Posted in Fiction, Stories, Writing

Miko and Kami- a short story

This short story is finished! If you’d like to read the rest please leave a like!

I was hoping someone might come by to see me as I rolled over on the shrine’s roof. Little did I know the person to appear would change my whole life. The sun glinted through the branches of the overgrown trees that fluttered in the breeze. The metal tiles under me were getting hot in the sun’s rays. I let out a breath, bored as fuck. The sky was its same water blue and the roofing tiles were still just as uncomfortable as every day before.

The breeze rusted the bells so they rang softly and with that, the girl appeared. I tipped my head back off the edge of the roof and watched as she bowed at the Torii. As she lifted her head and her vibrant eyes locked on me I fell right off the roof and onto the moss-covered stones below.

Scrambling to my feet, I ran behind the shrine and grabbed my face. I studied my hand to make sure my nose wasn’t bleeding. Then I leaned back and peeked around the edge of the building. She was standing at the water place, though I swear it had been dry for years.

She passed the scoop between her hands as if there were water there to purify her. I jerked back behind the building as she turned to face the shrine again. On my tippy toes, I crept around the shrine to the other side as she walked up the stone steps and inside the shrine.

I poked my head around the corner just enough to see her place a coin in the offering box. She bowed deeply twice and I could feel my heart pick up. I walked into the room as quietly as I could and despite the creaky floorboards, didn’t make a sound. Standing a few feet to one side of her, I bowed my head and placed the palms of my hands together.

“Dear god whose name has been lost to time, I seek your blessing to repair your shine. My deepest apologies for leaving your temple unkempt.” She thought and then clapped twice. I didn’t move as she bowed again but I could hear her jump when she saw me standing there.

I clapped my hands twice and bowed, keeping my eyes closed. She stood still until I stood up straight and looked at her. Her hair was tied back into a bun with a flower pen holding it in place. It matched her purple skirt with flowers splashed on one side. And on her face, she wore the most stunning look of contempt.

“Were you the one who fell off the roof earlier?” She asked with arms crossed.

I winced slightly at her words but a small smile crept on my face. “I didn’t fall, I just wasn’t graceful as a flew.”

She shook her head at me. “This shrine is under enough stress, it can’t handle some jokester wearing out its beams.”

I shrugged and leaned back against a support pillar. One of the panels fell out of the ceiling and hit my head. She shook her head at me again and started towards the door where she had left her shoes.

“Can you tell me where the nearest spring is?” She asked over her shoulder.

I furrowed my brow slightly and walked towards her. She turned to look at me.

“I’m sure you must come by here often if you knew the bell rope was broken.” Her eyes were narrowed slightly as she looked back at me, “Unless you just didn’t care to summon the god who resides here before praying.”

I grinned and sat down on the mat with my legs crossed. “It’s nearby, you can hear it just to the east.”

The look in her eyes shifted and she nodded her thanks to me before leaving. I leaned back against the beam and looked out of the hole up at the roof. I let a burst of air out of my lips. I knew she wouldn’t come back to clean the shrine, no one had bothered with it for years.

I was still staring up at the few flickers of light that shone down through the hole when the girl returned. She had a bucket of water in one hand and an old cloth in the other. She jumped when she saw me, nearly dropping her water. I laughed at her, making her glare at me.

“Why are you still here?” She set the bucket down and glared at me.

“I stay here until my prayer has been fulfilled.” I stood up and walked to the top of the steps.

She did her best to ignore me and scratched the moss off the steps with her rag.

“You’re cleaning up this dump?” I leaned against the door and heard something snap behind me.

She rolled her eyes. “A shrine is a shrine and it must be taken care of.”

I laughed at her and lay down at the top of the steps. Biting the inside of my cheek, I watched her scrub. She ignored me for a while, which was quite alright because I knew she’d come around.

“Are you just going to lay there and watch me?” she hissed.

“Yes, if it’s quite alright with you.”

“Well, it’s not. Hit the road.”

I looked up at the graying sky. “I told you, I’m not leaving until my prayer is fulfilled.”

She stood up and stormed off with the bucket in hand. I happily waited for her to return with clean water. She worked hard on those steps until they seemed to glow with her pride.

“All done?” I asked as she whipped her brow.

“For today.”

“And what will you do tomorrow?”

“I’ll move debris from the grounds.”

“Well I hope you sleep well, then, that will be hard work.”

She nodded and turned to leave. I watched her walk out as the sun started to set. I rolled my eyes and walked back to the shrine.

Against my every prediction, the pissy little girl showed up again the next day just after lunch. I was asleep on the roof when the prayer bell rattled loudly. Jolting up, I lost my balance and tumbled feet first off the shrine. I looked up at her from the well-shined steps, rubbing the back of my head. She was standing on a block, tieing a new rope to the frayed end of the last one.

“You know they say the god who lives here is evil. That’s why they cut the rope; so no one could ever call him again.” I said.

“Well what do you know, you’re still here.” Her voice was dull.

I couldn’t help but assume she tied the rope on first in order to wake me up. Standing up, I dusted off my stained white and red yukata. She stepped down and walked past me into the garden. She picked up a fallen branch and started pulling it away. Her eyes latched on me standing there, watching her.

“You could help me you know.” She tugged the branch and a piece of hair fell in front of her face.

I tipped my head to the side and grinned. “Only God can help you.”

She snorted and kept about her business. She pulled up weeds and swept the ground and took the leaves off the roof. I watched as she went about her busy work.

“Come sit with me,” I called from the steps of the shrine.

“I have to finish the garden before nightfall.” She said softly back.

“It’ll all still be here tomorrow.” I put my hands behind my head and leaned back into them, “Myself included.”

“I have to finish it.”

I looked around. “Does that include trimming the bushes and trees?”

“Yes.”

“And washing the stones?”

“Yes.”

“And rebuilding the sei-chu? And making the shimenawa, cleaning the lion dogs, and planting a new sacred tree?”

She yelled something indistinct and then looked at me. “I have to get it done!”

“Alright,” I said and watched her work.

The birds chattering stopped at nightfall and in the last light of the day, the girl was still working. The plants had all been restored to their proper size but little more than that had been done.

“Will you be okay? Walking back in the dark that is?” I said in the doorway of the shrine.

“I don’t know.” She said softly and picked up another few trimmings, “there doesn’t seem to be anyone else in these woods so I should be fine.”

“You won’t trip?”

“No.”

She dumped the scraps and then walked over to the shrine where I stood. Sitting down, she looked at the garden in the last rays.

“I didn’t get enough done.”

I looked at her and raised an eyebrow. “I suppose you will need to get here earlier tomorrow.”

“I can’t.”

Crickets rubbed their wings together in the absence of our talking.

“Go home,” I said after a moment and then turned to go inside.

“You too.” She said and stood up.

“I’d love too.”

I could feel her eyes on me as I watched the light fade from the offering box.

 

This short story is finished! If I get 10 likes I’ll publish the second have and don’t forget to subscribe you so can read it! Thank you for reading!

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Posted in Fiction, Just for fun, Writing

The Most Amazing Fictional Worlds

Zootopia

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One of my absolute favorite movies, Zootopia showcases a beautiful world not too different from our own. The main city is made up of different sections with the creators had to put a lot of thought into. The animation is spectacular. Overall it’s a much watch film for world building alone.

Avatar

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This is one of the most popular films on this list and I can see why. The CGI is amazing and really makes you feel like you’re in the world. It’s beautiful and very well planned out. The minds behind this world are some of the concept artists I’ve seen. I’d take a page from their book any day.

Sword Art Online

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Finally the anime entry! Imagin living inside a video game and all the magical things that exist there. It’s a very captivating world with a lot of thought put into the detail of animation. Some of the things they come up with in the first season are spectacular!

Harry Potter

I couldn’t help but mention this one just because it’s so well known. The world of Harry and Newt is very intricate. I specifically love Diagon ally. There’s a reason why someone created an amusement park out of this!

How to train your dragon

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This movie gets points for the easy transition it has into its world. ALL the other entries on this list have the main character discover the world alongside you, making it easy to show off the detailed design. In this movie, Hiccup already knows the ins and outs of the world yet we still get to see the rich culture and environment that was created for us.

Croods

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And last but not least, a film I could watch ten thousand times. The Croods has a world painted in saturated colors and beautiful scenery. The entire plot revolves around the natural world so there are many creative ideas in the background of every frame. Simply stunning.

Posted in Fiction, Just for fun, Writing

My 6 Favorite Books From Childhood

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All writers have to get their spark from somewhere. For me, it was middle school, the peak of my reading career. These are my favorite books from that time. I won’t summarise them because you can find that anywhere.

 

 

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism61ps5n05iul-_sy344_bo1204203200_

You wouldn’t know how fascinating this novel and the rest of the series is by the opening pages. But once you get into the real meat of the story you’ll find an amazing world and great adventure.

Dark Life

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The world building is absolutely perfect. The twist ending made me love writing and reading. I also loved the characters and found the whole thing to be a beautiful ride.

Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow

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Talk about a page turner. When I read it I was completely pulled in by the amazing world and fast plot. There was so much going on it kept me pulled in the entire time.

Rascal

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This one’s a family favorite. We would listen to it on every road trip becue the writing is simply beautiful. It tells a fantastic story that is both funny and leaves you with a sad but satisfying ending.

Zen and the Art of Faking

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If you want to fall in love with a character pick up this book. It was packed with awesome moments that have stuck with me to this day.

 

What were your favorites?

Posted in Anime Review, Fiction, Writing

Story Review: Love Stage!

img_8018.jpgHi there! Today I wanted to talk about plot and story structure in one of my all time favorite anime, Love Stage! I just recently finished rewatching it and was remarking about what the writers did.The first thing

The first thing to come to mind was the wonderful plot device of having both characters start out straight. This is the same thing that happened with me and Marlow which is the same over arching plot at in Love Stage. They weaved this in really nicely with the many sub plots, keeping the main story from smothering the later developments.

The sub plots really reinforced the main line of the story and made it seem more like developments on the main story rather than unrelated events. The main one that comes to mind is Izumi’s debut which is added in very early and carries through to the end of the anime. The main plot really piggy backed on it (in a good way) tieing in major plot points.

The characters were very well developed! Even though there is little screen time for some of them we get the gist of their character and how they are important to Izumi. For instance, his parents are in just a few crucial clips to show us how Izumi was raised. This went all the way down to the fictional character Izumi was obsessed with so she may help him through his emotional barriers.

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I completely disagree with you.

The main problem I have with the anime is the sheer amount of rape or near rape that Izumi is exposed to. This paint’s all gay relationships as unhealthy and does not provide any hope for a gay guy looking for support.

In fact, the whole anime doesn’t even deal with coming out of the closet. The characters opt to hide their relationship (if you can call it that) by announcing Izumi’s debut. And the two other confirmed characters clearly have not told the rest of the world, not even their families.

Though the animation is well done and it does promote accepting yourself the Anime falls flat in my opinion. I think Izumi’s debut would have been fine if we actually saw him struggle on set. And really they should have come out of the closet.

I think the other manga club kids a distraction and feel they are not needed in the last episode and only are there just to show the writers hadn’t forgotten about them. It would have been much more meaningful if the writers had just focused on the one key character instead of dividing up the attention.

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Agree to disagree

Posted in Fiction, Publishing, Writing

How To Develop Infinite Novel Plots (With Your Own Personal Theme)

I’m always surprised by how many people have problems coming up with ideas for their books. I’ve never been the type to not have six or seven projects going at once. But there is one thing that I think is unaccounted for when people browse story starting sentences or images. This is something that I have always used and could not develop ideas without.

The Base Story

Now, this is the single most important, root for building every novel you could ever think of.  I always have my niche story start. Think of it as the first building block, the foundation to build upon. This could be as simple as ‘Man Vs. Nature’ or as complex as ‘Man struggling in the business world’ but it is the one common thread that all of your novels will have in common.

It MUST be Something that Interests YOU Deeply

For me, it’s gay romance where one of the main characters does not want to admit he’s gay. I find the dynamic extremely interesting with a thousand different plots. When you try to think of your base story make sure:

It can be set all different places across space and/or time.

You can interchange character types easily.

It is deeply interesting to YOU (not your mom, boyfriend or publisher).

It is flexible enough to fit many different subplots, character developments, and won’t have the same overall outline.

It can be used as a subplot if your interest turns to something else.

So for my example:

Novel 1: Boy is running for a position of power and is blackmailed into a marriage with another guy, main characters does not want to admit he’s gay but ends up falling in love. Novel 2: Boy has no memory of the past as he has died and while traveling through the afterlife the main characters

Novel 2: Boy has no memory of the past as he has died and while traveling through the afterlife the main characters does not want to admit he’s gay but ends up falling in love with his guide.Novel 3:

Novel 3: One of the most popular singers in America does not want to admit he’s gay because he’ll fall out of popular light, but he’s head over heals in love with someone.

I have 20+ ideas that center around this one idea. Whenever I’m stuck, I just start with this concept and brainstorm off of it. It’s a great starting place to get my mojo going.

It has Other Benefits Too!

If being able to develop plots extremely quickly isn’t enough, consider the fallowing. Your books will all be in the same category, making readers find your other work easier. Your publisher will know what to expect for you and can more easily pitch your book. Your current readers will like more that just your fist book and will look forward to others.

I hope this helps you with your plot development basics! Have a great day!

Posted in Writing

My Best Tip to Improve Your Writing!

I have a game I like to play constantly. You can do it at work, during class, on a drive, while exercising, and every time it will help you become a better writer. It is simple and easy to do. Just look at anything around you and describe it. Outside my window I see a tree, here is my sentence. ‘There was no wind to shake the branches of the trees that stood rigidly outside my window’. Now I describe something else in one sentence.I do this

I do this with people, objects, sounds, actions, all of it improving my word bank and sentence structure. Doing this makes the places in my book feel more real. I don’t have to remember the line or write it down, it’s just something to do when I’m board. This little game gets my creative juices flowing. It works so well for me because there is always something new going on in the real world.

But what about when I’m stuck in the same room day after day? Well, I rewrite the sentences as if I were one of my characters. For instance, ‘The tree didn’t move no matter how long I glared at it, wishing I were somewhere else’. I do this task will all my characters and that helps me delineate character traits and speech patterns.

So the next time you’re bored or can’t write, try describing something around you. You’ll notice many more intricacies of the world that way. Be your own narrator and don’t forget to have fun!

Posted in Writing

Why Writers Need a Three Color Notebook

My most trusted notebook has three different colored pages, and it is my most valuable writing tool. Pink, purple, and blue each represent something very specific and it keeps my writing crisp and fresh. It is my most valuable guide, character developer, plot generator and the one thing I used to write all three of my novels.

The Blue Pages: Characters

In the very front of my book is a list of character traits I like reading. They are all positive and I try to incorporate at lease one into each of my character, even the villain. This is followed by a breakdown of my favorite characters good and bad traits. I underline the ones that come up the most. Then I have the same thing for real life people. The best part about this is every person gets to make their own list and write for those styles.

That’s followed by all of my characters on their own page. I have their name, book, what their goals are and what their personality is. Then I have what they want most, what they are trying to accomplish and one thing they would never say, never do, and never think. This allows me to reference my characters easily and develop their worst fears while I’m writing. I can force them to do the opposite of their goal, say something completely out of character, and display human emotion. I can also reference all my characters and make sure I’m not writing the same person twice.

The Pink Pages: Plots

I want all of my plots to be very original. Whenever I draft an idea I always write it’s tag line in the book followed by a synopsis and notes. This lets me keep everything jotted down for later so I won’t forget that story idea or reuse it. This is particularly important for me because I need to keep everything in order. It is also my bank when I’m working on a new idea. I mix and mash old thoughts together until I create the perfect plot.

The Purple Pages: Forget-me-nots

When I try to jump into a piece after a long time or I’m switching into it from another project it’s easy to forget the subtleties of each project. So I have a page dedicated to things I need to put in later, whether that is symbols, subplot, recurring images, scenes to put in or edits to make in the future, it all go’s on one page. During edits, I reference this to make sure nothing is forgotten.

I hope this can help you keep organized in some way! Have a great day.

Posted in Writing

Writing in Character Voice; Tips and Tricks

Maintaining character voice is one of the trickiest things in writing but I feel creating a distinct character voice could be trickier. Overall, character voice is often neglected in the writing community. Lots of people write all their character all in the same voice, that’s what I’m here to remedy today.

Font

Yes, font! You might think this is an odd way to write in different character voices and it is. One of the first things I do when opening a blank document is find a font that matches the was I think the character handwriting would look. This is a visual reminder that I should be writing in their voice. When I switch to a different story I’ll remember my style based on that font.

Length of Sentences

Some people ramble, some people don’t have much to say. I pause a lot to think about what I’m going to say, some of my friends don’t have any kind of filter. Try to picture the wheels turning in that person’s head, are they well greased or slowly falling apart?  How long it takes someone to express and idea is very indicative of character.

Word Choice and Dialect

This is a pretty common one. Some characters grew up educated, others are children, some speak English as a second language. Even just having a character from the south with one from Chicago will show you some very different results. Think through your characters past, where they were raised, who the hung out with, and what they know. Some characters will drop a ‘g’ off of ‘ing’ others won’t. These are the little differences that make characters distinct.

Mixed Speech Styles

Many great books use high class, ten cent words, but the funniest ones mix in character defining words.

“I can’t remember why the gods cast me down to Earth but I have continued to believe that they had a reason despite my recent fuck ups.”

I bet one art of that stands out to you. It really gives a sense of the character despite only hearing one sentence of narration from them.  I believe using mixed dictation makes characters seem more alive.

Now Pay Attention

As you go around day to day, listen to all the different people you meet and how they choose to organize their words. Even very similar people will phrase things differently. Try to learn from real life rather than films as those are often inaccurate. People often forget that a very simple writing tool is to listen.

I hope this helped you in some way. I think these are some of my best tips for making character distinct and interesting! Have a great day.

Posted in Writing

What Does ‘Write What you Want to Read’ Really Mean?

I always heard the advice ‘write what you want to read’ whenever I scoured the internet for inspiration. It wasn’t until recently that I really understood what that meant. I was at a writers conference talking with a creative writing teacher and I brought up this idea to him. When I think of writing what I want to read it stressed me out because it would need to be really well done and extraordinarily interesting (I’m quite a picky reader). I could never combine all the things I like into one book. Then he told me the meaning behind that statement.

If You Don’t Write What You Want to Read You Won’t Write Well

Thus the book you write doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to combine your interests. I have tried to write about things I don’t like before and those parts always end up uninteresting, short, or unfinished. So for that reason, I will write what I find most interesting in this world and I there are others out there who are also looking to read it. Knowing this took a lot of stress off my shoulders when developing ideas and I hope it helps you too!

Posted in Writing

Do I Recommend Lynda.com to Writers?

We’ve all seen the ads for lynda.com where you learn skills for a small fee but I recently had the opportunity to try it out for free. My main goal when reading on there was to learn writing skills. When I went on there for the first time…

I was Initially Disappointed

When I saw the writing classes most of them appeared to be for nonfiction, like for resumes, speeches, and business. Now the ones I have gotten all the way through were very useful!

The Quality of the Videos is Great

There are a lot of good quality editing tips and a few story videos that particularly helped me. But because of the length of the series, I found it hard for me to get through them and often had to do it in more than one sitting. That isn’t the way I learn but…

I DO Recommend Lynda But Not for the Reason You Think

When I was searching for other writing videos I found tons of other resources which I think will help the other aspects of my career such as blogging courses and google analytics tutorials that I wouldn’t have know to seek out if it weren’t for that site. So if you are looking to expand your horizons when it comes to selling your work, then yes I would check out at least the 10-day free trial. If you are going there for the writing specifically, though, I wouldn’t hand over any money.

But That’s Just My Opinion

I am in no way sponsored Lynda.com and made this because I always wondered if I should sign up for the classes. I hope this helped you. Have a great day!