Friday, January 17, 2014

God-Mothering 101

Finish That Thought #28 (Judge's Comments)
Prompt:  Nothing good ever happens after midnight.  
Special Challenge:  Incorporate at least three small, furry animals (Please don't kill them)

“Nothing good ever happens after midnight,” Professor Puffly stated while tapping the chalkboard with his pointer.  “Remember that when you prepare your spells.”  He waddled to the other side of his desk and leaned against it, crossing his paws.  “Who wants to give me an example?”

Hetty peeked across the classroom and made eye contact with her best friend, Pearlie.  They shared a private giggle.   Would anyone dare mention the professor’s calamity that turned him into a hamster?

“Cinderella,” one of the students piped up.  “Midnight is when she lost everything.”

“But without midnight, she would never have piqued the prince’s interest!” Pearlie blurted. “I’d say that’s gaining something.  I mean, the wedding happened after midnight, right?”  She was the smartest pixie in class.  Hetty was sometimes jealous of how well she could debate anybody--- including the professors! 

“That is a point, Miss Pearlina,” Professor Puffly nodded.  “But that has to do more with how they handled things, not the spell itself.  Anyone else?”

“Sleeping beauty?  Didn’t her spinning wheel have something to do with midnight?”

“Scrooge was visited by three spirits after midnight,” another student volunteered.  “He was doomed to an afterlife of chains!”

“But he changed for the better because of that visit!” Pearlie retorted.

Professor Puffly’s nose twitched.  Clearly this lesson wasn’t going as planned.  The students whispered among themselves as they tried to think of examples.  Hetty wracked her brain for another spell that involved midnight.  There had to be lots!  It was cliché after all.  It couldn’t be cliché unless it was overused.  Nothing came to mind, however.  None except...

In the back of the room, William raised his paw tentatively, “Pardon me, Professor, but I can think of one.” 

The room hushed and Professor Puffly called on him in surprise.  William hardly ever paid attention in class, but that was to be expected.  He was the only woodchuck in the pixie-only course God-Mothering 101 and administration had yet to look at his transfer request.

William glanced nervously back and forth and gulped.  “You and Principal Fennysticks put spells on each other that changed you both into animals.  You couldn’t reverse it before it became midnight.”

Even Pearlie couldn’t refute that one.  It was a lot worse being a chubby hamster than an adorable chinchilla.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why I Write

I've always been fond of writing.  When I was in grade school, I often pretended I was a journalist and would create newsletters on Grandma's computer program just for fun.  Of course, most of the stories were made up, but it still left me with a sense of accomplishment.  In middle school, I wrote a short story for an English project and had the teacher take me aside to tell me I had potential for becoming an author.  Let me tell you, that spurred me on to try!  In high school, I started my first novel.  Then two novels, then three.  I found that I could start out really strong, but after a chapter or two, I couldn't keep things going.  Eventually I grew frustrated and abandoned them altogether.

I still wanted to write, though.  In university I pursued a bachelor's in journalism and learned how to better my starts as well as strengthen my endings.  It still didn't improve all that middle stuff, though.  I couldn't do a thing with those novels I had begun earlier and ended up creating a fourth!  But it didn't last for long.  My dream of becoming an author was tucked on the shelf along with my secret longing of becoming a ballerina.

Just short of a year ago I started writing again.  I couldn't help myself, really.  Characters were coming alive in my head and insisted I write down their stories!  (Sort of like Samantha on that Bewitched episode when she created the characters of a play she was writing and they wouldn't go away when she was done!)

I began to realize that even though I have trouble expressing myself from beginning to end, or even finishing a writing project, that doesn't mean I can't write.  Or shouldn't write.  I might not be the best out there, but I won't get any better unless I practice and have honest people tell me where I can improve.

If you want to write, don't be bogged down with self-doubting!  Of course you aren't the best writer now.  I'm not and I don't expect I ever will be.  As long as you're writing because you love to write, and not for the approval of other people, it's good writing.  Don't be downcast if people have a lot of criticizing at first.  It's the feedback and the practice that will take you to where you want to go!

I am so thankful for the writers' group that took me in and pushed me to better myself as a writer.  Because of them, I have two stories in a published book that I can point to and say to myself, "See?  You can do it!  Keep plugging along!"  It is such an encouragement for a beginner like me.

As they say, if you write, you're a writer whether you have a book published or not!  If you like it, do it.  And that is why I can proudly say, "I write."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In The Dark

Finish That Thought #26 (Judge's Comments
Prompt: [I] thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns.
Special Challenges: Make the protagonist non-human; include a form of the word resolution or resolve

The character(s) and plot included in this piece belong to my novel I am currently writing.  They are the property of my co-authors and myself.  

October 7, 1916 thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns. They passed the box onto me, of course, and insisted I poke and prod until I uncover their secrets. Unlike the pegasi, the wyverns have shape and move. Their black coats ooze and wriggle inside their glass jars as if they are trying to climb out. With a pair of electrical probes, I was able to mount one for 3 seconds.

Ares paused mid-sentence, a slight smirk teasing the corner of his lips. ‘The Army will love decoding this entry,’ he thought to himself. The Army is what he called his employer, a spindly man of mediocre height with a dusting of silver atop his round head, and his demonic cult. Pegasi was a nickname for the first ethereal substance he had been given to study in his lab. Wyvern alluded to this new element the Army had sent his way to analyze. It was Ares’ way since his imprisonment to jot down discoveries in code based off of medieval alchemy phrases. Not that he was a prisoner of the Army, oh no. Ares had locked himself away within his alchemy lab, deep in the recesses of the old manor on 8th Street. It wasn’t wise to go out, especially after faking his death only a few months before.

The smirk finally eased itself onto his thin lips. Oh how everyone had wept at his funeral. Even the sky had shed tears and bellowed its grief. Little did they know he was alive and well, chasing his dream of immortality with his new-found freedom. His pen dropped to the lined paper again and Ares continued to write.

I suspect these wyvern are of similar build to the pegasi, but whether or not they hold the key to the fountain, I do not know. They suggest a deeper mystery and magic than their counterparts. Since it took me a fortnight to tap into the power of the pegasi, I gather it will take me thrice as long to master the wyvern. However, I am resolved to perfect my formula and succeed in extracting the necessary ingredients for the second phase of transformation.

Running his tongue along a sharply pointed fang, Ares contemplated what to write next. The potion he concocted from the pegasi had stripped him of his humanity. Ares glanced at his cracked reflection in the cobwebbed baroque mirror hanging on the wall across from his mahogany desk. He was a shadow of his former self, almost vampiric in appearance except for the elongated ears. A few more answers, nay, one more discovery, and he would unleash the power to be able to transform his ghostly body into human flesh like the Army could. But what price was he willing to pay for immortality? If the potion of the pegasi had sold his body, would a wyvern potion sell his soul?