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Slap down the trolls in your head!

I was going to spend this entry talking a little bit about self-edits, but I’ll save that for another time.

Instead, I thought I’d share a link to this post from over at The Red Pen of Doom, wherein Mr. Guy takes his titular pen to my entry to Ms. Joey’s Spring Into Action Flash Fiction contest from a few weeks back. Go take a look, and learn from his edits and comments. Don’t worry; it’s totally safe (Ms. Joey made us keep things PG).

Pretty darn slick, huh?

Now, if you’re like me, you probably get very nervous when you post anything original, because you’re putting yourself out there for anyone to mock. But, in this case, I remembered that one of the main points of my current novel project is overcoming fear, so I made myself submit that flash fiction piece.

“Aaah! What have I done?!”

The result? I had a lot of fun stretching writing muscles I hadn’t exercised in a while (namely, writing adventure). Even better, though: now, not only do I feel very honored to be made an example of by Mr. Guy, but I think I have a better idea of how to write that potential story!

The moral of this very short anecdote is, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Even if it’s just something small. You never know who might be reading.

Remember, it’s up to you to beat down those trolls who tell you you can’t do it!

Trollhunter film poster

Trollhunter. Find him. Watch him. Learn from him.

100-Word Challenge: One Last Leap

100 Word Challenge for Grown-UpsWe’re up to the 41st week in the 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups series! This week’s prompt is from the picture below. (Do be sure to check out some of the other entries, while you’re over there!)

Old bones exhibit in the National Museum of Scotland

Old bones exhibit in the National Museum of Scotland.
Photo by Julia Skinner

I have to admit that I originally took the prompt to be “bones,” and so wrote something a little bit different. But, with a modicum of tweaking, I think I was able to make this story fit. What do you think?

“One Last Leap”

Fin and Cora, by Mayumi-H

Another doodle-y doodle

Tomorrow, the cloud prince would come. To take her away from the sea, the only life she’d ever known. And the only love.

With naked toes grasping the bluff’s edge, Cora shook her head. Tomorrow, she’d be dead.

A better fate than any mountain palace was the wave-tossed tomb below. There, in that watery hollow of forgotten bones, she’d first felt Fin’s forbidden kiss, and known she’d never love another. She wished him here, if only to feel him one last time.

But she couldn’t wait. Tomorrow was coming.

Closing her eyes, she stepped free…and heard him call her name.

Revisiting Cora and Fin, here, from another short fiction attempt. I changed Cauda’s name to Cora, because it, too, has a relation to water (in Scottish, it means “seething pool,” which is appropriate for her character). And, because it’s easier to pronounce. (I liked the look of “Cauda,” but even I had trouble keeping straight the pronunciation.)

I also don’t want to create a precedent for myself, adding drawings to these flash fiction stories, but I had to try my hand at an underwater moment, since I’m struck by the beauty of it so.

Wavewalker Princess

My entry to the 200-word Flash Fiction Contest over at Joey Francisco’s Soul and Sweet Tea blog…which you should go and check out, because it’s chock-full of creative goodness! My only regret is that I’m only finding her site now, and so I have so much to catch up on!

I took my prompt from Ms. Francisco’s photograph of the watchtower at Fort Matanzas:

Fort Matanzas, photo by Joey Francisco

Fort Matanzas, photo by Joey Francisco. Used without permission.

Stone stairs and the blood of Landstanders foolish enough to raise arms against him disappear beneath Fin’s boots, as every step takes him closer to the top of this tall, windowed tower, and to the girl trapped within.

“Wavewalker!” a guard warns, but he’s silenced by metal tines already streaked red; it’s the same for his partner beside. And up Fin runs, never stopping.

His muscles ache, his lungs burn, but the door is just ahead, and suddenly he’s crying her name as his spear splinters the heavy wood:


He’s barely broken through when she rushes up, arms thrown around him. And though her eyes are wide and frightened, her voice drifts to him with such gentle love, like the dreamy sway of the coral among which they used to swim. “You came.”

Time is short – more Landstanders are surely already racing to reclaim their princess prize – but still he cups her face, so sea-pale and soft, and kisses her, for fear it will be the last thing he ever does.

He draws back at the taste of tears.

“There’s no way out,” she whispers.

The spear creaks in his fist. “There’s always a way.”

As per the instructions, I stayed within the 200-word limit (mine comes in at 198 words), and I didn’t think too much about plot or craft. I just wrote.

I don’t usually jump for contests. And, to be honest, it’s not really the contest that interested me, in this case. I’ve just been having such fun playing in the 100-Word Challenges for Grown-Ups over at Julia’s Place that, when this came up in my Twitter feed via @speechwriterguy, I had to see if I could write something a little bit different than what I’ve been doing with the 100-Word Challenges.

This fantasy conflict is actually one of the earliest plot ideas I had for what became Fearless, believe it or not. It never went further than a very basic and archetypal idea of princesses and warriors, of course, and the more realistic, personal love story between Ross and Amber won out for me, in the end. But it was quite a bit of fun to revisit, in a way, those original concepts, here. And, who knows? Maybe I will flesh out the conflict between the Wavewalkers and Landstanders, one day.