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I thought I was brave.

Note: I’m writing this on Monday the 29th, which is why I’m still at home.

The majority of my readers live in America. Being in America, especially regular, middle class America, means that we have little true experiences with things we routinely put our characters through, like getting beat up, stabbed, kidnapped, creeping along dark hallways and shot. As such, we need to put the few experiences we have together in order to piece a coherent picture of what Jane feels when she is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Or we end up experiencing them.

Now, I am not saying that the story I’m about to tell you in any way resembles what a kidnapped victim would feel as they return to the scene of their assault. Or that it compares to any major trauma, even if the police did get involved. This is  a small, small fraction of what these people would feel like and, based on this recent experience, I don’t think we can ever communicate how that would feel realistically  enough to fool someone who was in that situation.

That being said, here’s the situation where I proved that I am not as brave as I thought I was.

See, I always thought I was brave in emergencies and level headed. After all, when the tissue box caught on fire, or the french bread wrapper, I knew what to do. (At my house, we have somehow caught a boiling pot of water on fire on an electric stove. Even the firemen say that is impossible. So don’t ask me what happened there.) I always imagine that if a plane crashed, I would be one of the 10% of people who would be able to pick her way among the wreckage, help passengers who are panicking and get my mom out (she’s legally blind) without breaking down until we are safe. I thought I would make a good ER nurse, just because I am that kind of person who can tell myself to think, stop panicking, and my mind usually listens.

Now, the other bit you need to understand in this story is that we live in South Dakota, in a 100 year old house, and a typically thing that happens during August is that bats get into the said house. No, none of us have had rabies shots just because a bat is in our house. They aren’t rabid. They just want a warm place to stay and see the brightness and so they wander in. Then they can’t find their way out. My brothers and dad hit them with a tennis racket and either kill them or stun them enough to bring them outside. We average about two a year.

The important thing to understand from that is it is my dad  and brothers. I am rarely involved in this. It began first because I worked while the bats were in our house, and then my dad’s fear of bats began to hurt me so that I was slightly timid of bats. I still teased my sister for her fear of bats, and would tell her that the bats were dancing in her bed, passing around a coke bottle.

Then came the day when my dads and brothers were both out of town, and I saw the bat.

I thought I could do anything I set my mind to. But bats are fast. They zoom and zip and disappear and reappear, all without making a noise. Moreover, I’m thinking about my sister, who is freaking out behind me, and my mom, and I’m terrified that the bat is going to sneak up on me or something. I don’t know what. But I didn’t want my back uncovered. Meanwhile, it’s dancing through our TV room, dining room, kitchen and living room.

To make a incoherent story short, my sister got escorted to the bathroom to hid; I made it to the kitchen, trying to pull up my courage. And while I’m waiting for the bat to come back into the kitchen, and yet ducking every time it comes so I never have a chance to hit it, a bat (I now think it is the asme bat but at that moment, I was thinking it was either #2 or #3.) comes up from the basement stairs and is about 6 inches to a foot from me.

At that moment, I lose it. I sink against the refrigerator and begin sobbing, saying that I can’t do it, I just can’t. (Basically praying, because I don’t know what else to do at this moment.) My mom, since she can’t see the bat and isn’t afraid of them, led me outside.

Here’s where the fear begins.

I stayed outside for almost an hour, holding a dog, and crying quietly. I saw everything that moved (including a bat) and would occasionally jump when I thought I saw a shadow that could or could not be a bat. I’d pace, or sit on the trampoline, and just wait. I would not go back inside, even when my mom told me that she locked a bat in the bedroom and there weren’t any others that she could see. (I said she’s blind (in love) and still refused to go in.)

We called the police to kill the bat, which he did. I could hear him upstairs, smacking and smacking. My hyperactive imagination told me my mom really locked three bats in the room, and I could just see him dancing around, trying to hit the bats swarming in our house. I couldn’t handle that sound and walked away.

When I came back, my mom said that the cop had killed the one, and saw none others. I still refused to go inside. I KNEW there to be more than one bat in the house and the idea of walking into the house, just to have the bat swoop across the house towards me, scared me terribly. I refused to go back into the house again until my brothers and dad showed up, finally, at around 11:30, a good three hours after the initial bat sighting. When the bugs touched me outside, I jumped.

Even when I walked into the brightly lit house, my skin crawled. I was almost about to cry, again. I forced myself to make coffee, because at least that would  give me something to do. Even as I sat in the dining room, I would jump if I saw a fly that might happen to be a bat.  I made my mom go upstairs to check on the bat situation, and then stayed in my bedroom for the rest of the night.

The next night, my arms were shaking with fear as sunset and the time of bats waking neared. (My arms shake when my body is stressed. Not visibly but that’s what it feels like.) I escaped and felt victorious when I made it out. When I came back home around ten, I both looked inside the house to see if there was a bat, and demanded confirmation that there were no bats. However, I still felt like something was watching me as I walked around our dining room, and spent as little time as I could there, escaping into the TV room as soon as I could.

TV distracted me against the idea of bats coming out, but as soon as the show was over, I was back to worrying about bats. I got ready for bed quickly, my dad checked the upstairs against bats, and I ran to bed.

Sunday, I escaped again to Walmart this time and did some needed shopping for college. I did ask about bats but I managed to walk into my house without feeling like something crawled over my skin. I even read until almost midnight. However, my dog, who thinks that bats are giant frisbees and plays catch with them, started barking in the basement. That scared me enough I ran upstairs, though this time without someone. And back downstairs because I forgot something. (Turned out my dad was in his basement office and that scared the dog.)

Monday, I didn’t leave. I’m still a little nervous. I keep glancing into the dining room to see if a bat has come out. I think I could stay in my TV seat if one did, but I don’t really want to try. (GOT THAT, BATS!) I also feel like something is watching me as I move through the dining room. But I am doing better.

I can’t imagine what I’d be like if something really traumatic actually happened, like I was attacked, because that what it feels like the bats did to me. I never thought I’d be that pathetically scared over a dumb little hamsters with wings, so to tell you all this is very humiliating. However, I think now I have a glimmer about how to create fear into a character, and maybe this will help you too.

Land formation and drawing maps.

As I start another fun summer of roleplaying (figured out that I’m excited about that yet), I find myself drawing a map. For the longest time, Alyssa and I have used the same world, Isrlan, but now we are moving on and creating another.

Since she is much more busy than I am, I drew the map. But instead of drawing random things, I did a few specific details. In order to explain why this matters to you, I need to explain South Dakota to you first.

See the pretty river?

South Dakota is literally divided by the river, namely, the Missouri River, but since we abbreviate everything, we just call it the River. That makes East River and West River. For a traveler, that means mainly that when you cross the river you change time zones. For us in South Dakota, East River is mainly farming and baseball caps and West River is mainly cattle and cowboy hats.

But why?

In general, our weather moves from west to east. All our storms come from the west. To the farthest west point is the Black Hills (were Mtn Rushmore is). Mountains cause the clouds to rise, rain on the mountains, and give all the prettiness found there.

However, the clouds run out of water as soon as they over the mountains, so then they hit the Badlands. Personally, I find the Badlands incredible, because the dirt there is basically clay and there are many, many ridges, valleys and storm formations. I could spend a whole day there. (Or hide there with my secret organization that is taking down the government.)

Before too long, however, the clouds hit the River.  This is where it is important, because the river fuels the clouds. The clouds suck up all the water, then move along across South Dakota, raining from the river onward and giving us our lush farmland. However, since we don’t get that much rain, we typically have hot, dry summers. (Expect for last year, but last year we broke record rainfalls.)

With that in mind, I made my map, keeping a river near the mountains to fuel the clouds, so my country doesn’t become a desert. See?

On another note, and I don’t know how this really plays into things, but if you look at my map, you can see a little river about half way between the border and the Missouri River. Besides the fact that “river” floods every year, a lot of weather alerts are determined merely by whether it’ll happen west or east of the James River (Or, since we abbreviate everything, The Jim.)

Life is happy.

I just realized I haven’t written here all week. Bad, bad Abigail. (Nor have I found a job.)  MOving on however…

Facebook status last night:

Today is a happy day. My characters FINALLY started talking to me. Only took them until Chapter 35. I so did not want to start my first draft without them talking though, so we are good now. :D Thank you, Sagi, Ber and Avi! Now Nessa… about you….

Now, besides the fact that all my friends now know I’m crazy, this is really good news.

See, I’ve been having a problem connecting with characters in the way that I need to connect in order to write a good book. The last story this really happened with initially was Shad, and I think that had to do with the fact I thought about writing it for over a year before I actually wrote it.

Instead of trying to force my characters to talk to me, I turned back to how I learned to listen to characters and began writing in a modified role playing format. I call it my pre-first draft and you know how bad first drafts are suppose to be? This is worse. :)

In short, I only add the details I know. I put in dialogue as I feel it works, some emotions, indications that the character speaks, but nothing extra. I’ve been doing this since March and just now I’m figuring out how the houses look.

The problem with this is that if the characters don’t start talking to me by the end of this, it’s really hard for me to edit and typically I toss the story before I finish it, putting a good two months of work to waste.

However, since this is the first time I’ve done it with a novel, I can say  I do believe that this is going to work. Three of my main characters are finally clicking with me, and really giving me a clue about themselves. The only problem I have is actually my main character, Nessa, but she’s a little more complicated than my other characters so I think it’ll be fine.

As for weekly word count, I’ll post that tonight because I’m hoping to finish my current chapter before tonight. (I don’t write from Friday night to Saturday night, since someday this’ll be work, but that’s another post.)

Oh, and right now I’m toying with the idea of naming mermaids “For Keren.” It’s not a very strong title I don’t think, but it’s  a common theme that a lot of the characters say. Just a thought. Maybe “Avicherfa” would be better though, since she is the real motivating factor behind a lot of things.


Mermaids last week: 30,470

Mermaids this week: 37,584

Total this week: 7,114

However, I did not finish my chapter. I perhaps wrote… 100 words today. Bad Abigail.

Why I don’t mind editing

No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.

~ Russell Lynes

Unique beginnings

I wrote this story last year called Miles’ Love. It came out to 34 pages, poor writing and too much dragging. I didn’t like it and left it on the shelf for some later date.

That later date happened to be yesterday. See, I figured out how to cut out a good 10 pages from the story, and that’s just the beginning. It also made it ten times more interesting I think. The reason for this change is the story started much too slowly, because it had too much background.

Now, this does mean I have to change the story from third person to first person, but I kinda like it like that actually. We’ll see where it goes at least. I thought about doing this before  type of introduction before but this is the first time I actually tried it.

So here’s the very beginning of Miles’ Love.


“Your father and I believe that the time has come for you to be married.” 

“We have been told that you can help us with a bomb issue with are having, involving the SFFC.” 

“Rachel is a nice girl. You will do well for each other.” 

“I’m just here for therapy. Nothing more.”

“You weren’t really on guard duty, were you?”

“Three years is more than enough to be running around the world with the military. It’s about time you settled down.”

“I know I’m the eldest, Luke, and that my tradition my marriage is arranged. But I don’t want to be married, let alone to a girl I don’t know.”

“I can’t tell you anything. It’s classified. Mother can’t know either. If she knew….”

“You take care of Rachel, you hear?”

“Thank your for your help, Major Jospehson. We are indebted to you.”

“Don’t go to the mall–not until Wednesday at least. It’s not safe.”

“You should take her on a picnic. She would like that.”

“How much were you hurt when the bomb exploded?”

“What did you hear?”

“Stop playing games with us, Jospehson.”

“You used the bomb to lure me out.”

“We have our sources.”

“Don’t you dare hurt her.”

I was ten when I first heard about the Changers. These people would voluntarily removed parts of their body to have new, improved bodies, generally speaking for criminal purposes. The prosthetics had become so advanced by now that a person could sometimes move faster, quickly and more. Changers were the future of the criminal race, for they used these skills to exploit and steal.

accurately with one. By the time I was fifteen, everyone believed that any amputee was probably a Changer. Not that they could be easily recognized, since most artificial limbs looked normal. Still, people would see, or think they would see, the small metal band and know. As such, most everyone would do anything to keep a limb, no matter how maimed they were.

Except me. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine I would become a Changer.

I didn’t mean for it to happen. I should have seen the bomb, realized the location, not miscalculated the time–anything to keep myself from being caught in the explosion. But it did explode. Before I could get out. When the pain cleared enough for the doctor to give me a choice, I told him to use his best judgment.

But I never thought he’d chose to remove my arm. And even then, I never thought I’d be pressure to opt for a millitary-issued arm. Nor did I expect that injury would encourage the military to select me to go to Bordino, a third world country who current sold telepathy to anyone willing to buy.

With an advanced arm and a telepathic ability to sense other’s emotions, I might as well be a Changer. I couldn’t tell my parents though.  A lord’s son–without an arm? Even if that would be found out soon enough, no one could know about the telepathy. That was against the contract. Nor could they know that my expertise lay in bombs, both decoding Intel and defusing. I made too many enemies in the war zone to allow that to be known here.

And where did all this end me?  My specialized skill set and training? A basement cell, kidnapped by the SFFC  because I prevented a bomb explosion earlier this week. And my betrothed pretending to sleep against the wall, her dark hair falling into her face. Luke, my brother, told me to keep her safe before we left for the picnic, but I couldn’t have imagined this would happen. I couldn’t have known they would know about me, let alone go after me.

I took a deep breath. No matter. First, I would get free. Then, we’d deal with how they found out. But about Rachel… I had been in worse situations.

I shifted and stretched my legs. “I’m thinking it’s about eight.”

Rachel pushed herself up. She didn’t really sleep. Only pretended to.  “I don’t know. Why does it matter?”

“It just does.” The sun set within the last hour, so we would have enough twilight to run and enough darkness to hid. I fumbled with the handcuffs behind my back. Rachel just stared at me, her large brown eyes not even bothering to hide her fear.

“Did–they say something? When they questioned you earlier?”


So, what do you think? Did it work maybe? What do you know about Miles (the  person who is telling the story)?

Have you done any kind of unique beginnings like this for your writing? How did it work out for you? 

My view on writing (right now).

Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.

~From the movie Finding Forrester

Yes, I know, a movie quote, but it makes sense.

Slow Progress

So like I said, I want to give a word count every week.  So anyway, last week I had 17, 820 words in Mermaids. Unfortunately I did not get my goal accomplished. I only got halfway through the second half (dumb school got in the way). However, I am now up to 19,009 words in Mermaids.  So perhaps only a 1000 of so words this week, but not too bad if I do say so myself.

As for my goal next week, I want to get to chapter 19 by next week.

Tips for Editing

So, I found these tips for writers, and many of them seem very valuable and, in some ways, exactly what I’ve been saying.

  1. Write first, edit later. My favorite tip and one I tell to everyone I meet.
  2. Take a break. After a few hours, things get fuzzy.
  3. Edit in stages. Think about the purpose of this project and how important it is you make an impression to determine how much you edit. Also, don’t expect to edit everything at once.
  4. Watch for your own pet problems. This varies from work to work, so be careful.
  5. Repeat the process of editing, setting the work aside, and editing again as often as needed.
  6. Read the work aloud.  I don’t find this that effective, since I tend to insert the words I meant anyway. Also, even without reading, I can pick out the sentences that aren’t quite right. The problem is fixing those sentences.
  7. Get another opinion from someone you trust.

These tips come from this blog. So you might want to look at the more details that you have there.

Mermaids versus no mermaids.

If you’ve been around here a while, you probably know that I’m working on a novel about mermaids.  At least, that was my plan. Just Trust Me is the prelude to this novel and I started writing it this month.

However… I’m running into some problems. Mainly, mermaids are *2!%!%!%^! hard to write about!

This leads me to question if I should write it on mermaids. The reasons are as follows.

Why I want to write Mermaids:

  1. Mermaids are awesome.
  2. I’ve discovered a few twists with mermaids that I’d like to play along with.
  3. One of the main components  of my story is the fact that the mermaids are “rescuing” humans, and the humans are living under the sea as mermaids. I can’t figure out a situation that involves that.
  4. All of my houses and town arrangements involve a 3D layout of the towns. I’m not sure how to change that (besides making them able to fly.)
  5. I have heard rumors of mermaids possibly being the next thing after vampires.

Why I don’t want to write mermaids:

  1. One of my components is the fact that mermaids and humans can produce offspring. I can’t figure out how they could do reconstructive surgery and still keep the private areas in tack enough.
  2. I can’t figure out how or what they can eat or drink. Particularly eat. And while I’m on that, what about smoking?
  3. Movement is difficult to describe. Sitting, standing, walking, ect.
  4. I can’t figure out how to do furniture either.
  5. Sometimes too unique of an environment throws readers. I’m here to tell a good story, not show how good I am at creating an environment.

So, I have three options.

A) Keep it as it is and figure all this out. After all, I’m a writer. I should be able to.

B) Create an air pocket under the sea, so they generally walk around on two legs, like the Irish mermaids can, add extra buoyancy which not only allows them to have a 3D movement but then they can jump up, and, if desired, they can swim  through the water well and rescue humans. Then also, they can eat easier.

C) Create a world that involves flying “mermaids,” so I maintain the 3D movement aspect, make it easier for them to eat, keep the legs, so  we have no problem with reproducing, and movement is the best. The problem with this is: what are the humans in this scenario?

Any thoughts?

Things to remember while writing my first draft:

As I work on my first draft of my mermaid story, I’m find myself having to remind myself about how to write. As this is only my second or third novel, I want it to be just like the novel I already finished. So here is a list of things to remind myself as I write.

  1. This will not be perfect.
  2. Write first; edit later.
  3. Your characters talk to you more while you write than when you plan. So write already.
  4. Facebook and wordpress are only there to distract you.
  5. As related to number four, facebook and wordpress do not need to be checked every five minutes. They can live without you.
  6. Mail doesn’t need to be checked either.
  7. Facts about how much caffeine a dog can intake doesn’t need to be looked at.
  8. It’s just ones and zeros. Ones and zeros are cheap and easy to change, so keep writing.
  9. Your perceptions of how good a section is  aren’t reliable. Just because you think it’s boring doesn’t mean that it’s boring. Wait a little bit.
  10. Sometimes character histories have to change.
  11. Sometimes it’s best to wait until later to look up a small bit of factual information. After all, the internet will then distract you.
  12. Be open to change.

That’s all I have at the moment. Do you have anything to add?