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NanoWrimo!
Nov 4th, 2017 by Coral

So I had a fun experience this year, where on October 31st I still didn’t know what I was going to do for NanoWrimo. So I just picked a story idea I had and went for it.

 

This particular story idea didn’t work out, so on day four I changed it. Today I started my new story for Nanowrimo. Here is the intro snippet:

 

“What do you see when you close your eyes?”

 

Minnie looked up at the adults with wide eyes, not sure what they meant.  What did they see when they closed their eyes, she wondered. She was sitting in the garden, her blindfold now hanging around her neck. The dirt in front of her had been moved and shifted into patterns by her small, four year old hands.

 

There were so many colors, Minnie’s gaze wandered as she watched the birds overhead, their feathers shining in the sun with a rainbow of beauty. They dove and rose with the gusts of wind, some landing to perch on the roof of the house. The leaves on the trees swayed in the same wind, dancing in between shades even as she watched.

 

“Minnie, listen,” her mother said, kneeling to look her in the eye. “What do you see when you close your eyes?”

 

Minnie smiled, looking at her mother.

 

“Everything.”

Me Too?
Oct 17th, 2017 by Coral

This is a change from what I normally post here as this is not really about writing, but the topic was important enough to me I decided to post it anyway.

Me Too. I’m sure you’ve all been seeing those words appear as statuses on your chosen social media platform, and for a reason. A tragic reason. So many women and girls have been the victims of sexual harassment and assault, as seen by all of those who posted the Me Too status.

 

But there’s something else to think about, some of us didn’t post it because we wondered if we fit the category. Wondering if it was bad enough to count, or maybe abstaining from the status because they were ashamed.

 

For me, the question was what the Me Too status is supposed to encompass. The inclusion of sexual harassment throws it into confusion for me. I have had situations in which I felt uncomfortable, and situations I felt were inappropriate and I didn’t feel safe. But did they count?

 

When I was in middle school, a boy in my homeroom class sat on my lap without any warning. When I pushed him off and told him to go back to his own desk, he said “I thought we had something in common.” I didn’t even know him, and he continued to do things like sit on my desk and hover around me for the rest of the term when we were in that class.

 

At work, I was in the break room with only men, when the conversation turned to a vulgar discussion of porn and objectification of women. I wasn’t targeted, necessarily, but I sure didn’t feel safe. I quickly switched to eating in a different building of the company completely so I could avoid having to be in that room again, because I didn’t  feel safe there. Does that count?

 

I was once around a group of guys who thought it would be funny to give me unsolicited hugs without warning, even after I asked them not to. They saw it as a joke until I informed them that the next one who touched me would get a slap to the face and reported for sexual harassment.

 

But then they stopped, so…..what’s the question here?

 

The problem wasn’t that I don’t like hugs, I hug people all the time. But in this scenario, I did not want to be hugged by them, and they were not asking, they were just doing, even when I said no.

 

My parents raised me to have the belief that my body is sacred, and my body is mine, they didn’t raise me to tolerate nonsense from boys or anyone else who thought they had a right to make decisions about my body. This includes touching me by hugging me, sitting on my lap, or any number of things more intimate than a high five, without my consent, and especially if I express that I don’t want it.

 

Part of the problem is I don’t want people to think I’m just trying to get attention, or assume I made bad decisions and got myself into a bad situation, if I post the status of Me Too. My experiences weren’t traumatic like some, but they were uncomfortable, I felt unsafe, and sometimes it took more than one warning or me removing myself completely from what should have been a safe environment in order to feel safe again.  But that’s how victims of more tragic things feel, too.

 

They don’t want to seem like they’re crying for attention, people will shame them, telling them it was their own fault.  Obviously, we all need to make good choices and try to stay safe, but if a woman is sexually assaulted, it is never her fault.  This status is not a way to get attention, it is a way to show people just how big of a problem we have in this society. Both men and women need to be educated on this, the problem needs to be addressed.

 

While I have not experienced the same tragedy as some, I do know personally many women who haven’t been as lucky as me.  It breaks my heart. Especially painful is the fact that there can be warning signs, and in many cases the warning signs will be brushed off as the girl being “too sensitive” or some other excuse if she speaks up about being uncomfortable. I know that’s how some felt about my experiences, that I was overreacting, and I’m sure some reading this will think that as well.

 

We all need to be more considerate of people, respect personal space and limits of others even if we don’t understand them. If we all tried to be more understanding, and tried to be more watchful and aware of this problem, it would decrease dramatically. Can’t we all do that?

 

Don’t we all have a sister, a mother, a friend, or a daughter that we would protect at all costs? A little awareness and speaking up could go a long way.

Write your heart out
Oct 1st, 2017 by Coral

Sometimes I hear people say something along the lines of “I wish I could be a writer, but I don’t have anything worth writing about.”

I believe everyone has something worth writing about, if they want to. Obviously, not everyone wants to write, and that’s okay. But if you want to, what’s holding you back?

Fear that no one else will want to read it, maybe, fear of rejection, fear that you won’t like it yourself. These are all legitimate fears, of course. But they shouldn’t stop you.

Everyone has a story worth writing, maybe about themselves, maybe imagined, it doesn’t matter. The thing about writing is you can write whatever you want. If you want to write something to share with the world, go for it. If you want to write something for a select few, or even just you, then do it.

If you do decide to write to share with the world, put your heart into it. Please.

This might sound scary, because of criticism you might face, but it will be worse if you don’t do it. What makes good writing good is the soul of it, and that is a part of the soul of the author. Without genuinely caring about what you write, it’s hollow and empty. Sure, some people might still enjoy it, but you will always know it could have been more, and it will never reach its true potential.

 

The saddest thing to see is a halfhearted book. This can happen for basically two reasons.

 

The first reason is that the author didn’t start out with their heart in the right place. They saw a bandwagon and jumped on, writing something that fit into the recent craze and faded right out with it. Soulless and meaningless, the book accomplishes it’s purpose of making money, or doesn’t, and is quickly forgotten.

 

This can also happen when an author has a good idea, and often the first book is very good. Then, as popularity increases, so does pressure for quick releases. This rushes the author and doesn’t allow for the true story to be told, it takes away from the potential the book used to have.  This doesn’t mean writers can just take forever, if you’re doing it for your career, you have to meet deadlines and treat it as a job. This does not mean, however, you have to accept any terms given you.  We need to evaluate our options as writers and choose an option that allows the story to be told.

 

Above all, I implore, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to write what’s in your heart and express it, share it with the world. If there is a story inside you itching to come out, it deserves to be heard.

 

Jeannie
Aug 22nd, 2017 by Coral

(This is the introductory portion to a story of mine.)

 

Veronica Jewel ran a very successful business. Though what her business was in could vary, depending on what you wanted.  To generalize it, most people simply say she can make problems go away. Problems of any kind.

Her shop was always neat and tidy, a cottage at the edge of Soffrington near the woods. It was here the young woman made her way, late one October evening, to make her plight.  She had a problem she could not solve on her own.

“Come in, my dear,” Miss Jewel invited. “What can I do for you?”

The young woman entered the shop, it held a small counter in one corner with a stone pot and Witch’s book for spell working, Miss Jewel’s regular desk, and a table with three chairs around it.  The walls were lined with shelves of Genie bottles, Miss Jewel was known for having quite the collection. Genies were one of her more useful commodities, troublesome nature spirits that had been trapped and bound in bottles. Whoever held the bottle commanded the Genie and whatever powers the Genie possessed. But this customer, Miss Jewel suspected, was not here to borrow a Genie.

The young woman took a deep breath, then looked Miss Jewel in the eye.

“I need to speak to you in private,” she said. Miss Jewel nodded, and with a snap of her fingers the door closed as did the shutters on the windows. Candles around the room ignited to give them light.  Miss Jewel pulled up a chair and gestured for the woman to sit, which she did.

“So, you are having a problem,” Miss Jewel said, inviting the girl to explain.   The girl began recounting a series of events, beginning when a recent trading caravan had come through town. She put her hand on her stomach, and Miss Jewel knew what her problem was.  Yet unmarried, a child would ruin her prospects. She placed a pouch of coins on the table.

“Can you help me?” The young woman’s voice was nearly desperate as she looked up at Miss Jewel.  Miss Jewel smiled.

“Of course, my dear,” she said.   

The woman sighed in relief, and Miss Jewel swept over to her working counter.   She set out a small bowl and began mixing the ingredients for the spell she had in mind. A baby’s breath blossom, a pink rose petal, three different powders of transformation from her collection, and a drop of dew from a moonless night.  She cupped the bowl between her hands and it glowed as she began muttering the words to the spell.

The girl sat breathlessly by, watching with her hands clasped anxiously in front of her.  Soon Miss Jewel opened her eyes and the glowing subsided. She held out the bowl to the girl, and she took out what appeared to be a small glass disk, tinted purple.

“Take that and put it under your pillow tonight as you sleep,” Miss Jewel instructed. “By morning, it will be gone, and so will your problem.”

The girl thanked her, Miss Jewel counted out the money for payment of the spell, and the girl left.

Late that night, as the girl slept, the glass disk gradually vanished, a bottle spun itself into existence on the table in Miss Jewel’s shop.  Once the cap was sealed and fully formed, Miss Jewel picked it up and examined it.

It was a small bottle of purple glass, small vine etchings leading from it’s base to the mouth, and the stopper was in the shape of a rose blossom. Veronica tapped the bottle twice with her finer tip and it glowed slightly, pulsating with a tiny heartbeat. She smiled, placing the bottle on an empty space on the shelves that lined her shop, bottles of various sizes and colors decorating the walls. As she did, she hummed a familiar tune to herself.

One more treasure for the collection,
One more penny in my pocket,
One more gem for the jewelry box,
Turn the key and lock it
Polished until it shines so brightly,
Yes, my dear, you’ll do nicely.


***************

Jeannie loved to dance. Dance and sing, especially in the forest outside her home with Mother. She tucked her bottle into it’s pouch on her belt and happily skipped outside. With her morning chores done and the shop tidied, the rest of the day she could dedicate to being outside, collecting the ingredients Mother said needed refilling.

Jeannie had long black hair that fell in glossy ringlets, she kept it tied back with a bright red scarf. Her skin was the golden color of honey, and her eyes were as green as leaves in the spring. Her dress was purple, the sleeves flowing to her elbows, and the skirt to just below the knee. In Jeannie’s opinion it was the most beautiful dress in the world, though the only others she had seen were the one’s Mother wore. Mother’s dresses were always floor length in blues and greens, and they were pretty too, but Jeannie thought hers was better for running and dancing.

One of the items on her list to gather today were the colorful lizards that could be found in the treetops.  Spying some in the branches above her, Jeannie began climbing the tree, singing as she went.

Red, green, and blue,
Scurry to and fro,
Try to get away
But where you go, I know
Little treetop treasures
Basking in the sun
Counting by the hours
But when you see me, run!

The small lizards would try to scurry away as she approached, but Jeannie was practiced and would snatch them up before they got far.  Soon, she had her little pouch full of squirming lizards. She moved on to the other ingredients, swinging down from the trees as most of the others were plants she would find on the ground.

It was nearly dinner time when she returned home. Mother had returned by then as well, she stood by her counter, stirring something in the stone pot she used for potions and turning the pages of her Witch book. Jeannie entered quietly so as not to interrupt and began carefully sorting the ingredients into their respective bottles and boxes on the shelves. She placed her own bottle back in its place as well.

After a few minutes, Mother put down the spoon and left the spell.

“Did you find everything alright?” She asked, smiling.

“Yes, Mother,” Jeannie replied. “I even found the crystal flowers!”  Crystal flowers were small and their petals were as clear as glass, so they were sometimes hard to locate, but essential for certain spells.

“What a wonderful helper you are, Jeannie,” Mother said. Jeannie smiled.

A moment later, Mother turned her gaze towards the front window, looking out at the path that led to the nearby town of Soffrington. Mother could always see much farther away than Jeannie.

“Company, dear,” she said, and Jeannie nodded, disappearing into her bottle in a puff of purple smoke.

The inside of Jeannie’s bottle was a small, round room with purple glass walls, there was a small bed in the middle of the floor, and a little bookshelf with a few things on it beside the bed. She picked one of the books and began looking through it, enjoying the pictures of different flowers and leaves painted on the pages.

After a few minutes, Jeannie was surprised to hear voices drifting in from the shop. Looking up, she realized Mother had not put the top on her bottle like she usually did. Jeannie shrugged and ignored them for a moment, until they escalated to shouting.

“What have you done with Jessica!?” A mans voice shouted angrily. Mother laughed.

Startled, Jeannie scrambled to the side of her bottle, peering out through the clouded glass. A man stood glaring at Mother, his fingertips aglow with angry magic.

“Oh, you think I’ve done something, do you?” Mother said, her voice taunting. The man’s eyes glowed, and he held out his hand. Jeannie gasped as one of the bottles flew from its shelf to his hand, a delicate looking blue bottle from the collection that Jeannie had never been allowed to touch. The man tore out the stopper and a woman appeared in a puff of smoke.

“Christopher! You have to get out of here!” The woman cried. Mother snapped her fingers and the door and windows snapped shut, darkening the shop. The man lunged at Mother, but she pushed him back with a spell and he knocked into Jeannie’s shelf. She yelped as she fell and slid across her room, her bottle rocking dangerously.

By the time the shaking stopped and Jeannie got back up, the shouting had stopped. She looked out and saw the man, on the floor but fighting to get up. Mother stood over him, the blue bottle in one hand, her other hand extended toward the man, the magic tendrils of a spell keeping him down. Jeannie saw terror fill the man’s eyes as Mother began an incantation.

“No!” He cried, but a moment later, he vanished, and a bottle of black glass appeared on the table next to Mother.  Mother calmly placed the blue bottle back in its place, and then picked up the new black one.

She pulled a key from her pocket and opened her cabinet mounted on the back wall. It held other bottles that had always been locked up. As she placed the new one with them, Jeannie could hear her singing a song Jeannie knew well. Mother had sung it to her many times as a child.

One more treasure for the collection,
One more penny in my pocket,
One more gem for the jewelry box,
Turn the key and lock it
Polished until it shines so brightly,
Yes, my dear, you’ll do nicely.


********

Late that night, as Mother slept, Jeannie left her bottle. She tucked her bottle into it’s place on her belt, then paused, listening to make sure Mother was still asleep. Taking a deep breath, Jeannie walked over to the blue bottle, Jessica’s? And reached out for it.  She was startled as her hand went through it like it was smoke. Quickly, Jeannie tried grabbing other bottles, but couldn’t touch any of them.

Her heart was beating fast, and afraid that Mother would wake, Jeannie slipped out the back door, running into the night.

Standing on my soapbox
Jul 30th, 2017 by Coral

Okay, it’s time for real talk.

Why am I doing this? Why am I a writer? Why am I dedicating so much of my life to this?

Well, I’ll tell you.  Of course there are the obvious reasons, I find writing fun and I just enjoy it for the sake of writing, but that’s not why I’ve chosen it as my career and my life’s work. I have something bigger in mind.

I think the world deserves better. Some of the entertainment out there now-no, a LOT of the entertainment out there now is just embarrassing. So many people have been led to believe that your story can’t be interesting or exciting without major profanity or filthy sexual content. That’s consumers and writers that have started to believe this!

Well, I’m here to tell you, that is not true!

In fact, it’s a sign of good writing when you DON’T have those kinds of things in there to distract from your story. I’m serious.

Swearing doesn’t make your characters sound smarter, or funnier, or more likable. These kinds of things can be seriously detrimental to your story, it’s really best just to stay away from them.

Now, handling this obviously differs whether you’re writing a book, or for the screen, or something else, but it is always possible to write and create good, wholesome content that is compelling and engaging. There is a huge difference between this kind of content, and the kind that wants to be “more gritty and real” by adding those things in. When an audience is watching or reading, consuming basically, entertainment, there is a large percentage that will be offended, jarred out of the story, or simply enjoy it less because of things like profanity, sexual content, or other immorality. They may even avoid it completely once they find out what it contains.

On the flip side, how many people are going to watch a show and then, at the end, say “Wow, it was really good, but I wish there had been more cussing”? Yeah, not a lot, if any at all. The same goes for other other filthy content. While it drives away a part of your audience to include it, excluding it does not have the same effect! If they would watch it with the cussing and sex, they will still watch it without it. Write for the story, for the characters and communicating your message, that’s what the consumers will enjoy, ultimately.

“But,” you might be saying, “what if the story really does call for it? Like in movie adaptations of books? Or historical documentaries?”

Okay, let’s address the first one. Does the story call for it? Does it really? Well, it may call for those things to happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it in a way that drives off a portion of your audience. The story may call for many things, but if you work at it you can do it in a way that is not only still friendly to your audience, but this will actually make your story better. Putting more work into it shows that you care and will give you better results.

For example, let’s tackle the movie adaptations of books question. I’m going to use The Hunger Games franchise as my prime example.

If you have read the books, you know that there is plenty of content that, while fine for a reader, would not necessarily be fine to watch on the big screen. There’s violence, and lots of it, we’re talking children murdering each other on a televised game. That’s pretty intense. Keeping with the plot and events of the book, the movie makers could have easily used a lot of content that would have made the movie Rated R, which in the case of these books, decimates the audience. The target demographic for these books was young adults and teenagers. Junior high and high school students. Making these movies Rated R would have seriously hindered their ability to turn a profit on the movie, and a lot of us would never have gotten to see the genius of the movie vs book.

But the movie makers knew that, they knew that would be harmful to them, and so they worked hard and, in my opinion, hit the nail on the head.  The events from the book still happen, people are still dying and murdering and all of those things. It is done in such a way, however, that it does not severely limit the audience. I think it is all the better for this. We still get the feel of what is going on, the horrifying truth of this world that has to sacrifice children to keep the peace, and then there is the terrible reality of war and everything that goes with it, physical, emotional, and psychological trauma. Betrayal, suffering, and the question of what really is right.

 

In the area of historical documentaries, well, they have a little more room. I understand that portraying something like the Holocaust, or other horrific world events like that, that is going to be difficult to do in a family friendly way. This may simply be because the events weren’t family friendly, and they were real. I still believe we can make portrayals of them that are welcoming to a wider audience, but I won’t condemn the documentaries that go a little deeper. I don’t really plan on making documentaries either, and this issue is a bit different for me than entertainment films.

If your movie or book, just your work, is fictional and for entertainment purposes, even if you have the strongest “moral of the story” that ever was, there is just no excuse for cutting your audience down to fractions by including filthy, profane content. We can keep the cussing, the sex, and graphic violence away from the audience without diminishing the story or characters. It will just mean we have to work harder, but I am not afraid of working hard.  This is my life, and if I’m going to succeed, I expect to work hard.

I know that a lot of people don’t agree with me on this, in fact, many people have tried to talk me out of this, my cause that I have chosen. They make excuses for the filthy content we see today. But I will not accept it. I believe we can do better, and since I’m going to be in this industry for the rest of my life, I have to stick with what I believe. Some people are afraid that it will be hard for me, or that I will face criticism, or that I’m just wrong and movies won’t be fun anymore. But I don’t care if it’s hard, I’ll still do it. People can criticize me all they want, it won’t deter me. And I’ve just spent the rest of this post explaining why the last concern is pretty invalid.

This is my soapbox, I stand for better entertainment for everyone, and I plan on standing here for a very long time.

I have never been the same
Jul 5th, 2017 by Coral

As we go through life, there are people and things that have great influence on us.  Usually family and friends are among these, as well as religion, education, and of course all those miscelanious factors.

 

Some of the influential factors in our lives can be pretty predictable, while othertimes they come as a complete surprise.  This is something that has come to mind recently as I have realized what the top three most influential factors of my life have been.

 

The first two, in no particular order, are my religion and my family.  The third one is the one people are more surprised by.

 

The third most influential factor in my life is Harry Potter, and the great woman who wrote that wonderful world. My life would have taken a very different turn if it weren’t for Harry Potter.

I started reading the Harry Potter whenI was about five years old, after my cousins had come to my house and shown me the movie. I remember them saying “There’s this great movie called Harry Potter, and you just have to watch it.”  I watched it and told my mom, and she said “Oh, those are books, and we have some, do you want to read them?”

Well, I was already a reader, so I was hooked. (The real question was why my mother had been withholding the books!).   I have followed the story avidly ever since. I waited for every movie release except the first one. Of course, this isn’t the thing that makes Harry Potter one of the most influential things in my life.

When I was probably about six or seven years old, I was in my yard one day, thinking about Harry Potter. I remember distinctly thinking “It must be so amazing to be able to create a whole world, with people and stories and magic, and share it with the world.”

And then lightning struck. I had the realization that forever changed my life.

“I can do that. JK Rowling is just a regular person, too, I can do that!”

My life has never been the same.  It was at that moment that I decided to be a writer, and almost every decision I have made since has been effected by this moment. I love my life, I met my best friend because I decided to be a writer, I have discovered a new angle to look at the world through. I can’t imagine who I would be without Harry Potter.

And that’s one of the things I want to accomplish, too. I don’t expect to be “the next JK Rowling” but I hope that someday, my writing can change someone’s life, even in the smallest way.

A poem on weather
Jun 26th, 2017 by Coral

The wind and the rain
Combine into blackness
They blot out the day
And bring early night

Lightning screams
And thunder howls
A warning to all
To stay out of their path.

I’m back!
Jun 13th, 2017 by Coral

Well folks, it’s been a while.  I have spent about the last year and a half on a service mission for my church, and a side effect of that was that I wasn’t able to post on here. But now I’m back! And my plans include heading straight into publication with some of my books and poetry as well as keeping this blog a little more lively.

 

Like any other career, this is going to require goal setting and taking time each day to work towards those goals.  Sometimes being a writer, or in any other artistic field, it’s not seen by others as being real work. And for some people maybe it isn’t, but to me it isn’t just a game, so for me I will work at it.

 

And working hard at this doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy it still! I live and breathe the creative process! It means I won’t let opportunities slip through my fingers. The world needs dedicated artists to help shape society the same way it needs dedicated doctors and engineers. So, any interested party is welcome to follow my journey right here, on authors2b.

Beating Hearts
Aug 29th, 2015 by Coral

The world is big, and knowledge vast,

we see the future through the past.

Can they imagine how it is

to feel so small and barely live?

 

Watching, watching,

many eyes,

watching, watching,

accepting lies.

 

Stone is hard and sun is bright,

No candle guides us through the night.

Willingly, they lose their way,

who knowingly trade their souls away.

 

Listen, listen,

many ears,

listen, listen,

deaf to tears.

 

Some scars fade, and some wounds heal,

some will never learn to feel.

Desiring war and glory untold,

in pleasure they watch destruction unfold.

 

Beating, beating,

many hearts.

Beating, beating,

fall apart.

 

Those who have are loath to give,

and those who need are short to live.

Those on top only look up,

while those below are ground to dust.

 

Breaking, breaking,

many bones,

breaking, breaking,

fade alone.

 

Life Is Not A Story Book: Why Realistic Fiction Is Hard For Me To Write
Jan 11th, 2015 by Coral

Life is not a story book. I have recently identified this as one of the reasons I struggle so much writing realistic fiction.

Here’s where I’m coming from, okay, in a story you set things up. You foreshadow, you hint, you mislead, and you tie up loose ends at the end of the book. Happily ever afters don’t have to be expanded on, you can leave the blank page. Writing a story, you can change it. You can manipulate every aspect of the story, and you understand it, too.

Life isn’t like that. First off, life doesn’t always foreshadow. Sometimes things happen and they had no warning. There was no ominous music in the background, nobody was acting strange. Bad things happen. People get hurt, people betray you, people weren’t who you thought they were. Accidents happen with no warning. Some tragedies do have warning signs, yeah, but not all, and it’s so much harder to see it in real life.

Life doesn’t give hints, not always, though it will mislead you. You will think you have something figured out, and end up completely wrong. About other people, about relationships, even about yourself. You don’t get to be in control in real  life.

Real life also leaves loose ends. There isn’t always an explanation for things, there isn’t always an answer, and there isn’t always a happy ending. Life doesn’t make sense. That’s just how it is.

So, when I write realistic fiction, it feels like I’m cheating. I can’t think of interesting things that don’t seem too….preconceived?  Things that don’t seem to good to be true, I suppose. Real life can be funny, or compelling to hear about, cool things do happen. Sad things happen, funny things happen. But making them up?

It doesn’t feel real to me. I don’t know, this realization might eventually help me be able to write better realistic fiction, but for now it’s just a thought. Comments or response thoughts to this would be greatly appreciated. Until next time!

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