Some thoughts on Spring creativity

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We are in mid to late Spring now, but I thought I’d share a couple thoughts I had about what this season is about.

This time of year brings new flowers and with it new ideas and modalities to life. While some see New Years as a starting point, Spring is also an excellent period to begin fresh or check on how the year has progressed. The days are longer and the weather nicer; this makes for ideal productivity and outdoor activities.

“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”

– a quote by Lewis Grizzard
That said, I’ve developed a few pointers that have helped with my reading/writing life, even while outdoors enjoying the sun:

  1. Take a small notepad and pencil with you, not a smartphone as that will distract you. When ideas arise (which they will) jot them down on paper for later consideration.
  2. If your book/script is your own, don’t feel afraid to make notations or underlines where you deem appropriate. This too can be a medium to incorporate ideas. Reading while outside is an ideal way to enjoy a book, especially when it engrosses you in a quiet and relaxing environment.
  3. Engross yourself in nature’s splendor. Allow the river to whisper its secrets in your ear.  Ground your fears in the bare rock of the Earth. Hear the beautiful inspiration on the wind. Absorb the sun’s intelligent rays. Be mindful of the present beauty around you and the future will magnify your productivity. A scientific study suggested that four days out in nature without electronics improved overall creativity by 50%.
  4. Practice light to moderate exercise (like a brisk walk) through a park or trail. This practice boosts creativity. Other types of exercise such as yoga also show promising results.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all a happy remainder of Spring. Much love and gratitude to my readers. ❤

 

 

 

How long should a book be?

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You’ve probably read other articles like this before, but here’s my take on it.

Although there is no fixed word amount, there are generally recognized guidelines depending on their genre and audience. Younger audiences have smaller attention spans and therefore cater to short, fast-paced books; adults are more tolerable with long manuscripts. Science fiction and fantasy works tend toward a high word count since the writer develops a fictional world. Historical fiction, Young Adult, Westerners, and Mysteries tend towards a lower end of the spectrum–of course, there are always exceptions.

Keep in mind these are generalized word count brackets.

General Book Types:

  • Flash Fiction: 300 to 1,500 words
  • Short Story: 1,500 to 30,000
  • Novellas: 30,000 to 50,000
  • Novels: 50,000 to 100,000

Fiction Genres:

  • Romance: 40,000 to 100,000 words
  • Mystery/Thriller/Horror: 70,000 to 90,000
  • Horror: 80,000 to 100,000
  • Historical: 90,000 to 100,000
  • Sci-fi/Fanasty: 90,000 to 130,000

Age Groups:

  • Poetry: 5 to 3k
  • Picture Book: 400 to 800
  • Play: 1k to 32k
  • Middle Grade: 25k to 40k
  • Young Adult: 50k to 80k

Ultimately, these listings are a guide, not necessarily a strict rulebook. You can have your long epic fantasy and do well with it. However, for new writers, it is best to start small and work your way up.  Once one’s legacy is built, agents and publishers can reference this track record. This increases the chance it gets published regardless of word count or even prose finesse (if you have enough avid fans who will buy the book, publishers will overlook certain shortcomings, since they know the books will rake in profits regardless).

Another thing to remember is: quantity alone does not a good book makeYou have to earn your manuscript, one word at a time. If a document is 150,000 words long but fills its pages with redundant vocabulary, it won’t read well. Adverbs and excessive prose often slog writing; an attempt by the writer to look professional. As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the word/phrase is, the better. The simpler a manuscript is, the more people can read it, and the more can enjoy it.

Each word in a manuscript should contribute to the book in at least one of the following ways:

  1. Character progression
  2. Plot development
  3. Environmental immersion

There are exceptions, but if you find a word that doesn’t fit one of these criteria, it can usually be removed. You don’t want to be overly descriptive either. Half of the fun comes from the reader’s imagination; give half and let the reader form the rest. This stimulates the reader’s mind, bringing with it a sense of fulfillment. Remember, a book is as much of a journey for the writer as it is for the reader.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

 

 

 

The Mother’s Legacy  

 

Gaia, the hostess of our time, cries to human hearts.

Her song is melodic, proving beyond the sum of its parts.

 

All must hear Her tale.

Ere human destiny proves to fail.

 

Lest in epicurean greed we raze Her body to ash.

And naught may be left but cinder and our cash.

 

Ere the sons and daughters of man wake up.

With naught of Her fertile gifts left to sup.

 

The day does approach when Her wisdom may be lost.

A dire quest forms, with it this terrible cost.

 

The path forward obscures with pain.

For we all must unite what little does remain.

 

Hear Her song now and again.

Close the eyes and frolic in Her den.

 

Feel Her caress and the noise of the leaves.

Know not sorrow or the pain that may bereave.

 

Travel along Her mighty shores, woodlands, and valleys.

Consider this strength woven into these legendary alleys.

 

Breathe the fresh air of renewal, and remove the soles.

Enter a state of clarity, one that we all may extol.

 

Gaia, the hostess of our time, speaks to us all.

Late comes the hour, without Her, we shall fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tarie Beyworth, my OC: the elfin spiritual path

whitecleric

Tarie Beyworth is a secondary protagonist in Ethereal Seals. He is a short blond youth in his early twenties. As an orphan of a church, Tarie is schooled in the ways of the mind and soul, rather than the body. He is a meek and genial person who supports the main heroine, Pepper Slyhart. Other than his timid nature, his greatest obstacle is acknowledging his dark past and his late parents, though he has yet to forgive and forget his sorrow.

Through the contrasting attributes of Pepper, Tarie accrues wisdom and inner strength. Pepper’s emotional and fierce mien challenges Tarie, invoking his faint childhood memories and spurring growth to his character. The two transition from friends to lovers and the stakes rise higher. Tarie weighs his confined life in the abbey against Pepper, now unsure of his traditional complacencies. Friction develops between home and his love, and Tarie arrives at a crossroads, unable to choose both his adopted family and Pepper.

Tarie comes to a startling realization about the main antagonist and his dead family.  Like Pepper, he inherits a family artifact, which scales in power relative to his ability to accept and forgive himself. His worldview twists around, and he faces the residue inner demons that plague him. Tarie regards Pepper more than a friend and his lover but like his twin soul, destined to help Atlas recover from its morbid age of decay. After traveling with the redhead, Tarie unexpectedly and uncontrollably parts ways with her, facing his own quest and aiding Pepper from afar. He matures into an independent youth later, with his heart forged and renewed, destined to reunite with his love and end the madness on Atlas.

 

Thank you for reading this short reflective essay! I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂


Have a comment or question? Leave it in the feedback section below, thanks.

 

 

I have blogger’s block

For the last few weeks, I’ve been stumped on what to write with this blog. I can’t explain why, but nothing much comes to mind. I’ve checked online for advice, but I still get nothing. I am an amateur blogger just starting the business; that said, I wanted to take a moment to interface with my viewers.

How do you see this blog coming along? What would you like in future posts?

I had plans to incorporate more health and spiritual oriented articles in addition to my writing themed ones. How does this jive with you all? Any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks. xoxo

 

Dreams of the Scarlet Swordswoman #4

A red-haired girl lay in a field of flowers. She admired the crimson and blue on the delicate blossoms. The girl sighed at their sweet scent and plucked one of the plants, but noticed its petals now decayed. A foul black mist swirled around the flower, reaching for the girl. She threw it away. To her horror, the entire field twisted into black serpents. Their sharp fangs snapped at the terrified redhead.

She stood as a small girl with jade twin tails pressed against her back. Then appeared a bear with a scar over one eye; there was gray in his grizzled fur. The emerald lass clashed with the encroaching serpents using sharp daggers for arms, her long white and jagged skirt dancing like blades around the misshapen flower field.

“Master, we will protect you,” the jade lass said. The bear roared in agreement and savaged several of the serpents with tooth and claw.

The redhead nodded, cringing behind the defenders. She flushed at her own vulnerability, and her eyes darted over the horde of demonic snakes. Dozens of black serpents lay at their feet, but their caresses vanished into puffs of smoke, only to spawn more. For every one they destroyed, two appeared. The redhead bit her lip until it bled, the liquid forming a snake of its own. She swatted it away, staring at her own body and shaking her head.

She looked up at the overcast sky and noticed a star piercing through the dark heavens. The snakes hissed with irritation and drew back. The brilliance touched down near the girl, its shape akin to a robed cleric. The radiance blinded the shrieking serpents, driving them further back into the shadows with the jade girl and the bear. The golden figure stood before the redhead, his hand outstretched. Her heart leaped with excitement, and she clasped their palms together.

“Pepper, please wake up,” he said.

“I am awake.”

“No, this is the astral realm, where your dreams and nightmares become a reality. Please, wake up, everyone is worried.”

“I will try. But, it’s so hard!”

“Keep trying.”

“I see it now,” the girl cried.

She raised her clenched fist. Green tendrils shot from the girl. The black snakes evaporated to mist. The earth trembled and the skies sundered. The symphony of battle faded, and all turned to glass. 

On Pepper Slyhart, my OC: the warrior-woman path

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Pepper Slyhart is the main protagonist of my series, Ethereal Seals. She’s a young red-haired woman in her early twenties. With her sheltered lifestyle, Pepper begins as naive and short-tempered. As a farmer’s daughter, Pepper is athletic and physically capable of holding her own. She is a robust and reasonable woman who ventures into a broad world of mystery and danger. Her greatest opponents are her emotions, reflected by her draconic curse.

The warrior-woman story is one less visited. It is different and challenging because it twists the typical narrative of gender roles. I created Tarie Beyworth, her traveling companion, a secondary protagonist, and Pepper’s love interest. Instead of the man driving the story, I reversed the roles. While Pepper is emotional and insecure, Tarie is moderate and self-assured. Their polar opposites complement each other and allow both characters to grow from the other.

As the story progresses, Pepper learns more about the spiritual path from Tarie and her spiritual guides. This is symbolic of both the divine masculine with the divine feminine, going by new age terms. Pepper cultivates humility, patience, love, and gratitude as she grows. She treats her foes differently, gracing them with words of compassion and the steel of her sword if need be. 

Tarie also discovers his own inner insights, but that’s an essay for another time. 🙂

As a male author, developing Pepper on this path has been a challenge. I can safely say I know little about it, but I continuously strive to improve her and Tarie, with feedback from both men and women alike. Although I feel I should have been born a female myself, this gives me a chance to have my own children in a fictional sense, with Pepper as my daughter, but I digress.

 I hope you enjoyed this short reflective article. Thank you for reading. 🙂

Dreams of the Scarlet Swordswoman #3

A red-haired girl lay at ease, scrubbing herself with the nourishing forest water. She felt the liquid tickle at her supple hips and round breasts. A single drop caressed her navel, as soft as a lover’s kiss. She sighed long as the tension left her tired body. She glimpsed up at the rising morning stars and smiled.

Water splashed behind her. She turned to meet the newcomer. It was a blond youth, unclothed as she. He moved forward with a determined grace, as his long golden locks swung around his symmetrical body and concealed his skin. The redhead shrunk back and gaped with astonishment.

“My love,” the youth said, “I’ve longed for this moment.” He came closer. She hesitated before taking a step back. “Please, my love, join with me. My body aches for you. I would sooner die than continue my existence without.” Tears welled up in the girl’s eyes. She flung herself into his embrace. Their bodies merged as one. The redhead cried with joy, tugging at the Nymph’s body and him at hers.

“Yes, join with me,” he said, his voice now guttural and deep. The red-haired girl fell back. She stared at a twisted reflection of herself.

“You are mine,” the demented doppelganger said, “you will always be mine, dragon slave.” The evil copy cackled with delight. Teeth shone from the demon’s mouth, a river of black flame within.

The girl stumbled away from her tormentor, as a small girl in jade twintails and a pointy silvery dress appeared betwixt. The newcomer bared her hands, acute like blades.

“Master, please run!” the jade girl cried.

“You cannot protect her from me,” the evil twin said.

The redhead dashed into the woods. The laughter of the dark twin followed her. The trees mutated into grotesque forms and reached for her. Tears fell from her cheeks, forming puddles of blood that came sickeningly viscous to her bare feet. Her lungs burned and she collapsed as a chill seeped into her. The pungent stench of corruption enveloped her nostrils, threatening to infect her.

Soft hands graced her cheeks. It was the blond youth again. The young man hugged her close.

“It’s okay. I won’t let Her get you,” he said.

The redhead embraced the warmth of his slender body combat the chill, yet she pulled slightly away, afraid for the evil’s return.

The youth brought her face to his. “This is a dream. Remember who you are. Wake up, Pepper!”

Pantsing versus Plotting

Welcome back, my loyal readers! 🙂

Among writers, there exist two methods of drafting written pieces. One is more exploratory, while the other commands higher amounts of precision. These two routes are known as discovery/pantsing and plotting. Some writers begin a manuscript as a discovery piece, only to polish it with plotting later on. That said, both sides have pros and cons. Pantsing artists are like creative magicians, whereas plotters are organized mechanics. Regardless of which method chosen, either technique leads to a successful piece with proper dedication.

 

magician

Pantsing, the magician

Also known as discovery writing, pantsing authors enjoy greater freedom and flexibility. This technique is ad lib by nature, requiring little to no planning of a given piece beforehand. Pantsing is arguably fun and draws from an author’s imagination. Producing initial drafts with the pantsing method is quick and smooth at the cost of refinement and coherence. If you find yourself a discovery writer, flow with it and don’t worry too much about the precision of your prose in the initial incarnations.

nitori

Plotting, the mechanic

Plotting authors take time to outline their story and characters before they long-write it. While this is time-consuming at first, it sets the organized guideposts needed to direct the novelist along the journey. Coherence elevates, and generally stronger plot and characters result. If you’re an outliner, pay attention to the brainstorming phase.  The more plotting you do initially, the more comfortable the process will be later on.

 

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Plantsing, the middle way

Regarded as a hybrid of the two, plantsing combines elements of both free creativity and loose planning to execute a written work. While it doesn’t have the wild of discovery or clearcut order of the other two methods, it mitigates the drawbacks with a semblance of balance.

 

Which method is best for me?

I honestly can’t answer that for you, since any of these techniques can work well. I find that mixing and matching plotting and pantsing works well. Regardless of what you chose, adhere to it and research how other writers implement the specific strategies for each. Plotting is more mechanical and left-brain; pantsing is more for right-brained and creative work. In the end, we’re all children to the art of writing, since there are so many ways to implement this historic art.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


 

What kind of writing do you prefer? Have you any suggestions for this article or ways I can improve my blogging? See a typo or an idea you wish to discuss? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks.

Sources

http://www.katekrake.com/forwriters/why-the-pantsing-vs-plotting-writing-process-debate-is-irrelevant/

https://allthekissing.com/2018/04/plotting-vs-pantsing-vs-plantsing/

https://shortspark.com/plotting-vs-pantsing/

Images

news.toyark.com Dark Magician from Yugioh

legion34.com Nitori Kawashiro from Touhou

pinterest.com Miscellaneous plant monster-girl

 

 

A short synopsis of Ethereal Seals

Sup everyone, thanks for stopping by to check out my content! I’ve considered my pitching cover for my book. After another revision, I may have what I feel to be a closer, more concise variant of the original. Have a look:

As the cycles pass so too does the turning of the etheric cosmic clock. Many have lapsed since a great and terrible war seized a planet called Atlas. Within this mythical land, trouble looms again within the Ethereal Seals Gate, an ancient relic designed to anchor the holy ether around the planet. 

In the modern era, political and racial tensions abound on Atlas. Heroes of old rise from their graves and ancient evils infect kingdoms. The fate of the planet rests on the edge of steel, magic, and science; yet, the legacy of a cursed young farmer’s daughter unfolds, the half-breed progeny of a war hero. 

With naught but an old sword and the will of an elderly hermit, the girl must choose which destiny she hopes to save: the planet, or her own. The doomed girl gathers a company of old friends and odd mercenaries. Together, they struggle against the growing perils of Atlas, a reflection of their own inner turmoil. Facing foes of battle and romance alike, the girl discovers what it truly means to be a bastard knight of Atlas.

I may have to shorten it for more conciseness, but this definitely comes as an improvement to the original. Thanks for reading! 🙂