Monday, December 17, 2012

First-Person Experiment

I tried writing in the first person, for the first time yesterday.

I always stayed away from that kind of writing --- for what reason, I don't know exactly, but I always believed it to be too difficult and felt like I wasn't good enough to attempt it.

But I tried it yesterday, and I think it went pretty well. I'll post the snippet here --- feedback is appreciated! Do you prefer to write in first person or third person? (Or is it second....I always get confused.) If you like writing first person, why do you prefer that way of writing to others? And, please --- any tips from those first person experienced writers??? ;)

P.S. It'll be a long snippet. :P

Rain pounds as I run, mud sloshing around my feet and sticking to my sneakers, water running down my face and dripping off in rivulets, hiding my tears.

No. It can't be true. It just can't be.

I collapse under a nearby tree, and hug my soaked jacket closer. As soon as I stop, a bitter cold begins to seep in, a cold that matches the chills I've been having for the past ten minutes.

No. It's not true. He's lying.

My uncle's face swims up in my mind, his greasy hair clinging to his face and his stale breath tinging my nose. “She's dead, son,” he had said. “Killed in an accident at work.”
I had not believed him, and I wouldn't start now, but … something in his words had rang true. Mom had been acting strangely lately --- not suicidal, like so many others in our family before her, but Mom had been --- no, is --- the happiest woman I'd ever met. She had started telling me that she loves me more than usual. Hugging me more often. Treating me as if she would die the next day, like every hour was her last.

She hadn't wanted to go to work today --- I remember clearly her worried eyes and distracted expression. “Caleb,” she had said to me, “Caleb, I want you to know that I love you with all my heart, and that I want you to believe in God always, no matter what. He has a plan for everything.”

I hadn't thought much about those words at the time, but now that I look back I realize that those were the last words I would ever hear her speak.

No! I bite my lip, my fists clenching. No, you will hear her speak again, you will!

I stare out from under the tree at the dark sky. Thunder booms in the distance, and rain pours from the heavens like nobody's business. It's almost like the sky is crying, harder than it's ever cried before.

Sobs well up inside me, but I choke them down. No. No, she's alive, I know it.

My conscience twinges. I know that that's a lie. I have to face the truth.

She's never coming back.

I punch my fist into the rough tree bark, and my knuckles scrape, mingling blood with the rain. But I don't care. I don't feel the pain.

I punch and kick the tree again and again, my crying drowned out by the ever strengthening thunder, until I can't stand it anymore and I slide to the ground again.
I bury my face in my hands. My bloodied knuckles are warm compared to the icy rain.
“God,” I cried, my lips cracked, my voice higher than usual, “God, why did You do this to me? Why? Don't You care?”

Lightning sizzles above me, and with it comes the memory of the last time I saw my mother --- worried, stressed, yet loving. Believe in God, always. He has a plan for everything.

I have never felt so alone, so vulnerable. I never had friends or cousins. I never had a father who cared and loved me --- I never knew my father. And now I've lost my only friend, my only companion, the only relative that actually cares what I'm thinking, feeling, or wanting.

Mom, why did you have to die?


An unfamiliar voice calls out my name --- crisper than the lightning and tougher than the tree bark, yet gentle and kind. I turn and see no one.

Sighing, I rest my head against the tree and nurse my wounded knuckles. “It's nothing,” I say to myself. “Nothing. Just the voices again.”

The voices, the voices. I hear them all the time. Whispered conversations, sometimes in a language I understand, sometimes not. I hear deep voices talking about battle plans, or evil voices talking about murder. Most people would believe that this is too much for a twelve year old to bear, yet I've been bearing it all my life.


There it is again. Most unusual. I crane my neck and look around again --- still no one. Weird, I think. I always hear voices, but they never call my name, and never ever repeat anything twice.

I struggle to my feet, focusing my attention on the darker, shadowed forest ahead. With a shudder, I remember, only a week ago on my twelfth birthday, staring out the window and seeing a pair of bright, hate-filled red eyes staring back at me. In a flash, they were gone, a cackle fading into the air, but it still scared me silly. I told many family members of it that day, which was probably not the smartest thing to do --- most of them firmly believe that I should be committed to an insane asylum.

But not my mom.

“You're not imagining things, honey,” she had told me firmly, patting my hand consolingly. “I believe you. But, from now on, let's try to focus on the good things in life, the heavenly things, okay?”

I had nodded and slept in her room with her that night in an extra sleeping bag on the floor. I hadn't seen anything else since then, but that situation reminded me of many in the past --- catching a glimpse of an angel when I was seven, or hearing two men discuss war strategies when I was eleven.

The voices were growing stronger now, though --- stronger than before, stronger than ever. I could only assume that the hallucinations (what else could they be?) of angels and red eyes would grow stronger too.


The voice returns again, firmer and not questioning. I glance around, somewhat frantic --- what if the voice was a demon, or a monster? Coming to kill me?

“Who's there?” I call out tentatively.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a man step out of the shadows of the forest. I spin around to face him.

He is an older man, tall, but slightly hunched over. Though his hands are gnarled and his hair is streaked with grey, his eyes radiate life and energy. He leans against a tree nearby, his hands wrapped around a knobbly walking stick.

“Good evening, Caleb,” he says. “I'm glad you finally recognized that I am here.”

“Who are you?”

“You wouldn't know me,” the man says sadly. “We were never introduced --- well, never introduced that you will remember.”

I tilt my head to the side. This man knows something, I can tell. Something important. I have never seen him in my life, but he looks somewhat familiar. “Have we met?”

The man shrugs. “Yes, but you will not have remembered it. At all.” He looks up from where he had been staring at a tree root as gnarly as his hands. “I was hoping you would know who I am.”
I stare at him for several moments, trying to register who he is. And then it hits me, a strange idea, but with the way I am, totally possible.

“Are you … God?”

The man chuckles. “No, son, I'm not God.” He shuffles closer to me, his hands clenched around his walking stick, his footsteps making slurping noises in the mud. He looks at me with kind, warm eyes. “Caleb, I'm your grandfather.”

My eyes narrow.

“Where's your proof?” I ask, suspicion gnawing at my insides.

This man sighs and shakes his head. “I don't have any proof that would be of use to you … only birth certificates, and they were burned in a fire years ago.”

I snort. “Convenient.”

He doesn't respond, only moves closer, until he is right next to me. Though he is dripping wet, he smells good --- he reminds me of warm summer days I used to spend with my mother, out picking apples and cherries and taking them home to make a pie.

For what seems like hours, we sit together, our backs pressed into the tree, watching thunder roar and lightning crack like a whip, splitting the sky in two. We watch nature's display slowly come to an end, and the rain lessen to a drizzle, and faint rays of sunshine poke through the clouds.

Suddenly, he turns to me. I immediately tense, not knowing what to expect --- is he a demon or monster that wants to eat me or possess my soul? Is he really my grandfather? Why did he come here? How does he know my name, and where to find me?

Then I notice something. Something I didn't notice before.

His eyes are sharp and clear, an icy, electric blue that seems to pierce through someone's soul and seek out all their secrets.

Those eyes are familiar.

They are my mother's eyes.

My eyes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Again! Thanks, Cait. :)

I'm serious, now....this is the last time I'm going to do a tag. I'll bet my readers are bored stiff (is that a phrase?) but I couldn't resist Cait's questions. =)

But, honestly. I won't tag anyone, and I won't write any questions of my own, buuuuut.....Cait's questions are awesome. So, here goes:


(Oh, this is a Liebster award thingy, by the way, but I don't feel like posting the picture. :D)

Post eleven random facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in return. Tag eleven fellow bloggers, and notify them of the award. 

Okay. I'm going to break like almost all of those rules, but hey.

Eleven Random Facts

1. I am on Facebook and Pinterest.
2. I have three wild, competitive younger brothers. (Which happen to be running around the kitchen right now in the middle of a race, one of them cheating, but denying it repeatedly)
3. I'm better coming up with cool girl names than cool boy names. (Ack.)
4. I want to be a stay at home mom with a bunch of kids when I grow up. And a writer, duh. :P

5. I'm homeschooled - never been to public school in my life.

6. I don't like public speaking. Yet Drama is my favorite class. I'm confusing....(:

7. Sci-fi is my favorite genre --- for everything, books, movies, TV shows.....

8. I think it would be fun to make a movie. Or be on the set of a movie.

9. Though I LOVE writing a lot, it still would be really awesome to be able to draw well. (I can't.)

10. ^It would also be awesome to be able to sing well. (I sound like a dying frog.)

11. I'm good (most of the time) at coming up with titles, but the backs of dust covers? Forget it.

Now for Cait's questions!!!!! :D

1. When did you start writing?, Mom says kindergarten. :) She says: "I had to write it down, but you told me what to say." But I think that I actually started started writing novels around age 10 or 11, when I co-wrote a book series with my friend called Princess Quest. It was horrible (my writing was so bad!) but, hey, you live and learn.

2. Do you have a soft spot for a particular character? (Come now, be honest!) of right now, for The Shadow Conspiracy, I think it's Sophie. :) She's a lot like me in the fact that she's "half and half" -- tomboy and girly girl. She also has the same personality (ish) as me, so we have a lot in common. Because of that, it's easier to write from her perspective, so I tend to do so a lot. I need to get out of the habit ... The Shadow Conspiracy will turn into the Sophie Show. :) (Not that she'd be against that, of course.)

3. If you had to choose between writing or reading, which would you pick?

I don't know, this is tough. I like them both --- with reading, you get to experience different worlds; with writing, you get to create them. They both have pros and cons. One thing I like about reading, though, is it's portable (I write on my home computer, and I can't lug that everywhere), perfect for boredom, and you learn techniques from it. Not to mention that it brings awesome fandoms. (HP rules!)

But, I have to say I like them equally. :)

4. How often do you have to "rush off" to write down an idea before it escapes?

ALL. THE. TIME. My brain isn't the best at retaining my brilliant ideas (*chuckle chuckle*) so I try to always have a notebook handy. At the moment, I tend to have most of my ideas in my Composition and Science classes at school, so my class notebooks are filled with random scribblings.

5. Do you plot and outline your books or wing it?

I do both. Normally, I'll sketch a basic outline for a chapter (I want this and this to happen, etc.) and things are open to being changed. I'm never set on an outline --- it's just a way to keep my scattered brain focused on what I need to have done. I normally break my guidelines, but it's nice to have them.

6. Are you a sucker for a happy ending or do you leave your readers in misery?

Well, real life is hard --- not every person has a happy ending. I believe in telling it like it is, but I always try to aim for a "heroes triumph" ending. Though I DO NOT believe in serious cliffhanger book endings. (There's the reader coming through.)

7. How protective are you of your baby novel?

Kind of protective, I suppose. :") I won't let anyone read over my shoulder while I write (unless it's a parent, then I have no choice) because it's distracting and I don't want to give anything away. :) But as for posting bits and pieces, I'm fairly open. :)

8. Plans for publishing eventually? Are you going to self-publish or go traditional?

Definitely want to get published someday --- it's every writer's dream. ;) I would prefer to go traditional ... if I get turned down, I'll just keep trying. Scholastic and Disney/Hyperion are my favorites right now. 

9. Are you guilty of using the odd cliche plot element? How are you trying to make it fresh?

Not really ... I mean, I'd rather not be cliched. Nobody wants to, but sometimes it just happens. I try to make it fresh by not having a strict, solid, "filled in" outline. I like to color outside the lines. :) I'm always open to suggestions and random fancies that would spark something strange and fresh. 

10. Tell a little about a character you're currently fleshing out.

The Stranger that I posted about last --- Falcon, a.k.a the Clockwork Master (Jack, you're awesome.) He's very sketchy right now....I might make him a cyborg. Still deciding on that, though. But, he's supposed to be mysterious, maybe evil, maybe good, totally untrustworthy, yet he's the leader of the Fallen (the Resistance against the Raven King). He's seen better times --- he's scarred, outside and inside. By what, I'm not sure yet. But I know he's been made stronger by his rough times.

11. Which is the better type of chocolate? White and milky or 75% dark? (This has a lot to do with writing.)

Agreed. I like milky ... if I eat a lot of dark, it doesn't agree with me. :S But I am in love with Sarris's chocolate pretzel candy bar. Reese's, Nestle Crunch, and Swedish Fish are good too. (The cool thing is, Sarris Chocolate Factory is only a half an hour from my house. They have the best ice cream. <3)

Thanks Cait for the AMAZING questions. I won't ask any (sorry, guys!) because I already did, several posts before. Feel free to go back and do them if you want(:

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Stranger

I need name help again.

Though this time, it's for a character.

This character --- a man --- is tall, skinny, and gaunt, with hollowed cheeks and jet-black hair. His eyes, electric blue, are filled with intelligence and cunning, though they are sunken. He is (surprisingly) a good guy ... the leader of the Resistance! (Which will be dubbed the Fallen). He is shrouded in mystery, and my three main characters are still unsure whether or not to trust him. I myself am unsure.

But, as of now, he is a good guy, and a good guy without a name. I was going to go with the name Morpheus, but if you have ever seen the movie The Matrix, you know that I can't do that. I like the ending -pheus, though, so my names that I have come up with are as follows: (Google Translator is perfect for name inspiration - just type in a character attribute and translate it into Latin or some random language. It's awesome.)

  • Alpheus
  • Orfeo
  • Alipheus (pronounced uh-li-fee-us)

The mysterious man paused, his hand hovering over his computer mouse, then, pulling his arm back and resting it on his leg, he spun around.
            His hair was jet-black, and his face was gaunt, his cheeks hollowed, his electric blue eyes sunken, though the life in them had yet to fade.
            A long, white scar crossed his pale face, from his temple to his chin. His washed-out skin seemed to let off an unearthly glow, making his eyes appear like they were lit up in comparison.
            He stood. Tall as a tree, but skinny as a twig, he towered over the five.  His long bony hands were curled, almost like they yearned to grasp the computer mouse.
            His frosty eyes searched Skylar’s, Sophie’s, and Sierra’s. Sophie felt like he was scanning her brain. She had the uncanny feeling that he could hear her thoughts. No, no, that is just an illusion, she reassured herself. But was it?
            He took several steps towards them, away from his chair. Sophie tried not to look frightened. It took all her willpower not to high-tail it out of the creepy place.
            “You three look familiar,” the pale man said, staring at them.
            They didn’t answer.
            “You seem very much alike,” he murmured to himself, beginning to pace. “I wonder …”
            Shaking his head, he stopped his pacing, directly in front of Skylar. Their eyes met --- vivid blue against steely blue.
            “You are triplets?” he asked her.
            She nodded once, her face not betraying any ounce of fear. I wonder if she’s afraid, Sophie asked. Probably not … this Drew person sounded pretty scary.
            “Who is your father?” he asked, his eyes probing.
            Skylar stared defiantly back. “Why do you want to know?”
            Ransom and Maize looked shocked, and the man looked surprised for a moment as well at her sudden insolence. But then the moment passed.
            He lifted his chin slightly. “You are under my authority now, and mine alone,” he said coldly. “You will tell me what I want to know.”
            Sophie’s stomach clenched. He’s threatening us, she fretted. I knew it was a bad idea to come here, and trust that Maize person.
            “I’ve dealt with people like you before,” Skylar rebutted icily, her eyes shining in anger, “and I won’t give in to your blackmail. We were brought here by your men, and we have a right to know who you are, what’s going on, and why we were told to come here.”
            The man stared at her for a moment in amazement, then suddenly burst into laughter.
            Skylar stepped back, confused by the display.
            The man smiled, his teeth glittering against the lantern light. “You are a brave little one, I see that now,” he said. “You will be perfect for the job.”

From the small insight into his character that you saw, what do you think his name should be --- should it be powerful, strong, with a tinge of sinister and dab of evil? Should it be the name of a criminal mastermind, flavored with cunning yet sprinkled with insecurities? Names tell a lot about the person, you know. When you read the snippet, what names came to mind?