One thing I wanted to do while at my new school was write for the student newspaper. Problem is that I’m squeezed so tight schedule wise, taking the extra class will not be beneficial. As such, I can’t take journalism, so I really struggled last year when I wrote.
My solution: I’ll write a story.
Why not? I want them to be enjoyed.
So I picked Time of the Dragon Slayers. I like that story and it has good tension throughout. At least, I think so. I figured it’d be easy, I’d copy each section, e-mail them to the newspaper, and tada! Life is easy.
I need each section to be 500-750 words. Do you realize how hard that is? Hard. Think less than two pages per section (single spaced).
Last week’s section was 1000 words that I needed to cut to 750. (I think I ended with 748.) This week I have 1600 words I need to cut to 750 again. However, on my first cut, I’m already down to 787, so it might not be so bad.
You think you can do it? Probably not, but it really helps you think about how to say things in as few words as possible, and to carefully pick your words. Maybe you should give it a try, because I’m actually thinking it’s making this story better on the whole.
I didn’t change a lot. The biggest thing I would like to point out is that I have uploaded all of my stories as PDFs so you can download them at your connivence, read, and leave comments.
I’m also trying very, very hard to get ahead in my homework, so I’m not panicking the day before to get it all done. Unfortunately, at this moment I am currently writing this post instead of taking some quizzes but writing posts is more fun. :)
I also took on a challenge. I didn’t realize it was going to be a challenge when I said I could do it though. See, i volunteered to write for the school newspaper. NO big deal. Except I volunteered to write as a creative writer. I figured I’d just take Time of the Dragon Slayers, cut it up into the sections I already have, and turn that in.
I get an e-mail. Abigail, try to keep it to 500 to 750 words. Take out the first section and run a word count. 2000 words. O.o.
I end up deciding to chop the first section into two sections. Not sure how that will work in the long run. Then, I proceeded to cut out another 300 words.
There is the chance, the very slight chance, that this might end up actually being a better version. I’m cutting out a lot of description though so I don’t know. if it is better, I’ll obviously post it.
Here’s another challenge with that. I need to have some kind of tension every 500 to 750 words. Moreover, I need to make it interesting to both guys and girls. For some dumb reason, the guy part of my brain isn’t working. The guy part that says explosions are cool and love stories are stupid. I want to write a love story. (Yes, I still did swear them off.) I also want to write a sad story (since I can’t spell the real word I want) . No one is going to like me if I write a sad story for the newspaper. No one where the guy’s wife turns out to be a spy and then kills their baby.
So, I can’t write something either. Not too sure what to do about that when I start short stories at the end of October. And the short story I wrote this summer isn’t coming along well because the real story doesn’t start until six pages in. The horror.
Anyway, the real topic, that I actually updated my blog, has been long lost. As such, I will leave you with one final question, since it is question Sunday: What was the hardest writing project you tackled?
For myself, it’s a toss up between these poems, though I seem to be doing not that bad on them, since they confuse me like nothing else. Or it is when I actually wrote articles for the newspaper at DWU. That made my brain somewhat explode. Anyway, what about you?
I’m in my third semester of college. This week I made the comment that I am learning a lot. But not necessarily in the order of school (Well, I am, don’t worry. When I’m your nurse, I’ll take good care of you.) but more in the aspect of writing and school and studying.
See, the first semester I learned that stress sucks plots. I should have realized this earlier. I wrote my best work when I was unstressed and blissfully happy. But that whole first semester, except for one story that I probably shouldn’t even show you, I had nothing. Even though I had a giant poster staring at me every time i went upstairs in the library to study, nothing came. Within a week after finals–boom!–plots came.
The second semester I learned, kinda, how to write during school. Over Christmas break, I got several plots and so I kept writing them as the semester progressed. I actually wrote Time of the Dragon Slayers at that time, which I am still quite proud of, along with two other stories that really should never been shown to a single living soul at the moment.
This semester, I learned to plot. That sounds bad. After all, I’ve been writing for almost eight years now. But here’s the thing is that I never knew how to write while stressed. Now I can. Now, it’s not like I’m writing a novel here, but I’ve written now two short stories this semester, with plans for another that won’t probably be started until Christmas break, but who cares? I came up with, and developed properly, three separate plots almost.
Plot 1: Ethical Dilemmas: A mermaid find herself in a difficult situation when her rebel, half sister gives her the option of either turning her into the authorities or committing a crime.
Plot 2: Shay’s Tadpole: Hurt and abandoned in the woods, Shay has no hope of being rescued until one of the feared male creatures finds her after crashing on her planet.
Plot 3: Completely unnamed: A soldier rescues his twin sister from an abusive relationship and flees to the neighboring enemy country, only to find that he has a claim to one of the senate seats.
Now, those other two titles are currently working titles. Well, probably more secondary working titles, since the first working title for Plot 1 was “Mermaids” and the one for Plot 2 was either “Shay” or “Save the Males.” The latter was taken from something my teacher said, that I mentioned earlier in this month’s plots section. But I’m not sure if I like those titles or not. I will however, be posting Ethical Dilemmas very shortly, probably by the 15th or so.
None of those numbers, however, include the novel I’m trying to write, that involves pirates. I’m momentarily stuck on that, so nothing is happening however. But I did write another chapter this month.
On top of those fiction works, I am also attempting to write a nonfiction work. Now, this has to do with two factors. Factor one, and probably the motivation factor to begin with, is that there is the writing contest once again at my school, and it allows for essays. As such, I am planning on submitting something to that. The second factor is that my dog died last Monday, so I actually have something to write.
To summarize, and I haven’t told anyone but you now, earlier this Fall our dog (my dog, whatever you want to call her), Rosy, became paralyzed. The vet said that it could be a degenerative disk or it could be a spinal tumor. With the disk disease, she could live several more years. With the spinal tumor, she would continue getting worse. She could not x-ray to find out. So we’ve been taking care of her, and trying to help her, but suddenly she just took a bad turn and it was only right to put her to sleep. (I honestly didn’t expect her to live through the night, but she did.) Chances are that it turned out to be the spinal tumor.
Because this impacted me so hard, and because she was one of the best dogs that we’ve had for a while, I want to write about her. So that is more of the reason why Plot 3 isn’t going to be written until Christmas break.
All things considered, though, this writing thing in college is going well. I have hope that I’m not all written out.
A friend of mine is hosting a fund raiser along with a silent auction and asked me to sell one of my drawings. She also wanted me to write up something about the picture an why I drew it. So I wrote this.
My name is Natalie Paulson. I go by Natle.
I live in Basham Heights, right in the middle of the Dragon Nest. You’ve probably heard about that area. It’s considered one of the most dangerous in the country. Not because of neighboring countries but because of the dragons. Yes, the stories are true. The dragons do attack us, attack our farms, eat our cattle, and force us to rebuild.
We used to fight them. Dragons are smart. They don’t want to be hurt and they learned not to bother us. It wasn’t perfect; we had some problems. Babies came often enough, before they learned how dangerous we were. And rarely, a few from the herd would come, when they were desperate. My parents died because of that, leaving me alone with my brother.
But everything changed when Jorn came. Jorn told everyone that the dragons were dying out and needed to be saved. He said it was honorable for people to save them. People believed him. So people stopped fighting. They burned our crossbows, and banished me from my town, because I would shoot a dragon for my protection.
So when the dragons came again–five, six, maybe seven of them–we could do nothing but watch.
The dragons killed my brother. They destroyed my farm. And still, everyone thinks the dragons are merely misunderstood. Which is why I have to leave now. I have to leave the land that has been in our family for generations, the people I grew up with, and everything I love, to live in a place that I barely know. It is no longer safe here. It will probably never be safe again.
The last one. Remember, the story is on the side bare there.
Between the small fire and Justin’s cloak, the cold stayed away as best it could that damp night. Justin knew how to make the small cave her family always used as a refuge against the dragons cheery and provided warm food for them both. But not before they set up a small stone for Colton in the little birch grove where the rest of her family rested. Although she hated the fact, that was all they could do. There was nothing to bury.
Justin lowered himself next to her after tossing on another log. He stuffed his pipe meticulously and inhaled deeply before he looked at her.
“Are you ready to hear my plan?”
The (so far) complete verson of “Time of the Dragon Slayers” is there on one of my pages, if you haven’t read the beginning.
For some reason, Natlie expected when she came back to the farm Colton would be there, looking tall and solemn across the land. She’d touch his shoulder gently and he’d look at her with a sad expression. “We’ll rebuild,” he’d say. “We’ll rebuild it all, just like it’s always was.”
The weather only become warmer, with many rumors of this being the hottest autumn ever felt before. Colton wiped his brow and took the water gratefully when she offered it. Threshing was hard enough on cool autumn days that doing it in near summer-like conditions zapped his strength.
He gulped it empty before handing it back. “Thanks.”
This one is for today and tomorrow. Sorry. School calls.
The storm was followed by a period of dry weather, much to all of the farmers’ satisfaction since it neared harvest time. Harvest came and with it, the tiring routine for Justin and Colton began as well. They rose in the morning early, did the chores, ate breakfast, and then disappeared into the fields until sunset. Once dark, they finally trudged home to collapse around the dinner table. At first, Colton jested Justin often about how he handled a sickle like he never had done it before in his life. Justin just brushed it off but Natlie guessed, based on how much he did not protest, that Colton was correct. Not that it mattered much. No farmer would argue against help, no matter where it came from. Soon, sheathes of grain stood in all the fields surrounding them for miles and Natlie began her daily checks to see if they were dry enough for threshing.
Although the men had many things to do, Natlie had very little besides her normal chores. As such, she found herself missing the town even more. Harvest always dragged Colton away from the house for long periods of time. Before she had escaped from the desolate house by going to town. The town always was a place of excitement and people. There, she could always find someone to talk with there. Sometimes, she caught herself staring across the fields at the buildings and wondering how long Colton would persist in his stubbornness that she could not go.
Colton winced as Natlie touched his face again with the warm cloth and pushed her hand away. “I’m sure it’s fine.”
She gave him a hard look. “It still looks bad.”
He glanced at the small mirror she brought out and shrugged. “That’s just how it’s going to be for a few weeks I think. Until it heals.” He stood and glanced towards the door. “I suppose I need to do the chores now.”
“I can do them if you want.”
He shook his head. “No, thanks. I’ll be fine.” He shuffled out of the house.
Natlie glances at Justin. “He isn’t acting right.”
“Most men don’t when they just had to fight for something that should that they always thought to be as consistent as the sun rising,” Justin said from in front of the fire.
The first part of the story is available in either a previous post or on the side bar as a page, and that will continue to be updated as parts are posted.
“They can call me whatever they want. I do not think it is a wise move to even pretend to protect the dragons,” Justin said.
Colton glanced towards the back of the wagon where Justin sat. “I agree completely.” The horse drew his attention back to the road. “We actually look normal around here, but we worked hard to make it so. The last thing we need is another dragon coming down from the mountains, spraying its fire breath on a few crops and eating our livestock. If anything, I am more patriotic for wanting the dragons to be gone for good than for wanting them saved. It brings in more money all around.”