Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

All traditions have to start somewhere.

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

A Monday Moment: Avoidance

Monday Moment

“Is this kamphas?” Nathan called.

Penny suppressed a sigh and walked over to where he was kneeling, holding a green plant. “No, remember, I said the leaves are more rounded. Would it help if I gave you some to hold onto, so you could compare it?”

“I doubt it,” he said with a frown. “All you have is dried up, so it wouldn’t look the same. The leaves on what you showed me didn’t look very round. They looked…well, sort of like this.”

“I told you that hunting for kamphas can be tedious, unrewarding work.”

He straightened up and looked at her curiously. “Did I complain?”

“Not yet.”

He nodded then. “I’m bothering you.”

“Not…bothering,” she said. “I just…don’t know why you wanted to come with me at all.”

He smiled. “You don’t understand why someone would want to spend time with you?”

“I don’t understand why you would want to spend time with me in this way,” she said, trying really hard not to blush.

He shrugged and started walking again. She followed him.

“You said you’d have lunch with me today,” he reminded her.

“I know, but—”

“But you ran out of kamphas and needed to procure more as soon as possible. You told me.” His tone led Penny to think that he didn’t believe her.

“I used more than I thought making the Substance K for my final examination, and still didn’t have enough K made, so it was vital that I…what?” He had stopped and was looking at her with an amused expression.

“You’re avoiding me.”

“What? Of course I’m not. I really did need more kamphas.”

“Then why are you so uncomfortable with me coming along?” He held up the basket he’d been carrying the entire time. “You said we’d have lunch; I’m just providing a way to do that and allow you to restock your kamphas supply at the same time.”

She finally softened a bit, feeling badly about how she’d been treating him. “I am hungry, and you know how much I always enjoy the food you bring me. But I didn’t lie about needing more kamphas…maybe about how vital it was that I get some as soon as possible…”

“Then can we stop and eat now? I promise to stay and help until we find as much kamphas as you need after that.”

She took a breath and held it in for a long moment, then exhaled and nodded. He began to lay out the food he’d brought and gestured his invitation for Penny to sit next to him on the blanket he’d hastily stuffed into the basket as soon as he caught wind of the location change for their lunch.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t completely truthful to you,” Penny said, eyeing the food, but unwilling yet to partake. “I…I don’t really know why it’s been so awkward to be around you.”

“I think I do,” he said. After a pause, he put forth his theory. “Ever since I told you about my past, there have been no more barriers between us. I think it scares you.”

“Doesn’t it scare you?” she asked quickly.

“Why would it scare me? You’ve become one of my best friends. I care…very deeply about you.” He looked her directly in the eyes, remembering the connection he’d felt with her right after he’d told her his story. Right before she’d hurried out of the room and spent the next few months deftly avoiding him. “In the interest of complete honesty—”

“Oh, don’t tell me there’s more,” she interrupted.

“What?”

“Nathan, I don’t know how to handle what you shared with me. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to grow up the way that you did! I care about you too, but…well, like you said, it scares me.”

He put his hands on the blanket behind him and leaned back, stretching out his legs. “Why?”

She shook her head. She wasn’t sure how to put into words what she’d been feeling. “I guess I feel like you want me to fill some kind of role for you, something I don’t understand and don’t know that I can possibly do. I guess…I just don’t know what you want from me.”


Prompt used:

Weekly Writing Update: July pt. 4

Sunday: 1 hour, 23 minutes revising “Outcast
Monday: 1 hour, 12 minutes revising “Outcast”
Tuesday: 1 hour, 12 minutes revising “Outcast”
Wednesday: 1 hour, 4 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour revising “Outcast”
Friday: 1 hour, 14 minutes revising “Outcast”
Saturday: 1 hours, 2 minutes revising “Outcast”

I spent over half of this week putting changes from the first half of revisions into the computer, partly so I didn’t have to do the entire story’s worth later, and partly so I could get an idea of how many words I’d added. It wasn’t many, but a few thousand is better than going down in word count.

I then went back to revising and am now about 2/3-3/4 of the way through the draft. When this draft is done, I’ll likely go back through and read the entire thing at a quicker pace, since I added several new scenes, get my story structure and scenes straightened out, and then see if I can recruit the TCSTB to be my first beta-readers and get an idea of where the story stands and how much work it needs. It’s been quite a while since we revised “Pithea” together though, and we’re all in very different places in our lives, so I don’t have any illusions about the possibility of us working together intensively like we did then. But I still highly value their feedback.

I was able to get caught up to par for Camp NaNoWriMo, making up the deficit I had going into this week.  There are 4 days left now, so I’m confident of a win (maybe even a slightly early finish).

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Book Review: The Oath

Finished Reading: The Oath
by Frank Peretti

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Christian Thriller

The Oath

People are disappearing, possibly dying, in or around a small mining town in the Pacific northwest, and the the people in town seem to know what’s going on, but are unwilling or unable to talk about it. When an outsider dies, it opens up their small-town secrets to the rest of the world. The brother of the outsider who died starts to dig and uncovers a creature that he is determined to bring to light, but the town’s occupants won’t let go of their dragon without a fight.

The Oath has been my favorite book pretty much since I first read it, at least 20 years ago. Up until maybe 10 years ago, I re-read it just about every year. It used to scare me when I read it at night, despite how well I knew the story. Now that I’m getting back to reading regularly, I realized how much I wanted to read it again, and part of that was curiosity about whether or not its status as my favorite book would hold up. I’m happy to say it did!

I fully admit that the book could have been shorter, as there is a decent amount of description of old mining operations and mountain views that I generally skim, but overall, the book is a great example of a Christian thriller. It is also an allegory, which I think is important to realize while reading it.

Once again, by the time I was in the 2nd half of this book, I found myself caught up in the hunt and the excitement of what was happening. I did not have any issues reading at night though, so apparently I’ve either gotten used to it enough, or I’ve grown out of that problem. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, and in a way felt like I was coming home as I read this classic favorite.

Find out more about The Oath

Up next: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

If only you hadn’t opened that door…

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

A Monday Moment: Mud

Monday Moment

The rain poured hard outside. It had been raining for days, and it never seemed to let up. Darcy was worried about the coming weekend. Not only did her family’s business depend on decent weather to make enough money to sustain it for several months, but she was bringing Sol to his first rendezvous ever, and she wanted it to be fun. Mud was not fun. Mud Faires were almost always a nightmarish week of cold, wet, boring, and messy.

She’d told Sol all about the Faire and how much fun it was. She’d told him about the battles, the music, the food, and even the canoe races. Most of that would still be there even if it rained the whole week, but it just won’t be as fun. Their clothes would be muddy and wet, their shoes would be coated in mud, they’d have to pick their way across straw paths everywhere they wanted to go, and well, they’d have to go out in the rain.

The forecast didn’t call for rain all week, just through the first weekend. Still, the mud would be there, and it would still be perfectly able to ruin things.

Friday afternoon, Darcy piled her bags and bedding by the front door and sat down in the nearest chair. She couldn’t do anything else until Sol came home from work. She stared out the window and just let herself wallow in her frustration and sadness.

She was lost in her thoughts, imagining how disappointed Sol would be, and how he’d never want to go to another rendezvous, when a hand suddenly hit the window. It stayed there, pressed up against the glass, while the rain poured around it.

Darcy’s heart beat faster than she could count as she stared at the hand. Her mind cycled through all the different things that could be happening. Then she realized she knew that hand. It was Sol’s hand. Why was he standing out in the rain with his hand pressed up against the window? Was he hurt? In trouble?

Darcy finally took hold of her senses, jumped out of the chair, and flung the front door open. Sol stood by the window, leaning against it, while he bent over. Darcy worried he was in pain and ran out into the rain.

“Sol!” she cried, grabbing onto his arm. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”

He looked up at her in surprise. “What? Oh, no, it’s just the stupid mud.” He gestured to his foot, which was lifted and crossed over his other leg. The shoe was caked with mud.

“Where did you walk?” Darcy asked, looking around. Her heart was finally starting to slow to a normal pace.

“I was coming over here to see if the downspout was clogged–it didn’t look like much water was coming out of it–and stepped in this soft spot here.”

Darcy looked down at where he was pointing. That was when she saw his shoe half-buried in the mud. She looked down at his foot again and realized that it was his sock that was covered in mud. She couldn’t stop herself from bursting out laughing.

Sol looked at her with narrowed eyes. “You think it’s funny that I’m a huge mess? I won’t even be able to go inside without tracking mud everywhere.”

She shook her head, unable to respond from laughing so hard. Sol shook his own head in response. After taking some deep breaths, Darcy was finally able to respond.

“I don’t care,” she said with a loving grin. “It’s just mud.”


Prompt used:
hand-water

Weekly Writing Update: July pt. 3

Sunday: none
Monday: 1 hour, 25 minutes revising “Outcast
Tuesday: 1 hour, 15 minutes revising “Outcast,” as well as writing up some character profiles for the same book
Wednesday: 1 hour, 10 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour, 11 minutes revising “Outcast”
Friday: 1 hour, 7 minutes revising “Outcast”
Saturday: 1 hours, 13 minutes revising “Outcast”

I’m through half of this revision of “Outcast.” I am now putting the changes I made on paper, and the new scenes, into the computer, so I can get an idea of what kind of word count I’m up to. The first draft was not long enough for this type of novel, so I’m hoping the extra scenes I have planned will fill it out. But I am pretty sure it will still be a little short, and I’ll have to brainstorm some more content.

On Monday, some changes to my evening routine made me realize that I wasn’t going to be able to continue with a goal of 90 minutes per day for Camp NaNoWriMo. So I did the math to figure out what to change my total goal to, in order to keep the first 14 days at 90 minutes, but have the rest of the month with a goal of 60 minutes per day. This leaves me a little behind still, but I couldn’t keep the pace of 90 minutes, behind or not.

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Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Finished Reading: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Mystery Thriller

(Recommended by amusing2write)
7.5 Deaths

Imagine coming to consciousness in the middle of a dark forest, mid-sentence, with no memories of who you are, where you are, or why you’re in the middle of a dark forest yelling someone’s name. That is how this book begins, and it only gets more interesting from there. The main character & narrator eventually finds out that he is going to relive the same day 8 times, and that each time, someone will die (the same someone). Only if he can solve the murder will he be released from doing all of this over again, wiped of memories at the start of doing it again.

I had my ups and downs with this book, but in the end, the ups did outweigh the downs. I’ll start with what I enjoyed.

The murder-mystery itself was intricate and well-planned. It kept me guessing throughout the book, especially in the later half, when answers were finally starting to come, yet kept being not what they appeared to be. No one is ever quite who they seem to be, even the people that you are certain couldn’t possibly be hiding something. And I really appreciated the way that the narrator’s different hosts contributed their own abilities toward solving the murder.

As the same day is being relived by the narrator, it reads a lot like a time travel story, as the narrator sees the same events happen over and over. The author did a good job with the continuity in this respect. There were a few things that confused me in this area, but they were intentional (not intentionally confusing, but intentional as in not a continuity issue). I can’t say more without giving some spoilers.

I was certain throughout the book that there would never be an explanation given for the greater mystery–who or what was behind the narrator being trapped inside the various guests at Blackheath, forced to solve a murder. A combination of some reviews that I read and my own assumption that this wouldn’t be explained, due to the why not being the focus of the story, led me to this certainty. I was pleasantly surprised to find that an explanation was given, and while I was still left with some questions when the book ended, a Q&A section at the back of the book clarified things. To be clear though–this wasn’t a cheat on the author’s part to leave out some information and fill in the blanks later. It didn’t bother me to be left with the questions I had–it was the kind of thing where the reader was left to infer their own answers, and it turned out I had inferred them correctly.

Here were the downsides to the book for me (as spoiler-free as I can be), which can be mostly chalked up to personal preference:

Early on, I struggled with how long it took to get into the mystery, and what was happening that seemed to be completely unrelated, or at least very different, from what the book was going to be about. Between the title of the book and the inside of the book jacket, I knew a lot more than I feel like I was meant to know, and grew impatient waiting for that information to be presented in the book. Even the name of the narrator is right there on the book jacket, but that information wasn’t given until at least 1/4 of the way into the book. I don’t think this is the fault of the book itself though, so much as the fault of the blurb and, to a lesser degree, the title.

The book is written in 1st person and present tense. It works well for the premise, but the downside to this is that certain events are a little too up-close and personal for my taste. This mainly relates to violence and death, but other situations as well. By the end of the book, I felt like I should take a shower, as the mustiness and decay of Blackheath and the alcohol- and smoke-covered guests is described so often, and in such intimate detail that at times it felt like I was swimming in it. I also didn’t care for the extreme way that the author portrayed one of the narrator’s guest’s overweight body, with such disdain, and not to mention as if the host could barely walk 10 feet without being out of breath. I was as thankful to be out of that host as the narrator was.

The last downside I want to mention is that I didn’t personally care for the author’s style. There was so much figurative language that, by the end of the book, I actually said to my husband, “I’ve read this sentence 5 times, but I can’t tell if something big just happened, or if it’s just a metaphor.” There is also quite a bit of description, so between that and the figurative language, the narration often bogged down the story for me. I came to appreciate the dialog, because it was much more straight-forward, but a lot of the story happens in the narration. By the last third of the book, though, I had started to skim the descriptions (how many different ways can you tell me that a new room we’ve entered is dirty, run-down, and dark?), hoping I wouldn’t miss anything important along the way.

To sum up, I did enjoy the book, and once I really got into the mystery, I found myself wanting to come back to it whenever I could. I would recommend it for people who enjoy mystery, especially those with intricate plots. I think many would struggle with the complexity of it though. I would not recommend it to my friends and family, however, as I think the violence and debauchery might bother them as much as, if not more than, it did me, so keep that in mind if you don’t care for that sort of thing.

Find out more about The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle*
*This is the US title. The book is elsewhere titled The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Up next: The Oath by Frank Peretti

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

hand-water

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

A Monday Moment: Winter

Monday Moment - Winter

Once, when I was about twelve, I went with my parents to Imphal. I had never been there before, so I didn’t know how cold it was. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the oddity of it being so cold there, when it’s only a few miles east of our island. I couldn’t tell you what the season was at the time we went, but I was always aware of the fact that Imphal received what was considered an average snowfall, when we usually got hardly any.

Anyway, when I went to Imphal with my parents, we stayed with some friends of theirs. They had a boy a few years older than me. He had already gone through some Power training, which I was not old enough for yet. Oh, how mean he was to me. He had little more than the basic training, but in his eyes, it was miles ahead of where I was, not even old enough for the basic.

He would boast about how he could start a fire just by snapping his fingers. Then he would show me. He got in trouble if his parents caught him. He wasn’t supposed to start fire in the house. He even showed me how he could turn on a light with his finger. It didn’t stay lit after he let go, but it was still pretty cool to watch him do it.

Now, with a snap of my fingers, I could freeze his fire. I could make that light explode. With a little more effort, I could freeze his smug smile right there on his face. Of course, it’s been a few years now, and he’s probably not the same arrogant kid he once was. He probably doesn’t even remember me from that visit.

Still, for whatever reason, I would just love the chance to tell him that I’m the one that brought true winter back to Pithea. Imphal’s not so special anymore.


Prompt used: Once, when I was…