Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Developing Characters

This is the first part of a series titled - New Writers

Developing character is an extremely important part of writing, and creating a realistic character is the most important thing you'll want to do when first starting a story.

So how do you do it?  Well, let's just clear this one thing up first.  It's not easy.  Never will be, never can be.  And this won't make it easy, either.  It's hard, really hard.  You have to commit yourself to it.  Then and only then will you have a realistic, developed character.

Why do you need a developed, realistic character, though?  It's fairly simple.  If a story has a faceless character, one who doesn't have any character development, the reader just won't care.  It's as simple as that.  As a write, you want the reader to cry when the hero dies, or cry in joy when he makes the right decision after a book of confliction.

You would care if your friend died, yes?  You care about your friend because you know him or her.  Knowing the character will make the reader feel for him or her.  That's all.  Knowing that the character is "real".  Real in the sense that he (or she) is like humans - I'm not loony, I'm not saying your character should become human, I'm saying he or she should be like a human.  Although, they're really not much difference once you get to know a character - only one is taking over your mind and the other is floating around in real life somewhere.

When you're creating a character, remember they're real - they're just not real in the sense we usually think in.  They have to be real in your head.

Making them "real in your head" however, is quite difficult.  First it requires a lot of time - at least a month before you have their opinions and voice - which are two complicated terms for basically what he or she would do in any random situation life will give - stuck in your head firmly.  I told you this isn't going to be easy - but please, don't drop out on me yet.

And of course, you actually have to do stuff with your character during that month or 2-3 weeks it takes.  You have to get into the character's head - or maybe let the character into your head.  Exercising the character's opinions and voice and views and personality (like I said earlier, just how they would act in a situation of something) is a good first step making your character realistic.

If you randomly make up something totally outrageous that your character did or does (i.e. he lives in the sewers)  ask yourself, why?  Give your character views and opinions (they don't have to be outrageous - just anything you can think of) and ask yourself why?  Have your character do something - have him or her react to something (anything!) and then ask why?

It's the Socratic Method, and it works.  Ask why of every single thing your character does, and you're starting to learn who your character is.

Wait -- aren't we creating a character, not learning who he or she is?  Well, like I said earlier, your characters are real, they're just in your head.  You need to explore them - because they're real.


Now unleash the power of the character.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Tribute to All Those NaNoWriMo Novelists

Last year, November 2012, I took on the National Novel Writing Contest and wrote 60,000 words in the allotted 30 days.

Those of you who've done it this year, you're probably thinking your pretty tough.  I was.  Not to dampen your spirits, but if you're truly thinking yourself the master of all writing marathons, think again.

Yes, there's something even more challenging than NaNoWriMo.

The 3 Day Novel.

And it sounds exactly like it is.

30 days divided by 10.  That's all the time you have to write a full length novel.

And now, this isn't some total spoof of a post.  It's real.  Thousands of writers have done this - some have even succeeded (without going whack in the old second story, either).

It's not like I'm going to ever try this.  Maybe later.  Maybe.

Sorry I just killed all your pride in finishing a 50k novel, but it had to be done.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I decided to do a podcast this time.

A few parts are sort of rough - I only had about 30 minutes to edit it all.  Oh, and no, that's not quite my natural voice.

Sorry you have download it o hear it.  I couldn't figure it out any other way.

The One Year Adventure Novel


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday Tales (a day late - Again!!!)

Nightmares in the Past, Chapter 3.

It was minutes only before another Jedi arrived, called through Keith’s datapad.  Master Rambar, a Kel Dor, quickly released Keith and Tharalia, trapped under the debris, and ordered a team of SP-4 droids to bear Tharalia and Ina off to the medical wing of the Tython Temple.
       Keith, Kian, and Kim followed soon after for Keith’s minor wounds to be bandaged.  The walk spanned across the entire Temple, which allowed Kian a glance at what had happened in the more heated areas of the temple-wide skirmish.
       “So what do you know about this mission?” asked Keith the Kel Dor.
       “Two Sithlin’s ‘eaded off a small scale operation.”  Rambar took a pull at his breathing mask.  “A couple squads a’ mercenaries and Sith troopa’s.”  He shrugged, disgusted wrinkles crawling on his face.  Finally, he continued.  “We dunno what they were tryin’a do, but whatever it was they failed.”
       Kian’s ear perked up.  Failed?  Had they really?  He shivered.  That was a terrible thought.  But was it entirely . . . um, what was that word - unpossible?
       “Two Sith?”  Keith asked, interrupting Kian’s thoughts.
       Rambar nodded.  “A Sith warrior and an Inquisitor.
       “The Sith warrior was undoubtedly Omar - he’s a madman in its definition - but this inquisitor, was he captured?”
        Rambar took in a deep breath.  “‘fraid not.  He jumped onto a dropship when things went ill for him.  Troop a’ his men got away too.”
        “Bastasi!,” Keith muttered.  “Then we’ll be dealing with this again later.”
       “Oh no,” Rambar shook his head, casting his arm up in a wild gesture.  “We’ve forced enough information out of one of the merce’eraries.  He was ca’pliant with our ques’ions.  Apparently, this inquisitor was a rogue of some kind, it be even a possib’ that ‘e was working apart from the Academy.  Whatever the point of this operation of his was, it be a myst’ry.  But with Omie dead, they won’t be comin’ again.  And a good thing that nit-twit is gone, too.”
       “Don’t be too convinced we won’t hear from them again.  We need to pursue this inquisitor.”  Keith hesitated.  “Oh, and I think you mean nit-wit . . .”
       Rambar’s one eyebrow shot.  “That’s what I was saying!”
       Kian and Kim exploded into giggles.
       Keith growled and shook his head.  “Whatever.  But what was that about the prisoner?  Surely he would have known about the objective.”
       Rambar sighed.  “Evra’ time we brought up the object of the mission he just clammed up and shook his head.  ‘Ventually he’d say he di’n’t know - that he was just a mercenary for “Big ‘Un”.”
       Keith shook his head, staring at the floor.  “That is unfortunate.  If we could have only taken Omar prisoner.  He would’ve known.”
       “And risk the lives of two Jedi Knights, a padawan, and two younglings, plus countless more if Mr. O was not stopped there?” Rambar appealed.  “Nay, that padawan is a brave lass, she did the right thing to end him there.”
        Keith replied, but Kian lost interest in the conversation.  Instead, he looked around at the damage that was wrought in the entrance hall.  Just one small operation caused tremendous damage.  Service droids buzzed about, and a group of workers from a building station nearby hustled in to repair the temple.
       A worker ruffled Kian’s hair as they passed.  Kian frowned and combed his hair back with his hands.  They continued on down the hall, during which time he not only received three more hair ruffles, but one big pinch on his cheek.
       Now that was a problem.  The old preyed on the weak and helpless in all these “harmless” mind maddening ways.  So frustrating.  How can you ever be manly in such a situation?  How he hated being little.
       Kian glanced over to Kim.  She wasn’t being bugged - no, people knew not to mess with her.  But Kian was just another youngling to be pinched, pulled and ruffled.
       Once they had reached the medical wing, Keith bandaged his wounds with several bacta pads while Rambar checked on Tharalia and Ina.  Keith turned to Kian.
       “Son, I need to talk to you about some very important things.”
       Kian perked up.  Kim edged closer.
       Keith eyed Kim up and down.  He cleared his throat purposefully.  “In private, Kim.”
       Kim’s shoulders sank.  “Oh-kay . . .”
       Keith took Kian behind a curtain.  “You are brave, Kian, but you must follow the rules.  If you do not follow them, nothing can help you, not even the Force.”
       Kian searched his father’s face.  “ . . . What?”
       “Son, what you did was brave, but you still did the wrong thing.  I told you to stay in the clan house.  You disobeyed me, you disobeyed the Order.  You could have died - that Sith was dangerous.  Very dangerous.”  Keith sighed.  “But still . . . what you did, it was noble, and I thank you.”
       Another voice startled in.  “You’re very welcome.”
       “Wha?”  Keith and Kian both looked up.
        Kim!  Kian’s heart jumped.  His friend’s head poked through the curtain’s opening - a broad smile smudged on her face, gleaming pearly white teeth.
       “Kim . . .”  Keith growled.  Still, neither Kian nor Keith could help a chuckle.
       Keith huffed and patted Kim’s head.  “Well, I suppose that goes for you too, Kim.”
       She blushed.  “Great.”  She began to twiddle her thumbs, stepping into the curtained room fully.
       “So was that Sith Darth Yomar?” Kian asked.
       “Darth Ohmy,” Kim corrected.
       Keith laughed meaningfully, yet strained at the same time.  “It was Darth Omar, yes.”  His smile fell away.  “Now, Kian, Kim, I believe you have something to report to Master Kaleeth.”
       They both groaned, but obeyed and scampered away towards the clan house.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Short Break From Anything Writing-Related . . . (I'm not sure if I'll survive this . . .)

The courage . . .

The bravery . . .

The heart . . .

It take all those to do what I am about to do . . .

WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO WRITING?!?!?!  :O (And yes, that means I can use emoticons, because I'm officially not trying to be professional).

Not sure If I will actually finish this post or not, but here goes.

Several evenings ago was the first practice of our homeschool co-op volleyball team.  Last year, on my old blog, I talked about our church volleyball team - well, this is different.  The co-op team is putting us through serious training.  Two full hours of practice - - awesome.

I've been practicing a lot of volleyball in the past, so I had some advantage, I guess (and disadvantages of a lot of things too . . .) but I've basically been re-learning most of my skills, because we're starting with the basics.  One of the big things we were learning today was spiking - or rather, the initial steps up to the spike.
As some of you probably know, I'm really short.  And that clicks me.  Because I can't even touch the roof . . . D:  I'm hoping, with jumping exercise , I might be able to.

Woo . . .

Isn't that exciting . . .

There's about fifteen players, including two coaches.

But this is already getting boring . . . I better stop now.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, November 14, 2013




Think about it.

We're all flawed, which is why it just makes it all the more important.  It's realistic to be flawed - because whether we want to be or not, we always will be.

Flawed characters are realistic.  We're not evil - but there is two forces fighting against each other.  Light and darkness.  And if we don't do anything about it, the light in us will fade to darkness.  It's a conflict.

And, as Mr. S (Daniel Schwabauer, creator of the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum) says, conflict is pretty much the base of any good story.  Without it, there's no reason to turn the page.

A flawed character naturally has conflict - it's born within.  A struggle between light and dark, day and night, yin and yang.

A flawed character can either struggle with himself internally, or he can struggle with others externally because of his flaw.  Both are very common and very useful.  An example of a flaw that causes internal struggle would be confusion.  He's always confused, things aren't what they seem, they're twisted - at least in his eyes.  Therefore, he struggles within to flesh out what is and what is not.

For an external flaw, he could be uncontrollable, leading to arguments with just about everyone around him.

Both of those I have used.  In fact, I've used them in the very same character (he's very flawed, by the way, far over the ordinary).

But there's much more to flaws.  Flaws, unlike many other things, come from the character, not from an external force.  It's not his or her fault she has the flaw, but not resisting it is.  We all pretty much have a choice of resisting evil, and so should our characters.

That puts some weight on the character, which is good.  It begins to add in personal stakes.

Moving on to the subject of villains.  To what extent should you flaw a villain?  The exact same amount as the hero.  Villains are not pure, brooding evils.  Sorry, but Sauron is not a good villain.  He's not relatable - at all.  Villains are merely people (yes, flawed, not necessarily overly-flawed, however), who react to bad circumstances in bad ways.  At least, that's the ideal villain.  The only difference between a hero and a villain (a hero could, in fact, be considerably more flawed than the villain), is that the hero chooses to take a moral stance as to how he will react to misfortune, and a villain will take an immoral stance.

But back on topic.

Flaws also make a character relatable, which you probably already know.

The reason, is, obviously, because we all are flawed.

You've heard that a million times already, I know - I have too.  But it doesn't just make them relatable and realistic, it too adds conflict.


See there?

All stories are focused, based, and bred in conflict.

And another thing about flaws in villains that I hadn't realize until quite recent.  In fact, right this moment.

Your villain should be flawed, yes.  Your hero should be equally flawed.  Every single character in your story should, in some way be flawed, because we as mortals are - it's in our blood.  But a recurring theme in villains is that they go out to be emperors or killers or what not because of one single traumatic event in his or her lifetime.  Now this does make sense.  If his entire family was murdered in front of his eyes, that's going to hurt.

But chances are, he's not going to become a dictator.  Why?  Because he likely either won't have the resources, or, also very likely, he won't foster feelings of vengeance strong enough to devote his life to that.

Why not end it there with a .22 handgun?

Give him a reason for becoming what he is.  Not the stereotypical reason, but something that would really lead him to do what he does.  Chances are, if his village was raided, which caused his family's destruction, other children will suffer the same or similar acts - why is he so different than the rest?

But I kind of got off the topic of flaws.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Exception?

Humans are social beasts.

The exception?



Post Script.  A post on flawed character is scheduled for tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Just a quick post to apologize for my week-long absence.  My internet was down, and I hadn't scheduled any posts for the week.  My goal is a minimum of two posts a week.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Writing It - Part 2

(Sixth lesson in my writing class.)

Each scene of your story should be based on three things in this order: Goal, Conflict, Disaster.

Each scene should heighten the suspense of the story until the very highest point of the climax.  Each scene should be made up with those three things, Goal, Conflict, Disaster.

The hero has a goal, but he comes into conflict with something, and disaster is the result.  This doesn’t mean your story has to be a tragedy, it simply means that your hero doesn’t win every time he’s confronted with a problem.

The reason each scene ends in a disaster is because it’s compelling.  If the character gets everything he or she wants, then it’ll be boring.  Putting in the Conflict and then Disaster tells the reader that there is really a chance things might not end up well.  Something real is at stake.

Of course, you can’t just end a scene with your character being defeated, and then in the next scene he’s already coming up with a new Goal.  No, that’s why you need to have a second format for the next scene.  A Reaction, a Dilemma, and a Decision.

A Reaction to the Disaster in the last chapter.  Your character is regrouping, recovering, maybe even grieving?  But definitely defeated and discouraged.  If you write it authentically - with an understandable reason for the way he or she is acting - the readers will be sympathetic, and maybe even feel defeated and discouraged with the character.  After your character is defeated, give him or her some time to reflect on it.  Even the sprightliest of people will get discouraged and it’s going to take them a while to recover - this is the time for the character to react, not act.  Not yet, anyway.

The second part of this follow up scene is the Dilemma.  When there are several possible solutions the character can make - and they all seem bad.  The Disaster was so crucial that there is seemingly no hope.  But now, he’s recovered just a little, so that he’s decided he has to continue, or maybe a friend keeps talking to him until he finally gets out of his Reaction stage, when he doesn’t do anything to keep going.  Now he’s going in the right direction, but he suddenly realizes he has to make a choice between a few ugly possibilities.  I can’t stress how much you want to make these possible choices all bad.  If one is an easy pick, add something into it to make it more difficult.  Let your character ponder over this.
I suggest you write out a full page of your character simply questioning what options he has.  Should he sell his house or his car?  Selling the car would be the more preferable choice, yes, but now you need to throw a wrench into the gears.  What if his car is the only way he can get to work, even if it is a low paying job?  Make the decision matter.

And finally the third part of this second scene; the Decision.  Now that he’s thought over the possibilities, he has to make an action.  This is a very important part in this scene because once more it’s giving the character the ball.  His actions determine his fate.  He then decides what Decision he will make.  As I said before, don’t make it an easy decision, but make it a decision that the reader will respect, because when a reader thinks about what the possible decisions could end up in, and considers them, he or she will relate to the character, which is always a good thing.
Look at it in another way.  What if the reader is holding his breath to see what the character will do, and then suddenly, with no rhyme or reason, the character picks the absolute hardest one.  Then the reader will think, “well that was a stupid thing to do.”  And that will annoy him.  The most important thing for this part of the scene is to get the reader to wonder what he or she would do in that situation, and then give them a satisfying answer as to what the character did.  If you can do this, you’ve got a great scene.

Now, as you see, the character knows what he wants to do.  The Decision at the end of this scene is what he will do, in the next scene we’re back to Goal again.  The character has Decided what his Goal will be.

This is why you interlock the two types of scenes every other time.  Using there initials, you can create the pattern they are in.

GCD, which is Goal, Conflict, Disaster.
And RDD, Reaction, Dilemma, Decision.

And repeat it.

and so on.  It’s a full scale of ups and downs for the reader and the character.  It visits both despair and hope in one full cycle.  If you keep this up, not only will a reader be interested, you yourself will be compelled to keep writing.  The best way to get interested in writing a story isn’t just to write it, it’s to get into it.  Write the character’s emotions as if you were there.  As if you were just encountered with your Disaster.  And now your hurting, and finally you come to the Dilemma.  Make the reasons compelling, so that you yourself would say, “which one would I choose?” and then you know you’ve made a great scene.

So have your next scene, be it your first or fifth, planned out in this method.

I want you all to get out a pencil and paper, and write at the top “Scene 1", then on separate lines: Goal, Conflict, Disaster.

Then take out a new sheet and write at the top “Scene 2", and in separate lines below Reaction (to the Disaster), Dilemma, Decision.

Take some time in club today to write beside those words what your character is faced with for that part of the scene, the Decision he makes, and/or the Disaster he faces.  Just something simple, just so that you have an idea.

 If you do this with all your scenes, you’ll compel not only your reader to keep reading, but you as the writer to keep writing.

Do as many scenes as you can.

Also take time today to share, or listen to, any writings you want to have your audience’s feed back on.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Writing It

(Fifth lesson of my writing class.  The goal of the entire class was for each member to have written a short story, and this week we are beginning to write them.  Please remember that these lessons are for young writers, and therefore I've only given the basic concepts.)

It’s finally time to actually get to writing your story.  When you write, you’re almost certainly going to look back and see something you want to change.

Don’t do it.

Don’t interrupt your sentence, don’t interrupt your paragraph, don’t interrupt your page, keep writing.

The hardest part of just about everything is doing it.  Especially with writing.  Sitting down and just writing is one of the hardest things you can do.  But now that you’ve got an idea for your story, writing it is the next key thing.

If you feel like you should write, but are dragging your feet about it, you’ve probably got a case of procrastination, which is one of the main thing that keeps you away from writing.  The solution is simple.  Tell yourself that today, all I have to write is one paragraph.  That’s it.  Just one paragraph.

By the end of that paragraph, you might still feel sick of the story, but more often than not, I’ve found that I tricked myself, and then I write more than that one paragraph because I’m starting to get involved in the story again.  If you still don’t want to write, that’s actually okay.  Maybe you need a day’s break from the story.

Then again, you might have another form of procrastination.  You’ve likely heard of it before - yes, it’s Writer’s Block.

Writer’s Block is very real.  But it’s solution is very real too.

You could look up the ‘cure to Writer’s Block’ just about anywhere, and likely they’ll have the same answer: “Just write.”

That has never, ever helped me because Writer’s Block and procrastination are two entirely different things.  For procrastinating “just writing” might be the best way, but not for Writer’s Block.

Why?  Because Writer’s Block, though related to procrastination, isn’t one in the same.  Writer’s Block is usually caused from lack of inspiration.  Procrastination, well you’ve just been distracted with other things.

So how do you conquer Writer’s Block?  The thing that’s helped me most is just to simply plan ahead.  Writer’s Block is basically two things, lack of inspiration, or just simply not knowing where to go in the story.

That’s why we planned out the story a few weeks ago, and that’s why it matters.

Some writers just write without even basic outlines, but when they hit Writer’s Block, it’s really going to hurt.  Those who outline will have some padding for the fall if the Block does strike.

It’s not that not outlining is bad, coming up with your own style and voice in writing is critical, but it has flaws (just like outlining does).

So if you have Writer’s Block, the best way to get rid of it is step back from your writing, stop trying to “just write” and plan out your chapter - change the thing about it that you’re struggling with.

There are other ways, however.  With both Writer’s Block and procrastination, you can simply look at the current situation.  Is something boring you?  Is that action sequence just “bleh”?

You need to keep the action flowing in the story.  This doesn’t mean its all guns and swords and battle, it just means that something is always happening.  Tension is growing higher every minute.

How do you do this?  By increasing the stakes.  By making the story goal ever more worthwhile.

While we’re talking about Writer’s Block, do any of you have questions about this?  Are any of you have problems with your story?

(Yes, I'm opening it up to you on the comments below.)


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday Tales (A Day Late)

The second chapter in Nightmares in the Past, a Star Wars fanfiction.  And yes, I am aware that it's Wednesday, pardon me.

- - -

He towered seven feet tall, strapped in Togorian hides and shined Mandalorian armor.  True stone grey eyes, long braided black hair and an unruly, full beard falling down to his silver bone belt buckle.  His arms were like logs, chest like a boulder, muscle like iron, boasting decades of merciless training.  A fiery red saber was clutched in one meaty fist, and a rain blue blade in the other.
       But it wasn’t any of that which overrode the air with a distinct but foreign sense.  It was something else, something far more overwhelming.
      Cruel power, peaceful as the eye of a hurricane, but angry as a bubbling volcano.  An unwholesome presence, yet so welcoming, so drawing.  It was a writhing stench in the air, hideous and snapping, yet it lured.  It was something far more powerful and mysterious than anything Kian had felt before, and yet somehow, it seemed as if he had felt it before.
       It was the darkside.
       Kian and Kim were frozen as the Sith stalked one step closer - as the Jedi Order came one step closer to the death of two young children.  As much as he tried, nothing in Kian’s body responded.  Nothing.  Kim whimpered and struggled at his side.  They were at the will of the stone grey eyes.
       Kim’s training saber shot to life, and she willed herself to take a step forward.  Kian steadied his ragged breath, believing that if Kim could do it, he could.  His own small saber blazed out.  And they stood, blocking the hallway.
        Step by ringing step, the Sith quickly spanned the hallway in his long strides.  Two lightsaber lengths away, he stopped.  A grin spread over his pale lips.  “Welcome to Uncle Omar’s ride.  Have a nice trip.”
       And with the sweep of sabers, a red and blue streak rushed toward the unprotected younglings.  Their practice sabers wavered uselessly at their sides.  Blood was about to be spilt.
       Suddenly, the Sith shrieked and pulled away from the younglings, crashing a dozen yards away against the wall.  Kian’s mouth fell wide open.  He spun around to see what might have caused the Sith’s reaction.
       But it was no reaction at all.  Kian’s father, Keith, stood heaving for breath behind them, hand extended, eyes closed.
       “Daddy?”  Kian’s practice saber dropped to the floor.
       There was no time for a response.  The Sith rose swiftly and hurled himself at the younglings.
       “Watch out!”  Keith rasped, twirling out his saber from behind and making a leap for the two children.
       Kim screamed.
       Kian dropped to the ground, whimpering.
       Keith let loose a battle cry.
       The follower of the Light and the follower of the Dark met in midair, above the younglings.  With a lightning spark, three sabers met, and slid across.
       They had jumped clear over Kian and Kim, sliding blades as they did, before landing on the other side.  Places reversed, the Sith leapt again, and Keith did likewise.
       The sabers sparked off of each other again, raining a shower of red, blue, and green lights onto the younglings, sending burns through their clothing.  Kian yelped and squirmed to the side of the hall.
       “Get out of here!” Keith shrieked, meeting the Sith in the air a third time, this one followed with a hard kick into the stomach.  The Sith sprawled backwards, but quickly regained his footing.  Keith was between the Sith and Kian and Kim now, and the blaze of sabers began.
       “GET OUT OF HERE!!!”
       Kim broke her eyes from the sparring warriors and grabbed hold of Kian’s hand, pulling him down the hall.  She kept one hand on her saber though, pointing it at the Sith defiantly.  Kian resisted though, and picked up his own practice saber.  “We needa to help him!” he whispered urgently.
       “But we’re just younglings!” Kim opposed.
       Kian’s shoulders sagged.  He knew that was the truth.  Just younglings.  Nothing special.  Nothing even up to average.  Just younglings.  They couldn’t fight.  And if Kim even said that, then it must have been dreadfully clear.
       Kian suddenly turned off his saber and wrested his hand from Kim.  “But we can do one thing - run for help!”  His words hadn’t left his lips by the time he and Kim were flying down the halls.  Before turning the corner, he glanced back to the two Force-wielders.
        Maybe he wasn’t doing the right thing.  What if it was all wrong?  What if daddy was going to die?  No, that couldn’t happen.  It couldn’t.
       Kian snapped his eyes shut feeling the Force surge through his limbs.  It wasn’t that he knew the Temple that well, with its myriad halls and rooms and stairs.  No, the Force was guiding him, powering him, blurring him into the flashing walls.
       He had to reach help in time.  He had to.  His daddy’s life depended on it.
       Suddenly, he crashed into something hard and flipped high into the air, over the object and falling on the other side of it.  Moaning and peaking open his eyes, he saw Padawan Ina, dazed and stumbling.  She glanced about the room for the cause, her eyes finally locking onto Kian.
       Her expression of caution and shock fell away and she began to laugh.  “Kian?  What are you do-?”
       Kian jumped to his feet.  “My daddy is in trouble, you needa help him!”
       Kim came racing up behind, panting hard.  Kian wasn’t in the least out of breath, even from falling hard on his stomach - something which should have taken the wind out of him.  Master Tharalia, Ina’s Master, kneeled beside Kian, placing a hand on his shoulder.  “Where is your father, Kian?”
       The youngling pointed hurriedly down the hall.  “Down there, down there!” he nearly jumped off the floor as he shouted.  What if something were to happen to his daddy?  It would all be his fault.  He had almost forced his daddy to fight the evil Sith, and if he died, it would be all his fault.  No . . . it couldn’t happen . . . it just couldn’t.
       Ina and Tharalia dashed off down the hall.  Kian and Kim raced after, several yards behind.  They twisted through the halls, dodged pillars, up staircases, through rooms and at last turned the final corner.
       The halls, once mixed in light greens and rich browns, was blackened and saber scarred.  Pieces of the wall were torn open, another room was exposed.  And still, the two battled on fiercely.
       Master Tharalia slid to a stop as she rounded the corner.  “Darth Omar,” she murmured.  Blazing her saber to life, she held up a hand behind her.  “Ina, stay back.  Master Keith and I will handle this.”  She jumped into the battle, confronting the Sith from behind.  Ina nevertheless drew her saber and ignited it’s angry orange blade.
       Darth Omar quickly retaliated to Master Tharalia’s sudden appearance.  Blocking her strike with his blue saber, he laid a kick hard into Keith’s chest, effectively knocking him down the hall and taking out his breath.
       Kian, Kim, and Ina looked on, eyes wide, gripping their sabers.  “We have to help them!”  Kim urgently whispered.
       Ina blocked them from the fight.  “No, stay back you two.  If you tried to fight, you would only be a burden for them to protect.  Master Keith and Tharalia are experienced.”  She stared on, gripping her saber.  Her body was jittery, she was shaking.  “This Sith will not succeed.”  She winced as Keith sprawled away from the fight.  Her very tone was betraying that she was doubting it.
       Omar’s sabers fell upon Tharalia’s.  She jumped back, parrying blows and slipping into a defensive Jedi form.  She slowly began to back up down the hall towards her padawan and the younglings.  Suddenly, Omar pulled a tile from the wall and sent it crashing into Tharalia as Omar sensed Keith racing towards him from behind.
       Ina raced towards her Master, caught under the metallic tile.  She Force-pushed it off of the Jedi and kneeled beside her.  “Master Tharalia?”
       Kian jumped over to the wounded Master Tharalia, but kept his eyes on the battle.  Spinning around, Omar met Keith as the Jedi opened into an intense flurry of Juyo form blows.  He pressed down on the Sith like a raging torrent.  The Sith growled as a burn swiped through his fur hides, biting into his shoulder.
       Keith sent a Force-push down into Omar, crushing him to the floor, but the Sith didn’t hesitate and quickly rolled to the side.  He lurched away from the fight towards Kian, Kim, and Ina.
        Kian shrieked and tried to run, but stumbled and fell to the ground.  He glanced back.  Omar was in the air, speeding down at him.  Kian whimpered and curled up, his eyes shut tight.  What if he was going to die?  What then?  Had his life been all in vain?  No, if this would be the end, it wouldn’t just be in vain.  It would be pointless.
       Suddenly, there was a female shout, a crash that shook the room, and a male’s growl.
       Kian’s eyes snapped open.  Omar lay crushed half through the wall into another room.  Ina lay limp on top of him.  Kian gasped and struggled to his feet.
       “Ina!”  Keith shouted, struggling towards her.
       Omar’s stunned body suddenly lit to life.  He thrust Ina off of him, then grasped his sabers.  A malicious grin grew over his face.  He struggled to his feet, using the wall as support.  “Two down, three to go.”  He locked into a vicious struggle against Keith as the sabers met into a deadlock.
       Kian’s body shook.  Sweat poured off his forehead.  He glanced to Ina’s thin, limp body.  She had saved his life, but now . . .
       Kian jumped over to Kim then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet.  “What do we do?!” Kian wailed.
       His father’s voice echoed out from the battle.  “Kian!  I told you to flee, this is no place for a youngling!”
       Kian glanced to Kim.  He couldn’t.  He couldn’t leave.  What if the Sith won?  What if Keith was . . .  A shiver went up Kian’s spine.
        “No . . . no . . . no, that can’t happen!” he murmured.  But he began to pull away nonetheless.  He grabbed Kim by the arm, but she wouldn’t budge.
        “KIAN!!! KIM!!!” Keith screamed, jumping back as Omar’s over-powering strength finally won in the deadlock.  Blocking one strike, Keith switched his saber to his left hand and sent a blast of the Force at Kian and Kim, sending them down the hall.  Kim gave in, and the two younglings began to run for safety.
       Kian glanced back, his eyes wide, glistening with fear.
       While Keith was distracted by forcing the younglings along their way, Omar had took advantage with a flurry of blows.
       Kian stopped again.  Omar sent a kick into Keith’s abdomen.  The Jedi hit the floor with a growl, but his eyes sealed shut and his body went lifeless.
       “DADDY!!!”  Kian screamed and lifted a hand as if to touch his father from a distance.
        And then the cold stone eyes lifted from Keith once more to Kian.  “Kian . . . Kian . . . isn’t it Kian?”  Omar’s sabers blazed off.  With one hand he lifted Keith into the air and with the other he lifted a steel bar, placed Keith under it, then dropped the bar, securing both Tharalia and Keith under it.  He quickly collected the two Jedi’s sabers.
       “Kian.  That is your name, tell me it is.” Omar’s grating voice echoed through the silent hall.  Kim had stopped by Kian’s side, and they exchanged worried glances.
       Nonetheless, Kian instinctively nodded.  “H-how d-d’you know m-my name?”
       “Oh, don’t be so afraid, my little one.”  A grin grew across the Sith’s face.  “I won’t kill you.  Now that I know your name.”  He began to talk careful, deliberate steps across the battle-torn hall.  He lifted Kian and Kim off the ground with the Force.  They didn’t struggle, they just submitted to their fate, heads rolling back and their unsupported limbs falling like wilted lettuce.
       Omar brought them within feet of his eyes, and there they stopped in midair.  He glanced to the right, to the Jedi Knights trapped under debris.  Tharalia and Keith’s eyes began to flutter open, weakly, despairingly.
       No power remained in Keith.  He was battered and bruised, but as he saw Kian hanging in the air, he began to shake and fill with an energy fulled by a temper.  “NO!!!” he shrieked, struggling under the steel.  But he simply flailed without strength.
       A cold smile lit Omar’s face.
       “And now, I’ve won.”
       No sooner had the words been uttered than an orange glow emanated up through his chest from behind.  His eyes snapped wide.  His mouth fell open, and a wheezy noise hissed out of his throat.
       Kian and Kim dropped to the ground, but Omar stood in the same position he had been in - faced towards the Jedi Knights, hands raised.
       All eyes lingered on the shocked Sith.  And then he crumpled to the side and fell with a clatter.  In his place kneeled padawan Ina, she was frozen there for a moment, still holding her brilliant saber pointed to the sky, her matted light red hair stained with blood.  Then she collapsed to the floor in exhaustion.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Character Building and Character Arcs

(Fourth lesson in my writing class, going over Character Building and Character Arcs.)

Character Building is a one of the most important things in any story.  A story could have an excellent plot, a stupendous theme, and a revolutionary moral, but if we don’t know why the hero is doing what he’s doing, why he is the way he is, we don’t care.  Or, even worse, if we don’t give him a personality, we won’t care.

Character Building is making your character.  Some writers use long lists of irrelevant questions to “interview” their characters.  But Character Building is much more than knowing what color their car is, or even how old they are.  Sure, they might come into the story once in a while, but likely they’ll only be mentioned.

The big part of Character Building, what you really want to focus on, is the character’s personality.  The readers don’t care about what color hair the main character has, even if it’s hot pink, and that’s why you need to focus on the personality.  Now say this person is sort of rebellious against her parents wishes, and she dyes her hair pink spitefully against her mother’s wishes - now that matters, because it shows part of her personality - rebelliousness.

You might already have a rough idea for a character, or maybe not.  But when you’re starting out, you’ll usually want to browse over a list of traits, good and bad, and pick out a few that work well together and fit with this character you’re making.  For example, don’t pick both submissive and rebellious for the same character, because they’re virtually the same.  You can, however, pick shy and rebellious.  Why?  Because shy doesn’t necessarily contradict rebellious, it just means he or she might not be so outspoken about it.

I have a list of traits here.  For starters, pick out two good traits and one bad one.  It’s hard to give your hero a bad trait, but you need to realize it doesn’t make your character evil, instead it makes him or her human, realistic, and 3D.  3D as in, the character isn’t all good, their might be some dark secrets he or she is hiding, something that the character doesn’t want to reveal.  In the end, you’ll probably want it to be exposed.

But that’s for later.

  1. active 
  2. adventurous 
  3. affectionate 
  4. afraid 
  5. aggressive 
  6. ambitious 
  7. amiable 
  8. angry 
  9. animated 
  10. annoyed 
  11. anti-social 
  12. anxious 
  13. argumentative 
  14. arrogant 
  15. attentive 
  16. babyish 
  17. bored 
  18. bossy 
  19. brave 
  20. brilliant 
  21. busy 
  22. calm 
  23. can't keep a secret 
  24. careful 
  25. cautious 
  26. charismatic 
  27. charming 
  28. cheerful 
  29. childish 
  30. clever 
  31. clumsy 
  32. coarse 
  33. cold-hearted 
  34. compassionate 
  35. competitive 
  36. complacent 
  37. compulsive 
  38. conceited 
  39. confident 
  40. confused 
  41. considerate 
  42. cooperative 
  43. courageous 
  44. cowardly 
  45. crafty 
  46. critical
  47. cruel 
  48. cultured 
  49. curious 
  50. cynical 
  51. dangerous 
  52. daring 
  53. decisive 
  54. dependable 
  55. dependent on others 
  56. determined 
  57. diligent 
  58. discreet 
  59. dishonest 
  60. disloyal 
  61. disobedient 
  62. disparaging 
  63. disrespectful 
  64. dissatisfied 
  65. doesn't learn 
  66. domineering 
  67. doubtful 
  68. dutiful 
  69. eager 
  70. easygoing 
  71. eloquent 
  72. encouraging 
  73. energetic 
  74. enthusiastic 
  75. fair 
  76. faithful 
  77. fearless 
  78. fidgety 
  79. fierce 
  80. finicky 
  81. foolish 
  82. formal 
  83. frank 
  84. friendly 
  85. frustrated 
  86. funny 
  87. generous 
  88. gentle 
  89. giddy 
  90. giving 
  91. glamorous 
  92. gloomy 
  93. grateful 
  94. greedy 
  95. grouchy 
  96. gullible 
  97. happy 
  98. harried 
  99. hateful 
  100. haughty 
  101. helpful 
  102. honest 
  103. hopeful 
  104. hopeless 
  105. hospitable 
  106. humble 
  107. hyper 
  108. ignorant 
  109. ill-bred 
  110. imaginative 
  111. immature 
  112. impartial 
  113. impatient 
  114. impolite 
  115. impudent 
  116. impulsive 
  117. inappropriate 
  118. inconsiderate 
  119. independent 
  120. industrious 
  121. innocent 
  122. insensitive 
  123. insolent 
  124. intelligent 
  125. jealous 
  126. judgmental 
  127. lackadaisical 
  128. languid 
  129. lazy 
  130. liar 
  131. logical 
  132. lonely 
  133. loving 
  134. loyal 
  135. lucky 
  136. malicious 
  137. mature 
  138. mean 
  139. meticulous 
  140. mischievous 
  141. moody 
  142. mundane 
  143. mysterious 
  144. naive 
  145. negligent 
  146. nervous 
  147. never satisfied 
  148. no sense of humor 
  149. noisy 
  150. obedient 
  151. obliging 
  152. obnoxious 
  153. observant 
  154. obsessive 
  155. overindulgent 
  156. prejudice 
  157. procrastinator 
  158. reckless 
  159. rude 
  160. sarcastic 
  161. selfish 
  162. self-pitying 
  163. shy 
  164. smart 
  165. stubborn 
  166. superficial 
  167. tactless 
  168. taking self too seriously 
  169. too trusting 
  170. unable to commit 
  171. uncomunicative
  172. unconfident 
  173. unmannered 
  174. untrusting

On that list you’ll see several disagreeable and unlikable traits that you can pick for your character.  You’ll likely not be wanting to have the truly evil ones for your character.  Then again, you might.

I’ll give you a few minutes to pick out three of them, two likable and one not so likable, or even evil.

So if you haven’t quite got the ones that fit, that’s alright.  You can review your character this week, but now, we’ll stick with the ones you have now.  You probably have some kind of a character forming in head now, so we can continue on.

I’ve pre-written a scene in which your character is faced with an important decision.  Decisions, actions, and reactions are what makes a character shine through the page and become 3D to you and the reader.  Your character is shaped in the decisions he makes.

Your character just discovered he has inherited one hundred million dollars from a trust fund, how does he react?  Is he just satisfied?  Does he hyperventilate?  Maybe he is annoyed or refuses to accept if he believes money is the root of all evil.  And also, aside from his physical actions, what is he thinking during this time?  WHY is he excited about this?  Is it because he can now move out of his old apartment, have a vacation, and still afford a lambergini?  Or is it because he can now help the community by paying for a new library?

Here’s another situation.

Your character lives in a very poor district of town.  He must somehow get food for the rest of himself and the rest of his family.  He has two options; 1, to go out and find any sort of second or third job he can get, though its low pay still might not be enough.  And 2, to go into the streets and steal bread or other food (and remember, though this might be wrong, your character would have plenty of motivation for it).  Of course, if your character was lazy, he might not do anything at all.  But for this exercise, pick one of the two above.

And finally for a third situation.

Your character wants a job.  But at the first four interviews he’s been rejected, what does he do?  Keep trying?  Give up despairingly?  Try a new plan?  Or maybe recruit a friend for help?

The first of those three examples was how a character reacted to getting an enormous amount of money.  The second was a decision, and the third was an action.

What your character wants.
What your character needs.
What your character believes (is it a lie?).
What your character thinks he needs.

If each of those questions has different answers, even if they’re just slightly varied, will make a dynamic and realistic character.  Those were some good questions to build on the story goal, what the main character is going after throughout the entire story - it also builds on your character and who he or she is.

The characters, in a story, are literally the most important thing.  Enjoyable characters make enjoyable stories, make your characters real.

Related Posts:  Character Arcs


Monday, October 28, 2013

Setting and Theme

(Third lesson in my writing class, discussing Setting and Theme.  I've gone over Setting more in depth Here but I didn't discuss the Theme's relevance to the Setting.)

Every good story means something.  If it doesn’t, it won’t be remembered.  What’s the meaning of a story?  It’s theme.  But what’s theme?  Theme is the idea that goes just under the skin of the storyline.

Every good story impacts you in some way.  The story could be advocating against abortion, or maybe promoting a ban on smoking.

The theme is the message of the story.  Do you want to warn the world of animal abuse?  Then your plot and story have to flow with the message - that’s theme.

Creating a theme is probably one of the more difficult parts of writing anything - even a short story.  The reason for this is because you don’t want to be preachy and just stuff the story with the message, and you don’t want it to seem contrived either.  The theme has to be something you really feel like you need to write, because if it isn’t, then it won’t impact the reader.  So what makes your blood burn?  That’s what you need for your story theme.

Probably the most important thing about making a theme is that you can’t outright tell the reader “Abortion is evil” or, “there’s lots and lots of mistreated animals out there.”  No, instead, you have to hint at it.  Subtle hints.  For instance, maybe your character sees a poster advocating some company which keeps animals in confined cages all day - the character scowls at it, but nothing more.  He or she doesn’t outright tell the reader what the message is, or that will get preachy.

Trust me, the reader will see what the theme is even if you don’t tell them outright anywhere in your story.  In fact, they’ll probably realize the theme even clearer, because they’ll understand it if you hint and it gently.

Throughout your story, you need to think up dozens of ways to hint at the theme, but not tell the theme.

Another very good way to hint at the theme is through the setting.  If the theme is a darker one, the setting should be a gloomier setting as well.  This doesn’t necessarily  mean dark purple clouds on the horizon, or fog enclosing all around, this means that the weight of the story is heavier.  This is a very advanced technique because it too involves only hinting, not telling.

Hint at the darkness in your character’s world, raise the stakes by endangering something the main character of the story cares about - a family member?  A freedom he dearly values?

Then again, maybe your theme is more lighthearted, in which case you don’t want to lower the stakes, but show that, unlike in a gloomier setting, there is a hope shining in the distance.

One of the main differences between a darker setting and a lighter setting is that the darker one seems like all hope is lost, whereas the with the lighter setting, there is hope, but it’s far off and the character must struggle for it.

The theme is the message - what kind of a message do you want to tell?


Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Story Skeleton

(Like the last post, this is one of the lessons I've written up for my writing class.  I know I've already discussed this Here but this is different in some ways.  I have included that week's worksheet.)

So now that everyone has an idea as to what you’re going to write, today we’re going to start plotting out your short story and getting a rough idea of all the events of the story.

Some writers don’t like to outline their stories, and rather wing the entire story based off of one idea or spark of inspiration.  They’re called seat-of-the-pants writings.  For my first novel, The Traitors Tale, I wrote it entirely seat-of-the-pants.  Looking back, I know that, for me, was a mistake.  I had to take out entire chapters because they just didn’t fit with the story.

Now, this is purely my own style, there are many writers out there who use this method, but for this club we’re going to use the plotting way for two reasons.

One, it is much more organized, especially for beginning writers, because we need guidance when we’re starting out on just about everything.

And two, planning out the story saves a lot of time because you don’t have to go over it and edit so much.

So for this club we’re going to use the plotting method.  It’s fairly simple, you just need to fill out a form of five basic questions for the plot.  The Inciting Incident, which is what starts off the adventure and goes beyond normal days, and then there’s the Rising Action, which is the build up after the Inciting Incident to the third element of plot, the Climax.  Everything up until the Climax is a foreshadowing and stage basis.  The Rising Action is where the reader and the character connect.  If the reader understands the character like a friend, they’ll be dying to find out if the character is alright after the climax.  The Rising Action is also where the struggle escalates for whatever prize the end may hold.  It’s also where the stakes increase right up until the Climax, which is what keeps readers reading.

Why?  Because the reader knows the character, they care about him or her, even though they’re fake.

After the Climax, everything wraps up quickly in the Falling Action and Conclusion.  The Falling Action is basically any remaining action that precedes the Climax, while the Conclusion is in essence, “And They Lived Happily Ever After.”

For instance, if any of you have read the Lord of the Rings, you know that the final battle in Morder is the Climax, the moment when Frodo is at the edge of Mount Doom.  The Falling Action is just after this when they return to the Shire.  There they find Saruman had taken it over.

That conflict, after the Climax, is the Falling Action.  The Conclusion then, would be Frodo, Bilbo, and the others going off into the west.  The happy ending.

If you haven’t read or watched the Lord of the Rings, that was probably really boring.

Many stories actually leave out the Falling Action for the most part, so you don’t necessarily have to have this in your story.

Each element of the plot has to change the hero of the story, be it internally or externally.


What unusual thing makes the day your story begins different?  (This is the Inciting Incident).

What action goes on during the Rising Action?  What changes the hero in that action? (Try to think more than just physicals - maybe he (or she) is braver now that he or she found courage within, or maybe he’s come to realize something in himself he need to change.)

What two forces clash during the Climax?  (This doesn’t have to be a battle, just a clash of morals or a struggle.  For instance, a boy could be trying to rescue his lost dog, but then find that another boy had found the dog before him and claimed it, now he must prove that the dog is his.)

If you have a Falling Action Element after the Climax, what makes this important to the story?  Does it fulfil what the hero has learned or how he has changed over the course of the story?

What wraps everything up and satisfies the reader?  Is it more than just the externals?  Has your hero changed?

Over the course of your short story, how does your hero change?  (Does he go from a resentful man to forgiving one?  Does a shy girl go from a pushover to someone who can stand up for herself?  These are just examples.)


Saturday, October 26, 2013


(Note that this, and several posts to follow, were written for a class of beginning writers.  Therefore, I kept things simple.  Unfortunately, I only have about 30 minutes per class, and so the lessons had to be cut accordingly.  This is the first lesson, on inspiration.)

First you need to be aware that inspiration has a mind of its own. Inspiration comes when inspiration wants to. You can't force good work out of nothing.

Second, you can't just sit and wait for inspiration to strike you over the head with a club.

Yes, that might seem a little contradictory. But it's not, actually. Likely, sitting and doing nothing won't give you an idea. However, going after it in a hopeless pursuit won't work either. There is, however, something of a happy medium.

The most important thing you need to remember is not to block inspiration out. That might seem a little strange because attaining that inspiration is what you've been trying to do all this time isn't it? Well, yes, but oddly enough many times we'll overlook promising inspiration just because we're looking for a specific idea we want but just can't quite reach.

Keep your mind open. Anything could be an inspiration - I once was inspired by a simple light far off in the distance at around 8:30, how simple was that?  And not just visible objects. Some things as simple as a sentence, or a random thought. Consider what it could be.  Think about smells, touches, or tastes - any of your senses could offer you inspiration.  I recommend having a document on your computer or a notebook easily accessible to jot down any of these ideas – even if they seem random, radical, and ridiculous. There's promise in just about everything, but you need to keep your mind open to the possibilities.

Examining ideas from other stories could spark an idea too. However, if you do, make sure to give it your own spin for two reasons. One, you don't want to be accused of plagiarism. And two, it usually won't feel like your own story if it's just a compilation of others' work, which would likely lead you to dropping the story.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

What's the Point?

What's the point?

What is it?

What's the idea of going through with this pointless story?

What's the reason of putting down another finger and another key?

What's the meaning of this pointless life?

If life is pointless, there is no reason.  No meaning.  No point.  No hope.

And therefore, no sense to continue?  If what we are doing is so great, why aren't we seeing the benefit?  But no, instead, our efforts drift like ash in the wind.  No point.  No meaning.  No hope.  No reason.

If we write just to finish the story - the story of our life - why do we do it?

Is it just for our amusement?  Because if it is, everything we fought for, the hours we bled for, it's all just going to drift away.  Down the currents of life.  No hope.  No reason.  No point.  No meaning.

Why do we continue on going with this despair?

If we just ignore reality, our life - what does it mean?  Nothing.  Something tells us to write.

But what is it?  Just a fantastical hope of the passing wind?

If we don't know why we're going through with this dream - or should I say nightmare? - no one else will care.

No point.  No meaning.  No reason.  No hope.

Why do we even care?

Care about anything?  Anything at all? . . .

It's because at least we can hope that we're doing something good midst the turmoil and nightmares around us.

Our lives are meaningless unless someone else believes it was worth something too.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tales

Every week, or as close to that as I can manage, I will be posting a short story, or a part of one at the least.  The point of this is to keep me writing constantly.  In November, I will be busy with National Novel Writing Month, so I'll not need it then, but for now Tuesdays are officially Taledays.  I welcome any and all to participate in the Tuesday Tales exercise, post a comment with a link to the story (be it on a blog, forum, or what have you).  For this Tuesday, I'll be posting the full first chapter of Nightmares in the Past, a fanfiction based in the Star Wars universe several thousand years before the "Clone Wars", and what you might commonly think of when you hear the words Star Wars.

This tale is focused on Kian Shekk, at the time a seven year old boy.  Innocent, naive, and the rest you'll see.
(I've divided it into two parts so that, if you've read the first part already, you can easily skip to the second.)

Part 1, Chapter 1.

Kian giggled and raced after the darting girl.  The green and tan walls around blurred past into a splash of color, sweat beaded on his forehead and he struggled for breath.  But he wouldn’t stop.  He wouldn’t let a girl beat him - least of all Kim.
       His youthful scream echoed down the hall as Kian struggled to gain ground on his playmate.  Kim was sly and swift, while Kian much taller and thicker, yet still the frame of a seven-year-old.  Around sharp corners and narrow passageways they dashed - startling the troubled old Jedi pondering around the halls as they flew past.
       But it wouldn’t last - not with Kian’s reputation on the line!  He bit his lip and surged forward, bringing to mind his father’s often repeated words.  Use the Force, Kian, use the Force.  He reached deep within, ignoring the physical exertion of the moment.  He fumbled for the inner feeling - then suddenly his body sprang to life with new vigor.  His feet hardly touched the floor as he shot ahead, cutting corners close and making quick work of long halls and steep stairs.
       Kim shrieked, just as Kian leapt forward and tackled her to the ground.
       “Aha!”  He laughed, a pompous grin spreading over his childish face as he rolled off of Kim.  “I gotcha!”
       Kim pushed Kian further with a mock frown.  “Cheater,” she murmured, yet couldn’t contain the giggles rising up within herself.
       Kian shook his head, suddenly solemn.  “Nuttuh!  I won-ed fairly-and-squarely!”
       Kim opened her mouth to protest - but only a squeak came out, and she froze like a rock.  She quickly lifted herself off the ground, dusting her robes, and straightened, her face a mask of complete soberness.
       Kian scrambled to his feet as well, for though he had not seen what caused the change of attitude in his friend, he knew immediately the only Jedi that could put a happy girl to shame without a single word uttered.  Kian hung his head as he stood perfectly straight before the glaring eyes above.
       “Sorry, Master Djo,” Kian and Kim echoed.
       Kian didn’t dare raise his head, but out of the corner of his eye he could see Kim had.  She was staring straight up at the old Jedi.  Kian shivered.  He wouldn’t dare do that - Djo-im’s eyes were like bonfires, they raged uncontrollably, they scorched hearts and happiness alike.  Strict as the saber, the middle-aged Jedi was a stubborn, bold man - already on the Council as a Master.  Even Younglings knew Djo - they knew who he was, and who he wasn’t.  He wasn’t a kind, loving Jedi.  He was a master of war.  He wasn’t a man to be questioned by anyone but another Master on the Council - or Kian’s father.  He was an aggressive soldier - he was dangerous.  But not brute force alone.  Though strict to the Order, even Younglings knew Djo - they knew he reeked with danger.  He never shirked anything in war, possibly even to the extent of using the Dark Side . . .  But was it true?  A common rumor, yes, but he couldn’t be trusted if-
       Kian was wrenched out of his thoughts as Djo stepped forward, and, with the tips of his fingers, raised Kian’s chin.  “Kian,” his teeth snapped as he inspected the Youngling with his harsh voice and harsher eyes.  “Kian and Kim, go to your clan house immediately.  Do you know what could have happened if you were caught out here when the blast doors sealed?  The Sith are coming!”
       Kian and Kim’s eyes met worriedly.  Sith? their minds echoed in unison.
       Djo pushed the Younglings down the hall towards their clan house.  “The Sith, you hear?!  Move, move, move!”
       “Yes, Master Djo-im!” they murmured, already racing as fast as their weary feet could take them.  They exchanged fearful glances all the way back.  Something deep was amiss.
       At the clan house blast door, Kian’s father stood with shoulders thrown back and a powerful gaze extending over the room, dotted with other Jedi.  He smiled at his son and Kim as they came nearer.  He kneeled and patted their shoulders.  “There’re the rascals!  Now get inside quickly.”  His eyes fell upon Kian, and the blue fire in them seemed to sink to a dull grey.  “When in times of trouble, use the Force, Kian, use the Force.”
       Kian’s lips parted slightly, before his father slapped him on the shoulder reassuringly once more and disappeared into the midst of a group of other Jedi.  He stared after his father a moment longer.  Kim hesitated, but grabbed hold of Kian in a moment and pulled him inside the clan house room.  She didn’t notice his childish face creased with worry.

Part 2, Chapter 1.

A rumble, in the distance, yet so close.  Shots echoed far away, yet so near.  Kian shivered and huddled up against Master Kaleeth’s side.  What was happening out there, beyond those silver-blue blast doors?  The Sith were coming - the Sith.  Cruel, evil men, shrouded in darkness.  They were mysteries.  The Lightside showed, the Darkside hid.  Even old Master Ora said that.
       Another youngling whimpered, the old Master Kaleeth hugged the boy tight, shushing him comfortingly.  Kian glanced around the room.  Fear was rife in all of them, even Kian’s young seven year old eyes could see that.  All, that is, but in Kim.  She stood defiantly at the blastdoors, hands on her hips and a chin raised determinedly.
       Throwing back his shoulders and setting his jaw, Kian wobbled over to his friend at the doors.  They mutually stared at them for a moment, before Kian finally turned.  “What’s happening out there?”  His young voice was shaky and unsettled.
       Kim continued to stare forward.  “My cousin is out there.”
       “Padawan Ina?” Kian asked, looking at the doors with worry.
        Kim nodded.  “What if . . . what if something happened to her?”
        Kian’s eyes widened.  “Do you mean, like . . .?”  Death wasn’t a subject the Masters taught younglings.  But in times of war, it was always there.  It hung above, always there, always.
        Kim’s lower lip trembled.  Kian glanced over to her, and saw something in her big blue eyes.
        “We have to do something.”  She turned to him, staring hard.  His little understanding of the world was enough though - he could see a drastic flame in her eyes leap to life.
       “You mean, go out there?  D’you think that would be fun?” Kian asked.
       Kim crossed her arms, rearranging the youngling training lightsaber at her side.  “It’s not a question of fun or not fun.”
       “It isn’t?” Kian asked.  “Why would we go out there then?”  He glanced down at his own practice saber, his brow scrunching.
       Kim turned away from the doors.  “Because something bad is going on.  I once heard of an evil Sithman who destroyed an entire world with the squeeze of his hand while he was in a cockpit in space.”
      Kian gasped and glanced around the room feverishly.  “What?  Nuttuh!  No way!  Who was that guy?”  Was that true?  How could it be?
       “Darth Ohmy,” Kim replied with a fierce curve in her brow.
      “You mean Darth Yomar?”  Kian scratched his forehead.  “He didn’t crush a planet, I heard he just threw an asteroid into the capital city.”
       Kim made a throaty growl, but dismissed the subject.  Grabbing him by the hand, Kim then rushed into a hallway of the clan house that led into a circular room, one of the sleeping stations branching off that of the main clan house area.  It was the girl’s bedding room, lined with dozens of cots, dressers, mirrors, and some other necessities.  Kim glanced back to the main room, where the majority of younglings crowded around Kaleeth, who continued to comfort the children unbeknownst of Kian and Kim.
       Kim turned back, ran to a dresser, and started pulling it away from the wall.  Kian ran over to her.  “What’re you doing?”
       Kim pulled  a moment longer, before letting go of it and pointing behind the dresser, struggling to reclaim her breath.  “If you’d just help me, we could get to the vendilnation thing.”
       “It’s not called the vendilnation!” screeched Kian.  “I heard Ina say it was called the ventul-ation.”
       “My cousin isn’t dumb enough to call it that!” cried Kim.
       Kian gasped.  “Are you callin’ me dumb?!”
       “What?!” Kim cried.  “Why’d you think I did?  You’re my friend, I wouldn’t ever call you that.”
       “Because, well . . .”  Kian cocked his eyebrow and tilted his head.
       Kim growled and grabbed him by the shoulder, then rushed behind the dresser and ducked under the low rim of the ventilation pipe.
        Kian giggled and squirmed with excitement.  “Just like in the good stories!”  He followed after Kim, falling to all fours as he entered the super secret passageway - of sorts.
        They continued further in until Kim decided that they were a good distance away from the clan house.  She pushed another grate out of the way and they stumbled out of the pipe.
        Kian sneezed as he stood upright, dust flying all about the room.  He sniffled, then look at his dimly lit surroundings.  “A storage room?” he questioned.
        Kim wouldn’t waste any time though, and she opened the door, letting in a stream of light into a hallway.  “C’mon!” she yelled, surging out already, Kian following.  After a few minutes of steady running, Kian grasped at his side and leaned up against the wall, struggling for breath.  “We needa . . . break.”
       Kim glanced down the hallway again eagerly, but then sighed and came to a stop.  “You needa break.”
        Kian’s eyes went wide.   “Nuttuh!  You’re just as tired as-”
        Suddenly, they both froze.
        A shriek, faint and a long distance away - but it was still the distinct cry of a man in pain, in death.
         “Wh-what w-was that?” a sharp feeling of hurt - of fear - rose up in Kian.  Whoever that was out there was dying.  It was a stagnant ache in the air.  Another scream.  Closer to death now.  Kian’s heart throbbed, he edged closer to Kim and hugged himself.
        Kim’s eyes darted about the hallway and she grasped the training lightsaber at her side.
       The two huddled against each other, their fearful eyes peering down the hall.
       Metallic footsteps.  The far off hum of a lightsaber.
       Kian’s heart leapt and he choked as he attempted to swallow.  His hand shook as he grasped onto his own small training saber.
       A second saber hummed to life and within seconds the two clashed.
       Kian glanced around the hall for the source - but to no avail.  What was happening out there?  Where was it?  Somewhere near, there was no doubt of that.
       Another ghostly scream as a lightsaber muffled under a cover of flesh.
       A Sith and a Jedi.  They had battled, that was clear to Kian.  But who had won?  Who had fallen?
       The boots began again - but this time, over a slick surface.
       Slowly, both Kian’s and Kim’s eyes were drawn towards one end of the hall, ending at a sharp corner.  A heavy shadow fell upon the wall.
        The two younglings backed against each other further, falling to a huddle of a ball on the floor, staring at the massive, jagged shadow.  The hum of a saber grew stronger.  Around the corner a shape came into view - first a bulking mass of fur and steel, and then a blue lightsaber - a blue, cold saber.  The fear had not relieved itself from the children before a blood red saber appeared at its side.  A full man stepped into the light.
       “Ah, children,” came a stony voice from cracked, pale lips.
       Kian lifted his head involuntarily until the man’s heavy eyes fell upon them like a boulder.  “How typical of Jedi.  Come here my wee bits - feel the power of the Sith.  Embrace your fate.”
        Something overcame Kian like a tidal wave.  A force that emanated from the Sith.  Strength, power, superiority - it was all there, right before him.

~R. A. H. Thacker

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Liebster Award

I've been tagged by Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) for the Liebster Award over on her blog here!

To accept this award, I have to:
-Link back to the blogger who tagged me.
-Answer the ten questions she gives me.
-Nominate ten others and ask them ten questions.
-Let those nominees know they were tagged.

1. What are the last five books you read?

That's a hard question, seeing as I don't read as much as I'd like to.  The Bellmaker, by Brian Jacques, and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.  (Read it, trust me.  It's nothing like the cartoon.  Much better than the movie.) . . . um . . . that's all I can think of.

2. What are the next five books you hope to read?

Taggerung by Brian Jacques, finish Martin the Warrior, by Brian Jacques, and The Bible, by God. ;)

3. What do you think of when you hear the word "epic"?

I think of the overused word today's society has so much abused!  I try to use the word only when speaking of the great epics of viking voyages, or something along that line.

4. Surprise! You've been offered a month-long, all-expenses-paid vacation to anywhere you like, real or otherwise. Where do you go?

Really?  That's epic!  Er...
I'd go to the Shire, in Middle-Earth, and explore other places such as Gondor, Arnor, and more one place I would make sure not to forget is Amon SĂșl, or Weathertop.

5. What are you listening to right now?

As in music?  Nothing, at the moment.  Oh, wait, I'm listening to the refrigerator, myself typing, the cars going past, and the little hum of the laptop fan.

6. You wake up and find yourself in a room with the hero and main villain of whatever book you're writing (or reading, if you're not writing something at the moment). There are no doors or windows that you can see, and the hero and villain both know you're their author. What happens next?

My villain, the druid Derval, wouldn't care, but my main character, Drustan, likely would.  He'd still probably go after Derval first, but if he was able to subdue him and I was still trapped, he'd go after me.  Not because we hate each other, more along the lines of my hero wanting to be the only one to capture his author.  But I'd probably write myself out before he could get at me.  (My hero sounds pretty antagonistic, doesn't he?)

7. Of the movies you've seen in the last few months, which one was your favorite?

Toy Story.  And then Toy Story 3.  And Brave, which was a good movie.  Oh, oh, oh!  And The Lorax, which was probably my favorite.  But I can't think of any others.  I'm going to watch Aristocats soon too.

8. Pie or cake?

Pie, all the way. (Unless we're talking about Peach Cake.)

9. Who's your all-time favorite fictional villain?

Very good question, seeing as I like villains.  (That sounded weird...)  I'm going to have to say... it's a three way tie between The Joker from The Dark Knight, Lots O' from Toy Story 3, and Badrang from Martin the Warrior.  (Sorry Cluny, you're just not quite up to Badbottom's standards.  I hope you understand.)

10. Name your top five favorite songs from movie soundtracks.

Songs?  Well, I don't really listen to a lot of musicals that much, but I like "Hakuna Matata," (from the Lion King) "Gospel," (from Monster's University), "Be Prepared," (also from the Lion King), "Portebello Road," (from Bedknobs and Broomsticks).  But the fifth one, the fifth one is the best.  Currently, my favorite song is would definitely have to be "How Bad Can It Be?" From the Lorax, though I'm not sure that's the title.  That is an awesome song.

~R. A. H. Thacker

P.S.  I don't have anyone to tag.