Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

The Field


03 Feb

The two men glared at each other, their gazes level, their eyes narrowed. There was no telltale twitch of the finger or slight of hand, there was only the opponent each faced. Each man was convinced he was right, convinced that his way was the only way. Each held his weapon steady, no sign of hesitation or wince of apprehension. Neither jumped when the guns went off. No one cried when the two bodies hit the ground. Empty eyes stared into the distance, echoes of smiles on their lips. Both were certain, even to death, that they had won. Both had died for what they believed in.

In the empty field atop the bloodstained grass, what did it matter which side they were on? As lifeless fingers fell against the dirt, did it matter any longer who was right? What did their actions change, blank faces seemed to scream into the sky, but there was no one to hear them. There was no answer.

Looking at the scene, it could not be said, here lies a Nazi soldier and there lies an English soldier, or here lies an American and there lies a terrorist, or here lies a Democrat and there lies a Republican, or here lies a Catholic and there lies a Protestant, or here lies a free man and there lies a slave, or here lies a good man and there lies a villain. When it came down to it, there were simply two dead men, and as their blood soaked into the soil beneath vacant eyes, there was nothing to show for it. Here lies one dead man and their lies another. And still the world doesn’t change.

Ten miles away, a Jewish man holds open the door to a pub and settles down to a pint. A man comes up beside him.

“Mind if I take a seat?”

The German accent is heavy, but the Jewish man doesn’t notice. He smiles amiably and gestures to the chair beside him.

“Go on ahead.” With a quick wave of the hand, he motions the bartender over. The bartender, without so much as a glance, throws down two beers. Both men reach for their wallets, but the German man just smiles.

“I’ve got this one, but the next is on you, friend.”

As if they had known each other for years, the two men enjoy a comfortable silence as they sipped their drinks, sometimes exchanging a few words. By the end of the night, they bid each other a hearty farewell and pass on good wishes, a certain respect and camaraderie easing their steps.

In a way, by not conforming to past hatreds, the two men have changed the world.

Down the road, an elderly  Protestant  woman is gathering her money for tithe, stalling until the moment she’ll have to labor her way up the steps and into the church, when someone bumps into her from behind. The single action sends her purse sprawling, the contents  littering the steps of the church behind her. The man who bumped into her is blushing furiously and stammering out an apology.

“I didn’t see you there! I’m so sorry!” He hastened to help her gather her belongings. When they were done, he stepped to the side and opened the door for her, helping her up the steps and into the church.

The woman thanks him profusely, and he apologizes once more before going on his way. A few minutes later, rosary at hand, he enters his own church and settles down to pray.

A few blocks away, the woman is entrenched in her own prayers, thanking God for the young man who helped her make her way into the church.

In a way, by not conforming to the enmity of the past, these two people have changed the world.

In the grocery store, a Christian man holds the door for a Muslim woman.

In a parking lot, the Hispanic man waves at the African American man as he passes by, letting the other man through.

In a school yard, a little boy in his pristine uniform with his polished shoes kneels on the ground to help a little girl in her only ragged uniform up off the ground from where she fell. He doesn’t seem to notice that while he has so much, she has so little. All he sees is that she needs help, and he offers her his chubby hand, his face plastered in a grin that shows the gap where his two front teeth used to be.

These people change the world. It is their kindness that makes a difference. We are all humans. We all fall down sometimes, whether black or white, rich or poor, Muslim or Catholic. It is not our ancestors feuds that make us, it is our ability to rise past them.

As the two men lie dead in the dirt, who was right?

The men in the pub. The man and the woman outside the church. The people in the grocery story. The men in the parking lot. The children on the playground. That is right.

As the two men lay dead in the dirt, we are all struck by the tragedy. Like a reoccurring nightmare, history has been caught in a loop. As the two men lie dead in the dirt, we know that things must change.

The two men glared at each other, their gazes level, their eyes narrowed. There was no telltale twitch of the finger or slight of hand, there was only the opponent each faced. Each man was convinced he was right, convinced that his way was the only way. Each held his weapon steady, no sign of hesitation or wince of apprehension. They lay down their cards.

“Two aces, I win!”

The other man concedes with a sigh.

“Up for another round?”

Somewhere in the world is an empty field where no men lie dead. Instead, there are two houses, both very different from each other, but inside each is a happy family and a loving wife who cooks dinner or reads a book while she waits for her husband to come home from his poker game. There is love in the patient glances towards the door. There are smiles as the woman cooking gently reminds her children that she is the only one who should be “stirring the pot.” When a knock echoes at the door, joyous cries will answer and there will be hugs and “how was your day, honey”‘s and warm, soft smiles.

Somewhere in the world, a field lies empty, and that is what is right.

Vampires, Aliens, Werewolves, Zombies, and Other Avoidables


03 Sep

Cliché Alerts…

Vampires, Aliens, Zombies, Werewolves, and other Avoidables:

First off, topic of the morning, Vampires. What to do, and what not to do unless your life goal is to be the social outcast of the writing world is here, so read on.

If your writing has to do with vampires, my advice is this: avoid the classic ‘trying to save the people I love from myself’ point of view. It is way to overused recently. I’d rather read about an arrogant blood-sucking monster than read another freakishly handsome boy saying “I love you, but I want to protect you from me, so I’m going to dump you, and leave you heartbroken, after which you’ll do something desperate and hopeless, and I’ll have to save you, during which time we’ll decide our love is worth the risk.” So go classic or try for something that is not cliche. Vampires were a legend created to be scary. They were the boogeymen in the closet. Now, they’re the images on children’s t-shirts and birthday cakes, they come on sheets and full body pillows, and they are WAY overused.

Aliens. What do you picture? Great, now the image that comes into your head has to come from somewhere, everything in the imagination is limited to pieced together concepts you have already seen, so take that image that pops into your head… and trash it. What society has seen, they do not need to see again. What people will remember is something unique. Would a Toyota Camry catch your eye better than a cherry red 73 Mustang convertible?

Werewolves. Sure its cliche sometimes, but there’s tons of leeway for this one. What’s more important than the creature itself  (how many ways can you say hairy in the English language?) is the plot and the supporting characters. A good werewolf story- or a vampire story for that matter- is never just about the werewolves.

Zombies: fun but gory. Takes effort to give it a deep side though. Have fun. Too much advice will limit you too much. Zombies require you to be unique, so brainstorm. You’ll think of something. However, like werewolves, zombies need support. Two hundred pages of brain-eating gets tiring.

Vote For Me!


03 Sep

I’m not actually running for anything, but I’m having a vote on the name of my new book. the choices are:

Fate


Star Crossed


Temper


I will be putting up a post soon about the story itself to give you a better idea of what you’re voting on.

Pen Names:


01 Jan

     First off, you need to know that pen names aren’t always necessary. When, as an author, you use a pen name, it should be for a valid reason. Part of the reason for this is that if you use a different name than your own, there can be more rights debates regarding your work and you loose the automatic fans and interest generated towards your work by the people you already know. If you do have a reason to use a pen name, however, the following guidelines can help you while creating one:

1. It is often better to present yourself with either a male-sounding name (statistics show that often books are sold better when written by a male author), with an ambiguous sounding name (ex: Alex), or with a striking name that will make your book stand out (ex: Lemony Snicket)

2. Don’t choose a name commonly found among authors. You don’t want to get lost in the masses.

3. Its often good to use a common name with peculiar spelling, but not something that people won’t remember, like the difference between Sara and Sarah or Dannie and Danny.

4. Think about it. Don’t just choose a name at random. Choose a name with meaning, that you can associate with yourself.

5. Relate the name to your own somehow.

Good luck, and have fun coming up with your own pseudonym.

The Rights and Wrongs of Killing off Your Characters:


23 Dec

This is a fun subject that every good writer eventually encounters: When is it ok to kill off your characters, and what is ok when killing him off? Here is a guide to all of the literal literary pitfalls and traps you’ll encounter when trying to kill one of your characters.

Tip 1

The main character normally does not die, or if he does, he comes back. Sometimes you can get rid of the persistent person for good, but normally only because he’s “gone to a happier place.” Got it. So avoid releasing your homicidal urges on the main character and try for the minor characters or supporting leads.

Tip 2

If your story involves a complicated love-triangle, don’t just kill off everyone who doesn’t fit into your desired romance, keep an ace up your sleeve for these situations: a charming person  to even out the story’s romantic interests.

Tip 3

When you kill off a character, don’t expect the reader to care much unless:

a. the victim was very close to the main character

b. the victim’s death was essential to the plot

c. the victim was an important supporting lead

d. the victim had been/would be discussed a lot during the rest of the story’s duration

e. the victim was close to a supporting role to the point that their death would define the character in some way

f. the victim’s death leads up to something

If none of these apply, its safe to say that it doesn’t matter that you’re killing off the character, and their death is an unnecessary inconvenience that does not require the elaboration of being expounded upon. In other words, don’t bother.

However, if any of these do apply, you may feel free to do whatever killing you feel is required.

How to Develop Your Characters


20 Dec

One of the most important things you have to learn as a

writer is how to develop your characters, meaning how

to take a story with generic “taking up page space”

characters and make them seem like people. You know

your story is successful when people who read it don’t

forget even the minor character’s names. So, to get you

to that point as a writer, here are some tips:

1. Have each name be distinct. If you have trouble with this, try starting each name with a different letter, and don’t have all of them begin with vowels or all of them begin with consonants.


2. Give each character a point-of-focus (one character might be specifically a bully, so have what they do revolve around that. If they’re ever in an uncommon situation where something besides the normal is expected of them, make them seem awkward or afraid.)


3. Always know more about the character than you tell. Feel free to write it down. You should know everything, from what their favorite food is to their worst fear. Believe me, it will come in handy later.


4. Don’t give people to many characters at once, and if they’re not important, don’t feel the need to expound upon them. We don’t want to hear the life story of Billy Bob Joe the Janitor of the building across the street from the one the main character walked past two years before… (no mother’s-uncle’s-cousin’s-boss’s-daughter-in-law-twice removed stuff)


5. Have a comic relief character, one whose actions will bring amusement to the story.


6. Have the main character experience some sort of realization.


7. It’s okay for the main character not to be perfect. Even in real life we’re not all Chuck Norris’s, worshiped by the ground we walk on and able (according to popular legend) to do pretty much every scientifically impossible action known thus far to man, and several that aren’t. Not even Chuck Norris has as much power as some people like to represent him with, so don’t think that for some reason your main character should be perfect. Even in romance novels perfect characters never turn out well.


8. Give your character some distinct and recognizable feature. If I say lightning shaped scar and circular wire rimmed glasses, you say Harry Potter.

More character development tips are to come in a later, updated  installment. For now, enjoy your writing and keep a lookout for Part Two.

Nightrise: The Release


10 Dec

Nightrise Part 1 is to be released on Dec. 18th! Prepare for the wonder of a whole new fantasy world in science fiction!

Writer’s Block


09 Aug

How to Cure It:

  There are as many ways to cure writer’s block as there are possible reasons why you have it. Most commonly it’s because you can’t think of what could happen next, but there are many other reasons why you might have it. If you have it, you may be finding that what you normally do to solve your problem isn’t working. Luckily for you, there are tons of other ways to solve your problem. Below is a list of cures for writer’s block. They’re not guaranteed, but chances are, one of them will work for you like they’ve worked for me and the other writers I know.

  • Break your routine: if there’s a pattern to how you normally write, for example if you always write at your desk in the morning, switch it up.

 

  • Live a little: A boring life makes for boring writing, try something new, do something crazy.

 

  • One thing I’ve tried that’s easy to use and helpful is something like Wreck This Journal, a journal made to be destroyed. It’s something out of the ordinary to try. One of the main points of this cure and many of the others is to introduce creativity. This, I have found, is normally the best thing to do for a case of writer’s bock.

 

  • Do something you haven’t done since you were little. Memories will create emotions, which will inspire you in your own writing.

 

  • Create a story behind the next person or everyday object you see. For example, on the train in the beginning of the book Silverfin there is a part where a character is watching his fellow passengers and making up stories for each of them (the man in the corner with the briefcase robbed a bank and is escaping with the money). It may seem strange, but it helps you with your creativity.

 

  • Alternate Reading Material- If you normally read a certain type of book, try something new, it is surprising how such a little change can make such a big difference in your own writing. 

 

  • If you have writer’s block regarding a particular story, don’t add on to it without inspiration. Edit it. Go back and remove a little until you have changed it enough that you can make the plot run down a different path. If it doesn’t work, you can always change it back.

 

 

RA Spyder:The Official Site

"Through Me Good Will Prevail."