
Noah stood up a little straighter and walked forward. Without a word, Miss Gliselle turned and began to walk away from the room. He followed her to an extraction room and the door was shut.
A shiver went up Noah’s spine. The extraction room was for pulling the teeth that they stole from the children. It looked remarkably like a mortal dentist’s office except that there were straps on the chair, the tools were the better suited to a fairy wielding them, and like the rest of the castle, the room was pink and glittery. It smelled like antiseptic in here.
“What happened in your performance tonight, Noah Parsnip?” Miss Gliselle asked. She didn’t look at him but instead fingered the straps on the chair.
Noah gulped. “I accidentally went into the wrong house.”
Miss Gliselle seemed to consider. She was scarily calm as she inspected the instruments on the table. “I see. Your mistake has cost us. Wasted Dust. And this child that you have brought instead of your intended target has no loose teeth.”
For a moment, Noah was confused. What did it matter whether a child had loose teeth or not?
“I see you do not understand,” Miss Giselle said. “What you have not realized is the age of those whose teeth are extracted when they have no loose ones. They are usually teenagers, Apprentice.” She picked up a dental mirror and looked at her reflection. “I’m afraid we cannot allow this trip to go without a tooth. It would be a terrible deficit in our expenses and you know how terrible our expenses are at this time.”
Just then, the door was opened and the little girl was lead in by a couple of fairies who were almost as tall as Miss Gliselle was. She didn’t look perky anymore. She looked as if she might cry. Her curls were a terrible mess, as if she had been struggling. The fairies shoved her down into the seat and held her still until Miss Giselle had her strapped in. Then the Tooth Fairy took a pinch of Dust and sprinkled it on the little girl’s face. The girl was asleep in seconds.
“Apprentice Noah Parsnip,” Miss Gliselle said, “I’m going to give you one chance to make up for the mess you’ve made.” She held out a pair of dental forceps to him. “Get one of the girl’s teeth.”
Noah looked at the forceps. They glinted a bit in the light, looking almost evil in and of themselves. What tooth was he supposed to pull? Every piece of information on the human mouth that he had ever studied suddenly evaded him.
“Apprentice!” Miss Gliselle snapped. “The Dust will not last forever!”
Quickly, Noah took hold of the forceps with shaking hands. He took a wobbly step forward.
The little girl slept with no expression on her face. Her curls had been pushed out of her face. She was just a child, right? She wouldn’t miss just one tooth. A new one would grow back anyway. He took another step forward.
The little girl put her thumb into her mouth and started to suck it.
No. This wasn’t just a girl. She was the little girl who had been so fascinated with the castle. She was the little girl who asked too many questions. She was the little girl with that annoying Kiss Me Kallie doll. And the teeth in her mouth belonged to her.
“Noah Parsnip!” Miss Gliselle shouted. “You have ten minutes to extract that tooth before…”
Noah didn’t give her a chance to finish. He reached into his pouch, pulled out all the dust he could grab in one handful, and flung it at the Tooth Fairy.
Miss Gliselle coughed and sneezed and coughed some more. The Dust had little effect on her, but it still wasn’t breathable. Noah took the forceps, opened his mouth, and with a cry of pain, jerked out one of his own back molars. He dropped both tooth and tool onto the table, unstrapped the little girl from the chair, and put some Dust on her. He and she were both transported back to the little girl’s room.
The little girl opened her eyes just as they entered her room. She looked at Noah, who was busy trying to stop the bleeding in his mouth with a handkerchief.
“What was that?” she asked. “What happened?”
Noah looked at her and gave a painful smile. Then he reached into his pouch again. He was almost out of Dust. He took just a pinch and blew it into the little girl’s eyes. She fell asleep. When she woke up, she would not remember anything.
Avoiding Kiss Me Kallie in the middle of the floor, Noah carefully went to the window. With a sigh, he tried to decide whether or not he would go back to the castle. If Miss Gliselle found him, she would probably press charges. If she found his tooth first… maybe that one tooth would be corrupt enough to shut down this whole teeth-stealing operation. It was a fairy tooth and Noah was certain it had a cavity in it, too.
Noah opened the window, deciding to conserve his Dust. Who could say if he would ever get more?
He slid out onto the roof. Who could say if he could ever go home?
Then he saw a light in the house next door. Number 20. He flew to the window, the window he should’ve gone through just hours before, and peered in. Sure enough, a little boy was sound asleep in his bed. The boy’s mother came into the room carrying a flashlight in one hand. Noah watched as the woman walked to her son’s bed, then reached into her pocket and pulled out a quarter. She slipped the quarter under the boy’s pillow and pulled out a tooth.
Noah sighed. Maybe it was better this way. Maybe it was better for a child’s parents to exchange teeth for money. Yeah, the parents usually throw the teeth away. They had no idea of the magic. But… at least this was honest.
Honesty felt better than stealing.
Maybe Noah could get a job working for Santa Claus.
I wanted to share with you guys some of the things I learned about writing this past year. So, sit back, have a cookie, and read on.
I cannot type a first draft.
I don’t know why, but typing a first draft sucks away my creativity and the life of the story. And this lesson took a painfully long time for me to figure out. So, I’ve decided to write my first drafts in notebooks, as I’ve always done. I’d rather have a good story finished that I have to type up than a bland story I could easily send to alpha-readers if I ever finished it.
I cannot tell people what I’m working on.
I wish this were not true. I would love to talk about my writing more often, but telling you about it… I might as well just hand you the outline. Because that’s about as interesting as a talked-about story becomes to me.
I would rather write at my own pace than go insane trying to make a self-imposed deadline.
I can write a good story (possibly even a better one) if I go slowly instead of trying to finish by a certain time. Goals are great, but if I start to panic and writing just makes me miserable, I need to slow down.
I don’t have to be afraid of alpha-reader feedback. They expect bugs in the story– that’s why I asked them to help me catch them.
Thank you, Amanda, for helping me realize this.
I have an opportunity to edit before the story is passed on to alphas, but I’m only going to use it a bit.
I have a few things I can easily fix just by changing some words or adding an extra sentence. Everything else can wait until after I get feedback.
I discovered my own boundaries for YA content.
I understand that everything in the story must have a purpose. If it’s useless, it gets cut or not written at all.
I know how to query an agent.
Did this back on May 31st. It was scary, and especially more so after I realized I left a sentence unfinished at the end of the first chapter. (Oops.)
I cannot work on more than one project at once, even if one of those is just typing up a first draft.
One project will get preference over the other. In other words, my novella is going to have to wait while I get LASER typed up.
I know (I think, I hope) how to write a short story.
Back in March, I was so sick and tired of editing that I chased a plot bunny about giant butterflies. From that plot bunny, I wrote a short horror story of about 3k. I completed it in one day, making it the most words I’ve ever written in one day. I learned what must go into a short story for it to not be a memoir/abstract/very internal conflict thing (I hope. I haven’t actually tried this yet, but plan to).
I really enjoy scaring my alpha-readers.
See above. (Sorry, Liam.)
I enjoy intentionally provoking any emotional reaction, for that matter.
I suppose that’s something I’ve always enjoyed, considering how long I’ve cackled secretly about plot twist-reactions.
So, what awesome writing things have you learned about writing in 2014? Did you learn any of the same things I did? Let me know in the comments!
(SHIM! THE GIF THING WORKS!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!)
So, last New Year’s Eve, a couple of friends and I saw in 2014 as we scribbled short stories furiously fast. Our last 2013 stories, but also our first 2014 stories. (Actually, come to think of it, our goal may have been to be done by midnight. But I think we were still writing after.) My short story was 500 words, in the form of a letter, and it’s lost among notebooks or MS Word Docs (I can’t remember if I typed it or wrote it longhand.)
Well, this year, we want to include you in this challenge.
Basically, you have 24 hours to write and publish your story. You can plot and brainstorm as long as you want, but the actual writing and publishing of the story happens within 24 hours, preferably on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
There’s no writing prompt, no word count limit, no requirements to be critiqued. If you want a critique, say so, but otherwise, your work will not be critiqued. We also have ways for non-bloggers can participate.
Any questions you have will probably be answered in Liam’s post here, which covers just about every possible concern about this challenge. He also goes more in depth into the rules and guidelines.(So please read it, even if you don’t have questions.)
Now… to the plot bunny cage! Because I have a short story to plan…
Let us ring in the New Year with our fingers flying over the computer keys!!!
It’s been a wonderful 6 months. Thank you so much, all you lovely people who have read, followed, and commented here. Christmas cookies for you all!
This brings me to my next thought.
2015 is just around the metaphorical corner.
The question everyone (except that guy in the corner back there) is wondering: do I have any New Year’s Resolutions?
Okay, so maybe none of you are wondering that. But I’m going to give you the answer anyway.
(As I write this, I haven’t actually thought about it. I’m making this up as I go along.)
First, I’m going to call this something different. I don’t have New Year’s Resolutions. I have New Year’s Goals.
Second, yes, I do have a few. You guys get to hear the writing goals.
1. I’m going to edit LASER and like it. (I’m hopeful about this, actually. The liking to edit part is subject to change after I get feedback, though…)
2. I’m going to finish my new project– a novella (never wrote a novella before… at least not intentionally).
3. I want to give The Curse Fulfilled a complete overhaul. All I know for certain about this baby novel is that it’s about a boy who turns into a dragon. I know his name. I know where his curse came from. I know who his parents are. THAT IS IT. So, at minimum, I want to sort of, kind of outline it. I may not rewrite yet.
4. I am going to figure out how to infuse my writing with emotions. I have some idea of the technique, but it’s the specific emotion per scene that I haven’t done yet (tried a bit in LASER’s first draft, but this is something I think I need to do in edits). I mostly just need practice.
5. I am going to try again to get an agent. This won’t happen until after LASER is edited, since that is what I’ll be querying with.
6. I’d like to get to a point in blogging where I’m at least a couple of posts ahead and can schedule.
7. On the blogging note, I’d also like to figure out how to post gifs again. I think there’s an HTML code and you also have to use the code for the picture of gif (neither of which I know how to get). (This should be a fairly easy one, though. I’m going to ask a friend about this shortly. And if he doesn’t know… I guess I’ll keep asking people.)
That’s really all the specific ones I have for now. I would love to hear about your New Year’s Goals and how Christmas was and all that fun stuff! Tell me in the comments!