The Reign

“Leave him,” Pog said. “We have little food as it is, and he is too weak.”

The heavy rain poured down around them, occasionally dripping inside of their hut to remind them that they were still a party to the outside world. Pog ignored the summoning of his conscience, which pricked at him with every gentle plop against his freckled skin.

The boy would die without his help; without a roof, dry clothes, and some sustenance. The rain continued to patter, rebuking him.

Pog ignored it all, turning from the open doorway.

Every member of their small band did the same, except for Eleanor.

“Bring her inside, quickly!” Pog had shouted. “She’ll die out in the cold!”

He and Olsen had dashed into the rainstorm, their feet splashing in the mud with every step. They had braced her between them, dragging her into the safety of their hut.

Siehara had spread a blanket over the newcomer, and Tabitha had handed her a crust of bread.

“You’re safe now,” Pog had said, crouching beside her. “What’s your name?”

Eleanor stared into the rainstorm, her heart shattering for the boy who was being left for dead. Slowly rising from her corner, she stepped outside of the hut. She approached the small boy lying in the mud and scooped him into her thin arms.

Eleanor walked back into the hut. She settled them into her corner, spreading her blanket over him and offering him her ration of bread.

“What’s your name?” she whispered.

The boy’s teeth chattered. “Jerick.”

“You’re safe now,” Eleanor smiled, squeezing his hand. “You’re safe, Jerick.”

The rest of the children tore their eyes from their laps and stole glances at Pog, who was slowly approaching the two.

“Welcome,” Pog said, looking over the muddy boy coldly.

Jerick shivered.

“He would have died out there,” Eleanor whispered. “You did the same for me.”

Pog’s eyes softened. “I know.”

Wonder

I sometimes wonder if the stories I’m taking such care to craft will even be widely read, appreciated, or enjoyed. Their style is vastly different from everything I’ve written thus far. They aren’t dark, necessarily…they just have darkness in them. Darkness is popular with the modern teenage audience, leading to the popularity of dystopian series. However, my books don’t offer a corrupted government, a dramatic romance, or a war. Instead, they simply show…the reality of darkness.

I wonder how interesting they will be to read. They will be character-driven, instead of plot-driven. Will the endearment of characters make up for the lack of battles, sword-play, and adventure?

I wonder if I will ever be finished with this planning stage. The mountains of untouched, undeveloped content tells me it is unlikely.

I wonder if I will ever master the art of creating side-characters, as my current track record is to either give supporting roles their own novels, or allow them first-person perspective in the midst of their friend’s story.

I wonder if I’ll manage to conquer the beast of a timeline I currently have.

I wonder…

Build-A-World Workshop

As a published author, I tend to think I know some things about the novel writing process.

As a teenager, I acknowledge that I actually don’t know a whole lot.

One aspect of novel writing that I struggle with, most likely from a lack of experience, is world building. There are countless aspects that go into creating your own world. No matter how much meticulous planning goes into your creation, there is always something being overlooked. I’ve put at least a year into my current project, and I’m still nowhere near complete.

Naturally, then, I would be one of the least qualified people to put together a world-building guide. Right?

Right?

Apparently, as a published author, I have an unnatural amount of self-confidence.

As an almost-graduated senior, I have a strong desire to avoid Physics homework.

Somehow, those two aspects came together to make…Build-A-World Workshop.

It’s far from a comprehensive guide, but I think I did a nice job on it. It features one of my favorite fonts; a magical fairy guide; and some amazing creative commons pictures, including one of a unicorn (man, I’m a nerd). Even though it just asks some basic questions, it should be able to spur more thoughts.

Sometimes, people don’t take into consideration how the economy of a country might have to function. The levels of technology available, whether to scientists or the common man. How people get their food. Occupations and how they’re perceived. Gender roles. Where money comes from. What lies beyond the town, the country, the continent, the planet, the galaxy. The history, both of the characters and of their world. The presence of religion, or lack thereof. What cultural differences exist between people. Rich heritage from different places. The vegetation, types of animals, climate, seasons, terrain, and weather.

Can anyone truly capture the insanity and detail that is world-building? Probably not. But I gave it my best shot!

And then I did my Physics homework.

Swoop

I don’t know if I can fully express the emotions I’ve felt in the past few days. Instead of asking someone else to edit my sixth book, I took on the task myself. I’d like to think it’s because I want to add editing to my skill set; more likely, I simply do not want to depend on outside factors for publishing my book. Perhaps after my initial read-over, I felt it didn’t require outside attention.

Regardless, I have finished editing. There were a surprising amount of typos, especially in scenes where there was baking. The most comical was a lack of possessive, declaring “Bethy eggy fingers” instead of “Bethy’s eggy fingers”.

(Wouldn’t that make a distinguished name? Bethy E. Fingers. What’s your middle name? Oh, it’s Eggy.)

Now that I’ve eliminated the type errors and exterminated a plotline that served no true purpose for the story, I am left feeling accomplished…and empty.

I haven’t even thought ahead to this coming November. I’ve devoted that month to writing a book for six years. But I’ll be in college. Studying and trying to make friends. Will I have time for NaNoWriMo? What would I even write?

This series is done. I best describe this third and final book as “a summer of goodbyes”. That includes the farewells that I must say to my dear characters.

I don’t know if I’m ready to say goodbye. Even as I finished editing yesterday, I noticed a thread I could pick up to write about my “middle school trio”. But should I? Would I? What would the purpose be?

Oh, purpose. I still have an entire other series of books crying out for attention. But those books won’t be written for years, for all I know and feel. What will I do in the meantime? Write short scenes about Becker and his antics? I think that would make me homesick for all my dears.

While I am thrilled to be finished with the editing of this book…I am feeling empty. I don’t know if my Purpose characters can fill this gap. I don’t know if they’re intended to.

We Laughed, We Creid, We Fixed That Typo

About a week ago, I took the time to read my sixth book the whole way through. I hadn’t really acknowledged its existence since November, and to be honest, I didn’t really remember much about it.

Fun Fact: That’s one of the best times to evaluate your work.

I came at it from a mostly objective perspective. Unlike my previous books, I really hadn’t been over this one very much. As I read through it, I was actually able to evaluate it and ask important questions, such as:

“Is this even good?”
“Did I set this up correctly?”
“Why did I misspell ‘cried’?”

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually pretty good. It does need some editing, for both content and typos, but overall, I’d put a “decent literature” stamp on it.

The nicest thing about reading through my book was the emotions I had while reading. As someone who dearly loves my characters, seeing what they’re going through impacted me. I cried several times. I’d like to think that someone who has been reading my books and also loves these characters might tear up a little bit, too.

I also laughed at times. Of all the characters I’ve written about in my career so far, Becker is by far my favorite. He has been able to reach me with tears and laughter. Mostly laughter, though. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Becker hasn’t changed.

When I get the opportunity, I will go through this novel and get it onto the market. In the meantime, I have scholarships and classwork and college decisions looming over me.

If you haven’t looked at my books yet and you think this book sounds interesting, I’d recommend reading both Soar and Steady before it comes out. It will impact you so much more if you do.

Sometimes you have to say goodbye. Sometimes you lose something.

But you never know what you’ll gain through that.

Blessings to you!

NaNoWriMo Jitters

Here I sit. One hour until National Novel Writing Month officially begins. My sixth attempt; I am historically successfully.

And I am terrified.

All I have been able to say about this for the past two days is “I’m not ready”. And I haven’t been able to say it to anyone. So I turn to you, dear reader, in the absence of anyone who cares to understand my severe apprehension.

I have the plot ready, so that isn’t my problem. In fact, I’m rather excited for this story. In my last book, my characters experienced the tough parts of growing up. Now, they’re experiencing some of the more exciting elements. I have a more simplified plot, along with starting and ending places.

I think my characters are ready. I know what has happened to everyone in the last year. Where they have stumbled and struggled; where they have grown. I’m excited for them, yet also heartbroken. I’ve designed this plot to be the end of this “Toner World” I created. The end of my childhood stories.

Is that what’s bugging me? It’s my senior year. I have so much on my plate, and everything is about to change. Oh, for crying out loud, everything is changing. Everything is already changed. I don’t have any best friends; I have responsibilities in every part of my life; I’m growing up.

I want to be excited to jump back into this world. And as I begin to talk about it, I’m getting excited.

Is that my problem? I don’t have anyone to talk to? And it’s not that I don’t have anyone to talk to—it’s that the people I talk to don’t care about my writing. For goodness sake, today I tried to bring up my writing to my one friend, and they said “dun dun dun”. That isn’t conversation. That’s a sound effect. I can contribute those on my own.

Am I so sick of not having anyone care? Is it manifesting in this upset bubble of “not ready”?

Actually, someone does care. I received the sweetest, most encouraging card the other day. They care.

Well, there’s one.

I guess I’m just in an odd place right now. For example, I’ve been growing out my hair since I was ten years old. But I’m in such a need for a change, I have an appointment in a few days to chop it off.

Do I need change? I know I’m sick of maintaining my long hair. I’m sick of a lot of things.

I guess what’s important is, I’m excited to wake up tomorrow and reenter the world of my characters. For the last time. The last November.

At least they care what happens to them.

And I love them for it.

My FIRST Parody

So, recently, I got the chance to release to YouTube my very first parody. Okay, technically, it’s my very second parody, but it’s the first to make it to YouTube.

This was an exhaustive process. Once I wrote it, I had to learn it on guitar. When my mics came in the mail, I was using all my tech-people resources to help me record the audio in the best quality. I mixed it myself (and that’s actually a great story for another time). I got the lyric video put together. Everything, I did myself, save the input I asked for from others.

And it’s finally here. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to join a FIRST team, I think I’ve captured the essence of the experience in this song. New experiences are scary, but there’s a lot to love about FIRST.

So, if you’d like to check it out, you can click right here.

It would mean the world to me. Getting this song together was so much work, and knowing that someone enjoyed it would be amazing.

 

A Daily Dose of Crushing Reality

I’m struggling a great deal right now. It’s senior year. This is the year that I have to determine what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.

And I know what I want to do. I want to write. I want to pen novels, create characters, weave stories. Share these works with kids who will look at them with wonder. This is my passion. I’ve been developing it all of my life.

All I want to do is find the next step in developing that. High school graduation is synonymous with college, so I’m trying to find a school that will provide what I need to grow as a writer. I want to have a better understanding of creative writing, as well as grammar, usage, and mechanics. There are other skills I want to develop further, such as public speaking and video editing.

However, a few days ago, I was effectively hit with the crushing reality that I cannot survive on my passion. Not only have all my research efforts been inconclusive, but I’m unable to live on writing. By the time I’m out of high school, I will have published five, if not six, published novels. But they aren’t popular by any stretch of the imagination. Three of them are works of a child. Three show marked improvement, but no one reads them. No one enjoys them, except a select few people who know me.

I have another series I’ve been developing for a year. I’m anxious to write it, to share it with people. Yet, I won’t be able to survive. I don’t possess the funds to traditionally publish them.

Now, I’m forced to consider other options. Other things to do with my life.

Can you even begin to understand the crushing frustration of knowing what you want to do with your life, and wanting to improve yourself; yet there is no opening for you to do so? And then you are forced to decide what you will do with the rest of your life; something that you aren’t passionate about?

It would be different if I didn’t know what I wanted to do. If I didn’t have something I am incredibly passionate about and have seen myself pursuing for the rest of my life.

But I do. And I instead must put aside my greatest passions and look for something else; all for money, and having enough to live.

I have cried more than four times this week. There is so much anger and frustration pent up inside of me. I’m furious. I’m disappointed. I’m heartbroken. I’m disgusted.

And I have no idea how to help myself.

I Was In the TV

About two weeks ago, I saw a link on Facebook. It was for an “Author Spotlight” on a show called Good Day PA; and the lady featured had written a children’s book. My friend who does my covers had illustrated one of her books, and I watched the interview for fun.

Then I saw the button. “BE A GUEST”, it said.

Well, how can you not listen to a button like that?

I clicked it, and followed the consequent steps to possibly appearing in this segment of their show. One mailed package and several emails led to another, and I was scheduled to appear on August 25th, 2016.

This might be a fun time to mention that I had yet to figure out this was a live broadcast, and just because there was no studio audience didn’t mean that it was pre-recorded.

But anyway.

I got there an hour after I wanted to be–and technically a half an hour later than they’d asked me to–but I’d emailed while I was stuck in a miserable interstate traffic jam to let them know what was going on, and they were very gracious about it.

So I sat. Nervous. Terrified, even; in a little conference room with professional, older women who had official businesses or doctorates. And I tried not to be incredibly stressed and panicked.

But all went well, dear readers! I think I did rather okay. If you’d like to see my interview, the link is right here.

They misspelled my name, but I’ll forgive ’em.