The Craft of Fiction

Starting August 31 through October 5 I will be holding “The Craft of Fiction” course at the Village Book Shop in downtown Glendora. This 6 week course is just $60! Here is some information:

First-timers and long-timers: Learn the craft of fiction; gain a few tools to overcome your writer’s block; brush up on your knowledge; learn something new; have fun!

In six sessions, this course covers the basics of the craft of fiction writing: Characterization, Setting, Imagery, Showing vs. Telling, Story, Plot, Point of View, Comparisons, and Revision.

Sessions will include discussions, in-class assignments and examples designed to illustrate various elements of the craft. At the end of the course, each participant will have a complete original piece of fiction.

To register, please visit:
http://www.snowppl.com/Craft_of_Fiction.html

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The Unknown Dragon #teasertuesday

This part of Chapter 1, most likely, of The Unknown Dragon, my nanowrimo attempt from last year. This is the first words I wrote for the book, and since this scene is rather long, I thought I just give the first half. Anyways, I hope you enjoy it! Comments much appreciated. 🙂 #teasertuesday

“I am the dragon,” the small creature said, lifting its head from a book it had its nose buried in.

“You’re the dragon? You’re kinda small,” a girl said, looking at the small lizard-like creature with a poof of white fluff at the top of its head that seemed to move of its own accord.

“I am a perfectly normal sized dragon,” it said. “I’ll have you know.” Its eyes looked huge through the glasses balanced precariously on its nose.

“But I thought dragons were big!” she said, looking disappointed. The dragon noticed she looked fresh, like after a climb, in the orange light her torch cast.

“Dragons? No, we’re not particularly big. You must mean wyrms. Those pitiful things,” he said putting the book and glasses down. He wrinkled he nose at the smell of the torch burning.

“What?”

“A wyrm! Wyrms are big, but not particularly scary.”

“Are you sure you’re a dragon?”

The creature turned to her, rolling its eyes. “How many times do I have to tell you? Yes, I am a dragon. And I’ll have you know, I’m over seven-hundred years old. And descended from the great Ryhndhl. You may have heard of him?” He gazed over at his book.

The girl looked confused, then giggled. “No. Never heard of him.”

“I’m not surprised. Thinks wyrms are dragons. Humans are so silly. Well what did you come for anyway?” he said, his full attention now on her.

“I came seeking the dragon Thryndyn,” she said, somewhat formally.

“As I said before, that’s me.”

“Well, how in the world am I supposed to ride you? You’re awfully small to carry my weight.”

“Ride? Ride? Do I look like a pack mule to you? No one rides dragons.” He looked incredulous, as far as an over-grown lizard could look. “You must have hit your head somewhere along the way over here. Humans. Riding dragons! That’s the best joke I’ve heard all year!”

“But how am I supposed to—”

“Supposed to what? Parade around saving some pathetic town or other with hot flames?” he snorted, an odd sound.

“Well, I hadn’t really thought it through, but that was the plan I guess,” she said, scratching her head.

“Ho ho!” The creature floated up off the ground, and rest its head in its hand. “I suppose I could help you. You are rather dense compared to some humans I know, but you’ve been a great amusement to me so far. I haven’t had this much fun in years!”

“You’re, you’re floating!” she looked at him and could not help but point.

“Yes. I thought everyone knew that dragons could fly. Where do they find these girls?”

“But you have no wings.”

The creature rolled its soft yellow eyes, yet again. “Of course! I know that. I don’t need wings to fly. I have magic. Dragons are a magical.”

The girl sat down on the rough ground of the cave. “How am I supposed to save my friends and family?”

#Storycraft Challenge-Conflict

I sat there on the somewhat uncomfortable bed, trying to figure out how to get her to take me over to Stacy’s house. Since my car broke down a week ago, I wasn’t able to go myself, and she’d have to take me. But Mary did not like her at all. Not one bit. I’d asked her earlier in the week, and she had said, “Why?” I couldn’t think of anything to text back.

You see, Stacy’s my ex girlfriend. We were together for about 4 years, before breaking it off last month. Mary is my ex-wife and best friend. I don’t need to go into specifics, as I’m guess you get the gist of what I’m saying.
I’d left a few things over at Stacy’s house: a couple of boxes of clothes, and some other things. Like I said, we’d been together for four years, and I had half moved in, just from being there all the time. She never left much at my place since we were almost always at hers. I would have to call Mary. Stacy sent me a brief, but very convincing message: get your stuff by Saturday, or I’m throwing it all out.

I pulled my beaten up cell phone out of my pocket, and called Mary. This should be fun, I thought to myself.

“Hello Jacob,” her sweet melodious voice said. “What do you want?”

“Um, yeah. Can you do me a huge favor. I need to pick up some stuff . I won’t get my car back until next Wednesday. Please tell me you don’t mind.”

“Jacob, why do you always call me for something at the last minute?” I heard her sigh out the last of her breath.

“Fine. I’ll be over in about fifteen minutes.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I appreciate it.”

“Give me some warning next time. I’ll see you soon, okay?”

“Alright. See you soon.”

I hung up, and put on some pants, and a shirt. Nothing fancy just in case Stacy decided to throw something at me. Something that can squish. I had left the lights off, and the little sunlight barely brightened the mood. I liked it that way. Dark and cool.

I’m outside, I got on my cell. Be right out, I replied.

I grabbed my wallet and keys, and rushed out, locking the door quickly behind me and hurrying over to Mary’s Outback.

“Hello handsome,” she said. “Ready to go?

“Yeah”

“I should have known. You want to go to her house.”

I scratched my head, not knowing what to say. My mouth, just kinda moved liked it wanted to say something.

“We’ll pick up your crap and get out of there.” When I still didn’t say anything she said, “I’m your ex-wife, remember? I know you very well, Mr. Peterson.”

The drive was rather quiet. She didn’t ask me much more, and I didn’t offer any explanations or other words. We pulled up to the old house, the paint peeling. Stacy’s mother’s house, and now Stacy’s. The paver walkway seemed longer than it did last time I was here. Mary pushed me gently, but didn’t turn off the car. I’d have to do this alone.

I got out, hesitant, and made my way to the familiar door, and knocked. Stacy answered after a heart-stopping minute, in her bathrobe. Her silk bathrobe. She was quite striking with her dark hair, and some would say beautiful. I certainly would.

“Jacob,” she said. “Get you shit and leave.” She pointed to the three boxes by the door. “Oh,” she said, as if she just remembered—like she had always done—, “Give my regards to Mary, and her friend, April. Honestly, you couldn’t have picked better people.” She walked away leaving me standing there. I gathered all the boxes at once, and left without looking back. Mary had been right about her from the start. So had all my friends. I said three words to Mary on the way back to my home. I am sorry.

5 Minute Fiction

Posted this on five minute fiction this morning. Thought I’d post it here too! I’m probably going to end up doing something with this snippet.

She told me what to do. I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t have done it myself. But you know, she commanded me to do it. You haven’t met her have you? I’m sorry, but then you just don’t understand. Well, let me explain it for you then. She just, well, makes you do it. Well, I just told you I did it, didn’t I? But it wasn’t really me you see. It was her! I suppose it could have been anyone off the street, I just happened to be the first person she saw. I wouldn’t necessarily call it magic, but yeah, that’s kinda what it felt like. I just had to go ahead and do it. I knew what I was doing, yes, but I could no more control my movement than you when you sleep. That was uncalled for. I may be a prisoner and all, but violence won’t get you anywhere. As am I, beyond belief. You think I want to be here? Like I was saying before being interrupted. Will you let me finish? Thank you. Right, so as I cut his heart out, I could no more stop, no matter how I fought. Yes, the vomit at the scene was mine. The blood all his. He never knew I was there. Right, like that. Thick as all get out too. I can’t stand the sight of blood, almost passed out, but thecommand wouldn’t let me. It’s like I was a computer that’s all. Yeah. And now he’s dead and I killed him. But you’ll see, it wasn’t me. It was her.

Teaser Tuesday 7/13/2010

Here is another teaser from my current WIP “Heir of Illuminations.” This is part of scene set much later in the book. Not sure where as I have yet to but it all together, but it’ll fall somewhere in the middle. The point of view is from Tyrian’s and he has just laid down before the start of his Final Test.

He still remembered when Al’rind Girhynni  decided to fight him for when he found out he was me’devan. He smiled at the thought; a small chuckled escaped his lips. Al’rind stood no chance. Typical boy, he was, trying to physically fight Tyrian, who in his earlier years had loved nothing more than fighting other boys. It didn’t help that he took great pleasure in physical exercise and always practiced extra with Ma’gus Nalvina. That woman could turn any warrior upside down without touching her Wellsource. She could him at that, and he was fairly good. Al’rind took three punches. Tyrian could still remember the soft flesh giving under his fists, the warm liquid blood that splashed his hand, and the disgust he felt, the beautiful release, the exquiste power he felt in triumphing over another.

Al’rind broke the rules, and blasted Tyrian with raw Wellforce, even though Tyrian was know for his exceptional ability to shield. He lost his temper, and drew the limit of his power, and smashed the young boy down, breaking thirty of his bones and nearly severing Al’rinds ability to touch the Wellsource. He was not proud of what he did, but no one ever challenged him after that. In fact, if anything he earned supporters and fans. All the girls desperately wanted to tend his wounds, and the guys worshipped his strength. Ma’gus Nalvina could almost not keep up with all the new students, until she asked Tyrian to take a few of the younger ones and train them with proper supervision, something he found he loved to do. That was years ago, and he only taught for a few months and then the whole thing died down. Of course, a few Elders were not happy with the fight, but they did not reprimand either student. Social ties and heirarchy were important, and had to be learned somehow. Apparently, the Elders did not care as long as the students learned.

Writing History: The Very First Attempt

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned I’ve been writing since 1997. For me, that was 8th grade, on the merit that my math and memory are correct. That’s thirteen years of writing experience. I don’t count a lot of that beginning as much as I should.

Over the last three years—mostly in undergraduate studies—I’ve truly blossomed as a writer. Before I started at the University of New Mexico, I wrote. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong, but more importantly, I didn’t know what I did right. Avoiding mistakes and pitfalls, while useful, does not help as much as understand what you do right, so you can do it again and again.

I have my first attempt at a manuscript still. It has survived the transitions from computer to computer over the years, and I will post some of it later. I thought it was wonderful when I wrote it, but I got stuck at the end and eventually moved on to another story. Reading it years later, I know it was not a masterpiece, but that I wrote is important. I can see into my past and even use parts of the piece if I so desire (though I doubt I will). I can look at my attempt and see where I still limp along, where I run and ultimately understand my process better.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is not to give up. Don’t ever give up on your writing. If you give up, who will fight for you? If you have an answer, you are lucky. Another lesson is that not every story is worth its salt. There are pieces that are not worth saving. Throw them into a folder—never delete!—and if you need ideas or something you can go to the ‘graveyard’ and pick and choose some of the past gems. But remember, not every story written is a good story, nor even ones that should be told. They are important to you, I know mine are to me, and they serve a purpose.

At UNM, I wrote four stories over the course of my upper division studies. One of them was a previous story that received a lot of editing, but three were original. Writing and editing for me are two complete different processes. WRiting is an act of creation: making something where nothing was before. Editing is shaping that creation into a better piece of writing. Some writers strike gold on creation. I strike rock, and have to shape and shape and shape until I get a statue. I’ve been working on one of the stories I wrote for almost two years. I’m working on a trilogy that turned five a few months ago. I submitted a story for publication two days after it was written. There is no set amount of time for revision.

Anyway, over the course of this blog, I’ll reveal more about my writing past, over and over again. However, I’ll show you where I’ve started from, and you can see some of the teasers to see—more or less—where I am now.

Jeff walked home. While he walked he thought about his life back in Helin, New Jersey. He missed his friend Kate. She was the only person who actually thought about being nice to him. She was his best friend. There was also John. He was a good friend. They always did stuff togther like play, swing, talk, they did about everything togther. His memories were held tight to him. They could never be removed, so Jeff thought.

He finally got home, but when he did there was something missing.Yet he didn’t know what was missing. He went inside and found it as normal as ever. He walked up the stairs and found it again normal. Then he went to all the rooms, but they were normal, as always. Next he checked the kitchen and found his sister unharmed. She has light blond hair and cold, icy eyes.

“Terra, what happened here?” Jeff asked.

“Jeff,” she was sobbing and her hands were very wet. “Mom and Dad protected me from a crazed man and he killed them, both,” she barely squeezed that much out. But how did he know something was wrong here?

“Terra, what happened to Terrence?”

“He was taken and locked up with Melissa and Katie.”

“Come on we’re going to go to Pastin.”

“Pastin? What are we going to do at Pastin?”

“At Pastin there is an old man.”

“What is he going to do for us?”

“He says I’m ‘The omnipotent One’”

“You, omnipotent? Ha. The guy has a sense of humor,” she said this without much grief. “Well I guess we don’t have much to lose.”

“Wait before we go let’s check out the attic.”

“Well, okay.”

They went up to the attic and looked for things. Terra found a chest and a ring while Jeff found a amulet and a box with a lid on it.

“Terra let’s open your box first.”

“Okay.” They opened it and found nothing of interest. Then they opened Jeff’s box and found: a huge book, another amulet and another ring. The rings looked exactly alike and the amulets looked alike too.

“Hey, sis let’s put on the rings and amulets.”

“Okay, it sounds cool.”

As they put on the amulets and rings the jewelry started to glow. They felt a pulse run though their veins.

“Terra,” his voice sounded magical. “I think we should read the book.”

“I agree, brother. Let’s read it together.”

“Yes, let’s.” They read it in only two hours. As they read the words were absorbed by their brains. But you could tell who was the most powerful. When they finished they decided to go to Pastin. They walked and walked and finally reached their destination.

“Follow me.” Were the only words that were spoken by Jeff. They usually didn’t need to speak because they could read each other’s mind.

—From Chapter Two: Home of Alternate Worlds, c 1997 (age 12). No edits made from the original.