It is this simple: the more you write, the better you get

I’ve struck gold, ladies and gentlemen. I unwittingly unearthed my 6th grade writing journal. Naturally, I read through the whole thing immediately. It was terrible. I’ve decided to forgive the countless spelling and grammar errors because I was only 11 or 12 at the time. However, it took all my strength to quell the editor in me who was furiously demanding to mark up the whole thing with red ink.

As I read through my numerous stories and poems, my first feeling was embarrassment but I quickly discovered that the proper emotion was pride. I really have been writing all my life and this is the evidence to prove it. What’s even better is that this evidence proves it’s working; the writing is paying off. It’s safe to say that I’m a substantially better writer than I was when I was 12. The public education system didn’t fail me after all!

I originally decided that this 6th grade work should never see the light of day. I’ve changed my mind. As it turns out, I was a little comedian back in the day. I also rejected all things deemed “childish.” Always the rebel. Case in point:

“Barney the purple dinosaur

makes my eyes sore

He’s such a freak,

He should not speak.”

“Happy little Dora and Boots

They do little toots.

If they would die,

no one will cry.”

Fantastic, right? I couldn’t stop giggling. How wonderfully morbid I was. To be honest, my sense of humor hasn’t changed much. It’s only gotten more vulgar. Horray for adulthood.

Some of this truly is gold. Even with the elementary writing, some of the ideas hold merit. That’s the thing though. We’re all capable of coming up with the idea. Implementing it is where the real skill comes in. As a child I was a storyteller. The stories were good too. The only problem was that I didn’t have the tools necessary to make my stories the best they could be. Perhaps I possess those tools now. There will always be room to improve but I’m just glad I’ve come this far. The following is one of my old writing passages, word for word, mistakes and all. I’m going to rewrite the prompt to the best of my ability and you can decide how much I have improved.

PROMPT: Do this yourself! Find a piece of work you did earlier on in your writing journey. There’s a lot of freedom here. It can be from childhood if you’re lucky enough to find it. It can be in young adulthood, before you had much experience writing. The one requirement is that it must be something that you can improve and/or expand on. Take a good idea you had and make it great. Here goes my attempt!

“There was once a land called Sorrow. That’s how all the books started. So many books of Sorrow, so many, telling lies. They say you should never judge a book by it’s cover. In some cases, it’s different though. When you see a book that has pictures of monsters and dragons with the name of The Truth of Sorrow, right off the bat, you’d know that the book was full of lies. Even if Sorrow does have monsters and dragons, no one knows. Not a single soul has even set eyes upon the place. How do we know it exists? Truth be told, we don’t. All we know is that on every midnight full moon, an agonizing cry peirces the planet. Every place on this world has been seen and mapped except for one small place that is considered the darkness. There are many myths about what is in the darkness. The most popular one is the land of Sorrow.”

2014 Rewrite

“The glowing full moon cloaked our end of the world in silence. Every person was waiting, listening. The silence would only last another moment. Then it came once again. The distant wailing was difficult to notice at first but as the chorus joined in, it was impossible to miss. Children shuddered as their mothers clung to them. Some put on a brave face but we all knew the feeling of utter sorrow the wails delivered to us. Sorrow commanded our attention once again.

There is only one place that rests unknown to the world. Shrouded in darkness, it stomps out the power of human curiosity. No adventurer brave enough to travel there has returned to tell their tales. Anyone claiming otherwise tells lies. They attempt to capitalize on the fear of the unknown, writing fables disguised as truths. People will look to any explanation to quell their fears but there is only one truth and it is simple.

We will never know the land called Sorrow.”

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The Woes of Writing a Novel

I don’t know what it is about these lists but I keep finding more to write. At least they’re an easy format (more like lazy). I may be blogging about fitness at the moment but my real big project is a writing one. I’m working on this little story I’ve had running through my brain since I graduated high school, like four years ago… I have a hard time committing to long term projects and sticking with them throughout so that explains the struggle. Recently, however, magic has happened. I’ve made real progress! The only problem is now I’ve run smack into a brick wall and I’m left scratching my head as to how to get over it. The following are some of my problems.

I get discouraged by my writing skills.

I find plot holes that are hard to fix.

I don’t know how I want to write some of my characters.

I fear the scenes I’m writing shouldn’t be there.

I haven’t solidified my world and what exactly it looks like. (hashtag sci fi/fantasy world-building problems)

The plot line is difficult to sort out.

The work seems to go on forever.

I spend too much time reading and editing old stuff when I should be powering ahead.

I’m afraid I won’t be prepared to power through all the crap I have to edit when I finish this damned draft.

Notice that I said WHEN I finish. Despite the struggle, I’m truly confident in the story I’m creating. Whether or not it means anything to anyone else in the end, I need to get this done for me. If you can relate to any of my list rant struggles, let me know. Tell me your writing woes. I know I’m not struggling alone. Leave me a comment if you have any advice for me or words of encouragement. I most definitely could use it!

Writing About Writing

Imagine a world that is occupied by fauns, centaurs, dwarves, talking beavers, a white witch, and a lion that is bridged to our world through a wardrobe. Sound familiar? It’s the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Now picture a castle dedicated to teaching the young generations of the wizarding world. That’s the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Next, envision an imaginary period in earth’s past called middle-earth, where humans, hobbits, elves, dwarves, ents, and wizards fight for the survival of their world against the powers of Mordor. That one is The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, one of the greatest fantasy stories of all time. In every one of these stories, the author has created an epic fantasy world that everyone recognizes. Millions and millions of people have been taken on an adventure and seen the sheer brilliance that resonates with each book through imagination and creativity.

The written word is what drives me. Primarily, fantasy writing is my passion. I’ve always been an avid reader. With fantasy, literally anything is possible. That’s why I love it so much. There are no limitations. When reading a book, I could jump into a world that allows me to forget my own if only for a little while. My imagination could run wild while I thought up characters’ faces and predicted the paths the story could take. It was only natural that I would take up writing myself. With reading, I could let someone else take me on an adventure. With writing, I would get to show the world my own adventures.

I strive to be a fantasy author. Published or not, I want to finish all I start. Right now, I spend much of my spare time writing. In the future, I hope to make it more than just a hobby. I’m in complete control when I’m writing. Unlike the real world, everything works out the way I see fit. Is there any better reason to write than that?

I want you to picture one last place for me. There’s a city that towers above the rural land around it. Most of its buildings are over one-thousand feet high, filled with floor upon floor of people. Outside city limits, open land goes on for miles with a scattering of small houses, endless farmland, the occasional gas station and small store. There’s no middle ground in this land. There’s the city and there’s the outside.

The city people are afraid of what’s on the outside. For not the reasons they think, but for a good reason none-the-less. The people on the outside, Watchers, they’re dangerous and they’re not fans of tall buildings and large crowds. They’re the reason the city keeps building upward instead of outward. However, the city people have been working on a weapon to fight back and they’ve finally succeeded. This weapon is a group of people called Shadows and they’re the only chance humans have to gain new freedom. Drawing a blank? That’s because this one is my story, my very own world and I’m the one that gets to decide if it could reach millions too.