Free Fiction: Uploaded on the 4th of July

I was sorely tempted to post this last week and delay the ending of Onesong by one week, but I figured I might have readers coming at me with hatchets if I did that. **grin**

I have enough adventures like that already!

I am kind of disappointed that I couldn’t post this on the 4th of July, but it’s not a very happy story, so I thought it might be best if I wait anyway.

This is a story I wrote last year. My reader sent my comments back, but I honestly don’t think I’ve incorporated them into the story yet, so you’re seeing this pretty much just as my reader did. Nothing about this story here is final. This story kind of got lost in the events of last July — I’d really thought it would be my July 2018 release. But, yeah, llama face.

Obviously I’m still tired and words are not my thing right now.

I thought you might all like a short break before I start something else. I really did like running with a novel. We shall see what strikes my fancy for next week, but for now, a short story.

Enjoy!

cover for blog

Uploaded on the 4th of July

by Dawn Blair

Continue reading

Blog about nothing

Yes, that’s right. I have no idea what to talk about today. So this will be a blog about nothing.

One might think that you’d stop reading already, but you haven’t. You’re as addicted to the word, to the story, as I am. You want to see what comes next.

Nothing.

Or is that just the beat before suspense comes?

Was that a noise at the door? Is something creeping along outside the window?

A shadow moves.

No, wait, that’s just a tree branch swaying in the breeze beyond the window. Nothing. Nothing scary. Nothing at all.

A crash happens in another part of the house. Now that wasn’t nothing. That was definitely something. And the wind can’t knock over something inside the house, right? Maybe it was the cat.

Someone could go check. But isn’t that always when the Big Bad comes rushing out of the dark to get you?

I swear it’s nothing.

There’s no one behind the curtain.

No one spinning tales for you to enjoy.

No liar taking you on another imaginary adventure with only words. (Okay, maybe an occasional picture or comic as well.)

Certainly no one taking their ebook reader into the bathroom to read for half an hour. What? Wait! I was going to go first. So much for bedtime.

Just one last chapter, please?

Okay, I suppose you can. After all, anything is possible in a blog about nothing.

 

Drowning in the quicksand

Today I talk about how writing is like drowning in quicksand.

Yes, you heard me right. Drowning in quicksand.

And yet you have to trust the process. It is the only way you might survive.

I’ve heard it said, though never *thankfully* experienced, that if you fall into quicksand, you are not supposed to struggle for that makes you sink faster. If you can remain calm, you will actually float. That’s certainly not something I want to test out. Ever! However, I also know that things found in the physical world often replicate things in the world of the interior self. Nature is often a mirror which reflects.

So when I reflected on my writing process this weekend, I realized that it really was a lot like falling into quicksand.

For two days, I fretted and worried over what I was going to do. This scene was important. One character had just expanded up on it, blowing my plans out of the water. Oh, this was good and needed to be done. I’d been seeing visions of it in my head for a couple weeks, I just didn’t know where it would happen and I certainly didn’t expect it to be during this one scene. I have barely three weeks to get this story together! I can’t have a section where I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have to get it all together, like now!

I talked with both my boys about it. Neither had an answer for me. I thought about it. I tried to program myself to dream about it; instead I had a dream about Robert Downey Jr. coming into my day job office. (Yeah, mark that down as an epic fail, even with Robert Downey Jr. doing a cameo in my dreams. That was unexpected and I certainly didn’t get my answer. The boys and I had been planning on going to see Black Panther then next day, so I’m sure Marvel movies were somewhere in my thoughts. Hence, Iron Man.)

So, finally, I was down to my last option: I had to just work on the damn story.

It’s hard when you don’t know where to begin or where you’re going. I don’t have to (or want to) know the whole path, but I honestly had written myself into a corner. I had the one thing that had been suggested in book 1 and I had the unexpected, both in the same scene. But how was I going to fix it?

I edited the story, the part that I had dictated out. It needed transitions and adjustments. It started to pull me into the story like quicksand. I was going under. Worse, I was thrashing about trying to free myself because I didn’t know how I would succeed. Remember, my time for drafts and failures is over for this book. I don’t have time for that.

Then I slipped beneath the surface. That’s when the answer was delivered. Like a shiny gem, unexpected and beautiful. It was something that in two days of wrangling I had not thought about at all. I swear I could have slapped my head at that moment too. So bleeding obvious! Especially since in fixing another transition, I had mentioned something that will end up being some foreshadowing for this scene. I will admit that I’m only realizing how I need to go back and tweak that scene as I’m reflecting on it, but it will work out nicely.

Yes, trust the process.

In fact, this scene is telling me larger sections of the story as a whole. It really is amazing me. I wish that this part of the process wasn’t such a struggle sometimes, that is wasn’t like labor: pain, suffering, over, miracle in your arms.

Yet maybe that is what helps to humble artists. If everything came too easily, we wouldn’t appreciate it when we step back to realize that we’ve created something from nothing. We might not appreciate the stories we’ve been given to tell.

When you step into the quicksand, you must remember to be still and let yourself float. The story will save you.

Onesong – Chapter 21

One of my fears with releasing this book online chapter by chapter as I have been, is that there are spoilers to the Sacred Knight series in here.

I’m going to let you know now that because I haven’t yet released Prince of the Ruined Land, I am removing some bits of Onesong so as to not ruin the twists and turns in Prince of the Ruined Land. So far, the story threads perfectly together without these small parts, but just in case over the next few weeks there are parts that seem to jump or are rushed, that is the reason.

This is so important to me because I want to save all that information for those of you that have been loyally reading the Sacred Knight series over the years and are waiting for the answers you know are coming. Major information is revealed in Prince of the Ruined Land.

Seriously, if you haven’t been reading the Sacred Knight series, or started but haven’t finished through To Birth a Destiny (History of a Dead Man is a companion novella, but

Continue reading

Progress – November 27, 2017

I don’t really have anything to say. Thanksgiving was good. I enjoyed the time with my boys. And I got some writing done. What more needs said?

Here’s this week’s numbers.

Fiction words written last week: 8,957 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,750 words including a character sketch which feels like Loki popped his head in to narrate part of it.

Writing month to date total:  35,471 words

Writing year to date total: 351,912 words

Drawing/painting last week: Some sketching. I chided myself a lot about not working on my comics, promised myself I’d make a plan and schedule some time. Yeah, nothing got done. I know that I have to want to do it, not make it be a should do. I guess I haven’t properly figured out why I want to work on my comics and kids books, at least not enough to find the motivation to charge ahead. I do know some of it really is making time to put myself in the chair to do the work. I do need to schedule time. Once I’m started, I always enjoy myself. I have no issues with self-direction, except when it comes to my drawing. I think I have a lot of things right now which are frustrating me (and, no, I really don’t want to share).

Audio: Almost 7 hours of editing audio. See, this is one of the things I have scheduled to do in my days and it gets done. I’ll share that much.

See you on Wednesday for Onesong.

Going in depth with The Gladiator & The Guard

Because Annie Douglass Lima shares so much of other people’s work, including mine, I really wanted to do something extra to help her out. In the past, I have shared other artists with you. I want to share writers as well.

The Gladiator & The Guard

A few days ago, I shared a blog on Annie’s new book. Now, I invite you to check out her world as she herself describes it in her Realm Explorers post on her blog. While you’re there, look around and check out other great authors she has featured. Happy exploring, discovering, and reading.

 

Process of writing a story

Just wanted to remind everyone here that I have started showing the first draft of my manuscript, Dragons of Wellsdeep, on my writing blog. Even if you aren’t a writer and prefer reading fiction, the process might interest you. Hopefully you will follow me along over there.

Please let others in your circle know. There are a lot of writers out there that need to be seeing this.

Thank you!

Because Good Writing Makes Happy Readers

Last time, I wrote about how I’d found an author while I was driving down the road.

After a short search which turned up not much about her, I downloaded her Kindle sample. Was she going to be worth the $2.99 she wanted me to shell out for her book.

I couldn’t wait to look at it. I was really hopeful, regardless of what I’d already seen. I skimmed the first couple of pages. Not bad, not great either. I determined her to be a diamond in the rough and would continue reading it a bit later now that I had my immediate answer.

Seriously, I do put a number of books down after the first paragraph.

I was getting ready to be a happy reader. After I got home, I started reading it again, still ever hopeful.

That hope crashed and burned!

In came the cliche scenes, followed by the purely unbelievable. She’d made it through my initial flash analysis only to be killed by a situation she had obviously never, ever been in and could not even find a similar emotion to hook to it. I was willing to give her the cliche scenes even because I had already determined her a diamond in the rough. But when the character started thinking about things that I had no setup for and could not believe she would be thinking in this situation, I stopped. The book figuratively hit the wall.

I have read about 5 pages of her book. What do I know about this author now? I know that she wants to tell stories and probably has been doing so for a while. She’s probably had a couple good critiques, but she still feels every word she puts on paper is golden. She’s read a lot of books on writing. She knows she should be in business as a writer, but hasn’t let the rubber hit the road yet. She reads no books on business and has never taken even a free class in social media — nope, she’s too busy writing. She has not really studied how to edit beyond what she has read and believes what she is doing is correct. But re-reading for clarity is not editing. She has not learned how to create empathy for her characters or how to set up a fantasy world. She just expects the reader to be right there with her. She does not know the hero’s journey and/or how to use it properly.

Most readers will never realize this. They will just feel disappointment and will continued to believe that self-published work is a bunch of crap. Sadly, most of what’s coming out of the publishing houses and held up as good stories is also not worth the paper they are printed on.

Good writing makes happy readers.

If you believe this, come over to betterwriterblog.net where you will learn how to craft a better story. It’s just getting started over there (yes, I bought the domain name, but at least I’ve put up SOMETHING!) It’s a work in process, but I will even be putting up one of my own stories to use for illustration purposes. Use the hashtag #writingrevolution to let others know you’re serious about taking charge of your own writing. Bring others with you. I don’t want this story that I’ve shared in the last couple of blogs to happen to anyone else.