#Wordbound: Wednesday, February 15th (writing challenge)

Wed, Feb 15

#Wordbound: Put a character in an abandoned building or space.

WEEK 7: New #wordbound prompt coming at you! This one is due February 22! Have you been keeping up?

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It was a run-down cottage at the edge of Loas Vera. The red forest had grown and spread, engulfing the small, wooden building in vines. Roots broke through the structure, and crimson and burgundy leaves covered the remains like a blanket.
Ilaeth left the safety of the forest. Every step was measured, careful. He had to be quiet. He didn’t know what else could be in there, what could be waiting inside the dark walls of the cottage.
And yet, Ilaeth couldn’t help himself. Even as his heart pounded in his chest, and he could hear his pulse loud in his ears, his curiosity won.
The door was a simple slab of wood without any elaborate carvings or decoration. Unhinged as it was, Ilaeth lifted it up and set it aside, against the wall.
Ilaeth took a tentative step inside.
Part of the roof had caved in over time, and the morning light poured in, illuminating the remnants of a life.
His eyes took in the room. Dust danced in the sunlight. A family of pixies were curled up on the bed, their small wolf-like bodies huddled up together for warmth, their transparent wings rising and falling with their breathing.
They didn’t mind him.
There was a table and a pair of chairs on one end. A layer of dust had settled on them, thick and undisturbed for years it seemed. A tin bucket that was big enough to be used as a bathtub was by the unimpressive fireplace. Ashes and half burned wood still littered the stones, the bricks and the inside of the chimney painted black from the smoke. A few shelves held a couple pots and plates that were there, and an empty trunk sat against the wall.
There weren’t that many things.
Someone had lived there though. Ilaeth could just feel it. There weren’t any clothes or personal things left in the cottage. Whoever had stayed there, they had taken all that with them. But there were two pillows on the barren bed, two chairs at the table.
Someone had lived in this house, and now it stood abandoned, gathering dust and decay. It just was, and it had been so long since someone had lived in there, had sat on those chairs, had lit up the hearth, and had a nice warm meal.
Whoever had lived there, they were long gone now.
Not even their shadow remained.

~ Harris

#Wordbound: Wed, Feb 8th

WordBound: Wed, Feb 8

WEEK 6: This #wordbound prompt is due on 2/15! Ready to cause some destruction?

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“Okay, okay, but listen to me,” Ilaeth scooted closer to Kali, a mischievous smile played on his lips. “We can surprise her. Get her something nice, have a little celebration going on,” he said.
“She won’t like it. She said she wants nothing,” Kali said, and folded her arms.
“She says she doesn’t want anything, that doesn’t mean she actually doesn’t,” Ilaeth said. “You know how much she likes surprises.”
Kali put her hands on her hips. “Look, you’ll just get us in trouble. Actually, no. You won’t be in trouble, I’ll be. So no. Just stay put,” she said.
“You are no fun. I’ll go by myself,” Ilaeth said.
The younger elf threw her arms up in the air, with a pleading look at the sky. “You go by yourself, you end up in a ditch somehow, and then I’m in trouble again.”
Ilaeth grinned and flicked one of her horns. “Then come with me. I could use a woman’s perspective.”
“What are you even getting her?” Kali asked and walked behind him. “Flowers? Feathers? Pretty rocks?”
He put a hand over his heart. “I feel like you are mocking me.”
“Oh my. That was never my intention. How could this happen?”
“I’ll ignore that,” he said. “We can make her a pretty flower crown, or you know how she likes to decorate her spear with lil things… so I got her spear.”
“You got her spear?”
“Yes. So we can make it pretty,” Ilaeth said, and grinned at her.
“We should give it back,” Kali said, and her eyes went wide with terror when he pulled the spear from behind a tree. “We should definitely give it back. Like now. This isn’t smart.”
“Oh come on. It’ll be fine,” he said, and felt the weight of the spear in his hand.
Kali reached out to snatch it, but he held it up, out of her reach. She kicked his leg, and jumped high enough to grab it. Ilaeth didn’t let go, and she didn’t surrender. She yanked as hard as she could, and when she couldn’t take it from him, she kicked him again.
“Stop that!” he shouted at her.
“Then give me the spear!”
“No. I need it,” he said.
“You’ll just get us in trouble,” she shouted at him, as the two pulled the spear back and forth.
There was a loud crack as the wood gave way and broke in two. Kali and Ilaeth dropped back and landed hard on the ground.
“Oh… fuck…” Ilaeth said, staring at his half of the spear.
“I told you!” Kali shouted, and threw the other half at his head. “I told you! Now I’m gonna be in trouble!”
“Well yeah, you broke it.”
“No, you did.”
“You did.”
“How did I break it? Huh?” Kali snapped.
“I’m not the one who grabbed it,” Ilaeth pointed out.
Kali huffed and folded her arms. “You are stupid,” she muttered and threw a pebble at him. “You always get me in trouble.”

 

WordBound: Wed, Feb 1

If I’m embarrassed, why on earth would I say? Because prompt? Fine. FINE. Buckle up. This is going to be a wild ride.
*clears throat*
I was nine. Yes. I was young and innocent and I had no limits. My idea had no limits. I had a group of chosen ones in my story, as one would.
But they were birds.
And they had magic powers.
And they went on adventures together.

There. I’ve come out. Are you happy to know? Does this somehow make your life better? No, it doesn’t 😛

Was it inspired by pokemon? Maybe. Maybe not. You’ll never know. The world will never know, and my chosen ones will stay where they belong. In my childhood memories. (I was going to say trash-can, but I don’t want to be that cruel to them. They tried. Nine-year-old me tried too.)

WordBound: Wed, Jan 25

“Brainstorm”

There is just not enough space. Her desk sits under a window that sees nothing but the wall of the building next door.
Between her laptop and the books, there is not enough room for any of the papers she needs.
A world is coming alive in front of her. It’s in the little notes she has scribbled down between classes, notes she’s trying to put together now, in a way that they make sense.
Her mind is buzzing, alive. Ideas fire up and she can’t write them down fast enough. She can’t lose a single one though. She can’t. They are all the tiniest piece of the biggest puzzle she’s ever tried to make.
What if she doesn’t have most of the pieces right now anyway? They’ll come to her with time. They’ll come to her when she needs them. She knows it.
She just has to keep working on her world, and watch it grow.

Fantasy has truth in it.

Fantasy is not easy to write. There are so many things that can go wrong, so few things that can go right.

Fantasy isn’t just epic quests, an adventure to save the world, or kingdoms at war. Fantasy comes alive in the little details that the writer weaves into the story, the fine threads that make up the world and the people.

It’s that kid who goes on a quest because he wants to make something of himself, because he wants to grow and explore the world around him. It’s that mother who lost her children in the war, it’s the burden that weighs down on the hero’s shoulders every time they have to make an important decision.

Because they can save the world, or they can be the reason why it crumbles and burns.

Things are not black and white in fantasy. At least they are not for me. Magic isn’t bad, the same way a gun doesn’t kill people. But the abuse of power, the misuse of a tool, that’s what’s bad. It’s a king that can be good and benevolent to his people, or turn into a tyrant after the loss of someone he loved. It’s the grief, the pain, but also the joy and happiness that people experience.

Does it matter that they experience those things in a land with dragons and sword-fights? Does it make any real difference if the protagonist is not human, but an elf?

For me, fantasy gets to explore every day things like friendships, discrimination, racism, but in a bigger, larger, and more magical environment. It gets to present things that people don’t usually want to talk about, things they want to hide away, because people expect things in a fantasy story to go crazy.

But it’s not going crazy.

It’s being honest.

WordBound: Wed, Jan 18

( I’m going to use the two protagonists of my current manuscript to write this prompt.)

“There is a door,” Teresa said. “It is closed.”
Kalith peeked around the corner before he turned to her. “And?”
“That’s it. That’s all,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders that sent his blood boiling.
“Did you try the door?” he asked her. He got nothing but a blank stare. “You didn’t.”
“I didn’t.”
Their eyes locked, neither of them moved.
“Are you going to?” he asked with a wild gesture of his hand.
Teresa huffed and turned around. “Fine. It’s not gonna lead anywhere, even if it’s not locked.”
How or why he was helping her, he still wasn’t sure. The attitude wasn’t helping for one. Nor did her need to defy him every step of the way.
“It won’t budge,” Teresa said right behind him, and Kalith jumped in his skin.
“Can you not creep up behind me?” he said through gritted teeth.
“No.”
He could leave his post to check the door, but he did not trust her enough to watch their back. Running away was hard. Running away with an annoying teenager was twice as hard.
With his options limited, he had no other choice. “Stay here. Make sure no one jumps us,” he said. He got a curt nod as an answer.
The door was at the end of the hallway. It was carved out of a dark, almost black wood, the surface smooth and unblemished. Kalith twisted the handle, but nothing happened. Even trying to force it open didn’t work.
But there was something else that could.
Patterns glowed with a light blue colour on his arms, the air sizzled around him with energy, with magic.
The lock clicked, the handle turned, and the door opened.

 

 

Writers write.

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. ~ Eugene Ionesco

Writers write. Sometimes we have a notebook, and a pen in front of us. Sometimes we have nothing but loose scraps of paper, others we have a keyboard. But we write. We always write.

Even when we are not writing.

We write when we are riding the bus, with our headphones on, and a little fight scene is playing out in our head. We make up dialogues between our characters long before we put the characters to page. We know that our protagonists like ice-cream, but only the fruit flavours. We’ve been thinking about our protagonist all day after all. We’ve been interacting with them in our head for ours, to the point we start to notice that when they are nervous, they bite their nails, but only in their left hand, that sometimes when they feel too low, they won’t shower for days, or go out, just to feel guilty about it later.

We write, even when we are not writing.

All the times between our little writing sessions, are our brainstorming times. That’s when true magic happens, when we learn our characters, when we learn our setting, and find out why our antagonist is being such an asshole lately.

Because, you see, we are in love even with that antagonist. We know why they are the way they are, the reason behind their every decision, no matter how cruel, and unkind they might appear. We know what hurt them, what broke them, what made them laugh again for the first time.

Sometimes, those things never make it to page. We think of our stories and our writing, and yet so little sees the light of day. Or the light of a lamp. But still, these are things that help us grow as writers, that allow us to know all the little nooks and crannies of our world, so when the reader finally gets to meet our characters, and read our story, they are welcomed to a new world, pulsing, and vibrant.

Writers write.

Always.

P. S. : Everything you do and say will be used in a story at a later time.

Self-doubt is our enemy.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~ Sylvia Plath

As artists, we spend so much time alone in our own heads, sometimes it’s easy to get lost, to lose track of what’s important and what’s not. We are so critical of our art and our every decision, that it’s easy to turn that critical eye on ourselves, and turn savage.

We are so far more brutal with ourselves, than we are with anyone else. We hurt us with words far more cruel than anyone else can concoct. We are well-versed in the art of tearing ourselves down.

Self-doubt is the worst illness for an artist, for our creativity. And it is an illness that we always carry, waiting to strike, to rise up whenever we are at our most vulnerable.

“I’m not good enough.” 

“This has been done before.”

“Nobody will care, what’s the point.”

“This is childish.”

There is a difference though in being critical, and in letting self-doubt consume us. There is a difference, because the first means we are self-aware, that we realise our mistakes, and we try to fix them, that we make an effort to improve and strengthen ourselves.

Self-doubt just means we are riddled with insecurities, we carry the views of others, of society, and our own on our back like a cross. Self-doubt never reflects reality. We sit in front of a mirror, and we see a distorted image. We are right then and there our very worst enemy.

Self-doubt is nothing more than a rotten feeling that settles in our gut and takes over. It grips our heart and our mind and it won’t let go unless we make it. And it’s hard. It’s so hard to start seeing ourselves and our art as something with value, something that is worth it and should be here. And yet, nobody is going to build us up, unless we do it first.

We need to be our biggest fan, our strongest supporter, our own little generator of happiness.

We need to be the cake, so when others come, they can be the icing.

But we need to be our own cake, our own confidence, our own happiness.

Show me the moonlight.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov

Writing, for me, in its essence is about evoking emotion in the reader. A good story will get us to feel, it will tag on our heartstrings. Whether it makes us angry, happy, upset, or if we hurl the book half-way across the room in frustration.

The emotion doesn’t matter, as long as we feel. And we can’t feel unless we are immersed in the story. We need a world as alive and colourful as our own, characters as close to us as family and friends, strife as close and important as the ones we face on our own.

We can’t do that unless we watch the sun cast highlights in the love – interest’s hair, if we don’t catch that twitch of anger in the protagonist when he’s faced with his enemy. We can’t, unless we hear our favourite character hum, when he’s cooking  his way too spicy mac-n-cheese.

We need to see the world, to breathe the world. We need to feel along with the protagonist. We read stories because we want to be immersed, because we want to be transported.

Stories are made of emotions.

And the only way we feel emotions in a story, is if we see them.

We want the butterflies in the stomach, the blurry eyes from tears, the shudders of pleasure, the restlessness of excitement.

We need the emotions to fall in love with the story.

We need to see.

Or else, why read at all?

 

You’ll find a way.

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way; If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. – Jim Rohn

It is easy to be scared, to make up excuses, and hide from something you want. If you don’t try, then when you fail to achieve your goals, it’s because you didn’t try. It’s a scary thought, to know you’ve given it your all, and you still didn’t make it.

But it’s worth it.

If you want something with all your heart, then you have to find a way to do it, you have to find a way to get up again, no matter how many times you fall down. Dust the dirt off your clothes and get back on your feet because that is the only thing you can do again and again without fail. You can keep trying, you can keep giving it your all.

What other choice do you have anyway?

It’s easy to be scared, to make excuses, and hide from something you want. It’s far more rewarding to try, and even if you fail, you’ll know you gave it your best. It’s far more rewarding to know you’ve given it your all, whether you made it or not.

~ Harris