Posted in Fiction, Short Stories, Writing

Sing to Me || A Short Story

Part 1:

Dakota Emmett had done it again. His singles had been hit the top of the charts for years, and this time, it was record-breaking. His crisp strong voice told stories for all who chose to listen. On the charts, he was a pop artist, but I’ve always thought he was an angel. If his voice wasn’t enough, his flowing locks reflected the stage lights out onto the crowd. Of course, you wouldn’t know of that bright, shining blond hair of his because he dyed it neon blue. When it would fade the color would look almost brown. He had it cut by one of the best, it never tickled his shoulders and never fell in his face. And his eyes, oh his eyes, were the color of the sky on a perfect spring day.
I stood in the crowd that day smiling from ear to ear. Because I lived in the same city as him I went to almost all of his concerts. We all packed into the concert hall talking wildly about the handsome devil. Today’s performance was special. If you pre-ordered the ticket you were placed in a random drawing to win a dinner date with Dakota. I smiled looking at all the girls around me. Yes, I had ordered the ticket ahead of time but I didn’t think I would even have a chance of hearing my name called.
Sinking into my seat I got ready to listen to his wonderful voice. I always thought he sang better on stage. Without the effects and splices of sound clips, his singing was pure. The lights dimmed and there was his beautiful face. Cameras circled him and huge screens showed me all the little details of his face. The girls screamed and I bounced up and down in my chair. He sang his hit songs first. As the night went on he started getting to older songs. There were times when I was the only one mouthing words and other times where the hall erupted into off-key singing.
Five minutes were left in the allotted time. Everyone around me shifted. The last note of Dakota’s sound played out and then his smile was back.
“Hellooo everyone,” He showed his perfect teeth off to the crowd, “I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming to see me tonight. Now which one of you lovely ladies gets to wants to have dinner with me tomorrow night?” The crowd whooped and hollered, “I thought so.” He gave a sideways grin, “Now let’s see who the winner is.”
The crowd went wild, shouting into the sky. He reached into a little bucket and pulled out a slip.
“And the winner is, Chance Haytoooonn.” He threw his head back.
I froze in place. That was my name. I had won. The audience cheered. A man with a clipboard walked up to my row.
“Please come with me,” he said addressing me.
I stumbled up and ran after him. We walked down the stairs as the girls watched me. They were all probably planning to kill me. I walked up the stairs onto the stage and paused. There was still a chance I could run away. I didn’t want to be on stage in front of the all the people I beat. Someone nudged me from behind and the momentum sent me running out onto the stage. Seeing Dakota standing that close to me, I stopped in place. I was probably 10 feet away.
He held his right hand out and smiled. “No need to be so shy, come stand over here with me.”
I tumbled over to stand by him and looked up at his beautiful, wonderful face. My face flushed red. He rested his hand on my shoulder.
“Congratulations, Chance, I have to say, I wasn’t expecting any guy to enter, but I guess there was a- CHANCE.”
I tried to laugh but ended up looking down at the stage, my face was most likely red.
“So, do you have anything you want to say?”
I shook my head and stared at my shoes.
He patted my back lightly. “Well then, I’ll see you backstage.”
That boy’s voice, it made my heart pound. After a few minutes, he came off of the stage to where I was standing.
“I’m so sorry!” I yelled as soon as he got near me, “I should have said something, and I’m a guy so that probably screwed you up-”
Dakota rested his hand on my shoulder, his blue orbs looked into my eyes, “Don’t worry about it, I know that must have been hard for you. So for dinner are you free on Saturday around 6?”
“You don’t need to eat with me, I totally get it.” I stumbled backward.
He shook his head. “That’s nonsense, you won fair and square.”
“Saturday then…”
“I’ll send someone to pick you up.” Dakota ruffled my hair gently, “I like the red, by the way.”
Then he disappeared. A piece of my dyed red hair fell in front of my eyes. I watched him talk to some of the producers as he left. Running off to the parking lot, I covered my face, hoping no one would recognize me. I drove home with my foot on the gas the whole time. My heart raced. When I got home I snuck in through the front door. My father was watching TV in the living room, my mom was washing dishes in the kitchen. As to not attract attention to myself, I took quiet steps.
I passed my sister’s room and my brother’s room and crept into mine. My room was dark, almost all the bulbs were burnt out. There were stacks of paper everywhere. Each one of them as a different song that would never be sung. I sat down on my bed and pressed my face into my hands. All of my clothes were scattered on my bed. I had literally nothing to wear if I went to dinner with him.

Advertisements
Posted in Create YOUR World

The Six Types of Characters

There are many types of main characters across all types of media. As humans, we love to connect and empathize with our main characters so they need to be as deep and complex as we are. But when you look at all characters more generally I believe you can break them down into five different classes based on how they act consistently through the whole story. I call these

The Five Types of Badass

These hold true for any type of media from video games to TV, from anime to film. But if you come up with anyone who doesn’t fit the mold please let me know in the comments section below! I’d also love to hear about characters from other cultures around the world.

Over-Powered Badasscraig-whitehead-260375.jpg

These are the most common ones in American media. In most Hollywood movies, shounen anime, and almost all video games, the main character is a boss, a badass who can take on just about anything. He rarely fails and is looked up to and admired by the other characters in the film. They strive to win, not just play the game.

Jason Bourne, 007, Saitama (one punch man), Goku and many others fall into this category.

felix-russell-saw-251618.jpgTry-Hard Friend

For those who motivation comes from wanting to help others and whose first thought is of what others will think, the try-hard friend is the right fit. These people want to be loved more than anything and get their strength by protecting others. When not in danger, they only want to be hanging out with the people who make them happy. Either introverts or extroverts, they are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. And they are totally badass! They are and an absolute angel to everyone who knows them and saves other constantly even just emotionally.

Harry Potter, Forrest Gump, Sheriff Woody (toy story), and other sweethearts make up this section.

Suave Romanticsimon-hattinga-verschure-5243.jpg

He walks into a room and all eyes on him. He can make anyone fall in love with him. With a simple confidence about him and a lot of charm, the suave romantic is always adored. Woman too can be the romantic type and fit into this category, but if they are a hopeless romantic or embarrassed by love they are bumped into the try-hard character category. The thing that makes them so badass is all of their charisma points that the use to take over the world.

Tamaki (Ouran high school host club), Jack Dawson (Titanic) Romeo, and you could probably even put Snape on this list in some twisted way.

Fun Loving Adventureralif-ngoylung-259920.jpg

The point of life is to have fun! Those people who want to go on an adventure for the sake of going on an adventure are the main part of this group. They are the type of person to go with the flow. With luck on their side, they often have a very positive outlook on life and everything just seems to work out for them.

Rin Okumura (Blue Exorcist) Captin Jack Sparrow, Ace Ventura, Moana

Intellectual Badassrhett-wesley-343206.jpg

They can solve anything, make anything, do anything with enough thought. These characters can outsmart anyone and most machines. Some of these people are tech nerds, some are social manipulators, all of them are confident in their abilities and ready to play the game. They are often natural leaders and others look to them for advice.

Batman, Lelouch Vi Britannia (Code Geass), L (death note) Iron Man, and Indiana Jones, Shawn Spencer (psych) are some of the geniuses who fit best.

Secret Weapon

aziz-acharki-290990.jpg

You are full of hidden potential. Secret weapons know a lot, they can do a lot of different things but don’t let on to others that they are so capable. They pretend to be a side character but are actually essential to the plot. They might not know their own strength but are very capable. If you don’t know what your talents are or are very split about who you think you are then this is the section for you. Living your life on slow and enjoying the times is fine but every once in a while you have to show your true colors.

Yuri (Yuri on Ice), Marty Mcfly (back to the future), Jake Sully (Avatar), Charlie Bucket (willy wonka) and many others fit here perfectly.

You might not fit into just one category! But when you’re just starting to change your life, I find it helps to pick just one to start with and then add on the others later. Take this quiz to see which one I sort you into and tell me if you think I’m right!

Take the next step to change your life

And don’t forget to get the checklist to become the main character of YOUR life!

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories, Writing

Times of my Life- a short story

You’ll never quite know how valuable a life is until you take one for yourself. It’s sudden, when a life drains from the life of your opponent. But you know it’s a necessary evil. The monsters drop one by one, they’ve never seen a gun before.

The first one you’ll kill will be the toughest. A triceratops. A baby. When it falls it will leave a heavy weight on your shoulders. You’ll bury it under a thin layer of dirt. Next time you’ll bring a shovel.

It won’t be long before you go after another one. It will be bigger, a Titanosaur. Your father taught you that. You bury this one deeper, preserve it better.

Interest builds when they dig up your Pachycephalosaurus. You realise this is going to be happening much more often. Marking your location gets harder as your dad gets much more famous. They say your intuition is spot on. You don’t know what it means but that’s ok.

The money lets daddy get a bigger house. He’s nearly famous and your house nearly a museum. You start feeling like taking lives is worth it. The maid replaces your mom. The raptors die. Your dad is more busy with the more kills you make. The butler takes over his house work. You don’t have to go to school. You know more about the dinosaurs than the professionals; you’ve seen them.

You’re older now, used to you job. The killing is easier, cleaner. You aren’t as worried about showing off the time stone, it fits comfortably in your hand. Dad was supposed to be home but there are two black cars outside. You come in quietly. He’s on the floor in the living room, agents are standing over him, questioning him. You hide the stone but it’s not good enough.

You’re questioned and they take it from you. You don’t say what it’s really for. Silence is the key, you speak as little as possible. They don’t know how you kill them. They need to talk to your dad more. To bad he doesn’t know anything.

They put you on a plane. The ride takes hours. Your cousin was raised in Japan with your aunt and uncle. You speak little Japanese but they’re the only family you’ve got. They put you in the attic. It’s small and cold, nothing like the mansion in the hilltop. They put you in school with him.  It doesn’t help you’re a couple grade levels ahead of him.

You stay quiet in class. Keep your head down. Be respectful. You’re worried about your dad. You’re worried your brain will cave in. You’re worried about wording to much. Hikaru says you can’t worry yourself too much. Hikaru has bad grades. He likes to try speaking English at the dinner table. He doesn’t understand.

The adults grieve for you. They worry about you. You are cold to them because you have to much on your mind. Hikaru is worried about you too. He says to make friends.

Yuki tried to talk to you in class. You didn’t understand what he said. There was something about a club. You act shy but know you’re a killer. He’s cute, sweet even. He sits by you in class and keeps you from being picked on.

You’ve gotten pretty good at Japanese by the time Shion sits across the table from you. You know he’s been teasing you. Ignoring him is the only thing that shuts him up. He comes over to the house, one of Hikaru’s friends. You lock yourself in the attic.

Hikaru tells you to meet him in a different room after class. You get lost but find it and open the door. It smells of roses and sunshine pours in through the windows onto the huge open room. The tables are glass and sparkling and the room chatters happily. You tug the door closed but there he is, holding the door open. Sora’s eyes shine like the sky. He brings you into the room, flirtatious as always. Yuki and Shion are there. They are treating some girls to a tray of sweets. Hikaru is nowhere in sight.

Sora can speak English better than anyone. He’s move to Japan when he was 12. He started the club where they treat girls right. He calls it a host club, and gives me some tea. He asks about Hikaru and then runs me down on the rules. No touching only treating the girls like princess.

Hikaru is late. He comes in with his satule open and papers flying everywhere. Others find him attractive. He’s indoctrinated me into the club. I’m supposed to be the shy guy. I guess I was popular.

The first girl was Ame. It looked like she had silky hair. She liked to talk and wouldn’t mind if I didn’t say a word. I liked to listen to her stories, they taught me more Japanese.

Next was Toru. She came from another boy who graduated. She was a sad girl. I tried to care for her. Sora said I did well. I trust him.

The others wanted to hang out. They would skate board over to the house and we’d all go down town. Ikuto was there. He was a pushover but I liked him. Sora made eye contact with me a lot. He said a lot to me. I didn’t like to respond but he kept talking.

Things were easy. We had fun. Then one day it changed. It was near the end of the year. No one wanted to say good bye. The host club took the girls out to the museum of natural history. The boys didn’t know anything. I taught them all about each skeleton. I had brought down some of these beasts. I didn’t tell them that. The girls swooned. Sora was impressed. I liked the way he smiled at me.

Some creep showed up. He hung around the back of the girls. I could tell the club was watching him. We were all worried. He grabbed a girl’s butt. I stepped right up to him and grabbed his arm. He was plastered against the wall, quaking under my shouts. When I left him to help the girls they all clumped around me. I was much more popular then. There was a glittery stone on display that I wanted. No one noticed when the clumsy guy knocked the display over. The security guard didn’t know anything was missing.

That night Hikaru told me I could go back home for summer. I wasn’t as happy as I thought. He told the club too. I went out into the woods that night with the stone. When I hunted my pray I was grinning. I found it by the sea shore and slaughtered it with a box cutter and too much dry air. I buried it and said a prayer.

I surprised the guys with tickets to England by the end of the week. They were all thrilled. The plane ride was much less boring. I was happy to drive the up to the house on the hill. They were very impressed. I introduced the maid and butler. They had taken very good care of the house while I was gone.

The next morning I came down for breakfast in a sundress. Everyone was dead silent and stared at me. I got worried. Sora was the last to speak but the first one I understood. ‘Boku’. I had been referring to myself as male like my dad had. They thought I was a boy. They all seemed confused. I understood. But Sora was different. He seemed more relaxed around me, more joking.

I set up a dance at my place. I wished my dad had been there. The long red and gold dress I had on made the boys blush. I set them up one by one with my old friends. Sora seemed pissed by the time I had finished setting up the others. He asked the me where his wife was. That wasn’t something he would normally say. I said on the deck and he walked outside.

I followed him out and closed the door. He was dense at first so I just kissed him. He turned into an emotional mess after that. He danced well though. Sora treated me like a princess long after we finished dating. My dad was back in time to see our wedding.

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories, Writing

The Underground

This is the start of a short story…

The rope burned against my wrists. My skin was rubbed raw I tried to wriggle free of it again. I bit my lip, the blindfold falling further over my eyes. The room was so loud I couldn’t make out what anyone was saying. Chatter was ramped. Lots of were people walking around me, laughing and yelling. I was stuck to a rough wooden pole. I jerked away from it again, my vest jingling slightly. Then I felt another hand grab my chin and turn my head up and away from my shoulder. It had been useless to fight against this tug before so this time I went along with it. I grimaced at the long cold fingers that grabbed me.

My heart pounded in my throat. I was usually able to keep my cool but not today, not here. Struggling against the ropes again, I heard a shout in my direction. I went limp and pulled my head away from the stranger’s hands. The fingers left me and I heard him walk away. There were people all around me. I knew it would be impossible to escape but I couldn’t just give up. Another hand found me, but this one didn’t go right to grab my head, it was on my shoulder. This grip was softer but with a large hand. He nudged me back against the post. More loud talking, right in front of me. Then the hand left me.

The blindfold was tugged off my face. Right in front of me were bright gray eyes that studied me. He smiled at me as I blinked and tried to focus on him so close to me. The man, just a little older than me, maybe 25, pulled away from me and turned say something to the person beside him. I still didn’t understand what he said. I looked around him. Other kids, gaged, blindfolded and attached to pillars stretched the length of the room.

Walking up and down the line of children were men in large dark clothes right out of the gothic era. They were all talking loudly as some crowded around kids and looked at them. The young man looked back at me, and this time when he grinned I could see his fangs. It had been just what I feared, a vampire den. The man brushed whips of hair out of my face. He leaned forward, getting closer and closer to me. His eyes drifted to my neck and I went stiff. I tried to burrow my head into my shoulders. The vampire pulled back slightly and looked at me.

His hand found the side of my face. He studied me.

“The more you relax, the less this will hurt.” His English was smothered with a thick vamprish accent.

I had never heard a vampire speak English. He was going to suck my blood, whether I let him or not. Every inch of my skin crawled. I wanted him away from me, dead in a ditch so he couldn’t devour any more of my friends. But here I was, stuck in front of him at his mercy. I closed my eyes. I would die with honor, not fear.

Straightening my head and relaxing my shoulders, I kept my eyes closed. He gently brushed more hair out of the way. I could feel him get close to me and his teeth brushed up against my neck. My whole body got tense and my hands immediately turned to fists. Something of a fine point, like that of a nail or a needle, broke my skin near my jaw. Then, before his other fang even touched me, he pulled away.

“What am I thinking.” He laughed and looked at the seller. “Were you just going to let me eat him and not pay for him first?”

A wave of conversation washed over me. I could suddenly understand everyone. The vampire before me, in a vest with a black button down, took out a wallet and handed over some cash money to the person beside me. Then he looked back at me, looking up and down my body.

“What’s all this you have on you?” He asked.

I looked down at myself, the guns and knives and crosses that were supposed to be tucked away in my pockets were now hanging by their chains. My bag of garlic was missing as were the wooden stake crosses I should have had strapped to my back.

“Go ahead, speak.” He said.

I opened my mouth but my body was still in shock from being bitten. My vocal chords won’t work, not to mention I didn’t speak any of the vampiric languages.

“You’re a hunter, aren’t you?” He spoke coldly. “Can I play a game with you? Since you can’t speak just listen. I’ll cut your rope and you can do one of two things. One: you may run. The exit is just down this far hall and you take a left at the fork. Or two: you can submit to me by falling to your knees and not get up.” I glared at him as he smiled. “Do you think you can get past all these vampires unscathed? Let’s begin.”

He took the knife that was dangling from my side and slashed the rope behind my back. I lost my balance with the sudden release of strain on my hands. On my knees, I slowly raised my head and looked at him. Taking a deep breath, I shut my eyes. Then I stood up and bolted straight down the hall, past him and all the other vampires. I broke my hands out of the last of the rope and shook them. Rubbing the trickle of blood off my neck, I looked at my hand and smirked.

All my good weapons were gone. I pulled the gun from my waist and held it tightly by me. I snatched that hat off of someone I passed. Putting it on my head I realized It was not a good enough disguise. I could see heads turning as I rushed by. Up ahead I could see a dead end. Breathing as carefully as possible while running for my life, I saw a door off to the side. I threw it open and ran inside. The first vampire on the other side of the door got smacked over the head with my gun. He stumbled back and stared at me.

I felt a cold hand wrap around my wrist. It was pulling my inside where kids lay dead all around my feet. I jerked away from it and tried to get myself back out into the hall. Someone tripped me and grabbed my arms to pull me into a group of three hungry jaws. I could see fangs closing in on me from all angles. My gun dryfired, they had taken all the bullets too. Accepting the last moment of my life, I was calmed by the thought that I had fought up to the very end. The gang hopefully would find resolve in knowing, or at least believe that.

Then I felt a tug on my neck. I fell out of the grasps of the three men who had surrounded me. A gentle arm was placed around my collarbone. The vampire with gray eyes bent down beside my head. I felt a cloth wrap it’s way around my neck.

“Sorry boys, this one’s taken.” He said and kissed my hairline.

He finished wrapping my neck with the transparent cloth and a light glowed from my neck for an instant. I could see, in the reflection of a large button on the cloak of the man in front of me that a black symbol somewhat like the outline of a forest had appeared right over the wound on my neck. The vampire then turned me around by using his arm as leverage and started walking me back the way we came.

I pulled away from him, ducking out from under his arm. As I tried to run, my head whipped back. The vampire was holding my hood and he was pulling me down the dark hall. His glowing eyes cast a gaze at me that I could only read as ‘where do you think you’re going?’ And I turned around to walk beside him. His instructions to get to the exit had been accurate and it occurred to me that if I had done what he said I might have been able to escape.

He shoved the door open and we were out of the auction room and in the cold night air. I looked up at the sky. There was still a lot of black smoke in the air, blocking out the sun. It couldn’t have been very long since I was kidnapped. The darkness the vampire’s polluted the sky with only lasted 13 days. I had been kidnapped on the fourth day of darkness.

“Have you found your voice yet?” He asked as we stood just outside of the building.

I shook my head no, not even wanting to try.

“That on your neck will keep any other vampire from snacking on you.” He said and then reached down and put a leather bracelet on my wrist. “This will force you to obey me. No, you can not take it off.”

I jerked my hand away and tried to find the clip but it had disappeared. In its place was the same tree outline thing that was on my neck. He watched me studying it. Then, before I was done trying to figure out what it was, his hand touched my chin. I looked up at him quickly.

“You’re very cute.” He said.

I pulled away from him, blushing slightly.

“What is your name?”

I kept my eyes off him and looked at the cracked cement. He knew I couldn’t answer but still he looked at me.

“Did they bite you, the others? Is that why your voice is still gone?”

I turned over my wrist to show him a long bloody gash. He made a face and grabbed my hand. I watched with wide eyes as he dropped to one knee and kissed the blood on my hand. Jerking my hand away, I watched him lick his lips and stand up. He took a small bandage from his pocket and held it out to me. I gently took it and wrapped my wound. My stomach was turning over and I felt cold.

“You look quite pale.” He said and placed his hand on top of my head. “You’re taking to this badly.”

I looked to him, my knees shaking beneath me. The world was fuzzy and I felt like I could have fallen over at any moment. The vampire turned his back to me and knelt down.

“I’ll carry you home.” He said and looked back at me. “Some kids just don’t take well to being bitten.”

I gently reached out and touched his back, if only to stabilize myself. Then I felt myself give out and I fell into him. I couldn’t even keep my head up as he lifted me up onto his back. Resting my head on my arm, I couldn’t see where he was taking me. I tried to hold on, afraid he would drop me if I didn’t. But my mind slipped into black.

I work up in bed and sat straight up. It was still dark out. My heart was racing. I grabbed my shirt and held it just to make sure I was really awake. As I looked around I quickly realized I was not in my room. I got up and went to the door immediately. It was unlocked. I started into a hallway and up some stairs, as quiet as I could. At the top I could see a living room and a big door. I knew that was the front door, and it was right there, no more that ten feet away from me.

The vampire was sitting on the couch with his back to the door. It looked like he was reading a newspaper or something. All I had to do was walk silently behind him to the door and then run for my life and there would be no way he could find me. I started creeping across the carpet, my eyes glued to him.

He didn’t move a muscle but said. “Good morning.”

I stood there praying that someone else would answer. He could have been on the phone or maybe there was someone I couldn’t see in the room or some pet. No one else said anything but I didn’t dare to move.

“Don’t make me chase you down and kill you.” He said and then set down the newspaper and looked over his shoulder at me. “Come over here and sit down.”

I looked at the door and then slowly walked over to the couch and sat on the ottoman. He smiled at me and nodded. My heart was not pounding as quickly now but I was still staring down the door.

“The primary reason I got you was to snack on you.”

My eyes snapped back to him. “I-”

I had nothing to hold over him, no bargaining cards, nothing to offer him or take away from him. Taking a deep breath I looked right into his cold gray eyes.

“I have a request. Please kill me. I couldn’t stand eating other humans so please don’t turn me.”

His face twisted into a smile. He laughed quietly.

“Don’t worry, you won’t be dead for a long time.” He stood up and walked over to the window to look out over the black town. “I’ll just drink a little from you every now and again. That’s the way it used to be, harvesting blood from a few humans instead of culling hundreds.”

“So-” I looked at him standing there. “So I’m going to be a cow? A sheep? A tortured soul who you torment for years?”

“I sure hope not.” He turned around and smiled at me. “I’d like it if you willingly let me drink from you. And I’ll try to keep you happy.”

I shook my head and took a step back. A loud bang came from outside and I jolted looking out the window by the door.

“It’s just some kids playing with there food.” He said. “You know how they’ll eat just about anything they can catch.”

 

 

Thank you for reading! If this post gets 15 likes I’ll post part 2!

Posted in Fiction, Short 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!

Posted in Fiction, Just for fun, Writing

The Most Amazing Fictional Worlds

Zootopia

4784824_ant-man-poses-with-iron-man-thor-and-captain_76e95115_m

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

avatar_full_30129

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

sao-ls-ann_004

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

httd2_1_ban

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

the-croods-new-world

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 Writing

Living with Dyslexia– What still trips me up after 20 years

If you came here from my other Writing Characters with Dyslexia blogs, welcome. This one might be slightly more personal but should still help you get a better understanding of how to write your characters. Dyslexia, as I have said, is different for everyone, but here is what I still have trouble with after years of help.

Sentence Structure

If you were to meet me in person or text back and forth with me you would find a lot of run on sentences and misplaced words. Maybe you can even tell just reading my articles. I use words I know how to spell rather than the first word I thought of. For instance ‘tired’ becomes ‘exhausted’  because the latter is easier for me to remember. When talking, I will really closely mimic people I look up to using emphasis in the same places as them and the same word choice.

Tone of Voice

I get so carried away trying to figure out what people are saying that I don’t listen to what their tone of voice is saying. I’m awful at sarcasm even though I use it quite a bit. No one can tell when I’m being sarcastic and I can’t tell when they are either. This is applicable to all cues you get from tone of voice.

Spanish and French

Any language that uses the same alphabet as English is near impossible for me to read or understand. However, I’m much better at Japanese because EVERYTHING is different. I learn from the ground up all over again and can’t relate it to English in the least.

Commas

Even though I know the rules of where to place them, commas illude me. I have to use auto correct to get them in almost all situations. I also will combine sentences with commas instead of using a period. Thank god I live in modern America!

I hope this helped you write more realistic characters or understand dyslexia more. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me either in the comments or on my contact page!

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 Fiction, Publishing, Writing

Interview With Self-Published Author Annie Louise Twitchell

Annie Louise Twitchell used to be like the rest of us, an aspiring writer. But she was braver than the rest of us and took on the challenge of self-publishing. Her book Spinner of Secrets has been described as an “amazing retelling” and “an enchanting fairy tale retelling written with a lyrical hand.” She has been running her blog since December of 2015 and detailed the publication of her book but I was also able to interview Annie about her process of writing and publishing Spinner of Secrets. So please read on for tips and tricks for publishing your first novel.

What is your background in writing?

I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I taught myself to write cursive when I was five or so, so I could “write pretty”. I’ve always adored books. My dad read The Hobbit out loud to me and my brothers when I was quite small; it became my favorite book of all time and still is. I joined my uncle’s website for writers when I was 13, and won my first writing contest within a year – it was a Christmas writing contest, and if I remember, I was the youngest person competing. I was pretty proud of myself for winning. I’m quite sure I’ve written over one million words since then.

What inspired you to write this specific story?

A writing prompt on a forum. The prompt was to write a short story with the following three elements, person, place, and thing: an outlaw, a castle, and a rose. My first impulse was to write Beauty and the Beast, but after thinking about it, I ended up doing Rumpelstiltskin. Why not? I fell in love with the story and just went with it. It was two years in creating, almost exactly from when I posted the prompt reply and when I published the book.

What was it like writing in a specific time period?

I inhale historical fiction, so I have a lot of background for it. It’s a fairy tale, so I didn’t worry too much about having every detail perfect. Fairy tales allow for some flexibility. The biggest thing was figuring out how to convey passage of time – they didn’t measure time in minutes and seconds, as one of my beta readers pointed out. So I had to do a lot of research into that. There were other things I had to research as well; that wasn’t hard, because I know how to do that.

What did you do in order to keep the story of Rumpelstiltskin fresh while staying true to the story?

To keep a little more reality in it, instead of spinning gold from straw, Letta spins linen thread. Linen thread is made from the fibers in flax straw, which has to go through quite the process to get to the point of spinning. It involves water and rotting off the husk. Spinning linen thread from raw straw is impossible to do overnight. I spent a couple years working with fiber animals and fiber arts. I’ve done some spinning and let me tell you, it is not as easy as they make it look.

Do you have any tips for wannabe authors?

Write like nothing matters, edit edit edit edit edit, and at some point be willing to draw the line and say this is good. Not okay, not good enough, but this is good. There are going to be people who hate your work, there are going to be people who are really mean and cruel about it. Don’t you dare let that stop you. This is your story, not theirs. Yes, take the constructive criticism. Take the people saying “I think this needs to change…” – especially if they’re your beta readers or editors and you asked them to. But even then, it’s your story, not theirs. They’re trying to help you improve it. You can decide not to change something if you don’t want to.

What were your goals when you published Spinner of Secrets?

Really, it was about me. Beating my anxiety, putting a finished work out there, putting down the voices in my head that said I’m not good enough, I’m only a girl, I don’t have any right to even try. The month before publication was really hard and exhausting, and I’m still kind of patching myself up after it. But I did it. I have a stack of my books sitting on my chair.

What went into creating the cover and synopsis?

The synopsis, I just worked at for a year or so. I had a sudden burst of inspiration (probably while I was making dinner) and just kept refining and polishing it. The cover was a lot of fun, actually. I took the photo at the river near my house, which I frequently haunt, and my housemate/sister/best friend worked with me to design it. She’s a professional photographer and has a lot of experience with graphic design. I’ve gotten both extremes in response to it – either they hate it and it’s dull and boring, or they love it and it draws them right in. It was mostly other authors who said they hated it, interestingly enough, and other people who loved it. I love it, especially in print, and it’s perfect for the story.

 

What advice would you give to other authors who were going to self-publish?

Get help. Beta readers, proofreaders, an editor if you can afford one (I couldn’t, so I had seven beta readers plus me and my mom and my proofreader.) Definitely invest in a proofreader. It’s less expensive than an editor but it will help polish everything up and catch those annoying typos. Do your research. Just because it’s faster than traditional publishing, doesn’t mean it’s easier. Everything is on you. You are the party responsible for getting it out there looking decent. Market yourself and your book. Run specials and promote them. Do. Your. Research.

Would you self-publish again?

Absolutely. I love having the control and the freedom, as well as doing it on my own schedule. I also found I love the formatting and designing process. It was so. Much. Fun. Definitely work, but it was fun! It was a challenge and it was an exciting one that I was able to meet.

What’s next? Another book maybe?

Ahh, yes. Currently I’m working on eight books as well as a poetry collection. Which one ends up being published first is yet to be seen, although it will probably be another novella, just because I’ll finish with that first. My writing style is really weird – I write and write and write, and then I leave it be for a long time and work on something else. It gives the story breathing space, it gives me breathing space, and it just makes the process easier for me. It’s like making bread. You have to let it rest in between beating the snot out of it, otherwise it comes out dry, flat, tough, and tasteless.

If you want to find out more information about Annie Louise Twitchell find her on Facebook or her Blog! And don’t forget to order her book Spinner of Secrets so you can experience the tale of Rumpelstiltskin like never before.

Posted in Fiction, Writing

Writing Characters With Dyslexia Part 2!

Last year I wrote my most viewed article, Writing characters with dyslexia. Today I’ve come back to clarify and expand on writing these quirky characters. Keep in mind, this is how my dyslexia affects me and it might not be the same for others.

First, The science

So when you think synapses are fired in your brain. That triggers another one to fire and the chain is what creates the way you process the world around you. (At least that’s my understanding.) So when someone who is dyslexic thinks the same thought, different synapses fire and it takes longer for us to figure out the same information.

This also means we can come up with ideas others never would!

We think about each idea longer and think about it differently that normal people would. This ends up in us coming up with out of the box ideas and odd ways of doing things. For instance, my dad and I are picking up pinecones, he holds open the bag and tosses them inside. I go find a box and put the trash bag inside it to act as a trash can outdoors, my way is much easier. This principle is also true for concepts. Someone reviewed a novel I plotted out and told me the idea was too complex for normal people to fallow.

Dyslexics are usually called 3D thinkers.

I can imagine what a room looks like from any angle without walking there. I can figure out what it would look like to be shorter, taller, on the ceiling, upside down, all while sitting in one place. I never get lost walking around Chicago. When I leave a building my mind always forms a mental map of how to get back home. I can never give anyone directions though. When I try to figure out how to get somewhere, I start at the place I want to be and work my way street by street backward to my current location.

Memory

I have a great memory for places, textures, and objects but I will not remember your face. I am just enough on the autism scale that I hate looking into people’s eyes. At 19 I still find it hard to look in my parent’s eyes. I wouldn’t make full, sustained eye contact with my boyfriend until I had been dating him for upward of three months. So when I meet someone new I am much more likely to remember their shoes that the color of the hair or what they looked like at all.

I can’t make eye contact with myself in the mirror

 When you meet me you will think I look like a train wreck, my hair will be messy, I might have something on my face and my hands will by stained with dirt and paint. The reason for this is I hate mirrors. I can not look myself in he eye. The first time I remember doing so was middle school. So I don’t look in the mirror when I brush my hair, I won’t wash my face unless I’m in the shower. I don’t even like washing my hands because of the mirror.

I hope this look into my life helps you understand how to write dyslexic characters better. As you can see, it’s much more than just the reading, writing and math parts I covered last time. If you have any questions or want me to expand further, feel free to tell me in the comments!

You can also check out the things that still trip me up after years of tutoring Here.